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Round 13: Son of a Bitch

My damned headphones broke. They work, but the plastic arch thing broke on either side. I managed to superglue the right side well enough, but the left is fucked. Can’t pull it out far enough to make it hold. Damn it all. Anyway…

What’s a few months between completely anonymous Internet dwellers, right?

Work

Hasn’t been something I’ve been able to find. I even went the desperate route and applied for a different position at my old job, but nope. Nada. None of my employment avenues have panned out. Unrelated (re: completely on topic), GoDaddy is an asshole.

A friend of mind has a connection that we’re exploring. I’m hopeful. It would be nice to work somewhere without the risk of urinating children or angry customers. I don’t interface well with the public. Sweet, sweet manufacturing.

Words

I submitted that bit of writing I did to, it’s not quite accurate but it’s the best word I have, publisher. Not a big, official publishing house or anything. Just an online “hey look, these people aren’t complete garbage” type of deal. I didn’t make it, but that’s actually pretty good news. More often than not rejections are just doled out with a letter and a “better luck next time.” I, however, was worth providing actual feedback. And boy, did I get a lengthy critique. It was really nice, actually. My work was torn into tiny little pieces—quite politely, of course—and I was given an opportunity to edit and resubmit. In order to fix my many errors I had to go back over some embarrassingly rudimentary English rules. I can’t believe how much I forgot about punctuation, grammar, and formatting.

It’s been about two months and I’m still working on the editing, but not without progress. I might, someday soon, see something I’ve written on the front page of a website with more than six viewers. I can’t imagine the sort of wicked high that would give me.

Life

I fell off my no game bandwagon just short of the three month marker. I’m not particularly broken up about it. I said last time that I managed a ton of writing while I was on my hiatus. This is true, but I also learned that I can’t write for all my waking hours. I have to do something else to let my brain move in a different direction for a while. I felt bad about my need for other stimulus until I remembered that I’m not some sort of robot. Hell, Stephen King goes for walks and watches sports things. If King, notorious for being prolific, can have time away from his word processor then so the hell can I.

Of course, he’s a best selling author and probably not drowning under a mound of debt, so what the hell does he know? Yes, I know he comes from fairly humble means and struggled like everyone else. Shut up and let me have one joke.

Finale

I feel like I should have more to add, but nothing springs to mind. No news is good news, right? I’d rather have a short post than have to go on a thousand word tirade about a failed suicide attempt or something equally dramatic.

OH! I did get another one of my friends into My Little Pony. She thinks it’s really cute. I think it’s really nice having someone else to share them with.

~ Rao

Round 12: That’s New, That’s Not

New from Old

Hunger has often been a reliable force to get me out of bed. Recently, less so. I’ve had a rash of days where cooking, and even eating, were just too much damned effort.

“You’ll get hungry eventually,” you might think, and you would be correct. The thing about not eating for a long enough time is after a while you stop feeling hungry, at least for a little while. I haven’t tested the limits of this cycle, nor do I intend to do so.

Thinking back, I’ve experienced the “too hungry to care” effect when I was living alone. The prior experience was unrelated to a depressive episode, I think, and simply a matter of actual lethargy or laziness. I’m glad I’m not exclusively in charge of meals anymore. Insufficient food combined with a disregard for its necessity isn’t a happy combination.

New from Less Old

I’ve determined through rigorous personal testing two important data points. First, my sleep apnea is still something to worry about. In the last week I’ve woken up not breathing at least three times. It’s still pretty scary, but I’m handling it a little better. The second and happier point is that the wake ups seem to be less severe when I have my heart burn/ulcer/reflux under control. Perhaps there’s a correlation, perhaps not. I’d rather not take the necessary steps to test the connection in depth.

New from Not Old at All

Point the first: My super bestest friend forever is finally done with his contractual servitude in the military and is now wholly moved back home.

Now he wants to be a cop.

Point the second: I’ve gone a hair over one month with zero video game activity. I’ve accomplished some decent writing compared to my prior count. Withdraw symptoms are minimal now, though I’m having cravings after watching Matt and Woolie play Dark Souls 2. Shit that game looks fun. I’m holding out though. I’ll be okay.

Point the third: As above, I did a fair bit of writing in July without any video games to distract me. I finished preliminary work on a short story that’s been sitting in my to-do box since last summer. At present it clocks in at ~8,500 words, depending on which app is counting. Even the low ball estimate is a new personal record for “words pumped into a single narrative.”

I alternate between feeling really good about finishing the story and thinking it’s absolute shit that should never be seen by anyone ever. I think that’s partly normal though. I’m running it through one pre-reader who is familiar with the material before I ship it to my usual editor for the Grammar Nazi pass. After that it’s time to publish, woo!

I started working on another piece around the same time as this recent one. It’s next on my list and should be quite the enjoyable pain in the ass.

~ Rao

Round 11: Episodes and Addiction

Blast From the Past

I had an unpleasant rerun from my younger years. I felt something coming the day before but I wasn’t expecting this sort of episode. Several days ago I spent the better part of three hours sitting and half crying in the smallest, darkest corner I could find. Being anywhere else for those few hours would have been impossible.

I spent more time in, or just outside of, that condition than I care to remember around my high school years. A lot of my reputation for being flaky, indecisive, and unreliable can be traced to that state. I often didn’t want to go out or commit to anything because all I wanted to do was hide, or I was afraid the mood would set upon me and I wouldn’t be able to hold out. Having a public breakdown has always been low on my to-do list.

Sometimes I would pull a card from my reserve of catch phrases. “I’m busy” and “that sounds like a lot of work” being the most popular. Some months ago a friend remarked after I used the latter phrase, “Everything is a lot of work to you.” She’s not wrong, but probably not for the reasons she thinks. I didn’t push the issue.

Other times I did something worse, and this plays into the flaky/unreliable status. Given an event far enough in the future, say a week or two, I would agree to an outing, sometimes to great surprise. As the date approached, or frequently hours or minutes beforehand, I would either pull a trademark excuse out of my reservoir, or simply not show up and ignore all associated friends for a few days until I could handle their disappointment and ever dropping opinions.

More than once I pretended to be asleep and ignored honestly worried people right outside my bedroom door. At least once a family member fetched a spare bedroom key to open up and check on me, friend in tow. I don’t feel good about that sort of thing, especially since I suffer from frequent chest pains. Those worry people, you know.

There’s a poor dilemma involved: calling and canceling plans makes me feel awful, and so does just ignoring people. Either choice leads to resentment, with inaction being the worse of the two. Inaction is the default course, and indeed sometimes the only thing I can manage. Very “damned if I do, damned if I don’t.”

I’m not sure which sort of valley I like least. The Sadness Valley fills me with incredible sadness (I’m great at names!) and I am overwhelmed with self deprecating and often suicidal thoughts, but at least I have feelings to aim at something. Myself being the target nearly 100% of the time, of course. The Numbness Valley is bleak and deafening in scope, eating even the echo of normal feelings, but I can interact and pretend to be normal through all but the deepest of its caverns.

It’s Not Lent, but…

On top of the regular medical (cancer, thyroid, gallbladder, so forth) and mental (depression, bi polar, one distant cousin ate a guy’s ear) health issues I also have some family history of addiction, primarily alcoholism with a dusting of cocaine. That’s really the main thing people think of when the word “addiction” is tossed about, isn’t it? Alcoholics, smokers, meth heads, heroin druggies – in no particular order may I add. All very real problems, to be sure. But it’s possible to get addicted to things that don’t go directly into your body. At least I’m pretty sure it is. I’m pretty sure I did. I am. Tense changes are dumb and Wikipedia says I’m right and so does this other guy, so there.

John Cheese is a prolific writer for Cracked.com. His most well know article, perhaps, is about when he stopped drinking. He has a slew of other articles about the hard knock life and they’re all wonderful reads. I read his article on ceasing booze consumption a few years ago, but only recently discovered his video documentary about the process. Forgive the pun I’m about to make because I do feel it’s in somewhat poor taste, but I found his videos sobering.

After watching his videos I noticed a few interesting parallels. The way he talks about beer is the way I talk about games. The urges he feels toward beer are the same urges I feel toward games. The things he’s done since battling his addiction are things I would like to do in my future as well. That last one may be less correlative and more wishful thinking, but I’m willing to give something a shot just like Cheese did.

I’ve tried brute forcing the gaming issue via willpower before (in retrospect those failures should have been a sign I might have a problem), but this time I’m taking it out of my hands. Whenever my sister shows up this morning I’m handing over the authenticator to my Blizzard games. I’ve already logged out of the service on both of my machines and without that token it’s pretty much impossible to access my account. Shortly I will be moving all of my save files from my emulators to a disk disc to entrust to her care as well. Deleting the ROMs and programs is pointless since they’re available online, but I’ll be damned if I hundreds, possibly thousands, of hours of work again from scratch.

I feel awkward even thinking that I’m addicted to video games, what with the (former) actual drug addicts in my family and friends circle. One guy I know was on and off with meth for the better part of a decade before he got a handle on it. Repeatedly murdering the Lord of Terror seems trivial by comparison, but I have to follow the facts of the matter: hobbies you can’t stop doing without withdrawal symptoms aren’t hobbies anymore.

My expectation is that I’ll be a bored wreck for a while. My hope is that my path will follow that of John Cheese. I’ll pour my nervous addict energy into my writing, reading, and maybe even a little exercise (let’s not get too crazy). If I can keep it up maybe I can do something I find worth while. Maybe a Cracked article? Hell, it pays! Why not?

I have to cut off my optimistic ending and be open about something. Not disclosing this information would be dishonest given the end of the last paragraph. I started an article pitch once and gave up. Just left it to die. Finishing the article, or giving it a proper burial as it may end up, is probably a healthy choice.

~ Rao

Round 10: Neuropathic Dementors; Bath Tubs

Fun fact: This tab has been open for the better part of three days with nothing but the title written. It’s a good thing I had the title because I’d have forgotten what I was on about otherwise. Ahem.

I have conversations with faux-simile (like facsimiles, but fake. Get it?) versions of people in my head. Not in the crazy way though – I think… Anyway, I’ve been trying to come up with a way to explain how my very low moods feel in a way that people who don’t spend considerable amounts of time reinforcing the idea that suicide is bad can understand. I’ve come up with two ideas that might fit the bill.

Neuropathy

A friend of a friend recently had to have a good portion of one leg amputated due to complications from diabetes. His foot was infected and the infection was climbing rather quickly up his leg. Dangerous, to say the least. Prior to the amputation I heard (second hand) his sensation described as a “painful numbness.” The phrase clicked. Resonated, even. In the deep trenches of my worst days there isn’t so much sadness, or anguish, or any of that angsty crap. There’s emotional blankness and pain. Even the pain is nonspecific; a pervasive ache that just is.

I believe it was this TED Talk by Andrew Solomon that discusses the man that walked in front of a bus and shattered his legs, among other injuries I imagine. It’s a great talk on the matter even if it’s not the one with the story I’m thinking of. (Update: It wasn’t. The man who walked in front of a bus was from Stephen Fry’s documentary on manic depression) The man, upon being questioned after the fact, said his physical injuries were less painful than his depression; indeed it was good to feel something. Another video (and I’ll be absolutely buggered if I can’t find the damn thing. It was quite touching Now in 480p!), mentions someone (possible the speaker, I don’t recall) who, upon being questioned after a failed suicide attempt, said, “I didn’t want to die. I wanted the pain to stop.”

I’ve never tried to hurt myself, but I get it. I really do.

Dementors

Dementors, of Harry Potter fame, eat your happiness. They suck it right out of you and if you’re not careful they’ll nibble your soul right out of your face. Depressive episodes are like playing host, a la Alien, to a baby dementor. At first, it chews away your happiness. It doesn’t stay content with making you miserable, no. As you sink further down your baby dementor begins eating your sadness, your anger, and all the other emotions. It doesn’t just eat your soul, it savors it. In its wake you are left a shell with only the aforementioned painful numbness.

This connection shouldn’t surprise me. As it turns out Rowling dreamed up these miserable beasts in a fit of depression before making it big. From the wiki (emphasis mine):

J. K. Rowling has revealed that the inspiration for Dementors came from her bout with severe depression before her phenomenal success. She described the feeling as an “absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad.

 

Bath Tubs

The last analogy I concocted is that of a faucet, a tub, and a drain. Imagine the water flowing into the tub as the normal course of emotions, or emotional input. The drain represents the loss of those emotions for whatever reason; becoming happy or sad is not a permanent state of affairs. The levels in the tub rise and fall, the water churns about and sometimes you put in bubbles because they’re awesome. During a depressive episode the drain becomes enormous. The contents of the tub drain remarkable fast. No matter what happens to the faucet the tub never fills far or for long. The drain is simply too large, too overwhelming.

Conclusion

There’s no shortage of people describing their depression. This is my contribution to the effort. Perhaps, eventually, we can divorce the image of depression from the idea of “just real sad.”

~ Rao

Letter 1: A Poor Choice for Nearly-as-Poor Reasons

To: Me, circa February 2013
From: Me, April 16, 2014

I know what you’re thinking. Or rather, I know the generally trend of what you’re thinking and feeling. It’s not good. You’re incredibly frustrated with your lack of privacy. Being subject to all the noise and nonsense of the house with zero reprieve is hell. Headphones are headache inducing trash, not that there’s anything you could stand to listen to often enough to buffer the noise every day. I also know you’re desperate enough to go through with what you’re planning, and that you’ve convinced yourself other good things will follow if you do.

You’re wrong. Oh how wrong you are. It’s sad and astounding how you’ve convinced yourself that you operate in a way you know to be incorrect. Lying to yourself is bad and you really shouldn’t do it again. You’re thinking, “I’ll use my school money to get an apartment. That will motivate me to get and keep my life in order! I’ll finally have the peace and quiet I need. I can focus on school, maybe do some writing finally, and have total control over my grocery intake. It’ll be swell.” You didn’t say swell as far as I can remember, but I’m invoking artistic license. You were also completely fucking wrong on every account, and it’s put me in a serious pain in the ass situation. Asshole.

Foremost, that mass sum of cash would have been much better spent on a really good pair of earphones. I’ve tried a few high quality brands and holy cow, they are comfortable and the noise cancelling works pretty well even without anything playing through them. It’s true that you have fuck all for privacy at the moment, but it’s really not as big of a deal as you’re making it up to be. Honestly. It was better then than now, at any rate. At least you have a bed to sleep on. I haven’t laid down on one of those in nearly five months.

Second, you’re full of shit if you think your lack of motivation comes from anywhere other than your own aimlessness. Nothing will fix that, except maybe proper medication. No real maybe there, it does a pretty good job actually. You really should have seen a (hell I always forget, psychiatrist or psychologist?) psychiatrist years ago when you thought you might have depression. Could have nipped a lot of this in the bud before it all got blown WAY out of control. Ahem.

There’s only one thing you want to do, only one avenue that twists happiness and success into a delicious swirl. It even feels good to do it, but you don’t. There’s fear there, I know. But no amount of homemaking will make you feel better about not doing it. There’s plenty of quiet time to be had in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep. Use that. You’re up anyway! Prick.

Due to the above, you end up really super-fucked around the end of the year. You’ve had zero job leads, despite some effort put toward the hunt, and you’ve totally run out of money. Here’s what happens when you run out of money.

  1. Your bank account is closed for running in the negative for too long. Your bank account of ten years is now gone.
  2. You get evicted.
  3. Your credit card doesn’t get paid.
  4. Your bike goes uninsured for months and you get next to zero use from it before –
  5. Your bike is repossessed. Now you’re immobile again, you fuckwit. Good luck getting to work now.
  6. Your credit score absolutely tanks, killing any near future prospects for reacquiring a vehicle.
  7. You hate yourself for making such terrible choices.

The only good thing that came out of the poor decision to get that apartment is that the kids had somewhere to stay while they were finalizing their own paperwork and stuff. They’re all doing fairly well, in case you’re wondering. Not least of all due to the lady of the house holding down two or three jobs at a time and some outside assistance. Abby did her thing for a while then moved back to Maine. Buddha Brother took her spot and now works happily at the local 24 hour breakfast joint down the street. They still get a hand now and then; raiding the old family fridge, car repair, a place to do laundry, etc. Nothing you wouldn’t expect from folks their age to take advantage of. By and large they’ve all done a pretty good job keeping their shit together. You should be proud. You are. You will be? Tenses are dumb.

You did make one pretty good choice in the midst of all this ruckus. You will, in fact, rather enjoy doing the fast-track drafting program. Not only is it pretty fun, it’s a very useful crutch for your horrible artistic skills. Your pour a little too much effort into the early work and not enough into the later stuff, but that’s not unexpected or really a bad thing. You do, however, fuck up the third class and not get your certification. First, you neglect to fill out the graduation form on time (you had plenty of advance notice, you just knowingly fucked off with it for months). You bit off more than you could chew for the class final, too. Azadi Tower is really a beautiful piece of architecture, but it’s a royal pain in the fucking ass to try to draw. Hint: Just Pline the legs and don’t sweat the exact look of the roof. Idiot. Also, you appreciate geometry on a new level now. The professor wasn’t always the easiest to deal with and sitting in the same room for 4 hours a day got really old really fast, but you learned a lot. That’s one choice you can be proud of.

Too bad you fucked that up, too.

 

Sincerely,

~ Rao

Round 9: I’m Medicated, but Only Just Now

As the title suggests I’m currently under the influence of (incredibly legal) drugs. Feels great. Stomach is good, brain is good, body is a little chilly but that’s fine when it’s pushing 100 degrees (Fahrenheit) during the day. Anyway, to business.

Relocation

I moved out of my apartment prematurely. Lease was up in February and I bailed in December. I probably should have mentioned it sooner. Turns out people get sort of upset when you don’t pay your rent for a few months. Imagine that, right? It’s not that I didn’t want to pay my rent, or that my funds were going to some other noble goal. I just ran out of money. I rented the apartment on a, not quite dishonest but certainly misleading, picture of my savings and income. I had just received my money for school and it was a considerable sum. Large enough that the powers that be let my lack of verifiable income slide. Note to them: not a good idea.

The plan, as I had it figured, would be that being in my own place would solve the problem of my lack of motivation. I’d not want to lose my new home, so I would break from my usual stupor and lethargy to find a job, or two, to keep the roof over my head. Likewise I’d have the space and quietude to focus on my heavy school load of the time. Well, none of that came to pass. As it turns out living alone is horrifying to me. It’s too quiet. It’s lonely. It’s depressing. The last thing someone in my mental state needed was a more depressing environment. It didn’t help my lethargy or make me motivated. All I had made for myself was a quiet place to stew in my emotions with no real distraction from them.

Living with others can be aggravating, especially so on my bad days, but living with people serves as forced interaction. I hate to admit it, but evidence suggests that I need it. I need to be pulled out of my head a couple times a day, even if it’s for something simple like taking out the trash or running up to the gas station to fetch my grandmother (whom I love very much) a soda. When I stay in my head, re: alone, for too long I go to bad places.

I have sort of the opposite problem right now. I moved back in with my grandmother (whom, again, I love very much), but I don’t have my own room, in the traditional sense. I basically have free reign of the primary living room, which is a pretty large space with a very comfy couch to sleep on; everyone basically hangs out in the kitchen/dining room area. Easy access to the bedrooms, I suppose. Also puppies. What I don’t have is privacy. The only door I have is the one that separates inside from outside. I can hear everything going on in the kitchen, dining room, and sun room (a sort of inside backyard patio with giant windows). Oh, and my one uncle’s room since he apparently doesn’t know how to turn the volume on his TV down at all during the day. I wear headphones a lot, even when I’m not listening to anything. This sort of sucks since headphones universally make my ears hurt after a while, but I have to have something to push down the noise or else I’m afraid I’ll go nuts.

The solution is simple. I don’t need to be alone, but I do need to be left alone; at least more often than not. I need a place where only I am for a majority of the time. Not all the time. Only the majority.

Repossession

As noted, I left my apartment due to lack of funds. I did mention that, right? It so happens that other sorts of people don’t like not being paid for six months at a time. People like my insurance provider and the nice people who hold my bike loan.

For the last, oh, few, months my motorcycle has been uninsured. Which is fine since I haven’t been riding it much or far anyway. The problem is that I hadn’t been making payments on it since November. I had figured that at some point my bike would be repossessed, and that day was this last Sunday, April the sixth, at about one in the afternoon. I got a knock on the door from a nice fellow who asked after me. He presented me with the appropriate paperwork, somewhat wrinkled, and then asked me for the keys to my motorcycle. I obliged, under the condition that I get the goods out from under my seat before he wander off. At this point I found out he had already moved and mounted my bike on his truck bed-thing. I know this is precisely his job, but I couldn’t help feel it a little rude to have done so before announcing himself. I guess people can get upset about having their vehicles taken away, deserved or not, but still.

And so in the space of a few burning footsteps my bike is gone and I am once again reliant on the vehicles and kindness of others to get around.

Freedom

Janis Joplin’s famous words: “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.” I feel the truth in it now. What little I’d worked for I’ve lost. No apartment, no bike, no bank account, tanked credit score, so forth. In a way it does feel good. Sure, I don’t have a vehicle now, but I also don’t have a payment to worry about. No apartment, no payment. Less worry, which is good for my ulcers. Stress does horrible things to my digestive system. I have bills to pay still, and when I can I most certainly will, but I feel better not having to worry about losing anything else of my own. There’s my credit score, yes, but that isn’t really mine, is it? That’s some faceless entity’s opinion of me. I don’t own that.

~ Rao

Round 8: Hints of Shame, in No Particular Order

Fringe Benefit

The original intent of this blog thing was to chronicle my adventures in living alone. As it happens, that wasn’t terribly adventurous. I ended up blathering on about whatever crossed my mind when my keyboard was handy. My inability to stay on theme seems a benefit in retrospect. This area serves as something equal parts journal and confession booth. Things I might write in private journal lack the cathartic effect of confession – not the Catholic kind, mind you, just the sort that lessens the weight of one’s chest. Nobody really reads this blog, but it is public all the same. There is value in that fact alone.

Likewise, the friends whom I feel comfortable speaking to are largely either busy bees – conversations consist of making sure the other hasn’t died or become homicidal – or they lack a certain understanding that I feel is necessary to reflect properly on my words. That isn’t to say my friends are unintelligent, unsympathetic, or cold in any way. I only mean their perspective is, I believe, wrong sometimes.

For instance, I have noted that I occasionally go through bouts of what I imagine to be severe depression. No gun in my mouth yet, if only because I hate leaving stories unfinished. Also messes; they suck. I tested the waters of mental illness with a very good friend of mine by discussing the legitimate condition of OCD. It’s a common thing for someone with a pet peeve or tick to say, “I’m so OCD about [insert banal item here], and I’d never thought of it as anything other than exaggerated speech until reading this Cracked article (no I didn’t write it). Her response to my tales of people with real OCD was underwhelming, if not outright dismissive. “They just have to work through it,” she said. While not untrue, in the strictest sense, she seemed to place washing your hands until they bleed in the same category as the sniffles or a scratchy throat. That’s not the sort of attitude to bring a potentially life threatening problem toward. She is my friend and I love her dearly, but this is not for her.

You, my null audience, my faceless detractors and admirers, my infinitely large box in which I pack my words – you are my psychiatrist. You are my friend, my doctor, and my assassin all in one.

Prima Shame

There seems to be a running gag in my life. I’m not into the higher power thing, even in the abstract senses of pantheism or karma, but I’ll be right damned if I don’t have a rotten tendency to do the exact things I swear to myself I’ll never do.

  • No sex before marriage (granted this was a terrible idea. Sex is amazing. Be safe, folks.)
  • don’t drop out of high school
  • never be unemployed
  • don’t make large impulse purchases
  • don’t live with my family passed 18
  • never be in a position to have to move back in once I move out

Every damn thing that horrified me growing up I’ve done. This list is not exhaustive, for the record. It’s most likely a matter of the old “self fulfilling prophecy,” or as Kung-Fu Panda said, “one often meets his destiny on the road to avoid it,” or whatever the turtle said. He was very wise.

As it turns out my adventures in solo living will be coming to an end as soon as I have the nerve to tell my apartment complex I’m leaving. I’m already late on rent and accruing more debt for this month, O what joys are mine. Chalk it up to equal parts lazy accounting and outrageous medical bills. Five or so hours in the ER, two bags of saline, one shot of morphine, a couple of scans, and a warm blanket and BAM! Nearly $13,000 in the hole. All for one. goddamn. kidney stone. It hurt like a son of a bitch but if I had known what it was I swear I would have just popped the aspirin and sake and worked my way through it. The morphine wasn’t even that good, to be honest. Now I’m late on all of my usual bills – bike, insurance, credit card, etc. I weep for my credit score. I’ve worked so hard on it, too.

One person in particular will probably be quite angry and disappointed in my decision to relocate to the family home. This is unfortunate, however the person paying my bills has ultimate authority on these sorts of decisions. That person is me (usually), in case there was any confusion.

Tangentially…

Funny enough, there is no counter list of things I’ve said I would do, but haven’t. People talk about bucket lists, dream boards, setting life goals, blah blah blah. I’m sure that’s all fine and dandy for plenty of people. I tried it and immediately went back to reading random Wikipedia entries and playing World of Warcraft. Lists do nothing for me outside of very specific conditions; namely the ability to complete the list in one fell swoop. I tend to dislike things that take repeated efforts. I bring in groceries ten bags at a time because I hate making more than one trip, I write large papers in single sessions, and I absolutely hate the cheesy Facebook games like Mafia Wars that limit my ability to play without nagging all 10 of my friends for energy. When I want to grind I want to grind damnit!

That might be part of why it’s difficult for me to sit down and write consistently. I love to do it, but it conflicts with my desire to not repeat myself. I somewhat doubt my ability to crank out an entire novel in on sitting – without the aid of very potent drugs. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I write fan fiction in my free-time-that-shouldn’t-be. I publish my scribblings on a forum of like minded individuals. My most successful, which is to say complete, story to date was written in a single evening of Guinness fueled effort. It clocked in at a hair over 3,000 words and took the better part of a 12 pack and an evening. That includes editing, I suppose. My other piece I intended to write and release in independent chapters. Spoiler: didn’t work. I wrote the first bit and ignored it ever since. Partly due to lost interest in the premise, I admit, though I’ve since made better sense of it.

I think the crux of my issue is that I don’t like loose ends. When I go to bed I like knowing that nothing from this day will haunt the next. My last job was very day to day, and that worked very well. Sometimes I would have to repair the same thing more than once, but it felt like isolated issues since I had resolved them wholly prior. Don’t give me that look. Computers do all sorts of crazy stuff, especially in the hands of old people and children. And that’s fine for me. If little Billy downloads the same Elmo virus six times in a week I’ll clean it six times that week and it won’t give me that nagging feeling, though I may have to spank Billy’s parents for letting him on the computer so often.

If I leave a chapter unfinished, as I often do, it haunts me. I have a half-novel-half-comic script…thing…I started in Sophomore year of high school that I haven’t looked at in nearly a decade. Was looking to be a less traumatizing take on the out of place lawman idea, a la King’s The Gunslinger with a distinct Trigun flavor added for humor. I have several pages of a notebook scribbled with opening lines, themes, and bits of dialogue – every piece for a unique story.

I think I’ve found a common thread in all this not doing my thing and doing what I said I’d never. I said I don’t believe in karma or destiny or any of that jazz. A man (or woman, forgive the gender bias in English) can choose their own path in life. I believe that. Parallel to that idea is there being no right or wrong path. If you want to be a lawyer, or a baker, or a teacher, or what have you, go for it and to hell with all else. But I wonder if internally there are right and wrong things. What if Stephen King had pursued a career in nursing, or Ghandi opened a bakery, or Rowling chose to waitress instead of scribble on napkins. I wonder if, on some level, a person might know their path to optimal happiness, and then ignore it and spend years miserable because of their willful ignorance.

I think yes, one can.

~ Rao