Permanence

I have a weird thing about writing in notebooks. It’s weird I can put pixel to pixel but, pen to paper seems too permanent. I have tens of unfinished notebooks and none of them are filled. I don’t know what about it screams like once you finish it you can’t get it back… I mean I can go out and buy a new notebook but, it always feels like my words aren’t good enough for the page. Like I’m taking this space up from someone else.

I was cleaning up some of my old stuff and I found a few notebooks I hadn’t gotten to more than halfway with. Honestly, that’s a whole lot for me I mean halfway? Me?! but, it was a shock to me that none of my old childhood notebooks were even full. Did I even know back then that imposter syndrome would hit me so hard?

It’s crazy looking back on the things that I thought were important. The things that I wrote down. What girls I liked back then, my idea for Black Widowman, (This was of course before I: Knew that Black Widow existed and B. Before I knew what a widow was. So please don’t judge me too harshly.) scrawn ideas that flit through my ADHD mind while I was definitely thinking of other things except for school work.

I think besides just the imposter syndrome I have trouble taking up space. I have trouble just existing in my fullness. I have become unapologetic in the parts of my personality that’s not toxic but, I still feel like I don’t deserve the space I take up.

It’s a sobering kind of thought, really. I mean I don’t understand the people who can. Do they just decide one day that the space they take up is their own? Or is it a more gradual thing? Am I being polite or just subservient? I know it’s something I have to change about myself but, I don’t really know how so I’m just sitting here. Trying to fill this old notebook I got from an ex.

 

Father’s Day 2020

So Father’s Day was teed up to be pretty problematic. To set the stage, I had tried my hardest not to see my Father at least until it was absolutely necessary. It was made much easier due to COVID and his state being especially bad with it. So then I find out that during the week I had taken off, he was in the area and dropped in because of a wedding. My brother, who has always been the dadbuffer can’t come down to meet us halfway. I am really in it.

I dreaded the long march to Sunday. I had in my head all these stipulations like how I didn’t want to be there all day, especially if he was just going to drink. I had made up in my mind how much it would suck. I’d blown the whole thing up in my mind.

I used to say that I was a realist but, truthfully, once my wheels get going I tend to list towards the overdramatic. I just can’t help myself I get this feeling in my gut that I just seem to back my every fear and then I’m pretending that it’s prophetic. Like somehow my gut has never been wrong about anything ever especially my feelings towards women.

When I arrived at the place I was actually in a good mood. Considering that I had protested the week before and had that time off of work to just really enjoy my time recuperating from what has been a crazy season. COVID and Black Lives Matter are happening at the same time. It’s a tumultuous time for not just my people but, the whole of society. Things are changing and it feels good to be apart of that.

I will admit to having been turned around a few times because I’m literally no good with direction even with a GPS. (Yes, my people, I’m absolutely hopeless. I’m still hoping we’ll get built-in AR displays and I’ll get a minimap.) When I saw him a smile came to my face that I wasn’t expecting and most of my lunch went by without caution but, then he asked me.

“Is there anything I’d like to say to him I haven’t yet.” We’d had a nice lunch we talked about light things and serious stuff too. It was almost what I must assume other people’s relationship is like with their parents.  But, he just had to ask and it was like a lead ball in my stomach. I looked around for exits but, there was none and the waitress was talking animatedly with a young kid. There was no way out.

It took me a while to speak. There was a long time there when I anxiously bounced my foot and messed with my hands. I felt like it ruined a rare and perfectly good time. There was a lot that I hadn’t said. Stuff that I didn’t really even know I needed to say but, I think he needed to hear it. I think it was less about me and more about him.

I told him that what he did, created a lot of my nervous ticks like not quite being able to look people in the eye or my loathing for confrontation. I think he needed to hear that I’m not sure what will I would say that would pop him off next and that it made talking to him hard. That definitely seemed to open his eyes a bit. That I was suffering from severe depression and that just made doing what he asked of me even more difficult. I was afraid most of that time and my memories of that time are more than a bit hazy but, what I will never forget is the fear.

I used to try so hard to find what little happiness I could find on the edge of despair. I did often wish I was dead. I don’t know how close this was or is to be suicidal but, it was how I felt. I never attempted but, I did wish for it a few times. It’s not something I try to bring up too often but, I know what my rock bottom feels like I’m not ever letting my self get there again.

He looked like he finally got it. Like a whole lot of things were put into perspective and he finally understood the whole picture. I think for him this was a wakeup call and for me, it was a release of a lot of the weight I was carrying around. I’ve felt so much lighter since and it has done wonders for my mental health. The years of deep introspective thought seem like they were finally worth it. Just being able to say the things I wanted to.

I don’t know what my relationship with my father will be like from now on but, I do know that now I can let some of this go. I’m better for finally being able to say my piece and maybe I’ll get a little closer to moving on.

 

Happy Birthday Jacob!!!

Happy Birthday Brother. I know it’s probably late coming and I’m hoping this finds you well and happy. How have you been? What’s the weather like? I know I’ve never been good with small talk but, I’d I didn’t ask I’m sure Mother would get mad…

I miss you. There’s no easy way to say this cause you’re gone an I’m not. But I miss you. Just because it got easier to say your name and what happened without it sticking in my throat doesn’t mean I love you less.

It’s been eight long years and so much has changed. I don’t go to where we buried you often enough and I hope my silent eulogies are almost as good as vocal ones. I’m sorry if I don’t feel you there. It’s way too quiet for you. You were loud and vocal. In a place where vocal wasn’t always great. But you were great. You were visible when sometimes I wanted to hide away. And you loved like only children can unconditionally and radiant. Being loved by you was such a great feeling.

I’ve changed a lot and I hope that you’d have been proud of me. I learned to lean a little over into loving the way you do and it’s made all the difference. I’ve drawn people towards me that I’ll love for a lifetime. I’ve learned to be vocal. To stand up for the things I believed in and in a world on the cusp of changing, I wonder would you have been there with me? I stopped being nearly so lazy and I’m working and at a much better job than I’ve had before. I’m writing and maybe not the things I always should be but, I’ll work on procrastination later.

I’ve decided to visible to be heard and I hope you’d be proud of me. That you might again look up to me as your older brother. I’d be filled with the most sincere happiness I could imagine.

You were everything to me. It wasn’t easy picking up my pieces after you left but I hope the man I am now will be enough to for you to smile upon. And as I hastily write this before work, I hope you know aftershocks of your kindness are still felt all over. I’m thankful that you have never come to me in my dreams as anger or sorrow. It’s always been one more game, one more show, one more movie and one more hug. It wasn’t easy losing you and I wish I’d seen you in your final moments but, you have given me all that I could ever ask for.

Your Brother,

Warren

Essential

I’m going slowly insane. I mean I’m glad I’ve got my job but, the amount of people who don’t seem to care about the pandemic makes me want to pull my hair out. I just don’t know what needs to be done so that people won’t come into my store with their entire families… It all just makes me want to scream. Why don’t they care about being sick?

It’s not enough that they don’t care about themselves but when we walk away because they’re too close they follow us like it’s no big deal. They squeeze in behind us and reach over us like we’re mannequins. I’m so tired of it. If we get infected in a great enough number the store closes.

We had our first confirmed case at the store this week. There’s no telling who could have been infected it’s made a huge change at work. People who were unworried before are now wearing masks and gloves and actually staying away from each other. Things we were always supposed to be doing but, we foolishly thought we were safe.

My friends range from essential to laid off and they’re all worried about me. Somehow that’s not really the attention I like. I feel bad for those that lost their jobs and I feel lucky to have mine but, somehow the apocalypse isn’t great for my mental health. Who would have thought?

Sorry about being late on the book but, you already know the score. Things are looking a bit better for me right now and I think I need this way too much not put my all in. Thanks for being patient I won’t make you guys wait too much longer.

Hunger

She lures me in,

Bright and shy,

I caution myself

Too wary to try,


She bites full lips

And I lick mine.

Her eyes make contact

and dart away.

I follow them

I’m drawn in

Predator and Prey


I slink closer

my body reacts

About to pounce

There’s no turning back

I bite in

Taking what I deserve.

Our bodies tangle

I can’t tell where we begin

This is it!

What I’ve waited for…

Satiation

 

My fly wide

I left myself open

She knew I would

I sink my fangs in

But there is no purchase

Red Tide flows

She lifts me from off my feet

With practiced ease.

I’m on my back

she pins me down

I whimper and beg


I see my reflection

In hungry bright eyes

She lured me in

To my demise

 

Closure

It’s this remarkable word that we almost never get. Things don’t end and tie off in a neat bow. Not like they do in fiction. Everything can work out in books, tv, or movies but, IRL things don’t always end that way. And even when we do get closure and everyone is an adult about everything why does that not ever seem like enough?

Why does even knowing it’s over not change the way you feel? Why doesn’t cutting them out make things better? I guess because you still care, right? You want them to be happy even if that happiness isn’t with you. At least that’s what I want to say. I want most of my exes (ex-friends included) to be happy. I just selfishly want them to miss me too. I don’t know if this is good advice but, maybe if there’s someone you’re curious about (who didn’t leave you hurting or ruin your life) may just check on them. Just tell them you miss them. Just a little bit. Maybe something good will come from it.

When it comes, it comes like a wave.

That’s how it feels at first like a wave drowning me and dragging me down. It feels like I’m drenched to my bones with lukewarm melancholy and it weighs me down. When just getting up feels like walking through floodwaters. It’s nearly unbearable but, I do my best to get better and be better.

I think I’ve probably been depressed my whole life. I don’t know when it started but, it was a long time before I knew the words to describe what it was I was going through. It took a long time for me to come to grips and understand just why I couldn’t muster the energy to do things in my daily life and why the thought of getting up off the couch sometimes ruined me. I won’t say growing up was easy for me but, I got through it.

I’m not saying I’m in any way a good role model. I just ride the waves. I still manage to get up every morning and go to work and can more or less get the little done I need to but, I know I could be better. I’ve told people that they should probably go to therapy and I haven’t really followed my own advice. Maybe I’d be in a different spot now if I had. Now there’s medical insurance that’s the hurdle now but, hopefully, that will be easier to get in the next few years.

I’ve had a few pretty bad breakdowns in the past two years. It usually happens around this time cause work amps up, seasonal familial obligations, and not being able to get in that restorative friend time. Seasonal depression is a real kicker. I think I know I can’t do it all on my own but, now I have the skills and the wherewithal to know when it’s coming and try to head it off. Things like not staying too late at work or just doing things to make me happy. It’s not perfect but, it’s gotten me through. I can smile now more often than ever.

I’m so much happier these past years than I have ever been in my life. I have friends who get “it” who understand me when I feel the worst. Understand and honor my anxieties and are willing to be there to calm me down. I’ve been able to be there more for the others in my life suffering because I’m in a better place mentally. I can rise above the waves now. 

 

K

You are the warm zephyr on an autumn day,

Just when your nose starts to chill.

A white, fluffy cloud on across the sun on the highest of noons.

An arm around me when I just can’t stop bawling.

A scream when I’ve had just too much.

 

I found you when I needed you most.

A comma to break my pace.

The perfect thing to make what’s already great greater.

And make what’s destitute and unlivable,

bearable and full of hope.

 

You have put my world into focus.

Clear and sharp.

I can finally see myself.

 

I know you have a thing about me using your full name but, just this once give me a break. A mistake has become something that’s just ours and I hope it will continue that way. You have changed my life and no matter what happens next that won’t ever change.

Captain Spirit (Life is Strange 2 Prologue?)

I loved DONTNOD’s Life is Strange 2 prologue? (Question mark because at first, they said it was something like a demo but, playing it seems like something more like the first chapter [I’ll probably remove this when I’ve started the main game and find out where this fits in.]) It really did a lot to put me back in the shoes of being a kid and long for a bit of the old days, when my brother, my friends, and I would play imaginary games. The whole thing flooded me with more emotions than I ever thought possible. I thought that this was gonna be a pit stop on my way to bawling my eyes out city with Life as Strange 2, turns out I wasn’t ready for the wave of emotion that hit me with this game. When the credits rolled, and even now thinking back on it, I realized that I’m already hooked on Chris’s story. And like Life is Strange the original and Before the Storm, it’s probably going to linger with me a long time.

-Major Spoilers-

for Life is Strange 1 and Before the Storm

Life is Strange the original is one of my favorite games of the current generation. I loved Max and Chloe’s journey through re-connection, reconciliation and in my game romance. I remember all the major narrative beats and how each twist story hit me so hard. From Kate’s attempted suicide, alternate Chloe’s injuries, Jefferson’s heel turn (Yes I was actually surprised by it. I shouldn’t have been but, I was really just enjoying the story.) Things moved so quickly for something many consider a “Walking Simulator.”

Before LIS I didn’t know a narrative-based game could hit me like that and because of it, I’ve played games like Detroit, Until Dawn and Telltale’s Borderlands which are games I always gonna recommend to anyone into the genre or even just starting out with it or games in general. I guess I’m the perfect audience for more cinematic games. It’s probably because movies can’t always hold my attention and this allows me to not only interact with the story but, tell it my own way.

I chose to let Chloe die. That she needed to go to back to the beginning and die so that everyone else could live. It was so hard but, after bawling my eyes out I realized that this not only what she wanted but, it was kind of a redemption for her. She did probably the hardest thing possible. Max would unmask Jefferson and save Kate. Nathan would go to jail most likely but, he’d be away from his dad and finally get the help he needs. Victoria will probably be heartbroken but at least she’ll be saved.

Part of me thinks that Chloe might have wanted to die because she felt guilty about the ultimate fate of the love of her life Rachel Amber. But, I think she also felt guilty for the pain she put the rest of the people in her life through. She might not have seemed so much like that in the original but, as we see in Before the Storm she’s way more vulnerable then she lets on. Her relationship with Rachel probably hardens a lot of her exterior. All and all, I have to say The first Life is Strange put me on a feels train and now Captain Spirit is the next stop.

End of Spoilers

for the Original LiS and BtS

And

Major Spoilers

for The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit

I say it right now, I couldn’t help but smile as the song Death with Dignity by Sufjan Stevens came on. I didn’t know the song but, it somehow it held a bit of the wonder I always have when I start a game like this one. There’s a bit of child-like wonder when I’m about to dive into something that I know will tell me a great story. I get the same feeling for a book I want to read, an indie movie, a slice of life Anime, and a great number more. A warm feeling with a low rumble of excitement. I love this feeling. It’s the feeling I chase when I consume things, a little like an adrenaline junkie. The song itself fits so well into the game because, the tone of the song kind of belies the intent of the lyrics. The whole thing lulls you into a false sense of security which is exactly what this game does.

The scene comes up on Chris, our POV character, as he starts drawing the titular Captain Spirit. You make a few decisions on what he’s gonna look like and whether he’s colorful or a bit dark. I chose light armor and a much more subdued design, mirroring some of my favorite characters from youth. he decides what he wants to do for the day. There are tons of options like playing around with his toys or getting to know Chris through his room.

Before I knew it dad was calling and I wanted to check out more than one thing and apparently, that was the wrong choice. When I finally answered and left to go to the kitchen he was angry. It wasn’t even that late and but it kind of in a way set off a bit of a chain reaction.

At first, I thought Chris’ dad was just going through a hard time. Living on without his wife and partner in raising their son and being unemployed. He is easy to sympathize with. While all of that may be true, Charles Eriksen is abusive.

Not just once or twice we keep finding evidence that the way he treats Chris in this game isn’t a one-off. We aren’t seeing the beginning of this, not the inciting incident. We are dropped into a just a normal Saturday in the life of Chris and Charles. This is their life together. Charles can be nice one moment and slinging abusive comments the next  DONTNOD has captured a chillingly realistic picture of an abusive parent. I know because it happened to me.

There’s a lot to unpack about the way Charles and Chris interact. Chris dutifully does chores around the house which should have been done by his father, like clearing the porch of snow keeping the water heater running, and wood stove on to heat the house. I found myself doing these plus the dishes and laundry for to get some kind of approval from the dad hoping that if I (Chris) was good we could somehow prevent another outburst and I could get myself and Chris out here unharmed. This was something I felt many times in my life. If you’re good enough then they will go back to the way they were before. Charles does realize and say something a bit demeaning like, and I’m paraphrasing here,  it’s like having his own maid. The comment felt a bit like a slap in the face for how hard he was working.

Charles drinks way more than is probably necessary and it’s not just one or two beers to watch the game. He’s three beers in while cooking breakfast and the half a bottle of the hard stuff while watching the game after promising his kid they’ll get a Christmas tree after the game. You can mention his drinking but, I didn’t choose those options because I was trying to be as small as possible. The thing is his drinking has a real consequence and that being his son. He will forget things he’s meant to do for him. Charles doesn’t always eat. He often gets angry at Chris for saying he should slow down. Chris has connected the causality of his father drinking with mood swings and even violence. This most assuredly negatively affect Chris’ relationship with drinking going forward.

Charles isn’t all bad. He isn’t evil. He doesn’t seek out to destroy Chris’ life. He has moments where he’s a good father. Like leading Chris to believe he isn’t getting a really good present to surprise him on Christmas day. Or when you shoot him with your nerf gun he plays along. Taking a moment during halftime to talk to him. He locks the firecrackers away from us when he realizes we can’t be trusted with him. Built a treehouse for Chris. He’s given a lot of freedom to be his self. The only problem is a lot of this comes as a detriment other places. The play box console that Charles buys is a replacement to the one it’s insinuated he broke. The treehouse is unfinished and actually dangerous as we see at the end. Chris is pretty unsupervised and even though his maternal grandparents want to help out Charles has kept them from him.

End of Spoilers

A lot of what went on with this game forced me to remember different parts of my childhood and unlike Chris, I had brothers to lean on when things got overwhelming. I don’t think I would have survived without them. They gave me something to live for. My Father wasn’t drunk so he couldn’t blame it on the alcohol not that it gives Charles any kind of leeway. I was sent back into myself in multiple ways to the kid I used to be and the whole thing hit me so hard. I’m so happy I played this.

 

Ps. Sorry this took so long to get out but, works been busy and I had to figure out what I wanted to say in here. If I wrote this when wanted I feel like I would have gotten a lot wrong and maybe even misrepresented myself. Thanks for your patience.