Quarantine Thoughts

And as you can see, I am not dead.

I’m going to be real with you. Keeping up with everything that the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown at us these past couple of months has been absolutey exhausting and not conducive for my particular brand of creativity. Work has had constant changes because they are pretty much doing a lot of things on the fly (this is what happens when you outsource much of your workforce to overseas partners ), and while I am thankful that I haven’t been fired or furloughed and that my job is already work from home, there is a level of mental exhaustion at work at trying to pretend things are even close to normal. I don’t want to tear myself away from my Twitter feed even though it is also an exhaust to my mental as well. Try to find relief and get the news at the same time isn’t really happening.

I am demoralized, I am depressed, I am more affected by this than what I want to believe I am. I worry that my fiance may have had it back in December (either that or the flu), and I could’ve been exposed. My smoker’s cough came back with a vengeance and I haven’t smoked since late December/early January. My fiance also ended up, months after being sick, being diagnosed with strep, and I went and got a strep test and didn’t have strep. I’m trying to figure out when to wear a mask, should I be wearing gloves even though I’m going to have to change them damn near every time I touch something, and also we just moved across the parking lot to a bigger unit and should we wipe everything down whenever it comes into the house and oh my God, I actually wish even more so now that I had somewhere to go because this routine of waking up, working, playing video games, going to sleep is fucking with me heavy.

(I hate routines but I keep routines.)

And like some of you, because my work has shifted from talking to people on a phone all day (thank God) to talking to people via email and chat (oh God), I have some time to sit with myself and it’s unpleasant. Man, a lot of unpleasant feelings have popped up again. I’m a terrible friend (because I don’t want to be vulnerable and appear needy), should I be living my best bad bitch life (have I ever even been a bad bitch?) and not coupled up and being subjected to such a subservient role as being a (future) wife for one of these unappreciative ass males; am I wasting what little potential I have left; oh my God, why do I feel so empty inside and keep trying to fill the space with buying shit and booze because I don’t have weed available and the booze isn’t doing it for me in the way I want; what can I do to get the approval of people that I will probably never meet (absolutely nothing); where did my life go?

I just keep feeling all this terrible shit and haven’t been coping with it because I don’t have the fight in me right now to really cope. I cope all the fucking time, I’m tired of coping. I want to go rage. I want to feel this shit and fight it and yell and strangle it and burn some shit down and fire off and release, can I please get a fucking release from this shit? And when I am done raging I want to go spend the rest of my days surrounded by water and earth so that all this fire and air can calm the fuck down, feel something and be at some fucking peace.

I let out a deep sigh and that wasn’t good enough. The stir crazy has sunk in.

Feature photo from Thiago Miranda, follow him on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thfotodesign/

The Art of Storytelling

I’ve been writing for 20 years.

I always knew I wanted writing to be involved in my life, but up until high school, I didn’t believe that I would actually make a career out of it because becoming a successful writer, especially back when I first considering it was a bit difficult.* So I always had a “proper” career in mind (pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, psychologist), but, I was a writer.

I am a writer.

Even after deciding to really do it and putting the medical stuff aside*, I would still also say, I want to be a writer instead of saying I am a writer, because for the longest time I believed that to be a writer, I had to be published by a big publishing house, book on the New York Times best sellers list and thousands or even millions of people reading your work.

As long as I put pen to paper or type on a keyboard, I am a writer.

With that being said, when it comes to my fiction work, because fiction is what I want to write, I haven’t placed myself in one category and I’m not going to because there are a variety of stories I want to tell, and have been wanting to tell for the last 20 years.

However, that is where we are now. I came up with a lot of my ideas when I was in middle school, high school and college, and many of these ideas have evolved and mutated beyond what they initally were, but, even with their evolution, now being 31 years old, do I still want to tell these stories? Is my constant shifting and changing of a lot of these stories due to growing older, gaining more experience and living life a bit more as a self-sufficient** adult instead of a dependant child or is it now because I no longer can relate to the story?

What kind of stories do I want to tell? I still lean on the old ideas because deep in my heart I still believe in them, but do I still want to tell those stories? On the flip side, I am at a point in my life where coming up with new stories to tell has stagnanted a bit because my life admittedly is a bit stagnant. I work jobs that don’t really stimulate my creative muscles, my current position keeps me in my house so I’m not getting out as much as I would working in another location*** and I’m not really doing anything – no new friends, no parties, not of the stuff that I would occasionally**** do back home. I’m inside, tending to plants, eating, playing video games, watching YouTube and simply existing. Even on the rare occasions I get out, I’m not exposed to novel things and it’s very quick and easy for me to get back into a rut.

So what kind of stories do I want to tell? Do I still want to do space epics? A fictionalized version of the final years of my 20s leading into my washed 30s? Sinister neighbors and family members? Or do I want to tell stories about what I’m going through currently with being a bit older, navigating life in a new city away from my family and friends, working another job that drains me of vitality?

Time will tell, I suppose. I recently pulled out all of my old handwritten works to look back through some of them. I can definitely evolve some of those works. The stories still have power and potential. Maybe this is more about getting out of this extended rut than anything. That might prove a bit harder now because it isn’t just me. I have to find the stories again.

*I am also prone to taking the easy way out and choosing the path of least resistance. I am working on that.

**As self-sufficient as one can be while living with their parents rent free.

***My car also said fuck you for leaving your check engine light on for two years. I’m in the market for a new one so I can at least go to the library.

****I was a homebody at home. I still had options. Here, not so much. In addition to it being a smaller city, from what my fiance has told me, they shoot a lot around here. The news confirms this.

Featured photo by Reetha Ferguson, give her a follow on Instagram.

Quickie: We Actually Give A Damn About Our Reputations

Obvious title is obvious.

We absolutely care about what people think about us, and to me at least, the sad part about it is that we have to, because of the fact that even when you are in a zone, blocking out the world and focusing on one thing, someone else may even just be looking at you and make a value judgment based on what they see. They will make a value judgment if they hear you say something that doesn’t mesh with their values or even their perception of you. Thems the breaks.

This is desire to maintain the appearance of being trustworthy/good/respectful/professional/(insert adjective here), to keep the word of mouth as positve as possible even permeates online spaces. One bad word about you in an online space can have wide reaching implications for your personal and professional life. You’re not quick enough with shipping out an item while running an online business? You may lose out on customers due to that one person having a bad experience. Threaten to fight someone over Kobe Bryant (God rest his soul)? That’s what you’re going to be known as for now on, even if you attempt a rebrand.

I wanted to write about this because I see this quite often, and once I take myself out of it (because my modus operandi is usually to keep it pushing whether people say good or bad things about me), I am learning to see why it does bother other people, and learning is about growth, right?

Featured photo by Daria Shevtsova, give them a follow on IG.

Work and Stuff

I work for a pretty big company.

No, I’m not telling you what that company is.

I answer the phone for them.

This is position comes with its own set of parameters – my calls should be a certain length, I shouldn’t do outbounds a lot, they damn near don’t want me to take the frequent bathroom breaks I like to take just to take a fucking breather and I should direct people to the website for help.

The thing is, a huge majority of the people calling in don’t want to do anything on the website. They don’t want a machine, they want a person. This person (me) is going to tell them what to do…on the website.

I have become convinced, using a non-scientific approach (because my science talents went the way of the dodo bird soon as it no longer benefitted me to display them) that my employer has given me this job to do as little of the job as possible. Like they want people there to do the job, but they don’t necessarily want people calling in, because a good 95% (and I’m am totally pulling that number out of my ass) of the shit that people call in for is shit that they could do on their own, if they knew how to use a computer or a phone, or if they cared to. The other 5% is shit that I can’t do in my current capacity because I’m new.

A good amount of my conversations go like this:
Customer: “I need to (do something they can do on the site).”
Me: “Okay, are you on the site right now?”
Customer: (after getting frustrated) “Can you do it for me?”
Me: (smiling gleefully because I am convinced I work for petty people): “I won’t be able to do that for you for (security reasons/bullshit them), but….”

I’m sure that there is some pschological/sociological/biological reason for why humans love to have another human that they can bounce off of, especially when it comes time to complain (and a good amount of the people I talk to love to complain and make empty threats) and even though I really dislike this aspect of my job*, it is still fascinating to me. People and how they behave when it comes to their money and their possessions or potential possessions fascinate me.

I’m not going to lie and say I don’t enjoy buying stuff and having stuff, but as I have done with alcohol, I am also re-evaluating my relationship with stuff, especially after the few months I’ve worked this job. How do I relate to my stuff? What stuff do I relate to? What kind of stuff do I want around me?** I ask myself these questions because although I like my stuff and aquiring stuff, the way I see other people trip over their stuff? It makes me feel dirty, in a sense, to have and want stuff. I want to get rid of stuff now, especially stuff that no longer serves me. Granted, you have to know the reasons behind why people flip out over their stuff and potential stuff and some reasons are understandable, but at the end of the fucking day, it’s just stuff and maybe we need to stop placing so much value in stuff…because we can’t take it with us at the end. You can leave it to others, but they’ll just probably sell it off and take the money to buy more stuff that means something to them and the cycle continues.

Man that got dark.

Don’t sell your grandmother’s house.

Featured image courtesy of Anna Shvets, give her a follow: https://www.instagram.com/sh.vets/ I wish I looked this good while working.

*I’ve never made it a secret that I don’t like dealing with people. I don’t mind helping people and I like to solve problems, but if I can just get to a point where I can do that without having to have people in my ear or watching me, amongst other things that I want from what I do for a living, I’d be more okay with working.

**The answer to that last question is Mary Jane, books, writing gear/stationary, plants and crochet supplies.

The Slow Goodbye

I come from alcoholism. Real live alcoholism. I come from drunken parties, drunken fights, drunken nights in the house. Once upon a time, I believed that this was my fate, and for at least the last ten years, since I turned 21 and could buy it myself, I accepted it as my fate.

I drank. I drank when I was happy, I drank when I was furious, I drank when I was in fear of my life, I drank just because. Sometimes, even now, I drink before work just to calm the dread forming in my chest at having to perform the duties of my public facing jobs.

I started smoking weed about two years after I started drinking. I had tried it before, but I never smoked right, but when I finally learned, needless to say I was converted.

I spent many nights over the last several years in various states of cross faded states of mind, or even just gone off of one or the other. A lot of it was to mask the despair I felt inside.

Anyway, I gave this little backstory just to get around to my overarching point – I really am getting away from alcohol.

I moved to a state where weed is only medically cleared, and good luck with getting approved for that if you’re mental like me, because these red state authoritarians aren’t approving shit that makes people feel good and that they can grow themselves. Booze, however, runs aplenty down here, hell, I can drive up to a window and purchase a frozen daiquiri in a styrofoam cop or a gallon bag like it’s a Happy Meal, and to some people, it really is.

That’s great and all, but alcohol doesn’t agree with me anymore. It never really did, but now it really doesn’t agree with me. I’ve started to get headaches soon as I drink some liquor, but then it don’t give me the buzz that I’m craving, but then it also makes me angry and sullen and down. Depending on the strain, weed doesn’t do that to me.

Plus, after going home over the winter holidays and getting reaquainted with some good Cali weed, I prefer the feeling that weed gives me over alcohol. Yeah, weed makes me want to sleep a bit longer and eat everything, but the high is so much better than the lows of alcohol.

I don’t know if there will ever come a day where I will completely leave alcohol alone. I probably will. I’ve reevaluated my relationship with it and it and I just ain’t friends the way we used to be. Of course, one of the battle cries of the millenial is letting go of toxic relationships, so why not let this literally toxic relationship go?

Featured photo by Terricks Noah, find his work here: https://www.pexels.com/@terricks-noah-282960

Inline photo by Yash Lucid, find his work here: https://www.instagram.com/thatlucidguy/

I Got What I Wanted

You know, I really dislike having a fucking job.

I like making money, but I dislike having a fucking job.

I say that because it’s fucking December and my last post was in February and I had this whole plan to be posting at least once a month this year and yet here the hell we are. And that is because in February, I got a job, a temporary job, but a job none the less, and said job sapped the energy I was going to use to write.

Then that job ended in June and by then, I didn’t want to think about doing anything and then I got a permanent job that started in September, a job where I’m talking to people all damn day and my energy is yet again being taken up by a fucking job.

As much as I dislike having a job, I also dislike not having a job too.

Of course, it’s very easy to blame the job, but I have to take some responsibility myself, blah blah blah, lack of discipline, lack of a stronger work ethic, I just want to zone out in front of YouTube and Twitter all day.

I don’t know what this has to do with anything.

Oh yeah, so in between February and now, and it’s been a year since I’ve written this post, I realized that I’ve actually got what I wanted…what I wanted 10+ years ago.

Manifestation can be a slow process. You can ask God or the Universe for some shit and they hear you, they totally hear you, they just might not get it to you right away, and that could be because you’re not ready for it, and they knew I wasn’t ready for the shit I wanted back then.

I asked to be away from my upbringing. I have gotten away from my upbringing.
I asked for quiet. I have gotten quiet.
I asked for my depression to at least be lifted more than draped on my shoulders, and I don’t wear it as much as I have in the past.
It’s like once I was granted these things, everything else has slowly fallen into place and will continue to do so.

So I still don’t know what I want to do, but I do know that when I figure it out, it will come.

The next decade is looking bright.

Featured Photo by Dark Indigo from Pexels

New Year, Same Me?

I don’t like making New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like them because I don’t keep them and I don’t keep them because the pressure to make and keep them becomes too much and I end up saying fuck it at least a week into the new year. The act of making resolutions for me is mostly for show, to appear to be like other human beings, but I gave that up for Lent* one year and never looked back.

So I came into this year the same way I’ve come into the past five or six or seven years – with a renewed sense of optimism for what the days might bring, but with no plan on how to be a better or different person or to adjust my lot in life. I’m the living Kermit meme.

Nigga hush.

I might have to change that though.

Wait, let’s let the lightning strike and the thunder rumble and finish getting your chuckles out.

Don’t worry, I’m not making resolutions, because again, there’s just a bit too much pressure with trying to achieve them, especially if you put a timeframe on it like I am prone to do. But there are old habits that I need to break, old patterns of behavior that once again I need to reexamine how they fit into my life at this point in time (spoiler alert: they fucking don’t).

Stay tuned.

Guilt and Shame Are A One-Two (One-Two) Punch

Stop sacrificing because feeling like you need to, for the validity of chossing the mature thing. The survival thing. The “adult” thing [sic].

Iron Lion Jackson

As we are prone to do, a good friend and I were having a conversation about my various neuroses. He told me that I am carrying a lot of guilt and shame that I needed to let go of.

Of course, he was right. I just wasn’t sure of what I felt guilty about (or maybe I forgot, I mean, I did smoke weed for six years).

Today, after chucking up the deuces to another crappy situation, and I struggled with my fiancé to justify why I should leave it, it dawned on me what I felt guilty about.

I felt guilty about wanting something else for myself, and that something else is this writing life. I should be making my bloodline proud and going after “a good job” with benefits, weekends off and PTO and this passion is something I should do on the side.

The problem with me is that when I have a job, I give it as much as I can (I won’t lie and say 100%, but at best I give a good 95%) and giving as much as I can leaves me feeling quite drained, devoid of the mental and even spiritual energy that I need to write. If I don’t have life in me, how can I give life to my characters?

And I feel guilty for that. I feel shame at my perception that I’ve let people down because I was supposed to be “the one.” Those are expectations I put on myself however. My parents and surviving grandparents will tell you that they’re extremely proud that I made it through college. My siblings will say similar things. Yet I feel shame when I quit a job, or guilt for just wanting to stay at home, develop a good, solid routine, and write for a couple of hours a day while taking care of my domicile.

I feel guilty and ashamed that I don’t want to constantly chase money. Money is the means to an end. The end can be comfort, a vacation, a new house, rose gold dining plates, a sex doll, whatever. I can’t help but feel like people think that money is the end though.

Yet, I know how I feel working at places that don’t move me and I’m tired of it.

Part of the master plan for 2019 involves me moving past this guilt and shame, especially since I’ve identified it (or remembered what it was).

In conclusion, guilt and shame are a hell of a set of feelings to experience, because in the end, especially if you’re anything like me, they will leave you in a vicious cycle, and I know all about vicious cycles. As my friend recently reminded me, I am living for myself and myself only and there is no need for me to make myself a “martyr for what”. That’s just going to leave me stuck, and I’m not trying to be stuck.

Peace.