Tag Archives: Diary

Going through life backwards

2 Dec

Sometimes I feel like I’m going through life backwards, in relationships, responsibility, and goals. In my head I imagine “normal” as something like a pyramid. The normal narrative goes something like this: Before a boy grows up to be a man, he starts off fairly irresponsible, inconsiderate of others. He shirks responsibility, seriousness, his studies, and jumps has many relationships with various women. As the boy gets older, he learns to be more responsible, taking on duties and jobs in which others depend upon him, his tastes start to narrow as he figures out who he is, and he settles down with a partner.

That’s how I image the typical story goes. Someone is considered “immature” if they aren’t where they’re supposed to be at a given age along this path. If someone is where they’re supposed to be at a given age, you would say “they’re acting their age.”

Well I feel that I’m going along this path backwards in a way. As a teenager I never rebelled, I was extremely responsible for my age, I limited my relationships to serious ones, I never did anything overly dangerous or illegal, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do in life. Among my friends I was always the responsible one, and always happy to take on more responsibility. I never drank, I was always prepared for any situation, I almost always knew what to do, and I always cleaned up the mess.

Now that I’m older I’m sick of it.

Lately I’ve really been stressing out about a few things I really don’t want to do. I stopped to take stock of those things that were making me miserable and they were all responsibilities I had to other people. I don’t want any more responsibilities, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of having other people depend on me, I’m tired of being held down by those responsibilities. I’m fully aware that people are going to give me a ton of shit for saying this because “responsibility is good” is practically axiomatic in our society, but fuck em.

Look, I realize that many people have responsibilities that they did not enter into freely. For example, a family member gets sick or dies and suddenly you’re the only one around to look after the children. I get that. I’m not talking about those types of responsibilities.  I’m talking about responsibilities the way a free market capitalist would talk about employment: voluntarily entering into an obligation in return for some benefit. Why else do we voluntarily take on more responsibilities and obligations if not because we believe it will somehow be worth it? Maybe what makes it worth it is a pay increase, or a higher/more reputable standing in society. Whatever it is, I don’t want it.

I know that at this point in my life, almost 25, that I should be honing in on what I want to do for a career, I should start looking for someone to settle down with and have a family, and I should be striving to take on more responsibilities. However, all I want to do is cut all my chains and fly away. Perhaps I’m living life backwards.

Learning not to give a damn.

20 Nov

All throughout my life I’ve struggled with how to deal with destructive criticism. Several years ago I realized that, no matter what I did in life, I was inevitably going to upset one person or another. At this point most people would just go “so what?” and move on, but I couldn’t. I always took every negative remark personally, even if the person attacking me didn’t know me. I first came into contact with reality when I discovered online forums around the age of 12. (Early 2000′s) I posted something someone didn’t like, and that person said mean things about me. The anger someone could express while hiding behind anonymity shocked 12 year old me.

That turned me off to forums for a long time. I ran into the same problem when I started this blog. I naturally accrued a variety of nasty comments on my posts over the years. I had a hard time trying not to take them personally since this blog is a digital embodiment of my person to an extent. A nasty comment on the blog was a nasty comment on myself as a person, and it would often ruin the rest of my day.

Worrying about what other people think has become an issue again for me recently in a couple of ways, but one example is a post I made on reddit. I took a funny photo and posted it up on reddit. At the time of writing this, 1,480 people said they liked my photo. 549 said they didn’t. (72% approval rating) I was thrilled that so many people liked it, but there were two comments that were particularly nasty and hurt my feelings. Why I focus on these two and ignore the almost 1,500 people who liked it, I don’t know, but I do.

It’s funny that I’d even bother posting on a site like reddit, given my hang-ups about mean people on the internet. Indeed, most of the things I do post get downvoted (disliked) so often that I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t some malicious bot someone has programmed to automatically downvote everything I post. It’s easy to just tell someone to not take it personally, but I’m starting to get the feeling that many things in life are impossible to fully understand until you’ve learned the lessons first hand. It’s easy to tell someone “Don’t make the same mistake I did”, but while they can try and remember your instruction, it will never resonate with them the way it does with you. In the same way it’s hard to give someone advice about how to not mind what others say about you, but that person has to work it out in their own head before it will sink in.

Concurrently, all throughout my life I’ve struggled with what I can only describe as feeling like you’re a character in someone else’s story. I never really put this and my inability to deal with criticism together until now.

Who is my audience? Who am I trying to please?

If I am a character in a story, who’s watching? Who am I performing for? I really only just recently started to dawn on me that I’m my own audience. I’m doing this for me, and thus only my opinion really matters. I posted that funny picture up there because I thought it was funny and it made me laugh. That’s all that matters. Sure people are going to criticize and nit pick, but I’m not doing it for them, so they don’t matter. I’m doing it for me. It’s my story and I’m the only audience that truly counts.

That might sound harsh, and I’m not saying it’s never a good idea to take into consideration what other people thing, especially those people whom you respect, but the sentiment I’m trying to convey is in the same vein as “Everyone dies alone.” It’s not that everyone dies alone in a room but that, even if you die with other people in the same incident or with others standing around you, you can only experience your own death by yourself. In the same way you ultimately have to live with yourself. You are ultimately responsible to yourself for your actions.

Someone could have tried to tell me this, perhaps even on r/howtonotgiveafuck, but it would not have sunk in until I put the pieces together myself. This is still something I’m going to have to work on. I imagine I’ll have to try and train myself to some degree not to care what others think of me. At least now I’m starting to formulate a way to do that.

So to all the people unhappy with my right now, tough shit. You’re not my audience, I’m not performing for you, your opinion is irrelevant. ^_^

Goodnight.

Self respect

17 Nov

I just walked away from my best friend for over a year. I did it because it became a matter of self respect. The relationship had turned toxic and one sided, and a while back I promised myself to try harder not to put up with such things.

I don’t want to go into the particulars of what happened, but suffice to say he was extremely needy, whiny, and manipulative. I tried to be the best friend possible. I tried to help him with his problems, or at least listen. All I got in return was more complaining. No matter what the topic of conversation, it would inevitably turn back to him and his problems. Despite all the effort I put into the relationship, if we hit a bump or had an argument he would automatically assume it was over, that I was leaving him, and make subtle hints at suicide. He had no confidence in me as a friend, regardless of everything I tried to do to be a good one.

And so I’ve said goodbye, blocked communications, and cut him out of my life. It sucks. Losing friends always sucks, but I’m trying to keep perspective on what I’m actually losing. When I weigh everything I see that I’m actually gaining something rather than losing; self respect.

Toxic relationships do nothing but drain you. It turns into a case of sunk costs. The main argument I have with myself when considering cutting someone out of my life is “Well I’ve already put this much time and energy into the person. I’d hate to lose it all.” But it’s already lost. The hard part is finally realizing and accepting that. The best thing you can do is just move on.

I’ve always had a difficult time with friendships. At just shy of 25 I’m still trying to figure out what constitutes a good friendship, what’s realistic, and what I should expect. Earlier in the year I deleted my facebook. I did so for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I realized that almost nobody on there was actually my friend. I wagered that I would never hear from them again if I got rid of my profile and the hollow interactions that pass as friendship. I was right.

And so now I’m effectively friendless again. I say “effectively” because I still have my girlfriend and about three people I talk to now and then (but rarely see), yet I don’t have anybody to hang out with. You know what? I’m ok with that. As I’ve grown up I’ve come to realize that zero is still higher than any negative number. I’m better off with no relationships than having relationships where the other person takes advantage of me. Walking away is never easy, but I take solace in that I’m starting to learn to respect myself.

Life goes on…

21 Sep

Forgive me, it’s been way too long since my last confession post. A few new things have happened in my life and I’ve been pretty busy/exhausted. My job is going alright.  I’ve apparently developed a reputation around the school as being the “go to” guy if you actually get something done. The teachers love me because I’m usually quick to respond to their pleas for help, am empathetic, and follow through till their issues are taken care of.

The most surprising thing about the job is how little time I have in the rest of the day. I get home around 4:30 every day, but I have to be up by 6am, so I’m usually in bed by 10-11, which makes me feel old. I’ve tried to create a schedule for myself when I get home, but I’m really bad about actually following it.

I was really hoping to move in to an apartment with my friend now that I got a job, and I honestly thought I could, but my math was wrong and I couldn’t swing it AND meet my goal of saving $1000 a month in order to leave by February. On the bright side though I can now save $1500/mo and reach my goal of saving up $10,000 faster.

Very few people I’ve talked to have been supportive of what I’m trying to do with moving, at least when I tell them why I’m moving.

My biggest news besides the new job is the new girlfriend. I’ve been dating this one girl for a about a month. Met her online, then for drinks at a bar and we hit it off. She’s pretty techie. She’s actually fixing my wifi on my laptop she put linux on as I write this.

My last blog post was about me realizing I needed to avoid politics. This has been extremely difficult, but I’ve been doing it. It’s like avoiding some food on a diet and then it’s everywhere. It’s especially bad since there are 45 days left till the next presidential election. Whenever I catch myself thinking about politics I’ve been trying to quickly think about traveling or something else. Honestly that’s been a major reason why I haven’t posted anything recently. When I’m trying to avoid news, it’s been a little hard to write about anything.

I have some things in mind, but I’ll get to that in a bit. In the meantime I gotta go for a walk with my girlfriend and her dog before a play.
tl;dr still alive.

My passion never left, it just changed forms.

3 Aug

Back around the time I was graduating college I started to lose my passion for history, archaeology, and everything I loved. Why? Well I think there were a variety of factors, but I haven’t got that all sorted out yet. What followed was this period of listlessness, of being adrift with no idea what to do. For the 2+ years following my graduation I had no idea what I wanted to do, no idea where my passion had gone.

But then I had an epiphany the other day: My passion never left, it just changed forms.

This occurred to me when I realized how my passion used to manifest itself. Back when I was in love with history, archaeology, etc, those were the things I constantly thought about. When I wasn’t actively talking to someone, or focused on completing a task my mind would inevitably wander back to those subjects. That’s how I knew I was passionate about them, I would always be thinking about those subjects.

Well after my personal collapse in 2010 I stopped thinking about those things by default. Instead my thoughts shifted to religion and politics. I had always been interested in these things, but they had previously taken a back seat to history and archaeology. I created this blog a long time ago as a way to nurture those thoughts that manifested themselves from time to time, and to give them a home, yet history was still my main focus.

Why did I feel my passion had disappeared? It took me two years to figure it out: Rage.

My passion for history and archaeology was built on love. I genuinely enjoyed talking about those things. I got excited to discuss them with others and they made me happy.

As things in my personal life started to fall apart, the happiness was replaced with this rage. I stopped thinking about things that made me happy and started thinking about things that infuriated me. It was not something I could consciously control, it was a byproduct of what was going on in my life.

Religion and politics were two issues I had always cared about, but now they had become toxic. I was consumed by them. I was constantly furious as my idle thoughts always returned to these poisonous subjects.

I felt lost and adrift because, unlike history and archaeology, religion and politics did not have a productive goal.

Back when I was in love with history I had the goal of becoming an archaeologist. It was something I was working towards, something to achieve. I had direction. When that mindset was replaced with rage, I lost that direction. There is nothing productive for me in religion or politics. I’m not about to become a religious figure since I think the whole thing’s bullshit, and I’m not about to go into politics because I have no faith in our system or the possibility of changing it through legal means.

So where does that leave me now?

I don’t know. I obviously need to replace the rage with love. I want so desperately to do that. I want to be happy again. I want to be somebody who’s excited about something, something positive. I just don’t know how to make that happen. I still have to figure that bit out, but this has been an amazing leap forward for me!

I got fired yesterday…

9 Aug

It’s just starting to sink in and I feel sick and depressed. Little back story:

I graduated from college in May of 2010 with a worthless degree in History. I went through a really rough time after graduating, losing my gf of 3 years, and moving to a state I hate. I got a job offer and I was desperate to get out of my parent’s house. The job was for $10/hr, 9-5 M-F. The first 120 days I was to be on probation, after that probation I would have an employee review and it was strongly hinted that a raise would follow after that review, depending on how I did.

In my desperation to get out of my parent’s house and to start my life after getting my first “real” job out of college, I signed a 12 month lease for an apartment I could barely afford. (Oh, I luckily don’t have any debts or car payments or anything like that, so I could swing it on $10/hr, but just barely) I was really banking on getting a raise at the end of my 120 day review. (My mistake, I know, but it was heavily hinted that I’d get a raise)

Well I worked my ass off. I completely transformed the company’s work process. It was a very small company, only 4 other people in the office, but we had 30+ subcontractors around the country. Anyways, my review came around and my boss gave me all top marks, said that I was doing amazing, that she was so happy to have me…..but no raise. She said we didn’t have enough accounts and she couldn’t give me one. (She drove a BMW, had maids, and took home a 6 figure salary. Later during a fight she would tell me that she paid my salary out of her take home pay.)

Anyways, on top of not getting a raise, I got 5 days paid vacation time off per year. That’s about half the national average for the US. If I got sick, it came out of my vacation time. If I wanted to take a vacation she probably would have given me shit for it and would not have let me. So no raise, no vacation time, oh, and no health care. I was still on my dad’s plan, so she didn’t have to give me health care. She was paying for everyone else to have health care, but since I was on my father’s she didn’t have to pay the extra $300/mo.

After that review, when I found out that I wasn’t going to get a raise, that I was to continue to get paid my probationary pay, my morale tanked. I felt like I was getting fucked over. I no longer felt the need to go above and beyond for my boss. (I would have done anything for her in the beginning. I even went out of my way to make chemically etched copper business cards for her birthday. I volunteered to come in on the weekends to help out. When she had a bad day I went next door and got her a brownie and ice cream. She told me that I was one of the kindest, most thoughtful people she ever met.)

Anyways, things started to spiral downward slowly. Several weeks ago there was a watershed incident. I was to run the deliveries for the day, but my boss’ son didn’t explain that I had to do some special route and deliver some suitcases to a doctor’s office that he forgot to give me a key for. Since her son was a subcontractor, he paid me and I was off my boss’ clock while doing the runs.

Anyways, I got lost, almost ran out of gas, was half an hour’s drive out of my way from home, an hour off the clock, etc. Needless to say I was pissed. I texted my boss that I was not happy. She called me and I was admittedly a bit short with her. I wasn’t rude, but she could tell I wasn’t happy. The very next day she hauled me upstairs and scolded me for half an hour, completely taking me off guard.

I don’t do well with confrontation and my brain shut down. I told her that I didn’t have any job satisfaction, that I was unhappy about not having a raise, that I was barely able to make ends meet, that I had done everything she asked of me and more, yet I felt like I was being taken advantage of, that I was looking for a part time job to work during the evenings after I got home in order to make ends meet. She flipped her shit and almost fired me there. Anyways, I put my tail between my legs and apologized and kept my job.

My morale was really shot then. I started to resent my boss. She kept going on and on about how no one gave raises like her, that nobody took care of their employees like her, but it was all talk. She would do stuff like get us soda and snacks and keep it in the fridge, but that’s it. I liken it to gladiator armor. It covers the arms and other things, but leaves the torso and vital organs completely exposed. She would try to do little things to show that she cared, but it was never anything that really mattered like giving me a raise so I could afford to put food on my table.

Anyways, after that blow-out it seemed that all the good will that I had built up over the past several months of hard work was destroyed. Things started to get progressively worse. She demanded that we keep meticulous track of out hours worked. If we were late, she’d scold us. Well I always came in a little early and left a little later than 5. I kept track of those minutes and they added up, often to at least an extra hour. I put that down on my time sheet and she scolded me. She said that it would add up to over time that she did not want to pay me. So basically she wanted to not pay me for the time before 9 that I was there, nor the time after 5, but heaven forbid I was late one morning, then she would fuck me over. The system was rigged that it only benefited her, never me.

Everything really snapped for me when I got in trouble for taking a lunch break to have lunch next door with some friends. I apparently was operating under the assumption that I had a lunch hour in the middle of the day that I could do whatever I wanted with. The other people in my office would often take half an hour or more to walk across town to get some lunch. Most of the time I just sat at my desk and ate while I worked. Well I took a break and she informed me that I didn’t have a lunch break, that I would have to adjust my hours in order to take a lunch break. I worked 8 hours and was only allowed a 15 minute break in the morning and a 15 minute break in the evening. Neither of which I ever really took.

She also scolded me one morning for being exceedingly tired. She automatically assumed that because I was 23, it was due to me being irresponsible and partying all weekend long. I don’t really ever drink. I have sleep apnea which makes me tired as shit every day. Ironically I see one of our clients to get treatment for my sleep apnea.

I got fed up. I started looking around for replacement jobs. I cleared out my desk secretly a week ago. I cleaned up my computer and wiped all my history. From time to time she’d have me dig through a subcontractor’s computer to see if I could find anything incriminating. I was her only IT guy and so I made damn sure she would never be able to find anything on me.

The thing that really got me was that she always kept moving the goal posts. She would ask me to do something, I would do it, and then I would get in trouble for doing what she asked. I could NEVER fucking win. I can’t emphasize this enough. I constantly felt like I was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. What also really killed me was how unstable the whole situation was. She would act like we were all a family, like we were best friends one moment, and then next thing you know, I do something wrong and she’s about to fire me. Up and down, up and down, I couldn’t stand it.

Anyways, this afternoon, 15 minutes before close, she told me to come upstairs. “Oh great,” I thought, “time to get scolded by my boss again.” I went upstairs and she was sitting there ready for a fight. I knew it was coming. I sat down with a smile on my face and was very cordial and polite. She said that I was not the person she hired months ago, that my attitude was unacceptable, that she had a long list of things that were suddenly now back on her. I asked her what she meant by that because I was under the impression that I was handling everything she asked me to do. She couldn’t name anything. She tried to come up with some examples, but they were all things that she never assigned to me. It’s funny how things suddenly had a habit of becoming solely my project just in time for me to get in trouble for it not being completed.

Well I just sat there and smiled, she said she was very disappointed, I think I said that that made two of us, but the whole thing feels like a dream that I can’t really remember, even though it was just this afternoon. She asked what was going on, why I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel like having a fight with her, so I told her that I didn’t appreciate being ambushed like this and that I had nothing to say. She said that if I didn’t tell her, that I would be leaving on bad terms. I said sorry to hear that, but that I have nothing to say to her. She told me to get my things and I walked downstairs without looking at my coworkers. She stood next to me the whole time watching me like a hawk. I turned in my key to the office and then was going to close out of some programs on my computer. She didn’t want me to, she wanted me to keep all my windows open so she could see what I was doing. I think I got everything closed, but I can’t remember. I might have left my personal gmail account open. I got my stuff while my coworkers sat their in stunned silence, pretending not to pay attention. I walked out of the office and shut the door behind me. I was shaking a little, but not overly showing. It wasn’t until later today that I felt like I was going to throw up. I was…am happy, but I don’t know what I’m going to do for a job, or how I’m going to pay for my apartment.

I know I can never tell any future employers what happened because they will always assume the fault is with the employee, never the employer, but I was really fucked over by this job. I just wanted to get this all off my chest.

Passion

3 Apr

I haven’t been writing as much lately, and the reason is two fold: Partly it’s because with a 9-5 job I have a lot less time, but the main reason is that I have lost my passion.

The watershed moment for me was when I wrote the post Forlorn Hope. I came to the conclusion that humanity is fucked at a very basic level. Yes, we are slowly inch by inch making progress, but the fact that we have to fight so damn hard to get that inch should tell you something about people. I wouldn’t say it is 100% pointless to argue religion and politics with people, but I just don’t have the desire to do it very much anymore.

In a way I feel like I have ascended to a post-political, post-atheism state. I was once starry eyed and zealous about both, and now I don’t care. It’s a faint feeling of superiority for which I am displeased with myself.

In my experience, passion is a fickle thing. My passions have always come in stages. My first passion as a kinder-gardener was volcanoes. Then in first grade it was the civil war, then Pompeii. In fifth grade it was guinea pigs. Between the ages of 11-12 it was the Titanic.

The biggest passion hit when I turned 12. The computer game Age of Empires II: Age of Kings came out and I discovered the middle ages. This passion would grip me for the next 10 years. I joined a medieval living history group, built a suit of armor, learned how to sword fight, and went to college to get my BA in history. For the longest time I was planning on living my life as a medieval archaeologist. I woke up early every morning for almost two years to go dig at a local site, I hurt my GPA by taking multiple language classes (not my strong point), and I even traveled to the UK for schooling. Now I’m not so enthusiastic about it.

Around the same early teenage years I discovered a passion for film making and politics. I seriously came extremely close to going to film school instead of a 4 year program for history, but at the last minute I had a huge falling out with my best friend and film-making companion. I thought about being a film editor for the rest of my life, but that passion died out.

Politics was a similar story. I used to volunteer and wage road sign wars before I could even vote. I’m not proud of it, but at the time I described myself as a political zealot. (I was a teenager, cut me some slack) I wanted a life of politics, fighting the good fight and all that. I almost majored in political science at college. My first semester I signed up for the freshmen starter classes, but then changed my mind at the last minute. I reasoned that I didn’t need a degree in political science to work in politics, and that history had been my driving passion for much longer.

The most difficult aspect about all of this is the lack of certainty.

Each one of these passions consumed me, sometimes for years at a stretch. While in the grip of a passion I was positive about my life’s calling. I knew what it was I wanted to do. Inevitably the passion died out, leaving me jaded and lost. How am I supposed to plan for life if I don’t that what I am passionate about today will be what I am passionate about tomorrow? I know some people might be tempted to say “Oh don’t plan!” but that’s not reasonable. You can’t “not plan” and become a medieval archaeologist. (My goal for more than a decade of my life) I had to plan what courses I took in college, what I did outside of college, how to build my resume for grad school, which grad school to go to, etc. Planning is a must. But how was I supposed to know my passion would die my senior year? (My biggest fear is that my passion and decade long plans were the collateral damage in the slow implosion of a serious three year relationship whose end coincided with that senior year, but I have no way of knowing)

Regardless, now I’m left in the uncomfortable position of floating aimlessly; passionless. What am I to do? A lack of passion is not something you can just “snap out of.” If I find a new passion, how can I avoid being cynical about it given my history with previous passions?

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