Here We Go…

Today marks not only the first full day of my life in Kidwelly, but also the first day of my renewed commitment to writing every day. There won’t be a video with this article, since my headset is still at my Grandparents house, packed and ready to be brought here on the next trip.

For those that don’t know, I’ve moved to Kidwelly in south Wales. My parents live here, along with my sister and her daughters. I’m hoping that the happiness I feel being with my family again will help me counter the recent spike in my anxiety levels. The fact that Kidwelly is a much smaller, and by all accounts much friendlier, town should help also. I don’t have to be worried about my safety leaving the house, and I certainly don’t need to worry about running into anyone that used to pick on me in school.

Its a little silly that a 37 year old man should still feel nervous about bullies, but I do. It might even be that the reason I’ve been feeling so anxious lately is due to a denial of my true nature. I was always shy as a child, but I should be confident and assertive to get anywhere in life. I’ve been pretty good at convincing others that I’m outgoing, including myself, but recent events have forced me to recognise that deep down I’m still the same shy kid I always was.

I’m still determined to be a successful writer, I’m just going to have to do it as I am. I don’t seem to be able to fake it anymore, at least not without being aware that it’s fake. I can feel my inner self pouting at the very thought of it. This is very frustrating since I still need to work at a day-job of some kind. I have a job lined up working as bar/restaurant staff. Exactly the kind of job that requires you to be outgoing.

I’m honestly dreading it. I’m hoping one of the call-centre jobs I applied for offers me a position before I have to start at the bar. It’s not an ideal job. It’s a caravan park. It’s about a 20 minute walk from town, on country roads. No pavement. No streetlights. I’ll be coming home in the dark, and for at least two months of the year, it’ll only be part-time.

I know I should “suck it up, buttercup” and get on with it like a grown up. ‘We don’t always get what we want’, ‘at least it’s a job’, etc. I don’t wanna! I sound like a whiny entitled brat, but I’m not sure that it’s such a bad thing to want to work in a jib that suits your personality. In fact, most of the management books I’ve read suggest finding employees with compatible personality traits. I’m not doing myself or the business any favours by putting on an act.

A business relationship is like any other. If you’re dishonest, you’ll be found out, and the relationship will be over. On the other hand, maybe I should just go for it. It might be one of those ‘it was fun while it lasted’ sort of relationships. I can drop it when something better comes along. However, those kind of relationships (particularly when they’re the romantic kind, but also the working kind) always leave me feeling like a shitty human being.

I’d much rather not have to go into the job pretending I’m something I’m not. That includes having to pretend I want the job. I applied at the caravan park because I thought it was in the town of Kidwelly. It really isn’t. I also wanted the supervisor job, so I’d be making use of my education, experience and training, but they offered me team-member instead. There was also no cellphone service there when they had their recruitment day. It would be nice to be able to call my Dad or Sister for a ride home if the weather is bad, or it there’s an emergency.

Maybe I’m just getting new job jitters. Maybe it’ll all work out. Perhaps I’ll make a new friend working there that’s willing and able to drive me to work. Perhaps I’ll get fitter and the walk won’t leave me feeling like a wheezing old man stinking of sweat. There’s an elliptical exercise machine in the room I’m staying in. If I use that each morning it should help.

Perhaps I’ll make enough money on the side from writing that I’ll be able to save up and cover the short-fall during the off-season. That way I’ll be able to afford to rent the flat I’ve been looking at. I might also find a better job, or be writing full-time. Who knows? I know there’s no point in worrying about things that may never be an issue, but expecting everything will go well seems naive, and a setup for failure.

I suppose I could try to not expect anything, good or bad, and just take it as it comes and roll with the punches. That way I can avoid the “I knew it!” moment, or the sense of impending doom while I wait for something to go wrong. If anyone knows how I can teach myself this trick, I’d be happy to hear it!

I’ve been writing this article a few lines at a time for most of the day now. My plan is to write a new article every Saturday, post the next part of ‘The City of Gate’ (a forum-style RPG on Facebook) on Sunday, work on a short story submission on Monday, then on Tuesday I work on ‘The Haunted Story’, the writing guide on Wednesday, ‘Hermes925’ on Thursday, and ‘Leveling Up’ on Friday. Technically it’s now Sunday since it’s a quarter after midnight, so I’d better wrap this up!

I have to do at least an hour’s writing each day, and I’m using ‘The Book Factory’ and my family to help hold me to it. Even if I’m exhausted from work. 1 hour. I’ve spent more than an hour on this, but I have been writing only a few lines at a time throughout the day. In fact, I’ll finish this in the morning. I’m tired. 🙂


Awake again. My family go to church. My Dad’s the Vicar (Priest), so he has to. Mum runs the Sunday school (or ‘Messy Church’ as they call it). Today they’re building a temple out of cardboard boxes. Mum asked me yesterday to come along and help. I really don’t want to, but how do I say no? I feel bad even typing this knowing that she’s probably going to read this. She always reads my articles.

I think it’s mostly because I’m still figuring things out. For a long time I thought being shy was a bad thing and I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to be proactive and bold instead. However, I still tend to ignore things I don’t like instead of doing anything about it. I let myself be swept along instead of fighting the current. I worry that if I go along with this I’ll never achieve anything, and that I’ll be okay with never achieving anything.

It would make life a lot easier I suppose. To stop trying so hard and just go along for the ride. I may not ever become the successful writer I want to be, but at least I would avoid the struggle, and the pressure of success. Instead of facing and overcoming my fear of failure, and my fear of success (if I actually become successful then people will come to expect things of me, an I may not be able to sustain it), I could just accept my meek, shy, and wimpy self, and let life/God/whatever take over.

It feels like giving up. If I go to church, I might find myself becoming attracted to the lifestyle Christianity offers. I might decide that being a sheep is far easier than trying to be a wolf. Live a quiet life, don’t make any waves, and go to Heaven, remembered only by a handful of people with kind, generic, words.

 

Sadly, it’s sort of appealing. I worry thought that there will always be a part of me that knows I took the easier path. That I gave up. Would I still become I writer if I get involved with the church? I know that if I get involved I’ll feel like a hypocrite. Unless I allow myself to believe in God again (I used to when I was a kid), and ignore everything that caused me to turn away from Christianity in the first place.

I’m not sure I can do it. Pretend to be Christian, allow people to assume I’m Christian, or publicly convert to Christianity because it would be easier. All of the options seem bad. I do wonder though if my belief that organised religion is a form of mind control to keep the population from competing with the ambitious is still valid now that I know that my shyness is not something I can get away from. It’s either genetic, or so deeply ingrained that I haven’t successfully overcome it.

I noticed I didn’t say ‘can’t’, which I find reassuring. It implies I still believe it’s possible. There’s also a possibility that none of this will be an issue. I’ll go help out with messy church and feel no obligation at all to be Christian or help indoctrinate the kids. I’ll meet some nice people, and begin to make some connections in the community.

I may even find more people interested in my writing, preferably interested enough to ask me ‘How’s the writing going?’ or ‘When’s the next part of Hermes925 out?’ every time they see me. However, I’ve learned not to put too much faith in people. It invariably leads to disappointment. I probably need to lower my standards. Learn to be more accepting of people as they are, instead of expecting them to live up to their potential. This includes myself.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I wasn’t a success. Perhaps living a normal, mundane life surrounded by nice people is okay. I really hope they’re nice.

This article has been a lot more unguarded than usual. We’ll see what sort of feedback I get.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

Wales and Wellness

New Year, fresh start! I’m getting out of my emotional slump, and also out of the tiny box room, out of the depressing night-job, and out of this bad-memory riddled town!

I spent most of last week in Kidwelly visiting my family. I’ve thought about moving there before, but this time I’m going to do it. I think I was worried that if I lived nearer to my parents, in particular my Mum, I’d simply give up trying to be an independent adult and allow her to run my life for me. My mother is a self-confessed control freak, but that doesn’t mean I’ll automatically default to a child-like role.

I realise now that this idea was planted in my head during a previous relationship. A relationship that is now officially, legally, 100% over! Woohoo! I might have the letter from the courthouse framed! It doesn’t automatically undo everything we both went through together, but it does help me to severe any remaining emotional and psychological ties.

20180107_164815
To be fair, I do have some childlike tendencies. 

Speaking of psychology. Moving to Kidwelly will mean having to cancel my place on the waiting list for CBT. However, I feel confident (at the moment) that I can find similar therapy in Wales, and use self-directed cognitive therapy techniques. The phone conversation already validated my suspicions that I’m dealing with anxiety, and that the anxiety may be a result of mild autism.

The more I talk to people on the autism spectrum, and to people who have autistic friends and family, the more sure I am that the difficulties I sometimes have communicating with ‘normal’ people, particularly groups, is due to this. However, I’ve learned various tricks to allow me to talk to individuals.

I have no problems in a customer service or sales role because I’m usually dealing with a one-on-one conversation, and I’ve learned to read facial expressions, body language and tone to make sure I understand. I’m also very good at using my own body language and tone to lead the conversation where I want.

I do tend to automatically try to figure out what the right thing to say is though, even in casual conversation. I think that’s why I like blogging. I can just say what I want to say without feeling like I need to modify the message for the person I’m talking to. I do write with a particular audience in mind from time to time (like the ones about ghostwriting that are meant for for potential clients, or the articles I write for Games n Geekery), but most of the time I just write whatever comes to mind. Unfiltered.

It’s freeing being able to speak my mind. I don’t often feel like I can in conversations. Talking to people seems like an elaborate dance I don’t know all the moves to, constantly watching for clues to avoid stepping on toes. Like I said, this works well when talking to customers and you have to choose your words carefully to close the deal, or at least have them going away with a positive opinion of the company you represent. Not so good when you’re trying to make friends.

I often feel like no-one really knows me, because I tell them what they want to hear instead of what I want to say. The more important the relationship, the harder I try to make them happy, and the less I express my true self. I tend to be more honest with people that don’t matter to me, ironically. This initial candour though can then lead to them becoming important, and then I fall back into audience-pleasing behaviour!

20180107_164705
I have two more packets of them that I’ll think I’ll save for the new place!

I have trouble disappointing people. The fear of letting everyone down can often prevent me from making choices that would be in my best interests. Sometimes though, my own needs burst forth in a sudden rush of activity. Suddenly, I’ll have to do something selfish. It was one of these outbursts that ended my marriage. Another that brought me back to England, and I think this decision to move to Wales is another example.

I felt genuinely happy for the slightly-more-than-three days I was in Kidwelly. I haven’t smiled so naturally or laughed so easily for a long time. I don’t honestly know when I last felt like I could just be myself like that. Even the other people we talked to down there, I was just myself. No masks. No performances to make a good impression. Just me.

It may not last, but if there’s a chance that I can just me happy, and my true self there, I have to give it shot. I’ve already applied for several jobs in the area, and I’ve even checked out a flat above my parents’ favourite cafe. I’d have a job there too if I was a chef, but I’m not.

I’m looking for work that will encourage me to talk to people. That way, even if I end up hermitting in the flat the rest of the time, I’ve at least socialised a little. I may even make some friends. My sister has already promised to get me out of the house every now and then. 🙂

By the way, the microphone featured in the video is a Xiaokoa mini-microphone. The instructions read as if they were badly translated, and the setup instructions don’t work on my laptop. I could at least find it in the devices list on my mini-pc (bought recently to replace the laptop when it finally dies), but it still doesn’t pick up my voice clearly enough to be of any use. Oh well. At least it was cheap.

I forgot how long it takes to upload video. I was hoping to have this article finished and posted hours ago, but I’m still waiting for the video! It’s not a flashy video either. I don’t know how to create title screens and background music, etc. It’s just me talking. I may up the production value later if I ever feel inclined to learn. I passed a little time by taking pictures of things in my room and adding them.

20180107_164734
Cuddle buddies!

I have to go to work in two hours. I should be napping, but I’m feeling anxious and can’t sleep. I’ve heard from two other employees, both of whom have quit, that the hotel isn’t paying our taxes in. They’re probably just doing a little creative book-keeping. Using the money to buy the Christmas decorations and extras food and booze, with the intention of using the profits from the Christmas season to pay the arrears. However, I still need to investigate so that I don’t end up in trouble.

I also got a call just before I went to bed (3 hours ago) reminding me when I’m scheduled. He said that he wanted to be sure the night-porters, plural, were coming. This makes me wonder if both of us are scheduled, and if so, is it because there’s a lot that needs to be caught up on after the holiday, or is it because they’re packed full of people?

January is supposed to be dead, so I hope that it’s just that the place is a pigsty and needs two people to clean up. It would be even better if he just misspoke, and that it’s just a regular, non-crazy Sunday night requiring just one of us. I guess I’ll find out. I’ve already taken a dose of the flower essences my Mum mixed up for me to help me when I’m feeling anxious. Hopefully it will keep me from having a full panic attack if the place is crowded.

Even if everything else falls through, I need to get out of that job. Anyway, the video is finally loaded. Time to put the finishing touches to the article and start getting ready for work.

Have a great day.

 

 

 

 

Confidence

When I was a pre-teen, while I was in hospital awaiting an operation, my Dad told me that being brave was being scared and doing it anyway. My Uncle Nick said something similar just the other day. Along with other conversations I’ve been having since my decision to seek therapeutic help, it’s reminded me of something I realised years ago. If I want to make my life better I need to step out of my comfort zone and actively make it better.

Life doesn’t just give you things because it feels sorry for you. If you want something you have to order it, pay for it, and arrange delivery. Of course, this is easier said than done. It requires a certain drive and confidence that I don’t currently feel. However, I also know that confidence doesn’t necessarily come naturally. It’s a performance, a show, to assure people that you are strong and capable. After all, the ‘con’ in ‘con-artist’ is short for ‘confidence’.

That’s the part that makes me particularly uncomfortable though. It’s not just talking to strangers with a smile and deliberately making eye contact, it’s the dishonesty of it that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve been able to use the various tricks of body language, vocal intonation and word choices to assure, calm and up-sell to people for decades, but the friends I had made that way don’t feel real.

The real me is shy, and yet sure that I’m capable of accomplishing great things. I’m not sure how I’m going to get there without feeling like a con-artist though, or leaving myself exposed by showing them the real me. I feel like the boy I was at school. Looking at the ground and trying to avoid upsetting anyone. I miss the personality I cultivated when I was in college. Arrogant and naive. Apparently unconcerned with the opinions of others, looking everyone I met boldly in the eyes.

To be honest this affect crumbled when I moved to America. I felt lost, but somehow I still felt more confident than I do now. I think it’s because I believed it was destiny. The woman I had moved to the states to be with was ‘the one’, or so I thought at the time. I don’t think she ever really knew me. Even when we broke up, what came out was much angrier than I truly am. Maybe if she’d known the real me, we would never had made the mistake, but then I would never have lived in America.

As you can see, I know that I can’t continue to hide myself away in my room sleeping and procrastinating during the day and working in an empty hotel at night, but I don’t want to be the sleazy car salesman con-artist personality either. Nor do I want to be the ever caring, never complaining version of me that I frequently find myself becoming in relationships. In my last relationship I actively fought against falling into that pattern, and messed it up.

I keep pushing the world away worried it will hurt me, but I also know that some degree of pain is necessary to grow, and I so dearly want to grow. I want to be a success, I want to be proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I want to be happy. To accomplish this I need to enter the big scary world and make it work for me, and that requires confidence.

I used to have this poem hung in my cubicle. It may be time to get it framed and hang it on my wall.

 

Resolution

My decision to become a ghostwriter is not one I’ve made lightly, and yet I still find myself second guessing the decision. I know that every new venture is is going to have a few speed bumps. A client may be unhappy with my work, they may take my work and refuse to pay, or they might just find someone cheaper and never hire me in the first place.

I may end up adjusting my prices in future, but for now I’d rather set my value high and negotiate which each client individually. Part of the reason for this is that my time is valuable. I don’t have an awful lot of free time on my current schedule. I work nights at my ‘regular job’. When I’m not at work I should be sleeping, or (on my days off) working on my own writing projects, so my time is literally at a premium.

It’s important that I continue to work on my own projects as well because, while ghostwriting (and the hotel job) provide me with earned income, the royalties from my own books will build up my passive income. They’re an investment in my future. The more books I write with my own name on the cover, the better. Each is a lot of work, including planning, writing, rewriting,editing, cover-art and marketing, but once the book is finished and the marketing ball is rolling, each book will continue to make me money in perpetuity.


The part I wrote above was written before Christmas, and before I announced the discount. The rest of this will be written today, December 28th 2017.

It’s hit me pretty hard at the end of this year that I’m not only dealing with depression, but anxiety too. Part of the reason I want to get out of the rat race and work for myself as a full time writer is that some days I have trouble dealing with the stress and bustle of a busy workplace.

The call centre jobs I’ve had in the past aren’t so bad. No crowds of strangers to deal with there. Here in the UK though, the only work I’ve had has been bar and hotel work. When I had started writing this article, the night before I had gone to work at the hotel, having already had a lot of people to deal with the night before, and found it was once again full of people.

This isn’t terribly shocking being a hotel with a restaurant during the Christmas period, but I nevertheless had what can only be described as an anxiety attack. I just wanted to run. It’s not the first time either. This time last year I abandoned a job because I had an anxiety attack and literally ran back out of the building and went home.

I have already arranged a consultation with a therapist over the phone to see about getting this problem dealt with. I’m not going to be able to achieve my goals if I freak out every time I’m faced with a stressful/peopley situation.

Scary faceless masses!

I’ve also stepped down as an admin of the Creative Writers group on Facebook. Thanks to a conversation with a fellow admin and good friend, I realise that I’m avoiding my own issues by trying to help others. Which is a laugh in itself because most of the time we’re not helping others to write better, as the group was intended to be. Mostly we’re just removing people that break the rules and argue with us when we ask them to stop.

So now I should have more time to write, more time to blog, more time for me. I’m probably going to stop pushing the ghostwriting thing for a while too. I’ll take on paying clients if I get any, but I’m in no hurry to fill my schedule with work I’m doing for others. I need to work on my own stories.

Now that Christmas is over, I just need to get through the New Year event on Sunday and things should calm down at the hotel. I can use any down time I get to work on my writing, without feeling obligated to check in on the Creative Writers group first. Hopefully, this will lead to me getting ‘Hermes925’ finished, revised and published, and the first chapters of ‘The Haunted Story: Investigation’ (a working title I came up with right now) redrafted and posted.

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that 2018 is going to go a lot better.

I hope it does for you too 🙂