I needed something professional and eye-catching. An image that would sell the book for me. So far I’ve only sold any when I’ve found people on Facebook that are spooky horror fans and pitched the book to them. I don’t mind talking about my stories, it’s just a little more time consuming than I’d like since I also need to finish writing Hermes925, keep this blog up to date, try to find odd-jobs and freelance work so I can pay my way while I’m doing all this, and keep working on the rest of the Haunted Story series!
The fact that I needed better cover art was so distracting I couldn’t even focus on my book projects, knowing that every book I put out would require similar one-on-one marketing to sell. Then yesterday, driven by who knows what, I posted one of my favourite conversation topics on Facebook:
As a result I ended up having a very productive conversation with Heather Montgomery, a talented cover designer, merch maker, and author in her own right! She designs most of her own covers. Check out her website to see some of her other work. She came up with these three great designs for me:
It took me a while to pick a favourite because they were each so awesome in their own way, and far better than mine. If the Amazon page has already been updated, then you might already know that I ended up picking this one:
I love it! I’m going to use Heather’s designs for all of the Haunted Story series, and the sci-fi Hermes925 too! If I get the chance to do a book-signing event of some kind in future I will probably have her design some matching T-shirts for each book too!
I am unbelievably excited about this partnership. Please check out her website and show her some love. She writes under the name Ann Snizek, and her new paranormal/scifi For: Giva de Vine, is for available through a variety of online sources.
Please help us both out and share this article around and, as always, have a great day! 🙂
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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’ve mentioned something about the benefits of thinking negatively put I handed put a couple of important pieces together until this week. I hit a low, like you do, and was beginning to contemplate an exit strategy. There were a couple of people, and a couple of events, that helped me begin to climb out again.
Let’s start on a high note before I drag you into the sea of dispair I had been night-swimming in. Just a day or so ago, the UbiquiCity anthology was published! I still need to figure out how to get it to come up on my Author page, but if you search for ‘Antony Copeland’ (remember to leave out the ‘h’!) two results come up instead of just one!
For those that haven’t heard me mention UbiquiCity before, it’s a role-playing game sourcebook (that part isn’t out yet) and a collection of short stories, including one written by me! It’s based in the future and will probably be perfect for anyone who has played CyberPunk or ShadowRun and feel like the tech is out-dated. The consulting writers all help to create a society to play with that was utterly infused with computer-based intelligence. If you’re a proud RPG geek with a love of well-written fluff, buy it! 🙂
In addition to this great news, I also recently learned that the e-zine, Diversions from Drudgery, is still on track! So Hermes925 is still going to get published. I can put my concerns regarding continuity and plot holes to once side. It’s already going out as is, I’ll have to create a revised edition later if I still feel it’s necessary. Which means I can focus more on The Haunted Story project!
So that’s helping. Another thing that was a huge help was actually talking to some of my friends about my depression. One of whom had an amazing revelation about her own depression. She admitted publicly (on Facebook), that she is suicidal, but that it doesn’t mean that she’s going to kill herself, or at least not yet. It means that she’s acknowledging that she may, one day, kill herself if her life doesn’t get better. She’s using that as motivation to make her life better, or (quite literally) die trying.
The worst possible consequence of anything is death. Especially if you’re a chronic over-thinker like me (the downside of a good imagination I suppose). I don’t go out much because that stranger walking towards me could kill me. I especially tend to avoid bars and pubs because a drunken person is far more likely to turn aggressive. That’s why Facebook is so appealing to me. People may threaten to kill one another, but the risk of them actually doing so is minimal! Just in case though, I always try to be nice.
This actually connects to something else I’ve done that I’m not sure I want to talk about much. However, it came up, so out it comes! I’ve had a working theory for a while now that part of the reason I get depressed is because I always feel like I have to be nice. To get ahead in life, and to stay alive. Happy people have no reason to reason to kill you, especially if you’re the one that made them happy. I’ve had this theory since childhood. Make everyone happy = everyone is safe! It doesn’t matter that lots of my fellow schoolchildren didn’t respond well to my attempts to cheer them up, the concept was solidly integrated into my core programming.
I wanted to be good and make my parents happy, and the best way to make sure they would be happy all the time, would be to save the world. In hindsight it was a supremely arrogant, and condescending way to treat people. Anyway, having to be good all the time so that you can save-the-world/not-get-killed would sometimes get tiresome. Especially when people couldn’t see that you were just trying to help. It made me sad when I saw people doing something incorrectly (and even sadder when they argued).
I was absolutely convinced that I was better than them, and every time this concept was challenged I felt bullied and victimized. I know other people don’t think this way, because they didn’t understand. I got labelled a cry-baby, because whenever anyone challenged what I knew was true, I’d cry and an adult would come running to save me. In my mind this meant I was right. ‘See? The grown-up is on my side!’
Of course, this didn’t work so well once I was a teenager. When I was fifteen, one of my teachers suggested I keep a logbook of every time someone picks on me. I thought it was a great idea, until I discovered that the stuff I was getting upset about sounded so ridiculous on paper that I stopped writing stuff down. I felt like I could no longer justify crying to an adult over everything. I was forced to have to use my wits!
My wits weren’t as sharp as I had led myself to believe, and I was faced with the possibility that I may not be as smart as I thought. I’m still a little embarrassed by my final grades. The more frustrated I got, the more I found I wanted to say things that weren’t nice. However, it still had a strong self-identity as a good boy. No smoking, no swearing, and no intimacy with girls until you’re married. The idea of voices these ideas and questions made me very uncomfortable.
Then one day I snapped. It didn’t make much sense why I did. I’d failed to make an omelette in cooking class (the school called it ‘Food Technology’) I kept adding more eggs, sure that it would bind the sloppy mixture together. It was an embarrassing, and personally confusing, disaster. I realize now the reason why it upset me so much because it challenged my self-identity. I can make an omelette. I’d done it before. It wasn’t going according to plan, but it was okay because I knew how to fix it. Then the fix made it worse, and worse! It simply didn’t compute that it was happening.
Later that day, some else happened that wasn’t right. I was in the smart kid class for science (physics and biology were fun). It bothered me I wasn’t in the top tier for Maths too but that’s another story that also ended in me realizing my self-image was wrong. Good boys were supposed to be smart, be great at Science and Mathematics and go to university! Anyway, the Science teacher was off sick, so our class was to join one of the regular classes, and that teacher hadn’t arrived yet. The class contained several people that liked to pick on me. I lashed out with a fountain pen (fountain pens are better than other pens, therefore I had a fountain pen) at a (very stocky) girl that was curious about my odd-looking ‘rolling ruler’ an quickly left the room in search of an adult.
I told the first adult I could find that I didn’t know what happened. People were picking on me, then the next thing I knew I was leaving. To acknowledge that I know exactly what I did would contradict my self-identity. I had had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, so mu mum thought maybe it was an ‘absent’ seizure.
I should point out that I no longer think they were picking on me or bullying me. I think they were trying to figure me out. They found my answers entertaining because, to them, they were weird. I’m on fairly good terms with my weirdness, but I was never good with depression. Partly because (I think) I still have the ‘good boy’ persona dominant. How can a good boy have depression? That makes no sense! How can I be my father’s ‘Sunshine’ (his nickname) and simultaneously be able to acknowledge the anger and pain? Especially when so many have it much harder.
Telling myself that others are worse off is part of the same arrogant ‘I’m better than they are’ mindset that I’m trying to shed. Though shedding may not be the write idea. I know that bottling up doesn’t work. There have been some previous occasions when I’ve tried turning the feelings I represent as a secondary personality. The idea being that by allowing ‘him’ to express himself, I can prevent myself from having ‘outbursts’ (the one in Science class wasn’t the only time).
The ‘good boy’ and this alter-ego do seem to agree on a few things though. Including that multiple personalities, talking to yourself, etc. is nuts! I’d soon suppress it all again. I still find myself wanting to say things I can’t if I want to be seen as professional and have readers like me, so I push it down. So I’m trying the experiment again, and justifying the potential insanity by pointing out that I’m a writer. Writers have conversations with and as their characters all the time while writing their stories.
I’ve also read several times that the books that make the most money are romance and erotica. Both genres aren’t my thing. It doesn’t fit my dominant self-image to enjoy or write about love and sex, but If I write the stories as my rebellious alter-ego, I’m not compromising my online brand, an I give those thoughts I normally suppress an outlet that actually helps the cause!
Anyway. Long segue. It sort of ties back though because this permission I’ve given myself to explore ideas that don’t fit my personality allows me to learn things about myself that I have previously never allowed myself too, including being able to admit that, I too, am suicidal. I still believe though, based on looking at every angle I can think of, that it’s symptomatic, or at least the optimistic side does.
The pessimist likes to point out that this is biological disorder, but he also doesn’t trust that disorders are real. He thinks they’re either part of a deliberate conspiracy to undermine us and put ourselves in limited boxes so we don’t actually analyse ourselves to closely and figure out what we can do with our unique differences, or that people prefer being dumb, it takes less effort, so they slap a label on themselves and each other to they don’t have to think too hard.
Since I know these thoughts are upsetting, I tend not to agree with them in public. I still have the thoughts, I just can’t express them. However, that’s not really wanted to talk about. Admitting that feeling suicidal is, at least in my current situation, a fact, actually offers me a freedom I didn’t have before. If I might kill myself, the the worst that can happen is inevitable.
I may as well start taking risks as if I have a terminal disease. As if I could die tomorrow, at my own hand. Hiding from the world in my room is no longer a safe place. Suddenly my chances of survival in the outside world increases dramatically in comparison to the absolute certainty that, if I don’t make some changes in my life, I am going to kill myself.
I’ve believed the idea that ‘live for today, because you could die tomorrow’ for some time, but I’ve never put that additional piece ‘by your own hand’ before now. It makes the motivation far more immediate. A sudden heart-attack seems hard to imagine when compared to being hit by a bus, and of the two the heart-attack seems less painful, so my brain found a loop-hole and stayed indoors!
I can’t handle it anymore. I’ve got to make more contacts. Get myself out of the rat-race, or at least get myself a job that allows me to use my brain. Make more friends and hang out more with the ones I have. Perhaps even track down and meet up with some of the online ones! I think I may even be ready to risk a girlfriend! I miss having someone to cuddle and cry with, laugh and play with. The other guy has some ideas too that a good boy should never have.
It may hurt to open my heart again, but I’m hurting anyway. Maybe there’s even a chance that ‘the one’ is still out there, and not just a myth designed to keep us in line as ‘someone’ keeps telling me! It’s unlikely that anyone that reads this and the rest of my blog would be even remotely interested in dating me, but at least if they do, they’ll be somewhat forewarned!
If I start putting myself in situations that may make me happy, I may discover I don’t have to feel so sad. We’ll see if I’m brave enough, or if this new perspective will truly help.
I’m not saying I’m a ‘Jerry’, but if I was writing ‘Rick and Morty’, after separating from Beth, Jerry would’ve started wearing black eyeliner and writing bad sci-fi based on the adventures he never got to have!
For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘Rick and Morty‘ is a cartoon in which an alcoholic mad scientist (Rick) takes his insecure grandson (Morty) with him to parallel dimensions and alien worlds. The results are hilarious and often disturbing, and Jerry (Morty’s father and Rick’s son-in-law) never gets to come along.
Jerry loves Beth (Rick’s daughter/ Morty’s mother) more than anything, but he’s rather spineless. As a result, his attempts to be the man of the house are more than a little desperate. Beth clearly wears the pants in the relationship. Even after they break up, Jerry still defines himself by the relationship he’s lost.
He’d clearly be better off moving on and finding someone who appreciates him for who he is. After of course, he’s taken the time to truly discover who he is as an individual, and not as a clingy parasite, but he’s Jerry, and he’ll continue to self-sabotage and aim to fail because that’s what Jerry’s do across multiple parallel dimensions.
It occurred to me last night at work while humming ‘Everything I do‘ from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack (I made the mistake of watching it again recently) that there are some definite similarities between the relationship Jerry has with Beth, and the one I had/have with my ex-wife. Unlike Jerry, I don’t see my ‘Beth’ anymore, but I still find myself thinking about what I’ve lost even though I know that what we had was unhealthy.
I even had a somewhat Rick-like father-in-law!
However, the point of this article wasn’t to mope down memory lane, wondering for the infinite-th time what I could have done to make her happy and berate myself for the promises I didn’t keep. It was to realise that I can use this parallel to my advantage! Most writers are familiar with the advice ‘write what you know’ (interestingly enough, the writer I recently interviewed recommended the opposite) but doing so often leaves me bogged down in emotions that halt my progress.
I’m working on a story right now in which the main character is intimidated by his more intelligent and successful spouse, and it occurs to me that, instead of reopening old wounds to bare my own soul on the page, I could just base the character on Jerry! Hopefully, the trick works and I can finish the short story without spiralling into self-pitying depression in the process!
If only I could also find a character with a similar childhood to mine so that I can tackle my The Science Of Magic rewrite too! I’m hoping to get part one of both stories out on Kindle soon so that I have more on my Amazon author page than just the first book of The Haunted Story series. 🙂
Things are going fairly well at the moment. The new job as a night-porter is just what the doctor ordered. I get time to write, I only have to deal with a few customers, I don’t have to work with an ex-girlfriend, and the other new night porter is awesome. Of course, now that we’re both trained up we’ll be on opposite shifts most of the time.
The potential romance issue has been resolved also. We talked. She recognises that I’m in no emotional (or financial) state to up sticks and move to Italy. We’re still friends, and maybe, when I have my shit together, it will still become something more. Who knows?
The Monolith project is going well too. I’ve got some great admins helping me to regain order and sanity. Each admin has been assigned specific tasks, taking a lot of the weight off my shoulders and allowing me to get back to doing what I’ve always done best. engaging with the Creative Writers group members and building interest in the group projects.
Thanks to the lack of stress I’ve even begun working on Hermes925 again. I haven’t even needed to smoke. I’ve been completely weed free for a week and have no compulsion to acquire any more. I’ve been wanting to quit for a while, but every previous attempt has left me feeling anxious and resulted in a relapse. I haven’t even written about it because I didn’t want any family that still read this to worry about me (and when I last described my ‘recovery‘ I was ridiculed for it).
However, a new job means new people, and new people (especially when they hear the slight American twang to my accent) means having to tell my story again. It’s not just co-workers and customers either. There’s a woman in the Creative Writers group that is going through some trouble with her partner remarkably similar to my relationship with my ex-wife. Helping her get through it and telling my story to others has inevitably stirred up some less than pleasant emotions.
The reason why I’m writing this article instead of working on the Creative Writers group FAQ, like I intended, is because it occurred to me that maybe the real reason I’m trying to become successful as an author, as a boss, and as a man, is to feel like I’m worth something. To give my life value and meaning. If I don’t produce something of lasting value, I’m just a waste of good oxygen.
I’m not writing this so that people will feel sorry for me and try to help. I know everyone that reads this is going through their own drama, trauma and pain. I also know we’re all broke, so I’ve given up asking for financial assistance either. I think I’ve removed every reference to asking for money from the website, including the ‘Tip Jars’ page I recently created, but if you find any I’ve missed let me know.
Realistically, I know that success won’t result in the permanent state of happiness that most of us aspire for, hoping that if they’re ambitious and determined enough they’ll be able to relax and bask in the glory of victory. Being the best invites challenge and conflict. We know from reading stories, playing games, and the lives of our cultural and literary heroes, that the better we become, the larger the challenges we face are.
However, that’s not what’s putting me off. Life is hard, but conflict and hardship make it interesting. However, it occurs to me that I haven’t stopped trying to prove myself worthy of love. Despite telling myself I don’t believe in love anymore, I still find myself wanting it. Though I feel like I’d have nothing to give. I can’t offer children or wealth, or even a place to stay until I can afford to move out of the back room of my Grandparents house.
Relationships would just complicate things anyway. Even the idea of socialising seems pointless. I sometimes crave company, but not enough to be worth the risk of becoming emotionally attached. Maybe love will find me when the time is right. When my assets are greater than my awkwardness and social anxiety. When my life is stable enough to know that I’m with someone because I truly love them, and not because of some selfish emotional need to feel loved and desired.
Any affection I receive would be charity on their part at this point in my life. If I work hard at becoming a success, I may eventually become worthy of love. Though no matter how hard I work I’ll still never be able to produce a family, so the whole thing seems like a waste of time. Why bother working so hard to become an attractive prospect when I’d be trapping any woman interested in a life of changeable moods, intermittent attention, and childlessness?
I like to write, but the pressure I’m putting on myself to accomplish ‘success’ is taking all the fun out of it. If it’s truly not worth the effort, then why am I even trying?
Please don’t worry. This is not a cry for help. Just processing some feelings I’ve long been suppressing.