Tag Archives: Vent

How To Interact With A Hostile World?

I think a lot of this ramble will seem either nonsensical or hyperbolic unless you know me somewhat intimately and/or are able to realize what I am inferring here. It’s just something I need to get out to help me process some thoughts and maybe make some decisions.

While I have, and will continue to censor a lot of my thoughts even here on my blog (at least for the time being) I will at a minimum say that I feel myself becoming further alienated not just from the world at large, but all of the communities I’ve once called home. This is not about fandom communities (furry, etc.) at least not exclusively, but about things that define me at a much more fundamental level: being an artist, a writer, a reader.

I am aghast at the virulent attacks against creatives, both artists and writers, and at any non-sanitized form of creativity and fictional works that dare to portray anything taboo, problematic, nuanced, or complex, as well as attacks on people who dare to enjoy a lot of (even mainstream) fictional content.

Most, if not all of my favorite writers and many of my favorite works, would be unpublishable today for a multitude of small or large “moral crimes”. Same goes for many of my favorite video games and movies. Realistically, I feel that the same can be said for any of the books I am writing. Even if I can’t think of a specific reason, if I write something remotely interesting, then someone will find that one scene or character dynamic that calls forth vitriol.

I really do not know where I stand any longer as a creative, or what becomes of my lifelong dreams and goals at this point in my life. I feel angry and lost, but this is so much bigger than me. This is not something that will be resolved in five or ten years. Maybe twenty? It was SO different twenty-something years ago. I’m sure it can feel good again; it’s not like I’m losing hope entirely. But right now, it doesn’t feel good. The more I try to stick around, the worse it gets. It hasn’t felt good for ages.

Perhaps I need to reevaluate a LOT about my life going forward and about how I interact with the world as someone whose main motivator to get up every day is drawing and writing. About how I share it, where I share it, and how much of it I share.

Everything I’ve tried recently in terms of my Internet presence hasn’t improved my sense of isolation and anger. In some cases, it has even added to my stress. I know you all see me come and go a lot from websites. I regularly get eye-rolls and sighs when I delete accounts or remake them. It’s because I’m still trying. I repeat an experiment, and it’s usually just as bad in a different way. Feeling alone online sucks, so of course I keep trying. But over the last year, I am losing hope in a way I never really have before, and, I reiterate, this is not only about fandom communities at all.

In keeping up with my changing life goals, I am seriously considering deleting a bunch more sites, some of which I’ve deleted a few times before. I may delete Retrospring, cohost, Gumroad, Ko-Fi, Instagram, Toyhouse, my Carrd, and Mastodon. And… even, and perhaps most importantly, FurAffinity. But it’s not really about the new rules put in place there. It goes deeper than that in ways I just don’t want to go into.

If I proceed with that, it would leave me with this blog, Telegram, my YouTube channel (a necessity for embeds on my blog) my two streaming channels (which are more of a utility), and my Patreon.

When it comes to my internet presence and online social life, I want to go back to how my life was in the early 2000s as much as possible. I want to stop feeling so disenchanted with society. And I know it is possible for me to leave spaces behind when they become a negative force in my life: I left Twitter, deviantART, and Tumblr, in spite of some stumbles and false starts. I left Weasyl, Facebook, and Livejournal and never went back. Many of my attempts do eventually stick for good, no matter how many false starts people see me have.

Most online spaces are very upsetting for me, even though it is hard to leave them. I think it is possible for a far future to exist in which this changes, and I can always make a return then. But if that time exists, it is very, very far in the future.

But this much I know: it’s likely that if I don’t leave these spaces soon, I am going to end up getting the permanent impression that people are a lot stupider, less tolerant, and cruel than they actually are. These spaces warp my perception. In addition, I am going to like some of my friends less and less as some of them continue to engage in certain behaviors that I consider horribly toxic and damaging, all under the guise of some Greater Good (โ„ข).

It honestly feels as though unless I remove myself more and more, something very bad is going to happen, such as me fully losing my patience and vomiting my Actual Opinions all over the place. Can’t have that –not with the current zeitgeist! ๐Ÿคก

Anyway, I don’t know what I’m doing yet. I am writing about potential decisions to help myself process those possibilities or otherwise discard them. Don’t pay too much attention, but don’t be surprised if I follow through, either.

Week 13 Summary: Adjusting ๐Ÿ’€

Before I begin: I’m trying really hard to get used to a completely hectic schedule that changes all the time, while still completing my commission queue and taking care of my pets and most of the housework as before. I know I’ve neglected a lot of DMs from friends. I am SO SO SORRY. I’ll get to it, I promise, right now I’m just trying to succeed at existing.

I’ve been kinda taken aback by the sudden Patreon support now that I closed commissions. Since the tiers are limited, I think I’ll be ok and not overwhelmed though… hopefully.

๐ŸŒˆ Monday ๐ŸŒˆ

On Monday I was up at 6:30am getting all my chores done before my new job orientation. I was able to get mostly everything done, and orientation went very well. My first actual day would be Wednesday.

After I got home, I did more chores, worked on my book, and made dinner for the three of us. I was exhausted by the time I crawled into bed with Rosie and my Switch. She was being very affectionate, so I took some pics:

I also got this commission finished and posted right before bed:

๐ŸŒˆ Tuesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Tuesday I had my nose down to my iPad all day. I have an average of 30 commissions to finish now that I’ve closed permanently. I’m trying to get one down a day, more or less, and I managed it on this day. I completed this commission:

Afterwards I did all my chores and then made dinner. Then we all went for a walk together. It was raining, and I got to see froggy friends and snail friends. Here’s some snails.

๐ŸŒˆ Wednesday ๐ŸŒˆ

Wednesday morning I was up SUPER early –I showered and then spent the entire morning doing chores without stopping. I also worked on commissions and Patreon rewards a little bit. There was really zero time to relax. It was soon time to go to work for the first time! Monday was only orientation, Wednesday I’d actually work.

I took a selfie before heading out:

The first day went really well. The store is not very busy. Everyone is very pleasant, but I am worried about having to deal with answering phones, paging, on top of upselling a rewards program to every customer at the register, which, as I found later in the week, I can get reprimanded for not pushing hard enough (though, that hasn’t happened yet). That stresses me out. I’d much rather to heavy physical labor that doesn’t involve this –or a desk job.

After work, I went to Publix to get stuff for our partner to make dinner Thursday night. I’d be working late the next few nights and wouldn’t be able to make dinner.

At Publix, I saw these two. Just two good little guys. I had to take a photo.

๐ŸŒˆ Thursday ๐ŸŒˆ

I started Thursday in a pretty bad frame of mind. I knew it would happen, really, as soon as I started any job, and probably you will say that is a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it’s just how it is. It doesn’t matter if I like the job or not. What matters is that I am not drawing while I am there. But this time, because the schedule is always changing, and because I must be available always –all weekends and holidays too, just in case– it was additionally aggravating.

For starters, the fair outing with my mom was cancelled. The usual visit to her was also cancelled (these two kinda go together) and because asking for time off is kind of an involved process at my new job (it seems to be something you need to do like a month in advance) it’s looking like regular visits to my mom (the only interaction she gets outside of work) are slowing down very, very significantly, and I’m not sure what to do about that. Then, we couldn’t do our Zoom call yesterday, either.

Beyond that, the treasured weekend visits to family may also be a thing of the past that needs to be carefully scheduled so it can happen at all.

Our date night this week is cancelled because of my schedule. And now, if I have a day off that we can do that on, I may honestly just fret while trying to do our usual date night activities because I have things to do, whether housework or personal stuff, that I can no longer do during the week. Same goes for the old project nights. My schedule will change constantly, so nothing can really be planned without a full month of foresight as per my job policies.

And look. I know how it sounds. Everyone works –I had really bad and long jobs that left me basically with no time to have a life, and this is only part-time. But after doing commissions for so many years and overall enjoying it so much (until recently) it’s a miserable change. And you have to keep in mind that my first day was great. A wonderful experience. And still, I felt this way in the morning.

I just don’t want my life to change. I want to keep seeing my mom and visiting my family. And I know I would have zero pity if I saw someone else writing this. This feeling of lacking autonomy over my schedule is hard to accept right away. Hopefully with time, I will.

There are upsides. The atmosphere at the job is great, and I can walk to it. These are all good things. The customers are very nice and calm. My coworkers and managers are great. Maybe getting weekends off once in a while won’t be so hard.

Anyway, it’s a bit of a rough period. I’m trying to adjust. Let me break up this particular day’s whining with a photo of Rosie and Tomoyo:

Tomoyo had gotten in Rosie’s space and both were pretty pissy with one another but eventually settled. I took that photo as I was working on this Patreon reward, which I finished before leaving for work but wasn’t able to post until later in the evening, after dinner:

Anyway, Thursday was quite long at work. I left late. Christopher picked me up, and when we got home our partner was making a wonderful dinner. Plus, he (our partner) surprised me with my favorite flowers and a delicious wine. He knew I’d been very grumpy. Later he massaged my legs a little too, which are super sore with all the extra hours of standing. It helped me to end the day on a much better note.

๐ŸŒˆ Friday ๐ŸŒˆ

I started Friday by knocking out another commission:

Then I did all my chores, and it was off to work. Unfortunately my new shoes didn’t make it before I left, so I would have to deal with the old shoes one more day. The workday was alright –I was at the register by myself more, and had more responsibilities overall. My managers seem to really like me, but I do worry about taking far too long to learn the minutiae of my duties. There is SO much to learn.

Christopher picked me up, and we got home to the wonderful smell of smoked salmon. I started helping our partner with dinner. There were some hiccups, so we didn’t eat until 10:30pm. Very late. But dinner was incredible:

That’s all salmon that had been smoking for hours and hours (AFTER hours of marinating) as well as quinoa, peas, arugula, avocado, and toasted walnuts. It was pretty great! And to top off the night, our partner got me the little alien doll I wanted. I didn’t expect I’d have another doll so soon, I can’t wait for her to arrive:

Not sure what I’m gonna call her. I actually had a hard time falling asleep because I was so excited thinking about this. ๐Ÿ˜…

๐ŸŒˆ Saturday ๐ŸŒˆ

Today was a calm, overcast day, and the last day before a real chance to rest. My mom in law and Christopher’s Grandma dropped by and we went to breakfast together. Our partner had some severe indigestion unfortunately and couldn’t join us. Breakfast was alright.

After we got back, I completed and posted this Patreon reward:

So far, I’ve been staying pretty on top of my overdue artwork. I chip at it and get something else done every day. After I got this done, it was time to go to work. My family dropped me off and at some point sneaked a picture of me at the register:

๐ŸŒˆ Sunday ๐ŸŒˆ

I had a lot planned for today –this kept me going when I felt upset about not being able to do things during the week. No sleeping in late for me…. too much to do! In the end, I wasn’t able to do it all, but I did some chores and scrapbooked, and read, and watched a VHS tape.

I brought Kalamata downstairs because I noticed that Tomoyo bit two of her fingers so, she needed some TLC. I gave her a little book to hold, but eventually I took it back from her to cut it for scraps. ๐Ÿ˜…

These are the tapes I’m working on watching at the moment:

I started with The Little Polar Bear:

Here’s a cool LeapFrog ad that appeared before the main feature:

I worked on two scrapbook pages that had photos of Dante from the Alaska trip:

Afterward our partner and I went to Starbucks for a snack and then sat down to play some Diablo II together:

Then we went grocery shopping for the week and our partner made AMAZING turkey burgers. Overall it was a good week, but very tiring. Tomorrow I have jury duty for the first time in my life, and hopefully I’ll get to see my mom during the week. Hope you all had a nice weekend!

A Rollercoaster, And What’s Next? ๐ŸŽข๐Ÿ˜ข

So, last week has been something.

You might have read on my socials that I recently got a new job that I really liked. A proper 8-5pm in a corporate office. Well, life moved so fast that before I had a chance to blog about it, the job was gone.

About the job: it was easy, and relatively fun. I liked most of my coworkers, my supervisor and the main boss. One of my coworkers was a real case, I heard the “N” word from her four times in the space of two minutes, and she said some wildly transphobic and homophobic things in spite of telling me she was lesbian. But I guess you can be homophobic and transphobic at the same time as gay… it was just a shocker. So I didn’t like this coworker but I am sure she thought it was quite the opposite, as I didn’t let on. After all, it was just three of us in that area and I didn’t want to make things unpleasant.

ANYWAY, I utterly loved the job and atmosphere otherwise. The one hiccup is that truly there was nothing for me to do. I’m not sure why I was hired. When I had work to do it was because the coworker I mentioned left early/didn’t come (happened twice) or because she gave me all her work to practice on while she browsed TikTok. I was glad for this, as I had nothing to do otherwise and eight hours staring at a wall/screen are interminable.

I went around helping everywhere I could, doing whatever I could. I was praised for this so I think people were happy? And I was told repeatedly that things would pick up in January so I wasn’t too worried. Truly I felt like I’d found an amazing opportunity. I invested about $200 in clothes for this new job, because I had nothing to wear. Like a complete fool, I decorated my office area. All in the first week. Everything was going so well, that what happened really threw me for a loop.

The recruiter told me Sunday night that they told her on Friday that my position was no longer needed. They expressed no complaints. In retrospective, Thursday and Friday there were day-long meetings at which the boss, who’d been so affable on Monday, was put in a very dark mood. Our partner thinks perhaps multiple people were fired. And when I went to pick up my stuff today, I saw many more cars outside than usual at this hour. I do know that they did not make their November minimum quota. But they’d done really well in prior months. Anyway, if they don’t make 20 million per year I think some higher ups may not get bonuses (my speculation) because the company as a whole doesn’t get their bonus of two paid weeks off at Christmas unless they hit that mark.

TL,DR: It doesn’t seem like I did anything wrong, but I was let go after one week.

Pros: I made a little bit of money.

Con: I also spent money. I’m going to see what I can return.

Pro: The recruiter says she already has other offers lined up for me.

Con: I realized (or rather, remembered) that if I’m not drawing all day every day, I hate my life and want to die.

Ok, ok. Hyperbolic, I know. But it’s sort of true. From last Monday, as happy as I was with the job, all smiles at my workplace and doing my best, I was also miserable. Especially at home, with my day over and almost no art done. Still, I’d be up at 6:00am and draw. I’d draw during my lunch break. I’d draw after dinner. But it was not enough. I am not sure I can properly convey how empty and meaningless my life feels if I am not drawing. Nothing really matters and depression sets in with astounding immediacy. I stop caring about everything.

So what’s next? I don’t really know. I REALLY NEED MONEY. I’ll possibly have more job offers this week. But I don’t know if I want to take them. I need to. But a part of me is dead if I am not drawing all day. I know I sound so spoiled. But this is a basic need for me, like breathing, eating, sleeping. Actually I can do more easily with the latter two for longer than without drawing.

My guess is, if the recruiter has an offer within the same distance I’ll try it. But I’d like to give drawing another push. We will see. I was really, really crushed last night. Felt very defeated. But also, kinda happy now: this week I can draw.

I’ll keep everyone posted. Sorry about the silence and delays. I have a lot of art almost ready to post!

JUST WALK OUT: you can leave!!

…except, of course, when you can’t.

I’m sure you have seen the (pretty wholesome) meme I am referencing above. It’s very popular on Twitter, a reminder of the constant dread and anxiety shared by everyone using the site. Twitter is absolutely horrible, yet we feel like we can’t step away, to the point its users constantly remind themselves and each other that YES, you can leave the site, just log off, it’s okay. Sometimes nicely (as in this meme) and sometimes harshly (go touch grass/you’re terminally online/etc).

But few of us do. When we do, we come back rejuvenated, singing the praises of having touched said grass for a few hours, or read a book, or walked the dog. We feel so much better! So why are we back? Above all, connection. Or work. Or both.

Recently I had another upsetting event, barely so if I’m honest, considering what I used to deal with. Yet it sent me in a terrible spiral. I spent hours muting words, until I hit the Twitter mute word limit (didn’t know there was such a thing).

When I was done, I felt no better. Instead all I had was the horrible nagging need to wipe my existence off of Twitter AGAIN, except now I know for a fact that if I do it, that is it. There is no more making a living from my art.

I know everyone is tired of these gripes. It’s always the same. I’m really sorry. It’s just that this site is hurting me. No matter what I do, how many hours a day I block it. It’s hurting me.

A couple of years ago I deleted Twitter entirely, wiped all my accounts, and I felt so much better. I had a lot less work though and that sucked. But my brain worked better. I got better. I legitimately do not know what to do.

I want to be able to keep drawing. I hope I figure something out eventually.

Rollercoaster ๐ŸŽข๐Ÿ˜ข

The last couple of weeks have been rough. Heck, the last month has, but especially the last few days. It seems like every other day something happens to send me into a deep spiral of emotional turmoil, and I hardly recover from one before it happens again.

My computer dying was one of the recent things. Thankfully my husband fixed it, generously covered the cost of a new motherboard and processor and even moved everything just as it was (Windows install and all) so nothing at all is different. Drivers etc everything is just as before except of course for the things that are no longer part of my computer. We removed associated software and added what actually was needed, as well as moved the Windows license, and I had to log in again to a few services (Steam, Adobe, iCloud, thatโ€™s mostly it).

A lot of the recent stuff that happened (cruise, COVID, iPad dying, computer dying, extended friend visits) left only small pockets of time to work on art, so a lot of my stuff is currently a bit delayed. I canโ€™t emphasize how much of a difference my commissionerโ€™s patience makes. But even so, knowing people are waiting longer than they should have makes me unhappy. Iโ€™m hoping that life can justโ€ฆ calm down. I need some normal downtime when nothing is happening but art.

Thereโ€™s also just been stuff that is too personal to get into. With me being someone who talks about so much private stuff you know that it is rare for me to say anything is โ€œtoo personal to talk aboutโ€. But recently, some stuff just is, and it is stuff that does affect me very intensely as far as emotions and mental well-being.

So Iโ€™ve had some high highs, but also some deeply crushing lows recently and I kinda keep those private so people mostly donโ€™t know, not even close friends.

A TL,DR would be: for a variety of reasons, I really havenโ€™t been okay at times. Iโ€™m also pretty confident that everything is going to BE okay. Sometimes life has conflict. Sometimes some stuff just takes a ๐Ÿ’ฉ. But I admit I did have times, recently, when I felt completely hopeless and unhappy regarding certain things. And I don’t think this feeling is just gone, I think it’s going to be coming back and worrying me for a while.

I think Iโ€™m on an upswing again, and Iโ€™m trying my hardest to be a positive force in my own life towards fixing those things that are negatives. Fix what I can and accept what I canโ€™t. Iโ€™m trying. If I could, I would probably seek counseling to better handle the things that upset me.

With that said, between my mental state and everything else that has been going on, itโ€™s certainly affected my artistic output. But I have never stopped working on art. I know no one has complained, but I still feel a need to both apologize and reassure.

Ultimately 70% of the reason behind my slowdown has been technical (related to my equipment/getting used to new equipment) Iโ€™m pretty good at pushing through my work even when Iโ€™m not emotionally okay. With both my iPad and computer being now new or basically the equivalent of new, hopefully that is the end of those slowdowns.

The rest has been related to family/friends/travel, and the last big event on that front is Mwako visiting me again soon. Once that visit has passed, I should be working at a normal pace again for the foreseeable future.

I should add (as Iโ€™ve mentioned before) that if you see updates on my blog slow down to a crawl it usually means Iโ€™m not okay. Itโ€™s just that I no longer vomit all of my depression and personal grievances quite in the same manner I used to all over social media. I donโ€™t want to use Twitter or my followers as a dumping ground for mental health issues and constant negativity. Constant rants and toxic vents rightfully drive people away, and some years ago I made a conscious decision to stop being that kind of person, because when others did that, it affected my own mental health.

I guess this also makes it a little harder to know if Iโ€™m ok or not. So, once in a while, I do a little check-in if this sort. I’m here, I’m working through some stuff. Please continue to bear with me.

Habits And Struggles

I’m typing this on my Alphasmart Neo. It’s been a while since I used this thing, and the keys don’t feel quite as clicky as I remember them. Maybe, like me, it’s feeling its age. It’s also possible that they never were that clicky to begin withโ€ฆ my mechanical keyboards may have spoiled me. Anyways…

I am typing on this because I am away from screens when using it (though of course, I am on a screen again as I post it a number of hours later on my blog, where you are now reading it). It is a rest for my eyes to work on this little machine, and a respite for my brain.

I have to admit that lately, I am not doing so well.

It started gradually, and predictably, when I grudgingly remade my Twitter accounts, and even my Instagram. I had to do this, because by staying on FA alone, I could no longer get enough commission work. Once back on Twitter, I ran a few polls, and it was evident that most furry commission work happened via Twitter, while as I’d observed, commercial and book illustration seemed to favor Instagram. It felt like a curse returned. I could not make a living on art and break free of these services that I had grown to hate so deeply. And I do. I think most of you who have followed me for longer than a year know by now how deep that animosity goes.

I thus attempted to offer my work in these platforms without having to engage beyond what was needed: follow no one, “like” no content. Reply only to people engaging with my work. Basically, do the bare minimum. And in fact, long ago this might have worked. There was a sweet spot where if you did not follow or interact, your growth would be slowed significantly, but not be completely stalled. These days though, without such constant interaction, Twitter will very purposely hide you. Not quite like shadowbanning, but perhaps not far from it in practical terms.

Twitter is so intense in forcing you to interact, that I get an average of 10 “recommended tweet” notifications to each of my five accounts if I don’t make an effort to create and/or interact with content in all of them daily. There is no good way of turning this off permanently.

So, with no obvious alternative and much to my chagrin, I did begin to follow other accounts. By compartmentalizing my content in five very different accounts geared towards specific audiences, I was able to somewhat reduce my exposure to toxicity. I forced myself to interact here and there. But in spite of everything that I tried to do to prevent it, before I knew it, the sense of addiction, of constantly refreshing to seek validation, the dread of reading my feed and consuming its ever-more-toxic content, it was all back.

The difference is that escape no longer feels easy or feasible, as it did on that freeing day a couple of years ago when I wiped all of my accounts. I am aware now that the bulk of my work, if it comes, will come from Twitter. And that if I don’t interact to some degree, Twitter will hide me. If Twitter hides me, I will sell little to nothing. Gradually, this is making my dream of making art for a living feel much less like my dream. My job is inescapably on Twitter, and working on Twitter was never my dream. But I don’t know what the solution is.

Moreover, it’s not just about my work. The following is a rehash of something you’ve seen me write a million times, but it rings true still: I feel isolated from my community.

When I first joined FA over ten years ago, the sense of small, strong community support and interaction lifted me up at a time of my life when I was so deeply lonely, that I sometimes cried myself to sleep. The fandom is made up of many small clusters and groups: I just happened to find one of them. Even my own subcommunity is made of these smaller clusters, so it’s not like I’m saying the fandom is dead/ruined or anything like that. I did say things like that before, now I think this is nonsense. It’s just my own “cluster” that has changed beyond recognition. And in the current zeitgeist, I no longer feel a cluster where I am “home” exists.

When it comes to the fandom, I very much present a completely different front depending on who I am speaking to. Very few people in the fandom (perhaps two or three, if that many) know me as myself. Maybe that’s normal. But way back in my early days, I did truly feel like I was being myself to everyone I met. This is very much no longer the case. I don’t remember exactly when it changed; I suppose it was gradual. Incredibly, I feel almost as isolated now as I did in my childhood days, something I never thought would happen after discovering the fandom, and while still being part of it.

I think I’ve expressed this before, though likely less strongly, but I hate the Internet. I used to love it, at least in the first form I experienced. Possibly many of you reading this were born after the Internet that I loved ceased to exist.

To me, the Internet of those days (mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s) was a place to pop in for maybe an hour or two once a day for a little fun and connection with strangers, all of which, it felt like to me, were potential friends. It was not life-encompassing. You did not carry it in your pocket. Life and its possibilities were still all mostly offline, and this made everything feel more solid, more real, and the Internet more like TV, something you’d turn on for a bit every day, but that was it (at least, so it was to me).

You got some emails (which you probably didn’t even check every single day) and maybe that was exciting. You wrote on your Livejournal, or your MySpace (that was the very, very tail end of the Internet I loved). In what were my earliest days, you found a topic you liked and went from page to page on a Webring, because it was the best way to find the niche content you were interested in. Going from page to page was a completely and almost always pleasant surprise.

Websites had these little awards they gave to each other, think stuff like “Most Informative MLP Site” or “Coolest Rocketshipper Page” which they presented to one another out of sheer goodwill and for fun. They’d have link pages full of wonky banners on their topic of choice. Maybe you’d email the webmaster to tell them you liked their page and you’d make a new friend. Or you’d sign their guestbook.

In most of the interactions I had, politeness and friendliness was the assumed behavior. Even in forum disagreements, I generally saw politeness. It’s very likely that my own experience was insulated and limited, but when I talk with other people my age, they often describe similar experiences.

And the biggest difference to me was that, even though the Internet felt way, WAY smaller back then, the connections you made, the comments or replies you received, felt so much more meaningful and important.

But anyway, why, when and how it changed isn’t really the point. For me, it is no longer a refuge of any sort. It is a prison I cannot escape, not even when I leave my home. I fantasize a LOT about not having a smartphone. I feel that I need it, but I hate it. I hate that anyone can message me at any point. I miss having a stupid flip-phone, that sometimes I could not afford to pay and then no one could reach me, and you know what, it was okay. The world didn’t end.

That is impossible now. Payphones are no longer a thing, so if I have an emergency, I need my phone. People no longer have landlines, so if I want to talk to anyone, I need my cellphone. I depend on my phone for maps, for Ubers, and for my banking apps. I’ve removed so many features from my phone to make it as basic as possible. But it still feels like this ball and chain I must carry.

I’m not sure where I am going with this post. I haven’t been “well” mentally and even physically as a result of all I have written here, and needed to let it out somewhere. Maybe it will help me achieve some clarity.

The world has become a very unfriendly place, online and offline. Offline, making new acquaintances is harder than ever. Online, navigating a sea of toxicity and self-righteousness on one side and of hate, bigotry, and intolerance on the other, takes a lot out of me. Among all this, I must somehow sell my work, and maintain relationships. If I go completely offline, I make no money and feel deeply lonely and isolated. If I stay even somewhat online, the result is an ever present brain fog, an exhaustion and jaded feeling in regards to everyone and everything. Nothing feels good.

Moreover, the more I allow myself to be online, the harder it seems to be for my brain to function normally. I’ve lost a large amount of my ability to concentrate on anything for any long period of time. This always improves if I go mostly offline for a period of weeks to months, it is absolutely caused by having to be online, I’ve confirmed it repeatedly. But if I do that, the algorithms destroy me, and most acquaintances forget me, even some friends do, if only temporarily.

I do not say this with any form of resentment: there are people I love a lot, and yet I can go days or weeks without thinking about them very much if at all, if those same algorithms force them out of view. The online world is far too noisy. So much is happening all of the time. A brain can only keep track of so much information.

I don’t know what to do. I am not asking for anyone to give me a solution: trust me, you do not have one. I’ve been contemplating this quandary and trying a myriad of solutions for over half a decade.

But at least in the time I spent writing this, I was not online. So maybe I just need to tweak my blocks a little more here and there, optimize my time better, so I can be more present in my offline and offscreen activities.

Offscreen. That’s important, too. Reading was once the most important activity in my life. I used to read hundreds of pages in a single week. The problem is, I still do, but now it is all in the form of tweets and news articles. What place does that leave for books?

Unbelievably, I’ve given up (as in, donated) both of my drawing boards: these days, it is all iPad and watching YouTube while I work. It has been for years. Crime, science, history channels: I’ve half-watched hundreds of hours of them while pushing art piece after art piece. I remember almost nothing I have learned. I used to draw and ink traditionally, while listening to podcasts or to music. My eyes did not get tired anywhere near as much. I was more present. I was happier. I actually learned stuff.

I feel old. I miss my flip-phone. I miss my iPod Nano. I miss the Today page on the (very) old DeviantART. In a few days, I will be 39: perhaps this is some sort of midlife crisis.

I know I need to do something. Hopefully, perhaps, I will figure that something out. It is difficult to figure out what a happy place for me should look like, and what I will have to sacrifice to find it. Interaction with friends? My form of livelihood?

Something that I am fully aware of is that at any given time, I could pretty faithfully recreate the conditions I myself carried my everyday life in before. I cannot control how other people carry theirs, however. So if I do this, I will miss on things I like, that I got used to: being able to take commissions, conveniences like Google Maps, Uber and Spotify. Talking to friends. Heck, even keeping/having friends. I do have the Internet to thank for that.

But in exchange, it takes a really heavy toll on me. In exchange for friends, interaction and validation, I have lost the ability to be present, to concentrate. Maybe I’ll figure something out though. I have to keep trying.

Can’t Fix It

Lately I am not doing so well. It’s rare that I do proper vent art, it feels so wasteful and selfish, especially right now. Both for economic/time reasons and because anything that puts my own feelings into focus really seems terrible and makes me want to punch myself in the face. I considered making this post private, even (I certainly have posted vents privately before and never published them) but, I don’t want to feel so alone.

I’m a very emotional person, but on the other hand, I’m very solution-driven. I guess I was raised with a mentality that if you try hard enough you can help any situation or fix any problem that someone may be having, especially if you love them, especially if they have done it for you before. I feel like it’s my responsibility as a supportive friend, or partner. I need to be able to do this, otherwise I have failed in that most important responsibility.

Because of this, many times I have tried to “fix” pain or trauma in friends and loved ones that is not possible for me to fix. I keep trying to do it and feeling awful when I can’t. It’s presumptuous of me to even assume that I could.

And yet, I cannot convince myself that me trying harder, working harder, making more money, making the house nicer, buying fancy gifts, planning fun things, cooking special meals, just, being happier harder, isn’t going to fix it. I’ve been there. I know all of this is pointless, I know how it feels to have people try to force you to feel better. It sucks. The truth is that only patience can help, just, quiet, loving patience, but I am not good at the quiet part, or the patient part.

Standing idly while someone I love suffers, just feels like wilful inaction on my part, like I’m ignoring them, or not caring; it feels like abandonment. How do you stand idly by and continue greeting the day happily if the person who matters most to you can’t?

So, every morning, I try to think of what I can do that day to make things okay as fast as possible, or at least okay for that one day. I can’t accept that I can’t do anything at all, or that I can’t make it all better now. But I think that’s causing more grief than it does help. I understand this on a logical level, but my heart can’t accept it. So I just carry on with my day with an underlying quiet desperation and my brain still trying to come up with a magic solution for things that deep inside, I know only time can fix.

I know that from experience. I’ve been there. But I still can’t help it.

Insert Title Or Whatever

I’m not doing so good. I had a really bad night and a worse morning. My cramps are really bad… had a raging headache this morning. Emotionally I’m not doing so hot either, I never do when I’m on my period but I think today that may be putting it mildly. I just want to turn off all my feelings, hormonal or otherwise. I can never tell the difference between the two.

This is my only post today besides my fitness post, I just can’t be bothered. I’m going to try to get ready to go visit my mom tonight. At least I did get my walk in.

It Was A Day ๐Ÿ˜”

I really tried to give today my all, but it feels like it didn’t work out. I published two new YCHs, but neither sold. Most of my commissioners have purchased plenty of work recently –I am sad that I cannot seem to sell to new people faster, though it is happening little by little. I need new customers if I am to properly pull my own weight.

Other things are making me sad too. Sometimes very small things can make me very happy, or hurt me very easily. Especially at this time of the month. Sometimes I’m not sure if a thing qualifies as big or small in the grand scheme of things, but I can end up sad for a while, all the same.

But good things happened today too… I exercised a lot. And I wrote a whole bunch of the next chapter of my book. I also did a lot of chores and worked on a commission. It’s best to concentrate on accomplishments. There’s always tomorrow after all.

Frustrated Today

[RANT/VENT, feel free to ignore, I just need to let it out.]

Lately I havenโ€™t really been myself. Iโ€™ve been dealing with intensely high โ€œhighsโ€ and on the other hand some pretty deep lows (related to work, chores, the house, and such.) Work has me overwhelmed, the house has me overwhelmed, and on some days, even though it’s true that I have to draw because I need to complete commissions, I will have higher priority things that I should be doing (such as post-citizenship paperwork) yet I keep drawing from the moment I wake up until I go to bed because itโ€™s just easier to draw and lose myself in it, not thinking about other stuff I have to do, or about anything else, really.

Over the last few days, Iโ€™ve been thinking and thinking trying to figure out what has been bothering me by priority level. By and large, it is my “to-do” list. Sometimes itโ€™s really stupid things. I did figure out one of them, the primary one, I suppose.

Our porch is in horrendous shape again. Even when I spent two days cleaning it a few months ago, already multiple things in it were ruined, and that was depressing in its own right, but at least I cleaned the mold off. In this godforsaken state, anything you put outside is ruined by the sun, sometimes within weeks. But it rains so much, you get mold in spite of the sun โ€”because of the humidity.

Last time, I cut myself on a plastic flowerpot that cracked to pieces in my hand due to sun exposure. And right now, in between the dirt and grime and mold, and everything breaking down in front of my eyes, every morning when I see the porch my mood is just kind of fouled for the rest of the day. Itโ€™s incredibly depressing. Itโ€™s so depressing that I donโ€™t want to go out to water my plans and they are dying.

And you might say well, just clean it. And every once in a while I do, which with pressure cleaning and moving of so many things, takes me two days to do. I have to do it by myself. Iโ€™m not very strong nor do I have a lot of stamina. Even though every single time it gets this bad I get so depressed that it affects so much else in my life, it just means I feel even less motivation to do something about it.

If money wasnโ€™t so tight right now, I would just hire someone. Itโ€™s too much for me to do alone (primarily the moving of things, and all the decorative rocks have to be cleaned too) and after doing it alone twice I donโ€™t even want to have anything to do with it. I get this simultaneous anger and hopelessness about the entire stupid thing.

Itโ€™s just a porch, I donโ€™t know why it affects me to this degree. Maybe because seeing it through the windows it ruins the entire house for me. But I know it does affect me. It happened just like this last time too, and I feel so much worse just writing about it, because I donโ€™t want to do it any more than I did before I wrote this, but now I realize how much it has been affecting me, even more than I suspected. I literally start neglecting the rest of the house as a direct result. Itโ€™s a cascading effect.

So yeah. I donโ€™t know. Either I hire someone (canโ€™t, reallyโ€ฆ I havenโ€™t even bought my walking shoes because Iโ€™m so desperate to continue saving money) or at some point I feel so absolutely and utterly miserable that I just do it and waste two days of my life.

I donโ€™t usually feel this much worse after writing a post. Well, at least I know whatโ€™s been eating at me. Itโ€™s not the only thing, but this one is so major compared to the others that itโ€™s kind of hilarious.

Also, some stuff has left me in such an amount of physical pain for freaking days now, that I donโ€™t know what to do with myself, going on my walks sucks ass, walking up and down the stairs sucks ass, it hurts even trying to work or laying down, and Iโ€™m definitely not okay enough to handle the goddamn porch. Like Iโ€™m not actually complaining (much) but fuck.

Shit! Iโ€™m so cranky. Iโ€™m sorry. I donโ€™t usually swear so much. I have multiple happy posts in my drafts that I havenโ€™t worked on because Iโ€™ve been so miserable and just trying to keep it to myself for days. I’ve been neglecting friends, too. I thought I was doing well enough and instead I just vomit it all over the blog.

Maybe I will clean the damn thing. Canโ€™t very well stay like this, itโ€™s not good for me, but I just get so angry about it. I hate it. I’m in pain. I don’t want to do it. When I think of doing it I fucking hate my life. Stupid ass porch!!