Category Archives: I Suck

2020 Sucked: A Year of Personal Growth

In the last post I wrote about how shitty 2020 was from a general perspective, something that everyone could kinda agree with. COVID. Wildfires. A few other awful things. But no one’s life consists only of those things, and unless you sit around on social media way too much you might not even be aware of most of them unless they personally affected you. While bitching about the general vibe of 2020 I had to ask myself, “Was the year awful for me, personally?”

Honestly 2020 was a pretty average year. Sure there was plenty of shit that was bad, but there were a few things that were good. I’d rate it 4/10.

I should first talk about my failed New Year’s Resolutions from last year. I had nearly forgotten what they were, but let me try really hard to remember. Finish writing a book. Record a music album. Write a weekly chapter for my Morrowind Fanfic. Give someone a compliment daily. Get over 1,000 monthly blog views. What did I actually accomplish? Jack Shit. I did make it over 1,000 monthly blog views about halfway through the year and have kept my numbers above that (even breaking 2,000 views somehow) but everything else has fallen apart. I haven’t written anything close to story, gave up the Morrowind project months ago, stopped the compliments in February, and haven’t recorded a single finished song.

Note for next year: let’s not do the resolution thing. Sorry guys, I got excited and thought that maybe 2020 could be the year I somehow prove popular knowledge about resolutions wrong. Nope, I’m a failure like everyone else. Don’t fuck with resolutions.

The COVID quarantines gave a great opportunity for of us to improve ourselves in countless ways. Stuck inside your home, possibly out of work, gives everyone a myriad of ways to self-improve although that could be difficult for some. Others took the quarantine as a blessing and set about working on hobbies or self-improvement. You know, taking up a new skill/hobby, reading, writing, making music, doing something to improve their lives/soul. Others like myself, well, I’ll let this picture speak for itself.

I squandered my quarantine and I’m trying not to feel too bad about it. I wasn’t out of work or anything so maybe my quarantine wasn’t “real” enough for me to really buckle down and do something productive. Most of my days and weeks this year were as typical as always with the slight downside of not being able to go out to eat with friends or shop at Walmart after work.

This shitty year had a few positives along with a ton of negatives. This was the first year I finally started therapy, and while it didn’t act like a magic solution to all of my problems with progress so slow as to be non-existent, looking back over the past nine months it’s obvious I have improved. It’s comforting to know that maybe I’m not the ridiculously flawed and depressive person that I thought I was — someone who’s maybe a lost cause — but that I’m perfectly normal with my own flaws and insecurities and that I only need someone to help me work through my issues. There are bad days, bad thoughts, and bad feelings, but I’m much better at putting them into their proper perspectives and waiting for them to pass. I urge anyone who is thinking of seeing a therapist to just fucking do it. Seriously, just give it a shot, and there’s never a better time to start than the beginning of fresh new year.

I also started taking antidepressants this year. There isn’t much to say here, mostly because I’ve been on them for so long that I don’t recall what I felt like before them. Like therapy, they’re not a magical cure-all to depression, but they sure fucking help. It’s still up to you to mentally walk your way through any issues, but the issues I do face don’t seem nearly as bad as they used to be. As before, this makes me feel much more of a normal person as opposed to some totally fucked up nutjob with depression. Maybe my brain just doesn’t have enough serotonin and, oh well, maybe that’s just fine. If I need something to get me back to baseline, that’s fine too, and it has nothing to do with me being a “weak” or “flawed” person.

2020 also had quite a dark period in the middle where my wife and I had a bit of a falling out and I tried to live in the woods. This didn’t work out too well, especially when the cops found me and took me in to talk with a psychologist/psychiatrist/whatever-psych-term-applies here. Looking back with some detachment from it…maybe it was something that needed to happen. We’ve been going to marriage counseling and like therapy it has helped, albeit in a very slow and almost impossible to notice way. If anything personally sucked for me in 2020 it was this dark period of a month or so in the summer. It was a depressingly bleak time and I’d be fine if I never have to live through anything like that ever again.

I also think of my friends; nearly all of them are going through their own personal shit that makes my whiny rants seem childish. One friend, a friend from high school, had his mother pass away earlier this year. His roommate, mid-30s, also passed away from brain cancer (I think) a few months after his mother passed. I want to say there was a suicide close to him as well, but maybe I’m confusing him with someone else. My sister had her wife cheat and leave her, and a few other friends are going through separations/divorces where kids are involved so the situation is super fucking messy. Nearly everyone I know seems to be seeking therapy which I’m very glad of; at least no one is trying to be toxically masculine about their issues and even my clueless self has noticed improvements in them.

2020 was a shit year, but it seems that being put through shit causes you to grow. Sure you can stagnate and fail, but people are stupidly stubborn and able to deal with impossibly bad situations when faced with them. I guess that’s the silver lining to this awful year; people around me seem to be facing the challenges and adapting to them the best they can. We’re all growing and 2020 gave personal growth a heafty shot of steroids; we’re all fucking jacked with personal growth now. Here’s a shout-out to 2021, only a few days away, and I hope it’s a good year for myself, my family, my friends, and everyone in general. I want a year that is boring, doesn’t force personal growth, where the world and the people in it can just have a break for once, if that makes sense. I suppose that’s it, thanks for reading.

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.

Adderall Sucks

Work sucks. It’s boring. There are so many people on my shift and so few airplanes to load/unload. Maybe six flights in/out and 100 people to do the work. I think 50 would be a good number, but 50 is not my current reality: 100 is. I sit. I do nothing. I get antsy. I want to get out and run around because I feel like a hamster trapped in a cage. Untapped energy but a somehow a lack of energy from being so damn bored.

I already wrote about this and don’t want to go over it again, but my boredom is so palpable that I can’t help but stress it one more. This is my hell and it is a hell, let me assure you!

A person at work offered me an Adderall to help get me through these long and sleep-deprived days. I didn’t accept the offer the past few weeks because I know how Adderall affects me. While used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD, Adderall is a powerful stimulant; it’s literally pharmaceutical amphetamine! If you don’t have these actual medical issues it’s meant to treat, you get wired and focused on the most random things. If you can channel the motivation, great, if not you’ll spend hours doing whatever the hell you find yourself doing without explanation. I’ve taken it twice in the past, never for any real purpose, and clearly remember how it affected me. The first time I taught myself piano for four hours straight. The second time I wrote the most elaborate physics paper for my class that I’d ever written. And today is number three…

I wrote my blog post about Christmas and am now writing this. Yes, two drafts in a single day. Because I’m in the zone! Because I have shit to say! Because I’m excited and motivated and feel good and let’s just keep on writing! Because I’ve channeled the energy that Adderall has given me! While it’s sad to know this is only temporary, I might as well make the best use out of my time as the situation allows.

But is it temporary? What if I just take Adderall daily and write? Can I get a prescription because I’m a writer with a severe lack of motivation? I bet if I wrote every day like today I’d have a fucking book done in a month or two. This is surely the best idea I’ve ever had.

No. No it’s not. I wasn’t being serious there. That’s a terrible idea. While I am sad that tomorrow I’ll be the same lazy writer that I always am, I’m aware that that is my natural state and there isn’t a good chemical fix that will magically work.

I’ve learned this through my functional alcoholism. Alcohol used to be my Adderall — drink a few drinks and I couldn’t wait to write — but the key thing to notice is the past-tense in that statement. I drink six beers and could care less about writing. I watch YouTube and play video games. The alcohol somehow doesn’t motivate me like it did a few years ago.

There’s always the urge to use substances to fix a problem (at least for me) and it’s a hell of an urge to fight because they work. There’d be no alcoholics if alcohol didn’t do something to fix you up. The stereotype of drinking heavily after a bad day at work, or after heartbreak, are stereotypes because alcohol works. You wake up the next day still aware of the trouble, but it’s more like a smeared chalk-board image of the problem that you can more easily deal with. Drugs work and that’s why people abuse them.

But substances only sidestep the problem and should only be temporary. This is clear in theory but difficult in practice. If it works, why not use it all the time? The catch is it doesn’t always work. You get a tolerance and the magic, whatever it might be, isn’t quite there anymore. This is especially bad with the physically addictive substances because then you’re hooked without any benefit at all. Cigarette smokers get quite a head rush the first time trying nicotine. It quickly goes away. Vodka mellows you out for quite awhile until you find you need more than before and it doesn’t mellow you out quite like it used to. And Adderall? Luckily I’m not addicted to it and never want to be. It’s the same as anything else. Adderall works until it doesn’t and by that time you’re probably moderately addicted and in a big mess when you try to stop.

Alan Watts said something like, ‘Drugs are a tool and nothing more,’ in one of his books, paraphrased obviously. He likened them to any other tool, like binoculars for example. Binoculars are fantastic for looking at far away objects, but if you think they’re so fucking amazing to use all the time you’re missing the point. If some asshole did walk around with binoculars attached to their face they’d run into some issues in life, just like the use-drugs-as-a-solution person does. The analogy goes pretty deep if you’d like to take it there. Binocular-Man, as we’ll call him, will probably have a rough time adapting, but he can do it. I once read a story about a guy who put a contraption on his head that swapped the images between his eyes where his right eye was seeing from the perspective of his left and vice verse. And guess what? After awhile he adapted and could live life normally. Apparently his brain dealt with the image fuckery and got to work doing what all human brains do: adapt. His vision was swapped, his brain adapted, and he was perfectly fine. 

Until he took the damn things off that is. His brain was dealing with more fuckery and despite seeing the normal way his entire life (minus the previous week) he was fucked. The world was fucked. He couldn’t see right. And then eventually his brain realized what was up and adapted back to it’s original state. I shouldn’t have to explain this analogy with reversed-vision-guy and binocular-man because it’s all pretty obvious how this applies here.

That’s my working theory on drug use/abuse. Abusers mistake the tool for the thing that will fix everything about them or their lives, myself included with alcohol. Users are those who can dabble and not become entranced by the drugs. I believe most drugs are useful, even the more esoteric stuff like LSD and DMT for mind and perspective expanding — not to mention painkillers like morphine — but all have limits on their uses. Adderall is great for allowing those with ADHD or narcolepsy to function better, but outside of that it’s also great for (illegally) allowing the sleep-deprived student and the unmotivated writer/blogger at UPS to finally get shit done. It’s really good at this too, let me assure you of that! But with that last example you can see this is quickly getting into the “tool-not-solution” problem from earlier. I have no qualms with the students using this drug to write a paper here and there, but it’s obvious it can go from tool to solution way too easily, once again because it’s so damn effective.

(Note: I talked with a friend about why it’s okay for an ADHD person to use Adderall to solve their issues but not for someone like me, and unmotivated writer, to use Adderall to solve their motivation issues. It seemed to come down to this: what is the best solution possible? ADHD is a brain chemical imbalance so drugs are likely the best way to solve the problem. Me with motivation? No, this isn’t a chemical issue but a ‘mindset issue.’ It’s impossible for the depressed/ADHD/chemically imbalanced person to ‘think their way’ out of their problems, so the only solution is a drug. Sounds like a beautiful explanation doesn’t it?)

To problem with my motivation is, well, a problem with my motivation. It’s a battle against myself. While Adderall is currently fucking kicking my motivation into high gear, it’s not the be-all end-all solution. The Adderall will wear off and I’ll be me, the flawed me, once again as always. The Adderall me can still exist with Adderall or without it. I can write like Stephen King suggests if I drug myself up, or if I just work through my issues with motivation. One is hard, one is easy — both work — but the easy one is dangerously temporary. So what’s the choice? What do I do?

Looks like I’ll sit my ass down tomorrow and try to write something sans-Adderall.

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.

Christmas (and The Holidays) Sucks

Hi everyone, Merry Christmas! Well, not quite I suppose. How about Merry Christmas Eve? Maybe that’ll work since we still have a day to go.

Our family used to open presents on Christmas Eve and this day feels more like the real Christmas than the day itself. We’d go out as a family — my immediate family as well as three or four aunts/uncles along with our Grandma and Grandpa — to those shitty family restaurants that only old people seem to visit regularly. We’d have a room to the side of the main dining area to ourselves and it would soon be filled with cigarette smoke (smoking inside was legal then; what quaint times). Our eyes would burn from the toxic atmosphere, not that we knew how toxic it actually was. We’d eat our pasta with tears in our eyes, excited to finish the dinner formalities to get on with the important part of the evening, at least that’s how it was for us kids.

From there on we’d head over to Grandma and Grandpa’s to open gifts. Cigarette smoke once again filled the air, our eyes watered, and us kids would escape to the bathroom or the bedrooms to get a reprieve from the burning in our eyes. We opened our gifts from youngest to oldest; I was second after my sister. I took great pride in sorting the gifts into piles for everyone, moving them with purpose from under the Christmas tree to the piles I placed them in. As time went on I fell back a couple of ranks as my cousin had kids, but didn’t pay it much mind. The adults would sit around quietly, making small-talk and alcohol-fueled jokes as they made sure the fuel for their jokes didn’t leave their systems. It was usually wine, the ‘classy drink’ (except for Uncle Tom who only drinks Budweisers) but sometimes bottles of stronger stuff made an appearance. We didn’t notice them much in our childhood excitement over our presents.

After our gifts were opened we’d start playing with them. One year I received a Nerf bow-and-arrow and took to sniping the Christmas cards dangling from the wooden ceiling beam separating the kitchen from the living room. For some reason Grandma and Grandpa hung their slew of Christmas cards from that beam and they made perfect targets. I was maybe seven, eight, or maybe nine and this was one of the few Christmases I actually remember. And maybe one of the last that I actually enjoyed.

There was no grand Christmas tragedy, no family falling-out, nothing to steal the childish joy of Christmas from me except the passage of time itself. I got older. I became jaded. I became cynical. I lost the naivety that is the definition of childhood itself. I didn’t care about the presents as much. There wasn’t anything exciting about opening gifts. Toys weren’t fun and I could only be mildly excited about a new video game or a music CD. Christmas turned into a way to get things I needed without buying them myself. Socks, new boots, new pants and clothes; these are the things I apathetically found myself asking for year after year.

And for some reason the season holds a sense of loss for me. It’s a dull sense of loss, once again no one passed away that instantly changed the quality of Christmas, but there’s that bitter undercurrent of inevitable change and loss. The cards aren’t hung up anymore, and their numbers have dwindled over the years. Us ex-kids would sit around, drink, and wonder where all of the magic went. We didn’t go out to eat or over to Grandma’s anymore. With each branch of the family expanding, most have broken off into their own manageable sections of families, holed-up in their own homes doing their own things, making their own traditions, living their own lives. To their kids this probably feels like the Christmases at Grandma’s did to me, and the inevitably of these breaking apart in decades is…I’m not sure of the right word here. Bittersweet? That still doesn’t feel like the right word though.

Does everyone eventually lose the childish joy of Christmas? I don’t think so. One of our kids, nearly 17-years-old, still has the joy of the season like a kid would. There is zero cynicism to how she feels about the holidays so there’s at least one person immune. Whether she or I am the exception, I don’t know.

Part of my apathy from the holidays is surely due to a few life choices I’ve made. A death-blow to Holiday spirits always seems to be working retail. I almost view it as an unwritten law of the universe that once you work retail you instantly lose your love for the holidays. The Holidays mean greedy people trying to find gifts for people they’re obligated to shop for: hundreds of people shopping, dealing with traffic, hunger, lines, and the other miserable denizens trying to fulfill their societal duty to buy shit. No one seems to like it, but it’s expected so we all play along. No one wants to be the guy who doesn’t buy their family gifts out of “principle” or some other high-minded bullshit.

I worked at Sam’s Club for a few years in the produce department — not in any way directly related to Christmas shopping — and the amount of people, and shit, I had to deal with at this time of year still increased. My hatred narrowed to those making their bullshit holiday meals and involved some self-pity for why I had to deal with them in the first place. Is this person really asking me about our cranberry stock? The endless looping of Christmas music didn’t help either; it’s is a form of torture that slowly kills your soul. I’m certain any fellow retail workers would share stories with me like war veterans share with each other. I was never happier at work than I would be on December 26th when the crowds of demanding assholes magically retreated from whence they came, where that happened to be.

And now? UPS and moving packages. I’m no longer relegated to the fringe sort of hell in a produce department during the holidays, I am in the shit. Our hub apparently sorts through 400,000 packages per night. While I personally interact with a tiny fraction of these packages watching the entire process is mind-blowing. 40 airplanes land and vomit their guts of cardboard and junk into the building. Through typical human grunt work these boxes are given over to miles of rubber belts and metal chutes which some massive computer programming commands, that which I’m not near capable of understanding. After that more human grunts load the packages into giant aluminum cans to be loaded into the planes. And the planes leave, delivering these 400,000 packages across the country within four or five hours after they arrived, finely sorted to deliver their cargo to wherever it needs to go. There are hundreds of extra cars in the parking lot along with hundreds, maybe thousands, of seasonal employees that are clueless to anything work-related or common sense-related. It’s all a window into how massive the holidays are and how large the machine I’m a cog in actually is. There is no doubt the importance of this time of year to our society as a whole. Sure, you buy a few hundred dollars worth of presents each year, but seeing them all en masse is both impressive and depressing at the same time. It’s the total power and wonder of capitalism with an undercurrent of excess, waste, and pointlessness. You really have to fight off severe nihilism working at UPS this time of year and it’s much easier to blindly work than to think too hard about the state of things.

I sound like a teenager who has just figured this out. No — I have nothing to crusade against — and am only writing some thoughts that have ceased to be pointed and acute years ago, but here they are. I view the whole holiday season with only one real response now: Meh? This might be the most saddening thing. Christmas has eroded from pure childhood joy, into to teenage angst at the ‘capitalism of it all,’ and now to a passive indifference to everything: I don’t care anymore. Really. About Christmas, and celebrations, and family gatherings, and whatever other bullshit we do during this time of year. And if you do care, I hope you have a Happy Holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, the Solstice, or whatever it is that you celebrate. And I mean that sincerely. Hold onto joy and happiness and love and kinship in whatever way and form you find it, and please have no qualms about doing so. As for me, well, I seem to be a dead soul to all the celebrations around me. Don’t mourn me though. I’ll manage this hellish time of year somehow and will be back writing my bullshit soon enough. But please enjoy this time of year: do it for me.

Double-Shifting Sucks: 2020 Edition

(Note: Excuse any formatting issues. I’m doing this all on the WordPress app.)

Here we go again: the Holiday Season of this wonderful year 2020 is upon us. We’re almost to the end of these terrible 365 days; just a few more weeks to suffer through! But before I personally get there I have to suffer through work and double-shifting once more. It’s the few weeks of the year where I can totally rob the company of basically free money and I have no incentive not to do so.

If this is sounding similar, it’s probably because this is mostly a copy/paste of my post from last year about double-shifting. I didn’t even want to complain about it a second (or third time) because I wasn’t sure if there’d be anything new to say that I haven’t before. It sucks and what else is there to say?

Walking into work seeing this doesn’t help either. You need not be an expert to know something is wrong here.

I reread the previous post and it was actually good! There was bitching, sure, but there was some hope underneath all the complaining. I found myself bored, reading books, and learning about the beauty of being bored. Buckling down and surviving day after day, week after week with nothing to do but exist. I felt if anything would turn me into a Buddhist Monk it would be being bored at UPS.

This year? No. No way. Hell no. It’s the opposite and is even more boring than last, even if I couldn’t imagine the possibility a year ago. This level of boredom is almost beyond comprehension and instead of teaching me some grand lesson about life it’s teaching me another thing about boredom; boredom is toxic, boredom is hell, boredom is a poison, boredom slowly but certainly destroys your soul. Sure, we all need time to rest, relax, and reflect but this is taking it way too far. Too much boredom is hell.

A few days ago on a three hour break I reflected on my state. My mental state wasn’t good, I was hungry, unmotivated, and tired. I even had to use the bathroom but was too lazy to do so. I was reminded of The Sims 2 and the ‘status bars’. If you’ve never played The Sims, these bars show how ‘healthy’ each of your character’s needs are, like the need to take a piss, or hunger, or comfort. As I thought about general human comfort broken down into these eight categories I imagined how mine would look if I was a Sim; they’d all be dangerously red. I had to pee, wasn’t comfortable, was hungry, wasn’t having fun, hadn’t had a shower in four days, and my environment was terrible; I was trying to nap in a Chevy passenger van at work.

I’d shop this to how I feel, but I’m too lazy.

The only bar that’d be green is ‘Social.’ Working silly long hours with some friends is a great way to bond and the humor and camaraderie is real. Apparently going through miserable shit with others is a great way to bond.

Here’s a real life example from a few days ago to really show how little we actually do and how pervasive the boredom is. We started at 11 a.m. We unloaded a plane around noon. We sat around until 3 p.m. and took a half hour lunch. We pulled about four containers out of the hub and drove them to another airplane. Then we sat around until 8 to load the same plane we loaded at noon. It’s like being in a different realm of existence working the same plane you unloaded eight hours earlier. The suns gone, the temperature is much colder, but you’re literally in the same place you were eight hours ago. It’s soul-crushing.

Occasionally we have twenty people loading a single plane which only requires about seven or eight. We (my four work buddies) sit in our van-home and watch everyone working outaide. Eight people standing around doing jack shit in the cold until a can eventually shows up. The other twelve or thirteen people are either in the airplane or sitting in their own van-home. There is no work we could possibly do unless we want to fight with the others trying to find the smallest crumb of work that we can.

One of these guys even talked to our supervisor about this. “How many people are in the van?” He asked. “Four,” she said. To which he passive-aggressively replied, “Wow, wish I could sit in the van all night. It’s cold standing around outside.”

Well no shit, that’s why we’re in the van. And if this guy sat in his van, then we’d get out and do some work because there’d actually be work to do.

The misery of boredom doesn’t stop there. It’s like the rest of my life has ceased to exist. Even with all the downtime at work I can’t use it effectively because I’m so bored and lethargic. Had I been able to channel my motivation I could’ve been doing quite a bit of writing or reading, but no, I nap and space out for hours on end. When I get home I have about two good hours to actually have a life or a hobby, but mindlessly playing video games is a great way to pass the time. Oh, toss a few beers in there to zap me out a bit as well. I wake up at 10 a.m., just enough time to make a pot of coffee and charge my phone and vape before I leave at 11 a.m.: repeat until this shitty season is over.

Pissing away time doing fuck all.

Boredom, like all things, begets itself. Depression makes you lethargic and unwilling to work towards happiness, anger keeps you chasing after anger instead of peace, and boredom loves to destroy your motivation to where you don’t want to do anything. Sitting in a van for three hours drifting off to sleep (and being paid $30/hr. to do so) puts you in a strange state. You want to work, you want to do something to pass the time, but you just can’t be bothered to get up because the van has become your home away from home and boy is it cold outside.

I feel like a coiled spring which is good. I can’t wait for this season to be over so I can enjoy life again. Sure, I bitch a lot about the “struggles” of my pretty comfy life, but this week is really putting things into perspective for me. I work a decent paying part-time job that has free health benefits. I have all the time in the day to actually do the things I want, be it writing, reading, video games, or drinking around with my silly science experiments. Some people aren’t this lucky where their reality year round is working a ton of hours at a job with zero time or willpower to do anything like a hobby. With this newfound appreciation for how great I have it compared to people who live this life year round I can’t wait to get back to my hobbies. Maybe it’s just the type of mindset I need to kick of 2021.

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.

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 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: 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.