Camen Design

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An Update

In a short span of time, many stressful things happened.
Detailing them seems to be just as stressful so I will be brief.

Sunday, September 11th

My best friend Clint Franklin says goodbye.

I give up.

Anyone who knows me all that well knows that I have struggled with mental illness for almost my entire life. I remember when I was in first grade, I was on anti-depressants. I don’t remember exactly how that happened, but I do know that I was suicidal at the time. Five years old and suicidal.

Things never really got better.

Clint Franklin—Clint Says Goodbye
Tuesday, September 13th

I finish up the article I had been writing, “I Don’t Want to Do This Any More”. The first half is written prior to Clint’s blog post, the second half afterwards.

I see many people who have become proud of their suffering, who use anger as a shield to deflect the risk of change. I see others who hide from their full potential, afraid of the uncertainty that they will have to face. I see an unfair world that has been designed to limit the potential of all, equipped with an infinite distraction machine that shapes us to only ever chase everything that, deep down we know, doesn’t matter. I know that helping others see beyond this is the only career I’ve ever wanted. Love conquers all.

Kroc Camen—I Don’t Want to Do This Any More
Monday, September 19th

Clint sends his ultimatum in riposte to the response he received.

After receiving a small mountain of emails, Facebook comments, and other forms of communication, I just want to make things a little more clear for those of you who may be confused about my intentions.

For your sake and mine… stay out of my way.

Clint Franlin—Loose Ends

By this time I have lost faith in myself.

I have known Clint for ten years and tried what I can to encourage him in what limited manner allowed his Internet connection and my own reservedness to pry into the private lives of others.

But this is too much for my abilities, too much for my words also. I don’t think he is open to listening to what I would say.

I have no words.

Kroc Camen—Camen Design Forum: An Update From Clint
Thursday, 22nd September

Early in the day Clint provides a response to the forum thread: (I am thankful at this moment that he is at least online and not self-destructing way out of reach)

I did go back over the correspondence from after the original blog article. All it revealed to me was how little people think of me. The last thing I wanted from anyone was pity, but they all threw me a pity party anyway. It’s rather pathetic — I'm an adult now, people. I'm a big boy and I can make my own decisions, however stupid or undesirable you may think they are.

I guess maybe they believed that the right amount of patronization combined with a heaping helping of empty encouragement would make me feel better. That isn’t to say that there weren’t one or two very good letters to which I was more receptive… but the majority of them just managed to make me angry enough to reiterate my stance short of consulting the Sailors' Dictionary.

Clint Franklin—Camen Design Forum: An Update From Clint

Later that day I get an e-mail from Clint, he has thought things over and is feeling much better.

Hey Kroc, sorry for all the mess I've put you through. I just wanted to let you know that some people (ironically strangers for the most part) have been chiming on things, and some of it has gotten me thinking…

So…

Forgive me for putting you through so much. You deserve better from me. After all we’ve done, all we’ve been through, the memories we share… I pretty much just laid a giant turd on you out of nowhere. What can I say — I'm an idiot. An emotionally charged idiot at that.

Truth is, I never wanted to hurt anyone. Some twisted logic in my head made me think that the best way to see to it was to extricate myself from reality. After a bit of wrestling with untwisted logic from people outside of my head, I feel as though the good in me doesn’t want to let go. Beaten… bruised… defeated… it just won’t give up.

I guess I have people like you to thank for that. Logic is one way to win a fight. But there also has to be a catalyst… something to fight for. You are among the people who I should be fighting for.

My response:

There are few people these days that would have the outright honesty and bravery as you do to not only apologise but to also speak your mind. A lesser man would have rather walked away from a friendship than face the embarrassment of apologising. It also takes quite something to tell said friend how he was wrong too; no such situation is truly one sided. You under value just how accomplished a human being you are.

I have always tried to be straight with you, my own particular mete, which works for some things but not others. I cannot understand all of your problems no more than you could understand all of mine. This is why I feel you need more people in your life to cover a wider range of understanding than just my point-blank approach to everything.

There is only so much pushing that I am personally equipped to take. You pushed so far this time I gave up, I’m sorry. I’m just glad that there are other people (even strangers) who are strong enough to push back. When you remove the only tiny channel of communication I have with you, and then blockade the entrance, there’s little I feel I can do. I wanted to write you a snail mail letter, but all week I was stressing over the insurmountable task of sitting down and summing up my thoughts in a way that wouldn’t just ‘set you off’. Then you write your “follow up” and it knocks me back so much that I no longer feel like writing to you would even have any effect. I was in shock. I had to contemplate losing my best friend, and if it wasn’t for my girfriend being in my life, I would be very ill in bed right now from the stress I have been experiencing.

I want you to know that you don’t have to measure your self-worth by your talent, or admonishment of lack there of. What you can, can’t, will or won’t do with your hands is not what has to define you—be it a programmer, web designer or musician—what matters is your relationships with others. These are the important things in life that will bring you many benefits, especially when you’re not well. Yours or my talent will not drag us out of a depression.

I know I have always encouraged you when it comes to working on various projects, I know you need at least some creative outlet, but these are not replacements for friendships. I apologise if I have put too much emphasis on projects in the past, it’s something I will not do again. I’d rather that we better invest the time building our friendship.

Quoting first your forum post:

I guess maybe they believed that the right amount of patronization combined with a heaping helping of empty encouragement would make me feel better. That isn’t to say that there weren’t one or two very good letters to which I was more receptive… but the majority of them just managed to make me angry enough to reiterate my stance short of consulting the Sailors' Dictionary.

Clint, very very few people are emotionally and intelligently equipped to help others with deep psychological stresses. Being a good human being is not part of any curriculum, anywhere. Nobody and nowhere specifically teaches us to be empathetic, loving, understanding and knowledgeable enough to understand what actions are actually appropriate in such a situation. Even the field of psychology ends up falling into the “drugs are the answer” trap because the world, driven by profit, systemises everything, ironing out any human emotion. It reduces people to processes and tick-boxes.

This world is so obsessed with career and personal success that individuals cruise through life not doing what really matters and will bring them happiness: educating themselves in how to be a good human being. The Bible measures personal success in terms of loving God and loving others, not the love of money, material possessions and status.

These ‘misguided’ responses you got are only people showing genuine care in the extremely limited fashion that they know of, that they have at their disposal. They may be very well educated in any other number of fields, but helping others so deeply is an oft-exercised part of themselves and they’re reduced to a form of desperation, as was myself.

In the end, it was looking to me more and more as though Kroc was digging himself into a hole he couldn’t get out of. Why? Because of some bandwidth? Jesus Christ. I don’t care that it takes 10 minutes to get a page to load, or that I have to make a half-dozen attempts before I can download a file over 2MB. Not if it means Kroc is going to bring his entire life to a screeching halt and sell stuff that has sentimental value to him for the sake of me having a slightly more convenient method of perusing the Web.

Our friendship is not about bits and bytes, it’s about emotion, and for expressive emotion you need enough bandwidth to express that emotion. I want to get you on broadband, tried so hard, because I am running out of steam trying to communicate by IM alone. I want you to experience a more full and expressive me by way of real time audio and video. I can’t get to know you better by text alone. I didn’t start this donation drive because “it’s a cool idea”, I started it because you need to be connected to more people, and I can’t be there to do that in your real life, but I can do something over the Internet.

I want to sell my stuff because the sentimental value is far outweighed by the value of our friendship, not the value of some broadband. I have said to others, though I don’t recall if I’ve said it to you directly, but if I wanted I could just give you the money for the broadband, the whole donation drive and selling my stuff is because I want to show you that others, including many strangers, and myself respect you for who you are as a gentle and creative person and not as charity-case ill man. I want people to see all the good you are capable of and broadband is a step forward in that regard. Please see that I have always tried to look beyond the bits and bytes alone, which my blog has mostly been about lately. I’m not interested in what sites you peruse, but I am interested in you sharing and outwardly expressing yourself the web.

Kroc Camen
Sunday, September 25th

Clint writes a most beautiful blog post to let everyone know he’s better and explain what happened.

I don’t consider myself as having best friends. I'm not saying that I'm not closer to some of you than others, just that when you come into my life, and I have a good feeling about you, and you become my friend… you become an extremely special person. If you are a part of my life, then I will treat you as such. Once you’ve stepped over that threshold, then I hold you in high esteem — I love you. It’s that simple. Love is not something to take lightly — but it is something to be given freely. Thank you to my friends for giving back to me the ability to return to this place…

… because, although I'm not really “going” anywhere in the world, I have arrived at a pretty good place. As long as I can keep you in my sight, as long as love cannot be bound by distance, as long as I am alive, I am at the place where I belong…

… with you.

Clint Franklin—Back Where I Belong

In that time I have discontinued the fund-drive and auction. At the moment Clint is looking into a government broadband subsidy scheme that may mean that the current amount donated ($1188) will suffice.

I apologise for any donators who have been left in the dark, and I thank all of you for your outstanding genirosity towards my friend.