Very few people I am in touch with will appreciate this for what it is. But there are still a few. And I thought they might enjoy this.
I found it while reading through some old message board threads that I had saved on my computer. I don't even remember writing this. It was written on February 18, 2006…. At 4 AM, apparently. That would put me… In Japan, that would have been when I was in Japan!
Anyway, I apparently wrote this and I thought it was really really cool. Not that most people will appreciate it, but there's a few. So this is for my Westie family….. I miss you guys!
"This is just something I was thinking about as I sat in bed working on sudoku…. Just some thoughts that I thought I'd share.
I'm proud to be a Westie. We're more than just people united by the love of Matthew West's music. We're family. Sure, we can be wild at times, but that's just who we are. We have our differences, whether we say so or not. I can remember a few times where a little anger may have started to show, but isn't that how all families are? Online it's easier to hide, but it still shows sometimes. That's just how it is.
The best thing about us would be the welcoming nature… We want you to join us. We want to get to know you. We want to share this friendship/family love that we have. There's plenty to go around. We don't care about what your life is like "in the real world." We want to be your friend. If you go through hard times, we want to help. Whether it's talking you through something hard, praying for you, or just being there to read your rants. We want to do it. We care. We wont judge you. We want to be there for you. Families have fun together, and they go through hard times together too. We wont just push you away when that happens. We wont say "You did this, so we don't like you anymore." We understand, and we want to help, like any good family does.
Is this who the Westies are, or who I want us to be? To be honest, I'm not sure. I know we are welcoming, but I can't speak for everyone in saying all. I know this is who I want to be, and I also know that at times I need to be a bit better about it. But if you contact me, I'll be there… And I want anyone to feel free in doing so.
In all the message boards I've been on, I feel that this one has been the most welcoming, family-like community. It's not a huge community, and I hope that we do grow. In the same way I kind of fear it growing, because it may change…. But knowing the Westies, I don't think I have much to worry about. As long as those of us who are already here keep being ourselves, I don't think I have to worry about it changing. People may come and go (preferably come!), but I think the Westies will always be the Westies.
This board has welcomed me as me more than any other board has. I may be the top poster, I may be a moderator, but does that really mean anything? Not really. I've been here a long time, and get on a lot. I was given a few extra privileges by the admin… But I'm no different from the rest of them, and they know that. Even if I point out at times that "I'm a moderator" or "I'm an old member"… I don't know why I do it, and I try to avoid it. I know as much as they do that it doesn't make me better than them. Any other member could have easily been chosen for the moderator position, but I was given the chance, something I will forever be thankful for. Anyone else could have joined early, posted a lot, it really doesn't mean anything. The Westies know that. For that, I am thankful.
We don't worship Matthew West. We're all fans, but not totally obsessively like people on some other fan boards are. We don't worship the ground he walks on. I think if you asked, a lot of us here would say it's more like he's a friend. That may seem kind of weird, but I think it's true. I know when I met him he wasn't all "I'm popular. I'm cooler than you." He made me feel like a friend. He seemed genuinely glad to meet me. I still don't know if he really recognized "Pikados" or if he was just humoring me… But still. He made me feel welcome. Like a friend, more than just another fan. And I think the other Westies, even the ones who have only chatted online with him, feel the same way. He's a part of the Westie family. Probably the center of the family, seeing as he's the one that got us all here, but still a part of the family.
The Westies are just a down to Earth group of people. We know it's not about us. It's not about Matthew, it's not about music, it's not about CDs, it's not about any one of us. It's about the One who is control of it all. There may be some members who may not totally believe that yet, and hey, that's cool too! We hope someday you do, but we wont judge you for it. We wont pressure you into anything you aren't ready for. Stick around, join in the fun, and maybe someday you will choose to join the biggest family of all, even bigger than our little Westie family here!
So I guess there's one thing I really want for the Westies…. I want us to be a totally open community. Regardless of where you're from, what you've been through, who you are…. I want anyone to feel welcome to come in and talk. I want people to be able to say what they're thinking without any judgment? Isn't that what I'm doing here? Just saying what I'm thinking….. It's kind of weird, but if I guess it all has to start somewhere. Nobody should feel OBLIGATED to do so, but they should know that they are most certainly WELCOME to. There's no way for me to know if we have fully succeeded in this. I never will. But every time I see someone comfortable enough to come out and tell us some stuff about themselves that may be kind of hard to share, I know we've at least made a step in the right direction….. And that makes me pretty darn happy. I see it fairly often in the prayer request forum… I remember long ago asking Jake to make that area, and I'm so glad he did! It may not be as popular as our lounge or our games, but I see a lot of good stuff going on in there. Stuff that makes me proud to be a Westie. The openness, the understanding, and the willingness to step up and say "I'll be praying… What else can I do?". People just willing to be there, willing to pray, willing to listen (or read, as the case may be). That's pretty awesome, if you ask me.
This is pretty long…. It started out as just a few points randomly coming to mind, and the thought just kept coming as I typed. I'm not entirely sure why I decided to write this all out, but I think I'm glad I did. It has helped me to see things I need to improve in…. Maybe it'll help another person out there too. Maybe it'll encourage someone to step up and say "Hey, I could use some help here." I don't know. Maybe it'll just be something for me…. I know for sure it's at least helped me. I'm only making this longer now…. Kind of rambling on. So I guess I'll finish up. If you read it, cool. If not, cool. To those who are reading, I love you guys! Keep being the awesome Westie family you are, and maybe even improve a bit. There's always room for improvement, right? I love you guys. You are the best family I've had through the internet! "