Battling the Bad Saturday Vibes

Mowing Dad’s Yard

3:19 p.m. and I’m at my dad’s watching my stepdaughter mow his yard. This is her first time using a push mower and boy is she doing an awful job. He finally admitted that his back was totally fucked up, he wasn’t the strong and undefeatable man that he once was, and that he needed someone to mow his yard.

The “someone to mow his yard” is me, obviously. But I’m trying to teach the kids that you have to work to earn something, be it money, food, or whatever other shit they want, and since I despise mowing decided to pay one of them to do it for me. I doubt my father will pay me, so I’m accepting of the fact that I’ll probably have to pay her out of my own pocket to be lazy, not mow, and write this angry blog post in the meantime. When I think about it, $20 is totally worth it.

I had to mow his back yard because the grass was nearly a foot tall. She couldn’t even get the mower through the mess, so I took over and knocked out the back yard for her. She’s doing the front, and I’ll still foot the bill for the her labor, the full $20. I forgot how shitty mowing yards are, especially if you’re using a push mower.

Another favor for my parents where I’m sacrificing something to assist. Time, money, peace of mind, convenience: something. They did raise me and I’m appreciative of that fact, but aren’t my parents — two fully functional adults — able to be a little more self-sufficient than this? Always borrowing money. Rarely paying me back. Requiring me to come get the money that they’re paying me for some reason, like a guy from the bank showing up at my home if I had a payment for him. Having me pick up cigarettes for them. Footing the phone and insurance bills for them monthly. Just being all around pain in the asses to me in a way that I don’t think is good for anyone involved. Sure, I’ll help when needed, but my help seems to be required all the time to where it isn’t helping anymore. It feels like a permanent assistance plan. Especially for my dad who seems to be kinda conservative, I wonder if he equates his opposition to “social safety nets” — those damn welfare queens getting free money and food and shit — to anything I’m doing to help him. The world has a way about making you into a total hypocrite if you’re not careful.

FORD: Found On Road (Driveway) Dead

We hopped in the car to drive to my dad’s to be greeted by this message in the Ford Focus Electric:

Oh no. Recall that this is a fully electric car and while I love the thing, when something does go wrong all it does it blast this message which doesn’t let you drive the car at all. You do have to appreciate shitty mechanical gas cars for your ability to actually fix them. I called Ford Roadside Assistance to get it towed 20 miles to the closest dealership that can fix the thing. (For free. Fuck Ford. Their shitty car broke again and they can pay to have it towed.) At least I bought a used Honda Civic a few months ago with 195,000 miles on it that can act as a spare. I swear that car will never die.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

More money down the drain. Hopefully it isn’t over $1,000 like last time. Oh yeah, I still need to pay $500 for a dorm deposit fee for the other step-kid…

A Pointless Car Trip

Before that? My dad stopped by to drop off food for some reason. Yes, we were going over to his house to mow in a few hours, but for some reason he felt the need to stop by and give us food and some tomato plants. We could’ve picked them up when we went to mow, but no. Once again, I have no idea why he did this — it doesn’t make sense — and seems to be a larger inconvenience than anything.

The Favor Dictator

While he was over all he did was act passive-aggressive the entire time. He said he had to “wait on me” and that he had “stuff to do” or something, once again proving my point that when I do someone a favor them seem to want to dictate the details. If I’m nice enough to mow your yard, maybe not be such a demanding ass all the time? I wake up around 11 or 12 and it still takes me at least 30 minutes to caffeinate and nicotine up to where I can function; apparently this is much to late for my dad’s liking. Nagging, but subtly, about me getting my ass in gear and getting his yard done despite him having no actual plans to attend to today. I can’t help that he wakes up early, is antsy, and really wants his yard mowed. If someone is doing you a favor, work with them a bit.

Phone Call Excerpt

“What are you guys having for dinner tonight?” he asked on the phone before he came over.

“I don’t know. We never have plans. I have no fucking idea what we’re going to have.”

Well, why not?

“I don’t know. I never cook the meals really.”

Well why not?! You need to help out around the house too. Does your wife need any more tomato seeds? Any tomato plants? Do you guys want some potatoes?”

“I don’t know. You should probably call and ask her; gardening is her hobby/project. It’d be like asking her about my solar panels or…”

Click. He hangs up on me.

Father Knows Best, Or, You Don’t Know A Fucking Thing

We had some fermented apple juice laying around today. About a half gallon, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Straight apple juice doesn’t really turn into a strong wine, so I opted to add a few cups of sugar to it to really get the alcohol content up to wine-like levels. I grabbed a funnel, measured a cup of sugar, and dumped it in.

Apparently this caused all the dissolved carbon dioxide in the juice to instantly fizz out, ala Mentos and Diet-Coke, causing an impromptu volcano of fermented apple juice to spray violently all over the table. I laughed — Wow I didn’t expect that! What a fucking mess! — and was overjoyed to have fucked up so badly and been surprised as much as I was. I had a moment of sheer childlike wonder that I rarely experience anymore. But apparently my dad and my mother-in-law didn’t appreciate the volcano of juice as much as I did. “Why didn’t you do that outside? What were you thinking? Clean that up now, quit watching it spill all over the floor and laughing about it.” Fuck, I didn’t take it outside because I didn’t expect it to blow the fuck up. Duh.

So I’m cleaning the table and my dad has to point out to me that I should lift up a few jars, cups, and cans and wipe under them. You see, as my dad explained, the juice can collect under the cups or whatever and you must lift them up to really clean everything up. “Goddamnit dad, I know how to clean a damn table off, holy shit.” I was really losing it about this time. I’m a thirty-year-old fully mostly functioning adult and it’s offensive that he thinks I can’t clean a table or something. Fuck off, man.

I went to add more sugar after I cleaned the mess up. More nagging. “You’re going to do that again?! Why don’t you take it outside this time?!”

“Goddamnit, dad, ALL THE CO2 DISSOLVED OUT ALREADY, IT WON’T FIZZ ANYMORE.” And it didn’t do anything dramatic when I added more sugar.

Phone Call Excerpt #2

“Where are the kids at?” 

“I don’t know.” 

“Why not?! You should spend time with them.” 

“I’m writing right now. Trying to get a blog post out.” 

“*passive-aggressive sigh* Jer, you need to spend time with your kids. Take them to the park. Play with them.”

“I have a list of things I need to do. I’ll take them outside later.”

“*Sigh* Okay. Whatever.”

Towing the Car, Or, I Do Everything Wrong

The tow truck finally showed up to take the derelict car to the dealership. Yay, I could get that mess dealt with finally. I took the kids outside, a five and a four-year-old, to watch the guy put our car onto the flatbed tow truck. Kids are kids and love seeing new and unusual things and I knew they’d be interested in watching the car get loaded and towed away, and I wasn’t wrong. They didn’t know what was happening and I loved explaining what was going on and watching their wonder. When the man drove away, they ran to the end of the yard waving and smiling and the guy smiled and waved back. I knew that the two little curious kids totally made his day. Like he’d go home from work and tell his wife and kids about the two excited children he met today. Totally excited about his mundane job that he probably hates and gets little joy out of. It was cool and I felt good about it.

But apparently this was not the right course of action, at least to my wife. She was worried about the tacky clothes they dressed themselves in today, as if that matters at all to the tow truck guy dressed in his dingy work clothes. And apparently he had a cough so she was pissed the fuck off at me by having the kids outside around an obvious COVID-stricken person. We stayed more than ten feet away from him! The kids are scared of everything — loud trucks, strangers, big machinery — and they never went anywhere near him. Well, fuck me right? 8 p.m. on a dreary Saturday and I’m once again feeling that no matter what I do doesn’t seem to be right.

Mow my dad’s yard? Get shit on. Mow our yard? Get shit on. Car shits on me. Try to show the kids something new and exciting, and guess what? Yes, get shit on. I’m really feeling the bad vibes today and I’m sure after I make this ranting post I can get shit on for whining about getting shit on. I cannot wait. Oh well, there’s nothing else to do on the weekend besides piss time away, and this is serving its purpose nicely. Maybe Sunday will be a better day; at least I can drink on Sunday.

The Davenport Trip Sucked

What to say about my weekend? Yes, it’s Friday — the weekend was literally like 5 days ago (or tomorrow) — but I’m still thinking about it. Processing it. Trying to figure out what it all meant. Not that it really means anything, but how do I think about it in a way to extract meaning, personal meaning, for myself?

I jotted down a quick post about having to wake up early and drive two hours to Davenport, Iowa to help move my sister out of her wife’s house. And her house too, but, well, you can see this was and still is a messy situation. Consider this post a continuation of that one.

I had quite a bit of emotional conflict on Route 2 between Rockford (where I live) and Sterling/Rock Falls where my wife and I would get on interstate 88 to continue on to Davenport, Iowa. I love helping people and I was on my way to help my sister move out of her soon-to-be-ex-wife’s home, but I didn’t feel good about it at all. Sure I was helping, but in this situation I didn’t want to help at all. The greater good in the world wasn’t being served by this and I hoped and wished that this never actually occurred. Why couldn’t they just work out? Why couldn’t she find True Love and just Be Happy?

I was sleep deprived and feeling really anxious about life in general. Total discomfort in the first twenty minutes of the two-hour drive. I wanted the day to be over, the adventure to be over, but it was just starting. I was on my way to help my sister move, and then I’d have to pull off another two-hour drive to get back home.

And what is it with adventure anyways? I always think I want adventure, some grand quest to go on, but whenever I find myself outside of my usual routine and comfort zone I become really uncomfortable. Maybe one of my values is daily routine where I have a safe zone to operate in, comfort, and even if I gripe about being bored, maybe boredom is where I truly belong. Maybe I’m not the adventuring sort after all.

I forced myself to slip into some faux-Buddhist mindset where I was accepting of the present. All discomfort comes from either focusing on the past or looking forward to the future, and I was totally looking forward to the future. I wanted to be home, to be bored, to play Dark Souls, to do nothing with my day, to be a total loser/failure, and outside of this I felt uncomfortable. I just wanted the day to be over, I thought at 10:30 a.m., barely a quarter of the way to Davenport. But I summoned some sort of acceptance of the situation, some semblance of comfort that, yes, this too shall pass. Before I knew it I’d be back at home with The Mission Accomplished and able to feel comfortable and safe. The present is hopelessly temporary and while this is bittersweet in regards to happiness it offers immense benefit when it comes to uncomfortable situations. I pressed on with the drive and tried not to think about the long day ahead of me.

Time passes in a strange way when you’re driving. It seems like time doesn’t move at all, but before you know it you’ve driven hundreds of miles over countless hours and you find yourself in the future. You’ve arrived. Through days and weeks and seemingly years of driving with time at a standstill it jumps forward and you find yourself there in the future which is the present.

She had all of her at her apartment and ready to be unloaded. It would be an easy assignment hauling her stuff up two floors which contrasted nicely with moving my mother’s literal truckloads of shit three times in two years. This wouldn’t be difficult at all. So we set out hauling boxes and furniture the short way up to her new apartment.

When that was done, we went and picked up a few tables from a local family. They were nice enough, and there isn’t much to say about that. Then we went to Target, my sister being focused on trying to figure out all the tiny and forgettable items that are essential to living on your own. Things you forget about until you notice you don’t have them. Trash bags, trash cans, toilet paper, brooms, soap, mops, and other items like that.

And then that was over. I agreed to take my sister’s cat from the house as she could only have one cat at the apartment. One issue here: we’d have to go back to her old house where her ex-wife/current-wife/whatever you want to call her and that sent my anxiety into overdrive. I hate awkward situations and I don’t know anything much more awkward than that. And it got worse! We turned the corner on the street the house was on, and her ex-wife’s girlfriend and two kids were also there. I started nervously laughing and saying, “Oh nooo, oh noo! Oh geez…Awkward. This is going to be so awkward,” as some form to cope with the situation.

Our new cat: BIGGIE! She’s a crazy and insane kitty, and probably the most bipolar cat I’ve ever had. Purring and loving the pets one moment and then clawing the hell out of you the next.

I hopped out of the moving van and walked behind the van to procrastinate a few more seconds before the inevitable awkward encounter that was about to take place. And…and probably because I was terribly nervous I don’t remember much.

My sister went inside the house while her wife was kinda a bitch about finally getting her shit and moving out. Her new girlfriend stood awkwardly outside while her kids acted stupid and loud like all kids do, totally aware of how fucked up the situation actually was. The ignorance of childhood: how everything is perfectly normal and fine. Nothing is strange, unusual or horrible. Just another day: mom moving in with some new girl she met and is in love with. No thoughts about how my sister’s life has been totally fucked up, her spirits crushed, and how everything is falling apart for her. Who is this girl who is sulking around, what is her story? I feel bad for those two children.

Everything was mostly civil besides the hositility my sister’s ex showed towards her. She was going to charge my sister for everyday that she was still there despite legally not being able to do so: they both legally own the house and are still married. And how if my sister didn’t give the keys to her she’d charge her until she gave the keys back, once again with no legal ability or leverage to do so. Just trying to kick my passive sister around some more. Just being a dick for some reason that isn’t clear to myself or my sister or my wife.

And those were some bad vibes to deal with. Seriously. I don’t understand how you can love someone, get married, buy a home, spend years together, and act so cold towards them. Let’s be clear here too: my sister did not cheat. She didn’t do anything obviously wrong. Her wife found someone else and is the one who fucked up. She is the cheater. Look, I understand people’s feelings can change and that maybe you can fall out of love with someone, but there seems like there still should be some decency or appreciation of the other person to not treat them worse than you’d treat a stranger. I think that’s what I struggle with the most here, how someone can disregard another human being in such a dramatic manner. No kindness, no honor, no love, no appreciation, just a total coldness that you’d treat a stray dog with.

On the way home I struggled with these thoughts. My wife demonized the ex as being a total selfish bitch, or other perfectly fine things to call someone who had done these things. But something still seemed off to me. I really think people act in ways they think are correct and that no one is evil for the sake of being evil. Selfish maybe, but not evil. In everyone’s mind I think they’re always trying to do the right thing for them and even if people do get stepped on, they’re still trying to do good or something. Despite her action, my sister’s ex, in her mind, seriously thinks she’s doing the right thing for herself. But what are those reasons? I tried to frame the situation in her mind and it still didn’t make sense. My sister hilariously pointed out this new girl isn’t even pretty or attractive, and as mean and as senseless as that is, she isn’t wrong. She’s maybe like a 2 or 3/10, seriously. I saw her in person so…! She apparently deals drugs too, so make whatever you’d like of that information. I’m all for the “entrepreneurial drive” or whatever, but drug dealing still seems, I don’t know, scummy? Dishonorable? She wasn’t dressed well either: tight, ill-fitting black pants that didn’t benefit her at all and a grey hoodie that said PINK on the front of it. Or something. She seems “trashy,” as harshly stereotypical as I’m being. Basically, she doesn’t appear to be “a catch” at least not as much as I view my sister to be. She works a full-time union job at UPS, doesn’t blow money, is nice and understanding — perhaps I’m biased — but my sister is in general a good person. I don’t see what is good about this new girl. Maybe she has the best personality or sense of humor ever, but I doubt it. If anything this new relationship seems like it’s doomed from the start, and the tiny bit of me that loves schadenfreude is pretty excited about stalking these two on Facebook over the next few years.

And that was my Saturday. It wasn’t fun, but it wasn’t bad either. It was nice to help a loved one escape a bad situation. To help them move on. I went home and had eight beers to process everything, and I just now came to some conclusion that isn’t much of a conclusion at all: the world is a fucked up place and sometimes you can’t make sense out of a damn thing, and oh why do I try to make sense out of everything? More bad vibes about how some things don’t make sense and I’ll forever be ignorant about life.

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

The Facebook Dilemma Sucks

It’s 4:30 a.m. and I’m 8 beers deep into the night morning. If you read this post yesterday Saturday you’re well aware that I was up at 9 something a.m. to drive more than two hours to help my sister move out of the house that her and her wife had been living in until her wife cheated on her like the total piece of shit she is. It’s a long story that I hope to write a blog post about soon (I don’t really know what to say about it yet), but if and when I ever get around to it, there are more mundane topics to discuss.

I like to note the time so any readers know how fucked up my schedule actually is. I griped about being awake at 9 a.m. but here I am drunk and writing a proto blog post at 4:33 a.m., nearly 20 hours of being awake and I don’t know why I do what I do. As with everyone’s situation we find ourselves places we never expected and we make the best with what we’re given. And so I’m writing a blog post.

Coronavirus. That’s what it always comes down to. Not necessarily the coronavirus but what hot ass politicized topic causes people to choose sides and set up shop in a completely two-sided  “you’re either with me or against me” mindset where no discussion actually takes place, and this seems to be every topic under the sun. Think green energy, fossil fuels, climate change, socialized healthcare, foreign policy, abortion, legalizing marijuana: everything is politicized. For or against. No shades of grey. Everything is a hot-button issue that you can never have an actual discussion over because people are always up in arms about it, and this time it’s called “The Coronavirus Pandemic.”

(Sobering up and taking a few days away from the post…)

There are two major views on how to regard friends that disagree with you on social media. Do you take the high road, recognizing people do have differing views and that politics isn’t something to sabotage friendships and acquaintances over, or do you be open and honest with yourself that maybe these people don’t have that much in common with you and that they could be lost causes? Do you cut the threads that bind you together and create an even stronger echo chamber or stay in the fray and fight for what you believe is right, good, and true?

I’m leaning towards the first option: cut the ties and get the fuck out of there. My reasoning: everything is politicized and there is no way to reconcile the crazy shit people spout on social media. And even worse, the more I think about this, no one can even agree on what facts and truths are anymore, and it’s hard to argue in good faith when no one can even agree on something basic like numbers, facts, and figures. Take the virus bullshit for example. It’d be nice to at least agree with people on the death figures, the death rates, something, etc. and maybe then disagree on policy. Is it better to let the disease run its course or keep things on lockdown? This would be a great thing to argue, and while I do have a side, I can sort of appreciate the opposing side’s view. The economy is pretty important to our collective well-being so, yeah, sure it’s important to get people back to work. But what if no one can even agree on any basic facts? Some people are starting from the viewpoint that the virus is fake, or that the numbers are totally bullshitted. Even the CDC and the state’s death and case figures are under constant questioning and attacks from various conspiracy theories from people on the right, and how do you even argue in good faith with someone like that? How do you convince them what is a fact and what isn’t a fact? How can you shine light on at least some shred of a basic truth to even find common ground to argue on? What started as a simple blog post about keeping/deleting friends that you disagree with has turned into wondering what constitutes “the truth” and if some people even have a clear idea of what is “the truth” and that’s depressing. It almost feels like a group of people standing outside at noon screaming that it’s really nighttime or something and no matter how much you force them to stare at the sun they still don’t believe you. There doesn’t seem to be a way forward with these people.

I’ve realized in the past few months that I love to help people. I love to improve the greater situation in the world and solve problems. I think this is why I tinker around with random shit: I solve the problems that I know I can solve. Solar phone charger? Easy. I did it. Car is broken? I’ll fix it. The dumbasses on Facebook that seem hopelessly and cluelessly lost? There is no way forward there, at least an obvious way forward. Arguing on social media is a fool’s errand and there is no way to do any good, no way to make progress, and it’s just people screaming their opinions in hopes they convince someone of their point of view. This doesn’t work. It never has worked, but I think on social media this is our only option because there is no face-to-face discussion. Everyone has to figure things out on their own and no matter how much you want to do good in the world/change people’s opinions, you simply can’t on social media. You’re helpless, and I hate being helpless.

And I know it’s wrong because it’s just contributing to echo chambers. If every Trump supporter and conspiracy theorist drops friends/is dropped by those with opposing views, all they’ll see is more dumbass Trump supporters and their conspiracy theories: everything they already agree with. There isn’t even the occasional dissenting viewpoint being shown and it only fortifies their worldview. The same is true for everyone else who despises Trump: everyone is anti-Trump! How can he possibly be reelected?! Not that seeing the opposing view does any good, but I like to think maybe something would eventually sneak by our stubborn mental defenses.

It blows my mind how some people I used to think were sane and down to earth and not raging dumbasses can think this pandemic is really a plandemic. Just some massive plot to wreck the economy so Trump isn’t reelected. People really think this? The cognitive dissonance is so strong. How do you fake hundreds of thousands of deaths or blow the death numbers up so much without there being obvious evidence of it? I don’t know a single person personally who has died of COVID, but with near 100,000 deaths it has to be affecting people and families all over the US. How is this fake? How is it made up? You can’t fake a massive and clear increase in deaths nationwide. And if you can’t even believe the numbers, or think you can’t believe the numbers, then what? What can you believe? What institution has numbers factual enough that you can trust? And…and…oh my God, my rage and questions just go on forever. Is being forced to stay inside really what triggers people about government oppression? Not the spying on social media and the internet? Not rampant corruption and insider stock trading? This is what gets the second amendment people literally up in arms? Because they can’t go out to eat anymore? My God the US is spiraling down a hole so hard right now and I don’t see how anything will possibly get better.

So that’s my answer I think: delete the people that have no clue what reality is. Contribute to the echo chamber. Fuck it, it’s a lost cause anyways. If we’re barreling down the tracks with no way off let’s speed things up and have our fiery train wreck sooner than later. I’d love to have some good faith discussions about policy or something, but when you can’t even argue from a basic standpoint of facts that people can agree on, what are you supposed to do? Appease them? Ignore them? I’d rather not see their mindless bullshit because all it does is make me realize how hopeless our situation is. If there is a way forward, it sure as hell doesn’t involve social media at all.

Note: If any flowerly “love everybody and see the good in the world” people want to shit all over this post, please do so. I probably went a bit too far into the depressive/hopeless mindset here and would love to be proven wrong. AS LONG AS WE CAN FIND COMMON GROUND ON THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM OF DUMBASSES ON SOCIAL MEDIA!!!!

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

The Wattpad Writing Contest Sucks

Two weeks ago I recieved a message from the Wattpad staff about some writing contest. Something about writing a short story about “a time where you stood up for the truth” or something. I totally disregarded it. If you’ve read any of my writings over at my other blog you should be well aware that there is no “truth” to anything I write. Everything is foggy, unclear, hidden, and there usually isn’t any sort of plot, theme, or reason behind any of my writings. It seems I channel my useless and directionless feelings into my stories so any idea about me writing about “a time where I stood up for the truth” was a lost cause.

Let’s also gripe about how the contest required a story that’s less than 500 words. This is nothing and with my typical paragraphs of about 100 words meant I’d have to write a story of only five paragraphs. How can you write a story about the truth in five fucking paragraphs?

Anyways, I ignored it for a week and then received another message from Wattpad: the same message about a writing contest. Well, would there be any downside to writing some 500-word drivel just for the fuck of it? There was nothing to lose besides time, and maybe I could churn something out in 30 minutes or so. I thought about it for a few days but didn’t care too much about it.

And then something happened on Thursday while I was sitting at my computer. The thoughts started to flow, the YOLO channeled through me, the idea that there was nothing to lose by bullshitting 500 words about “the truth” taking hold of me or some shit. I set to work carefully crafting a 500 word “story” about losing your mind on drugs, having a crisis, questioning the fabric of everything, and coming to no conclusion whatsoever. If you’d like you can read the final product here: I’d love to have some viewer support in this failed endeavour.

A fun thing happened when I checked the story on Wattpad today. It was ranked #142 in the tagged stories for the contest. Huh? That’s pretty high, isn’t it? Surely thousands and maybe millions of people submitted something so how the fuck was I #142? There was no way that was correct. I clicked the link to view my ranking and the #142 was out of like only 288 stories in total. What?! Shouldn’t there be thousands of thirsty people chasing after the glory of winning a contest? Apparently not.

It reminds me of a few other writing contests I somehow won before really pretending to be a writer, both at my local community college. The first one was about “what college meant to me” or some shit. I bullshitted an essay and won like third place or something. How? Why? I don’t know. I wrote something about college “making me into the person I was meant to be” or something. Once again, I don’t know. And there was another writing contest, one from an organisation called Transform Rockford which was hell-bent on turning our shitty run-down town into something of note here in the midwest. I wrote an essay complaining about the “lack of community” by noting that there’s a lack of grocery stores, doctor’s offices, and anything else to note in my predominantly African-American side of town, while also noting that liquor stores and bars seemed to exist in a greater frequency. Totally shitting all over the positive vibes that Transform Rockford seemed to be going for.

And I won…something. Second place, third place, I don’t recall. I won $50 which was the first cash I ever received for writing something. Even worse, I had to read my essay at the college in front of people. Jesus. That was awful, but luckily I was in speech class and knew that pretending I was a confident badass who had a point to make was just as good as actually being a confident badass who had a point to make. I read my critical essay, got a round of applause, awkwardly shook some hands, and walked back to my seat.

One of the my more awkward photos. Obviously. But I should be proud I guess.

I wondered why I won something in these two contests, once again thinking it surely wasn’t due to talent or skill or anything. And I think I’ve stumbled upon a slight bit of truth to why I won because of this silly Wattpad contest: no one actually submits anything.

The rules of the Wattpad contest are straightforward enough, but also convoluted enough that I assume a bunch of people halfass reading the actual requirements misunderstood it. The message links you to a page that gives the rules of the contest, and this page gives a link to a tag that you must click on to properly tag your story with. Basically, writing a story and manually tagging it doesn’t seem to fulfill the contest requirements. How many people wrote a submission and failed to read the rules and tag it properly? Thousands? I don’t know. Maybe people are just slackers and think they’re failures and don’t even submit anything.

So the chances are improved by people not reading the rules like a lawyer would or being too sheepish to even try. 288 people? That’s all I’m up against? Well, fuck, I might have a shot based on pure chance alone. A 1/288 chance is magnitudes better than the fucking lottery, and any skill you actually have only improves your chances. And simply submitting something and overcoming your natural self-hatred and suspicions that others are miles better than yourself also improves your chances. Maybe everyone thinks they’re shit and how many people are discouraged and never submit anything? I really don’t think I’ll win, but any thought I have about the matter is out of my hands. I got off my ass, wrote something, submitted it (properly too!), and put myself out there. As with the other contests that I somehow placed in, I think the fact that I actually tried was a huge factor in being successful. If you never try, you’ll never win, right?

Drunken Writing Sucks

God, do I hate myself right now. I can’t do a damn thing with writing. My thoughts are a jumbled mess that I just can’t make sense of. I’ve had five beers already and nothing is inspiring to write about, but damn am I determined to get something out. It feels like a strange form of writer’s block which I’m sure I’ve already written about at least a few times in the past year. Like where you have a ton of ideas but no inspiration or motivation to actually put the puzzle pieces together into a coherent blog post. I’m going to write here and see what happens. Maybe it’ll break up the mental jam that I’m suffering through. Say what is in your soul, as I’ve been telling myself.

I drank yesterday. Only eight beers over the course of about six hours which isn’t really bad although I did break my “drink on Sunday” rule again. There is an exception to the rule: long car drives or big adventures. I drove to Davenport, Iowa yesterday to help my sister move out of her wife’s-but-soon-to-be-ex-wife’s home — only a two-hour drive — but once again I realized I hate car drives. Long ones at least. There is something uniquely exhausting about sitting in a chair for hours while driving that doesn’t compare to anything else I’ve experienced. Hell, I’ve been on this couch for the past five hours and don’t feel exhausted at all. Something about the drone of the road, the hum of the engine, and dealing with people that can’t seem to use cruise control on a highway wear you out; I don’t know what it is exactly but something about driving is exhausting. So I treated myself with some beers when I got back home.

I drank and then my mind went into hyperdrive. I came up with about five or six blog post ideas, all in the stream of consciousness where I found myself laying in bed and thinking out the posts with my inner monologue. Boy did they flow wonderfully and I felt there was some magic in the thought process. Something that made me think, “This is it, this is how you write!” but I couldn’t put it down on paper or on a computer. Something held me back from actually sitting down and writing the posts and I was happy to just “mentally write them” or some shit.

Which made me hate myself more than usual. I cannot get my mind in line. I cannot capitalize on the gifts that have been bestowed upon me. It almost feels like an uncontrollable power — all these thoughts tossed at me randomly that I cannot process or contain long enough to do anything with — that I should do something with and use but just can’t get around to it. I went and took a shower and continued to mentally write posts, trying to conjure up some way to contain the lightning of my brain into some sort of bottle. I didn’t find any, obviously. I tried to write something at 4 a.m. but it never pulled itself together into anything coherent. It’s a mess, my brain is a mess, and I can’t seem to do anything with 90% of the shit that randomly enters my head that I feel is a good idea.

I shouldn’t forget that I still need to write my Morrowind story for this week either. The past four weeks has only had two chapters published meaning I’m totally dropping the ball on my goal which leads to more self-hatred. Once you fail it’s so hard to pick yourself back up and get on your goals. I’m determined to write something today, even if it does end up being a mess, and I think it being a mess might make the story better in a way. I think that’s why I’m struggling my way through this post; I want something to show myself to say, “See?! You can do something if you only try hard enough!” I’m constantly telling myself, “You’re a good writer! Have confidence! Just write! Go for it! Say what is in your soul!” but it doesn’t work very well. I’m not depressed, just unmotivated. Wondering what it’s all for. Thinking of my past blog posts about motivation and realizing your goals and being yourself and wondering where the person who wrote that shit actually disappeared to. I know I wrote them, but at the same time it doesn’t feel like myself. It feels like the successful me that actually has things figured out wrote them and I’m not that person anymore. I know I’m still the same and I’m just in a funk, but it’s hard to convince yourself of that fact.

So the struggle to write continues. I suppose there is no need to bitch or whine about it (even though I just did) and the only solution is to get the fuck down to work. When you’re left with nothing else to distract yourself with the only way is forward. Progress because there is nothing else to really do. Another day is over, another blog post finished, and I’m progressing towards some unsatisfying conclusion or goal somewhere in the unclear and foggy future. Here’s to progress friends. Cheers.

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.

My Sister’s Parents Suck

It’s 8:46 a.m. — about three hours before I naturally wake up — and here I am typing a quick blog post before I start on my “adventure.” It’s not going to be an enjoyable adventure and I didn’t get much sleep dreading the waking up early (a terrible form of anxiety to have) and the drive to Davenport, Iowa. To tell the truth I don’t even know how long it’ll take me to get there. 90 miles I think? An hour and a half about? I don’t know. There isn’t much of plan here. Leave by 9:30 or 10 a.m.? Who knows. Earlier is always better.

This mission, should I choose to accept it (I did), is to help my sister move out from her house — the house her cheating wife has somehow taken command of — into her new apartment. The entire thing is a mess and I feel so bad for her I can’t even explain in. Even worse is the fact that this situation has sort of happened before year ago. In fact, my sister seems to have “a type” of person she’s attracted too: dominating, strong-willed, controlling, selfish, and let’s say “bitchy” (as hard as “bitchy” is to quantify). As everyone knows, you can’t help being attracted to “a type” and her’s is a terrible type indeed.

I suppose there were signs of this not ending well. Without much of the family knowing she was in a relationship, they told us about a courthouse wedding a week prior to their marriage. Holy shit, my sister is getting married?! Wow, okay. We were supportive though — what they want to do is what they want to do so who cares — and it was a quaint and peaceful little wedding, if a bit of a surprise. Her wife seemed nice then but looking back maybe my intuition was trying to tell me something, although I still can’t put a finger on it. Maybe I’m just trying to pretend like I knew all along.

I think what really tipped me off was when I helped the two of them move out of my dad’s house years ago. I was drunk (you have to drink when you help people move) and far into the evening they started arguing about something. Her wife seemed really dominating and controlling while my sister was passive and appeasing to her demands. My reaction was one of utter depression — something I thought was pure and unadulterated love seemed cruel — but I attributed this to me being drunk and making too much out of a one-time scenario. Even though I brushed it off at the time, apparently I saw some cracks that now seem obvious.

8:57 now, and let’s move forward. Her current wife (soon to be ex-wife) has found a new girlfriend and has been cheating on her. She (the soon-to-be-ex-wife) doesn’t even live in their home anymore but is taking charge of the situation and kicking my sister out. Like true fashion with our family, she is being passive and compliant trying to not make much of a fuss in this trying time and only wants to move on to another part of her life, and quickly. Everything is shit for her. Her life is basically falling apart. She doesn’t know what to do. Hell, she probably had COVID a few months ago by displaying nearly every symptom despite getting a negative test result which her wife then blamed her for being lazy by not working. I’m ranting again. Her wife turned out to be a total bitch which seems surprisingly like her last girlfriend was. Total bitches are my sister’s type, and she seems powerless to change it.

She did have one really nice and cool girlfriend, but “something was lacking” in their relationship. Perhaps she wasn’t bitchy and controlling enough to be my sister’s type. That’s my working theory at least and damn if I’m not positive I’m correct.

Why is she this way? Why am I the way I am? Our Goddamn Parents Again, another thing I’m sure of. We were raised in the same household and went through the same shit only staggered by five years, and it formed us without us knowing. I’ve ranted about that stuff here. The only differences between her and I are ourselves, our uniqueness, which I think explains the differences in how we processed our childhood. Same experiences, slightly different outcomes based on us being individuals. Luckily I ended up with a severe thirst for acceptance and social approval and not picking partners that are totally awful people. We do both have a lack of confidence and self-esteem if that makes you guys feel a little better.

Let me digress for a bit, mostly because I’m running out of time and I have a point I need to make. My wife and her daughter (my step-daughter to make it clear) had quite a falling out last night. The step-kid, who recently turned 18 a week ago, said my wife was “mentally abusive” and that turned into a big fight apparently. I was at work thankfully so only heard about it without experiencing the mess, but walked into the fallout after work. This was curious because my wife is notably not mentally abusive and everyone else in the house agrees with this. If anything I feel she is too lenient on the kids. What was going on to where the oldest kid felt “mentally abused”?

After hours of playing Dark Souls and mulling over what to do about the situation I realized that Oldest Step-Kid is like me in many ways. I love to write out my problems so had (well, told her sister to tell her) her write out how she felt. It was a mess, a mess of truthfulness from her point-of-view, but a mess nonetheless. Apparently she has taken this “parents fucked me up irreparably” view (like me) only cranked it to the max. Everything wrong with her is due to her mom and her dad and how they fucked her up. There is no ownership of the problem I guess. She’s the victim of life and she can’t help how awful she feels at her situation. It was depressing to read due to how much blame she was dishing out but how there was no talk of how she’s dealing with it or trying to deal with it.

It’s nice to see a path your going down to the extreme. I’ve been “blaming” my parents for a few months now on this blog, but it was never my intention to play the victim. I’m becoming a very proactive person who only wants to do things to help themself and the people around me. Be a big fucking shining beacon of hope to anyone struggling with mental health issues. If I can work through my shit, anyone can. And to fix any problem you need to first understand the problem, but the entire goal is fixing the problem and not placing blame. Blame, or more precisely finding the cause, is the initial step to solving the problem. If some dickhead drunk driver hits your car you can be mad and you can blame him for it, but it’s still up to you to deal with it. It’s up to you to take your new information (my car is fucked because Jim-Bob had too many PBRs) and figure out how to move forward (So, do I sue the shit out of Jim-Bob? Buy a junker car? Ride my bike to work?).

There’s a lot going on here that I don’t have time to really elaborate on, and I hope you appreciate all the curious things here. My sister and I being different in many ways but similar given our upbringings. My insecurities versus her attraction to “bitchy” women. How stubborn you are to changing “your type” even if you know they’re toxic. How if you take the parental blame too far you take away any empowerment you have. How you still need to take responsibility for how you respond in life. How one person might see their childhood as “mentally abusive” while their siblings are perfectly happy with theirs.

And at 9:21 a.m. and with way too much on my mind I close off this blog post and head to Davenport, Iowa to help my sister move out of her own home.

1,000 Monthly Views is Awesome

Back to writing I guess. The past half-week has been a mess regarding any structure and motivation in my life. It’s been total chaos with me having some sort of alcohol and cough medicine fueled breakdown that’s left the past few days a total blur to me. Thinking past that, I’m trying to put together how my life was before all of that so I can discover the past and what my path forward should be. I think I was in a pretty good mood last week? My gratitude journaling has kept mostly strong and had my mood decent for the past two weeks. And was I working on stories or something? I don’t really remember. Where did all of that past positivity go?

Oh, I did write a post about dyeing my hair; I’m glad I could at least toss that together before everything fell apart. But maybe it was obvious everything was about to fall apart because I was dyeing my hair in the first place. Since I wrote it on Sunday I was pretty drunk so don’t recall that one very much. I think it’s fitting to transition into my weekend and the small signs that I’m breaking down or really on edge for some reason. I really think it’s the COVID getting to me. Besides dyeing my hair, I also let one of the kids paint my nails. I cut my hair pretty short a few weeks ago. Doing tiny little things that I haven’t thought through with the likely motivation to get away from myself or something. Reckless decisions to cope with whatever is bothering me so much in such a subtle but undeniable way.

So whiskey on Sunday and a terribly confusing hangover Monday: the typical Monday dread and anxiety, but worse. And I felt like I couldn’t cope again. A random idea popped into my head: maybe I should call into work for the second time in three weeks, get totally drunk again, and go live in the woods for a week. I’ve been wanting to live in the woods for the past few months but never got around to doing it. A reckless idea that would surely lead me to enlightenment, self-discovery, or at the very least being so isolated and bored that I’d write an entire book in a few days. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

So that’s what I did. Lived in the woods for a week single fucking night. I’ll make a few posts about that misadventure later, because nearly everything about this grand idea fell apart quickly. I was miserable. I was super depressed. And the next morning, Tuesday, with only a few hours of sleep and being even more hungover and anxious, I had a full-fledged panic attack. And that’s still terrifying to process even days later. Panic attacks never seem threatening when you’re feeling fine — obviously you can make yourself chill out through pure willpower — but in the moment it’s nearly impossible to do. It really does feel like you’re life is falling apart and you’re losing everything you enjoy. It feels like you’re losing your sanity. I managed to dragged myself to work functioned somewhat and went back home to sleep in a real bed and be around people. It was a dark few days. Literally. The woods are dark, lonely, and depressing at 3 a.m. Panic attacks are dark and terrifying. I’m glad it’s all over and I can write a blog post and go to work just like I always do.

I feel fine now. Once again trying to peice together whatever structure in life I had, recalling what goals I have and what I need to work on. I fucked up the Morrowind story again this weekend and I’m trying to not hate myself too much for it. Just move onto the next week. And here at this blog I remembered I was supposed to give an update on that magical goal of having 1,000 views in a month.

Yeah, I did it. I did it! As shitty as I feel about my poor work ethic it’s nice to actually reach a goal. One thing I noticed while reflecting on my New Year’s goals was how most of them are recurring goals and how much those fucking suck. Compliment someone daily: failed. Post weekly on my Morrowind story: failed. Drink only on Sunday: failed. The problem is when you commit yourself to doing something weekly — 52 times a year — or even worse, daily — 365 times a year — you’re going to fail at least once, probably more. It’s hard to pick yourself up and move on after having “failed” even if you mostly did good. Sure, compliment people for a month straight and miss a single day and you can hate on yourself all you want, doing what people naturally do and see the negatives while disregarding the positives. It wasn’t 30 days of success with a single day of failure. No, you failed the goal. You’re a failure, end of story.

So it was nice to actually reach a goal that is a clearcut and singular goal, none of this recurring bullshit. I can check it off, I succeeded, and I can live with feeling proud about it for a day or two, which as long since passed.

Now the question is, what do I do now?

My first idea was to chill out on this blog and focus on my short stories or whatever other creative writing I’m trying to do. This takes notably more motivation to do and while I know it’s what I should pivot towards, I’m a total slacker at actually doing it. Maybe that was part of my reasoning behind living in the woods. This blog still tempts me though, especially by seemingly failing upwards somehow. I haven’t done a damn thing this month and I think I’m already past 350 views; it seems the more I slack off the more my views go up. I know this is just a temporary fluke and if I slack off long enough my views will tank, but it is amusing to watch. But this blog tempts me; if I’m already at 350 a week into the month, how many views can I have if I do just a few more posts?! Chasing those views sure is addictive. The high of having more views with little effort is immediately appealing compared to writing fictional stories and not getting many views.

So, whatever that rant was is over. In short I made it to 1,000 monthly views and can actually check off one of my yearly goals. It’s a nice victory to have, to be able to point at something you’ve wanted to do and say, “I did what I set out to do. Good job for me. I can feel proud,” even if the high of it is depressingly temporary. But life is all about moving forward and accomplishing one goal means you must think about what your next step will be, and sadly I haven’t thought that far ahead. I thought I’d reach 1,000 towards the end of the year and not in April. Maybe that’s why I’ve been spiraling out of control the past week. Who knows. I don’t.

And obviously thank you to anyone who reads my writings!

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

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all.