Hangxiety Sucks

November what? The 26th? It’s late November? Already? The demons of Thanksgiving, Christmas, peak season at UPS, the hell of Winter, and the struggle of buying gifts is already upon us? When did all of this happen? I’m not ready for this. It was only a few weeks ago that it was July and everyone was miserable in 100+ degree heat indices. Right? 

Sober September was great enough and it was the happiest I had been in awhile. I’ve said before in some post before that surprisingly I don’t have anxiety when I’m not drinking. It has been so long since I’ve been sober for an extended period of time that I’d just accepted anxiety as part of my natural state. Sure, Jeremy is somewhat anxious, but it was never a crushing and terrible thing that I couldn’t work through until I made alcohol a part of my everyday existence. But here we are and I have no choice but to deal with it and work through it. Life is always a struggle to fight through your problems and this is mine currently.

Sober September quickly turned into Intoxicated October and Not-Sober November which is where I am currently. And it’s the absolute worst time of the year to realize that maybe you should stop drinking, that it does you no good, and that it’s a crutch you use to limp on by in life. Fucking stand up on your own and live up to your potential, right? But it’s cold and dark and work is hell and stress is high and despite any meditation on the matter I can’t help but feel that life and everything is spiraling apart hopelessly. Add in the second/third wave of COVID-19 looming over all of us and I don’t even think I want to attempt sobriety just yet. I just don’t think I can pull off during this point of my life. Maybe I’ll just camp out until things finally fucking calm the fuck down…eventually…whenever that actually happens…maybe January?

Anyways, hanxiety. It’s a term I found on Reddit a few days ago and it has struck me with its personal resonance. If you can’t tell, it’s a portmanteau of hangover and anxiety which makes its meaning quite clear: hangxiety is the anxiety you experience while being hungover. Apparently the Irish have a term for it (according to some random Reddit user): The Fear, which is quite fitting really.

(Note: here’s a link that is pretty damn informative about ‘hangxiety.’)

It’s comforting knowing there are terms so fitting to my current state used by a massive part of the internet population. It removes the ‘personalness’ of the problem — maybe it’s not a problem with you our your mind but with the alcohol use/abuse and is something chemical — which makes it a ton easier to deal with. When there are a bunch of people experiencing the same crap that you do you don’t feel quite as bad about it as if you were going it alone and thinking it was some issues with you a person or something. All of us borderline alcoholics are in this together, in some nebulous struggle against a molecule of all thing, and it gives you a feeling of camaraderie. It’s not just you going it alone and a ton of us experience this ‘hangxiety.’

Apparently hangxiety is a medical side-effect of alcohol use/abuse. It’s as natural as any other drug side effects and it’s not something to beat yourself up over. Sure, you’re drinking way too much and may have fucked up temporarily, but the next day side-effects are as much of an issue of biology and chemistry as they are to your possible drunken texts to your ex, if you sent them or not. As said before: don’t beat yourself up over things if you can help it. No one who is prescribed opioids beats themselves up over the ability to shit (as opioids stop you from being able to take a dump) so us alcoholics shouldn’t fret over the next-day anxiety, guilt, and stress that we always experience.

(Big Note here: obviously alcoholics and those prescribed prescription drugs are totally different, but I’m trying to say don’t personalize the side-effects of the drugs you’re taking I guess.)

Alcohol is a depressant, and as the brain and body’s way of dealing with this is to increase the ‘flight or fight’ response of your body so you don’t die. By drinking you’re basically slowing everything down and your body speeds itself up with its funny tricks so you don’t pass away. It’s a battle of chemicals; as you dose your body with things that slow you down, your body increases the things that keep it going like cortisol: the stress hormone. Do you ever notice how you wake up anxious, on edge, fearful, and terrified after a night of drinking? Thank cortisol and your super-effective brain and body for this. You’ve dumped a bunch of depressants into your system and your body is fighting it and what did you expect to happen? Welcome to the hell you’ve brought upon yourself. And you have nothing else to do but accept it with open arms and own it because it’s all your own fault.

This is the hell I’ve been in for about two months now, and despite being in this hell I’m surprisingly adapting just fine to it. It sounds awful, but I’m used to waking up after four or five hours of sleep totally stressed out and feeling guilty for some unclear reason despite not drunkenly texting my ex or doing other silly shit. Sure, I didn’t do anything to feel guilty over, but the feeling is there and ever-present and it feels real. It’s hard to shake a feeling of guilt despite knowing you’re not guilty of a damn thing. I suppose with this outside opinion from thousands of Redditors I’ve detached myself from the hangxiety in a way. Yes, I was drinking a bit too much and brought it upon myself, but the hangxiety itself is just a byproduct from my stupid life choices and not a problem on its own. I wasn’t guilty, a failure, or held some vague form or regret for any real reason: it was just the booze changing my brain chemistry.

It might be the functional alcoholic speaking here, but I’m getting to the point where I totally ignore and disregard my hangxiety. It’s just a passing feeling and if I fight through it, chill out, focus on being at peace with my life, and I find I can get through it just fine. It does seem like everything in life is a tradeoff, and if you do accept functional alcoholism into your life you can still learn some sort of lesson about stress, anxiety, and depression even if it’s at the expense of your greater health. I’m not saying people should willing drink to induce the temporary hell that is hangxiety just to deal with general anxiety, but damn if I haven’t been learning things over the past few months about dealing with stress and anxiety.

As for my hyped-up, hopeful closing statement: if you are a total drunkard who wakes up after a paltry three or four hours of sleep totally stricken by The Fear: you’re not alone. While I’m not facing the actual problem of alcoholism here, I am trying to give you some comfort over your hangxiety. It’s just a temporary side-effect of drinking heavily and if you give yourself time and turn your thoughts over to more comforting things you’ll find that you can fight through it. Don’t fret, don’t worry, it’s not a big deal and you can work through it. Despite you bringing these feelings upon yourself, remember above all else try to love yourself! No one is perfect, you can eventually work through your issues, but please don’t put extra effort into beating yourself up! Hangxiety, while awful and difficult to deal with in the moment, is just a temporary effect of alcohol on your brain and body and has nothing to do with your mental state, even if you might think it does. Hangxiety doesn’t speak to your mental state or fortitude, security, or safety in any way and should be totally disregarded. Don’t put too much emphasis into how you feel in the moment and try your best to work through it. Like me, you might find that it’s not a big deal at all once you face it and deal with it the best you can. It’s only a passing shadow, or something…

Maybe it’s best summed up by Sam’s speech in the middle of The Lord of the Rings movies:

“I know.
It’s all wrong
By rights we shouldn’t even be here.
But we are.
It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were,
and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy.
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something.
Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.”

-Samwise Gamgee

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Values Suck

Last session the therapist once again stressed the importance of having personal values. It sounded dumb to me — of course I have values — but when I really try to pinpoint what those values are I don’t have much to say. I’ve already written about values and never really followed through with what I said in that post. I figured I’d get around to it later or something, actually pinpointing the values I actually hold, but I never did.

I always loved math for how clear and simple it is. You just follow the rules. Everyone knows how to add, subtract, multiply and it’s such a beautifully cold and rigorous subject that doesn’t leave any room for interpretation. Values seem totally opposite of this and I find myself struggling to find any real values I have. Do I even have values? Any values? Or am I just a blank slate of absolute nothingness? A strong value system seems so nebulous and undefinable that my brain struggles to process it. In some ways I think my brain is too logically-wired to even grasp the concept of what a value is, like I’m doomed to think in terms of logic, rules, precepts, theories, and postulates with zero ability to be abstract and/or creative.

It’s the same as always: personal growth requires you to go outside of your safe zone to make any progress. As someone as insecure as myself I’ve always struggled with this. It’s easier to sit in my safe zone than to take any risks or make any effort to progress, and the way you get over this problem is to have values to chase after.

An example from a few weeks ago. I said I was working the election, and I had reasons to do so, but was terrified by the newness of the situation and was losing sleep over the anxiety of it all. What did I do? I didn’t go. I cowarded out. I totally bitched out and didn’t go. My wife told me to go, that it’d be good for me and I’d grow as a person, but no. Fuck that. Let me sit in my state of failure. I’ll grow as a person in the future, but for right now let me wallow in cowardice.

And the second example: Friday at work we had training on a piece of equipment I’d operated for over five years. I’m basically one of the few experts at operating this thing, and it should’ve been natural for me to take charge and actually teach my 20 coworkers or so. But I’m terrified of people and talking and once again, like the election I cowarded out. I let my supervisor do the training (who had only operated this piece of equipment once) and said very little, hiding the massive wealth of information in my head out of fear of speaking in front of a group of people.

My point? Strong values seem to be the driving force to get you to actually do something new. Before the election I considered my values something like this: doing something for the greater good, serving a purpose greater than myself, etc. But apparently these weren’t strong enough to get me to go outside my comfort zone. The values weren’t powerful enough to make me grow. And with the whole training thing: isn’t one of my supposed values a love of teaching people and passing on my knowledge? Once again helping the greater good by spreading knowledge? And isn’t that why I want to be a flight instructor in the first place? Apparently, but once again these values aren’t strong enough for me to take risks and head out of my comfort zone even amongst people I work with, feel comfortable around, and ‘understand.’ It’s always easier to hide in cowardice and put personal growth and your values into the indefinite future, something that you’ll eventually get around to but never seem to actually do.

I had an appointment last Friday but my therapist apparently lives with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID. So she’s out and I didn’t get to elaborate on what I feel was a minor breakthrough over the past few weeks and I’m on my own for a month or so. But I’m feeling confident going forward.

One thing she always seems to force me to do is make some sort of goal or mantra for the next few weeks/month. It makes sense — if you give yourself a goal you have something to work towards, some direction — and in her absence and with no direction I think I’ve found something to hold onto, something that I can legitimately call a “value” I hold: Don’t be a fucking coward. I hate when others are cowards, seemingly unable to fix even the most obvious issues in their lives, and I silently scream to myself, “Just do what you need to do! Why are people so scared and terrified of progress and change!” Your feelings towards others have a way of forcing you to look into the mirror though; as much as I hate cowardice in others I have the creeping suspicion that I’m the biggest coward of them all. Cowardice is my way to hide in my safe space and to find comfort rather than be uncomfortable and grow. It’s something I’ve been doing for so long that it seems natural, but now that I think of it I hide in cowardice too much. It’s holding me back. Sure it’s comfortable and safe, but this isn’t the way forward in life.

Take risks, take chances, speak your mind, be true to yourself, whatever that means. Looking back on my life I’ve realized that I’m terribly lucky; any crazy idea I end up with seems to have worked at least slightly. There has been no massive failure or life-changing mess that’s occurred. Looking back I have the ghost of an idea that says, “I’ve got this. What’s my fucking problem?” Have faith in yourself and your intuition. Maybe you’re a damn hero in disguise, someone who can pull off whatever they set their mind too, and maybe I’m one of them if only I’d force myself to get around to doing whatever. There shouldn’t be any fear or terror in life. Sure everything is shit, but if it actually is shit, what’s the big deal about taking risks? Why’s the fear of failure so great when failure in life is everywhere? It’s just another thing you have to deal with, something as passive as the weather and rain, not life-threatening or failure-inducing, but only something you have to deal with.

Going forward I’m not going to be a coward. At least I’ll try not to be one. I’m not going to be scared of life, and if I am I’ll acknowledge it and move through it towards something greater. It might be the first value I’ve ever fully established but it surely won’t be the last. Don’t be a coward. Face life with the bravery and fierceness like Samwise and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

My Election Anxiety Sucks

It’s October 30th. The 2020 general election is in four days. And if you want to make four whole days seem closer than that, just covert the days into hours: 96 hours. That’s it? That’s it.

Sure I have general anxiety over the election, probably from lurking around on Reddit for too many hours each day. The famously left-leaning r/politics sub has me feeling there’ll be about a 50% chance of some civil unrest, or heaven forbid a full fucking civil war, and as much as I think this won’t happen — and might not even be likely to happen — knowing that the country seems to be in a pressure cooker social environment doesn’t make my anxiety-prone self feel any better about the situation.

Worst case scenario? Who cares. I can always stay inside, hunker down, make adjustments to my stock holdings as needed, and not involve myself with whatever actually happens. You know, go to work like normal, drink beer, drink coffee, play video games, write, and eat food like normal. Even if everything does go off the rails it doesn’t have to involve me.

That’s my general anxiety over the next few weeks that seems to be hauling towards us, for better or for worse, like a train zipping down the rails. But my anxiety is a bit more acute because I volunteered to be an election judge this year.

I’ve never been an election judge before and I really don’t know why I signed up two months ago. I mean I know what happened two months ago but it doesn’t makes sense now. I wanted to do something crazy to serve democracy. To help the election. To feel like I’m doing something instead of sitting on my ass in perhaps the most important election in my lifetime. With all the old people (who usually serve at polls from what I’ve witnessed) being at high-risk for COVID, and maybe not wanting to volunteer this year, I assumed there might be a need for younger people like myself to serve. We can’t rely on old poll workers forever because they’ll eventually die; someone has to take up the job. To take charge of what needs to happen instead of constantly thinking “someone else will take care of it.” Elections need people to do the actual work, and why shouldn’t that be me?

So one night I got blasted drunk, printed and filled out the form, and mailed it before I could sober up and change my mind. The application to serve as an election judge was in the mail and sober Jeremy just kinda dealt with it like rain or something else totally out of my control: “Well, this is happening now, so…okay.”

Until a few weeks ago that is. I received a manilla envelope in the mail with my election assignment. It had a handbook for election judges and precinct for November 3. I would be working about a mile away from my home in a Baptist church with fellow judges Edna, Marvelene, Lisa, and Lunetta. Fuck, things were getting a bit more real for me. Worst of all, they listed the other judges’ phone numbers and written in bold, red ink saying UPON RECEIPT OF THIS ASSIGNMENT – PLEASE CONTACT THE OTHER JUDGES (PRIOR TO ELECTION DAY) TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SET-UP OF PRECINCT ON MONDAY. It also said that THE CONTACT NAME ON THE TOP OF THIS SHEET IS THE CONTACT NAME AT THE POLLING PLACE FACILITY. ONLY ONE JUDGE NEEDS TO CONTACT THEM TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SET-UP TIME ON MONDAY AND ENTRY INTO THE BUILDING AT 5:30 AM ELECTION MORNING.

So as of Friday — the weekend before the election — I obviously haven’t contacted any of the other judges. And as far as I know no one has tried to contact me. I do have an unlistened voicemail on my phone from a strange number, but I’m still too nervous to actually listen to it or even check the number. Maybe it’s one of them wondering if I was even in existence?

This is where all my anxiety comes from. I have to contact people — strangers — that I’ll have to work with for over twelve hours this Tuesday. It’s up to us five to actually contact each other, to contact the church, and to schedule some time to set up the precinct on Monday. How can I feel such anxiety over calling a damn phone number? Aren’t I supposed to be a fully-functioning adult? I also have to work with the general public; didn’t I learn not to do that when I worked at Sam’s Club? Why the fuck did I sign up for this? Why the fuck did August drunk-Jeremy decide this was a good idea anyways? Doesn’t drunk-Jeremy know that Jeremy, drunk or not, hates social interaction, is terrified of irregularities, and hates waking up early?

And then there’s my raging nicotine addiction. Apparently we can’t leave the polling place. How am I supposed to vape? At work I hit the thing every ten or fifteen minutes and on election day I’ll be dealing with a highly stressful situation and am going to require my nicotine! I imagine I’ll be doing something like this while trying to work out times to sneak a hit from my vape:

And…and waking up early. I don’t even fall asleep until 4 or 5 a.m. — the time I need to be at the fucking polling place — and usually don’t wake up until 2 p.m. How the hell am I supposed to manage this without making my day hell? Should I go without sleep over the weekend to tweak my sleep schedule or just YOLO a sleepless day on Election Day itself? Just jump right in a deal with my shitty situation totally sleepless and miserable.

There is a temptation to just not show up on Tuesday, but that seems like taking the coward’s way out. Just fucking do it. It’s one day. It can’t be that bad. I’ll manage. And what about all of that ‘serving democracy’ that I mentioned at the start of this post. Urgh, there’s no way this will be enjoyable at all.

This post hasn’t done anything to serve the general reader at all and I must admit it was just me writing so I feel somewhat better about the situation. It’s highly uncomfortable and I feel the need to get it out in some way or another because I’m borderline freaking out about Tuesday, not with anything to do with the election itself but for the silly situation that I put myself in for some reason. Like this whole thing goes against my entire personality and insecurities and I feel like a total idiot for getting myself into it. What was I thinking? Other people are better suited to things like this and for some reason I didn’t realize that at the time. Let the extroverts and old people deal with elections and being judges. Let them be the people to call strangers to work with and sit in a chair for over twelve hours checking signatures. I’ll just silently show up and vote and let others do the real work of democracy. It’s not for me, but apparently it is because I fucking signed up for it.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

The Sunday Movie Party

So it’s been about forever since I’ve written about anything. It’s the same story too; a bunch of topics on my mind and a total inability to actually sit down and write about anything.

And bleh. I’ve already bitched about that so much that it’s boring. A total source of frustration for me? Yes. But once you’ve complained about it what else is there to do? Change it or continue to complain. Too bad change is hard.

Anyways, this post is about movies. Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever written about movies here before, furthering this blog into some random shit piece of work where I don’t write about anything consistent. Big surprise there.

The list. Don’t judge me.

Sunday, I watched three movies. The only thing notable about this is that I usually don’t watch movies. I have a huge “movies to watch” list on my phone and never make progress on it. I’m talking Black Swan, The Departed, among others. You know, classics that have been recommended in Reddit threads that I’ve noted but never find the will to actually watch.

Watching movies is a strange thing for me. I need to be in the right mindset to watch a new movie, and a mindset that should match what the hell I’m watching. You can’t watch a horror film on a sunny and positive day and there’s no way you can watch something like Black Swan or The Shining unless you’re in some strange and fucked up mindset. While you can listen to a song on a whim to some degree this doesn’t work with movies. You’re signing up for a two hour experience and the mood must match what you’re about to do. It’s basically an adventure.

Sunday I awoke severely hungover and detached from reality and this mood was strange enough to set me on my movie watching path. So this is kinda like a ‘review’ or my thoughts on these three strange-ass and totally unrelated films I watched.

Greaat Success!

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime For Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

(Note: From now on I’ll just call this film “Borat 2” because fuck that ridiculous title.)

I wanted to watch Borat 2. I had some anxiety about it but in my hungover state just fucking started playing it on Amazon. And…And it’s Borat 2. Borat. More Borat. You know what you’re going to get…

Borat (the first one, titled Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan) is a famous enough movie and I don’t think I can say much that hasn’t been said before. It’s a comedic masterpiece and more importantly serves as a terrifying window into the US’s post 9/11 culture. It’s hilarious but was also dangerously accurate to our culture at the time. Sadly, many of the views displayed are still in force today which makes the film even more depressing; the 14 year old film is still somehow strongly relevant. The hatred and fear of foreigners, the paranoia over the possible “fall of western culture,” and societal change in general, it’s all blatantly shown in Borat.

Which is why I wanted to watch Borat 2. The first Borat, following along our beloved and clueless Kazakhstani reporter friend, was relevant enough, but if there was ever a need for another Borat movie it would be now. Our society has degraded even further since the original was released and the world needs another Borat. Something to save us all. Someone, like Sacha Baron Cohen, the actor behind Borat, to provoke the masses into stating their deeply held beliefs for everyone to see. Someone who has the unique power (besides All Gas No Brakes) to take the shadowy perspectives of the other side and make them visible. He gives a voice to the insanity to those that don’t agree with us and share our views and gives a point of view that is both shockingly believable and simultaneously absurd. It’s basically a window into our current US culture and a window that I think is much needed.

That perspective also comes with a heavy dose of sarcasm and parody of course. I mean it’s Borat for fucks sake.

So what to say about Borat 2? I don’t know. It’s Borat, it goes along with what I expected, but kinda fell apart midway through. I kinda lost interest and didn’t give a shit. Something about the first Borat film felt edgy where this one just felt samey and already-been-done. But then the last act pulled the shit together into a fantastic and hilarious climax and the film also served as a fun little father/daughter bonding lesson. Like shit, I didn’t think I’d get feels in a fucking Borat film or witness any character development, but that’s what happened. The end brought everything together in a positive way, showing a new bond between father and daughter, along with a twist that should’ve been obvious but totally wasn’t to me. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm was actually pretty good. Maybe not as much of a landmark as the first, but more coherent with an actual plot I guess.

Eraserhead

Yeah. For movie two I decided to knock off one of the films that was on my list for the past year, Eraserhead. Some strange-ass black-and-white film from 1977 created by David Lynch. I’d never seen any of his other work, but we’re talking Twin Peaks and Blue Velvet here; the dude is known to make some strange ass films and this might be his strangest film ever. I don’t even need to see the rest to know that this was indeed some weird shit.

I think I first became interested in David Lynch after reading a David Foster Wallace essay on him. He made his work sound really fucking abstract and important, like this was a guy making films that were strange, made zero sense, and left it up to the observer to interpret. I love shit like this. Works that give you some idea to start from, but don’t hold your hand plot-wise into some heavy-handed conclusion. Let yourself interpret the work. Let the artist present their work, as abstract as it is, and let the viewer put their own interpretation on it.

Honestly, this was my inspiration behind a ‘book’ I guess I’m working on. My idea was to adopt this approach: just write some random subconscious shit and see what happens. I’m glad to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised how well this worked. I’ve written some of my favorite stuff by writing and not knowing what the fuck I was trying to say. No plot, not plan, just write and see what happens. It helps me notice things about myself that aren’t obvious and it lets others wonder what the hell I’m even writing about. It gives much more room to interpret the work which is always fun.

But I still hadn’t watched a single David Lynch work. Huh. That’s strange. Until Sunday when I finally got around to it.

Eraserhead is…what I expected, but in a great way. Fucking nonsense from a standard perspective — I had no idea what was going on and still don’t — but something about the movie sticks with you. The whole desolation of the film, the harsh and subconscious industrial soundscapes, the imagery that seems to come more from dreams than anything in reality, and the awkwardness of the human interactions. The entire film seems like some anxious fucking fever dream/nightmare with an imposing sense of impending doom in each scene. You’re not even aware of what the doom even is which makes the feeling all the more dreadful. There’s no room to relax. There’s no room to reflect. It’s an oppressive atmosphere and the film revels in it. The entire thing has you feeling uncomfortable and on-edge putting yourself in Henry’s (the main character) place just trying to process what the hell is actually happening to the guy.

It’s a movie that takes some processing. You can’t finish watching Eraserhead and be like, “Okay, yeah, that was good,” or, “No, that was fucking stupid.” You end it sitting quietly asking yourself, “Huh? What?! Uh…Ummm….” And it’s fucking great when a movie ends that way.

Our 16-year-old was critical about it the entire time (rightfully so), frequently commenting how “It’s a film that you need to write a report on about ‘what it means.’” while deriding the whole lack-of-plot thing. But yet, to my surprise, she was also trying to interpret what the hell was going on despite shitting all over films that leave it up to the viewer to solve! I don’t know if she realized the beauty and irony behind that, but I found it intriguing. Here was someone who loves romantic comedies and straight-forward plots arguing about how dumb Eraserhead was but at the same time trying to piece meaning to it all. It was wonderful.

And that’s all I have to say about Eraserhead so far: the power of letting the viewer (or reader) figure their own shit out. Without a clear or direct purpose the human brain automatically and instantly tries to put meanings and patterns to anything it sees. Even if it’s confusing, random, and without obvious reason, meaning, or order, the mind will try to make sense of that. And I think that is the power of abstract films like Eraserhead. Sure, David Lynch can have his own reasons for the choices he makes in the film, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters in art is how the viewer interprets is, and by being abstract you yield nearly all the power to the viewer. You see what you see. You understand the art in your own way. You take your own perspective and project it over the film. It gives a nearly infinite amount of interpretations to the art, and how is that a bad thing?

And it reminds me of this introductory quote in Bioshock: Infinite.

(Note: I have a bit more to say here. There’s a very blurry line separating art that just puts random shit out there in an attempt to be ‘deep’ and whatever you’d call ‘legitimate obscurity’ and I don’t know where that line exists. Surely you can’t plop out a musical album of static just to ‘let the listener figure it out’ but the opportunity to do so still exists to the ‘real’ artist. I don’t know, maybe it has something to do with artistic intentions, but still, the fact there are no hard and fast rules in art continually fascinates my mathematic and rule-centric brain. The fact that people make good art with no ‘rules’ blows my mind.)

The Proposal

To end this fucking post: The Proposal. A straight-forward romantic comedy from 2009 starring Sandra Bullock as Margaret and Ryan Reynolds as Andrew. And let’s not forget the legendary Betty White as Gammy. It was a shock to watch this following fucking Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and Eraserhead, but here we are.

By this time I was drunk and when the kids asked if they could watch The Proposal I sloppily hit the ‘rent’ option on Amazon Prime TV. $3.99. Who gives a shit?

I’d saw the Proposal before, and only have good memories about it. It wasn’t like my favorite movie ever, but for romantic comedies I found it pretty fucking good and strangely memorable.

Fun fact: I don’t like romantic comedies. They’re formulaic. They’re boring. They bring nothing to the table. They don’t do anything that hasn’t been done before. While any stock rom-com might be ‘good’ plot-wise, if there’s nothing special about it I fucking hate it. And I’m not picky against only rom-coms; this is my complaint against almost all films; they’re boring. Who gives a shit. Horror films? Boring. Spooky, unknown ghost or killer that you need to evade. Action movies? Bang-bang gun shit to save the world with explosions everywhere. Rom-coms? Same boy-meets-girl, boy-hates-girl, boy-falls-in-love-with-girl shit with comedic undercurrents. Hollywood is filled with cookie-cutter plots only serving to make quick money and there isn’t much art to be found. It’s no surprise that I hate about 85% of movies.

And while I don’t know why The Proposal breaks from my gripe with rom-coms and films in general, it does. I seriously can’t pinpoint a single gripe with the formula of the film. Yeah, it’s been done before, yeah nothing really crazy happens, but I don’t hate the film for some reason. In fact I find it enjoyable. Maybe it’s the setting in remote Alaska on an island, maybe it’s Betty Fucking White as Gammy, and maybe it’s the growth of the characters, maybe it’s Bullocks and Reynold’s obvious chemistry, maybe it’s the Cessna 208 Amphibious Caravan on floats at the end; fuck if I know why I find the movie good. I just do. It’s as confusing for me more than anyone else: this is movie I shouldn’t like for basic reasons but I found pretty fucking good. Especially following the mind-bending Eraserhead, how could I find this kinda stock rom-com actually good? And maybe this is my intrigue with The Proposal: why the fuck do I even like it? It’s another puzzle, maybe not as abstract as Eraserhead, but a puzzle none-the-less. All I know is that, hell, I liked the movie, and fuck it if anyone tells me I didn’t like it.

So that was my Movie Party on Sunday. A random collection of Borat Subsequent Moviefilm For Benefit of Kazakhstan, Eraserhead, and The Proposal. And I liked each film for totally crazy and separate reasons. I don’t recommend you guys watch these like in this order or anything, but yeah, go fucking check them out. Chenqui!

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

The DSM-V Sucks: Self-Diagnosis?

I’m sure a bunch of people are the same as me. You think you’re fucked up in the head and start Googling what the hell your problem is. Do I have chronic depression? Am I bipolar? For fuck sake, do I have borderline personality disorder? This inevitably leads to the Wikipedia page of said symptom which also inevitably leads to you reading something like “[disorder] is recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a personality disorder” and if you obsessively do this enough you’ll notice every psychological issue in the world’s Wikipedia entry mentions the DSM-V, whatever the fuck that is.

But Wikipedia is full of links so if you obsessively read psychological issues you’ll also inevitably click the DSM link and already know what it is. If you don’t, it’s the American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic Manual for mental issues. Were talking anxiety, depression, substance abuse, mental disorders, and anything else you can think of. I see it as like a Bible of disorders/mental issues and also seemed like a book that would be a good reference to have on hand. I’m a huge fan of general use reference books such as this and it has the same appeal to me that a good set of socket wrenches or a multimeter has; you never know when you’ll need it!

Having the DSM-V is a dangerous thing though. It’s almost like an IRL Necronomicon as much as it’s the psychologist’s Bible where you have a bunch of dangerous information at your grasp that you’re probably too uneducated to properly use. Myself included because I have no fucking clue how a psychologist would actually use the damn thing. Do they reference it? Do they need to follow the clear steps for diagnoses or is it like a guideline? And what the hell are all the codes for?

Luckily I’m not too much of a dumbass to know that you’re not suppose to diagnose yourself or others with your own Amazon copy of the DSM-V. I’m not a trained psychologist or anything so know I can’t use the book to pretend to be one. But it’s a fucking pandora’s box of mental disorders and it’s impossible to read anything and not have the temptation to diagnose other people or especially yourself! It’s like the mental equivalent of looking up physical symptoms on WebMD. “Oh, I have a cough, shortness of breath, and…holy shit! I could have cancer? Fuck. Me.

(Fun Fact of Funness: Amazon obviously has copies of the DSM-V, but since it’s a textbook you’re going to be price-gouged like you’d expect. I originally found copies for over $100 which I wasn’t going to buy. But somehow, for some reason, I found this copy of it. Sure, it says “unknown binding” which sounds risky, but fuck, it’s a legit book! I was worried it would be loose-leaf pages or something, maybe a .pdf on a mini-SD card, but no, it’s a real soft-cover textbook. So if you want to buy your own copy of this book for 30% the cost of the “real”(hard-cover) version, click that fucking link. No I don’t get money for recommending this, it’s just such a good deal to be nearly unbelievable.)

Sadly I’m smart enough to buy it, think I know the proper use of it, believe I won’t misuse it, and whoops, pandora’s box is open and I’m wondering what disorders I and everyone else around me has.

Personality Disorders and Such

The DSM lists ten personality disorders. It’s tempting to think everyone has a disorder, but the whole idea behind a disorder is that it isn’t normal and is a hindrance to some degree in everyday life. Personality disorders aren’t like your zodiac sign or you Meier/Briggs personality type; you might not have one at all.

(Note about things being ‘normal.’ There is some controversy as to what a disorder is because it’s based off some nebulous idea of “normalcy.” Who’s to say what’s normal and what isn’t? Obviously some disorders are more ‘crazy’ than others, but where would you draw the line between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’? What seperates a disorder from a person simply being unique?)

That’s the first problem to solve: do I even have a personality disorder? To me, something seems off, but I’m not a psychologist and I only know myself so it’s impossible to gauge whether or not I’m ‘normal’ or if I have a disorder. Like I said, it’s not a good idea to diagnose yourself, but just for shits and giggles I wanted to take an educated guess at what disorders I could have.

There are ten personality disorders in the DSM-V. Just to rattle off a few: borderline, histrionic, obsessive-compulsive, antisocial, dependent, avoidant, and let’s not forget everyone’s favorite disorder narcissistic personality disorder!

It’s interesting to discover that I show signs of nearly all the ten disorders. None seem clear enough that I can label myself with one but each one has traits that seem fitting. I have the selfishness of someone with narcissistic personality disorder, but seem to lack the lack of empathy and powerful ego that is characteristic of the disorder. Everyone has a little bit of paranoia floating around in their minds, and the same is true for me, but this probably doesn’t mean I have paranoid personality disorder. The mood swings I seem to have sound terrifyingly similar to borderline disorder, but lack the angry outbursts and unstable relationships that categorize those with borderline. I can’t make my own decisions very well, and this sounds like someone who could have dependent personality disorder, but probably not because I don’t fit the rest of the traits. Oh, and the need to be in control like those with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (not to be confused with the stock OCD), but once more I lack the rest of the symptoms or traits to actually be diagnosed with it.

Around this time I’m starting to feel even more fucked up, wondering if I’m a borderline/narcissist/antisocial and a few other terrifying ones. You can have more than one disorder! Strangely, I’m also wondering if I don’t have any actual disorders and, holy hell, what if I’m normal! Somehow that seems worse in a way. Like none of the drama that plays out in my mind is special or notable because it’s just typical life bullshit that everyone experiences and that maybe I’m blowing it all out of proportion. And this sounds like something a narcissist would say…

Then I stumbled upon one of the lesser known and “boring” personality disorders: avoidant personality disorder. I’d never heard of it before. But reading the traits gave me that horrible sinking feeling that things were a bit too truthful and were hitting a bit close to home. Sure, I read about narcissistic personality disorder and found a few things that sounded like me, but the rest were a stretch. But APD? Holy fuck. I seemed to have nearly all the traits of that disorder. These people avoid others unless they’re certain they are liked. These people are very insecure and have fragile egos and don’t take criticism well. They’re needy and always searching for approval  I read towards the end of the section and then shut the book. My adventure of reading about personality disorders was taking a turn for the worst. Here I was reading about disorders and fantasizing about what it would be like to have them, wondering what people I know (if any) might have them, but reading about APD took me out of mild curiosity into serious self-introspection. It was like I was reading a person critique about my personality. I stopped reading, laughed, closed the book, and said, “Oh, wow. That’s enough of the DSM for tonight. Yikes…”

I’ll probably write about possibly having avoidant personality disorder sometime soon because there’s a lot to unpack here. It sounds so close to who I am and how I feel and it’s like another layer of the proverbial onion has been exposed. But until then, maybe use some caution when you bust open your own personal copy of the DSM-V for ‘casual reading’ purposes. Things can get a bit dark and too real when you least expect it. But still it’s a good reference to have on hand and I highly recommend it.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Lessons From Substance-Free September: Life Goes On

This is the second part of a ‘series’ where I write about what I’ve learned from Substance-Free September. The first part is here.

Another sad fact I’ve realized over the past month of being sober is that life continues on. There is no “finished” or “over” and there also seems to be no time to properly gain your bearings and figure out the best course of action. No time to take a break or reflect. Life is being stuck in an endless and problematic story where you never really get to take a step away from things and relax.

Maybe that’s just my life, but others probably feel this way too. It’s another trigger to my drinking: needing a break from life. Hell, that might be my main reason for drinking so much. It’s my way of having a few clear and foggy hours to not exist as fully as I usually do. It drowns life out to an acceptable level where I seem to be able to deal with it, until the next day that is. But that’s an easy problem to solve because you can always drink more!

Not a good idea, obviously. A friend of mine a few months ago pointed out that I feel too much, my highs are really high and my lows are supremely low. Apparently despite outward appearance I’m a highly emotional person and this friend being a very insightful person I tried to give him some credit. Sure, I didn’t see myself that way, but was he onto something?

To maybe prove this point, this friend moved away last month. People move, things change, but goddamn do I feel his absence in some way that others don’t seem too. Maybe they don’t verbalize  it (neither do I) outside of the occasional “I miss [person],” but stuck in my head I feel it differently. The fact that people always move, change, grow, decay, and that everything is temporary, everything is inevitably changing crushes my soul. I don’t like it at a visceral level. Something about it seems wrong even though it’s perfectly natural.

And this friend? He seems to be the embodiment of going with the flow and change, the total opposite of myself. I think I admire that about him. He’s the type of person who literally quit his job, embraced all the change through his own actions, and moved thousands of miles away with no guarantee that anything would actually turn out the best for him. No insecurity or hesitation about it, and the part I don’t understand, no fear of loss from leaving people behind. Leaving the memories behind. Leaving everything about your life behind for some unknown clean-slate where anything could happen, good or bad. It’s such a crazy and foreign thing to my insecure self that I just can’t comprehend how someone could go through with it.

It feels like I’m paralyzed by my emotions, hence the drinking to escape them. I used to be really depressive and have somehow managed to get better over the past six months. Still an episode of depression can be so intense that I want nothing more than to zap myself out for a while via alcohol. Strangely it’s not just the bad times I try to escape. Moments happen where something magical will happen; a good day where I see the beauty in everything and can savor every grateful second that passes. Inevitably, this feeling comes with the realization of loss. Why can’t everything remain beautiful? Why does anything ever change? Why can’t things stay in this moment forever? And obviously when that happens I can’t wait to have another drink to escape it.

So maybe I feel too much. Maybe it’s a curse, maybe it’s a gift. I recently read some story drafts I’d written and couldn’t help but see this is what I’m constantly trying to explain to my readers. I’m constantly trying to explain this bitter sense of loss, losing the entire point of life, and trying to understand the cycle of gaining and losing. Damn if I don’t have a heavy dose of loss, nostalgia, joy, and insecurity in everything I write. Everything seems to point to me feeling way too much about the smallest things in life, as if everything is a battle to find joy and survive, to appreciate those small moments when they decide to show up. Maybe it is a gift, maybe this form of suffering is a way to move forward? Maybe I’m just hopelessly bipolar or something.

See what I mean?

That was a hell of a rant. When you remove drinking as a solution there is no escape from life itself. No way to avoid the emotions. They fucking happen and it sucks. But even those are hopelessly fluid. Countless times I’ve been so happy and at peace that I want to cry, and this emotion always passes. It always fades into nothing. Countless times I’ll have a good day and try to force myself to remember the good times as clearly as possible, but I never find success…ever. You can’t remain joyful forever. The same is true for depression: the mood always changes given enough time even if you don’t realize it in the depths of it. Without fighting these emotions with alcohol I’ve learned to be clearly aware of them. Let them pass. It’s like being on a boat in the ocean; the waves pass by you, you’re up one moment and you’re down the next, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Ride the waves, let time pass, and learning to do this is nearly impossible, but you do make progress over time. No one wants to feel like shit, everyone wants to be happy, but it’s like trying to stop the earth from rotating. Find comfort in the temporary joy, and let the waves of depression wash over you. They’re equally temporary.

This has been my life the past month. Each day passes with its own joys and struggles and then…nothing. It happens again and again. A week passes. Two. Three. There is no break, this is no grand pause in drinking to reflect on it all. There is no award, trophy, or magical realization at the end to justify anything you work through. Just more…life I guess? More ups and downs. Endless emotions of ups and downs. In a way it feels like I’m slowly breaking down. I just want a break from life sometimes! Some way to not exist as fully as I seem to exist at all waking moments of the day. Is it just me? Is this how people are? Hell if I know.

There is no grand lesson in this blog post. Which kinda is the grand lesson in some strange way. Life goes on, it raises you up and lowers you like a boat on waves, and you’re nearly useless to do anything about it. Life seems to be about learning to float on the waves, dance on the highs and lows of life, where there is no respite from this dance of life. Up and down. Powerless at all times. Adrift in the ocean of life with no escape from the waves.

The next post: Lessons From Substance-Free September: The Endless Supply of Problems

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Lessons from Substance-Free September: Don’t be too Hard on Yourself

I think I want to do a “series” or something about what I learned during Substance-Free September. It probably won’t qualify as a series and will only be two or three posts, but I do hope I can churn them out together and quickly with few distractions.

Not that I will because I’m terribly flawed. Once again I’m going to shit on myself for not being able to write consistently. How hard is it to get the computer out and type? How hard is it to write a post once a week? It’s hard because I want it to be perfect! And perfection is always the enemy of completing something. Nothing is perfect, just fucking write and go with it.

Let me circle this back to the topic at hand: not being too hard on yourself. I excel at being hard on myself almost consistently with regards to everything, and the previous paragraph is a perfect example of it. Or when I gave up on the Morrowind story. Sure, I came to some ‘positive’ conclusion that sometimes you have to throw in the towel to move on, but the entire post is me shitting on myself with the conclusion being some half-assed attempt at not being quite as hard on myself.

I do this all the time too, and not just with writing. Why can’t I stay motivated? Why can’t I keep the house clean? Why does it take me so long to fix a car? Why can’t I just stay sober? Why aren’t I an airline pilot right now? Why did I drag my feet so much in my 20s and even today? Why can’t I do anything right? And why do the things I do right seem to be outweighed by the things I do wrong? I am a perfect example of endless self-loathing.

It can’t be just me either. Countless people certainly do this. We’re all our own worst critics and enemies. No one sets a higher standard than we ourselves do (at least most of the time) and it’s easy to be unnecessarily cruel to yourself.

A good example: I wasn’t completely sober last month. I drank two nights one weekend due to a notably stressful and shitty situation that happened. I felt bad, I felt like shit, but I was able to get my act together and completed the rest of the month sober. It reminds me of when my work buddy said she smoked a few cigarettes: she felt like an utter failure over it but I tried to be positive. “Well, you mess up. Just acknowledge it and move forward!”

It’s strange how we view other people as opposed to how we view ourselves. Other’s problems seem so easy to solve when it’s not us personally experiencing them. Nearly everyone who has some issue going on I find myself thinking of the most obvious (and easy) solution to their problem. They still don’t see it though and the problem somehow makes itself harder to solve if you’re the one going through it. Friend smokes a cigarette on the weekend? No big deal, just realize you fucked up and move on. I drank two days mid-month? Holy fuck I’m an utter failure and why can’t I do anything right and damn I suck. Like that.

I find it helpful to switch the situation and to try to see yourself as someone else, like a form of ‘reversed empathy’ or something. Tell your story to yourself as detached as possible; think of yourself as a coworker or a friend and see how it sounds. If the roles were reversed, I wouldn’t tell this person who fucked up by drinking during a sober month they’re a failure because no one is perfect! Everyone messes up! By being so hard on yourself you’re treating yourself as perfect while everyone else is flawed and forgivable. It’s kinda selfish in a way, being too hard on yourself. Why are you so deserving of high standards and perfection when no one else is? You, like everyone else, should just acknowledge the problem, move forward, and do the best you can. Obviously it’s hard to reflect this upon yourself and really believe it — it’s always a struggle — but eventually maybe you can move forward and not be too hard on yourself.

I think this became apparent to me during September because I didn’t have anything to distract me from my problems. Maybe drinking so much made that the prime problem in my life so when that was gone I noticed the slew of other issues. My lack of writing. My lack of progress in flying. My inability to shop around for a house. My inability to wake up before 2 p.m. and so on. Or maybe the drinking was my way to ignore the problems where they never bothered me. Either way, I’ve been a lot more loving to myself the past few weeks, and much more willing and able to love myself for the flawed person that I am.

I had a therapy appointment October 2nd. Towards the end of the sessions she always asks me what my intentions and goals are moving forward. I sat there and spaced out, thinking as hard as I could for which goal I would chase after during the next month. I couldn’t think of anything. “Uh, I don’t think I have any intentions or goals this next month,” I said. She then mentioned that not having any intentions was itself a valid intention and I went with it. “Oh, okay! Yes. My goal this next month is to have no goals. I’m just going to exist.”

It reminds me of Peter in Office Space. He’s asked what he would do if he had a million dollars as this is supposed to be what you should do for a career. His answer: “Nothing. I would relax, I would sit on my ass all day: I would do nothing.”

“Two chicks at the same time, man!”

Why was that my goal for the month? Because I’m too hard on myself. I’m too goal-oriented. I feel the need to achieve to the detriment of myself. I see myself as perfect (that sounds awful) and that I should hold myself to this standard of perfection to my own detriment. When I’m inevitably not perfect, I feel like a failure, like I let myself down, that I’m flawed in some way. So I’m not going to have any goals or intentions this month because I want to try existing as this flawed person that I am. Not dangle carrots in front of my face in mosty-wasted attempts to ‘move forward’ in life or ‘accomplish’ some undefined goals. That is my goal: nothing, and I’m doing it because I’m trying to not be too hard on myself.

Think of yourself and think about all the ways you’re hard on yourself. Would you treat friends and loved ones the way you treat yourself? Or would you show them kindness and grace and forgive them for their flaws? You’re just another person like anyone else, not special, and are deserving of forgiveness just like anyone else. Don’t be too hard on yourself and be willing to forgive the most fucked up person you know: yourself.

The next part of this series? Lessons from Substance-Free September: Life Goes On

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Giving Up Sucks: Fanfiction Writing

(This post is strangely similar to one I wrote two years ago…)

Last Sunday I was sitting around trying to force my way through another one of my Morrowind fanfiction chapters. The goal I had this year was to post a single chapter weekly, on Sunday, and at the time I thought there was no downside to it. Sure, there’d be work, but bullshitting a chapter every seven days would be easy. I wouldn’t have to put much effort into creativity — the universe of The Elder Scrolls series is already created — and surely I could rake in hundreds and maybe thousands of views on Wattpad. It’d become accustomed to having a goal, a schedule, and writing without endlessly waiting for ‘inspiration.’ There was no downside to it, and plenty of upside.

I wrote a few paragraphs and the chapter seemed to be off to a good enough start, but after 30 minutes I hit a wall. I wasn’t into it, I wasn’t inspired, and it seemed like a chore. With only a few hours until midnight I’d have to finish it somehow, but shut the computer off to think about what I wanted to write. Ya know, take an hour or so break and plot my next few paragraphs.

I didn’t figure out a damn thing. I gave up, went to bed, and would worry about it later.

I’ve been slacking on the story for quite awhile, maybe posting only a chapter every two or three weeks instead of weekly. It almost feels like I’m trying to keep something alive that is obviously dying. So much effort and worry for almost no progress. Limping along trying to accomplish something worth accomplishing.

Views. As shitty of a metric as it is, it’s the main way you can tell if anyone is reading what you’re pouring effort into. It’s the little reward that tells us writers if anyone actually gives a damn about our projects. I have a journal .doc and write random thoughts to clear my mind, but anything that is published on the internet is meant to be read by others. And if it’s not, what’s the point of even posting?

I currently have 244 total views on the Morrowind story. Sometimes it ranks in the top ten in the Morrowind category out of 110, but if no one reads the category much, who cares? Also consider this has been going on for roughly 35 weeks: 7 views a week. I’ve posted 29 chapters: 8.4 views per chapter. Those are some depressing numbers.

Making this even more depressing is the fact that most of my early chapters have the most views, especially the first chapter. The first chapter alone had 64 views, 25% of the total. The second chapter, 40, and so on as it exponentially declines toward zero. The newest chapters rake in only one or two views. This tells me people might read the first bit of the story and there is nothing to hook them into reading more. It’s boring. It starts slow. And this probably isn’t how you should play the fanfiction game.

I was bored enough to day to plot out my views per chapter in Google Sheets. It’s a nice visual aid to what I am describing.

It’s also interesting to see that I might have four or five actual fans that consistently read what I post. It’s also interesting to see a few peaks here and there where I net about ten views per chapter. I wonder if deactivating my Facebook has anything to do with this? I wonder how many readers came from Facebook?

I started to believe there is no upside to continue the story while there are a ton of downsides. It’s a timesink. It isn’t fun. It isn’t fulfilling. I feel the same dread on the weekends from the story as going to dentist. For what exactly? So three or four people can read it? What is the end goal to all of this? If I finish it in a year or two, what will I have to show for it? Will it benefit me at all? No, probably not. I see almost no way continuing this can get me any closer to my writing goals as nebulous as they are in the first place.

So, yeah, I’m done. Let’s try to make this somewhat positive. Failing. I feel like a failure, naturally. But if you browse the Get Motivated! subreddit, you might be aware that if you don’t fail, you’re not trying (which is apparently a Jillian Michaels quote, huh). No one slips into success on their first attempt. Success means failing over and over and discovering what works and what doesn’t, and one of the real tragedies is hanging out in a failing endeavour wasting time and effort to force success. Like a business owner going deep into debt to make it work despite having no customers or success. We have to realize our finite ability to deal with shit and hold onto one of our most important, and limited, traits: motivation.

Failing isn’t bad. Giving up isn’t bad. As long as you continue to fail upwards towards something better.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Political Propaganda and the Illinois Tax Amendment of 2020

The Most Boringest Post I’ve Ever Written…

Do you know what I’m going to bitch about here? Taxes. Yes, taxes. I might bitch about social media propaganda as well. Yay, right? Taxes, that thing that is as inevitable as death, the thing that got Al Capone tossed in jail because he avoided paying taxes, that thing that stresses everyone out at the beginning of each year because no one understands the US’s complicated and intricate tax law. Taxes. Yay.

Poor Phyllis. Strange that AARP is supporting the “Tax Hike Amendment”…

I thought I had a good segue lined up here, but I don’t. Anyways, lately on Instagram I keep seeing sponsored posts like this one. Something about Stop the Illinois Tax Hike Amendment. First off, this is unsettling because a few months ago I jumped ship from Facebook to get away from all the political shitposting/propaganda only to be greeted by this on Instagram. Luckily, this does seem isolated and for the most part Instagram is what you’d expect it to be; people posting pictures. Facebook has totally devolved into a political shit-tossing dump and even if it’s useful 10% of the time, the other 90% consists of people posting politically motivated shit in bad-faith arguments to ‘convince others’ about something that’s usually so dumbed down and logically flawed that it’s hard not to comment something picking it apart. Then the winds of shit really start blowing, Rand.

This Instagram image done got me all hyped up and pissy. Why? A bunch of reasons. The use of ‘trigger terms’ to make you think one thing. The poor old lady not wanting to pay more taxes. Something about “new powers to tax anyone at will.” Okay. The first thing about whatever this ad is trying to push is that it sounds too terrifying. No one wants higher taxes, duh, so why wouldn’t we all vote ‘no’ on whatever amendment it’s talking about? Hell, why did the Illinois State even put something so obviously dumb on the ballot for November when it’ll obviously be shot down by 90% of voters?

Oh wait, it’s because this image is flat-out propaganda sponsored by those who don’t want this amendment to pass, likely rich-ass Illinoisans. What does this amendment actually do?

Illinois, the state I reside in, has a simple flat income tax of 4.95%. Everyone is taxed at this rate no matter their income. I must admit it’s nice come tax time — you subtract any deductions, bust out a calculator, multiply your taxable income by 4.95% and, bam, there’s your tax rate — but this flat rate seems strange. If you look at the federal income tax, it’s a graduated tax, meaning the tax rate depends on your income, while our state has a flat rate. According to Ballotpedia, 11 other states have a flat income tax rate. Hmmm, that’s a strangely low number.

Speaking of Ballotpedia, they have a ton of information on this proposed amendment and if you’re a curious Illinois resident, check it out, do some research. It’s also interesting to see how the two sides speak about this amendment. The supporters, mostly democrats, have a PAC named “Vote Yes for Fair Tax,” while the oppositions, republicans and farmers, have PACs named “Say No to More Taxes” and “Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike.” Notice how one side claims ‘fairness’ while the other side claims ‘higher taxes.’ These are two totally different arguments. Will this amendment raise taxes? Maybe. Is it fair? Maybe. But these aren’t mutually exclusive.

Here’s a photo of the actual sample ballot and question regarding the proposed amendment. Surprisingly, it does a good job explaining what the hell the amendment actually does.

This doesn’t sound as bad as I was led to believe…

All this does is eliminate the requirement for a flat tax rate in the Illinois constitution. Is that fair? I don’t know, that depends on your view of taxation, but most other states do it this way. Is it going to raise taxes? Yeah, probably, but you’d also assume people with higher incomes, like really high incomes, are going to be taxed to death by Illinois while lower income households might see a small or moderate decrease. Is this good or bad? Well, it depends on what you think is good and bad.

My point here is that this is a subtle thing being voted on in a few months. It’s not the clear cut and dry “higher taxes!” that whatever PAC plopped this fucking ad up on Instagram is claiming. In my opinion the ‘fairness’ argument is a bit better because most people probably do feel that higher income households should pay more, but whatever. I was going to talk about that here, but that seems like it’d just make this an even messier rant. Maybe another time.

In a way this singular ad is representative of what is wrong with our current politics. An ad, one shitty ad on social media funded by people with money, can make people believe one thing when it is nowhere near true or accurate. They toss out a few trigger terms and bad words like ‘higher’ and ‘taxes’ and people immediately foam at the mouth, forming opinions from biases without even looking deeper than their Instagram/Facebook feed. That’s it. They’ll walk into the polling station, vote ‘no,’ possibly against their own benefit, just because something told them that “voting yes” will mean their taxes will go up. Like Billy Bob making $20k a year is going to be taxed at the same 20% that multimillionaires will be taxed at. No, probably not. But he didn’t do any goddamn research and follows right along with what is being spoon-fed to him by people that actually have reason to oppose the amendment.

My entire point is “Don’t be an ignorant voter.” When you see a political ad on social media or anywhere that claims something fucking ridiculously awful, look into it. Honestly I had no idea what this tax amendment was until I saw a ‘vote no on higher taxes’ ad and looked into it. Was Illinois trying to raise taxes? Was it really called “The Tax Hike Amendment?” No one would be that stupid to raise taxes with an amendment named that. When I found the actual proposal, I found nothing wrong with it. “Hey, wait, this is to eliminate the flat-tax rate. Fuck, I like that idea!” I’ve been telling everyone I know what the amendment does and suggesting they vote ‘yes’ on it. I guess that’s the end of my rant. Just don’t be a fucking troglodyte and do your fucking homework. Things you vote on do have real consequences, so go to the voting place knowing something. Don’t see the word ‘tax’ and vote no just because ‘tax’ is a scary word. Don’t think everyone in the government is trying to pilfer your wallet (but be wary at all times!). Don’t let social media sway your goddamn opinions. Google things, read about them, learn a little about taxes, fucking educate yourself.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Where Did the Sun Go?

Last Monday, Labor Day, was a beautiful day. I was running low on vape juice and pods, and went to the local vape shop to buy some more. I even made it to Hobby Lobby to buy some glue for a model rocket that I’m building. It was a gorgeous day and seemed to be the idyllic late-summer day with the temperatures in the high 70s/low 80s and comfortable humidity. It was a nice change after the prior week with heat indexes nearing 100 degrees, a perfect day to have off work as well.

But looking back I realize this was the last time I had seen the sun. Seriously. Over the past week I haven’t caught a glimpse of the nearest star to us, the one that supports nearly all life on earth. In a way it feels like I’ve been cut off from the very thing that gives me energy to live. Literally.

I kinda miss it too. On Labor Day, after the hellishly sunny and hot month of August, I was looking forward to one of those dreary, rainy, and lethargic days. I was sick of the heat, the humidity, and the dead brown yards throughout the city. I was sick of driving around in our Honda Civic with AC that barely worked while the Focus was being repaired. I was sick of being cooped up inside because it was too miserable to be outside longer than it took to grab the mail. I work outside as well and this is it’s own special hell in the summer. To hell with it all, fuck summer, and could we please have some rain just to change things up a bit?

Be careful what you wish for.

My job assignment last week was my least favorite job, but somehow I was able to weasel my way out of it. I was put on one of my favorite jobs: driving the cargo loader, the big machine that lifts/lowers containers of packages out/into large cargo aircraft. I like the job because it’s one of the most important jobs at UPS. If you’re terrible at it, everyone hates you and talks shit about you, and you can even cause the planes to depart late if you’re incompetent enough. The opposite is also true; if you’re good at operating the loader you become somewhat of a workplace hero. Other loader operators watch how you do your job, and I’ve picked up on my coworkers doing some of the same things I do. Not that people worship you or anything, it’s just nice to see your skills rub off on others and know that you’re good enough at your job to be relied and dependent upon. As a one-man job operating the cargo loader has quite a bit of responsibility, but is very fulfilling knowing how important your skill is to the operation in general.

One of these. Source.

Kinda a rant there, sorry. The loader operator also stands outside in whatever weather is going on, as you can see above. In the summer you sweat and are miserable and in the winter two pairs of gloves and socks can’t stop your extremities from going numb. The wind throws rain, sleet, and snow into your face while ripping your skin off in subzero temperatures. But when the weather is pleasant, like on Labor Day, it’s a wonderful time where you get to stand outside, enjoy the weather, and do nothing physical besides move some joysticks and hit a few buttons.

Last week? Rain. Rain every fucking day. And I couldn’t complain about it either because I weaseled my way out of a hated job into a better one. You can’t reneg on a deal and I made sure to see the week through despite the terrible weather. Tuesday was rainy but not too bad. Wednesday didn’t have too much rain, only a wind-driven mist, but I wore a t-shirt like an idiot with temps in the 50s; I froze my ass off. More wind and rain Thursday but at least I wore a flannel while Friday only had drizzle here and there. I just find it interesting how shitty my luck is sometimes, and how I somehow bring it upon myself.

Saturday was also dreary, although it didn’t rain. I’m still struggling with sleep (it’s 4:05 a.m currently and I pounded down an Alka Seltzer and a melatonin a half-hour ago, to no avail) and wake up around 2 p.m. feeling fucking dead. Groggy, sleepy, unmotivated, and the view out of the window never helps. The ambient light level looks more like 7 p.m. than 2 p.m. This has been my past week: wake up at 2 p.m. feeling like a zombie despite sleeping for 9 hours, walking through tiny puddles on the way to my car at 3:30, lethargically driving with my eyes half-closed trying to decide what to listen too (upbeat music or something more lethargic?), drifting towards the timeclock, answering “Ehhh?” when my supervisor asks me how I’m doing, and standing out in the rain while I move some joysticks and smash some buttons during an airplane unload. Feeling my pants slowly become soaked by the rain and wind. Unmotivated to write or to read or do anything but also wanting to do something to pass the hours at work. Luckily when the sun does set you aren’t aware that it’s still fucking cloudy out.

According to the WeatherBug app, tomorrow (today I suppose) will be ‘partly sunny’ (is there a difference between partly sunny and partly cloudy?) with temps in the mid-70s. Not sure about the wind because no one cares about the wind. It sounds like it’ll be a beautiful day and I think I’m going to sit outside and bask in the sunlight, at least for a few minutes until I get bored and lurk back inside to play video games, post this, or whatever.

And holy shit, look at this:

THERE IT IS!

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.