Tired of cleaning up shit.

I don’t know why writing has to feel so difficult, but I know I can’t comfortably sit down and express my thoughts or even think  with the smell of rank, piss-soaked litter boxes and traces of Derby’s behavioral issues all over the house. It takes me around half an hour to an hour every morning to clean up all of those spots, the boxes, feed them, change out their water, and then tend to the cats outside. It’s a lot of work to make your place not smell like you have five cats and dog… Next thing I know it’s time to go to work.

The load of everything is getting heavier and heavier on my shoulders. Half the time I wake up with a flurry of butterflies in my chest. I don’t want to get up. I think of all those litter boxes that need to be cleaned and bowls that need to be filled. I think of having to scare the outside cats away so my dog can go out back to pee. There’s dishes everywhere, and the floor is covered in litter grit with tiny receipts and napkins scattered about. There’s figurative shit over every surface in this house. I keep putting it all away, and somehow it finds its way back again. The cats don’t help, because this is more shit for them to knock on the floor.

I’ll spend all morning correcting these little annoyances, but after a while, those little annoyances start to become part of the problem, because it’s only me doing all of this, and then afterwards it’s time to shower, get some semblance of a lunch together, and head off to the place that makes me most miserable.

My hands are shaking, and I’m not sure if it’s the morning anxiety, or if this is because I’ve been drinking so much lately, or if it’s because I haven’t eaten or haven’t taken my medicine yet. I take Duloxetine, which is the generic form of Cymbalta. I have to say it’s helped better than anything else, and I’m sure it would work much, much better if I didn’t drink so much. In fact, I can actually attest to that. I went nearly 45 days without drinking, just to see if I could, and I could see and feel a huge difference in my physical and mental state. The downside to this medicine, is it can make me sleepy, and if I miss a dose or go too long before the next one I will become incredibly itchy. I think of the itchiness as a reminder to take my medicine. It doesn’t kill all anxiety, and like I said it would probably work better if I didn’t drink so much, but Jesus it sure is a night and day difference being on medicine than being off it. Unfortunately, all I want to do these days is sleep and drink, and dream of places far away.

I wish I knew what to do. I have so many plans for things and places I want to go, and I can’t help but feel alone in this. I’ve vocalized my frustrations and needs and can’t help but feel like they’re falling on ears that are only half listening. It’s hard not to feel taken for granted. The past few weeks have been awful. I barely see her anymore. She wakes up, gets immediately on the computer and into groups, and with MMO’s there’s no pause button; there’s no having everyone stop mid-fight for a quick chat. I come home from work, and there she is again, but this time in a raid and when the headphones are on, I know it’ll be even more difficult to get her attention.

I come home from work and the house is a mess. Nothing I asked for got done, and I really don’t ask for much. There’s nothing prepared for me to mange on when I get comfy, and it’s usually up to me to come up with the recipe ideas, compose the grocery list, and do most of the cooking. The house reeks of shit and cat piss.

Since she’s in the raid, she’s on the good computer; the only computer I can play the games I enjoy on. My method of escape is confined to this laptop which may play games from the early 2000’s just fine, but I know there’s no way I am getting ARC or H1Z1 booted up on this system. I always get the laptop. It’s like getting the knock-off player 2 controller, that always seems to have a loose screw rattling around in there somewhere, when you go to a friend’s house (I was the older sibling, so growing up I did not have to use the shitty controller unless I was feeling nice).

I was talking to my co-worker Cole (name changed) about laying off the sauce for a bit. He’s in a bit of similar rut, only he’s single and lives with crazy roommates and has an entirely different life skill set than I do. He’s one of those oddly zen kind of guys, like the main guy in the Shawshank Redemption. He’s fun to talk to because I think he enjoys my odd quirks and finds me interesting to talk to as well. That’s always nice to have because typically my chats with people sound very surface and don’t get very far and I can’t seem to find the proper balance of actually working and getting work done, and socializing. For me, the IM chat is much easier for me to express myself. The vocal co-workers who like to spin around in their chairs in the aisles and chat are fun, but they tend to like to make comments to get me to turn around, even say your name, but I’m typically absorbed in either my work or something I’m looking at and so I only part way hear it, but I don’t like having to turn my music off or pause what I’m doing to see what the joke was. It’s always the same, pull my earbuds out, “What? Someone say my name?” It’s tedious. I know they mean well, but it’s tedious and I try not to let that aspect of it to me show.

Anyway, I’ve had Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt” stuck in my head all week. It finally popped up on my playlist, so I’m hoping maybe I won’t continue to hear it for the rest of the week. Not that I think it’s a bad song, I love it, but the thought of having that song running through my head constantly makes me feel a little pathetic.

I guess I’ve been pretty depressed these past couple of months. I’m not sure when things are going to turn around, but all I can do is focus on myself if I want to stay afloat.

It just hurts.

Looking for my shadow.

For the past ten years or so I’ve been looking for my shadow. Like Robin William’s character of Peter in the movie Hook I feel like I’ve lost all sense of creative magic I may have ever had. I thought once I graduated university some child-like part of myself would wake up now that I’ve got some more free time, grab my face and say,

never_noticed_hook_06

And boom. The stories would flow. There would be so many I’d have multiple projects going on at once, constantly scribbling on junk mail envelopes and coffee-ringed napkins.

It’s been several months or so since then. My first student loan repayment-payment is due next month, and I’ve done nothing. I continue to frown at my swelling beer gut and type furiously my contempt for my current situation to my neighboring co-worker, who is just as disenchanted with the place as I am, but also not making any moves to other things just yet. Oh woe is me, I work in a call center. I feel so empty.

When I was a kid I did this thing that haunted me up until I was about 20 or so. I considered it my deep, dark, secret; the one thing I was most ashamed of. As a kid I was highly active and imaginative. I was everywhere. My favorite imaginative pastimes were my action figures. I was fortunate enough to have an expansive collection of TMNT and Marvel Universe figures because my dad is also a huge geek who collected comic books and collectible figures. I had worlds upon worlds upon worlds with stories and characters I can still recall with those toys. Toy Story had been out for a little while, and I loved the idea of my toys coming to life when I wasn’t around. Being a military family, we moved around a lot, and I even remember lining them up and giving them the rundown on the move and how they needed to buddy up and who would be riding with me.

Like I said, I did this up until I was 12. The garage was a place where I’d like to be alone to play with my toys. I thought the environment made for more interesting scenery in my stories. Unfortunately at this time, I was already a couple of years into puberty, but becoming increasingly more aware of the pressures of judgement. My mom walked in on me one day playing with my toys in the garage: full on character voices and cries, jumping from ledges and into their tree-house, animated faces. She stood there and stared at me, and I can’t remember if she said anything or not, but I felt suddenly very aware of how awkward that must look for a middle schooler to still be playing with toys. I felt stupid, and ashamed. We had a quiet household, and the silent judgement shook me more than anything. I never really knew what my parents were thinking half the time, but I knew that I didn’t want to disappoint them. I am pretty positive that I stopped playing with toys that day.

I started doing something different. If I think hard enough I might be able to recall the very first story, but while I loved the adventure and stimulation of video games, it was rich, character-driven narratives from movies that compelled me to begin inventing my own to further feel as though I had become an integral character in a complex world.

I found that it felt really good to pace. It helped me get into the characters more and allowed me to sort of act out some parts. The stories needed to be said out loud too. This helped me remember them, and made the world more concrete. It was also more fun that way. Summers when school was out but my parents were both at work was prime time. I could transform and transport myself to this world in which I was at the center of everything. I was a boy. I was a quarterback who looked like Devin Sawa who always had girls fawning over him and always had cool clothes. I was on a sandlot team with friends who had a rival gang. I was on an ice hockey team. I had special powers. I actually had a twin. It was every kind of experience I had seen in all of my favorite movies and wanted to have for myself.

I never gave the act much though until I was into my mid-late teens, and at that point I was in the full form of teenage angst and thought there was something seriously wrong with me. Despite our family being early adopters of the internet, it did not seem to occur to me to try and find answers, but I guess there were more pressing things I was agonizing over, and the daydreaming helped me cope with it. It was only a couple of years ago I had discovered that this was recently coined Maladaptive Daydreaming. What I had was a thing. It had been a few years since I’d done it, but for whatever reason I was thinking back on it one night and played around with keywords in google and that’s when it finally revealed itself to me. It was kind of like the Man in Black discovering The Maze in Westworld, except this maze is meant for me. Since then I’ve been trying to figure a lot of things out, and trying to figure out how to tap back into that creative side of myself again. Many Maladaptive Daydreamers seem to want to quit, but I personally want to be able to use it to my advantage.

 

Perspective.

J. is about to be home from school and I’ve got a fresh, icy cold Topo Chico. I’ve been drinking and smoking heavily all day and I’ve already have a nap. It’s only nearly nine but I feel like I’m losing my vigor.

I need to tell myself that not drinking is just another adventure.

Writing sample attempt #1

Why do we romanticize the idea of living in squalor? A total shithole? We become unbound from whatever shackles had held us down and now the piss-tagged brick wall vista is beautiful as fuck in its own right. Our youth only knows a feeling of comfort and oppression, and once we embark on that opportunity to do things our own way, we’re not bothered by the musk of cigarette smoke that hangs in the air, the way the floorboards creek and the way the ceiling sags, or the yellow tinge on the walls. In fact we don’t even notice it. It’s our place away from our parents. It’s our place. It’s my place.

My first place away from home was this gently used little townhouse about a 1 5 minute drive from the mall I worked. It was two story, which felt like some kind of upgrade, and had it’s own two feet of space outside of the back door, which backed up to a small park, more townhouses of the complex, and the main office. I’d sit on this back stoop and smoke cigarettes from time to time, thinking about who the fuck knows what. This is me doing that:

Nevermind I can’t find it. Have to post later.

A boring, wordy update to force myself to write something.

Currently, things remain much the same.

I finished Stephen King’s On Writing, finally. My next read is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s been on my unofficial list of books I need to read at least once, and a co-worker lent me his copy so I’m moving to that one in between reading A Song of Ice and Fire on the toilet or before bed. I also recently finished watching Eddie the Eagle, and Swiss Army Man, but movie reviews may need to be saved for another post as I don’t have my personal List handy at the moment, and I feel like that list is an important part of movie completion, because it’s this thing I’m kinda doing at the moment.

Beyond that, I look around the call center I doomed myself to, wishing I could be anywhere but there. But do you know how hard it is to get out of a job like that? Like food industry, and retail, you just move from place to place singing the same old tune but filling in the blanks as appropriate.

All perspectives I’ve had in regards to new jobs have turned up in the direction of them moving forward with other candidates, which is fine. These were for more specialized versions of what I’m already doing: Fraud Analysis and Technical Account Manager. Not as gross as being a call center minion, but those jobs would have required me to learn about databases and statistical analysis and things of that nature and my lack experience with these things keeps me where I am, and this is time I could be spending writing or working on what I really want to work towards. So what do I do?

I’ve only recently figured out an area I want to pursue which would be utilizing my college degree, but unfortunately I spent all of college arriving to class and turning in assignments by the skin of my teeth as my whole mission was simply to get it done and get that fancy piece of paper while maintaining my full-time job that paid the bills. Half that time I’d show up drunk to class. Hey, if I’ve got to be that stressed out, why not make it a bit more interesting. Now if only drinking didn’t make me want to pass out. Oh, and make poor decisions, that too. But God, the confidence it instills when played just right.

Back to the call center bit, that’s one big hodgepodge of career misfits: individuals who are in a weird place in their life and aren’t quite sure where else to go at the moment. You find some incredible people at these places, I will say that. When I worked retail at the mall, at the “cool store,” this is what your life is all about for that moment; when you’re 19 anyway, you don’t think past that. You made it through high school, and this is your new job as an adult, and all you want is to impress these people who make a quarter to a couple bucks more than you, and after a couple of paychecks you can save up enough for new tattoos and an edgy haircut. Six months or so later, once you’re an accepted member of the group, if life hasn’t swept you in other directions, you begin setting your sights on that supervisor role. That “keyholder” role. That awkward mid-tier where you’re not quite management but you’re not some sales associate either. When you’re 19, becoming a Store Manager by your early-mid 20’s sounds like a sweet deal: you’re the boss of the cool place to work. You call the shots. You make the schedule. Obviously everyone wants to be you.

It was a place like that that I thought really defined me and gave my life significance. And so I kept at it.

For eight years.

Around year four was when I was finally accepted into the ranks of Associate Management, and I remained a good soldier while working other part-time jobs on the side. It wasn’t until a move across the country with my girlfriend, working in two different locations, and dry heaving from the warm, blue, vom that covered the shirts*a woman wanted me to ring her up for one evening, that I decided I was getting too old for this.

Is that the point most people decide to go back to school and become some type of engineer? Maybe. But I went the call center route, even if I didn’t know it at the time.

An ex-coworker came in one day shopping after work. He still had his badge on, and it immediately caught my attention. He worked for a video game company. Doing what? Helping customers? Hell if I knew. That was, as Ariel would sing, a whole new world. All I needed to do was show off how passionate and experienced I was at helping customers, had some basic knowledge of how computers worked, and loved video games, and I was a shoe-in. That was my ticket out and despite leaving the security of a full-time job in which I had seniority, benefits, and would now be earning a dollar less, I took it.

A month later I was laid off. Typical gaming industry bullshit.

 

 

Stuck again.

It’s almost seven and I think I’ve been up for almost two hours now. The freshly washed comforter kept me in bed longer than I probably should have stayed (it just smelled so good and felt so clean). I hate feeling like I’m wasting my time staying in place thinking. I do enough of that when I’m staring at my computer screen trying to decide how far past the front page I want to browse Reddit or if I can will  myself to do something more productive.

Public blogs feel so final. Maybe that’s why I’ve got four pending drafts that I’ll likely end up deleting. Something about them being new and public also inhibits me from wanting to delve into anything worth writing about. The second I get to that point, I end up closing out the browser and doing who knows what else. I don’t know what to do with my time anymore. I guess you could say I’m a bit depressed. I’m tired of worrying about money and I’m tired of always needing it. I wish I could buy a new Nikon and go on trips with Jamie. But money. There’s always money. We need it. We never have it. I also wish I could go to that expansive universe that is my imagination, but I can’t seem to find my way back. I feel like Peter Pan in Hook when he goes back to Neverland and is trying to remember what it’s like to be carefree with happy thoughts that make you fly. At one point in my life I could see all those bright colored creams used as ammo amidst the steaming feast, but now all I see are empty bowls.

I’ve been in a weird place lately where I feel stuck. All I can will myself to do is something mindless, like play an open-world/sandbox game like Fallout or browse Reddit. Part of me thinks I should go back to bed and another part is nagging me to take advantage of the odd time of morning and write something. I think I’ll definitely be one of those old people who just stares out into the abyss all day, because even now that’s all I feel like I’m doing than typing out anything.

I’ve been trying to be more mindful of the sort of things that have been occupying my thoughts. I’m so stuck in my head I feel like there’s something going on up there that could be put to use somehow. Reminding me of which, I really need to put batteries in my voice recorder my brother bought me a few years ago. Sometimes I have a really great thought and it might even be just a line, but since I’m usually driving or don’t record it it gets lost. I’m hoping the recorder will help.

I think I’m getting tired enough to go back to bed. This is unfortunately about when Jamie decides to wake up. And I say unfortunately only because all I want to do in that moment is be in our bed cocoon be asleep together.

 

Edit: So far she’s still asleep, but it’s only 8, so we’ll see. Then again, she passed out around 10 last night.

When I wake before her, sometimes the morning is just so perfect: it’s quiet, there’s just the right amount of daylight and fresh breeze outside and you can hear toads and birds singing. These kinds of mornings make me think of Tuck Everlasting. It was one of the first full length books I remember having to read in school, and when I think about it, I was given a decent book list that year because I also remember reading The Hobbit and The Diary of Anne Frank. But in Tuck Everlasting, I think I remember something about the description of their safe little place: something so intimate and almost tribal, tucked away and undisturbed by outsiders.  It’s a place I imagine myself able to lay down on the ground on my back, hands behind my head with my eyes closed, breathing in deeply the smell of the forest. You can hear birds chirping and frogs calling to each other. I imagined it being very green. So green that it surrounds you and there’s no this way or that way. There’s only the little grove you’ve found yourself in and in the distance you can hear the running of water. That’s the spring. The water that somehow no one else in the world has found but has allowed this one Alaskan Bush People-type family to live forever. Them, and this poor fucking frog that has jumped in front of who knows how many cars trying to kill itself. Can you imagine being a frog forever?

I remember thinking a lot about that ending and I suppose it’s something I think a lot about with characters who are supposedly doomed to live forever: you look like you’re a teenager but you’re really like an  old-ass person who should probably have great grand-kids but you fall in love with an actual teenager. Kidding, though that’s something worth considering, because it’s weird, but for me what was interesting was the maturity of the Tuck boy not letting that young girl drink the water to be with him forever too. I think he wanted to give her a few years to think about it? I’m not sure, though I know it was one of those stories that I would have been elated to have seen in movie form at the time. I should do 12 year old myself a favor and just watch it. Admittedly, I think a part of me has held off on seeing the actual movie because I am worried it will ruin these mornings for me when I go outside and it looks green and beautiful and sounds peaceful and I think to myself, “Tuck Everlasting,” – it’s the most peaceful place in the world I can think of.

Day One.

We were one our last 20 or so miles left to get home from road trip to Virginia: I was wearing my last clean pair of underwear and shorts (due to an unfortunate She-Wee attempt accident at a previous truckstop bathroom) gunning close to 90 in Jamie’s Corolla, toward the sunset, mind you, and Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero” turned up a few extra notches. I was beat but driven with a sense of purpose to race home and go back to the comforts of home and laziness.

Really you could say this is more close to day one hundred or so of being unemployed. It’s also been about a week since we’ve been back from our Virginia road trip that I woke up this morning and decided, “You know what? I’m going to make that blog.”

So here we are.

I’m challenging myself to write in this thing daily, and include a photo with every post. These will probably begin with very mundane and boring pictures of my cats and my dog, but the hope is that I can develop some good habits and grow from this as well.

Blueridge Parkway in Asheville, NC.

Blueridge Parkway in Asheville, NC.

I wish I had more to say about the trip as I was pretty pumped about taking a road trip across the country somewhere, though unfortunately Texas highways have absolutely nothing of interest to look at or stop off and check out other than fireworks stands, which we made sure to hit up. Driving through Arkansas and Tennessee on the way out there though the scenery changed drastically, and I think it was mostly just due to the presence of trees: they were taller, more green, and just more of them all around. Tennessee also had mountains. North Carolina had mountains as well, as seen to the left at one of our stop-offs in Asheville:

Tennessee also had a killer BBQ tofu sandwich, so there was that too:

Tracks Tofu BBQ Sandwich in Memphis, Tennessee.

Tracks Tofu BBQ Sandwich in Memphis, Tennessee.

Well, I guess I should go be productive. Also, I have a twitter! Check it!

https://twitter.com/AlexbotTiga

Listening to: Sharship – We Built This City