Growing Pains

Wow! I suck at posting so far this year. Have not touched this thing in at least 6 weeks. Not really sure why, but part of it is probably due to my uncertainty as to what to do with this thing exactly. Last year, I tried a thrice a week post schedule with specific topics/ideas for each day. I actually enjoyed the structure of the writing, yet I don’t know if I should keep it up within that parameter. I could revert to a more personal journal or blog style, but the random posting of whenever I feel like it does not really appeal to me at the moment. Plus, I will probably not post much if I do. So, not sure what I will do, but I think I’ll figure something out soon.

That’s kind of what this year has been so far even though it’s only been two months. I had made a few moves to get the hell out of dodge, so to speak. So far, I have only received rejection. It sucks, obviously, but it has not been as bad or devastating as I thought it would have been. Perhaps even just a few years ago, I would have been broken for a bit and stewed in my bitterness for awhile. Now, I read the rejections, made a mental not of their “suckage”, and went to perform my job minutes later. (Should be noted that I did kick some ass at work that day)

I guess that’s called ‘growth’ or something. Honestly, it was simply that I still need to leave my current circumstances and those avenues were closed off. I did what I could and it was not enough for those opportunities. That’s fine. All that really means is that I have to rely on other avenues that I am working on. Maybe that’s what I had trouble understanding before: that sometimes, no matter your efforts, things won’t workout simply because they won’t. At that point, I can wallow or move on and do something else. Before, I would do the former, but now I concentrate more on the latter. We’ll see if that makes a difference. If not, I’ll try something else. Not much else to do.

Time to get to work.

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On Inspiration and Goals

So I have been in a bit of a spiral lately, and a lot of my creative output has suffered because of it. I have posted less on here than I would like or normally do. I haven’t touched the novel I have been working on for two months. The short stories have stalled. Even my interest in and consumption of reading has slowed down considerably from this time last year.

I don’t know the exact reason or reasons why I am in this funk. I can hazard a few guesses, but ultimately, it doesn’t matter. What does is actually changing something, getting over it, and moving forward. Unfortunately, it is hardly ever that simple. However, this week I was listening to a few podcasts and videos on the way to work and was struck by a few notable things.

While listening to this week’s episode of Indoor Kids, I had the pleasure of hearing Kumail Nanjiani speak about his appearance on the upcoming reboot season of the X-Files television series. As well, I listened to Chris Hardwick discuss his past experience of moderating the Star Wars panel at SDCC. To top off the trifecta, I watched Felicia Day read an excerpt from her book that basically describes her rise from being on the sidewalk outside of SDCC to sharing an entire stadium of fans and followers.

What do the previous three stories have to do with each other? Well, they are all tales of setbacks, insecurities, lack of clarity and/or direction leading to eventual, massive success. Now, I don’t know how any of them did it and I have no clue how I can begin to replicate a fraction of what they have accomplished. Oddly though, it is slightly encouraging to see others actually manage to achieve something similar to what I want.

I know I will have to make some tough decisions very soon and that there will be an immense amount of challenges before hand, but if others were able to do it with not much more than I have (and in one mentioned case even less) maybe my dumb dreams are not so far fetched. Maybe that blind optimism will be enough to make the next step.

On Tricks & Treats

I never really understood April Fool’s as a thing. The concept of a day set aside to play pranks and tricks upon friends and unsuspecting strangers seemed at best foolish (assuming the prankster is genuinely good at pranks) and at worst cruel (what usually occurs since most people actually suck at pranks and tricks). For the most part, my friends and I have never really recognized the day or its festivities.since we are the kind of assholes that prefer our pranks with an element of surprise and psychological terror. (I swear we love each other very much)

Perhaps my distaste for the holiday has had some association with my distance from friends and groups that I would want to actually mess with. In truth, April 1st has become more about CampNaNoWriMo for me. It’s my own personal “treat” amid all the tricks. It is a month set aside to work on any personal creative project. While I try to get as much writing done as possible (like this blog and other places), there is something pleasant about committing to a specific project within a set time.

So, if you have any creative projects you’ve been putting off or wanting to start, I suggest you join the NaNoWriMo community and make April bow down to your will and dedication!!!!

On Knowledge & Impotence

I am enjoying the company of old friends during a trip in Oklahoma. I know; it’s weird. While enjoying a bowl of delicious pho, one of my friends told the table the full account of her recent child bearing process. Suffice to say it was eye opening and not at all the nice, pleasant experience one would hope for. Now, I won’t go into the full story because it is not mine to tell and I respect my friends’ privacy. Let’s just say that it was a complicated birth with trauma. Hearing her story led to a conversation between myself and another friend (we’ll go with S for this one) about birth experiences, the effects of modern medicine, birthing practices, etc. This is not a post about whether I, as a man, should speak on the subject of birth or who has authority to have that conversation, but more on the reason(s) behind the reactions my friend and I had to hearing the story.

I was ignorant to the full nature of my friend’s pregnancy and birthing of her child. The friend I debated with was not, however that only partially influenced her response. Whenever I am faced with information, knowledge, or obstacles, my immediate response is analysis, planning, and execution. I truly believe that information and knowledge is important to figuring things out and responding accordingly. S’s immediate reaction is to defend her friends and loved ones before facing the new obstacles. Neither one is better. We simply react differently.

In this case, we were both unable to do our standard practice since the events had passed, so we transferred those reactions into the conversation. The impotence of action on our part was not quite enough to deter our attempts at responding and fixing the non-existent problem we were facing. It is what we humans do in order to cope with trauma, even if it is not our own. Yet, ultimately we both knew our anxiety was for nothing as we could do nothing and the moment passed.

How could this energy, anxiety, and concern be channeled into something more fruitful? Would we have been better off not having known the actual experience our friend went through considering our inability to help? How significant is knowledge without even the remote chance of action?

Not really sure if there are any answers to these questions but would love to hear your thoughts and own queries in the comments below.

On Pasts

Sunday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day intended to bring unity and awareness to major women’s issues and rights. In preparation (I guess), YouTube started a campaign under the hashtag “DearMe” of prominent female celebrities and YouTubers basically creating a video of encouragement and advice to their past selves. I assume that the managers behind the campaign are planning some sort of major video compilation or something for the 8th; otherwise, I don’t really understand the rather early advertisement of the campaign/movement. 

Anyhow, I was watching some of the videos and immediately thought “Hey this is a good idea but they need some dudes up in this thing!” In case it wasn’t obvious, I am obviously joking. This was a specific campaign intended for women for a particular reason/event. However, I still think it is an interesting concept and inspired this post, but I am not going to align my post with the ones under the “DearMe” umbrella since that is its own important, separate movement.

 

Dear Past Me,

Okay, so I know your first reaction to this scenario would be to try to figure out which version of time travel/displacement would allow for the contact of differing points in time without causing a paradoxical event, but I am going to need you to stop that, right now. Seriously, just shut your mouth. Time travel is always fucked up and there will not be a plausible explanation. Let’s just go with the “Timey Wimey Wibbly Wobbly” version, okay? Oh that will make more sense in a few years and you should probably start remembering the name David Tennant for the sake of convenience.

So, I am talking to you from the future in order to impart my grand and vast wisdom, but, here’s the thing, I don’t really have any. Sorry dude. I am still kind of figuring shit out myself. Frankly, most people, even the teachers and parents around you, don’t have a fucking clue what is going on half the time. They pretty much just fake it to convince others and themselves that they have stuff under control. They don’t. Thus, instead of bestowing upon you some great knowledge, I am just going to give you some advice. Cool? (You really don’t have a say in the matter, so…whatevs)

First off, you’re kind of an asshole. Nope, no argument. You know it’s true. You are not the most athletic, popular, good looking, or talented in school (really not even like in the top quarter or half) and you have a bit of chip on your shoulder over that. Add to that your home life and natural proclivity for sarcasm and you are basically an asshole.

Here’s the good news. You calm down on the whole assholish, sarcastic thing and actually use it to your advantage. The same tenacity, wit, sarcasm, and intelligence you use to build a wall around yourself somehow manages to get you into life long friendships and groups. Basically, the sarcasm and wit becomes genuine humor and personality that you use to converse and connect with just about anyone. Your intelligence and tenacity is turned toward actually helping people instead of just yourself which apparently is a good thing. While I would suggest that you calm the asshole bit sooner, know that it eventually becomes an advantage.

Second, you have overcompensated for the lack of talent, looks, popularity, etc. with your brain. Yes, you are basically one of the smartest people in your school. That’s not saying much. I went to your school, and I know the competition. There was like ten people who were even close to the same level and even those were not much of a challenge. This is also one of the reasons why you are kind of an asshole, but I digress. You won’t admit it to anyone, not even yourself, but being the smartest kid in the room weighs heavily on you. You fear that at any given moment you will screw up and lose your position and identity. Sadly, it will eventually happen.

But, it actually turns out to be a great thing. There is going to be a point in your near future where you walk into a college classroom and are no longer the smartest kid in the class. In fact, no one really is. Everyone, well mostly, seems to have something of worth to say. The relief and awe this inspires is sublime. Seriously, the capacity for learning and knowledge will astound you after you brush the dust of home off your shoes. Never lose that wonder and curiosity. It will be one of your best attributes.

Next, remember that whole “not best looking” or near the top quarter thing earlier? Yeah, that really hasn’t changed much. Sorry, buddy but we still have some weight issues though not as bad as you were led to believe. However, it hasn’t really impacted us much. Believe it or not, you will still go out on dates. You will make lifelong friends. You will have sex. You will pretty much live your life without much trouble. I know you probably think that is impossible, but amazingly it is all true.

Ah, this one is kind of important. Keep your willingness and open mind. Already you are pissing off your parents, teachers, and other adults of supposed authority. You are not sure why this is, but the reason is pretty simply; you are questioning them, and they don’t like it. Honestly, that is it. As you get older you’ll find that established power does not like being questioned and likes change even less. We have never been good at just listening to instructions. We want to know the reason behind something and for that reason to make sense. When it doesn’t, we tend to call bullshit. This is actually a good thing. Don’t accept things at face value. Keep questioning things and finding the answers to those questions. If the answers are not correct or suitable, keep digging or change what is happening.

You’re going to find that a lot of your preconceived notions change drastically as you get older. Things like your beliefs, interests, prejudices, dreams, and goals are all going to evolve and alter. Trust me, I know. That is fine regardless of what the adults in your life tell you. Again, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

I feel like I should tell you more and perhaps I will another time, but for now I will leave you with just this one last piece of advice. Keep writing. Those weird, little stories and poems you have littered randomly in notebooks, binders, and on your computer are not great, but they are the beginning of something. You have a calm and undeniable sense of purpose and joy when you put thought to paper. You are not sure why but something about the act of creating makes you feel like you found what you are meant to do. I am not saying you are great at it (especially since I am still working on it) or that it will be your future career (again working on it), but there has yet to be a time when making something does not fill you with that same sense and emotion that it does now.

Sincerely,

Future You

P.S. Senior year of high school will be the best and worst year of your life up to that point, but it will not even compare to the first year of college or any years that come after.

On Adventures

So the year has started and I am already hating it to some extent. I suppose it is just the standard “not quite happy with my current circumstances” situation that most people go through. Thankfully, I am actually making some progress toward changing my current situation toward something I want. Even so, I get frustrated and bored with life in South Texas.

I know this sounds like idiotic whining, but honestly there are minimal cultural instances in the area outside of religious organizations and activities. And beyond that there really is not much to do. Because of this, I decided that this year I would try to go on more adventures. Sadly, these will not be the “go to faraway land and slay the dragon” kind of adventures that make for epic songs. Mostly because I do not have the kind of funds to go that far away and finding easily killable giant lizards is proving more difficult than I originally thought.

Instead, my random adventures will be slightly more tied to reality. Some will be here at home. Some will have me travel to see friends. Some will involve travel to random locations. A few will be planned. Many will not. Either way, I expect them to help me along in my projects by making sure to keep my sanity partially intact. The first of these adventures begins tomorrow in San Antonio as I work at and attend PAX South!!

I have been looking forward to this for months. I cannot wait to finally be in the convention center working alongside fellow Enforcers and meeting people in the entertainment industry that I have admired for years. I know going to this event will not be a “game changer” or cure all my ills but adventures are a necessary part of the “hero’s journey” and I could use all the experiences I can muster.

So what are some adventures you will be taking this year? What are some you wish you could go on?