I Survived the Server Dumpster Fire of 2022

It was bound to happen eventually. Three years of near-seamless chugging along, running dodgy bleeding-edge updates from Pleroma’s develop branch, and the thing finally fell over. Maybe the influx of new users did it in. Maybe the 70GB database that ballooned up from haphazard data retention was the real culprit. I’ll never know.

I’ve decided to take a break from self-hosting a social instance for a while. It’s a wonderful, awesome, amazing experience, and I totally recommend it to anybody who has the time and energy to spare. I just don’t have it right now, and I’m tired of throwing my money at so many servers. For now, I think I’ll just stay put and find a way to donate to my admin.

Anyway, my Ghost site was a casualty, so I’ll need to rebuild everything from what I saved on Archive.org. These things happen.

For now, you can find me on https://social.treehouse.systems/@deadsuperhero

On feeling underappreciated

Sometimes, I can’t help but feel bad about not being recognized. Maybe it’s narcissistic to say that; after all, I haven’t really developed anything, released anything, given an inspiring speech, or even danced all that well in a public setting.

What have I actually contributed to the world? Thinking on it, I find myself at a bit of a loss.

Aside from a minor role in a few different things, I’ve done approximately jack shit. Yet I google my own name incessantly, in the self-centered hope of being noticed. Because in truth, I feel painfully alone.

Yeah, I was the Community Manager for a fledgling open source decentralized social network for a while. It was cool. But let’s be honest, I didn’t really do anything that noteworthy or substantial. The platform itself has been relegated to a footnote in the dustbin of Silicon Valley history, and all I really did was act as a spokesperson and try to put out community dumpster fires. I probably fucked up plenty of good things simply by being there.

Yeah, I run a publication dedicated to the fediverse, but it’s small peanuts, and my burnout became so severe that I can barely write anything in it for months at a time. It has a following of some sort, but it’s no OMG! Ubuntu. I’m a terrible editor, and not that good of a writer. I’d like to think that I cover interesting subjects, but many things slip through my fingers. My negligence has probably contributed to other developers in the space feeling unnoticed, and maybe caused them to give up on their projects.

I’ve done crowdfunding. 1500 campaigns, in fact. No one cares. I’ve solved complex problems and even given self-developed training workshops to audiences of hundreds of engineers at top tech companies. No one cares. The end result is that, performatively speaking, it does not matter one iota.

A lot of times, it feels like all I do is talk about ideas I have, without ever following through on anything. A while back, my therapist explained to me that it seems that I rely on a type of “negative comfort”, where I rely on inaction because doing some creative project that actually leads to something ultimately forces me to face the discomfort of anticipating what other people will think of what I made.

It seems that I settle for being small and invisible, rather than trying to follow through on things that will inevitably get shit on by other people. The voice in my own head is harsh enough.

What I’d like, more than anything else, is to make something beautiful and affecting and true. Something that reflects what’s in my head and in my heart, something that positively affects other people. I’d love to be recognized for that, whatever it is. I just feel like I’m wasting my time otherwise, and it’s eating away at me.

All I can do is just try to pour my heart and soul into my endless stream of stupid ideas, and hope that someday, somebody appreciates it as much as I do.

Turning the page: Goodbye, Peoria!

In about a week, I will be stepping onto a plane to begin a new chapter in my life. It’s pretty surreal to think about – to be frank, I never thought that I would get to this point.

I’m finally in the process of moving to San Francisco. This is five years after I started working for a little startup company in the SF Bay Area, a Mission Street company of people trying to hack together a social network on their own terms. That I even became employed there is an utter fluke, and is the fulfillment of a juvenile dream of mine.

Things have changed. Their focus has shifted, and over the last three years, we have worked together to help nearly 2,000 crowdfunding campaigns from Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. I was their first hire at this new venture, and have grown into a role where I get to solve hard problems every day. I have acted as a remote worker in all that time, from my dining table in Peoria.

Part of me is beyond excited. Part of me is terrified. Part of me is very, very sad. I wish that I could take the people involved in my life and take them all with me. Life doesn’t work like that, though.

In taking this next big step, I am leaving behind everything I’ve ever known and loved. I am saying goodbye to my closest friends, who have had a massive impact on how I live my life. I am saying goodbye to my family, who I already only see every once in a while. I am saying goodbye to a town that I am comfortable in, and I am saying goodbye to someone who I am madly, passionately in love with (and always will be).

I’ve cried a lot about this, because it’s painful. In fact, I’m still crying right now. But this move is something that I have to do for myself. You can’t finish a good book if you never proceed beyond a comfortable chapter. Otherwise, there’s not much of a story.

To everyone who has been present and close in my life – thank you for being here for me. Thank you for opening up and sharing so many beautiful things about who you are and what you care about. You have given me so much drive to keep living, even at the points where I felt like I didn’t want to anymore.