The Android Keyboard Sucks

So I’ve been sitting around the past few days making miniscule progress in other areas of writing besides this blog, totally stricken by writer’s block, just wondering what to do next here at Everything Sucks. It just hit me right now: I have been fucking furious about a certain something for the four days and I’m surprised it took me this long to realize it would make a perfect blog post.

As I’ve mentioned before (probably), I love Google Docs. I know it isn’t the most robust piece of software around, but since it’s for writing you don’t really need anything too complex. In case you’re a troglodyte: Google Docs is a word pressor program/app (like a free version of Microsoft Word because fuck paying to type stuff) that syncs all of your work across whatever you have Google Docs installed on. This is super handy for writing because you can access whatever you’re working on nearly everywhere. If you’re bored at the dentist’s office you can open Google Docs and write a fiery blog post about it. If you drunkenly wrote some stuff on your phone 4 a.m. you can open it later and properly edit the mess on a computer. Have some notes you need to jot down for later? Google fucking Docs! It’s great. You can also share your writings with others and even have them edit your work but obviously I haven’t made use of this functionality yet.

Nearly everyone is proficient with phone touchscreen keyboards. It’s a consequence of the world we live in; you send text messages, shitpost on social media, check your bank accounts, etc. Even the old and the technologically-ignorant can learn to rapidly fire off a text message with time, repetition, and practice. While I think I’m much more proficient than the average person due to all the actual writing I do on my phone, I think everyone is comfortable enough that they don’t even realize how intuitively they know their keyboard. No one usually looks exactly at what button they need to hit or anything; it’s all muscle memory.

I never really thought about this until about four days ago. I started writing whatever it was that I was writing be it a story or some proto-blog post, and I noticed something very strange and frustrating kept occuring. As my mind naturally flew along driven by The Process and my thumbs desperately tried to keep up, I realized for some reason I kept typing hyphens when I meant to type commas. So I’d have sentences- while grammatically correct- had hyphens instead of commas! What the hell was going on? There has been times before where by brain had shut off — I clearly remember one night where I couldn’t for the life of me remember my computer password — but there was no way I could accidentally type hyphens instead of commas constantly.

I have an idea but don’t know how to prove it. What I’m 95% sure happened is this: my phone recently had a software update and for some reason someone somewhere with way too much power and influence for their own good decided that replacing the comma — located on a dedicated button next to the spacebar — with the hyphen was a great fucking idea. And through years of typing on my phone and forming muscle memory to where I didn’t need to think about typing anymore I found my world turned upside down. I know the comma isn’t there anymore, but I can’t stop myself in the heat of the typing moment to not hit the goddamn hyphen anyways. This breaks the artistic flow; you need to backspace the hyphen and put the actual comma in. Adding insult to injury, the comma itself is now on the fucking long-press ‘n’ key. Yes, you heard that right. One of the most common forms of punctuation in the english language, the one used to break up sentences and ideas, one that I’m very fond of using, is a long-press character for who-the-fuck-knows what reason. Look, I understand the colon or semicolon being long-press characters, but the goddamn comma?! It’s second in importance only to the period!

The best hypothesis I have is perhaps the devs thought that a hyphen is used more frequently on a phone with typing in internet addresses or something. Hyphens are all over the place. So, maybe? It’s still a shitty reason though.

A random good idea? Customizable keyboards. Gimme a drag-and-drop keyboard where I can rearrange it myself, kinda like the tool menu at the top of Android screens. That sounds fun, right?

Making this even more frustrating is the fact that I don’t even know who to direct my hatred and blame towards. Who is in charge of phone updates? Verizon? Samsung? Android? Google? I have no idea. I only know there is this shadowy figure lurking somewhere in corporate America who has totally fucked my week over in the most evil, diabolical, and subtle way possible. Total chaotic neutral/evil alignment. I don’t even think I can complain about this to anyone else; someone ranting about an updated phone keyboard and commas/hyphens would come off and unhinged over nothing. But to me this is a really big deal and a huge inconvenience.

Look, I don’t give a fuck if people do stupid stuff; all I ask for is that they have a reason for the stupid stuff. I can forgive stupid actions if mistakes are admitted to and it’s okay to say you’re wrong. But for the mysterious individual responsible for fucking up my beloved Android keyboard? I have no idea who they are or if they even understand their egregious mistake. I sure hope someday they become aware of the utter atrocity they committed against Android and Google Doc users in general. I know I can’t be the only one with this problem.

Update #3 or 4 (or Something)

I’m still trying to churn out my post on vaping, but I want to do a good job and actually research it and not simply dish out my hot opinions. So that’s taking some time. In the meantime I’ll plop out one of these easy “update” posts because there are a few notable things that have happened recently in my writing journey.

Subscribers?

I recently surpassed 150 subscribers. This seems like a shitty number to note by being halfway between the landmark numbers of 100 and 200, but fuck it, it still feels good.

As always I’m surprised that people actually read what I write, and I don’t think this feeling will ever go away. It makes me feel so lucky that, wow, anytime I post something 150 people I don’t know personally know are notified of it and choose to be notified. A handful of the 150 seem to be dedicated readers who regularly like/comment on my posts and the biggest shoutout goes to them. Thanks for engaging with my stuff and I appreciate it greatly! I also have much love for those people that aren’t regular readers; I’m not expecting anyone to look forward to my next post or anything and I’m glad for any readers at all. And if you’re one of the 150 that never reads anything I write, well, thanks for following anyways and pumping my subscriber numbers up!

Wattpad?

I currently have two stories going on my Wattpad account: the Morrowind Fanfic as well as the ‘Subconscious Story’ (or whatever it’ll be called). The second story is also posted on my other blog — the Wattpad version is just reposted stuff — while the Morrowind story only exists on Wattpad. A few things to note here. I’m about eight chapters into it and the story is barely underway. I noticed I’m going very slow with the story but it makes sense because I don’t want to make the chapters too long on Wattpad. I have about 70 views, not too bad, not too good either, but it’s raking decently. In the ‘Morrowind’ category it’s ranking 16th out of 116 stories; this places it in the top 14%. Pretty good right? In the general ‘Elder Scrolls’ tag category it ranks 187th out of 1,300; once again 14%. These numbers usually improve early to mid week as I post new chapters on Sunday. Seeing as it’s been a week since I’ve posted anything new on Wattpad, it makes sense that the rankings might be lower than midweek. I do clearly remember breaking the top 10% a few times on ranking. That feels good.

Book Sales?

I’m slightly discouraged by my Amazon Kindle Publishing numbers but I’m trying not to put to much thought or anxiety into it. I only have two things published — one an options trading guide and the other a rant about Facebook — so why would I have more viewers and more book sales? These are definitely niche items so it makes sense. Now if I ever get around to publishing fiction and that also falls flat, that’ll hurt a bit more.

I still get a slight trickle of pages read here and there. The past two months have been very dry, but February has had about 50 pages views in the Kindle Selects program. That’s cool and should earn me like $0.25 or so in royalties. As always, not enough to live off of but it is money. Always be positive right?

I checked yesterday and was surprised to see this: a new bar on a chart that hasn’t had any data since I published the books. What is it? It’s actual book sales. Wait, I actually sold something?!

This instantly pumped my mood up. Someone actually purchased the damn thing, and I checked and it was my ‘Bitch About Facebook’ book. Wow! Very cool. Sure it was only one copy, but even the most successful authors have to sell their first book; they don’t just jump to selling 100,000 copies instantly. So I’ll take the minor success and be happy with it. Bonus points here because selling an actual copy nets me a ton more in royalties than the Kindle Selects program does. I think I get a flat $3 from this one sale. Once again, not rich, but money is money. Luckily I’m not doing this to get rich.

As always to any aspiring authors, artists, bloggers, and whatever else you do to be creative, I can’t stress the fact enough that progress is not fun. Most of the time I feel like I’m getting absolutely nowhere. I’m churning out one or two blog posts a week, a few chapters here and there weekly, with nothing to reassure me that I’m actually getting somewhere. You really need to do this stuff for your own gratification and not because you think you’ll be famous or rich or something. It’s doing the same shit over and over blindly just because you feel like you need to do it. But eventually maybe something comes along like you selling an actual copy of a book and it makes it all worth it. It’s a tiny victory, but it’s a victory that you can be proud of. It’s a sign that maybe all the hard work could pay off someday, a sign that you actually are somewhat making progress, and it’s a sign to keep going. So do that: keep doing whatever if is you’re doing even if there is no success. That was as much for any readers as it was for me by the way.

And, as always, thanks for watching reading.

Nicotine Addiction Sucks (Naw, Not Really)

Addiction is never a good thing although I supposed being “addicted” to exercise or some other positive thing is, well, positive. But I don’t think those things are real addictions and are more like well-established habits. I’ve almost gotten to the point where I require a mug of chamomile tea before bed, but saying I’m addicted to tea is totally bullshit and missing the point of what an addiction is. I always brush before work and bed, but once again this isn’t an addiction, just a happy little habit I have that is actually good for me.

Over the past three months I’ve turned into a raging nicotine addict. I should give some back story first because I don’t think no one accidentally becomes a nicotine addict just because. They don’t do it on purpose. There’s always some driving force behind it.

I started smoking when I was around 20 and did it for about five years. I quit, and it was a terrible learning experience because nicotine is stupidly addictive. Anyone who says smoking or vaping is a habit is totally ignorant of the addictive power of chemicals, especially nicotine. Everyone is different, but the havoc nicotine withdrawal wreaked on my mood led to some of worst feelings I’ve ever had. After not having a cigarette for a few hours my mood would plummet into depression, despair, and near suicidal thoughts. I’m not embellishing this either. In one of these states about three or four hours into cold-turkeying my way to being free from nicotine, my mood was total shit. I felt like crying. I felt so hopeless and lost and “strange” that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I took a few drags from a cig and instantly, instantly, felt better. It was obviously nicotine withdrawal. It made me realize that quitting nicotine wasn’t going to be easy. It required a well-thought out plan and fortitude.

Anyways, I eventually quit. But the thing with any addiction seems to be how it lingers with you forever. Before I smoked I had zero urge to smoke, but after I quit smoking there was still some subtle urge to have another cigarette. The cravings never really went away but over time they became so small and harmless that I was able to ignore them completely. Yeah, sometimes I did want a cigarette but it wasn’t needing a cigarette. Especially when drinking or having conversations I found myself thinking that I’d really enjoy a cigarette right now. Then I’d wave the feeling away.

Until about eight months ago that was. It was about the time of this post I think: totally drunken, hungover, and constantly miserable I awoke one Monday completely filled with anxiety, dread, and fear for the upcoming work week. I was hungover, terribly so, and one thing I knew that would instantly cure my state was a cigarette. Just one. Just one to puff on for about ten minutes, get the headrush and calming effect of it, and I’d be able to deal with the day. I bought a pack on my way to work, stood outside my car, smoked, and thought about life. It was like a little meditative break for myself and it was wonderful. Over a week or so this habit — and it was a real habit at the time — was to smoke a single cigarette outside my car before work every work day. Just one damn cigarette a day to collect my thoughts before work. And it was amazing. I continued on this “plan” for about four of five months perfectly. I’d have minor cravings during the weekends but nothing that wasn’t able to be easily dealt with.

Until about November. Once again, I’m a UPS employee and the holiday season is a collective hell for anyone associated with the company. Being shifted to different crews, meeting new people, having your daily work routine utterly fucked with. As someone who loves knowing the future and having a routine this is anxiety inducing to an insane degree. Double shifting and being awake and at work hours earlier than usual. Late nights with broken planes and dealing with any and all of the bullshit UPS tosses at its workers during the holidays. Given this stressful situation it was no surprise that the one-cigarette-per-day-before-work plan eventually grew into a two-a-day plan. I was working two shifts and a cigarette before each shift was the logical and natural progression. And then this turned into a third cigarette after work to “unwind.”

Truthfully, three per day isn’t bad at all. Sure it’s not good health-wise but it’s also not as bad as smoking a pack a day. And how about the cost of it? Still not too bad. I was smoking Marlboro Reds (because as I was reasoned with, if I was only smoking one cigarette a day, why wouldn’t I smoke something pricy and enjoyable instead of shitty off-brand smokes?), which cost about $10 a pack (Yikes! Back in the day a pack was only about $5.), and three per day meant that a pack would last a little over a week. $10 a week is fucking nothing; I was spending more than that on my constant fast-food diet trying to survive the peak season to the best of my ability and this was probably worse for my health than the cigs were. Also consider the fact that all the overtime I was earning was making my checks totally fat. I was grossing over $1,000 per week, so was an extra $10 weekly expense going to hurt me? Fuck no. It was well worth the price for something to aid me through the holidays. I also attribute my nicotine plan for not blatantly descending into alcoholism during November/December which I had done the previous year.

The whole nicotine addiction really became a thing with vaping. Yes, vaping. Everyone on my crew vaped, and they still do. We’re all a bunch of fucking raging nicotine addicts on our shift, with zero hesitation or shame to the fact. I wasn’t vaping at the time but was occasionally offered to try their vapes, which I obviously did. Smooth and varied flavors, heavy-hitting nicotine content, all without the stigma and ease of not needing to go to a smoke area to get your fix.

Once again, not a problem, until one day between shifts everyone was going to the local vape store, Marco’s Vapor. You might remember this post where nearly every vehicle I had was totally fucked and I was driving an uninsured Saturn to work without an exhaust. My coworkers asked me to tag along to Marco’s, which I politely declined, until one said something like, “Okay, no peer pressure or anything, but just get the fuck in the car; you’re going.”

So I got in the car. What else did I have to do? Drive the loud, roaring Saturn to the local McDonalds, scream into the speaker, and shove shitty food in my mouth in a parking lot? At least I could hang out with some friends.

The store was a very chill and laid-back place with a very casual atmosphere. They bought their stuff over the course of twenty minutes while they asked what exactly I was going to buy. “Nothing,” I said. I prefered to not make spontaneous purchases, but my coworkers were getting new vapes and juice for only $60. Hmm. I could have my own vape, my own portable and accessible source of nicotine, and not have to worry about the relatively minor withdrawals that occured anymore. Hmm. But I knew if I bought one it would be a full-send for a second nicotine addiction; there was no way to moderate vaping. Once again, pleasant smelling, no fire or burning material, no hideous smell on your clothes that you have to hide from your family. No bulky packs of cigs or worrying about where your lighter is. No trips to shady gas stations at inopportune times. And no way to stick to a stilly “one cigarette before work” plan because how would you even measure it?

So I bought one. Yeehaw. Here we go. I also bought the strongest nicotine juice amount sold: Big Dick 50 Nic. 50 mg/ml. Heavy-hitting shit. Instant dizziness, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath after you take a hit. If you take a few hits, you get nauseous. It was almost like mild nicotine poisoning with every pull from my new vape.

And here I am two months later ripping on my vape every few minutes. It almost never leaves my right hand. I love vaping while typing. I love vaping while sitting on the couch doing nothing. I love scrolling my phone and vaping. I basically love vaping nonstop no matter what I’m doing. It’s my go-to little buddy. And I seriously have no regrets.

In a way I find a nicotine addiction oddly satisfying and comforting. I don’t get the headrushes or buzzes like I used to, but it gives me a form of comfort that is ever-present that I can always look forward to. If I have some anxiety about something, rip the vape. If I feel tired, sleepy, and miserable, hit the vape. If I’m listening to music and feeling reflective and introspective: vape. Anything that goes wrong, ruins my mood, or stresses me out, the vape is always there to comfort me. If you go long enough without having your nicotine and find yourself on-edge, such as waking up in the morning, hit the damn vape. The nicotine really kick-starts your day just like a cup of coffee. And coffee with nicotine? WOW!

I know I’m just limping off an addiction here, but I don’t really care. Nicotine is a strange drug that you can actually limp off of with no real side effects emotionally. It reminds me of coffee: you wake up and have like five cups of coffee and you’re good to go. It doesn’t ruin your mood or make you totally anxious and depressive like drinking does. And prescription medication? Opioids? Those are well-known to be the worst long-term addictions you can ever have. For some reason nicotine is pretty chill where my life can continue on nearly unaffected, and in some ways even easier, than before I was addicted. I sounds really wrong to say that I enjoy being totally and hopelessly addicted to something, but as far as I’m aware, that’s perfectly how I feel.

This post was originally supposed to be about the benefits of vaping over cigarettes, but kinda turned into a long introduction/story of my nicotine addiction itself. Oh well, next post, right?

Long Distance Drunk

“Hang it up now or never, hang it up again

Doesn’t seem like anything you’re saying or doing or doing is making any sense

Long distance drunk, long distance drunk…”

– Modest Mouse

As stated somewhere, I only drink on Sunday. This has been working wonderfully nearly two months into the year. I get to satisfy my inner alcoholic and give him something to look forward to while not forcing myself to be a really good person and be sober all the time. It’s rough being a raging alcoholic that drinks every day and it’s also rough being perpetually sober with no way to temporarily escape life. One drinking day a week seems like the best solution for me, at least until I slip and fuck up my entire plan.

Sunday, a friend of mine needed some help moving furniture at his mother’s house. This happened around noon and naturally we like to unwind by grabbing some food. We went to Old Chicago around 1:30 p.m.; this was way too early to start my Sunday drinking, but what the hell else are you supposed to drink at a restaurant while talking to a friend you haven’t seen in a long time about really heavy stuff? Water? Juice? Coffee? Hell no. I purchased a big 22 oz IPA that sported a whopping 7% alcohol by volume. This was basically like 2.25 Regular Beers and of course I ended up drinking two of these over the course of an hour: 5 or 6 beers by 3 p.m. (To make the math simple, I’ll consider these two 22 oz IPAs 5.5 Standard Beers.) What a start to the day.

I’ve always had bad experiences being drunk all day but couldn’t seem to recall why these days were so bad. This was probably because I was miserably drunk and had some memory impairment from it. I knew I was signing myself up for another completely drunk day by starting so early, but surely there wouldn’t be any problems, right? 

The problem with drinking is that sobering up is the worst feeling in the world. You feel tired, slightly nauseous, and end up yawning every few minutes. You don’t even have to drink a lot to feel awful; one or two beers makes me sleepy and lethargic. I notice my mood is usually shit as well. You toss some caffeine into the mix to offset the sleepiness and then you get an awful jittery feeling along with a hefty dose of anxiety. It’s terrible and I cannot sober up while awake, it’s one of my unwritten rules in life. When I start drinking, drinking will occur until I go to sleep. Considering I go to bed around midnight (or even later) once I started drinking at Old Chicago I knew I was signing myself for another totally drunken day. And I knew it was a bad idea; some part of me recalled that being drunk all day was a terrible idea that made me very uncomfortable, but I couldn’t grasp the feeling clearly enough for it to matter.

We left Old Chicago and I decided to stock up on beers at the gas station so I wouldn’t have to do it later. Usually I drink a six-pack on Sunday, but since it was 3 p.m. I’d have to get quite a few more beers to make it through the day. For some reason I thought a 12-pack would be “safe” enough (safe from running out of alcohol too early in the day) and was able to talk myself down from a 15-pack. How many beers did I think I’d need to survive the next 8 hours?

I made it home about an hour later and was already feeling the awfulness of sobering up. I went outside to “put air in the car tires,” which wasn’t a lie, and ended up sitting in my car shotgunning a few beers for 20 minutes. I had two and felt somewhat better. This brought my Standard Beer Count up to 7.5.

We had to take the kids to Red Robin for their birthday. This was around 5 p.m. and I was feeling good. I was drunk again, fending off the hell of sobering up with those few beers shotgunned quickly while hiding in the car. One of the step-kids was inside putting makeup on as we all waited for her in the van (she’s always makes everyone late) and I thought shotgunning a third beer was a fantastic idea! That would ensure full drunkenness until we made it to Red Robin, which had an ample supply of beer. Things were looking up. Standard Beer Total: 8.5.

At Red Robin I order another two heavy-hitting 7% IPAs that tasted awful. Standard Beer Total: 14. I don’t even like IPAs, they just have a really high ABV percent so sign me up for a few of them. Struggling through the second beer was where things really started to go downhill. It was a challenge to finish it with each sip making my stomach turn, but you can’t leave undrank beer at a restaurant! I was drunk, like stumbling around and slurring my words drunk, but didn’t feel good anymore. I just felt tired, lost, and kinda confused. Like I had no sense of time or anything and was floating through life in a haze or something. Time didn’t make much sense and looking back at the day just seemed like a blur. Usually more beers clears these dirty feelings up, but on the verge of being unable to function I didn’t have much choice: sober up and feel burned out or drink more and pass out/vomit somewhere and feel like total shit the next morning.

We went to drop one of the kids’ friends off and I was playing some music that for some reason just slapped the shit out of me emotionally. There I was riding shotgun in a van full of teenage girls totally crying over a song I was listening too. It was beautifully embarrassing and I didn’t even care. And surprisingly I still don’t care about it; I have zero regret about my actions. I’m an emotional person and the music speaks to me, okay?!

We get home and I had another beer. (Standard Beer #15. I didn’t think to tally these up Sunday — not that I could anyways…math is hard when you’re blasted drunk — and I’m glad I didn’t. Oof. 15?!) Wife cut my hair. I wanted to take a shower to clean away all those annoying hair clippings so I hauled two more Icehouses upstairs and pound those down while I listen to more music. Standard Beers #16 and 17 — shower beers! Shower beers are some of the best beers, but not the ones on Sunday. They just weren’t doing it for me.

Life was really cloudy by this point and it was only like 10 p.m. I have an outstanding goal to publish a chapter in my Morrowind Fanfic story every Sunday; this was the singular thing I had to get finished. Luckily I had the story completely written and the only real challenge left was to edit and post it. Somehow I realized that there was zero chance this would get done because editing while drinking — let alone being legit drunk — was a terrible idea. I’d have zero ability to edit the story, clean up grammar, and decide if it even sounded good. Looking back it makes perfect sense because I could barely walk without assistance from the walls or talk properly. There was no fucking way I could edit a story in my state. This only made my mood worse too, so I laid on the floor feeling miserable, confused, drunk, but also not really drunk or enjoying myself. Just a miserable drunk feeling. Heartburn, lack of motivation, feeling like a failure from my inability to edit a fully written chapter because I drank the entire day away. And to really wallow in my self-hatred I played the song I cried to hours earlier and ended up crying again to it. Jesus Christ, was this my life?

In my state I finally realized why I don’t do this day drinking thing: it’s terrible. The last time I recall was in the summer where I had a case of beer and was drinking the entire day away. I thought grilling out was a good idea and I vaguely recall standing outside grilling while my dad was visiting while I tried to drink away the exhaustion that kept creeping up on me. Not actually enjoying grilling or cooking but just trying to get the damn thing finished to where I didn’t have to do anything. Total laziness and exhaustion. It’s hard to explain but Sunday cleared things up for me. Drinking all day is a terrible idea. Drinking for a few hours where you pound a six-pack is great — it always puts me in a good mood — but trying to drag it out into a perpetual drunken state does not work. In some ways I think no one is meant to feel that good all the time, as if your mind is worn out by being too drunk and happy. After about five or six drunken hours you feel exhausted, tired, and depressed, and eventually reach a point where more alcohol doesn’t improve the situation. So that was my weekend. Sounds fun, huh?

Quiet Introspection is Awesome

This week I’ve been in a strange mood. The total emotional vomit of the weekend has been replaced by a hollow yet comforting feeling. It feels like I’m myself in my most fundamental way, not trying to search for anything or trying to discover anything, only existing. This is me: nothing.

I don’t recall the last time I’ve really closed up, introspected, kept busy, and was dead to the outside world. It’s strange too, because I’m a huge fan of closing myself away and existing. Maybe that’s part of myself I’d lost in the past few years? My tendency towards “growth” usually forces me outside of my comfort zone into socializing, being open, etc. and maybe this isn’t how I really am. Under the guise of “growth” and “challenging myself” I can ignore the fact that maybe I’m just trying to be something that I am fundamentally not. I’m a quiet, unsociable hermit, so why am I trying to be anything else?

Or maybe it’s just depression. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think my realization on Sunday might’ve spooked me or something. My tendency to rely on others, constantly seek social approval, and wanting to be ‘special’ or ‘part of the in-crowd’ might be another way for myself to play right into my own insecurities. To recap slightly: my mom wasn’t very loving so I think I carried that right into adulthood as insecurity, self-loathing, and a lack of self-esteem. My thinking goes like this; do I feel pressured to socialize to feel accepted? Just in a general way? Even if I don’t want to interact, do I force myself to (once again under the guise of “self-improvement” or “putting myself out there”) be someone disingenuous because of my insecurities?

I don’t know, but I’ve been embracing a “minimalistic” approach to myself lately. I feel naked as a person, totally exposed, to where I don’t even know who I really am as a person. Am I the person who makes silly jokes at work? Am I the person that is quiet and sulks? Am I a reclusive writer? And I bipolar who is very sociable/quiet depending on my mood? Who am I really? I don’t know and I’ve gotten to the point of exhaustion even caring about it. I am who I am. I show up to work and fucking sit in silence. I don’t ignore people — that would be forcing myself in another disingenuous needlessly hostile direction — I just don’t try to force anything. If I have a question, I’ll ask and if someone asks me a question, I’ll answer. No elaborate replies, not big complex stories, no obvious fake smiles or anything. Just me. Or the most basic and genuine me that I can find, whoever that even is.

We have plenty of downtime at my job. Yesterday we had a three hour break. Yes. I sat in our crew van — a normal 15-passenger Chevy Van — and listened to music. Most people were off socializing or sitting in their own tugs (tiny little tractors we use to pull shit around), and I was able to listen to four full albums. Dead Kennedys Frankenchrist, and Radiohead’s In Rainbows, OK Computer, and Moon Shaped Pool.

As a side note, I’ve really been embracing punk music in my current state. There is something so visceral, cold, and fun about punk music, especially the Dead Kennedys. Jello Biafra’s lyrics are always cynical, sarcastic, and political. What better way to give up introspection than to blast heavy, fast, loud, violent music with lyrics that don’t give a shit about anything emotional? They contrast wonderfully with all the introspective, emotional, and difficult to listen to music I’ve been playing lately. It’s a form of beautiful escapism and I’ll always have a place in my heart for the Dead Kennedys because of this.

Even after we start loading our airplane we have at least a half-hour of downtime. What do you do with all this time stuck in an airplane? Most people talk — people seem to not be able to escape the need to fucking talk to each other, even if the topics are about the boringest, blandest, most unfulfilling shit possible — and obviously I had zero patience or need for it this week. So I sat cross legged in the airplane and stared at whatever object I could find to stare at. Kinda like a loose form of meditation, just accepting that this is me and this is who I am for the next 30 minutes and there was no escape or even purpose to escape. This is Water, I thought.

People on my crew (in general?) can’t seem to stand still or to not talk. One girl walks to the rear of the plane and back, over and over, getting her “daily steps” in or some shit. She’s kinda a health nut so I understand. Another two people can’t seem to stand still — even if they’re not “getting their steps in” they’re still nervously pacing around the plane for some unknown reason. Another few people feel the need to socially interact every moment of their lives. Their conversations are always about the, once again, most boringest, blandest, most unfulfilling shit possible; usually the unholy trifecta which is work, weather, and sports. These people constantly roam around going from person to person or group to group trying to find someone, anyone to talk listen to them ramble. And a few people I consider friends stand and talk in a small group of two to four people about whatever topic they’re talking about at the time. No judgement to them because you can tell they’re having a fun, laid-back, mutual discussion about whatever they’re talking about. There isn’t any twisted social reasoning for their talking; they’re just talking like normal healthy human beings do.

And I sit there and stare not wanting to be apart of anything. I don’t have the urge to. It’s not me being anti-social or depressed, I just don’t want to talk. Or to force myself to talk. Or to force myself to be apart of something. I’m aware of my insecurities and don’t want to play into them or worry about them. So I’ll just sit, thank you, and exist as I am for a half hour. I make a point to not appear too sulky or depressive or happy or introspective. Keeping as blank of a stare as possible is part of the loose meditation. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, even with a facial expression.

Sometimes I am curious how this appears to others. “Jeremy this week seems a lot more quiet and reserved than he usually is,” maybe some think, but most likely no one notices or cares; this is how people are. That’s freeing in and of itself. I don’t feel any social stigma for sitting and being withdrawn. I’m doing my own thing and fuck anyone for thinking of it strange or weird, and if it makes me more unique by being totally accepting of myself and my actions, isn’t that what I’ve been after this whole time? The ability to embrace myself, without worry or care, and be appreciated as the naked and raw person that I am deep within?

I’m sure this phase won’t last long. Sunday was me realizing something about myself and wondering what the hell I even do with the realization. A half-week later I’m already embracing myself and reflecting on it all. And I’m sure in a week I’ll be back to socializing for some fucking unknown reason. Sometimes I hate everything being in flux; I kinda like to exist in my current mood for the rest of my life, but that won’t happen. Moods always change into other moods and if there is one thing that is true about life is there is nothing for you to hold onto. You can’t grasp happiness and hold it forever, and as comforting as depression sometimes is, you can’t grasp that either. Something about learning how to surf the waves, “go with the flow,” or some other trite bullshit you’ve heard countless times.

The Dentist Sucks

“How has work been?” The hygenist asked me as she reclined me back in the dentist chair.

“Uh. Um. Pretty good? The Christmas season is over so it’s a lot more laid back than it has been in the past few months. So yeah…”

“Oh okay! Where do you work again?!”

For fucks sake. Why does everyone have to make small talk? Why ask me about work if she didn’t recall where I worked at in the first place? In retrospect I should’ve given a ridiculous answer: “Well, the funeral business is starting to pick up slightly. Old people dying from shoveling and what not. Although since we haven’t had much snow this year, things are slower than average. It’s a shame. Maybe this coronavirus thing can pick the business up a bit?” I know they’re just trying to be nice and hospitable but I was only really there to have my goddamn teeth cleaned. Let’s just cut the shit and get to it? It had been six months since I had been there — cavity free the last time — and I was there for the typical semi-annual cleaning/scolding where they tell me I need to brush my gum line better. I’ve been told this at every dental appointment for the past four years. And I for the life of me cannot regularly brush my gum line like I’m supposed too.

Obviously I had to have x-rays which they do yearly. Even if I didn’t remember my last appointment I wasn’t surprised that I was up for x-rays again. They’re not too bad. They cram some cardboard film looking thingys into your mouth and they’re very uncomfortable but not unbearably so. I come close to gagging each time, but can hold myself together for the twenty seconds it takes for the hygenist to walk outside the room and blast my face with harsh x-ray photons. Sometimes I try to focus on the feeling in my face trying to notice the radiation blasting through my skin. Nothing.

More small-talk and reclining the a chair. “Open wide!” she says as my mouth is already open. I’ve been here before and I’m aware being at the dentist office might involve opening my mouth. The light above the chair is always slightly shining into my eyes. Making this even more unbearable is when the appointment is early in the morning where I haven’t had enough time to properly wake up. My eyes are sensitive by everything and the light is almost torture. Mostly I just close my eyes. I’m just relaxing.

I can hear Wayne Brady on “Let’s Make a Deal.” When I do open my eyes I see a bunch of pasty white people in silly costumes on a tiny TV screen near the ceiling. I try not to pay attention but there is nothing better to distract me; my eyes continually wander to the damn screen over and over again.

As she scrapes the metal tool across my teeth picking away plaque/tartar (whatever it’s called) I wonder if I had been brushing well or not. It’s a game of trying to figure out how much work she is doing compared to the quality of my brushing over the past six months. It felt like she scraped my teeth for 15 minutes. Did I do that bad brushing? Fuck. And she moved around my mouth so slowly. A minute on the bottom right molar. Another minute on the next molar. And so on past the canine teeth (right?), to the incisors, and back around. Then the top. Jesus Christ, are we done yet?

Periodically as she’s doing this she asks me questions and I don’t know how to respond. Nod or shake my head with sharp metal tools in my mouth? Try to mumble a simple one- or two-word answer? And heaven forbid if she asks me a complicated question that can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ “What shift do you work at UPS?” she asks with half her hand in my mouth. “Uuuurrggghhhh, eeeeeevvvvvvrrrrrrrrinnnnggg ssshiifffffff?”

Things slightly pick up as she begins to polish and clean my teeth, the paste a chalky, gritty mess that seems to linger for hours. A clinical cherry- or strawberry-flavored chalk. But she moves quickly and time flies compared to the scraping. Eh, it’s not so bad after all. I was almost out of there.

The doctor eventually appeared about five minutes after the hygienist had left and we exchanged the same bullshit small talk. “How was your weekend?” he asked.

“Oh. Typical weekend. Sitting around bored and antsy and yeah…” I was totally lying, obviously. Hopefully he doesn’t read this blog where I’ve been melting down the past few days. Typical weekend. Boring. Sure, let’s go with that.

He looks in my mouth and prods around with the pointy tools and I wonder what he’s exactly looking for. He does this gently like he’s more searching for something than doing anything to the teeth. It has always surprised me that the hygenist does all of the work and the dentist — the big man in charge — shows up after everything is done and mostly looks in your mouth. He scrapes here and there and I wonder if he’s checking the hygienist’s work just as much as he’s critiquing mine. Does he have to correct her at the end of the day if she does a shitty job? That seems like it’d be awkward.

Of course, as if on cue, he sits up after the inspection and says, “Continue focusing on brushing the gum line as we’ve talked about before.” For fucks sake Dr. Kim I am aware of my flaws. I’m serious. Every six months I can look forward to Dr. Kim telling me to brush my gum line. Only once — once — has he said, “Your gum line looks better. Keep brushing it like you’ve been doing.” And let me tell you it took a dedicated effort to prove his ass wrong where I was able to brush my gum line consistently for six months. I won. I won once, and ever since I’ve been a constant failure.

I think that’s what bothers me most about the dentist visits. It’s their job to rag on you about brushing twice daily, flossing, and take care of that fucking gum line! But they’re so focused on what seems like such a small and miniscule issue in life. I wonder if Dr. Kim goes home and inspects his gumline ten minutes each day, fixating on his speciality, while everyone else simply doesn’t give a fuck about the minutiae of dental health? I haven’t flossed at all these past six months; I don’t care. The floss is lost in some random drawer and in my day to day life I just don’t give a shit about finding it. The same is true with brushing twice a day. Look, I have about 1,000 other things I’m trying to do in life — be happy, fend off depression, eat healthy, not be bored, read, write, listen to music, play guitar, blog, write music, record music — so brushing twice a day is totally disregarded. And the gum line? Whatever.

I wonder if dentists have any idea how little people care about their advice. Like I guess I do care, but not enough to act on it. It’s not a priority. It’s not like a doctor telling you to eat healthy otherwise you’ll die of a heart attack in ten years. This is easy to care about because it’s life or death and you eat all the time; eating is a big part of life so it’s easy to find yourself passively thinking about what you do eat. Therapy is another good example. The whole point of therapy is to improve your mental state — which is basically your reality — and the way you see the world. It’s easy to take a therapist’s suggestions, actually value their opinions, and mull over advice while constantly trying to apply them to your life. But brushing my gum line? Yeah, okay. Yell at me in six months, it’s fine, I’ll pretend to care for a few minutes and then I’ll go about my life like I always do. I brush daily and that’s good enough for me.

My Parents Suck: Part 2! of ?

This is part of a totally impromptu series about my fucking meltdown and self-discovery process. These are all very uplifting posts as you can imagine. If you want to read more, here’s one about my parents, here’s one about depression, and here are two about therapy!

This is also the fourth post in four days (Technically not because WordPress is on eastern time, so I think I’m like 15 minutes too late. Technically… NEVERMIND!) which is a new record for me. I’m not trying to do marathon posting here and find myself just going with the flow.

I hate to be the person that blames their parents for everything. To recap the last post about my parents: I had a normal family, normal childhood, normal everything, at least that’s how I thought of it at the time. My parents weren’t blatantly abusive, either emotional or physical, and everything seemed okay. While I acknowledge that everyone is formed by their parents, with mine being rather “typical” that I myself should be rather typical too. Maybe I did inherent or learn some negative traits along the way, but since they didn’t beat/molest/degrade me day after day I shouldn’t have much to worry about, especially when you consider other people who are raised in totally hellish homes, starving, being beaten daily, and whatever other punishments they end up dealing with as a child. Others are terribly scarred and I’m not. Right?

Well, apparently fucking not. I’ve grown into the realization that my parents, more specifically my mom, have totally fucked me up unknowingly. And even after you realize this, what do you even do about it?

Firstly, my problems. I’m a terribly needy and insecure person. I’ve written a bunch of posts on how terrified I am of writing and being seen as a bad writer to the point that I don’t write/post out of fear of rejection. I have to force myself to write, post, and to share with others which I’m thankfully making progress on three or four years later. I’m terrified to show myself or to open up out of fear of rejection. I overthink everything socially and the clearest example I can think of is my unusual text message anxiety. I will receive a text and will be paralyzed by anxiety for literal hours trying to figure out what I’m supposed to say as a reply. The perfect reply, nothing too needy, anxious, serious, or overemotional. Overthinking and overweighing every course of action from a simple text message. It always gets worse the longer I procrastinate too; after two or three hours I think it might be too late to even respond. I’ll look like an ass, I’ll look like I don’t care, I’ll look like I don’t appreciate the other person. It’s bad.

It’s even worse if I’m the one doing the messaging in the first place. “Should I even send this message? What if it’s too weird? What if I look too needy?” If I don’t get a reply within a few minutes my mind zooms off into anxiety orbit where I’m certain that I’m just bothering the recipient. It’s unconscious too; I logically know the other person might be busy, tired, or just not wanting to respond at the time. I do it myself. A friend will text me about a video game and if I’m not in the mood to talk about games I’ll ignore it. I don’t hate him of course, this is just how I am, but I cannot reverse this outlook and see people as not being totally evil and against me in every sort of way. Any reply not instantly received is a personal attack against me: a sure sign I’m hated by them and a complete bother to their otherwise idyllic day.

Just apply the text message anxiety to every other aspect of life and you should get the idea what it’s like to reside inside my head. Talking to people: anxiety. Having friends: anxiety. Facial expressions: anxiety. Everything is overthought and fraught with fear.

I’m also terribly needy. When I bond with a person I worry that I tend to smother them and use them as an emotional crutch. Usually this backfires to where they’re pushed away (which makes me need them even more) and even if they’re not I still overexamine, overweigh, and overworry about every interaction we have. There is a constant fear of not if but when they will abandon me, finally see me as the problem I am, and cast me away never to be bothered by me again. Even if they don’t, the fear and anxiety of it is ever present which undermines any true friendship. So I sit in my own little bubble alone for fear of not wanting to bother others, because obviously I am the problem. It’s all about me in some twisted and illogical way that even I know is crazy. But I can’t help it. It takes a conscious effort to get over these thoughts, and by that time I’m usually so mentally exhausted that I can’t socialize, which leads to more anxiety about people seeing me ‘in a mood’ which then pushes people away which makes me worry that I’m pushing them away by overanalyzing everything and being quiet.

In general my life is one of anxiety and self-hatred, which I’ve only recently realized. This constant feeling that I’m a problem, I’m a bother, and that I’m better off keeping to myself.

Why? I asked my sister if she’s this way, having some tiny and vague idea that if this parental-inflicted we’d share the same undermining traits. Sure enough, she’s the same way. She seems to function better than I do, but people are sometimes good at hiding. Her logic was this: “I don’t think we got the right kind of attention when we were younger. She’s (our mother) always been involved in her own life. I always kind of felt like we were just another problem for her to deal with.” Fuck. My mental gears started quickly turning, speeding towards some obvious conclusion.

The therapist seemed to be hunting around for some deep parental cause to some of my problems, hell, maybe even all of them. She asked if there was a time where I was really proud of something and showed my parents only to be met with lukewarm or no reaction at all. I couldn’t recall a specific time because it was so long ago, but I didn’t doubt it happened all the time. Maybe this tipped me off towards a search towards childhood and how I might have been crippled from my parents. But mom. Yes, mom. She wasn’t very loving. She didn’t let us feel secure. We felt like another list of problems to deal with. And if you grow up in a home feeling like a constant bother or problem is it any surprise you carry this into adulthood? It all made sense. I’m insecure, unconfident, and always need attention. I need someone to constantly be supporting me because I didn’t get this love and support from my mom. And is it any surprise I always want females to comfort me? Hmm? For some reason having close guy friends doesn’t cut it — it doesn’t feel right — I always want a female to support me. It’s like I’m constantly searching for motherly support, trying to obtain what I was lacking in my childhood.

Texting people, talking to people, being part of a group, the yearning to be included, I always feel like a problem. The odd man out. The one not really part of anything. The problem, the hassle, the person to be dealt with out of obligation of social niceness more than anything else. I’m never an asset, someone important to be included for their unique gifts, but always included out of self-pity. Someone who needs to tag along just because and not because anyone really wants me around. And it’s wrong, it’s all wrong, but it’s how I feel. Why? My goddamn mom. Really? While never beating me or really cutting me down was never loving or supportive and this damages you permanently just like any other form of neglect. As a child I was just another problem to be dealt with and here I am as an adult feeling the exact same way. I’m surprised I didn’t connect the dots earlier. And so is the struggle of knowing yourself.

I don’t think my father is guilt-free either, and in fact I think he might be the same as I am. I was in a mood yesterday when he came to visit; I didn’t say anything to him out of depression and an inability to interact; I just felt tired and withdrawn. Of course a few hours later he goes full-on Jeremy-Mode and asks me — over text, obviously — if I was mad at him or if he did something wrong to upset me and for me to just tell him and that he wouldn’t visit anymore. Being really pathetic and mopy about how I was acting and making it sound if it was totally because of him for some reason. It was pathetic but I’d do the same thing; assuming I was the real problem, the center of everyone’s negative moods and shitty lives, the cause for it all. And why is he that way? Did his own mother not love or support him enough as a child like my mother did? No, she didn’t: she passed away when he was 13…

I don’t want to blame my parents or to shift guilt away from me, to remove my own ability to act here, because it seems to diminish my own power. I don’t want a pity party or sympathy or anything — I don’t hate my parents — but I am frustrated that I am this way. Obviously there is no ‘redo’ button to fix things — I can’t go back into my childhood and change anything — it’s just something to deal with. I think it is freeing in a way to actually be aware of where your problems came from. It gives you a path forward I guess. It’s also nice knowing that maybe the way you are isn’t just the way you are but because of some external cause. I’m not fucked up by default, I’m fucked up for something outside myself.

So now what? How do you fix this? I don’t know. Changing who you are is a fundamental pain in the ass. Kids are super impressionable when they’re young and everyone toughens and hardens as they age to where it’s nearly impossible to change who you are. But as the therapist said, I’m not stuck as I am. People are fluid and you can learn to change and deal with who you are. The first step is always figuring out what the hell the problem is in the first place, so maybe that tiny little puzzle piece has finally found its place which is nice, but now what? Do I just practice forcing myself out of this point of view over and over again until the neurons in my head realign and make other connections? I think so. I don’t know any other way to change my outlook other than practice.