I'm not safe.

I mean I'm not safe for others to deal with, not that I'm personally in danger. Although I suppose perhaps I am. It's hard to feel threatened when the danger is yourself; it's much easier for me to recognize the danger to others, mainly because whatever I do, I know I'll think it's a good idea at the time. Which is the problem, you see.

I'm going to do it again. Sooner or later. I don't want to, I'd do anything to prevent it, but I can't figure out how. Because I never saw it coming that I was going to do it the first time, before I did it, and then it seemed like a good idea so I did it, because that's what I do. I'm Chaos. I'm inconsistent. It's not at all difficult to convince me to change my mind, but it's impossible to get my mind to stay changed, because I am change. The only thing constant about me is my inconstancy.

I used to think that was a good thing.

Something else that's changed, I suppose.

I have poor impulse control. I'm self-centered. Narcissistic. Poor attention to detail. Short attention span. I go with my gut, pretty much all the time. And I'm much moodier than I look. I try to never let anypony know that they got to me, so I'm laughing all the time, but inside my feelings are frequently... well, chaotic. I know, I know, shocking.

I'm smart enough that I know all these things about myself. (Full disclosure: I am also creative, intelligent, and funny. I have good qualities. Just... none of them matter. My good qualities are all tools, like my magic, that I could use to do wonderful things if I felt like it, except I usually don't feel like it, because of my bad qualities. Which, I suppose, makes me fundamentally... bad. Which would be all right, except I don't want to be anymore. But I don't know how to stop myself.)

I mean, common sense and basic logic should have said Tirek was manipulating me. Of course I don't have any common sense and logic and I have been arguing on and off for centuries, but my own experience should have told me better, because it's my own trick! I'd have done exactly what Tirek did, if I was relatively weak and trying to recharge my powers and someone vastly more powerful than me turned up to take me captive and they had as blatantly obvious a weakness as the fact that they'd just switched sides. How did I not know this? How wasn't it instantly obvious to me that it was a scam?

But he called me powerful. Legendary. Fluttershy calls me sweet. Which feels nice at times, but diminishing. I wanted to be intimidating when I went to face Tirek in the first place, and what he was saying made me feel like he'd have no respect for me if I was on the ponies' side, and the thought of being seen as a weak sap by someone so infamous himself hurt my pride. I mean, who am I? Fluttershy's goofy friend who is roundly disliked by almost all of her other friends, almost all of the time? Or Discord, Master of Chaos, the terror of ponykind? I could be Fluttershy's friend and have her love, but nopony else's and no respect either. Or I could be Tirek's friend and ally, have his friendship, which is considerably less sappy and sweet than Fluttershy's but made me feel strong, and have the respect and fear of all ponykind.

It was the wrong decision. It makes me sick to remember it. But I know why I did it. I know what the feelings he played on were, I know exactly how he manipulated me. And I don't know how to guarantee that it won't happen again, because I don't think much about yesterday or tomorrow. I live in the moment and I do what my whims tell me to do. Because I'm Chaos, and that's how it is.

I was in my element when I was hated. I knew exactly what I was doing, I was on top of my game. I was an expert at being hated and at making ponies frightened or miserable, I was good at it and I enjoyed it. They respected and feared me, they did what I told them to do, and nopony ever tried to stop me. Well, except for Celestia and Luna... who I betrayed. I spent centuries thinking to myself they were the ones who betrayed me, they were the ones who turned on me, but no, that was never right, was it? I could have had Celestia's forgiveness if I'd ever admitted I was wrong... but I liked being evil. Because being good hurts.

Because no matter how much I ever tried to make friends, no matter how much I ever tried to fit in with the ponies, it wasn't possible. I'm not like them. I'm less like them than the majority of the other beings on this planet. They don't understand how beautiful Chaos is, and they want to shackle themselves to routines and traditions and all that stupid stuff, and I don't get them and they don't get me and they would never be my friends. I'll give Tia credit, she tried to get me to make friends, but I knew it wasn't going to happen so I wasn't having any. She and Luna were like family to me, and I always felt that was all I needed, because even if family doesn't understand you and you don't fit in, they still love you.

Turns out I was wrong about that.

Ponies don't like me. They don't want to be my friend. They're afraid of me, or annoyed by me. And when I want to be their friend, when I want to be good and to have a place in their society, that hurts. Whereas when I want to terrify them and make them obey me and entertain me with their suffering, well, then that works great! I can have exactly the kind of relationship with ponies I want, as long as what I want is a relationship where I make them cry or grovel to me.

Fluttershy told me I could have real friends. Sometimes I hate her because it's not true. But I love her because it's true for her. I can have one real friend. The others still can't stand me. Well, mostly. I have no idea about Twilight, she'll go to the ends of Equestria for me and she'll spend a week researching how exactly did I manage to get myself sick and she'll declare me to be her friend even though I betrayed her... but she never wanted to be around me. That's changed now, but I don't think it's changed for the right reasons. I think she still can't stand me but she tries to keep me close because she's afraid of what I'll do if I go off by myself, and it hurts and it makes me angry but the thing that hurts the worst is that I can't blame her. Who would trust me? Who would want to be my friend?

Fluttershy's an idiot. She never saw it coming that I would betray her. She believed in me. Who could possibly be stupid enough to believe in me? Why would she ever...

I don't deserve a friend like her.

I wish I could be worthy of her. I wish I could be what she thinks I am, what she wants me to be. But I'm not. And I don't see any way to make myself be. And that's the problem.

Ponies will never like me and want to be my friend, in general, because I am unlikeable and untrustworthy. And this will always make part of me wish to be evil again. Because when I was working with Tirek, up to the point where I first got a faint inkling that he was using me, I loved every minute of it. I was in my element again, finally. Ponies weren't running in fear from me because I asked them the price of the pear sandwiches, they were running in fear from me because I was trying to catch them and hand them over to my ally to be drained of their magic. They were supposed to fear me.

It felt good. It felt right. It felt like this was always who I was supposed to be.

I'm terrified that it is who I'm supposed to be. And the fact that I don't want it doesn't change the fact that that's who I am, and who I'll always be. And every time I'm offered the temptation to turn evil again, strongly enough... I don't know how I won't fall.

Because the fact that I despise myself now and I think I'm horrible and I wish I was dead won't change the fact that at some point, that will change and I'll resent having friends and caring about ponies, because when I'm evil I don't have a conscience and therefore my conscience can't hurt me, and when I'm evil I don't have friends and therefore I don't miss having friends or wish I had some, and it's empty and it's hollow and there's no real joy in it but there's no pain either. It feels good the way scarfing down twenty-seven cupcakes or having a foursome with three hot ponies whose names you don't know feels good. It satisfies your needs right now, and if it can't satisfy anything deeper or more meaningful, well who needed deep meaning anyway? Live in the now, and you'll never have to care that your life is totally meaningless! Besides, why does Chaos incarnate want meaning in his life anyway?

I don't want to go back there but when I was offered a chance to go back there I took it without even thinking about it much because I do want to go back there, and I hate myself for wanting it but I know that if I did go back all the way, if I hardened myself the way I did when Celestia and Luna were fighting me and I made myself stop caring, then I wouldn't hate myself anymore and it wouldn't hurt, and I hate myself even more knowing that. I want friendship but I don't deserve it and if I didn't want it it wouldn't hurt that I don't deserve it. Right now it hurts when they hate me because I want them to like me, and it hurts when they like me because I know I'm not worthy of that.

I'm going to fall again. I don't want to. The me that I am now hates that guy, and hates myself because I know that someday I'll be that guy again and the me that I am now doesn't know how to stop it, because the me that I am now is totally and completely miserable and the evil guy won't be, and I'll break under the pain. I know I will.

So I've been thinking about how to protect my friends, and the world, from what will happen when I fall again. Because it's inevitable. Because I'm horrible and it will always hurt less to embrace being horrible and revel in it than it is to feel guilt and self-doubt and self-hatred over it.

I can't give up my powers. They have to go to someone, just like the alicorns' powers did. Mine don't work quite like theirs; theoretically I could disperse my power, just drain it into the world, but the world absorbing that much Chaos energy would probably have worse effects in the long run than anything I might consciously decide to do. So getting rid of the power either screws over the whole planet, or transfers them to someone else who has much less experience with controlling them than I do, and they're as likely to corrupt anyone I transferred them to as they were to corrupt me. I wasn't always evil. I remember that.

I can't kill myself either, for the same reason. Chaos will simply choose a new avatar and dump the power on them. Fluttershy and Twilight and Celestia will have to deal with someone they don't know, someone who possibly started out a lot more evil than I started out, or who thinks death and killing is funny, or at the very least who was never their friend and never had anything deep down inside that wanted to be. It'd solve the problem of my suffering, but so would turning evil. I'm trying to come up with a way to save the ponies who actually call me a friend, not hurt them.

I can't split off my dark side so I can be good. That trick never works. It'd inevitably result in me, or my friends, fighting my evil avatar, who'd be more ruthless and more chaotic and therefore more powerful, so we'd lose. Besides, if I got rid of the parts of me that make me likely to turn evil again, what's left of me? Chaos isn't inherently either good or evil, but the fact that the ponies don't understand it and don't like it isolates me from them, which hurts, which makes me want to turn off my conscience so I can just do whatever I want without hurting. I can't take my chaos out of me and have anything at all left.

I once tried discording myself. I turned into a kind of pathetic, emotionally needy wretch who'd do anything at all to be loved or at least liked. Quite aside from the fact that I despise that guy even more than I despise Evil Me, that isn't likely to make me less vulnerable to being emotionally manipulated into doing the wrong thing. I mean... part of the reason I worked with Tirek was... I'm embarrassed to say this even to myself but... I thought we were friends. I thought he liked me. I wasn't ever going to say so in so many words (although I think maybe at the end when he drained me, and I was so shocked at his betrayal that I couldn't even think to teleport or run until it was too late, I might actually have said so in so many words), but... yeah. I thought I'd found a friend who'd appreciate me for myself, who wouldn't try to restrain my chaos but who reveled in it as much as I did.

Yes. I should have known better. I'm stupid, all right? I mean I am very, very intelligent, but sometimes I'm incredibly stupid.

So what am I supposed to do? I can't die, I can't get rid of my powers, I can't make myself less likely to turn evil again. I try to enjoy Fluttershy's friendship but I know that even though she says she's forgiven me, I hurt her badly and I don't think I can ever really make it right. And I don't feel like I should even hope to make it right because she shouldn't trust me or even like me, and I'm just being selfish in wanting her to be my friend because I don't deserve friends. Twilight's always in my face, asking me about abstruse points of magical theory, making me help her translate ancient tomes or getting me to give her hints about some fine point of magic, and I admit I enjoy that. When we're talking about magic, it's abstract enough that for a little while I can forget my guilt and shame. But she never did it before. She says she's doing it because I was helpful in the whole thing with the keys to the box but I don't believe her. I think she's doing it to keep me close by and keep me emotionally invested in the ponies so I don't fall again. And I can't blame her, it's the smart thing to do and I don't deserve anything better, but it hurts to think she's just acting like a friend to make me stay good and she doesn't really care.

I've tried a few times to just leave. Disappear into the Everfree or some other wild, distant place. I went to the moon for a little while because without the Elements, not even Luna can get there. But it turns out that Luna may not be able to get there, but she can send communication. She located me and started dumping "Please come home" letters from Fluttershy all over me until I couldn't take the guilt trip anymore and came home. They won't let me go off by myself for any significant length of time. They tell me it's because they're worried about me but they were never worried about me before. It's the same thing. They're afraid I'm going to fall again. I don't even know why that hurts, I'm afraid of the same thing.

It hurts that they don't trust me. But that's stupid. I don't trust me. I wouldn't have any respect for their intelligence if they did trust me. So why does it hurt?

I even tried convincing the Tree to put me back in stone. Spent half an hour arguing with the damned thing. I realize it probably would have looked ridiculous, a fully grown draconequus arguing with a crystalline tree that doesn't talk, but I've never been ashamed of looking ridiculous. Not only did it refuse to do it, it summoned Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie. It doesn't talk, even to them, so when they showed up they had no idea I'd just spent half an hour trying to commit suicide by tree; Fluttershy just had this feeling that a friend who needed help was by the Tree, and Pinkie had her Pinkie Sense thing telling her something similar. I didn't tell them what I was doing there, and I pretended nothing was wrong, and they didn't believe me but they didn't press it too hard, since I think they're well aware that absolutely nothing they say will get me to tell them the truth if I don't want to.

They took me out to dinner and fed me tea and cupcakes.

I was going to have cucumber sandwiches and then I remembered bringing the cucumber sandwiches just before I captured all of them for Tirek and I lost my appetite completely. I ate a couple of cupcakes anyway because when Pinkie demands that you eat cupcakes, it's just easier to do it than to fight with her about it, but I could barely taste them.

I haven't done anything particularly chaotic in a week. Or even used my magic much, aside from being asked to do favors. I feel awful. I feel like there's nothing worthwhile in my existence and if I can't create chaos there's nothing that gives me any joy at all. I'm doing it because I want to feel this way. I don't deserve to be happy. I don't deserve to be entertained. And it makes me feel like, maybe there's some hope for me to not be an evil monster if I can control the desire for chaos. Except I can't, because it's the only thing I like to do, the only thing I want to do, and the desire to do it nags at me constantly, and the only reason I don't do it is, I feel too awful to want to do anything I actually want to do because I shouldn't be happy.

There were some moments, right after the girls saved the day, when I felt like it was all going to be all right. Like they'd forgiven me and well, what's past is past, right? Can't change it, so you might as well move forward! Sure, I got the impression that maybe Fluttershy was just a little bit more reticent around me than I was used to, and Rainbow Dash was scowling at me even more than she used to, but, well, learning experience all around, now let's move on! Let it go already.

But I can't let it go because it's still there. I didn't do it because I was mind controlled. I didn't do it because I made a silly mistake. I did it because it's in my nature, because part of me would rather be feared and hated than have friends because at least then the lack of friends won't hurt, and I don't know how to change my nature so it's not a part of me anymore. So I'm afraid it's going to happen again. And right now, the me that I am now doesn't know how to keep the me that I will be from betraying everypony I care about, again, one of these days, because the me that I will be won't care about the opinion of the me that I am now. Any more than the me that I was when I faced Tirek cared about the opinion of the me that I was when Fluttershy took care of me when I was sick.

I don't know what to do. I'd do anything to protect her from the me that I will be, but nothing I've thought of can possibly work, and most of it will just make matters worse. I'd even give my life, right now, except that that would almost certainly make matters worse.

I don't know what to do.

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