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I'm such an ironic person at this point in my life. I'm feeling awesome about life in general, but making a point to torture myself mentally and physically at every opportunity. I feel pretty free from depression, but I still flirt with it every now and then. By now I've thoroughly defined myself as a being of peace and compassion, but I'm constantly sparring with friends, obsessing over violence and death, and bonding with my knives. I have a set that's pretty dear to me that I meticulously sharpen, constantly practice throwing, and virtually always carry on me. This is partly because I honestly need a utility knife on me for work, and partly because I feel like I constantly need an instrument of violence at hand to counter my constant anticipation of violence. It sounds terrible, but no matter where I am, I need to have the means to defend my life to feel comfortable. I had a depressing childhood, but nothing worth writing home about. To summarize it, my formative years drove the point home for me that assholes don't make the world any better, so I decided early on not to treat other people like I've been treated. Ever. When my brother was murdered, and over the years that I retroactively got to know my brother better and came to realize what the event actually meant to me, a second motivation started to define me. He and I were so similar, I felt like it was myself that was killed. The thought that my older doppelgänger was ambushed, abducted, held for several hours, transported to the other side of a large city, led to an isolated area, and shot to death implies that he lacked whatever knowledge, strength, experience, or motivation that would have saved him. And if he and I are practically the same person, then what does that mean I lack? How do I need to develop myself so that I don't put my loved ones through the pain of my unexpected death? I don't know. I'm searching, though. I'm contacting the city's homicide department for case reports and autopsy reports and reading his writings for clues. But as long as I'm in the dark, I'm just filled with this vague desperation to escape what he couldn't. So compassion for others and desperate survival-oriented self-development. That's two big chunks of what makes me me. I'm starting to question how these two interact with each other, and the ironic possibility that my brother may have allowed himself to be killed out of compassion for someone that was being threatened, and that I might some day as well. I've written more on this subject at ghost, brother, pain, violence, and vigilante.