Category Archives: I Suck

Motivation Sucks

I always think I’ll end up writing about the same topics over and over until I simply run out of stuff to write about. A good example was that first sentence; I know I’ve already complained running out of topics a handful of times on this blog even if there hasn’t been a dedicated post about it (or has there?). And motivation, the supposed topic of this post, haven’t I already complained about that?

The way blogs work, being sorta in the social media sphere, is that people forget. I could take a post I’d written months or years ago, copy-and-paste it into a new post, and no one would notice. I’m not going to do that because it’s corrupt and shady but if there is nothing directly wrong with doing so, what would be wrong with writing about the same topics again? I doubt what I said in earlier posts is somehow fundamental truth that cannot be changed, altered, or added to so beating the same topics over and over isn’t really that big of an issue. I think I just overthink things in case you didn’t notice. There’s always the fact that life is all about learning, so each post about [certain topic] should have some insights that the previous ones didn’t have.

So motivation. My sister mentioned (and I don’t know where she heard it from) that motivation is like a muscle; you can only use it so much before it’s worn out. Makes sense, kinda simple and obvious really, but we seem to think we can muster motivation out of the ether and do whatever the hell we want/need to do with little care if we can actually accomplish our goals. You’ve heard the motivational stuff: do what needs to be done, don’t think about it, progress, hard work, goals, just fucking do it!

But there is this thing called “Burnout” that you have to be aware of. That’s my problem lately: I’m burned out with writing.

My problem isn’t going too hard at a single goal, but having the inability to focus on a single goal in the first place. I’m trying to do this blog. I’m trying to work on two fictional stories and a Morrowind fanfic. Toss in all the other random shit that life involves and I feel so scattered around mentally that I can’t even think straight. When is that Comcast bill due? Did my dad/mom pay me money for the phone bill yet? Did I even update the spreadsheet to reflect that? Did I reply to that comment on my blog yet? Did I update various autopay accounts with my new credit card number? Oh, I need to fix the car again — find problem, diagnose problem, buy parts, fix problem. What should I write about for my subconscious story? What kinda ending should it have? Nevermind that, what about the story about work? And what about the Morrowind fanfic? I need to have the next part posted today! I haven’t written on Everything Sucks in a few days, better do that even if I have nothing to write about…

This obviously leads to a type of paralysis where you can’t do anything. I want to say it’s like writer’s block, but it’s definitely different. It’s not so much that there isn’t anything to write about, it’s that I haven’t thought about anything long enough to actually finish the thought. There’s about ten blog fragments in my mind and my Google Doc is 53 pages long but nothing is solid enough to make progress on. You might’ve noticed the low-quality and sporadic (more sporadic than usual) posts here that haven’t really went anywhere. I feel like I’m limping along. I was hoping maybe I could rake in record viewers this month, but it doesn’t look like it’ll happen. Hey, #2 most viewed month isn’t that bad, right? I’ve sacrificed progress here to make progress elsewhere. It’s a zero sum game. You take from one area of creativity to put it elsewhere. Motivation is like a muscle and you can only do so much before you wear it out.

Big shout out to creative writing for especially being a motivation murder. That takes work; I used to think blogging took work, but I’ve found myself writing blogs here to procrastinate the creative writing process. Blogging is easy compared to creative writing! Who would’ve thought. Even in my scattered mental state I’m sure that I complained about that in the last post. So I won’t continue on.

And as always, thanks for listening to my rant.

Deadlines (and Procrastination) Suck

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday, the regular crowd shuffles in while I find myself staring at the screen. I have shit to do — things to write, but I’m really dreading the task. I have a deadline to meet and it’s the type of deadline I’m not used to dealing with. It’s a self-imposed deadline.

I think everyone is used to fighting with dreaded deadlines as they seem to be a part of life, especially for those in school/college or in certain jobs. Seeing as even high school imposes deadlines — study deadlines before tests, paper deadlines, essay deadlines, project deadlines, and the terrible speech deadlines — everyone has surely dealt with the stress of an ever approaching target that they fail to make progress on meeting.

Deadlines are obviously related to procrastination. I find it interesting that in over 100 posts I haven’t written anything about procrastination yet. This makes sense though because I avoid deadlines like the plague. I’m not in school and I have a stupidly cushy job that while having deadlines, these apply to our whole crew in general. It’s never a personal thing to deal with. Everyone suffers together.

Procrastination is a scary beast and I don’t have much to say about it that hasn’t been said already. A few years ago I discovered this magnificent blog post by Tim Urban from Wait But Why, and it says everything about procrastination that needs to be said. It’s awful, we know it’s wrong, but yet we do it. Instead of making progress on our goals well into the future distant from the deadline we take comfort in the time — the time that is always disappearing — that we still have left. Procrastination makes zero sense to the logical human, if you think about it no one should ever procrastinate. If you have time, just use it, right?

(He also did a TED talk on it. It’s like a watchable version of his rather wordy post.)

We all know this isn’t true and I’m guilty of it myself even if I know it’s wrong. I don’t even recall how many month-long papers I’ve had to write that I churned out the night before. And when I was in college I even involved alcohol in the process. I’d buy a bottle of vodka, dread the next few hours, drink, and start typing a multi-page paper. Reinforcing this process was the fact that I’d always get As on them along with a few Bs. There was nothing to turn me away from my procrastination habits besides the dread of it all, and the dread instantly disappears when you’re finally finished and receive a decent grade on the hastily and drunkenly written paper. Sure, I’d remember the dread, but then I’d procrastinate the dread of the dread itself. I’ll worry about worrying about it later. The layers of my procrastination are deep; it’s procrastination all the way down.

My life has been nearly deadline free for years now and it’s been nice. I don’t fuck around with deadlines. A popular way to be consistent with blogging is to force yourself to post on a set schedule: set a deadline. I’ve always thought that deadlines fuck with the creative process, plus the anxiety of procrastination was something I didn’t want to purposefully bring upon myself, so I never worried about a posting schedule. (I really think this dim view of deadlines and the creative process is really just me finding another way to procrastinate. Procrastination is a fucking demon.) Take a look at the WordPress display of my post: there is no pattern to it at all. I sit around taking my time and when inspiration hits I churn out a blog post.

Maybe there is some slight pattern? If there is, it isn’t on purpose.

The same is true with my creative writing. I only write when inspired. This is probably why only write at most three chapters a month. Progress has been terribly slow because I’ve had no reason to speed it up without a goal or a deadline.

Until 2020 that was.

One of my resolutions was to write a Morrowind fanfiction story. You can find a link to it here. I promised myself that I’d write a new chapter weekly and post it on Wattpad on Sunday. That’s tomorrow today by the way…I’m sure you see where this post is going and what inspired it. How hard would it be? It’s a fanfiction so I wouldn’t have to take it too seriously. I’d have a whole week to make a new chapter; that’s plenty of time, right? Yes, it is plenty of time until the procrastination kicks in and you find yourself starting the new chapter on Saturday. 26 hours until it needs to be posted. I need to write it, make it sound good, proofread it for errors. Read it again for errors. And then, after hours and hours of stress, writing, and editing when I don’t want to do any of it, I find success. Writing fucking sucks. And then another six days to piss away until it happens again. Repeat for a year or two until the story is finished.

The first few weeks weren’t a problem because I had already been dabbling in writing the story. I mostly had the first few chapters ready to go and I only had to clean them up before posting. But now? I’m in the thick of it. I’m out of pre-written chapters. This week was the first week I had to actually creating something out of thin air purposefully with a deadline. It’s awful and I’m dreading every weekend even more than I already have been. But I am glad to say it’s mostly done. I only have the dirty work of editing left. Yay…

That’s actually why I’m writing this post by the way: I’m procrastinating. I’ve realized for a few months now that this blog has turned into my procrastination project. Instead of doing the difficult work of writing fiction and being creative I get on here and bitch about stuff. It’s easy to do — well, easier than fiction — and I’m actually surprised I’ve turned writing blog posts into a project to procrastinate. It used to be video games and YouTube, so I suppose I am making some progress.

The anxiety is good though. I see why people set hard goals for their projects. If you always wait until you “feel like doing something” you’ll never get around to it, and if you do, it’ll be a much longer time than what it would’ve been. Procrastination sucks. Deadlines suck. Writing sucks. But despite this it is forcing me to make progress in the things I want to make progress in. It’s just highly uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing.

Well, now to work on that damn story…

Facebook Advertising Sucks: Feeling Like a Sellout

I feel dirty. I feel manipulative. I feel like I’m part of the problem. I feel like I am capitalism incarnate. I feel like a sell-out.

But not really when I actually force myself to think about it.

I wrote a post last year about how Facebook advertising sucks. My main issue with it was that based on your metrics, you find yourself targeting people that are your core audience. To use a political example: if you write some liberalesque blog posts and set up ads targeted towards conservatives (in an attempt to not be biased and to get people to see another opinion outside of their comfort zones) you’ll either be ignored or totally shit upon. Since money is at stake with advertisements, the natural tendency for yourself is to market only to like-minded people so you’ll minimize your cost per reach metric. It makes sense and this is how capitalism works. No one spends money on shit that is pointless. You find yourself narrowing in on the demographic that already agrees/cares about what you’re writing and contributes to echo-chambers online.

(Big Note About Facebook and Self-Promotion: I took all my rambly Facebook-inspired posts and glued them together into an ebook. If you want to read it here’s the link.)

This post, while sort of similar, is complaining about a different aspect of advertising. I want to write about how advertising makes me feel morally corrupt for some reason even though I know it’s perfectly justifiable. It’s one of those deep-seated personality traits I have that I can’t seem to shake. If I advertise or try to sell anything — even if what I’m advertising is totally legit and real — I feel awful about it.

I’ve been dabbling in Facebook advertising for a few years now, but have never seriously been involved with it. I’d “boost a post” here and there, and back when my sister and I were trying to sell shirts I’d toss some money towards ads. It was never that much, perhaps $25 or $50 here or there, and we never found much success with doing so. I advertised my two ebooks on Facebook and Reddit and once again didn’t find much success with it. Yesterday I decided to give it another shot. I started another ad for my personal authors page on Facebook (gimme a ‘like’ if you’re feeling like it) yesterday and have been suffering all over again with it. The moral dilemma that always comes up. Is this really the way to success? Paying Facebook money to market my page?

It works though. Back in October I advertised for the page and actually hit some success with it. In a week my page’s ‘likes’ went from about 20 or so (all close friends and supporters) to over 100: people actually liked my page after seeing it forced upon them. I’m always curious about who actually likes advertised pages because they stick out like a sore thumb to me. But I’m glad some people don’t notice, don’t care, or are actually impressed by what they see. I think this cost me $50 or so. Then peak season began at work and I didn’t worry about marketing myself. I’d worry about it later, like maybe around January 10th.

We live in strange times. The internet has changed what is possible in the past few decades. It’s strange to think back to times before the internet existed. I think of how “easy” it is to do your own think with the internet; anyone can set up an Etsy shop, self-publish on Amazon, have a blog, sell artwork, make fanfiction stories…anything. Your talents can now be visible to the entire world. Wow. I think we’re literally in a golden age of creativity thanks to the internet. I think of what people did to be authors or writers before 2000. Think of physically printing and sending manuscripts to publishers week after week in an attempt to actually make a name for yourself. We don’t need to worry about that. Anyone can make an account somewhere and start writing, painting, etc. Anyone can be creative and get themselves out into the world, and isn’t that what we all want to do? Express our souls and have people notice what we’re saying?

The problem with the openness of the internet is that everyone else is also trying to do their own things. You get lost in the fray of the millions of people trying to make content. Us WordPress bloggers know what the fight means; out of millions of blogs how do you make your site something unique and worth reading? Let alone the question of monetizing and making a job out of it. We’re all tiny bits in some massive machine and how do you get anyone to notice you? You usually don’t. That’s what the struggle is. It isn’t creating or being consistent, it’s being noticed. You could have the best blog/story/music/paintings/poem in the world, but if no one knows about it, who cares?

Sure there is “organic growth” but that is tedious as fuck. As someone who feels like their life is on a timer tickinging down until you either burn out or die, waiting on “organic growth” feels terrible. What if I write some masterpiece when I’m 60 and about to die and no one even hears about it? What if I’m lost in the crowd, out-viewed by people slightly more talented or better at marketing themselves than I am? It’s a scary thought. Being a successful creative person seems to entail being able to market yourself successfully. Hell, even untalented people can market themselves and sell stuff. Think of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. Think of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

This is why I decided to toss some money into Facebook advertising again. I feel like I’m hitting my stride, actually making some small but consistent progress towards my goals, and who is there to take notice? Just a few hundred subscribers and people close friends who ‘like’ my Facebook page. It’s a strange place for me to be in. I’ve struggled with self-esteem recently and still do, but I feel like I’m past it in a way. I don’t feel like the main challenge is being good anymore — this is just hard work, consistency, and stubbornness; a blind eye towards failure — I feel like my main challenge is being noticed. This is the main struggle for us creative types in 2020. It doesn’t seem so much as being good but being noticed in the crowd of millions of people trying to do their own thing.

I feel terrible for advertising though. Once again, logically, I know it doesn’t make sense. I wrote this whole post complaining about “people finding you” and how else do people “find you” besides paying money to make yourself appear on their Facebook feeds? I think of the horror stories on Twitter where people simply buy followers and at least I’m not doing that, right? The people that see my shitty and contrived ads don’t have to ‘like’ or ‘follow’, but some of them do. Am I selling out to capitalism and the tempation of being famous or am I just wanting people to find something that they might enjoy to read? I really think it’s the latter, but my gut still tells me I’m a sellout. I think I naturally want to slave away in total obscurity and never do anything notable and it seems like a conscious effort to sabotage myself in that way. Yes, I feel bad for advertising, but I know I shouldn’t feel this way. I’m not gaming the system. I’m not “cheating.” I’m not cooking books or making shady contracts. I’m just trying to get people to notice the stuff I’m creating which I’m actually proud of even if I don’t like to admit it. And in the writing/blogging/self-publishing market, isn’t this what the big challenge actually is?

Even after writing this I still don’t feel good about it.

New Year's Resolutions (Don't) Suck?

Note: I don’t want to write. I don’t want to post. I don’t want to think about the optimal time to schedule a post. But I have to: this post has a dictated timeframe with it being about the goddamn New Year. I simply don’t have a choice. So time to buckle down and force something out against my will. This is the struggle of blogging.

I’ve never been a fan of making New Year’s Resolution (as you can read here) but I recently watched a YouTube video by Veritasium that has somehow gotten me totally hyped for the New Year. (I’ll link it below if I can figure out how to do so. You know, learning WordPress and all…) Like I’ve bought into all the bullshit about it for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’ve felt like the past year or two has been an incomprehensible blur and I want a firm date to change my mindset and make small but perceptible changes to my self and my life? I don’t know. At this point I’m not trying to question my random positive mood here. I’m running with it as is because it is a rare and uplifting thing for me to do.

HOLY SHIT LINKING TO A VIDEO WORKED! ON POST 101 I’VE LEVELED UP!

If you didn’t watch the video, Derek explains a few key takeaway points about resolutions:

  1. New Year’s is the best time to set out to do something
  2. Despite #1 most resolutions fail because of the following three reasons:
  3. Resolutions need to be small and not too big or dramatic
  4. They need to be measurable and clear. Vague resolutions will almost always fail
  5. They mustn’t require a ton of willpower

When you’re given these restraints you instantly see the idea of resolutions as better than the popular pipe-dreams you typically hear spouted off. Instead of criticizing people for picking random and unachievable stuff like “be a better person” or “lose weight” you start to realize that maybe by picking smaller and easier to achieve things you might actually be able to fundamentally change yourself in the 365 366 days that are 2020 (2020 is a leap year?! Hello February 29th!). Given these restraints you might start to feel emboldened: maybe New Year’s Resolutions are a good way to start your journey throughout the New Year?

As for my actual resolutions, I’m leaning towards something like giving a single compliment to someone every day. It’s not dramatic, it’s measurable, and achievable but at the same time me going out of my mostly negative and reclusive shell to actually dish out compliments might do me good in the long run. Like Derek said, it’s the idea behind improving 1% a day which leads to massive improvements over time. Now that I think of this more, it does seem pretty adventurous too; what do I do on weekends when I’m only around family? Do I make a pact to only compliment strangers because complimenting family is too easy? Where I’ll have to compliment the denizens that inhabit Walmart or the local derelict gas station? There are some details to work out here for sure because I see some easy ways out for my future self. But I think it’s a good start.

Another possible idea I’ve discovered scouring Veritasium’s YouTube page (he mentioned putting resolutions in the comments) was to wake up early every day. I have a nasty habit of waking up at 12 p.m. after pissing away hours in bed looking a Reddit between 12-3 a.m. so this might help my mood, writing, blogging, productivity, etc. Other random and possible ideas I might settle on are reading something everyday, writing something everyday, and only drinking on Sunday. They are mostly small, easy to enact, and measurable (if I clear up the general “something” that is) so should be accomplishable, but as stated I still have two days to flesh out my ideas into something more concrete. Let me know what your resolutions are below so I might be able to steal them if they’re good enough.

New Year’s Resolutions suck. But this year I’m finding myself embracing them.

Closing Note: I’ve also had this terrible idea to make shirts hating on the New Year.

The Weekend Sucks

To start this off let me state that this is the 99th post on this blog. Wow. As anyone who blogs knows, starting is always the hardest part and you find yourself constantly filled with anxiety about how you can continue to write posts. Like it was a struggle to write the first, second, third, tenth, twentieth post and how can you keep going? But 100? Shit. I’ve almost done it. I’ve been planning to elaborate on that in the next post — the 100th one — and have been wanting to just bullshit my way through the 99th one which is this one. Not that I’m not mildly inspired, but after a week of working nonstop 12-hours days I just want to get something out, even if it is subpar. (And by it being “subpar” everyone will probably fucking love it for some reason.)

I hit a wall of depression last weekend. And looking back on most of my depressive episodes I’ve realized they mostly happen on the weekend. My mood throughout the week is like clockwork; on Monday I’m kinda lethargic and depressed but don’t think about things, and on Tuesday through Thursday I’m great. I’m at work and busy. Any free time before 4:00 p.m. is filled with coffee drinking blogging/writing stories and then I go to work. This is why I always seem to have a post up on Monday or Tuesday, it’s just my flow or something trying to capitalize on my free time before work. Friday is a really slow off-day where I’m like gearing up for my weekly weekend depressive episode with going to work at 7 p.m.; I’m given enough off-time where I get antsy and don’t know what to do but ultimately still have work to distract me. And then Saturday and Sunday are hell. Some weeks are worse than others, but they’re always really shitty.

With all the hours I’ve been working lately something has been painfully obvious to me: keeping busy keeps a depressive’s mind off of being depressed. Literally for 12 hours each day in the past three weeks I have been so busy to where I cannot reflect or overthink anything about my life. I wrote a quick fictional chapter over at my other blog about my daily routine and while quite a bit is exaggerated for effect the general theme is true. I wake up at 9 a.m. and pound caffeine for an hour until I go to work. I then deal with total chaos and bullshit until my hour or two lunch break. This is usually filled with tagging along with coworkers to a restaurant or their house or whatever. (My car is out of service so I’m driving an uninsured and non-exhaust-equipped 1997 Saturn SL 2 to work everyday. Coworkers offer to shuttle me around between shifts so I don’t have to really think about what I’m going to do. I just tag along.) Then it’s back to work for my second shift. I get off around 10 p.m. and dick around for a few exhausted hours at home playing video games and drinking tea until I go to bed. Repeat for weeks. Grind away with each little problem that arises without care for the general direction of life. Doing this I’m perfectly and happily distracted.

Until the weekend that is. I think it’s made worse by the hours I’m working. When you work six days straight and are so constantly busy that you can’t get your bearings you simply don’t have time to think. No time to reflect upon the position and trajectory of your life. To think about how other people perceive you. No time to think about how you’ll actually die one day, really, and that it is inevitable as the sun rising in the morning. And how every day, hour, and minute you piss away is wasting away the very gift of life that you own. No time to shit all over yourself for not keeping up with writing/blogging like you should’ve been doing. No time to think about all the things you’ve said at work and ponder how they’re received by your coworkers. No time to question if everyone only acts like they like you while secretly hating you. No time to let your mind wander to where you see yourself as the odd-man out, the lonely person that isn’t really part of the group, the excluded one. There are others and then there is you: singular, alone, trapped in a box and unable to bond with anyone. No time to wonder why you feel this way even though there is no reason to do so. The weekend gives me plenty of time for all of these pointless, illogical, and dark feelings to well up in my mind and overwhelm me.

Making it worse is the fact that it’s all so damn irrational. I’ve finally found some self-esteem. I realize that I’m a likeable person, at least towards those I actually want to be likeable towards. Yet the weekend gives me these random thoughts that I’m just not busy enough to kill. I think I almost crave the hellish work of life, because that is what keeps my mind from overthinking and wandering to darker things that lurk around in my head. I really do hate being as busy as I’ve been, but it’s been keeping me sane and happy. Dumb, unaware, and unthinking but fucking happy. It reminds me of animals who live their day-to-day lives in total peace and seemingly unawareness. They just do what they need to do and don’t overthink like us stupid humans do.

I don’t know. Maybe I should try to have a weekend hobby or something, but the problem here is hobbies are optional and I would never purposefully subject myself to the type of hell that was work even if it does make me happy. “Why don’t you just constantly write on the weekends dude?” you might ask. Well, you can’t force yourself to write for two days straight if you’re not inspired and writing also involves some degree of self-introspection that can bring about the dark feelings that I’m trying to avoid. I don’t have a solution to the problem; I hate the weekends for the same reason that I hate vacations and I don’t know how to fix the problem.

So there it is: number 99.

My Parents Suck

I think the primary challenge to the new blogger (at least one as anxious as myself) is getting over the fear that someone they know — friends, family, or coworkers — might read their writings and judge them, perhaps harshly. Anyone who has blogged for more than a few months knows this is an unfounded fear: most people don’t actually give two shits about what you’ve written let alone recalling the fact that you’ve been writing in the first place. I recall my cousin asking me about this blog a year or so ago: “So you’ve have, uh, what’s it called? A blog? And you write? That’s really cool. I haven’t actually read any of it yet though…” Yeah. No shit. No one in the family does and I’ve stopped worrying about them reading it a long time ago. I feel like I can bash them all I want and no one would ever know.

This post will be a little different though if you read the title again. My parents do “follow” this blog on Facebook even though I don’t think they’ve read a single thing I’ve written. Ever. It seems fitting for the topic at hand, doesn’t it? Despite not reading anything I’ve written, I think them seeing a big, fat, blue and white banner saying MY PARENTS SUCK might get them to change their minds, if only temporarily. I’m not going to post this on Facebook. I’m not scared they’ll read this, I’m just worried that if I write this in the frame of mind that they could read it I might not be as open as I would be otherwise. And if they do read it? Who cares? It might do them good to read it and especially so if I wrote it as blatantly truthful as possible because I thought that they wouldn’t read it. So this will just be a secret between myself and those who find it themselves.

I don’t think kids realize how much their parents affect them growing up. I’ve always felt separate and unique from everyone else and being a child was no different. I’ve always felt like myself and never considered that my family/parents where shaping me as a person. Obviously being around parents/guardians as an impressionable kid will change you, it just never felt like it at the time. As a child you also have no outside perspective as to how other parents really are. All you are aware of your narrow personal situation are are hopelessly ignorant of other families. You don’t realize that other families can and are horribly fucked up or immensely better than yours unless you have knowledge of them. In short, being raised in a fucked up home can easily lead you to think the situation is normal. You grow up inevitably altered and perhaps even damaged without even being aware of it. It’s scary.

As an adult I’ve grown to appreciate how many flaws probably stem from the damage my parents inflicted, usually unintentional damage. And I want to stress that we (my sister and I) didn’t not have a bad upbringing with a capital B. No one was molested, abused, or tortured. We never starved. We never suffered. But I think this made it harder for me to accept the damage; by not having a Bad upbringing how much damage could’ve been done? It doesn’t take a dramatic event to mold you though. The small and nearly imperceptible hits you take daily slowly bend and form you even if you’re unaware of it.

The Mom

My mom was crazy. Unhinged. Angry. Depressed. Memories are vague from my childhood but she would always be yelling at us. Tell us how ungrateful we were and how we didn’t do anything to help out around the house. Her anger was always relegated to yelling and despite constant threats to “beat our asses” she was rarely violent. We’d usually laugh it off because she was never a threat. A dog with a fearful bark but no bite. My dad and her would scream and fight at each other and I vaguely recall her grabbing knives a few times, but usually would just throw random shit at him. He never seemed to do anything bad to her, but I later come to understand what I had missed with age; my dad wasn’t a saint.

She was very selfish and self-centered. Everyone had to cater to her. She is still this way although she has improved immensely over the years. But she is still a fucked up person. You always need to do the work, or to have an understanding of her unique situation; she always needs to be catered towards. If she owes you money, for example, you need to drive to her house and get it yourself. And you need to be grateful that she even paid you back the money! “I hope you’re happy” she has said to me a few times upon paying me money for our mutual phone bill. Yes, I’m serious. She also “borrowed” $200 from me once and upon nagging her for a payment, she wondered why I didn’t want to help her out and wasn’t grateful for her raising me. It wasn’t the point, I said, a loan was a loan and you can’t just change the terms of what was agreed upon. I still don’t have my $200 either…ANYWAYS…

Apparently she struggled with mental illness and depression the entire time we were kids (and still does), but it always seemed like an excuse. She’d endlessly bitch, yell, complain, and scream at us and justify doing so with her depression. If you tried to argue any opposing point of view about anything she’d usually break down crying, play the victim, and talk about her depression. Always on the attack until you attack her and then she is the victim. And endless “woe is me” story. You literally cannot tell her she’s wrong in a firm way without her being a victim. Considering the previous paragraph, depression always seemed a way for her to make anything instantly about herself. She was the one hurting, no one else understood this, and to hell with anyone else suffering: it was her that needed the most help.

The Dad

My dad was much more “normal” I guess, but his demons and flaws were just not as obvious to us kids. I remember writing a paper in fifth-grade calling him “my hero” and also remember my mom being ultra-pissed that I wrote it. “He’s not a hero, you don’t know the bad things he’s done.” I attributed it to her being mean and pissy (like always) but surprisingly she was onto something. Dad is fucked up, and maybe even more so than our mom. We just didn’t know it really. Mom was openly fucked up whereas dad wasn’t.

He sometimes would drink and would become mean and violent. He’d throw shoes at us. Always the loving father sober he would be transformed by a few drinks into a total asshole. He told us many times “I never wanted you guys anyways” or something along those lines. When we’d get upset by it he’d claim that “drinking made him tell the truth.” It’s one of those things you don’t think sticks with you, but apparently when you write a blog post about it decades later it still hurts. LIke, shit, that was really mean. I was really hurt by it. Luckily he didn’t drink that much, maybe once a month if I could guess. But when he did drink things weren’t good.

That was a classic sign of my dad’s flaws: being too hidden to be honest with himself or others. He’s still that way too, maybe even more so. Passive-aggressive as anyone could ever be. He never directly insulted you or had an opinion as most of his actual opinions and thoughts were hidden behind jokes where he could say what was on his mind and laugh it off if challenged or questioned. Anything emotional was hidden. I’m assuming this is why he’d be a dick when drunk. Everything came flooding out and you couldn’t really blame him because he kept packing baggage deep within himself. And this is why my mom would be immensely mad at him; he would say smart-ass “joking” remarks that were very incendiary towards her, and her being fucking crazy in the first place would totally lose it. He’d pick at her, subtly insult and provoke her and all of this went right over the heads of the short and ignorant children that we were. Dad wasn’t evil, but as mom was well aware he wasn’t a saint either.

I’m certain my dad’s emotional immaturity stems from his mom’s — our grandma — death from stroke when he was twelve. I assume he was faced with some serious emotional shit and coped by just stuffing it deep inside and ignoring it. He had a slew of brothers and sisters and being one of the oldest required him to grow up quickly and act as a parental figure. As I’m talking about myself being fucked up by my childhood situation, you also have to realize my dad is also fucked up from his childhood situation. You can’t blame him I guess. I guess you can’t blame anyone really. It’s one big giant chain of fucked up people raising fucked up kids. And so on.

And Myself

And now onto myself. How am I fucked up? That’s hard to answer because knowing yourself is hard to do, at least it is for me. I struggle with depression, maybe some genetic holdover from my mom. I don’t know. And my depression is usually hidden, tucked away, and kept quiet possibly due to my mom’s bombastic treatment of the subject. Remember depression was her go-to, catch-all reasons for everything. It didn’t feel like serious depression even if it really was. It seemed like something she’d bring up to win arguments or to get us to do things. She never tried to get help (that I recall), making it seem even more trivial. I guess I’m totally opposed to this. I see depression as a serious thing, so don’t want to bring it up to strangers and coworkers every day or to play the victim all the time. In a way I probably keep it too hidden and end up being more like my dad. Shit.

Most of what I learned through my mom was an opposite reaction to her. She was open about mental illness to a degree that trivialized it; I keep it hidden because it’s a serious subject to me. My mom would also yell and act generally crazy while I try to remain calm and logical. She was/is also terrible with managing money, and as a response I ended up being super talented at managing money; this still leads me and her to arguing like the examples above. I do have her mouth, as you can fucking tell from my writings, but otherwise she taught me who not to be and it probably worked out for the best honestly.

As for my dad? I think I have the same “opposite action” thing going on from him, especially lately now that I’ve realized the ways he is flawed. As stated my dad avoids problems by not acknowledging them. He recently had a pulmonary embolism where his breathing became worse and worse over a few weeks. A few weeks. Just avoid the problem until it goes away, right? He’s also terribly overweight but doesn’t seem to care about it, not enough to change his habits at least. He’s also diabetic but doesn’t give two shits about insulin and checking his blood sugar as well as he should. It’s the same emotionally: closed off and not acknowledging any issues whatsoever. So as a reply to this I’ve been trying to be much more open and receptive of my problems. Realize the problem, make a plan to solve the problem, fix the problem. It’s easy and the hardest part is realizing the problem in the first place.

On a more visceral level I think I’m so terrified, anxious, and frightened because of my upbring. Once again our parents arguing was never an obvious problem at the time, but something seems to have been carried into adulthood from the fights. One scenario really stands out. A few years ago my dad moved in with my mom to help her pay for her house (yes they are divorced and yes they did move back in for financial reasons and no it did not work well at all) mostly because she’s bad with money. They somehow got into a yelling argument just like they did decades ago and something deep inside me appeared. A visceral terror and fear of people arguing. The precipice right before a simple disagreement turned into full-fledged yelling, and possible knife-grabbing and waving and object tossing affair. I felt panic and on-edge and tears creeping around inside my eyelids but adult me was able to choke the feelings back down, but in the moment I felt like I was instantly teleported back into my eight or ten-year-old body feeling as helpless and terrified as a child me would feel. When you have those memories from childhood hidden deep down inside you where you’re not even aware of them, is it that hard to imagine that they might also be the source of anxiety and fear that seem to haunt me daily?

I also have very strong beliefs about my upbringing and my inability to persevere in the face of difficulty. I totally blame them for how I am with this aspect of my personality. I had very good grades as a kid. I was smart. I was the kid the teachers would “want an entire classroom of!” or some bullshit like that. I didn’t have to try hard to succeed at school or anything academic. My entire life in school was one of ease — no effort, no motivation, no difficulty — and I’d be rewarded anyways. They also kept telling me how smart and talented I was and how I could do anything I wanted to do if I just applied myself! Bullshit. This is my biggest regret about my childhood and what I blame my parents for the most: I didn’t learn how to persevere.

I know they were trying to be supportive to their kids (maybe as a reply to their own parents’ lack of support?) but that’s how you scar them and cripple them as adults. Before this blogging ordeal I never tried anything difficult that was outside of my comfort zone and in some ways I think I enjoy blogging so much because of the challenge to persevere in the face of zero obvious progress. I never experienced failing over and over until I succeeded because I never had to do that as a child. By endlessly encouraging me as a child they crippled my ability to weather defeat and learn perseverance. I learned that I didn’t need to take chances. I’m a softy. I can’t take rejection or failure. I can’t hear criticisms. And damn is it a struggle to unlearn things you’ve had beaten into you for literal decades.

This was a really long and rambly post that probably didn’t offer any readers anything in return, but I wanted to vent a bit. How have your parents (or other adults) fucked you up? Did they do it in small and subtle ways like mine did despite having an average childhood? Do you have strange personality quirks that you’re not sure where they came from? Did you have a good childhood and your parents actually didn’t cause you much harm? Are you a well-off and well-rounded adult? Or did you have a childhood from hell where all you learned to do was be beaten and insulted day after day? Where your adulthood is mostly a struggle to live and deal with all the trauma inflicted upon you?

Double-Shifting (and Boredom) Sucks

It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.

-David Foster Wallace
…one of these hideous bastards. Note the stubby and goofy looking wings.

I’m currently sitting in a van on the cargo ramp at UPS. The current time is 11:17 a.m. and my crew (consisting of about 9 people) is scheduled to unload an Airbus A300 cargo airplane due to arrive at 12:09 p.m. It’s a little less than an hour away. And what will we do in the meantime? Nothing: we sit. This is what we do at UPS. The motto tossed around to new-hires is usually this: Hurry Up and Wait. I’ve been there so long that it’s basically lost its meaning to me.

The coworker in the front seat has his phone’s volume on full-blast playing some shitty mobile game. I don’t even know what game it is or if it’s even shitty, but it’s a mobile game so it probably is shitty. Also considering the certain coworker that’s playing it leads me to think it’s certainly a shitty game. I hear the cheap sound-effects of change clinking and crowds cheering feebly spewing out of the phone’s minuscule speaker which gives the sound a tinny quality. It’s like someone rubbing crumpled aluminum foil directly on your eardrums. The coworker next to me sometimes glances over in my direction and his breath is terrible. The people in the rear of the van — a Chevy passenger van that seats about 15 people fully loaded — are small-talking that everyone does when there is nothing to actually talk about. Because silence in and of itself is terrifying and scary. Two coworkers are in the back silent ripping away on their vapes. At least they’re not bothering anyone so I give them credit for that.

I’m working the UPS day-shift this year because there is no reason not to work it. UPS is a union job so it’s all-around a pretty comfy affair. Our contract with the company dictates that anything worked over five hours in a day is time-and-a-half pay: my typical $19.95 wage skyrockets to nearly $30 after the fifth hour. In a nine-hour day we’re taking some serious money here, and because I’m bored trying to kill time and math is something fun to do, this is a gross daily pay of exactly $219.45. Holy shit. Maybe double shifting isn’t too bad after all? While the money is good it’s not my primary reason for working the extra shift in a twisted sort of way if you can believe it. I’m a bum. I don’t do anything productive. I usually sleep and write during the scheduled day-shift hours. Sometimes I play video games. There is no reason not to work because making $30 an hour is hard to pass up when you literally have nothing better to do.

My typical shift at UPS is the twilight shift, 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. By doubling on days I work an 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. shift with an hour-ish lunch break in between. And why can I pick up these extra shifts around this time of year? Because I work at UPS. We deliver boxes. And it’s December. Fucking think about it. We’re being swamped by packages and UPS as a company throws around money with complete disregard simply to get people like me to stick around longer than usual, take extra shifts, and get those damn packages shipped. Mostly so the stereotypical American in the fury of Christmas Holiday shopping doesn’t become pissed that their boxes showed up a day or two late. Weeks before Christmas the Holiday itself obviously, but still they will be very upset nonetheless.

Knowing the shift was going to be terribly long and boring I brought in something to read: David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King. I almost feel bad complaining about taking extra shifts where I have enough downtime to read a book, write blog posts, and get paid nearly $30 an hour to do so, but the way anyone gauges anything is from their own relative personal experiences and it’s difficult for me to see anything that pisses me off in a positive light even if it is, logically, a positive thing. I hate being bored even if $30 is being thrown at me every single hour.

I started reading the book about a month ago and became bored, yes bored, about halfway through and only recently began reading it again (curious timing, looking back on it). The major complaints about the book are that it’s boring as hell, and even throughout the book the author explains (or maybe it was in the forward?) that the book is almost meant to be boring. Wallace’s most well-known novel Infinite Jest had it’s moments where it lagged a bit, but was a much more riveting story overall. Hell, The Pale King is about IRS employees and the whole IRS being central to the story almost forces it to be a boring story. So it’s not that Wallace is just a boring writer, it seems that he made the book boring on purpose. It’s the theme of the book: boredom. While I don’t know exactly what he is trying to say about boredom, I know he is trying to say something about it. And the book forces you to face the boredom directly; it doesn’t talk about boredom as much as it forces you to live through it by boring you to death. Some chapters are so full of random boring details about forms, procedures, codes, and acronyms that it had to be a conscious choice on the author’s part. And in my current bored state of double shifting, the novel seems like the universe’s way of talking directly to me (again). I find myself immensely engaged with the story that is so bland and devoid of anything obviously purposeful at all.

I realize that what I’m scared of with my extra work hours is not being burned out, or not having enough free time, but of being bored. Something about being bored is a personal affront to my very being it seems. My normal UPS shift forces me to find things to do for sometimes literal hours, and by taking on a second shift I get to double my boredom! And in some ways it’s worse than that; by working a nine or ten-hour day my phone inevitably dies. No writing. No blogging. No social media. No music. No internet. Nothing. Sometimes the work is so chaotic that the boredom comes in bursts here and there and doesn’t allow you enough time to sit down, relax, think, read, or grasp onto your fading sanity. It’s work just to stop minutes later. And then work again. And then stop. It’s Hurry Up and Wait. Let’s also not forget the one or two-hour lunch wedged in between the shifts either. Not enough time to go home and relax but long enough where you can’t sit around at work. Hence me grabbing McDonald’s, sitting in a parking lot at the end of runway 25 at KRFD and watching planes take-off and land. Like this:

And reading the book I run into this, the end of which I quoted at the top of this post:

The underlying bureaucratic key is the ability to deal with boredom. To function effectively in an environment that precludes everything vital and human. To breath, so to speak, without air.

The key is the ability, whether innate or conditioned, to find the other side of the rote, the picayune, the meaningless, the repetitive, the pointlessly complex. To be, in a word, unborable. I met, in the years 1984 and ’85, two such men.

It is the key to modern life. If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.

-D.F.W., The Pale King

The universe compels me to listen to what it’s trying to tell me. Apparently this time the universe works through the dead author David Foster Wallace and his unfinished novel The Pale King. And if Wallace in his boring-ass book is right, and if double shifting is as torturingly boring as it is so far, well, it looks like I’m well on my way to success, maybe even enlightenment. The key to modern life! I’m going to learn to be bored. To be okay with it. To sit for hours and hours in an airplane cross-legged and perfectly at peace being the embodiment of boredom. Totally fine staring out at the twinkling runway and taxiway lights that appear as bright, vivid, twinkling stars strewn over the ground admiring them endlessly.

(Closing Note: I was trying to make this more of an “update post” but was carried away with my mindset for the day. I wrote the post while bored and just went with it and it ended quite differently than how I originally intended it to end. So I guess this is the “update part” just tacked onto the end. I’m working a bunch of hours. I probably won’t be very active on here unless I knock some stuff out on the weekends and schedule them to post on the weekdays. I can write on my phone just fine, but I can’t edit or post. This also explains the “thanks guys!” post on Sunday. December probably won’t have any record blog views because of this yearly hell I live through; posting will surely suffer. I also might not be very active commenting on other people’s blogs. So if I disappear it isn’t because I forgot about you, it’s because I’m bored and I can’t help being bored and I have no escape from the boredom.)