I think I’ve finally figured out a good way to describe what exactly it is that I’m looking for out of life. It comes down to one word: “profundity”. I want to be moved. I want nature and life to make me cry. I want to be able to cry in front of someone while looking at something beautiful, and be able to say to them “That’s beautiful.”
I’ve always had this sense, for many years, that something was missing in my life. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I think part of the problem is being surrounded by the perspective of the “average” person: dull, and dumb. Not much to look forward to but the next race or ball game (I’m not talking about family, but just being around people in public, overhearing conversations constantly, coworkers, etc.). That’s not what life is about to me. I think that’s why I’ve been going on these solo drives lately. One, just for new environments. But, arguably even more so, because of self-reflection.
I feel like I’ve been beaten down over the years with constant derision of being an “overthinker“. No one could possibly understand the enjoyment that I get from contemplation. I haven’t known how to speak out against it. Now that I’m older, with more responsibility and freedom, I find myself asking: What do I want my perspective to be? What do I want to think about? Where do I want my mind to be? That’s a very deep question. Going through the motions gets you through the day. But is that all my life is? “Getting through the day”? What’s the point in that? You’re telling me that God created our entire universe, the Earth, and US, for Christ’s sake, just for us to “get through the day”? What kind of ultimate purpose is THAT? A fucking pathetic one.
No, there’s something missing in my life, for sure. So much talk revolves around bills and jobs. Not only politically, but just “small talk”. To be fair, I guess when it occupies as much time and energy as it does, that is inevitable. But am I to take certain inevitabilities as the purpose of my life? If I were to get cancer tomorrow, would I treat that cancer as the purpose of my life? Would I talk about it constantly, and think of nothing else but it? Or would I look for profundity in other things? I think the answer is the latter.
I’m tired of listening to well-meaninged people warning about a “life wasted”. I want to be able to say why I disagree with them. In order to do that, I need to use words. I need to “overthink” about words. I’m tired of playing dumb just to keep some sense of “social peace”. Your inferiority complex shouldn’t be my problem. There’s too much profundity to be concerned with some jackass that feels insecure because your vocabulary is deeper than his.
And that should go for myself as well. I shouldn’t dismiss someone just because they speak better than me. Just learn how to speak better, you fucking retard. Learn new words. Become a better listener. It’s not one of the Ten Commandments: just an improvable life skill.
The ultimate problem is that I’m not allowing myself to get lost in my own head enough. I listen to others a lot so that I can learn things for myself. But speaking up for myself is difficult many times. I don’t really allow myself, often enough, to reflect, and contemplate. This makes those times when I do feel like doing those things all the more special. There’s other factors mentally blocking me from fully dedicating myself to creating things. I’ll have to continue to write about those later, even though I’m sure I’ve already touched on them somewhere.
My head is too full of the words of others instead of what feels like my own independent thoughts. Social anxiety is one reason why I can’t tune others out. The other is that responsibility scares me. The unknown future is scary for all of us often. So we focus on our immediate day, where more things are under our control. But I’ve encountered so many people that say “Where in the hell did my life go?” that it scares me, so I try to think more about the future. And I believe that my future would be better if I allowed myself to get more lost inside of my own head, instead of replaying the words of others in my head constantly and doubting my every desire and decision. That ain’t working anymore. I can’t write like that. Writing requires independent thoughts. I love writing. I need independent thoughts. I need MY words. I don’t want my words to just be “Here’s what someone else told me one time.” What’s MY analysis?
But it’s hard to allow myself to get lost in my head. As I’ve said, it’s just scary to be alone inside of your own head. All of your mistakes come at once. All of your uncertainties. Your worst fears. They come storming at you. It’s easier to close the door of your independent mind and let someone else distract you from yourself. Perhaps some music would help?
Going out on a limb like this, of course, poses its own problems. What if I’m wrong? That’s humiliating. Will I just be able to say “I messed up?” Once again, I think that’s, mainly, just a skill that needs to be learned. It’s one thing to realize the power of humility when you feel like you aren’t making a mistake. It’s another when you realize you have.
Another problem is experience. EVERYTHING is “experience”. But the question should be: what kind of experience? I need more experience with linguisticators. I want to figure out why they burn me out so much. I understand that reading, and listening to good speakers, would help me with my own desire to communicate. But I’m always hesitant to do so. Why? Well, for one, language is separate from the subject. I like focusing on a couple of subjects at a time. But then, I get burned out. So in order to keep reading, and not feeling burnt out on the subject, I’d have to read about another subject. But which one? That’s the problem. Reading something and realizing that I don’t enjoy it. Or just getting tired of it, like eating the same food everyday, except with a book. I need to approach reading differently. Instead of focusing on the subject, I need to focus on the language used. That’s not going to be easy. I’m still going to read subjects that I enjoy, of course. But I also need to be able to analyze the use of language separately from the content of the work. Ok, this work is boring me. But is it written well? If so, why? And then, try to learn how to use language better for myself. Once again, this is just a skill that needs to be learned.
Ultimately, the solution will probably come down to reading writers better than I (shouldn’t be too hard to find). I need to have a certain mindset to be open enough to understand what it is exactly that makes their writing better than mine, and how to use that for myself. I guess the question becomes: how much do I want to do that, exactly? I don’t know how much of it will satisfy me yet. I don’t even know how to approach it, really. I anticipate that if I took the advice of someone else that I’d burn out quickly and then get tired of learning how to get better altogether. I think this is a slow, natural, lifetime process that I can’t fully explain yet. It could be the case that I’m lying to myself, and all of this is for naught. But I think it is the only thing that satisfies my heart, and that matters to me (of course). The challenge is being able to explain WHY I believe that it matters.
Another reason that I find language so difficult is that I’ve always associated good speakers with charlatans. It’s easy to tell if an idiot is “good” or “evil“. It’s much harder when someone speaks well. I was so afraid of being evil (thanks, free will baptism) that I just avoided language like the plague. I realize now how stupid that was. But now begins the task of fixing it. And that’s going to be hard, considering how far behind I am because of my old way of thinking. You may say “You write well now,” but you have no idea how good it can become. I do.
For better or worse, ethics consume most of my thoughts. I think this is an evident combination of genes and environment. Certainly, my religious upbringing and journey has a lot to do with why thoughts of ethics almost consume me. But I know there’s definitely a major genetic component as well. Hypocrisy, especially if I do something “evil”, scares me. I just don’t want to do it. I, like everyone else, am torn between doing good and evil. I have, and will, do both throughout my life. And that bothers the fuck out of me. I guess one might say “The fact that it bothers you proves that you’re a good person.” But I will take no solace in that. The thought of being a hypocrite bothers me. Especially the thought of being a hypocrite on a very famous scale (and I desire “fame” only as a measure of success that I wish to have, so that I don’t get stuck in a life that I resent everyday. Maybe one day I’ll just be “content” like everyone else, but I have goals, and I want them. And that’s all I care about. I know that it takes that type of attitude to succeed, so now, all I need is that success, so that I can hand you the check and say “I told you so.” And if it doesn’t work, who cares? I’ll join you at the factory line and you can tell me about all of the time I’ve wasted, whereas I can say “At least I tried” and make fun of you for NOT trying). I find enjoyment in being critical, and that obviously puts a lot of pressure on me. “Just stop being so critical,” you might say. Criticism, especially humorous criticism, is too much fucking fun. I think it’s worth the anxiety of making a mistake. And, once again, I think that’s another reason why humility is a skill that I desperately need to develop.
And that never-ending war of trying to figure out how to “handle” other people. In a way where the advice of others doesn’t deafen my own independent thoughts. Trying to figure out truth is a lifelong battle: as is dealing with the evil of others. It will continue on forever, as you continue to get older, and, eventually, die. We do good, we do evil, then we think about and talk about the evil of others. Then, we listen to others talk about the evil of still yet others. I’m so fucking exhausted with it all. I want to take part in it, but I’m also fucking sick of it. “Hypocrisy”, I guess you’d say. And here comes the advice. And here’s where Cody has to say “Ignore it, because you want to.” And here’s where Cody hears others complaining that he said he’s going to ignore them. And here’s where Cody needs to tell himself “Just continue ignoring them.” And here’s where Cody hears them saying that “Yes, you need to ignore them.” And here’s where Cody realizes they are “them” so he shouldn’t listen to them. And on, and on, and fucking on. “Just stop”- I can’t- “You think too much”-no I don’t shut up haven’t you read fucking anything I’ve written up to this point? Maybe you realize the problem now.
I can’t wait to just become an old grouch. That’s what my heart ultimately longs for. It flies in the face of all “advice” you’ll hear. But who gives a shit. I’m a grumpy old grouch at heart, goddammit, and that’s what I want to be. So it’s going to fucking stay that way. Get out.
You can’t appreciate profundity when a bunch of stupid blabbermouths don’t see it and won’t shut the fuck up about what they do see.
…Stuff like this makes me wish that either I was older or that I end up dying younger. I can’t take 80 years of thinking like this, and I refuse to think like everyone else. I’m hopeful that this will change as time goes by. But, of course, I want it NOW. I already feel about 90. If I ever do make it to 90, I can’t imagine how I’d feel. That’s scary. Maybe I don’t want to make it to 90. But things do change…
Communication, like everything else, is hard. Regardless of what “natural” abilities you may have, everything gets hard at some point. There’s a reason why talented, say, basketball players practice. Michael Jordan has always been, and will always be, a better basketball player than me. And most. So why did he practice? Well……….what ELSE was he going to do? THAT was a question that he had to ask himself. And he ANSWERED it himself. That’s what I need to do. It doesn’t matter that I’ll (probably) never become the “Michael Jordan” of writing. That is so far removed from the point that that thought shouldn’t have even entered your head. The point is what do I want my writing and thoughts to be, and what do I want to do with them?
And that produces a fine line. Writing involves organization, knowing when to lengthen a piece, and knowing when to cut one off. My default position has just been to cut everything off short (because it’s easier). But something has been missing. I knew this day would come eventually, so I have never stressed about today not being around yesterday. But the day has come where I’m no longer satisfied with cutting things off prematurely. I’ve said stuff like this a million times, but it continues to be true. The process of writing is constant. I’ll probably say, throughout my entire life, that “I need to learn how to edit.” It doesn’t matter how much better I get from one year to the next, I anticipate that I’ll still say “I need to learn how to edit.” Why? Well, this is where the “Michael Jordan” analogy comes into play. What in the fuck ELSE am I going to do with my writing? If I don’t do that, but I want to write, the writing is just going to be “WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD”. What’s the point in reading that? There IS none. Michael Jordan won a championship and an MVP one year. Why did he play the next year? It’s all about an attitude, and what one wants to do. I don’t care if I never win a writing MVP, or whatever. I don’t care if I’m not ranked among the 100,000 best writers ever. The point is that I want to write, and what attitude am I going to have while I do so? I pity those that don’t understand what I’m talking about. They’re kind of idiots.
I hope I don’t burn out too quickly. This has been a lifetime coming, but, ultimately, I think everything is. Everything has been leading up to everything. That’s unavoidable. But being able to explain that in certain ways is a skill that I wish to develop. One of the skills that I wish to develop.
I also need to work on the fact that even if someone’s advice doesn’t help me, at least they want to. I can ignore it, but at least I can say “Well, they’re trying to help, even if they aren’t.” At least give them that credit. And then, get back to my alone time as quickly as possible. I’m sure they’ll understand. At least, if I’ve explained myself well enough, they will. I think my main frustration with advice is that I haven’t been able to effectively speak for myself. That’s a pattern that I continue to notice. I’ve never been happy with my ability to speak for myself, and it’s something I’ve worked on for many, many years. And I have a long fucking way to go. It’s all a complicated weave that I have in my head that I want to be able to elaborate. And it’s exasperating. And it just keeps building more and more and more. It’s hard to handle, but this is the best time in my life to handle it financially. I can’t afford to waste this opportunity. I want all of my ideas to come fast, and just get them all done as rapidly as possible. But they need to mature to maintain a quality that I’m happy with. It’s not about writing a bestseller, it’s just about writing good stuff, goddammit. My heart has always hurt when inspiration has hit me and I couldn’t write because I was at work, or had to go to school the next day. Staying up for hours later than I should just because “It hit me.” Feeling frustrated because I had other responsibilities that kept me from writing. So much of that has changed. This is the time that I’ve been desperate for my whole life. SO WHY IN THE FUCK WOULD I EVER STRUGGLE TO WRITE?????????? Write NOW, dammit!!! In truth, there’s still stuff to figure out, as there always has been. But this is, more than likely, the best time I will EVER HAVE to create. EVER. I’ll have more free time now than I’ve ever had. That pressure is terrifying. But if I get in too much of a hurry, the work sucks. And I need to absorb more before I can regurgitate more. I haven’t been happy with much of my writing for a long time now, and it’s mainly because I just didn’t have enough within me to get it done the way I wanted to get done. There’s too much for me to elaborate on here, but I want to do it eventually. All of my work is a tangled weave of my life. It all connects, in the grand scheme of things. I’m a “mad scientist”. It’s a delicate balance. I guess I’ll just have to hope that I don’t see it all as a mistake down the road, and figure out exactly what I’m going to do today, and how.
Technical ability to improve quality (of things like video) is a skill I need to learn without burning myself out trying to do so. Software, camera work, lighting. No, I don’t need to go to school for it. I’ll experiment with it myself eventually. But I need a better outlook of completing good work. A – you guessed it – philosophical approach to quality and effort. I know that probably sounds weird to you. But I want to be able to explain what I mean eventually. I want to be able to explain everything. How I write, etc.
I need to hurry up and get better so I can churn out more stuff, and keep improving it. The gaps in time between my writings are far too fucking long for my taste. But I can’t just type “BLAH BLAH BLAH” and say I’ve written something. It just takes a lot of time. Everything does. And then, I’ll get old and say “Holy fuck. Where did the time go?”
I still have a lot of things that I want to say about the past. About writing. I want to be able to explain what is going on inside of my head. If that doesn’t interest you, that’s fine. If it enrages you, I find that humorous. If it inspires you, that’s terrifying. But the ultimate point is that I want to be lost inside of my own head to find some peace in this world. That’s mainly what I care about at the moment. That, and just learning how to do everything better, such as my attitude and “dealing with” other people. And editing, and organizing, etc.
So that’s what I’m working on, I guess. Lmfao (When to work? When to break? When to write? When to listen to music? Who to listen to? Who to ignore? WHEN WHEN WHEN? It never ends).
The hardest part about all of this is having known, for a long time, that all of this was going to happen (or at least significant parts of it), but having it not happen. Realizing “Yep, this is definitely a waiting game.” As my favorite childhood musician once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
To be human is to be individual. Although all humans share a common humanity (that’s why they’re called “humans“), and this fact is used to consider individual human beings as part of a collective, the truth of the matter is that each human is an individual at the core of his or her being.
To be an “individual”, one must have a mind, which creates thoughts, desires, and plans and takes action. Among these desires is a sense of belonging among fellow humans. Humans have an intrinsic social need: a need to be accepted on some level. We are created in such a way as to need communication, both in speaking and in listening. The thoughts, desires, plans, and actions among humans differ. This is another characteristic of humanity, and a byproduct of the fact that humanity is composed of “individual” humans. If humans were not individual in nature, but were rather homogeneous, such as atoms sharing the exact same molecules and molecular structures, then concepts such as the ones mentioned above would be mute.
But, as it stands, humans are individual in nature; and individual with a desire for sociability and beloningness.
With the individual nature of the thoughts, desires, plans, and actions of humans, comes many influences. Although each person has his or her own will, that does not mean that our wills are not influenced by external forces (forces outside of our bodies). Other humans influence through their words, actions, etc. We react to each other. And we are reacted to when we react.
But despite all of this complicated interplay among humans, there is still a desire to be individual. To be independent. To be one’s own person. And this is not to say that in order for one to be an individual, one must not be influenced by outside forces. For this would be impossible. In that case, babies must not learn, because almost all of the knowledge that they obtain comes from outside forces.
And, in fact, it is impossible to not be independent. This is another aspect of our humanity: being individual in nature, we are inherently independent.
So what is all of this about?
To preface this, I would say that given all of the concepts and ideas that very intelligent people have communicated throughout mankind’s history, I have no expectations that my own ideas will have any influence that I would deem significant. Sure, if one person is influenced in a manner that we both deem positive, it could be argued that that would be “significant”, because the well-being of each and every person on the planet is important.
But you get my point.
However, for whatever reason, I have a natural desire to think and express my thoughts.
My thoughts, as are everyone else’s, are independent.
And one of my desires is to write my thoughts down.
I have no explanations as to why my thoughts may be of superior objective quality to anyone else’s thoughts, so I’m not going to attempt to argue that here.
And if you were to ask me how I could characterize my thoughts generally, I could only come up with vague descriptions such as “unique” (which isn’t very unique, by the way).
However, I have them, and I think them. And they exist.
Next, I have a natural desire to express those thoughts. I have a feeling that my thoughts have enough quality to be shared to others (and some agree with me and some disagree with me). And so, I share them. And I share them and I share them and I share them, in the hopes that someone can receive them and say “Hmm…he’s got a good point. I never thought of it that way.” Or “You know, I’ve always thought the same thing, but he elaborated upon my original thought in an effective way.”
Don’t misunderstand me here: I’m not simply looking for praise for praise’s sake. If you will recall what I stated earlier, I have thoughts which I think are worth sharing, and a desire to share them. It’s not so people can tell me how smart I am. It’s more than that. It’s just who I am. It’s just me. It is me to think, think that my thoughts are of fairly intelligent quality, and then attempt to share those thoughts with others in the hope that people can make sense of them and, even perhaps, learn something.
And, once again, this isn’t to try to “prove” to people how smart I am.
It’s just naturally who I am.
Once again, you may be asking yourself:
What is his fucking point?
I’ll try to begin explaining that to you now.
I have always struggled with being mentally independent. At least in some ways. There are some ideas that I would say I have “independently” (meaning void of any anxiety-peer pressure driven acceptance), and some that I do not. I have no way of describing any defining criteria between the two, because I’m not sure if there is any, besides just a recognition that one is one and the other is the other.
But, at least for me, it is extremely difficult to be mentally independent in a way that I would consider to be “independent”. I have always attributed this difficulty to two things: a desire to understand objective truth, and assuming that people are well-intentioned.
Let me explain what I mean a little bit further. I’ve always loved learning. I love knowing truths. I think many people share those same loves. So, I’ve always tried to absorb knowledge, from whatever I could. To be mundane, this would include anyone speaking to me (as a child: keep this in mind); basically, any form of information that I absorbed through multiple forms of media (books, magazines, etc.). And, I always assumed that people were telling the truth. Or, at least trying to. But I encountered a couple of problems along the way, which I couldn’t begin to comprehend until I got older.
The first problem that I encountered was that some people are just fucking stupid. I kind of knew this when I was younger, but I almost felt bad for knowing this truth (sympathy for them because they were stupid), so I tried to ignore this truth so that I didn’t feel like a bad person. But the truth is the truth. Acknowledging that a stupid person is stupid is simply that: an acknowledgement that a stupid person is stupid. That in and of itself is not necessarily a value judgment upon said person. It is simply an undeniable fact. This was very hard for me to accept when I was younger.
I always wanted everyone to be the best at everything, but people are just different, and differ in ability, desires, etc. I felt bad when I felt like I had an advantage in, say, intelligence, as opposed to someone else. Just a general sadness. It wasn’t fair that they were born less intelligent than I was. And I didn’t think it was fair because I knew of the advantages one would have when one is intelligent, and neither of us really had any control in our respective intelligences. We were created that way through genetics and our environment, and didn’t have much (if any) say so in the matter. That was always soul-crushing to me.
Likewise, I felt bad for people who were physically disabled. I could go on and on and on about the things that I felt sorry for.
And although I still feel that sympathy in many different respects (nowadays, it more manifests itself towards criminals), I, through what I can only attribute to age, experience, and various lessons people have tried to teach me along the way, have learned to accept (at least, more so than I used to) the differences in advantageous and disadvantageous traits and life experiences from one human being to another.
But one thing that I’m not content with my grasp on is my own personal mental, ideological independence.
I realize that, at the time of this writing, it is only 5 days until my 24th birthday (it, apparently, took me over a year to finish this). And I realize that’s a pretty young age to expect “complete mental independence” (for lack of a better phrase due to laziness). But still, one area of my life that I would like to develop is mental independence. All humans, as they age from children, to adolescence, to adulthood, wish to be mentally independent. Once again, it’s part of our nature. But I think I have a way of expressing this more effectively than most (although there are surely writers who could communicate this more effectively than I).
I realize this is a very humorous thing to say, but the thing that scares me the most about independence is the responsibility. I just don’t fucking trust myself. I know how I am. I remember my history. I remember my mistakes, and how devastating they were for me. The more I tried to control a situation, the more shitty it became. Once I “shirked responsibility”, the shit was still there. But it was more manageable. I could just ignore it until it went away. The idea of being in control never appealed to me. There were several things outside of my control (such as the relationship between my parents), and the more I tried to control something, the more shitty I felt when things didn’t go my way. So, I just accepted the shittiness. And that was really hard to do. There is nothing more devastating than feeling like you have done a good job, only to find out that you hadn’t. I feel like this was the case for me in school a lot. I was a smart student, and I wouldn’t say that this disappointment was the majority of the time, but when it happened, it seemed to cripple me. For instance, reading the wrong chapter for homework. That type of failure was always crippling to me. Why? Why couldn’t I just say “Woops”, and move on? I think a part of it had to do with always being told how smart I was by teachers, and hearing my mom talk to other people about me. I just set my own personal standards too high (especially for my age). I couldn’t tolerate mistakes. And it all ate me alive.
The carefree attitude saved me, although it also caused a lot of problems. Instead of feeling like shit for not getting the grade I wanted, or for making a mistake, I just stopped caring. I stopped caring about my grades. Luckily, I didn’t flunk everything. But straight As went to Bs and Cs really quickly. And I was content with that. I didn’t care about school anymore. The subjects were boring, and I already knew what it was like to “Ace” everything. Why did I need to continue doing that? I didn’t know. And, so, I stopped trying as much.
But even when I did try, I still made mistakes. And it made me angry. So, I “ragequit” again. That has been my modus operandi for a long time now: just quitting everything. Barely getting by. The idea of college was terrifying to me when I was in high school. “You mean I’m going to have to decide what I’m going to do with my entire life? I can’t even remember what page I was supposed to read for homework!” I had zero confidence in myself as a decision maker. I believe, knowing my history, this was justified. My “decision” was to coast, and I know I got pretty lucky along that coast. But still, I made the “decision” to coast, and it seemed to work out (in some areas). Of course, every decision will lead to mistakes somewhere, and this was certainly the case for me.
Coasting has worked out for me, but I think it is, at least to a significant degree, at its end. “The writing is on the wall.” I can see, pretty clearly, what my main option is for the future. It is in contrast with what I dream to do. I will probably have to do both simultaneously, and it is very probable that my dreams are going to be opposed to what it is that I ultimately have to do. My only option is to try to do both simultaneously until the dream can become the job, and that is uncertain (unlikely, most would say. I know I won’t succeed without optimism, however). All of my thoughts need to develop over time. I have to figure out how I want them to develop. I’m still so anxious about what it is that I want to do that this anxiety freezes me. I want to write about “big” things. And when I try to go down the path of thinking about them, I become anxious. Either because I don’t have everything that I want to say figured out, or I start thinking about after the piece becomes completed, and what is going to happen. It is hard to concentrate. In my opinion, I think this is a good thing in several ways. I am cognizant of the sands of time ticking away. I realize that the journey is long. Doing what I want to do is going to be really fucking hard. And it is all for an uncertainty. It is hard to concentrate when these factors constantly occupy your mind. The only saving grace from this as far as the work is concerned is the joy that you obtain from doing the work. But I don’t want to treat my work as digging in the sand with a stick. I treat my work as a future career. That’s my attitude. “How is it going to work?” “How can you expect to-” blah blah blah. I don’t care to listen to your concerns, regardless of your motivations.
I want to write my thoughts down. This means that they need to be developed. This just takes fucking time. Learning takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of labor. It’s just hard to learn something. It’s even harder to write about something. I think that all writers are “teachers”. When you write something, you want to impart ideas to the reader. You want these ideas to be beneficial to the reader. You don’t want to have the reader say “Yeah yeah yeah, I already know this”, and stop reading what you wrote. You want the reader to say “Huh. That’s good.” That’s hard to do. There’s so many good writers out there that the prospect of you being a good teacher is slim. But, once again, that’s where the love of the work comes into play. In a sense, it doesn’t matter how good of a teacher I am. Even if I’m a shitty teacher, I’m going to keep writing. I’ll keep getting bad reviews, but I’ll keep fucking writing. Because I love to do it. I firmly believe that persistence is what I’m going to need to succeed as much as I can succeed, whatever level that ultimately happens to be. I would encourage everyone to write about how shitty I am as a “writer” or a “teacher”. Start your own blog called “Cody Alan Reel SUCKS”, and lay forth your arguments as to why I’m a lazy fucking sexist neckbeard who lives in his mom’s basement and is going to be flipping hamburgers (1, 2) his whole life. Maybe you’ll end up being right. Don’t you want to be among the first to be able to take credit for your predictions?
Of course, if one is going to take action, one must assume responsibility. There’s always some difficulty with this. Even when one takes responsibility, there is a guilt that comes with it. Or a somberness, when facing punishment. I can’t say that I’ve ever had, nor kept, many responsibilities in my life. The fact that I’m struggling to think of them really signifies that to me. I would characterize myself as a “weasel”: I’m always able to “weasel” my way out of things. I’m thinking something like chores. I never really did them. For one, some of them didn’t make sense (and still don’t). For instance, making one’s bed, or cleaning one’s room. Making one’s bed makes zero sense to me. It gets messed up every night. It doesn’t matter how it looks in the morning. And as far as one’s room goes: well, it’s my room. Sure, my parents owned the house. But it was still my room. The toys are going to come right back out the next day. So why not just leave them out? It still doesn’t make any sense to me. Authoritarianism is not a valid argument. Why should I put the toys away? “Because I said so” should never suffice for a youngster. If you can’t explain why something needs to be done, then it doesn’t need to be done. Teach your child how to reason: not how to fear authority. I’ve weaseled my way out of many other things besides chores, but I won’t get into them all now (chores were certainly a significant part of it; especially early on in life).
I suppose I should talk about things that I was “responsible” for in the past: namely, times in which I got in trouble. There were plenty of fights with my brother that I was responsible for. But the main thing I can think of for getting in trouble and being “responsible” for is porn. I don’t recall a time where I felt like I was “in trouble” before it came to porn. Looking back on it, there was definitely an overreaction. So I drew some pictures of boobs as a kid. Why do I need to see a guidance counselor because of that? So I planned on bringing some porn over to a friend’s house. What’s wrong with that? I can’t describe the embarrassment when I was “discovered”. I can’t even remember what was said to me at the time, I was so embarrassed. All I remember was the porn fell out of my shirt, I didn’t get to go over to my friend’s house, my mom called my friend’s parents and apparently he was asked about the porn, and I don’t know what else happened. I think they really made a big stink out of nothing. Maybe that was just my young mind overreacting due to embarrassment, but it seems to have been made a bigger deal than it actually was. So I was “responsible” for drawing pictures of boobs and trying to take porn over to a guy’s house. Big deal. (I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time. I think I was in my very early teens: maybe even 12). I think this is partly why I still have a problem with “responsibility”: inconsistent, nonsensical parenting. My mother certainly provided a lot of that, and confused the Hell out of me. Then, there was the parents fighting, pitting one against the other, then, as a kid, I had to “take sides”, yadda yadda yadda. Except it wasn’t like a regular divorce with two “normal” parents: at least one of them was insane.
I seem to be finding it harder and harder to write about anything. I would hope that I become a better reader and editor as time goes along, but I continually find that things that I wish to write about overlap so much that distinguishing between things to separate them into “pieces” becomes very difficult. It truly feels like I just want to write about my life, my one life, and it is hard to write about my “life” in separate pieces. It is hard to decide how to frame each piece, or to keep it “on track”, when I feel like there are so many things that I want to say that intertwine.
One of the hardest things for me to deal with with regards to mental independence is how to handle other people. I envision someone screaming dumb things at me an inch from my face. Or punching me in the face. I desire to express myself honestly. And I accept that there will be people that hate it. But some of those crazies will think it is a good idea to stab me in the stomach. That’s the risk you have to take when you wish to speak honestly. (Or when your sense of humor is as fucked up as mine is). But it certainly occupies a significant portion of my thinking when I desire to write something, or do something.
One good thing about getting older is that you start to learn who, in your past, was wrong. As I write this, I think of the times that I tried to write in my mid-to-late teens. Writing was so much harder back then. Who was I writing for? I didn’t know. Well, myself, obviously. But who was going to read it? I had no idea. The few that did read it made me feel very self-conscious. I don’t think the small sample size understood what I was trying to say (and clearly, my inability to articulate myself had a significant role in this). But what changed in those 9, 10 years? Why am I so much different today than I was then? It bugs me that this development is “out of my control”. It just happened. Naturally. I just naturally became a better writer because I got older (and practiced a little bit). My language skills got better just because I had more experience, my brain chemistry is different, etc. That’s such an annoying, hopeless position to be in. To just be stuck as a shitty writer, with the only “saving grace” being time. That’s so fucked up. Why can’t I be the best writer that I will ever be right now? Sure, that thought frightens me. But why can’t I be at my max level all of the time? Why must I grow? Why can’t I control my growth? That tortures me. There are some things that become worse the more that you try to control them. That is a significant theme throughout my life. I have accepted it, and have become moulded by that philosophy. And, in my opinion, it is completely justified based on my history. It is how I have found my personal level of “contentment”. But it eats me alive sometimes to have development out of my control. Sure, it isn’t completely out of my control: because I desire to write, and thus, write, it will inevitably get better over time with practice. So what I’m getting better at is within my control. But so many things aren’t. And it is those that bug me.
I deplore when I realize that I was wrong in the past. I’ve had some pretty weird viewpoints about life that are really hard to put into words. I think that is what my mission shall be: trying to explain my past ways of looking at the world. I think they’re quite interesting, and I don’t care if you disagree with me. It is really weird, the things you think when you are extremely mentally dependent. Some really fucked up things can happen very easily. It is quite frightening.
Once again, there are so many different directions that I could take this that I find it hard to decide which way to go. I had certain mindsets in my past that I maintained, even if all they produced was failure. My mind was constantly focused on Hell. And so, naturally, the thought of Hell affected almost all of my perspectives about everything. I don’t really need to lay them out here: it’s the same old suspects. But some of them truly are odd. The way it affected my overall perspective is so strange. It produced this deep skepticism that still remains to this day. It was an ethical skepticism: “Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian? Is this person a Christian?” The skepticism that remains today isn’t about whether or not a particular person is a Christian. But my cynicism definitely remains. And it is so odd to me. Over and over, I find people to be trustworthy. But I’m still painfully cynical. I’m content with quite a bit of my cynicism, but I find myself in situations often where I’m asking myself “Why am I being so cynical right now? What has this guy done to me?” It is a conservative hangover. It’s very fucking odd.
I am looking forward to my confidence building over time. “Coasting” has been my saving grace. I’ve been very lucky. I don’t handle failure very well. And it has always seemed like the more I have tried to fix something, the worse it made it. But my philosophy has changed over time, and I’ve “settled in” to something that works for me. That’s what we all long after: just that way of moving throughout the world that satisfies us the most. I think I’m pretty good right now with what I have. I want to explain it and elaborate on it more throughout time. And, of course, I hope to be able to write about more subjects, and just get better overall. I’m confident that it will happen with time and practice, even if there are many things that I write that I end up not happy with, for various reasons.
I love writing, and I just look forward to becoming a better thinker. I accept the fact that I’m repetitive, but I believe it is all related. In my heart, I believe that every “repetition” is a building block upon an entire life’s work. I can’t ask someone “Hey, do you think this builds upon this? Or did I just repeat myself?” I have to interpret my work how I wish. And I need to make my work fully my own, to my full potential. That’s (one of) the lifetime challenges……
I want to be a good thinker. And I want to be able to say “Hey, here are my thoughts.” I hope they can be received honestly. And that’s all that I can hope for from them (besides the dreams of them somehow paying the light bill down the road).
Never before in my life have I felt more in control of my life. And never have I felt more terrified (well……maybe that’s an exaggeration. I’m sure my recollection of past anxieties is quite understated, now that I’ve given it more than five seconds of thought (it’s odd how sometimes, it’s hard to forget what you want to, then you want to remember what was previously hard to forget. Being a human is fucking weird, dude)). Due to the nature of childhood, whereby you do what you are told by guides, and due to being taught about how shitty my decisions are in the eyes of God, I’ve coasted. I’ve been very lucky in this coast thus far, but that time has come to an end. The “free ride” is over.
I finally understand that I am free. I am free from the punishment of my sins, past, present, and future. I am beginning to realize what “control” actually means. And I’m growing tired of “guidance”.
I try to write about things that bug me. Because it feels important to do so. I never feel like I have the right words to say what I want to say. I fear this struggle will stay with me forever. But I’m getting tired of common rhetoric. And I’m getting tired of trying to figure it all out.
I need a way out. I need a way out of the intellectual mire I have been in for so long. I don’t know what this way out is. Once again, it feels important for me to be mired in it to a certain extent. But I realize this is futile in many regards. But, I also realize it is valuable. I don’t have a good perspective about this at the moment, and it is bogging me down.
Why write this when no one reads it? Why write at all when there’s so much to be read? Why talk about anything when it’s been talked about countless times before? When it’s been ignored? Debated? What’s the point? I really don’t fucking know anymore. But I’m finally at that point in my life where I realize I need something. I don’t know what it is. But I need something. I need something meaningful. I need to find happiness. And I finally realize this must, ultimately, come from within.
I listen and learn as much as I can. I get frustrated, hit metaphorical walls, and distract myself from it all. I try to contribute valuable ideas. I wish I was like God. I wish I had all of the perfect answers, and that I could perfectly live by them. But I’m stuck being a human instead, where I get tired, commit wrongdoings, become a victim, etc. I also happen to be a quite stubborn one.
The point is, I want some direction. I’m not necessarily saying I want you to give me one, because I know I will reject your advice. But I feel like something large is missing in my life. I want to write about it as much as possible, to find out what that is. I think a part of it is just growing up. I’m tired of letting the misfortunes of my past define me today. I want to move on from it all. And I want to write about it all. And I’m going to dream of financial success. I’m going to write ideas that no one cares about, and dream of success. I’m a mess. My writing is a mess. My mind is a mess. My mental and physical health is a mess. Perhaps I’m becoming more mature, because all of this isn’t crippling yet. Isn’t that what being human is largely about? About coping with these sorts of things? I suppose I’m finally “inaugurated” to adulthood. But I don’t like most adults, and I don’t want to be one of them.
I have to figure out what I’m going to do, and at this point, I’m not sure what that is. My physical health will probably give out on me before I do figure it out (in which case, I won’t have to worry about it), because I can’t have the discipline to avoid a tasty taco for more than a couple of days; and then, I don’t have the discipline to avoid many of them.
I suppose I have to accept the fact that negative things are going to happen to me. Positive things, too. But the negative is here, and is coming. And I can’t figure all of this out. I want to do my best. I want to put forth effort to do something. I want to contribute something. But I’m no Messiah. Thank God. I just want to be what I want to be. I just want to be Cody. But I don’t quite know what “Cody” is yet. And, I suppose, that is what needs to be figured out.
It’s very terrifying, considering my religious background. All I hear in my head is how “bad” “Cody” is. Deep down, I understand that, despite that fact, God still loves me, and forgives me for my sins. But I think about this only from an afterlife perspective. Sure, I know I’m going to Heaven when I die. But what am I going to do while I’m here? Most of the time, I feel pretty confident in what I’m doing. But that’s until, say, my hypochondria starts to notice the wheels falling off. Is that what this is really all about? Did I have a panic attack while eating a taco and wondered if it was a heart attack? Does this have to do with thinking about politics, arguments, and history? Reading, and learning? Perspective? All of the above. I’m finally accepting that my life is my own. It’s my own to figure out. I could not have realized this without diligent studying over the past several years. But I’m truly realizing that my life is my own. And it’s fucking hard to figure it out.
I can’t even write, because I can’t explain what I’m thinking. I can’t organize it. I think about the fact that nobody reads this stuff, and wonder if I’m wasting my time, while, at the same time, realizing that I want to say it for some reason that must be important to me. I want to be informed on “issues”, but it seems pointless, as the wheels of society go round, and round, and round, to, seemingly, no conclusion. I want to write, but what? Everything I write is going to be inferior to someone else’s work. So why wouldn’t I want to read the work of others? Then, I want to do nothing. Not sure what I want to do. In some ways, it feels like I am wanting structure. But I know that as soon as I had it, I would immediately reject it and resent it. So I know that, deep down, the ultimate answer must come from within me. But I’m not informed enough yet. And I try, and I try, to make myself more informed. But it makes me more depressed. More nihilistic. And that makes me more depressed.
I wish I had everything figured out. I wish I was perfectly happy. I know these are futile. But there are aspects within these ideas that are good. I can never figure everything out, but I can learn. I can’t be happy all of the time, but this doesn’t mean that I will never be happy some of the time. And these drive me, thank God. I still have stress, and think about money, my health, my work, politics, “society”, etc. And they overtake me at times, and lead me down dark, confusing roads. But I finally understand that I don’t have to get lost down them. I am the navigator. Albeit an anxious, inexperienced one, I realize that everyone has been, and still is, to varying degrees. So, I must look forward to making my own mistakes and decisions, and look back on them with my own emotions of lamentation and fondness. I’ve got to do this on my own, even if I break into tears. I’ll probably die a penniless author due to too many cheeseburgers. But if there are no other alternatives that I’m willing to take, I must accept the results of my actions, even if I end up regretting them.
I deeply long for an escape from the evils of this world. The only permanent escape is death; but I don’t want to die yet. Does that mean I wish to reside among evil? Perhaps. This contradiction within myself bugs me. “Why would I rather live here, where I perform evil actions and have evil actions done to me, instead of killing myself and going to Heaven, where I believe I’m going?” Well, I don’t want to kill myself. But why? I think there is some uncertainty, even within my “Christian” beliefs of Heaven and Hell. I’d rather do what makes me happy (even if it kills me “in the long run”) than make a decision to end my life immediately on an unimaginably depressing level. It isn’t that I don’t want to kill myself because I think of what will happen to me when I die: it’s that I don’t want to kill myself because of everything leading up to that death. I don’t want to put myself through those moments leading up to the suicide. That isn’t worth going to Heaven sooner rather than later. I’d rather deal with the evils of this world than kill myself (of course, if I ever end up in a prison under a completely tyrannical government, or the world is on the brink of a complete nuclear war, I may reconsider my position). I realize that position sounds very strange to many, but I hope that you will ponder what I have just said and actually understand my point of view.
Finding like-minded individuals always helps with stress. You always hope that you are part of a majority, but it’s inevitable, on some level, that you will be a part of a minority. If the parts of yourself that you identify with the most are part of that minority, it can be very difficult. It can be difficult to be that isolated. It becomes downright infuriating when you feel as if you hold the ethical position to the unethical position of “the majority”. Of course, the question is begged: “What makes you think you are so much more ‘ethical’ than us?” And thus, history is introduced. The same arguments keep continuing, and, many times, the answer lies in some long-forgotten text. It feels futile to attempt to give any knowledge “to the world” because of that fact, but there’s clearly many ancient texts that are not forgotten. (Of course, for you simpletons, I’m not saying that my writing is equivalent to someone like John Locke, but clearly, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing something, I feel as if that piece of writing has some value, and, depending on what type of writing it is, that can be intellectual value, comedic value, etc.).
Am I saying that the answer lies in books? Can the void I am experiencing be filled by literature? And, if so, why am I so hesitant to read? There’s clearly an exhaustion element to it. I guess I’m just not as smart as “avid readers” (but when I look at many popular, say, political philosophies, from “well-educated”, “well-read” and “well-published” college professors, I have to wonder how much “reading” affected their abilities to be logical thinkers (or ethical people)). When you start to go down the road of reading a book, it’s a commitment. It’s a commitment to the ideas of the author. And even if I’m interested in a book, I just get tired of going down that string of ideas for too long. I always get anxious when I’m not personally creating something (even if what I’m creating is vastly inferior to what I stop reading (or consuming in general) in order to create). I have a deep drive to be financially successful, and I can’t do that without a body of work. So I try to create works. But they’re just inferior to what they are going to be in the future by virtue of lack of experience, biological growth, practice, etc. I’m stuck in the mud, spinning my wheels. I want to go as fast as possible to get out of this mire that I’m in, but I’m going nowhere. I know that I’m not exactly going nowhere, but it’s so slow that it feels that way. I know my writing sucks, and that sucks. I compare myself to other authors because I want that stable paycheck we’re all after.
I know, I know. Don’t write for money, write for myself. I fucking hate this shit. I always write for myself. But I always want to become a professional at it. How can it be that desiring to be a professional isn’t for “me” but is only for other people? That’s idiotic.
I know, I’m delusional. I’d rather be insane at this point in my life than “sane”. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t try. I can’t imagine packing in my bags without giving a valiant effort, then feeling so depressed in my old (or middle) age that I never wrote as much as I wanted to. “You can still write, Cody. Just don’t think of it as a job.” I fucking hate conversation. There’s literally no downside to trying to make your passion a career. Literally zero. Damn, I could be an electrician right now. I could have a stable job right now. Learning a valuable skill. But here I am writing some shit that no one reads. What am I, insane? I sure fucking hope so, because I hate sane people. How hard is it to understand the concept that if you really love doing something, you should treat it like a career? Why do so many people disagree with that statement? I truly think they’re soulless people. I don’t want to be as unhappy as they are. (Perhaps that’s unfair of me. But I personally cannot agree with their logic. I would argue they should be more like me, but who doesn’t argue that? “Whatever floats your boat.” (“We all float down here, Richie.” Sorry. I’m recently influenced)).
I have a deeply held conviction that life is not simply about being miserable. I realize this was largely due to my youth, but I always anticipated that adulthood was where happiness came to die. Even as a kid, I always dreaded getting older. “Why do Mom and Dad work at those places if they hate their jobs?” I always wanted to escape that, and I think my parents were instrumental in fostering that desire within me. “Don’t do as I did. Go to school.” Etc. This desire got me interested in economics, and now, my worldview is completely changed. Of course, whether or not I was ever introduced to economics, my life would’ve changed from childhood to now. But economics has had a profound effect on me. I’ll never look at the world the same way again. I always wanted an answer to why they worked at jobs they hated besides the “that’s just the way it is” argument. That argument only works in very limited circumstances. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. Sometimes, I get tired of learning about a subject, and accept the bare minimum. Other times, I’m not that way. What do you fucking want from me as a fucking advice giver?; perfection?
I should state that my best friend has had a profound impact upon me as far as my “happiness philosophy” goes as well. I won’t get too religious here, as I’ve written about it separately before, and will continue to do so, but he has certainly been a key to me accepting this “happiness philosophy” for myself; and, of course, I want to share it with others in an attempt to foster happiness in others. (Yeah, I also like pissing people off from time to time. …Ok, a lot. But still, it’s for a good cause. Give me a break. I’m not God, even though, sometimes, I wish I could be. (“Didn’t Satan say that?!”)). The internal conflict could be settled if I was perfect, so I always wish that I could be, so that I could get an ultimate relief from conflict. In reality, as I said before, the only way to escape conflict completely is to die. But I don’t want to die yet. So, like everyone else, I’m stuck here on this planet with conflicts. In some ways, the conflicts feel so trivial. But, on the other hand, they’re crippling. Yet another fucking conflict…
People will think I’m crazy, but I can very vividly remember the day my life changed forever with regards to this “happiness philosophy” of mine. At the risk of repeating myself, I was finishing up community college, living with my mom. I couldn’t tell you what my future plans were during this time, because I didn’t fucking know. I played a lot of sports video games. Masturbated. And that was pretty much it. (Some things never change……). I knew I was going to need a job eventually, but I’m stubborn in that I don’t jump into something until I understand what I’m doing (is that true all of the time? Not when I really want something. Then I jump right in and figure it out later). Money was always this dirty thing to me. This is what drove people away from God. And now, you’re telling me that I need it to live? Why isn’t God providing for me instead of money? How can something evil be so necessary to life? When I asked myself that question, my life changed forever.
I remembered hearing on ABC News, when I was a kid, about the profits that CEOs made. Being religiously brainwashed (I have a lot of the blame to share with this), I thought it was evil (of course, there were people on the network outraged at the amount of money as well). I hated money. Business, corporations, etc., were evil. Money was evil. I was reminded of this when I thought about getting a job, and making money. There was an immediate contradiction that needed to be resolved. Is living evil? Is bare sustenance the work of the devil? Are poor people more moral than rich people? Up until this point, I had always said “Yes” to all of the above. But on this day, in what felt like a lightning bolt of inspiration, I realized that the answer had to be “No” if I ever were to have any chance of escaping poverty. I had to reeducate myself regarding money, corporations, jobs, etc. And now, the subject has taken over my life, and introduced a whole new set of problems (but, of course, healthy perspectives as well).
In addition to my worldview being warped as far as economics was concerned, just my worldview of people in general was severely warped. It still is, to a large extent, due to my previous religious thoughts. It’s very weird to explain. In some ways, it boils down to “Any time a group of people are happy, I’m skeptical of them.” That sounds dumb, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it is. My red-colored glasses of conservatism made everything “dumb” and weird. It’s really embarrassing, but “it is what it is”. It’s so embarrassing to admit my level of cynicism, largely influenced by religion, of all things. That sounds so fucking odd to say. But, you know: there’s goddamn sinners out there, Cody! Ya gotta watch out for them! God damn, I was stupid. I pity anyone who thinks like I used to. That level of exhaustion is just fucking beyond description.
Let’s continue along the economic-skepticism line. I’ve always been distrustful of successful people. (Let me just say that I fucking hate writing about myself (hard to believe, I know). On the one hand, I want to say that I’ve always been skeptical of people who, say, were famous, or rich. Or anyone who spoke from a position of authority. But I’ve also been very gullible. So I can’t say with certainty whether I’ve been more skeptical or gullible. This is what I hate about being a human: it’s so hard to say that I am one specific thing (which would make writing so much easier……)). As I said, I’ve always viewed successful people as evil, and it’s been hard to untrain myself from that mode of thought. I always look at “celebrities” with this sneering judgment. It’s almost instinctual. It’s because I’ve trained myself to, but now, I’m actually able to observe what I’m doing instead of actually being caught up in the moment. It has been so hard to untrain myself in this regard, and I’m still not where I would like to be completely. I’m basically having to relearn a philosophical position regarding “success”. There are countless people that have this same attitude. It’s depressing, but I wouldn’t like to talk about them too much here, because I know it isn’t really going to “solve” the problem. I’m learning that there are no ultimate resolutions to “sides”: at least not in a perfect sense. There will always be “sides”: disagreements. Conflicts. Things that always terrified me as a child, for some reason. I don’t know why that always bugged me as a kid. Could it have been that I saw “disagreements” as a sinful flaw against God’s perfect plan of peace and harmony? Perhaps. But I think a lot of it just had to do with being a naturally sensitive kid and just personally really disliking disagreements, even if I was only a third party to two other “disagreeing” parties who weren’t as troubled by the disagreement as I was (which is so weird. The best way I can think to describe myself in one word is “weird”). It’s very interesting how I’ve attempted to “toughen myself up” as I’ve gotten older, and it’s also interesting how I still have a deep soft spot within me as well. I should talk about that at a later date, when I’ve given it more thought.
I don’t want to be on any “side”. I hate “sides”. But by virtue of learning, you are put on one. I don’t think there is ever any escape from “sides”. At least not if you wish to speak. (I suppose, even if you remain silent, you take a “side”: you make choices as far as what your ethics are, etc.). Perhaps that is what I need to learn: to just keep my goddamned mouth shut. I don’t want to be in a position where I never take positions, but I also don’t want to take positions. Or, at least, I wish that I didn’t feel that it was important to take positions. I wish I lived in a situation were there were no positions to take. Or perhaps I just wish that my “position” was apathy. But that’s not how I am. I need to learn to become more apathetic in some ways, and more well-spoken in others. I fucking hate how life is such a confusing, delicate balance when it comes to the mind. You can ask someone the same question on two separate days, and get a different answer depending on their emotional state. I fucking hate that about being human. I know it’s inescapable, but I need a personal philosophy to be able to learn how to live with it. My old philosophy was that all humans are broken. My perspective began in an incredibly judgmental, unproductive way. It morphed to depression, as I paid attention to evils in the world. I finally had to turn it to humor, because the tragedies grew too great. I do get exhausted focusing on negatives so often. I need a real way out. I need to find it for myself. I don’t want some jackass self-help guru to tell me some shit that isn’t going to resonate with me; that I’ll either feel bad because there must be something wrong with me to not get what this “expert” is saying or I’ll analyze every fucking word he says and pick apart everything I see wrong with what he said (which I really don’t want to waste time doing). I’d rather just ignore the motherfucker altogether, but that’s hard for me to do. It’s just so hard for me to ignore people, and that’s what I need more than fucking anything right now. I need to ignore you cocksuckers who tell me dumb moralistic phrases like “Sometimes it’s good to listen to other people, Cody, you know.” God damn, I fucking hate you people, and I need to fucking learn how to ignore your stupid self-righteous asses. It’s so hard. Sadly, I think biology is the main key.
I have always admired people who through their sheer individualism change the world around them. I think of someone like George Carlin. Who was “instructing” George Carlin on how to live his life? What “boss” was George Carlin obeying? This was a man living individualism to the fullest. He created his own world. He made the people around him subscribe to his ideas. Of course, he had to have been influenced by others: it’s impossible to be completely uninfluenced by others (perhaps feral children are the only ones “uninfluenced” by others, but, of course, it can be argued that they are “influenced” by the parents that abandoned them if they were abandoned, etc.), but through his will alone, he changed the people around him. I can’t tell you how inspiring that is to me. I admire anyone who does that for the better. I deeply wish to emulate people like that. But when I think of how far I have to go in that regard to get to that point, it just depresses me; that, and also the uncertainty of whether it will even happen at all.
I know, I know. I’m a dumbass, grandiose little boy. Is that out of your system? Do you feel better now?
I personally have learned that, speaking for myself, it is almost always better if I make up my own mind instead of going for advice. Most of the time, when I have gone for advice, it has only made things worse. I realize that my independent mind must make decisions regarding who I listen to, the types of ideas that I believe for myself, etc. Taking those first steps toward accepting that were very hard for me. “What if I make a grave mistake?” That’s always held me back so much. But I’ve spent so much time looking for answers from others (answers which never satisfied me) that I just can’t take it anymore, goddammit. I’m making up my own mind. Creating my own thoughts and solutions. And it’d be great if those influenced other people for the better. But I’m done looking for advice. “Does that mean you’re never asking for advice ever again, Cody?” God DAMN you fucks are stupid. It feels so great to point that out. I hope you feel like shit when you read this, fucking retard.
It is so hard to be bored, and desire mental stimulation, and then constantly find problems with your source of mental stimulation. I do this constantly. I think of how I can do what the people I’m “consuming” are doing. Constantly. It’s relentless. The idea of being mentally braindead and just consuming what someone else is doing without thinking of a way to actually use it for myself terrifies me. That’s how people fail, in my opinion. I want everything I consume to be beneficial to me in some way. Just something that I can use. And when I get exhausted with that, I’ll relax, and just consume to relax (which, of course, is still “beneficial” to me). But I want to observe successful people, and try to figure out what I can take from them to make myself successful. I don’t need a fucking Mark Cuban book to figure out how to do this. Life is an independent “project”, and I want to work on it by myself, in my own way. That’s what I crave. I want people to say “Damn. I can’t believe he fucking did that. How in the fuck did he do that?!” I have a natural desire to create ideas more than consume them. But I always end up consuming more than creating. “WHAT’S WRONG WITH HEARING THE IDEAS OF OTHERS, CODY?!?!?!?!?!” You fucking retards……
The uncertainty of the future is bugging me at the moment. The restlessness. The back and forth of “common” arguments. I need a way out. Maybe that means reading more. Maybe that means reading less things on the internet. I don’t know exactly, but I’m certain that it will come with time. (It’s so weird how I can ignore my past. I have a fear of being “stuck” in the past, so I don’t think about it much. But, one day, when I’m not feeling so anxious, I really should go back and analyze my past mindset regarding “the future”. “Haven’t you been doing that in this piece, Cody? Haven’t you been talking about your religious past?” Yes, I have been. But there’s many things in my past that I haven’t written about yet, that will be very difficult to put into words. But I would like to do so sometime in the future).
It’s hard to find a way out and express yourself because other people can express themselves to your expressions. I don’t enjoy this, whether it’s praise or criticism. I just like to be left alone in general as much as possible. It’s always weird to me when people start talking to me. I do enjoy being a troll, though, so there is some enjoyment that comes from it sometimes.
In fact, I’m honestly just so fucking sick of these arguments where there’s multiple viewpoints, and “the truth” just comes down to your own personal opinions. I don’t want to discuss criticisms of my personal philosophies any longer. It’s necessary to address them every so often, because by virtue of being a communicator, you’re opening yourself up to being communicated to, but, thankfully, we’re all given wills, and that includes the will to ignore. It’s not always easy, but at least it’s there.
Literature truly is going to be an incredibly slow process over my entire lifetime. I’m not going to be the best writer I can be overnight. But whatever happens overnight is important. Perspective is a very important thing to me (I think it is to all of us, honestly, but maybe I just talk about it more so than many people I’ve been around). I’m not satisfied with what I hear. I can almost say that I never have been. I used to think this was some problem that existed within myself. I spent many years telling myself that I was somehow broken because so many things didn’t satisfy me. Those “phrases” that just exist in the world, those “words to live by”, just never did anything for me. Well, they annoyed me when they inevitably didn’t work (thanks to a process I was taught by religious conservatism). But I’ve almost never been satisfied with what I’ve heard from others. I’ve always had to create my own world. My own happiness. And it’s hard, because people get involved, and I just don’t fucking like them. I don’t care if my words don’t make sense to you, you think I’m some kind of psychopathic killer, whatever. I don’t fucking care. I don’t like you. Say whatever you want to about me, but don’t say it to me. Perhaps this is part of the reason that I hate cliches so much: they just don’t apply to me like they do to, seemingly, so many other people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard “If you’re going to say something, say it to my face.” I don’t think that applies to me as much. I don’t want to hear what dumb shit you’re going to say about me, and I’d rather you spread unfounded rumors as to confront me about some ethical flaw that exists within my person as perceived by your mentally-impaired mind. “To each his own.”
It has always been very hard for me to ignore other people. I’ve always been painfully thin-skinned. Being as apathetic as I am (the exact measurement is questionable) has been an extremely difficult process over many years. I’m thankful for the end result, but I’m glad I don’t have to repeat the process again. Isn’t it weird how that’s how life is? We do shit that we hate so that we don’t have to do it anymore? On a philosophical level, I have to question why we’d have to do it in the first place, if we’re doing it simply to avoid it later on in the future, but I digress. “Duh, life isn’t perfect, Cody.” Sorry. I just wanted to make you sound like a fucking idiot there for a second.
I always compare a current state of being with perfection. Why do I do that, you may ask? Because I lament the original state of man. I believe that, when man was first created, we lived in a perfect paradise. And we fucked it up. I think that, deep down, I know we had perfection, and we lost it. I think this is why I naturally compare all current states of being to perfection. I accept the fact that we cannot get it back (until we die, if we are a Christian), and I think this is where I differ with a certain (seemingly large) group of people. This is an incredibly difficult topic, and I look forward to my best friend’s thoughts about this subject, as I’m sure he’s given it much thought, and he could probably shed some light on the subject. But, for example, there is a difference between helping someone who is drowning because you don’t want to see that person drown because you yourself are a human being, and don’t want to drown, so you have this almost kindred connection with that person (also known as “empathy”), and helping out the drowning person because you remember that this book you read taught you to care for other people and if you don’t do that then you’re going to burn in Hell for all eternity so you live your entire life based on trying to avoid that eternal fire. In both cases, you are helping the drowning man: a noble act. But the motivations are so different from one another that I’d consider them two separate actions. (This is where wordplay gets tricky (and why I fucking hate language): can you say they are different actions, when the act performed was the same? Surely, the intentions are different. Fuck words. Fuck semantics. I know I need to know this shit if I’m going to be a writer, but it’s so goddamn mundane that I’d rather be harvesting hay, or some other monotonous, laborious shit (well……….almost)).
I cannot explain to you the level of boredom that I’ve experienced throughout most of my life. It’s painful to think about. I wouldn’t go back to that time period for anything, because now, I have so many things to keep me busy, and I feel like I’ve never been happier. I’m convinced that a large reason why I have been so bored throughout most of my life was my early experiences with reading, that I’ve written about before. That’s quite depressing, but it is what it is. I’ve also, (like everyone else), just been weird. When I say something, people don’t understand what I’m saying. And I fucking hated explaining myself (growing up), because I just wanted someone to relate to me. But, ironically enough, as with everyone else, so few did relate to me. Isn’t that so odd? How we can all be in the same troubled boat? Why can’t it be that two people with the same problem solve each other’s problem? Humans are FUCKED up. I think this troubles me so because I’m always comparing any current situation to the Fall of Man. “Then just don’t do that, Cody.” No. “Well then, I guess you’ll just be miserable then.” I guess I will. “But is that any way to live?” Once Pandora’s Box is opened, you can’t close it. I do not want to will myself into an ignorant situation, even if it makes me feel better. “I bet you don’t think that way when you’re eating fast food, huh, Cody? Bet those health problems are just gonna sneak up on you, aren’t they, Cody?” Fuck you.
On a side note, I hate it when people try to use my words against me and fail. “Uh, Cody, you don’t want to will yourself into an ignorant situation, but you actually think you can become a professional author? What gives with that contradiction?” All I care about is waving my check in your face.
I suppose I should give thanks to all of those who have gotten me out of the mental-badminton quagmire. I hope to find more out there.
There is a beauty in life in that we exist as individuals. This means I have my life, my thoughts, and my beliefs. I have my desires, my goals, and my actions. I really think that should, ultimately, be my saving grace. When faced with the unknown, I, like probably everyone else, try to fill in the gaps. I realize just how stupid those fillings were from my childhood. Now, I was a child, but still. It’s taken me this long to realize this extent of my stupidity. I know more of it will be revealed to me as time goes by, and I just pray that it doesn’t hurt too badly. It feels great to be an individual. Over the past several years, I have surrounded myself with a philosophy that heralds individualism. I have been reconditioning my brain from the moralism of yesteryear. When I was first introduced to this “rugged individualism”, it felt refreshing, but I was still unsure of it. I was hooked, and listened to every word of those that expounded it. But I wasn’t immediately sold. I still had questions. I needed to learn more beyond the initial sales pitch. And now, I find myself as a “libertarian salesman” of sorts. I’ve been ingrained in the “libertarian philosophy” for so long now that it’s branched out into other areas of my life that it hadn’t before. Many of the questions that I had with religion were filled by libertarian (individualistic) philosophy. A lot of things are making sense now, and I’m actually feeling confident in my decisions and actions. And I have to thank libertarian thinkers such as Ron Paul, Murray Rothbard, among others, for that. They have provided me with “a way out” as much as anyone else ever has, if not more so (and that’s certainly arguable).
The evils and problems of the world will always bring me down to a certain extent. But I’m fairly certain they will never ultimately defeat me. Perhaps my way out will involve more reclusion than I ever thought myself actually comfortable with. Perhaps it will be developing thicker skin. I don’t know exactly where the end road will be, but I do imagine myself being much happier in the future as I continue to develop this mode of thinking. I don’t know exactly what “the way out” will be, and I know I will always get sucked back in, then escape, then sucked back in, in varying intervals, but I hope to keep my mind in a good place and contribute good to the world. That’s ultimately what I want. I consider myself blessed to not want to rule the world, and I pity those that do desire that. They’re missing out. They may put the bayonet to my neck, but I don’t anticipate they’ll ever have my mind, nor my spirit. I think I’m on the bottom steps of the way out. I’m in a hurry to make it to the final destination, but not enough to speed up the process any faster than biology and my lifestyle choices regarding diet and exercise will get me there.
I do not look forward to the next time I get trapped, but it is so strange how getting older makes your brain change.
It is so strange how age makes your perspective change for the better. What was once a cause of social anxiety is a source of pride. Why in the fuck couldn’t you have made me that way originally, God? I ask this at the risk of you casting me into the Lake of Fire, of course. But I think it’s a legitimate question, no? I guess this is why the last chapter of the Bible is called “Revelation”. (Go ahead and make fun of me, atheists. Once again, these debates are so petty to me. Do what you want).
So, the whole point of this is: what is the way out from this all? I know age is a huge part of it, but is there anything else? How can I escape? What is my escape? There is no complete escape, I would argue. I’m too smart: I know what is “out there”. But how can I handle it all? Will only time tell? Or is there anything else that I can do to help myself? I know my best friend will continue to help. Venting to a man with his own problems that I can’t solve. Having the willpower to just ignore the arguments in general will help immensely. Finding something to replace the nervousness when someone asks me “Don’t you care about ‘the issues’?” I need something to say to that person. I need the willpower to ignore that person. I just don’t have it now. I need a way out, but I think it’s going to take a while before I get there. That’s very sad. But “it is how it is” (oh how I hate that sentence, if only for the way it is used often).
It is so odd to me how, so often, desiring something immensely, and doing everything in your power to satiate that desire, just leads you further and further away from it. That’s so fucking weird. We’re all strapped into this ride, that sometimes has some pretty brutal bumps on it, but we keep moving forward. Life is so fucking odd to me. I don’t think that is ever going to change. I think life is just always going to be fucking weird to me. I guess it takes weird to know weird.
“…they may take our lives, but they’ll never take…OUR FREEDOM!” – Mel Gibson as William Wallace in “Braveheart”.
I look forward to seeing the day, in the future, where all of this takes me. Where will I see debating and arguing in the future? What all will I have written 20 years from now? What all will I have read? How happy will I be then? What will be the overall “state of affairs” in the world?
I don’t anticipate really wanting to talk to people. I think this format of thinking and then writing will work well enough for my purposes in the future. I can’t stop analyzing people, and regardless of what people have always told me, I personally don’t see any problem with it. That’s how I am, and I personally accept it. But because other people don’t, I just need to get away from them as much as possible. I need a way out. (You see how clever that was? It’s like the title of the piece, and I tied it all together. Aren’t I smart? Damn, I’m smart……….and funny, too. Now, if only the world noticed……………….. c’est la vie).
I am on a ship
In the sea
The waters are calm, and blue
For me and you
For you see,
You, and me,
We are all on the ocean
We are ALL sailing…
Someone has fallen overboard,
We flip his ship,
And set him upon his way…
Some have sunken their boats;
Some stay, some go away
But you, and I
We have our ships
Our hopes and dreams, sky high…
There’s some thunder off in the distance
Frightening to me,
Nothing to you
Luckily, there have been no typhoons…
God only knows
What YOU have seen
But we sail
From day to day
Our own way
Soon, the storm will come,
And hopefully, it will be ok…
But as we left the dock
To me, they sucked
But to you, they blew
And away we went…
I could still hear those winds
Miles down the sea
And my head began to wonder
What would become of me
So I went back to the voices,
The only ones I had heard,
Who performed little action,
But spoke many words
The doubt, it grew,
Until I looked over at you,
And then, I knew,
That through and through,
How to navigate that ocean blue
Me, I was panicking
Much more frantic
As I had a big, ambiguous destination,
Unable to measure my boat
But I sailed my way
And you sailed yours
While we look for that everlasting
Of peace, and contentment,
While on the dock,
They roar more, and more…
In my opinion, there is something fundamentally wrong with the way I am currently approaching my work. By “my work”, I mean my writing (and probably my comedy as well). I need some changes. The main issue currently is the fact that I’m not working on it as much as I believe that I should. This belief comes from the amount of unfinished work that I have, and my desire to bring each and every piece “to life”. This is just natural to me. This is a large part of who I am. I don’t know why, but I want to create stuff. And I want to show other people that stuff. And after that, things get murky, but it involves a lot of green…(well, actually, gold).
I’ve stated this before, but typically, when you’re trying to solve a problem, it remains in your head continuously as you contemplate the issue. I think part of the reason that so much of my work remains unfinished is because there are a lot of “big” works. Works that would take a lot of mental effort to complete that, most of the time, I do not feel like exerting. “I will complete them in time.” I firmly believe that. From a philosophical standpoint, I am in no hurry. From a spiritual standpoint, if I die (the ultimate end to any timeline involving planning) before I get all of my work done, am I actually going to care? Of course not. I’ll be dead. So what’s my motivation for completing anything? In some ways, I think that’s almost the issue…
Why do I want to get anything done at all? The first thing that comes to mind is money. I know that I have a way with words: or, let’s put it this way: I’m a writer. There are people who are not writers, and there are people that are writers. The people who are not writers will not get paid for writing, because they do not do the writing. Only a writer can get paid for writing. And, of course, there are countless writers who do not get paid for writing. But, my thought process is that I am a little talented at this. I don’t know how to measure how much, but I have a little “knack” for it. And what I am currently in the process of figuring out is how my writing matches up to the “market” of sellable writing. And it has been extremely interesting thus far.
Due to me not reading very much (which is due to me wanting to “create” more so than to “consume” so that I feel more productive; I understand this isn’t necessarily a “legitimate” thought-process, but it is mine nonetheless), I am not a good measurer of the writing of others. I couldn’t tell you why some authors “succeed” while others failed. I do not know how to compare my writing to the writing of others. The only way of “comparing” involves money, as there are concrete numbers to define the differences between writers. Due to me not wanting to be a literary critic, this (and besides, maybe, length of works, number of works completed, etc.) are my only ways of comparing my work to others. Why would I want to compare my work to others? Well, it should be simple to you, but just in case it isn’t, I’ll spell it out for you in language as clear as I can make. Any time you enter a “market”, meaning “selling” something, you are entering into a competitive field. It does not matter what your beliefs are involving money, your work, happiness, etc. When you “sell”, you are “competing”. There is no way around this: this is a fact. Regardless of your field. If you are a car mechanic, you are competing with other car mechanics in your area. There are restraints, obviously, that keep people in your area from flying overseas to get their car worked on. How far are people in your area willing to travel to get their car worked on (assuming that they are actually able to travel, with their car needing to be worked on and all). There are restraints upon transportation, restraints upon the number of people offering the service of working on the car, and there is the price that it will take for the mechanic to agree to work upon your car (not to mention, what you actually have to offer the mechanic in trade, that he is willing to accept). The point is that in any field, in any area, or “market”, where things are being sold, there are constraints.
I have no idea how to analyze the “writer’s” market. For one, as I said, I’m not a big reader. I do not know how I can analyze who is a “good” writer and who is a “bad” writer. To not leave a cliffhanger, I’ll simply say that the best that I can gauge that is the following:
1) Preferences are obviously subjective, and there will be no author universally liked.
2) Measuring the “like” that even one person has for an author or work is impossible, and this magnifies as you add more authors, more works, more readers, and even day-to-day emotions, where a person can like a particular piece of work more on one day than another.
3) There are tendencies where certain authors are “liked” to such a degree that they receive noticeable financial compensation for their work. They receive enough money for an undefined number of people to be aware of their existence. There is no exact number of people that must know of said author; the only measurement we can take is how much compensation they have received for their work (or, perhaps, number of works sold, etc.). The numbers are really the only way of “measuring” one’s success on the market. Although exact numbers are not necessary, people have a sense of how much money one is making, and, therefore, can have a rough idea of who is “successful” and who isn’t. Of course, here, I must define “successful.” “Successful” is making enough money to not have to do any other task in order to be satisfied with your standard of living. By my definition, if a man is content living off of his own land, with no trade between himself and another human being, then he is “successful.” If a man is content with the work that he does in order to sustain himself, then he is “successful.” I guess that I define it this way because that is what a success for me would be. A “success” for me would be being able to “make a living” through things that I enjoy doing: things that I would do (and actually do) without pay. Success is taking a passion and turning it into a profit (I know that’s cheesy-sounding, but that makes me laugh, so I’m keeping it in). In my own opinion, I will be “successful” if I can take things that I love to do and turn them into a “living”. That is my ultimate view of success. There is no person on this Earth who can convince me to change my mind. This is my definition of “success”.
Now, notice that I said “ultimate view of success”. This does not mean that I have no “successes”. When I create something that I enjoy, I have “succeeded”. But, in my opinion, to a smaller degree. I do not want to be complacent with “compromise”. I do not want to adapt my way of thinking to “be happy with what I have.” To approach my dead-end job with “A good attitude”, “Learning to live with less”, “Counting my blessings”, and other clichés that have become so fashionably vain as to lose their (hopefully) benevolent original meaning.
I used to believe that I repeated myself a lot from work to work. And I still believe that is true. But I think that I am beginning to realize that these works kind of play off of each other. They aren’t organized like a book, with chapter to chapter, but they are rather a life’s work. They are worldview; a perspective; individual pieces that link together to form a “philosophy”, I guess you could say. Therefore, there will be a lot of repetition between works. I believe that each piece that relates to one another adds something that the other piece does not have. I have often felt anxious, as some readers (particularly when I was younger) said that I was very “repetitive”. I used to stress over it. “Oh God, I’ll never be a good writer!” But I don’t believe this is the case. Maybe I’m blind. Maybe I’m naïve. But I’m also tired of accepting other people’s analysis of me simply because they were bold enough to tell me what it is, and to “be a good listener”, and some of those other dumb “feel-good” cliches. If I do not develop my own personal, heartfelt opinion about my work, my philosophy, my ethics, my decisions, and my life course…then I might as well not even be fucking alive…
How did I come to develop this perspective regarding success? First and foremost, I believe it had to do with my parents. My father worked in a “plant” for most of his life. From the time I was a young child, he always told me to get an education. To do something besides just entering the workforce, and slaving your life away. Do something different. Mainly, it involved going to school. I do not know what type of career he envisioned me taking through the education he wanted me to receive. But it doesn’t really matter. The point is that he did not want me to go down the path he did. His path, like the path of most people (and this isn’t an unethical thing or anything like that) is to join the workforce, and just go to work. Go to work at a job you hate that (most of the time) barely pays the bills. That’s how it is. Life is hard, and it isn’t because of greed. It’s because of the Fall of Man; Adam and Eve. And it’s just because life is fucking hard.
He repeated it to me often. As I said, I do not know exactly what he had in mind, but I took his words literally. “Do not do what you did.” It’s funny now, but I interpreted this, in at least one instance, in the following internal logic I once had: “You started working when you were a teenager. Now, you want me to get a job. But you told me to not do what you did. So I’m not going to get a job because I don’t want to end up where you are, because you told me not to end up where you are. So I’m not going to go down the same path that you did because I feel like that will lead me to the same destination as you, and you don’t want me to do that.” Now, I understand how stupid (albeit, genuine, I would almost argue) that logic is. But, say, 8, 9 years ago, I did not. And I made my father’s life a lot harder than I probably should have. Any lesser man would’ve strangled me to death. If he wasn’t as patient as he was, I can assure you that neither you nor I would be reading this today.
But his words stuck with me. As I mentioned, sometimes to a detriment, but they still struck a chord with me. I would hear his words, and I would watch television news as he watched it. “So-and-so made this much money.” Man, that’s a lot of money! And they’re singing?! And writing?! And acting?! Initially, this created immense envy on my part. Unbearable envy. Envy has made my life almost unbearably hard at times. Envy over wealth and envy over sexual attractiveness plagued me throughout my teenage years. I suppose you could argue that’s normal (and some people never grow out of it; maybe none of us do), but life was so hard back then. All I could do was sit and be angry that I wasn’t rich. That I wasn’t a model. I was so angry back then. I’m glad those days are over with, even if I do feel a flash or twinge of envy from time to time…I don’t think it will ever get back to the severe level that it was back then (thank God).
Finally, by some divine miracle, my envy turned into ambition. I started to say “I can do that.” Besides my father’s persistence, this may be the most crucial step in my journey. When I started to tell myself to start trying to do things instead of sitting around, angry that others were doing things, my life literally changed forever. I can’t describe the magnitude of that change. It was simply a motherfucking blessing.
I have not looked back, and I never will. I can never be as miserable (at least regarding this area of life) as I was back then. It’s impossible. I decided to try. I decided to figure out what it was that I wanted to do (because I saw other people on television doing things that they enjoyed doing). I did not want to become like those around me, my parents included, who worked at jobs they hated, barely getting by. I wanted bigger things. I wanted more. And I know that everyone does. Everyone wants “more”, a better job, etc. But I do not care. The lives of others are not of my concern. Each person is responsible for his or her own life, so the course that he or she chooses is not my responsibility. I only care for my own direction.
Of course, I wish others the best. But I cannot stress over the decisions of others. “Andy might make a mistake! His life could take a terrible turn! I better be able to help him live his life because I don’t want him to make a mistake!” It’s a tyrannical compassion (so is it really compassion?) Fretting over the decisions of your fellow man is, at least to a certain extent, futile. Unless you are the type of person who enjoys controlling the lives of others, then you will probably not reach this point of ethics (unless you were as, for lack of a better term, “religiously” neurotic as I was). You must live and let live. Otherwise, you will be suffering from more things out of your control than you otherwise would, and I, quite frankly, just don’t want to fucking live that way.
At this point, I realize that I am not “successful” by any of the ways that I described it earlier. “Why should I give a fuck about any of this?”, you may be asking yourself. And my answer is that I don’t care if you do or not. I don’t do any of this for you: I don’t do any of this for anyone but myself. Any positive feedback that I receive is an added benefit: not the purpose.
“But you want to make money, right? You understand that you need positive feedback, and looooooooooooooooooots of it if you want to be financially successful, right?”
…And what’s your point?
It seems as if many people that I have expressed my intentions to do not understand that “goals” exist on a spectrum, and are mutually exclusive. Simply for my own sake (see: sanity), I’ll attempt to distinguish between these two (apparently) contradictory values.
The number one value is the enjoyment of the work itself. I want to enjoy the labor that I put into the work, the concept of the work, and the final creation of the work. If I write a best-selling book, and hated the entire process of writing, then I failed by my own definition. The point is the enjoyment of the work. Next is the money.
…And that’s it.
I don’t care about fame, or personal praises (I don’t hate them, and they are nice, but I feel rather neutral to them, as I do not feel like they influence my creative decisions one way or the other (actually, I know they fucking don’t), so they don’t really matter to me. It’s a simple “Thank you”, then move on).
Here, insert my philosophical standpoint that I introduced at the beginning of this piece.
So let’s get back to something else that I introduced earlier in this piece: what is wrong with my process?
I’m an extremely impatient thinker. Sitting and thinking is annoying to me. Making things “perfect” or “just right” is a tedium beyond my patience-level. So sitting and thinking of how to make a piece of writing “perfect” (or whatever adjective you want to use that won’t make you question my use of it) makes me feel restless. In my opinion, if I don’t know what I’m going to say, then I shouldn’t be writing. The thoughts should come long before I start writing. If I try to think of what I’m going to say when my word processor is open, then I have waited far too long to start thinking.
But how do I get better at writing when I’m not fucking writing?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
And that’s the issue.
How do I get anything done when I’m not writing? How do I get better when I’m not FUCKING WRITING?!
Well, quite simply, I FUCKING CAN’T. And that pisses me off, because I want to get stuff done.
Understanding myself as a writer is the first step in this process. Understanding my own personal writing philosophies are the first step of this process for me. If I can’t understand why I’m writing, then I don’t think I should be writing. But I want to become better at it. I’ll be the judge of how I’m getting better, and what makes something of mine “good”. But I don’t know how to do it yet.
The beauty is that this is a lifelong journey, and you should remember my life philosophy that I mentioned long ago in this piece.
The writing is unfinished because the thoughts are unfinished, and the thoughts are unfinished because I’m still fucking living.
As a wise band once said:
And, lest I forget, I should mention that my mother, for better or for worse (I think for the better), always said that “I could do whatever I set my mind to.” She gave me the confidence to believe that I could do what I wanted to do. My father gave me the passion to pursue a career that I enjoy, and my mother gave me the confidence that I could succeed at it.
I guess I’ll end with something sappy about them both.
…That’s as sappy as I’m going to get in this piece (sorry, Mom).
Thanks for reading.
Are you a creative type? If so, under what mental circumstances do you create? Do you wait for inspiration? Or do you go out and seek it? Does the inspiration come quickly? Or are there long gaps in between? Do you have to work hard to get the idea? And if so, under what circumstances do you begin to work on it afterwards? Once you have what you believe to be a good idea, what makes you work on it? Inspiration? The prospect of the final product? How often do you work on it, and at what interval?
As I sit in my room, at 4:30 in the morning, awaiting another afternoon shift in retail, I can’t help but ponder my current position. I think of all of the work that I must do, and how uninspired I feel to do it. Although I should be sleeping, I can’t help but want to do something. But at the same time, I don’t really want to do it.
I don’t want to feel like I’m not working on anything. I always want to feel like I’m doing something productive: something that will make me money down the road. But I’m not willing to compromise and do something that doesn’t make me happy in order to make that money (besides, apparently, retail). The idea of “selling out” or doing something that doesn’t make me happy in order to make money does not appeal to me. I’m only willing to “sell out” at the bare minimum: sure, I’ll stock shelves for some money. But, personally, I’m not willing to do much more than that.
Friends and family think I’m crazy. And maybe I am. But if the political philosophies that I have been studying for the past few years actually mean anything to me, then I need to make my own decisions in my life and live it.
I always dread hearing what someone else has to say in response to something that I have said. Most of the time, I just really don’t want to hear it. My life may spiral downward because of forces that I’m currently unaware of. Perhaps, others will gloat, or at least say “I told you so” while lending out a helping hand. But I’m just not happy. I’m just not happy with the common words that I hear, so, I believe that the only solution to this problem is to create the words that make me happy. Hmm…that’s good. Please don’t steal it. I’m in that terrifying stage of young adulthood (honestly, you’re always a byproduct of your decisions) where my life could go in many directions, with the majority of them seeming to be shit. Well, it probably will be shit. That is my expectation: that my life is going to be dreadful. I don’t want to hear a goddamn word about rainbows and sunshine. It’s my life, it’s my perspective, and I want it to be dark, if only for the laughs that can come out of it.
Perhaps, I truly only am writing this because I’m tired of hearing the words of others. Honestly, I don’t want to hear anyone’s thoughts on this. But this doesn’t do me any good if it stays on my computer, never published on the internet. It only does me good if it causes someone to say “Hey, that was good. I need to read more of what he writes! And then, give him money!” Once this is completed, that’s the only way this will do me any good. While I’m writing, it’s all good. It’s all therapeutic. But once it’s written, it only has value to me if it is marketed or sold. Because I don’t need to reread what I have written to know what I already think.
I respect advice. I’ve respected it for a lot of my life. I didn’t always take advice, and often, I either found it poor or later on found it to be helpful. But I don’t want it anymore. I’m not happy with what anyone is saying to me. And, personally, I find this to be a problem. Right about now is when someone would say “You can’t always hear what you want to hear.” And I understand your point, but you’re missing mine. You can control a good deal of it if you want to by doing what I wish to do at this point: just tune it all out.
For some reason, I’m just a terrible independent decision-maker. I’m hoping that this is only due to my youth, as the majority of my life has been spent in it, and I’ve made some terrible decisions up to this point. I know that I will always make poor decisions, but I’m hoping that they just become more sporadically spaced as time goes along. I hope that I’m not a “social degenerate”, someone who has “thrown his life away”, who “should’ve learned something worthwhile when he had the chance”, who, instead, lived a grandiose life of dreams regarding-what was that comedy bullshit he wanted to do again? Oh yeah, who cares. Never heard of him. And yeah, he ain’t a King or Rowling, that’s for sure.
The point of this is that I don’t want to seek external validation for my decisions anymore. I spent more time trying to get my father to believe in me like I believed in myself than I can recall. And I understand that he knew a lot that I didn’t. But I don’t think my dreams are completely unfounded. I don’t think my self-confidence is delusional. I don’t think my desires are childish. But I need to figure out what the fuck I’m doing. I have a small sense of it, but I think something is running deeper in me than I’m currently comfortable admitting to myself.
Perhaps I’ll be working in retail on into my 40s, knowing no other career than cereal stocking. That’s a good possibility, from my current perspective. Perhaps if I had only taken the advice of x, I could be making five times more money in my thirties than I’ll make by not taking their advice. Perhaps I’m the only fucking person in this world who doesn’t understand my life direction. Maybe everyone else is right but me. But I can’t listen to them.
I may be delusional, but I’m not stupid. I may be overconfident, but it’s not completely unjustified. I’m a terrified individual. I’m terrified of a tire blowing out as I cruise along the interstate. I’m terrified of my teeth falling out due to drinking too much soda. I’m terrified of my window of opportunity closing as I age, wondering if I’ll regret ignoring the sagacity of my elders. I’m terrified of what type of person I will be in the future. I’m terrified of becoming the type of person I hate. I’m terrified of spiders. I’m terrified of not knowing how to function as an adult. And it wouldn’t be the fault of my parents, because Lord knows they tried to teach me. I just ignored them, for the most part. I listened to them (at least somewhat) when it came to being a good person, but not when it came to, for lack of a better term, “life skills”. Practical skills involving physical labor. My laziness today is the same laziness from when I was a kid. It’s just there. Perhaps it will chain me to a life of minimum wage jobs, but I think I’m good enough at something to escape that life. But what is it? I think writing is part of it, and I think comedy is part of it. It better be, because that’s all that I have.
I love my family to death. I love my father, my mother, my friends. But I don’t want to take anyone’s advice. I’ve done that enough. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, but I don’t want to do that anymore. (I repeat myself so much from piece to piece. Oh well). I want to stay up past 7:30! I want to…no, I’m kidding. But I don’t want to take anyone’s advice right now. I don’t know when I will want to again. But I don’t right now. I appreciate it, but I don’t want to take it. I suppose this piece is a real bellyacher, but maybe it’s just self-therapy. If it is, then I don’t understand why in the fuck I’m publishing it.
I try not to write unless I have some stuff pretty well formed in my head already. At least when it comes to non-fiction. Fiction is a much more spontaneous process. And when I’m not doing something productive, I’m dreaming of future spoils. Isn’t that the life of the creative? You either create, and dream of spoils, or you create and have spoils. Very rarely is there any middle ground in that regard. I spend more time dreaming of fortune than working on what I wish would obtain said fortune. So I guess I have a pretty good ratio going.
The “problem” is that I believe I can do it. Deep down, I believe I can do it. I blame my parents for that one. I was always told that “I could do whatever I set my mind to.” And dammit, I believed them. For better or worse, I fucking believed them. And I have my mind set on becoming wealthy through writing and comedy. And that’s what I’m going to do. Nothing else will satisfy me: my mind is made up.
I’d love to tell you that I spend countless hours, days, and even weeks working on something. And I guess, in some sense, I do. It isn’t always writing. Sometimes it’s a comedy video for Youtube. But I would like to believe that I spend a large majority of my time observing. Observing people who do or have done what I wish to do, and trying to take something from them. Something valuable. Something that I can apply for myself. Seeing what I have in common with those that are doing or did what I dream of doing. I listen to their life stories, looking for similarities to my own. Looking for anything that makes me feel like I’m on the right track; that I’m on my way to doing what they do. And I would like to think that I’ve already learned a lot along the way while doing this, with a lot more to learn coming up in the future.
But one thing that stops me is my own financial failures. Time and energy are very valuable, precious things. And unless you love to do something for it’s own sake (or even for someone else that you love), you aren’t going to spend a lot of time and energy (or even money) doing something. A large part of my dream is dreaming of wealth. And the longer it doesn’t show up, the more my dream changes (or the more depressed I become). Right about now is where you’ll tell me not to care about money, and right about now is where I’ll tell you that I’m ignoring you. Also, right about now is where you’ll tell me why my work isn’t any good, and tell me that’s why I’m not making any money. I’ll refer to you to a previous sentence as to what my response will be.
But something that runs deeper than all of this is a personal conviction that I have that states “Do what you want to do.” This message, in all honesty, may have nefarious roots, but it has become an ingrained part of me for so long that I don’t think I can truly think any other way. I made up my mind at a young age that I was going to try to get paid for something that I wanted to do. I decided this, honestly, in part due to television news broadcasts which scolded CEOs for the amount of money they made. I decided that I wasn’t going to care about money (plus, I believed these same newscasts which stated, in effect, that making money was “ripping people off” (something I now know to be a lie)). Also, an even bigger part of this conviction came through the constant coverage of celebrities. I wanted to become a celebrity…
I wanted to become rich through becoming famous. This is still true today. I saw a bunch of people making a bunch of money by doing things that I thought I could do, and I wanted to do it. It took me several years to figure out exactly what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it, but that’s where I stand today. “I can do that.” That’s been my mentality. Everything that I wish to do for a career began with “I bet I’d like to do that” and “I can do that.”
Of course, I’ve learned along the way that it is harder than I expected. But another part of the reason that I decided to “do what I want to do” is because I had a feeling that only doing something for money when you don’t enjoy what you are doing will suck the soul out of you. Of course, this is what most people with a job do. But I’m only willing to do this to a bare minimum. There are people out there who get paid for doing what they love, and I know I can do that, too.
I don’t need anyone else to believe in me. This, I guess, all started that way, but I don’t need it anymore in order for it to continue (although it does feel good when someone does). I have enough confidence now to believe I can make careers out of everything that I want to make careers out of. The seed has been planted, for better or worse, and I can’t foresee it coming out of the ground anytime soon. Perhaps I’m objectively overconfident. But I’m going to make a choice to determine that I’m just-the-right-amount confident.
So I believe that I have the talent, and I have the desire. So one would think that I work nonstop. And in a sense, I do. But there’s so much work that remains unfinished that I felt the need to explain it for myself in this piece here. Why do I have so much unfinished work? Well, for one, many things “take a back seat” to other things. “That’s a good idea. Write that one down, so you don’t forget it. But I’m actually in the mood to work on this. Now I’m bored with this, I want to work on this. Now this is completed, but here’s a new idea. I don’t want to work on that one now, either, so I’m going to work on this new idea.” It kind of comes down to waiting to be in the right mindset to get something done. Perhaps it’s an extreme application of “Don’t do what you don’t want to do.” I’ve never liked the idea of forcing myself to write when I didn’t feel inspired. When I didn’t already have something to say that I wanted to say. I felt like the writing wouldn’t be as good, it wouldn’t be as fun, and I didn’t want to do it, because that would defeat a large purpose of why I wanted to do it in the first place: because I wanted to do it. And I still feel this way today.
So the way I work is that I work on smaller things while making a note of bigger things to do, and putting off many things while working on a wide variety of things. I have projects that are now years old that have nothing done on them more than “Hey, remember to do this. This is about this.” I think a part of that is waiting until I know what I’m going to do before I start to do it. I don’t want to start writing when I don’t know where something is going to go. Then, once I do, I let the creative process take me away until I at least get some semblance of that, even if unexpected things occur along the way. I sit around, waiting to feel “inspired” (something that financially successful writers probably hate, telling hopeful writers to “keep writing even if you don’t feel it, and finally something will stick”, or something like that. Something about putting in your dues…)
But instead of telling myself to write x amount everyday, and instead of telling myself to work on one specific project before starting on another, I let myself wander. I work on many projects at once, and few of them get done in a timely manner. And I’m kind of ok with that. A part of me wants to get more work done, but I don’t think my work would be as good if I treated it differently. I enjoy being overtaken by inspiration, and then not being able to control my desire and my execution of writing, and perhaps this is dickish of me, but something seems dishonest (at least to me) about forcing words to come. If you have to force words to come, you aren’t a writer. Well, at least, probably not a good one. Perhaps that’s unjustified, but it’s my feeling nonetheless. Writing is very spontaneous for me, with only an idea of what a piece is going to be about. The rest comes through inspiration (and, usually, immense boredom with everything else around me). But the question that I want to ask myself is this:
Why doesn’t inspiration come to me more often? I have enough ideas to keep me busy constantly. But I never feel inspired to do them. Once again, right about here is when an “established writer” will tell me that I need to put in the “elbow grease”, that everything isn’t going to be “squeaky clean”, and other cliches that I want to ignore. I don’t understand inspiration. I feel like I’d love to be able to write as much and as well as “greats”. And I’m sure that a lot of those writers are up to their necks in “elbow grease”. But I wish that I could do that spontaneously. I almost don’t want to work for it. Maybe that means that it never comes. But this is the process that I’m going to abide by until further notice. It kind of does suck, because of the amount of unfinished work. But I want my visions to overtake me; I don’t want to pick them out, because it doesn’t feel good to me. I believe that my best work comes when I’m inspired, and can’t control myself, and it just comes out. I don’t envy writers who sit staring at a blank screen, waiting for an idea to come. Fuck that shit. I’m only pulling out the screen when I can’t keep the words from flowing. And I hope that never changes.
But what causes the inspiration? Boredom. A lot of pondering. Desperation.
I can’t think of any other way to create good ideas…
I prefer organic ones as opposed to manufactured ones.
So I’m not going to be as productive as some.
But maybe I can compete with quality over quantity…
Well, at least I believe I can, anyway…
Now, we’ll let the market decide my fate…
…I’m no longer as optimistic.