Category Archives: Thoughts, rants, and Introspection

Build Me Up to Let Me Down

I had a fantastic opportunity last week, and I mean it was phenomenal. I get a text message from my current boss a week ago saying that his supervisor has posted a job looking for a programmer. Now, I am still a student at university and am about halfway through my program to earn a computer science degree. So I knew I would not qualify before even checking out the listing. But regardless, I thanked my boss and did a quick look.

Sure enough I didn’t meet the demands. It required a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a couple of other fields. It required experience I have had and proficiency in programming languages I’d never used. Still it felt like a road map to success. I figured if I followed it and learned a lot of these things prior to graduation then I would have greater opportunities and success.

So I go in the next day and thank my boss for the notice and explain that gives me some information on what I should pursue to have relevant skills in the field for a career. He says that I’m welcome and we move on to the daily business. I get a text after I leave work that day saying to call him when I can that he as some news that might interest me. He then tells me that his boss is interested in hiring me to this position. I explain my lack of skills and he says his boss still wants to have a sit down with me. He tells me of the benefits it would include, although it would be full time which could be difficult for a student. $38,000 a year. As a student who has never made more than 24,000, that is a ton. I would get a free class every semester, better healthcare and some other benefits.

So next day I have a sit down with his boss and am told he wants to hire me. He explains he knows I don’t have all of the programming skills he’s asking for right now but that’s okay. He tells me he’s very proud of how I have been doing since I arrived. He’s impressed that I have written a couple of my own scripts from scratch in the department (I studied different scripting languages for hours, meaning I did some cool stuff with computers). He loves my attitude, how I am willing to be upfront, direct, and still positive. He tells me that one of his senior programmers is willing to take me under his wing to show me what to do and how to develop on projects. Essentially having a well paid mentorship. He tells me of how this is a great career builder and how employable I will be by the time I graduate, but he would also love to have me here. I’m pretty damn excited at this point, sign me up!

He does take care to remind me it is full time but he thinks he can sway  HR to allow me to adjust my schedule to accommodate classes. So I go home and I apply. I tell everyone the potentially good news. Life is about to get better among other things. Then I go in the next day and he requests I have another sit down with him. I find out he talked to HR about hiring me and they put the stop on it. No full time students they said. They have tried before and recently even, and it didn’t work well.

It stung, it still does really. To see such a promising opportunity in so very many ways and to just have an anticlimactic ending of, sorry HR policy says now, is disappointing. It would have been nice. That experience, that pay, those benefits, and in my situation right now, trying to pay for a wedding while my fiance is also currently out of work. It’s stressful. I know it will be okay, but it’s stressful still. I don’t know, it sucks, I was really looking forward to all that, and instead the rug was just pulled out from beneath me. Oh well I suppose, life has never been one to really treat me well, I’ll continue on with the status quo.

Why You Are Better Than Me

The author weaves a story with voices, both in out of the characters awareness. The narrator may bring much to the table, lest the characters exclusively take his role.

Even so, the character’s mind brings more to the scene than we might in our own. Are we the characters in our story? The heroes and champions of our novel like non-fiction? Or are we the writer, putting much of our heart into what happens, subtly manipulating events in hopes to achieve a goal. Do we reach that goal? Or perhaps our audience misunderstands and under-appreciates our efforts, instead casting their own ideas, blanketing all that we prepared. Or. Perhaps we ARE the audience, interacting with this entertaining display to reach our pleasures. Or, perhaps we feel the narrator is more in keeping with who we are someone else dictating our thoughts and impulses, feelings and motivations.

Maybe we like move around. I think people are fluid like that. But even so, when we change from author to audience, how much really changes? Don’t we have something characteristically “us”? Don’t we bring our own inescapable perceptions with us no matter the role?

I’m…. inadequate. I have an inferiority complex. I need to show others why I am smart, and then act humbled when I am complimented on my efforts, ideas, and results. I need that constant validation to remind me that I am who I want to be. I don’t look down on others, most of the time I truly feel that they are worth more than me. When I dissent with people, I am frustrated, but often relent, both because that feels the right thing to do and because they may have more value in this world than I.

An example: We have a very strong-willed and agitated neighbor. She has a couple of children, one of which is autistic. I don’t rightfully know the age of these children, but the autistic one seems to probably be around 3 years old. We ran into a huge confrontation with our neighbor, our yard was continuously being flooded. This was because the water would run in their yard directly from the faucet for hours at a time on occasion. It did not appear our neighbor was consistently watching her kids, seeming to rely on the older child to keep the younger one safe.

During our first confrontation with our neighbor, we did not know the child was autistic though we had suspicions he might have some sort of special needs because of the sounds he made while playing. Finally when we were enduring the immense flooding (our entire yard and spilled across to the opposite side into our driveway, hard to really explain, but it was an extreme amount, not just along the fence we shared) for the fifth time I think I politely asked whoever was out there to keep the water in their pool because our yard was being flooded. My glasses were off because I had just finished setting up a bed frame and was under it, I could not see who was out there clearly but I got a nod and thanked them. When I first started requesting the water be turned off, I had not reached the fence either and was instead assuming an adult was out there watching the child (at the time I also did not know there was another child). So I go inside and say to my fiance I am not sure if that was an adult or an older child, but the water was turned off and I felt relieved that a solution seemed to have been reached.

A few minutes later our neighbor, the adult one, walks up to the fence we share and starts shouting at us, and yes we are inside at this point. She yells about how dare we talk to her kids that way and how they can run water all the way to Japan if they would so like. My fiance went to confront her after enduring a few minutes of verbal abuse and the situation didn’t really improve. I freaked out because I felt like I did something wrong. “How dare I talk to her children. She’s right, I didn’t even CHECK for an adult first. Shit, I messed up.” My brain is stuttering trying to right itself, reminding me that I was extremely polite. “But I really messed up, fuck.” “No, children are just easily intimidated, I you remember being a child right?”

All this time of this panicking and mixed dialogue, my fiance is engaging this wrath. I finally realize that I need to go address and say something, anything. I can’t leave her out there. That’s also messed up. I go out and the first thing I say is an apology that falls apart because I start tensing up again. I try to explain I didn’t know an adult was out there. The situation de-escalates a smidge and we go inside finally. Following day, my lovely fiance delivers cookies and little plush cows, “mini moos”, from chick-fil-a. They seem to be accepted and so we feel our olive branch mended the situation.

Fast forward a couple weeks, the yard is flooded again. HUGE confrontation. Way worse than last time. At this point we are informed by the woman that her child is autistic and this is the only way he really seems to have fun. Although that information is disseminated quite violently and with a great deal of vulgarity. I somehow remained calm, I don’t know how, God gave me some sort of stillness in the moment. Our neighbor seemed to punctuate her insults and exclamations by pounding her hand on the brick wall. She insisted she was pregnant or she would be “beating the shit” out of my fiance. Also if my fiance’s man (that’s me) weren’t here, same thing. I keep trying to return to the issue of compromise. We don’t want to take her son’s playing in the water away, but she will interpret this conversation as nothing else. Amidst her rantings and screaming about how my fiance should be “fucked up the ass with no Vaseline” she laments that she doesn’t have the money to regularly take her kids to the pool.

Rationally I feel that was a deflection, because that water bill can’t be less than trips to the pool. My fiance storms off while I try to calm our neighbor down. But afterwards I felt like I still owed my neighbor something. Rationally I knew this not to be true. Anyway, to shorten the story, I bought summer passes to the city’s pools. $100 out of my pocket to give to this lady who may not even use them. But it brought me peace of mind. I felt I went out of my way to right a wrong, which didn’t even exist. We truly did no wrong. But also, it felt like I was called to do that, as Christian/good person sort of thing.

But in the end, I remind myself, she’s just a person, like me. I laugh about how my neighbor is crazy. And then internally chastise myself for saying (and thinking) that. We are all the same I force the idea on myself, sometimes more easily than others. We are all the same, except that I am a little less.

I am the author, not the hero, I have an active role in the story, but I have no glory. I merely aim to keep the character’s stories alive. I don’t like sad stories, but things often turn to sorrow. It’s the little details that I cherish and make it worth it, the ones that other characters don’t observe or understand. The intent behind the writing, the motivations, not the actions. I aim to fill my heart with goodness and love, and spread that to others. I find myself relying on the author more and more. It’s okay that the characters are better than me, I enjoy this part of life more often than not.

When the Going Gets Rough

You know what they say right? “When the going gets rough, get the bipolar people out fast”.

I suffer from a few psychological issues, as I am so careful to insert in almost every post. I know no one reads these, and to be honest, I’m not sure why I find it so compelling to catalogue the events of my life and beliefs. I don’t dress up this blog. I don’t remain committed to it. And I certainly have little value to offer others I feel in this capacity.

Anyone who reads this one, drop me a comment, let me know how I am supposed to write these things. I mean, I have a ton of content I can write and rant about. I’m not just mentally ill and a mental health awareness advocate. I like board games and video games, telling stories and memories. I like unique debates and getting to rant about social welfare and philanthropy. I love being challenged and getting to offer people a new perspective by opening their mind a little. I can empathize with others who have suffered great loss. I can tell you the many stories of how I apparently have super powered bad luck. I’m a huge geek who works on computers and is in school for computer science.

I’m trying something new here though. Small sporadic burst posts when the interest happens. So thoughts are super scattered. Right now I’m trying not to die of boredom at work. I also have little motivation to do anything in general. I’m definitely in a depressive episode and I know that. I just have to wait it out as my fiance reminded me and that’s true. But while I could be studying or working my way towards a certification, I just feel tired and useless. I’m honestly surprised I ended up here at all.

My depression has come a long way from what it used to be. I’m finally on a good treatment. I used to be told that a treatment was successful if I was doing well 50% of the time. And we didn’t have money to go see a different set of doctors. But they didn’t legitimately care about me. I tried to explain how I would have an awful week or two where suicide was a constant, if remote, temptation. And that was fine as long as I didn’t think I would act on it and I was doing well the other 2 weeks of the month.

And my doing “well” was not good either, it was simply just not dreaming about dying. But that was “success” I was told. Screw that right? I lost faith in the system pretty quickly, especially after so many medications failed to fix the problem, worked only temporarily, or had such intense side effects they had to be stopped immediately. No wonder why I want to advocate awareness right? I don’t want people to go through that. Everyone needs to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but there isn’t enough accessibility to the people who need it. We need more programs that provide funding or other means to address mental health awareness and treatments.

Now I don’t think about dying. I don’t wish I could fall off ladders and make everyone think it was an accident. I don’t have impulses to steer my car into the opposite lane of traffic. I don’t scream and throw things around. I just feel depressed. Low energy, a general malaise and wanting to be left alone. Not concerned about anything. That may sound bad, but it isn’t, not when you have some context. And they don’t last as long either. But it is a little bit harder right now, because everything keeps reminding me of my mom which also reminds me I won’t have her at our wedding. Or my dad. Or my brother. But, I think they’re still proud of me anyway, I’ve come so far. And I’ve still got a ways to go, but at least I have the means to get there. Godspeed readers!

For the Nerds

You know, I never really thought I would find “for the nerds” a clever phrase. But placing it in my title I see a little wordplay for the phrase “for the birds” as in “That’s for the birds” referring to something trivial.

I think nerds are into many things trivial. We take the trivial and we expand it so that it DOES matter. Let’s start at a basic concept, Movies. We will even go genre that’s common for nerds, science fiction. Let’s pick an obvious (and my favorite) choice here, Star Wars.

Star Wars released and it was sort of capitalizing on the fun fantasy adventure driven interest of many people. It was a movie, it had revolutionary special effects, but it was more than a medium for a test, it was among other things, a spectacular marketing for merchandise.

Soon people were buying action figures, playsets, posters, costumes, and even comics. What started as a fun movie, exploded into a giant franchise. The merchandising only served to perpetuate future movies and marketing power. Then as children became young adults and later “real” adults, many of them favored moments in those movies, or playing with their toys. They reveled in things that were, even though they were simply fiction. The need for stories and other star wars memorabilia only grew, giving way to a full culture of people who were proud of their collections or analysis or imaginations of the Star Wars universe.

But for every Star Wars like boom of culture, there is thousands of movies and tv shows that become nothing but dust in the wind as only a select few people will carry any thoughts of fondness of these obscure creations.

Something like Star Wars though? It’s grown so big, that people can now divide themselves further. Me? I have to keep track of 2 universes because of how much “Legends” content was moved to non canon. dozens of books I read in a fictional universe only to be told that they no longer were correct and that there would be a series of correct or canon stories to replace them. Some of these stories do contradict each other and my favorite characters do not even have a place in the current Star Wars timeline. Then you have other people who swear only the original trilogy is worth it. Others still arguing the prequel trilogy was a better collection of stories. You have arguments about what was good and isn’t. Whether light whips were effective or just flashy. You have such a large culture that even people who would not identify as nerds know and may even like Star Wars.

That’s thanks to nerds (and great marketing) carrying that forward a few decades. I thought I would write more about this, but I’m far too distracted at the moment. Just know that while some things are just for the nerds, the power (of greyskull) is in our hands.

 

The Thunderous Distraction

I think I have mentioned on here how I have an internal dialogue much like that of a conversation between two people. I fully acknowledge that’s my own self though. I don’t think that makes me crazy, I’ve been told that’s relatively normal and I’ve done it all my life. It’s simply how I think or address thoughts and ideas.

What’s particularly odd, is that my other self when speaking to a hypothetical idea likes to smoke cigarettes. Now, you are probably rereading that to make sure you understood what I said. Let me provide an example.

I think of having a conversation with a friend and am listening to a complaint that I have an answer to. Don’t ask why such thoughts happen, hypothetical conversation are constant in my head and I don’t know why. But when I listen to my friend’s complaint and prepare my response, I incidentally imagine myself smoking and taking an inhale right before I tell them something. Sometimes instead of an inhale, I’m stubbing what remains of the cigarette out in an ashtray.

I don’t know why this is. I also don’t know how to properly explain a visual in my head.  So I think the “other me” is a smoker. It’s probably no surprise I inhaled second hand smoke since I was a tiny thing and only recently get a break from it in the past few years. I have no idea if that relates. But it is certainly an odd thing to get caught up on in my head. Every time it surprises me.

“Why the heck am I smoking in this thought?”

“Eh, just deal with it” I get in reply.

If it weren’t for such distractions, I might actually get some work done. Also, related I am currently at work. So yeah.

Anyway, happy mid day thing, if I remember later I will write again, because it is my anniversary of dating with my fiance and would like to write some positive things too.

Words Overdue

Hey there, it’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve not visited here as oft as days of yore. I don’t think I should promise I should change that. I wish I could retain enough focus and motivation to follow through with many of my intents.

It really has been a while though. Writing isn’t as cathartic as it once was. Or rather the type of release that writing is seems less called upon in my present state. I’m good. Well, as good as I can be I think.

What else is there to say about someone in my place? I lost my parents and my uncle last year. My brother a couple years before that. My dog that same year, and while I understand dogs aren’t people, I would be hard pressed to name 10 people who I would mourn so roughly at that time. I don’t do the whole people thing very well, and animals were (and generally are) more of a comfort, so yes, losing my dog was very hard.

I have bipolar disorder. I have narcolepsy. I have struggled with other issues, chronic pain, impulse and anger control. What can the world ask of me and expect in return?

I was just recently diagnosed with narcolepsy though, at 26 years old. This should have been found much sooner and I can point to huge points in my life and say that was affected by that. My ability to learn, work, and be productive in daily life has always been impacted by that.  I struggled so damn hard in school, especially in college. I went to college and slept through almost every class for a year, still managing almost all As. This semester was my first “real” one back and I pulled off 3 As and 2 Bs and that was before I was diagnosed and started treatment.  I know I have great potential despite finding it so easy to give up or put myself down.

My parents would be proud.  And God how I miss them lately.

Even at work, when I sip on my coffee. That soft noise the java makes while you draw it in with small sips, that pattering, I’m just thrown back in time. I clink that mug back down on my desk and suddenly I’m back when I was 12 and having a bad morning. I’m in the bathroom on my mom’s side of the house telling her of my constant nightmares that kept me up. She consoles me softly seeming to debate if she should let me stay home. Clink. Her coffee gets put down. She sits on the counter cross-legged (not sure how) applying mascara in a loose set of pajamas. They’re a faded lilac color. She sips again, and asks me if I think the medicine is helping. I’m just upset, sitting in the bathroom floor, my eyes feeling swollen from tears. And she knows she’s still got to go to work and goes about diligently preparing, while downing cup after cup of coffee. Her pajama pants don’t match the top well, they’re a faded blue with some pink lilies patterned on them.

Just one of the many times I would talk to my mom in the morning.  Even in high school. I had to talk to her by her bathroom while she prepared for work. Every so often I would hear a sip or clink and know she was still having a hard time waking. Sometimes I got her up in the middle of the night because I was having really bad impulses to hurt myself, and she would console me, often making a cup of coffee to make sure she had some energy to watch over me.

So every so often at work, when I get my cup of coffee, I will set the mug down and have to fight to regain control, because it’s still hard to realize she’s not here. Coffee isn’t the only thing. I wish it were, that would make this a little easier. But, sometimes I do remember good things, things I liked about my mom.  And sometimes, just sometimes, it does bring me a little joy.

Maybe I’ll start writing again. Nobody hold me to it though!

A Fresh Look on Things

As the semester comes to a close, there is a certain level of stress that comes with that.  Oh, but this is a special amount of super stress.

I just returned to my university to continue the program I stopped a few years ago, studying computer science. Boy are some of these classes making me take a beating. Sometimes it is nice to see that even years out of college, I am still occasionally having the highest scored test in the class.  I’m still getting mainly As and Bs, but there have been some Cs, Ds, and even Fs.

I have many classes that I don’t even stay awake in anymore. I had been trying to address my sleep issue before returning to school, but no such luck. And now I’m scraping and clawing to pass. I guess if I don’t I’ll handle that then.

But, behold a bright side! I had sleep study done a week ago.  My doctor indicated Friday that I have narcolepsy. I’m going in tomorrow to discuss option for treatment. It’s a bit late into the semester, but, hell I’m getting answers!

Oh and added to my stress, a week ago Thursday, I found a lump on one of my testicles. I rationally knew it was a cyst, but that fear crept in that it was cancer. I endured a week of being unable to focus on anything else. But I got my answer before the weekend confirmed it was a cyst.

I’m also trying to move into a new place with my fiance, there have been additional events precipitating the extra need to move in with her, not good things. But hell, again, some of this change is good, even if bad change walks along side it.

I have friends and family that won’t let me down and I will find my way, I’ve come out of far worse, and I’ve endured it all.

Here’s to the new things, the fresh perspective on which I will build my life.