Random Thoughts and Updates

I have a few things I want to write about but nothing important enough to make dedicated blog posts from. I’m kinda curious where all of this will go because I don’t think I’ve written a post like this before.

Being Social Sucks

I suck at replying to people. I’ve literally procrastinated replying to a few people for over a week. I feel terrible about it but apparently that’s how my dysfunctional mind works. And it’s not just the comments on blogs either; I do it everywhere. I’ll check Facebook, see that a comment was left by a person, and I won’t actually check what they said for a day or two. It’s like some part of me likes to have that anticipation of reading a comment and replying to it. Maybe to cherish and savor the comment for a little bit. Like I don’t want to reply and “finish” the conversation quite yet. I really need to work on facing what I dread. Get a notification, check it, reply, and be done with it.

Oh. I also have this problem with my email. WordPress sends me email notifications anytime someone likes my posts, follows the blog, or comments. This isn’t really a problem. The actual problem is my lack of ability to sort through them and delete them. Ideally I want to see what these people have written and if I’m interested to subscribe to their blog. I suck at following through with this.

It isn’t the people who suck that are the problem because their notification emails are easy to delete. Some people can barely spell and I’m not going to follow them. The same is true for people who write blogs about topics that I’m not interested in. Dieting blogs are a good example. Nice blog, well-written, but I don’t want to read about dieting. Some people don’t seem to blog at all and those are easy to delete because what is there to even subscribe to? The hardest ones to decide on are those that seem like they might be decent writers someday but kinda suck currently. Like they haven’t found their voice yet. Or that their topics are kinda interesting but also not at the same time. To sum it up: my email is piled up with WordPress notifications from those who have liked/followed my blog and I can’t delete them because I haven’t went through and seen what these people write about. It seems wrong to blindly delete them, but it isn’t working letting them pile up. Maybe I’ll do that after posting this. Face your fears!

Scheduling Posts? Huh?

I seem to have the most success on this blog when I post around 2 or 3 p.m. I don’t know if this is a real thing or if I’ve just posted unusually good things around this time and there really is no correlation. Whatever. But sometimes you write a magnificent post and finally get it tidied up around 9 or 10 p.m. and I find myself being greedily productive and wanting to post it right as everyone goes to sleep. It’s not a good thing to do. I always imagine I just wrote something amazing and then throw it away by posting during off-hours just because I’m too impatient to wait until the next day to post.

This will be really stupid to other WordPress bloggers that have actually paid attention to how things work, but there is an option under the “publish” button where you can select a time for the post to actually go live. Duh. I’ve always ignored it and slapped the publish immediately button but yeah, scheduling a post for a future date and time is an option, and a nice one at that. So what have I been doing? Scheduling posts for the following day around 1 or 2 p.m. It’s so stupid that I haven’t done it before.

This obviously has a huge upside to it where if you found a giant pile of cocaine you could, theoretically, write all of the blog posts you need for the next week/month and schedule them all. You could knock out all of the work in a day or two and not have to worry about posting things for awhile. There would be some pain tiding the posts up where they’re on par with the typical published posts, but that isn’t too big of deal. I say this because I usually do the “creative” parts of writing whenever the hell I find the inspiration to do so and only do the editing, formatting, publishing — the dirty work — immediately before posting. I’d have to move “the dirty work” to other parts of the day. Whatever.

Will I actually write all the posts on the weekend and have the entire week of blogging set? No. Where is the fun procrastination in that? I’m my own worst enemy.

T-Shirts?

A while ago my sister and I tried to start a “t-shirt business” or something. The basic idea was to make t-shirts that had a local theme to them and spam ads on Facebook with hopes that some gullible and easy-to-convince person would actually buy the things. This wasn’t to be a “real” business but just a teespring store. This did kinda undercut the “locality” of the shirts we were trying to sell. Anyways, it didn’t work out. And I now have a derelict teespring account and site.

A few other bloggers sell t-shirts. And I’ve been thinking of trying that using the teespring account. Not trying it, but doing it. There is no downside to it. I don’t give a shit if I don’t sell a single shirt, and I wouldn’t be trying to pocket a huge profit from them anyways as I usually price the things where I’d only earn like a dollar or two off each sale. I love selling low-margin items. I’m like a Walmart of t-shirts. I do find the idea of having a ton of shirts or other products that say “So-and-so Sucks” on it interesting. It wouldn’t even have to reflect back on the blog! If you have a mug that says “Coffee Sucks” it’s interestingly ironic and funny and is a statement on its own. It’s just stating that something sucks. So maybe I can get around to that someday.

Amazon Royalties Suck

Riding the wonderful line between failure and success is my Amazon Kindle self-publishing project. I have two books I’m selling, one about Facebook Sucking and the other about Options Trading. Yeah. No one has actually purchased anything (feel free to do so!) but apparently I have had some readers in the Amazon Prime program, whatever it’s called. Basically if you’re on Prime you can read my stuff for free. And I earn money for it.

So it’s cool having readers and earning money from these readers, but let’s be honest it isn’t crazy money by a long shot. The first month I received $0.11. The second month I received $0.50. And this month I might even break $1.00! You might think that this upward trend is basically parabolic and that after a year or two I might be raking in $100 per month, but this isn’t the case. The past few months (because Amazon has a delay between readers and royalty payments) has had zero readers. So the next few months will give me $0.00. Yay!

I just wanted to bitch about that. It’s success but it also isn’t success. I don’t know how to feel about it.

Inspiring Others?

I’ve been shipping the periodic blog post to a few of my friends thinking they might get something out of them. What happened was one friend seems to be pretty inspired by what I write, in a total opposite sort of way than what you might expect. He isn’t like, “Woah, cool post! That resonated with me!” but more like, “Woah, cool post! But what you wrote really got my mind going and I wrote a ton of stuff about how you’re totally wrong!” It’s amazing in a way. Seriously. Am I mad or upset by it? Nope. In fact I’m elated that I can serve as a jumping point for others to explore things in their own ways. In a way what he got from my post was even more profound than the trash I had written about enlightenment. I don’t mind serving as inspiration and maybe that’s all I’m trying to do here.

He even mentioned he was thinking of making his own blog basically the exact opposite as mine. Instead of Everything Sucks it might be an Everything is Awesome like the damn Lego Movie song. I find it hilariously amusing that we both might have blogs that constantly bitch about what the other has written where I constantly shit over everything and he constantly talks about how amazing everything is and how terribly wrong I am. Not in a seriously conflicting way, more like “Mr. Negative Guy said this, but he’s wrong. Me being Mr. Positive, I say this.” And so on. Like Yin and Yang having a discussion or something.

I really hope he doesn’t read this rambly post. I sure as hell aren’t going to send him a link to it, that’s for sure.

But sometimes I wonder if I am too negative. Obviously the blog is called Everything Sucks but maybe by constantly framing things in a way to show how they suck this has embedded itself into my head where I’m actually more pessimistic than I normally would be. I know art resembles and reflects on life and art also informs life, but I’m not living or writing a horror story here; I’m just blogging. I don’t get how blogging in a negative way can get under my skin too much, but maybe it can. I don’t have anywhere else to go from here than simply wondering about it. And I think that’s it. Thanks for sticking around for this aimless post.

The Decade Challenge Sucks

The hottest and latest trend to be hitting social media (at least Facebook as I can’t speak for other social media websites) seems to be something called “the decade challenge” or whatever. The “challenge” involves finding and posting a picture of yourself from ten years ago, way back in 2009. The only “challenge” to it seems to be finding a decent picture of yourself from a literal decade ago and then maybe having the courage to post it. I don’t really know what the actual point of doing this is because all it seems to accomplish is either 1. showing how you haven’t aged at all making everyone else feel like shit or 2.showing how terribly you’ve aged in the past ten years and making everyone else feel better about themselves. You now look like a decrepit catchers mitt and how the hell did ten laps around the sun affect you that badly? The decade challenge doesn’t seem to have any positives to it at all except perhaps to get some well-needed schadenfreude in on your “friends.”

As you can tell I hate it. I always hate social media trends but this one is even worse. I think it’s because I’m strongly in denial about the fact that I’m getting older. I’ve been tossing around the idea of a “getting older sucks” blog post, but have been deliberately and purposefully in denial about the fact. “I would write a post about getting older sucking,” I think to myself, “but I’m not actually old yet! Who am I to write about that topic at the fresh young age of 33!” I’m constantly lying to myself and knowing that I’m lying to myself feels especially awful.

Denial until this “challenge” that is. With everyone around my age spamming pics of themselves ten years ago I can’t be in denial about it. While I myself don’t feel old, and when I look in the mirror I don’t think I look old, everyone around my age group has seemingly aged terribly in the past ten years. Who am I to deny this fact? I’ve certainly aged terribly as well and just aren’t aware of it or am just in denial about it.

As stated I’m 33 and I’ve always viewed this as the start of getting old, at least that’s how I thought about it as a kid. The thirties are when you’re literally and undeniably an adult. Your life is set. Your dreams have either been accomplished or you’ll never accomplish them. The thirties is when you’re past the point of turning back. You’re well on the road to middle age, old age, and death. You can’t turn back or change anything about your life when you’re past thirty. It was a bleak outlook.

Obviously I don’t feel that way now that I’m in the thick of the shit that is The Thirties. I tell myself —— who still feels like an ignorant teenager — that, no, the thirties aren’t old! Maybe you’re “old” when you’re in your forties or even fifties! Or maybe there is no such thing as being old! But then I think of my grandma who can barely walk, whose hands look like those of a skeleton with just a thin layer of skin draped over the bones. She is frail and her mind isn’t what it used to be. Being old is undeniably a thing, but it doesn’t have a clear beginning. It just slowly creeps up on you so you have a hard time considering when you “start” being old. Since I’m in my thirties, I still feel this point is a long way away even though my beard is irreversibly grey and the bags under my eyes are becoming more pronounced.

Most of my friends are the same age as I am, give or take a few years. Seeing their decade pictures on Facebook is like a mirror held directly up to me. People that are the same age as me look old. Even the ones that don’t exactly look old look changed; they don’t look the same as they did ten years ago, even if they still appear young.

One of my friends still looks pretty young, and his picture from a decade ago is framed in the exact same way making a comparison very easy. His hair is longer now and he hasn’t gotten fat, but around his eyes are unmistakable wrinkles that weren’t around in the photo from ten years ago. He is one of the people that don’t look old, but where something is definitely happening with time. He’s on the verge of looking old even if he isn’t quite there yet.

Another girl I know looks nearly the same as ten years ago, but with the same telltale wrinkles around her eyes. Her cheeks are a little fuller and saggier than from 2009, but she is still youthful and pretty. Once again time is working slowly and even if she doesn’t look old yet, you know her 2029 pictures will be terrible.

One guy who I totally describe as “a hipster” used to be very tall, thin, and wore glasses: the classic hipster. He only listens to music on vinyl. He only listens to music you’ve never heard of. His picture is now of a kinda chubby, “dad-looking” person even though he has no kids. He now has a slight double chin. His hair looks to be thinning. He wears sweaters that are of the classic “dad-style”. He tucks his shirts in. His picture is that of a classic old person who seems oblivious to the fact that he’s old. He’s my age. And he is unmistakably old.

I don’t think other age groups have this issue with the decade challenge. If you’re in your twenties your past pictures will be of a teenager. You’re now an adult, congrats! And if you’re in your forties or fifties I’m assuming you look about the same as you did ten years prior. But the thirties? Now we’re comparing pictures of an old thirty-year-old to a fresh and young twenty-year-old. This decade seems to take the most toll on both body and mind and people outside of this age group can’t appreciate the pure hell of it.

As for myself, how am I different from ten years ago? I don’t know. I think I look the same. Luckily I’m not the type of person to have tons of pictures of myself, and those that do exist are buried and forgotten somewhere I’m not aware of. Perhaps they’re on hard-drives, forgotten/lost SD cards, or in family picture albums somewhere. This is nice because I can have plausible deniability as to how much I’ve aged in the past decade. I can’t see myself from 2009 so I don’t know. And I’m fine with that. But it’s hard to ignore the slew of people on social media posting pictures from a decade ago that you’re the same age as. Some look old, and if they don’t look old, you can still see time making it’s slight and permanent cuts in their faces, slowly but surely carving them with the same patience that carved the Grand Canyon. Even if you’re spared this decade, the next one will get you. And if not that one, surely the one after that. Or the one after that. The decade challenge fucking sucks.

Not Enough Time Sucks

“What do you want to do with your life?!?”

-Seemingly Everyone

My default way of brainstorming is apparently lying awake in bed at 3 a.m. It feels like I start every blog post off this way, because it’s true. Anyways, I was lying awake in bed at 3 a.m. and was in a good mood, shockingly. I was looking forward to the following day and all of the possibilities that it offered me. I had a good selection of books that I wanted to read (Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules, Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment, Six Pillars to Self-Esteem, Dune, and every other book in my backlog), and more so than just read them, I wanted to understand them. I’m talking about really absorbing the books, taking notes on them, and reading and reflecting on what I had read. I also wanted to do this with a handful of musical albums. As with reading, I want to absorb the songs and understand them. I want to look up lyrics and ponder how the words play over and off the underlying music. There’s just so much going on to appreciate! And there are other things I want/need to do: I have a 5k coming up in a few weeks that I’m totally ill-prepared for, I need to write…and oh yeah writing! I have like three stories I’m working on along with this blog and I need to proofread stuff, and figure out a way to actually self-promote any writing I do accomplish. Work is still a thing and I also want to maybe work on being a flight instructor as a career. Who knows what I want to do?

It’s at that point I realized that my problem isn’t lacking things I enjoy doing, it’s having the time and motivation to actually do things. There’s just not enough time in the day (or in general) for me to do all the things I want to do.

Many of the tasks need patience, time, and thought to accomplish. Sure, while I could sit down and write blog posts/chapters and proofread them quickly, the same isn’t true with reading a book or listening to music. To really appreciate these things you need to take your time with them. You need to let your mind properly process them. And more importantly you can’t multitask them. “Why don’t you just listen to music while you write?” you might ask. It’s because when you write you’re probably not listening to the music like you’d want to. I’m a firm believer that the human mind can only really focus on a singular thing at once and listening to music in a distracting environment does the music a disservice. To really enjoy music, a book, and to appreciate the subtleties of any of the arts, you need to do them solo. To really dive in and appreciate what is going on.

Obviously there needs to be some form of prioritizing here and I don’t even know where to begin. Ranking things based on importance seems silly; reading is just as important to me as music and I can’t pick only one. There is also the question of what I actually feel like doing. Sometimes I’d rather read than listen to music while other times the opposite is true. Movies seem to have an even more unique mindset I need to be in to watch them. It isn’t a simple matter of prioritizing, or maybe it is and I’m just awful at having self-control. Forcing yourself to sit down and listen to music when you want to read seems almost sacrilegious in a way. And I don’t know how to decide what I actually should be doing with my time.

To be ultra depressing you can scale this struggle of what to do up from hobbies to careers. I have a handful of job-like things I could be working towards, and these take even more time and effort than reading or listening to music does. I think this is the main reason why people never seem to know what they want to do in life, it’s such a big decision to make that I understand why people simply don’t make a decision. “What you want to do in life?” seems to be such a loaded question in so many ways. It seems to be asking what you want to constantly be working towards day after day in your free time and your work time. And when you look at it that way no wonder people can’t fucking pick. There is absolutely nothing in this world that I’d be happy doing eight or ten hours each day, every day. I like my variety and choosing “what I want to do” seems to force any and all variety out of life, even if it isn’t true in practice.

I also like to blame video games for altering my outlook on what I want to do. Video games make it easy to accomplish literally anything in the game world you want. It’s a matter of dedication and time but in such a way that you can actually make progress. All of my skills in Stardew Valley are maxed out: IRL you can never max out every possible skill available. Hell, even in games like Skyrim you can still do certain things outside of your expertise. Even a wizard-mage-magical person can shoot a bow and kill things, just not very well. And even if you can’t do everything in a single play through you can always play multiple characters and accomplish everything the game world has for you to accomplish. There is no choice of “What do I want to do?” because you can do everything.

Real life forces you to actually pick the things you want to do, and hell if there aren’t too many interesting things to do. I want to write fiction and nonfiction. I want to blog. I want to fly airplanes. I want to make music. I want to paint or something. I want to put solar panels all over the house. I want to read and listen to music and go sit outside and enjoy nature. I want to stop climate change. I want to start a grilled cheese food truck. I want to live in the woods. I want to be a Buddhist monk. But there are only 24 hours in the day, 365 days in a year, and a finite amount of years left in my life. I physically can’t do nearly everything I want to do, and narrowing things down seems like an affront to the variety of things that life has to offer. It’s not so much that there is nothing I want to do, in fact there is too much to do that I’m paralyzed by the choices offered to me! I guess it’s a good problem to have but dammit if knowing that I’ll never get to experience all the things I want to do doesn’t feel awful. I hate deciding. I hate making choices. Especially when these choices involve things as important as choosing what to do with the time given to me. If only I could choose to have more time. But that’s kinda like what the Genie in Aladdin said about wishing for more wishes. You can’t do it, it’s illegal.

Karmic Justice Sucks

I’m not into astrology stuff. I don’t think anyone can predict the future. Who gives a fuck about tarot cards? And so on. I only believe in the idea of “karma” to the lightest degree, i.e. maybe if you do good stuff in the world good stuff will be more likely to happen to you just because you’re increasing the good in the world and not because someone has a fucking tally board of the bad/good shit you do. Despite my beliefs I seem to have this strange gift, especially at work, where whatever I joke about going wrong usually happens. I’ve never stopped to see how consistently this happens mostly because I’m skeptical about it. I joke about things, and they happen. And they keep happening because I keep joking about them.

From my last post you might recall that I’ve been sick and miserable the past week. And from how this post is going you might expect there to be some big cosmic reason for me being sick and there is. Sort of. At work I discovered that a few of our talented supervisors were scheduled to have Tuesday off so naturally I also didn’t want to come into work because I knew it would be a shitshow. I discovered this the Thursday prior and jokingly asked another supervisor if I could also have Tuesday off. She replied with a resoundingly firm “no.” I then joked, joked, that I might be sick on Tuesday and, oh man, even if it was four days away I felt the sickness already coming on.

And guess what fucking happened?

Not only was I sick Tuesday but was sick the entire weekend. It really hit me hard Friday and lasted all the way until Wednesday/Thursday. I really put an effort into coming into work Tuesday just to tell the universe to go fuck itself but nope, I was miserable and missed work. Just as I was joking about. This also makes me look like a total lying asshole. (“Haha, might be sick Tuesday!” Then I proceed to call in sick. “No, really. I am sick!”) Luckily I came into work Wednesday with my voice sounding scratchy, frog-like, and constantly cracking so at least people knew I was actually sick. I wasn’t faking my sickness, it was just the universe fucking me over for joking about it.

And another curious thing. An employee last week was fired due to poor attendance. He was also notorious for showing up to work baked off his ass. Bloodshot eyes, totally red and barely able to hold them open. Apparently he said he had pink eye. Haha, right? Pink eye. Sure… He even (supposedly) had a doctor’s note saying so. Naturally it didn’t stop me from endlessly talking shit about him and his supposed pink eye diagnosis.

Guess what happened Monday?

My eye hurt, was red, watery, and had all sorts of nasty discharge coming out of it. While I hadn’t been to a doctor or had ever been diagnosed with pink eye, it sure sounded like pink eye. And to hell with actually going to a doctor and having it confirmed because then I might have to admit my karmic faults. At least I can live in reasonable denial by not having it confirmed. My eye did clear up the next day so maybe it wasn’t pink eye, but still. In my sick and slightly paranoid state I started to wonder if the universe was trying to tell me something.

And as a sort of bloody icing on my karmic cake, I had a terrible nose bleed on Monday. And since I had been eating asprin nearly nonstop (and in case you weren’t aware, asprin stops blood from clotting…) my nosebleed was also nonstop. It bleed for literally 55 minutes. So there I was struck in the bathroom at 5:30 a.m.  thinking I was going to die from a nosebleed. Like I’d lose enough blood, pass out, and die before anyone was awake to actually save me. Because I was taking asprin. Because I was sick. With possible pink eye. Because I joked about the two things last week to get out of work on Tuesday. You can’t make this shit up.

I don’t know my overall karmic standing with the universe but I like to think it should be somewhat good. I don’t treat people like shit. I try to help my fellow humans out. Hell, I even let people merge into my lane while driving. I’m that guy. A guy like that certainly has good karmic standing, right? And once again to bring this all back around, I’m skeptical. I wrote this entire post talking about the universe trying to fuck me over, but do I really believe it? No. Of course not. I don’t even know where to start if I did think I was supposed to learn something from all of this. If anything I find it immensely funny. And if you learn and understand one single thing about existence, life, the universe, and everything, it’s that it’s hilariously stupid and makes no sense. And if this past few weeks has had anything to teach me, maybe it’s that. The universe is a goddamn prankster. You have to get a laugh out of it.

Being Sick Sucks

What’s going on guys? As is standard here, I’ve been slacking again. It’s a typical process really: I write a ton of stuff on Sunday and Monday and usually panic-post something on Tuesday, and feeling achieved I slack off for the remainder of the week. Repeat this weekly. But as you can guess given the title, I have a reason for my slacking over the past week: I’m sick. And not just sick, miserably so. Being sick is something so universally terrible and being one of those “low-hanging fruit” posts it should be really easy to write. That hasn’t been the case. Why? I think because being sick is so universally terrible that it’s hard to complain about it without adding any new information that people don’t already know. Everyone knows being sick sucks, and so what?

I was trying to churn out a post like this about six or seven months ago when I was crippled for over a week with bronchitis. Bronchitis was awful. I was used to the common cold where you feel like trash for a day or two and then get along with your life relatively easily. Where you can still summon enough motivation to survive day to day life with minimal issues. Bronchitis was a whole other level of misery that I wasn’t aware of or prepared to deal with. I physically couldn’t do anything. I’d lay in bed for hours needing to use the bathroom or make a cup of coffee but not having the willpower to actually get up. This is how my current sickness has been. A total lack of energy.

When I was beginning to get sick I tried to remain positive. I told myself I would take it easy, watch some videos, read some books, and do some writing. To be productive without being physically productive I guess. Sounds like a plan, right? Wrong. Apparently this type of sickness brings along with it such complete and total exhaustion that I found I couldn’t do anything. The task of writing seemed too strenuous somehow. Watching movies and reading requires focus and was also too strenuous. Hell, even listening to music was too much to undertake for some reason. So over the past five days I have done literally nothing. This is why there hasn’t been a being sick sucks post until now: having the common cold isn’t that bad and is nothing to write about but anything serious wipes you out to a degree where you can’t write anything at all. And once you get better? It’s hard to channel those feelings as clearly as when you’re actually sick, miserable, and exhausted.

By far the worst part of being sick is the mindset that it brings with it. Something about being sick puts the fact that you’ll eventually get old, your body will fall apart, and you’ll die directly into conscious thought, although maybe that’s just me being dramatic. Being sick to me is like a temporary version of dying, where your body falls apart and stops doing what you need it to do but in a temporary way. Isn’t this what being old is like? You see older people constantly sitting, limping around, and generally looking like shit and they usually say it’s because their bodies feel like shit. I always seem to blame something vague on them like a “lack of willpower” for not tackling a staircase like a 20-year-old, but are they even physically able to do so? No. No more than I am able to go outside and run a mile because I’m so physically fucked right now. My body won’t allow it. Being this sick makes me feel old, and it being the inevitable future that awaits me (and everyone else) is depressing as fuck. What would I do if I felt like this all the time? It’s scary to think about. I understand why people want to kill themselves in old age. If you consistently feel terrible and your quality of life is degraded far enough life might end up not having anything enjoyable to offer you at all.

I’ve found I’ve always favored a “mind-over-matter” outlook in life. Like if you have total command over your brain you can overcome anything. This was especially prominent when I was an avid runner. Running is as much of a mental task as a physical task and it’s easy to think it’s all a mental task. Like if you will something enough, or put your mind into a unique enough state you can do anything. Like the Buddhist monks that protest by self-immolation without screaming or flailing, surely we all can learn to perfectly control our bodies given perfect mental control. It’s the belief that anyone can run a marathon without practicing if they just “focus enough” or some bullshit. (If I recall correctly there was a How I Met Your Mother episode where Barney decides to run a marathon saying something like “How hard can it be? You just keep running and don’t stop.” He actually wins too.) If you really want a new PR during a race, you just do it. Sure training is important, but the most important thing is mindset. And if an 80-year-old wanted to tackle a staircase like a 20-year-old, all they need to do is “focus” or some stupid shit like that.

But this isn’t true, and being sick makes it so obvious. Imagining being sick I would think something like, “Even if I do feel bad, I can still ‘be tough’ and make myself be productive.” Like if I just put enough mental power into thinking about feeling well that I could actually be well. Or that I could minimize the effect that being sick actually had on me. But when you’re physically sick and exhausted you just can’t bring yourself to do anything. I would sit on the couch for hours feeling miserable and while knowing I could get up and take some medicine, I didn’t. Sitting on the couch was where I was and taking the tiny bit of physical effort to get medicine, even if it would bring me near instant relief, was beyond me. This is how it was with everything. I didn’t write. I didn’t read. I didn’t watch movies. I just existed in the past five days feeling like shit and just hoping to feel normal as soon as possible. It wasn’t that I didn’t have enough motivation or willpower; it was the fact that I had none at all.

I also like to imagine the opposite of being sick where you are physically okay but mentally not well, i.e. depression or other mental health troubles. Being sick your physical body won’t let your motivated mind do anything, while being mentally sick your mental state won’t let your physically healthy body work properly. The body needs to work harmoniously together and you’d be tempted to even think that the idea of mental health being separate from physical health is wrong; health is the interplay between the two and trying to separate one from the other is impossible to do. Obviously having a distinction between the two is helpful, but it’s also fun to think that it could just be a useful construct created by us humans.

I’m still sick and trying my damndest to tie all of this shit together into a good blog post. It isn’t working. I feel like I’m at about 50 or 60% maximum health here and I’m pretty sure it shows. I feel like I’m rambling. I feel like I’m stating the obvious. Do I want to delete it and start over? No, because that’s a lot of work. Even proofreading this was difficult as I discovered I repeated like two or three paragraphs without knowing it. But this is what being sick does to you I guess. I’ve always wanted to write a post about how much being sick sucks, and if it turns out to be awful, well, it’s because being sick sucks. Maybe the next post will be better. That one might be about being sick too, but more on how I brought it on myself through bad karma. Or something.

Self-Esteem Sucks: The Challenge of Self-Acceptance

My grand plan upon realizing I have self-esteem issues while reading The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden was to read the book, understand the book, and to internalize what it was saying. To take the book and make what it was staying part of my being. The more detailed plan was to go through each one of his pillars one-by-one and discover which ones I needed to work on. The book argues that self-esteem is constructed upon six “pillars” — fundamental areas that need to be developed for self-esteem to thrive — and that lacking strength in any pillar can weaken the entire foundation of self-esteem. It shouldn’t be too hard to go through each one logically and discover which ones were problematic for me.

I’m about half-way through the pillars and so far I’ve identified one area that I’m sorely lacking in: self-acceptance. The first pillar is living consciously and I’m pretty proud of myself in that area. Summing that one up in a terrible way: be aware of the moment you’re in. Be receptive of information. Be open and accepting of the world. Shit like that. The third pillar is of self-responsibility: you are responsible for yourself. There are certain people that love to blame others for their problems, and while other people can cause problems for you, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t your responsibility to fix. I’ve heard somewhere (with regards to mental health but it applies to everything) something like this, “It might not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility.” Consider this shitty scenario. You get a divorce and your ex has taken everything from you. It’s a shitty situation right? While you might be perfectly innocent in the matter, you still need to act in favor of yourself and your happiness. In short, you are responsible for you.

You might’ve noticed I skipped the second pillar and that’s because it is the topic of this post. The second pillar is self-acceptance. Upon initially reading the chapter I thought it would be another pillar to mostly ignore: I already accepted myself about as well as I knew how to. Seriously. This was mostly because the first half of the chapter talked mostly about accepting your flaws, which I’m assuming most people are terrible at because of how much the author had written about it. This covered things such as admitting when you’re wrong and admitting that you’re not perfect. Owning your flaws and mistakes. And guess what? I’m amazing at that! I’m constantly thinking I’m wrong (but also feeling that I’m probably right but not wanting to come across as cocky or something), I’m always open to critique, and so on. In short I am very open and accepting of my flaws.

But then the book totally beat the shit out of me over something that’s very similar to admitting your flaws: to be self-accepting is to also accept the good things about yourself. If you’re going to own all of the bad shit about yourself, you also need to accept the good things about yourself as well. This makes perfect sense if the goal is to have perfectly honest self-acceptance. And holy fuck if that didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks.

You don’t have to, but go check out my post about self-esteem and writing. I love to use that as my go-to example because it writhes in its lack of self-esteem. It’s so brutally honest it’s amazing to use as an example. In that post I wrote about how when I receive positive feedback with my writing it must be a fluke or a mistake like I accidentally wrote something good. Something about putting enough monkeys in a room with typewriters and eventually one will write Shakespeare. I attribute any and all success I achieve to luck or chance. But when my posts don’t get positive feedback it is something that resonates with me. Those are the facts for me, the clear signs that I’m a failure as a writer. It’s classic “disown the good” and “accept the bad” which is not accepting yourself fully and openly.

Self-acceptance means owning the shit out of the good. But that is scary to someone with little to no self-esteem. It’s easy to admit skill in areas that don’t matter: I’m good at driving, I’m good at hanging blinds, I’m a decent cook, but am I a decent writer? Really? Am I scared of being good? Yeah, kinda, but so what? What the hell am I writing for if not to be good? There is a disconnect between the blogger/writer who consistently writes but doesn’t actually think they’re good at it. If I thought I wasn’t good on some level why would I be writing in the first place? Most people don’t do thing that they know they’re awful at (besides golf for some reason). Something in me believes that I have something special otherwise I wouldn’t be writing. It’s only on the conscious (or subconscious?) level that I think I suck.

I rambled a bit, but apply this line of thinking to yourself. Are you perfectly accepting of your skills and abilities? Do you disown everything good you do as an accident or believe that “it wasn’t that difficult…”? Are you scared of actually being successful? And do you own, personify, and internalize your failures over your success? Are you defined by your flaws and shortcomings? You are one total and complete package — the good along with the bad — and they each need to be accepted together. Feel free to admit that you’re good at painting, writing, blogging, or whatever it is that you do. It doesn’t mean that you close yourself off to actual critique and criticism, but don’t let yourself become identified by your failures. Self-acceptance kinda sucks, until you learn to do it properly. And then I suppose it’s awesome.

(Fixing Your) Self-Esteem Sucks

I’ve been trying to churn out a meaningful post about something, anything for the past week. Sure I got out the therapy post, and the bullshit Halloween post, but those seem like more of the low-effort stuff that I try to stay away from. The problem isn’t that I don’t have anything to write about; the problem is that I have too much to write about. I’d say there are about 5-7 topics floating around in my head and they all seem interconnected and interweaved that I can’t write about one without it bleeding into the other topics. One rant would turn into another rant and eventually I fear I’d have a giant, rambly mess about a multitude of things without saying much about anything in particular.

I want to write about anxiety. I want to write about enlightenment. I want to write about impermanence and how I (we?) naturally despise impermanence. I want to write about video games and how they’re a form of avoidance. I want to write about drinking/not drinking. I want to write about depression. The challenge of seeing a therapist. I want to write about love, friendship, loss, and new beginnings. I want to write about life.

I also want to write about self-esteem. And I’m going to try to do that here. It is one of the interwoven topics tied to depression, drinking, and writing but seems to be the most separate topic that I might be able to make progress on. The fact is I’ve already written about self-esteem, but it was mostly in regards to writing. I have no self-esteem in regards to writing, nothing else, or so I thought. But once again things that are terribly obvious to everyone else can be a mystery to yourself as if the safest place to hide is within your own self-ignorance. I did have an idea though. I read through a few of my past posts: the self-esteem post, the Stardew Valley post, and a bunch of other posts pretending to be a detective looking for clue to the true state of my mind. It hit me hard when I realized it: I have zero self-esteem. It’s everywhere in my writings. Shit.

What I realized was that I could take my self-esteem post and slightly change it to be about any situation and it would fit. It accurately described how I felt about life in general if I just changed a few of the subjects. Here, here’s an example tweaked and edited to be about talking to people and making friends. It’s the exact same mindset though. Also note how the second paragraph needed minimal editing because shitting all over yourself is a pretty general thing to do.

Naturally, I started thinking I would fail from the start, which is a big red flag in terms of self-confidence that also should’ve been apparent. Surprisingly, after posting the first few chapters going out of my way to talk to people I had tons of positive feedback. I was shocked. Some people would ask me if they could be in my stories strike up a conversation with me. Others gave feedback in the form of blog/Facebook post likes and comments positive social cues such as laughing, smiling, and appearing at ease. I mean why would people like and comment act like that if they didn’t like the work fundamentally disliked me as a person? Would people really do that to feign support? And one of the best signs of not sucking was when one of my “fans” “friends” (she called herself that. I’d never call people who read my stuff “fans” talked to me a “friend” because I don’t know if they feel that way about me) mentioned to someone else that I was a good writer person. You don’t recommend stuff you hate to other people talk positively about people you hate to other people. Overwhelmed with actual positive feedback, I was set right? Free to write socialize with all the confidence I needed to push through chapter after chapter and finish a book conversation after conversation and have actual friends. It sounded like my plan was a soaring success.

OF FUCKING COURSE NOT! The plan was a miserable failure. What would happen was a wildly successful post conversation would be followed by a not-as-successful post conversation and instantly my brain would conjure up reasons for everything successful to be a fluke to be a lie. Just me getting lucky for some reason or another. No, success was never from actual skill. Failure is my natural state, and anything other than that is an accident. Maybe I just got lucky on the popular posts a few conversations? Maybe people wised up to the fact that I’m not really good at writing and all my chapters are kinda samey really a terrible and boring person and constantly talk about the same stuff. Maybe everyone dropped the facade of liking my stuff me because it was exhausting to do so.

So once you admit you lack self-esteem, then what? It’s not something you can go to the store and buy exactly.

Getting Help With Self-Esteem

Obviously seeing a therapist would probably help, but I’m still slacking with that matter at the moment. (It should be noted that I’d rather write a blog post instead of search for a therapist. It’s pretty fun when something you used to procrastinate doing becomes its own version of procrastinating something else. Productivity right?) Luckily my supervisor is the most intuitive person to ever exist. While struggling with my lack of self-esteem and the fact of it over the weekend, I went into work to be greeted by her handing me a book. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. Holy shit. Was it that obvious to everyone else? This situation sounds like something that would happen in a story or a movie where one of the characters is going through some shit and another character hands/tells him/her the exact thing they need to assist them in their problem. I’m not making this up either. It’s like the universe is trying to tell me something and is working directly through her. And who am I to gripe about how the universe does its shit? I lack self-esteem not intelligence. I can take the hint.

The introduction to the book stressed the importance of self-esteem and how it underlies everything about mental health. If you have self-esteem issues they’re likely to bleed into other areas and can attribute to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, etc. The book, not being too cocky about itself, also stressed that self-esteem isn’t a fix-all solution to every problem; there can be serious mental health issues in people with high self-esteem. Luckily for me, self-esteem does seem to be my main problem. It does seem like the fix-all for me, although I’m weary of falling into that mindset lest it be wrong. Even if it isn’t my main issue, it sure is up there in importance.

So for the past week I’ve made a dedicated effort to read the book, process what the book is saying, and to incorporate it into my life. And it’s been working wonderfully so far! There still does seem to be some underlying depression that exists outside of my self-esteem issues, but it’s far less threatening than how I’ve been feeling in the past month or two.

I was going to continue this post, but I think I should break things up. It’s just a really big topic. I’m writing a blog post here, not a fucking book. My “self-esteem journey” seems like it’ll be an interesting process and a few other posts might sprout out of the journey. Why try to cram it all here? In closing: I have self-esteem issues. These issues might be my main problem that needs to be fixed. I’m going to make a dedicated effort to improve my self-esteem. And you’re welcome to come along for the journey!