Eight years on, a few thoughts

Hey, it’s time for another deeply personal post, so if you only want to read about games/anime/music/etc. feel free to skip this one. I won’t be offended. Hell, I won’t even know, really, so it doesn’t make a difference. However, there are a few thoughts I’ve had recently about writing, and specifically about my writing here, and these tie in with the subjects I write about and with my life as a whole. So it is relevant, but still, a warning: I complain a whole lot this time, so if you don’t want to read that, please wait for my next post. Also some stuff about depression and other problems probably. But it doesn’t have such a bad ending, I promise.

Still have to admit that his image is relevant to most of my waking hours, and even to some of the sleeping ones.

This month marks eight years I’ve had this site. When I started it in 2013, I was a different person in many ways. At the time, I was just starting my final degree program, whereas now I’m a working and licensed professional. I also didn’t have much of the responsibility — or sense of responsibility — that I feel now.

Without getting into too many specifics about my life, I can’t live the way I’d prefer for reasons that have to do with family and culture.* This has caused me a lot of stress over the last few years, stress that I haven’t even been able to express — at least not as myself, in my offline life. When I hear people talking about living for yourself, doing what’s best for you, I’m reminded that I can’t do that, and moreover that a lot of people don’t understand why I can’t do that, why I feel so constrained.

This is partly a result of being brought up in (or caught between, maybe) two cultures with very different concepts about tradition and family. I’m very much an American culturally, but the traditional culture of one side of my family has also had a massive impact on me, and one that I can’t avoid. This is partly what constrains me. If I were a more naturally generous and selfless person, I probably wouldn’t feel so constrained, but I have no illusions about myself. I’m actually selfish in the sense that I really want to live the way I like, but since I can’t, I pretend to be a better person than I am. Partly in an effort to actually be that better person, maybe. I don’t know if that’s working, but I still feel bitter about it sometimes.

I’m sorry to be so vague here, but I hope my feelings come across at least. This site is one of the only ways I have to express myself in the way I’d like. And that’s where all the bullshit I write about games and anime and music comes in. I have a few offline friends who share my weeb interests, but most of them don’t. The same is true of my professional colleagues. There are certainly other lawyers out there somewhere with my interests, but aside from one who I’ve more or less lost contact with (though the contact’s not broken at least; it’s really a matter of physical distance) I can’t get into these subjects with them.

That’s not unique to law, certainly — I get the impression that the same is true of almost any professional/corporate American setting. At least when fucking Game of Thrones was running I could relate to people about that, even when it really went bad. By contrast, Don’t Toy With Me, Miss Nagatoro and similar stuff I write about here obviously doesn’t work as around the water cooler talk, even if it is popular in the fringe circles I and other writers get into here on WordPress.*

And I won’t even get into visual novels. At least not some of them.

This is doubly, triply true of family. Maybe it’s a cliché to say so, but they really wouldn’t understand my interests if they knew about them. I don’t think I’m jumping to conclusions here, either — the few times I’ve tested the waters in that sense, I’ve gotten burned, so I have good reason to believe as I do.

This brings me to the main point. A few years ago, I asked myself why I was keeping up a blog. When I asked myself that question, I had been pushed out of my last job, which I was naturally pretty distressed about. Technically I’d quit to save face, but I have to be honest about it — the axe was about to fall on my neck, and I knew it. And money was an issue for me as it is for almost everyone on Earth.

In fact, leaving that job and ending the daily misery associated with it was one of the best things that’s happened in my life to this point, but at the time, I had no idea where or how I’d end up. But thankfully, I’m in a much better place now. My health and mentality aren’t perfect, but certainly better than they were before, thanks in part to my new work situation over the last few years and to certain lifestyle changes I’ve made. I’ve also become resigned to some unavoidable constraints on my personal life — agonizing over them is useless, and as depressing as it might sound, giving up has helped me come to terms with that. Hope can be a good thing, but a pointless and worthless hope can eat at you and drive you insane — this is my feeling about it, anyway.

Because of all this, I’ve found that I can’t stop writing here. At the end of June, I took what I meant to be a hiatus to deal with certain matters that were causing me issues, and I’m still dealing with them, but I’ve found that writing actually helps keep me balanced. Ever since returning to writing on a regular basis here a few years ago, I haven’t been able to stop or slow down very much. It might have to do with my obsessive-compulsive personality — I don’t use that term lightly, because I do have some actual issues with OCD, though thankfully they’re minor and manageable. So maybe writing here is a kind of obsession as well.

I’m not qualified to say anything at all about psychology, so that might be total bullshit. But if it’s true, I don’t mind having this obsession. I enjoy writing here, even or maybe especially through harder-than-usual times, and so unless I happen to just fall over one day (a real possibility given the old “fast living” habits that I’ve gotten away from, but I don’t worry about that anymore) I’ll keep going here.

Semi-related: Chiri from SZS is a pretty good example of one of the ways OCD can play out.

Maybe this long rambling load of garbage I just wrote was completely unnecessary to express this feeling, but I have a lot I’m carrying around right now, and I felt I had to unload a bit. I’m well aware that I don’t have it so bad, especially compared to at least 95% of the rest of humanity, so I don’t want to say I’ve gone through hardships — I have plenty of family who have gone through truly serious hardships, and I know friends who have been through more than I have besides. But it’s all relative, and it’s hard to keep that kind of perspective when you’re wondering about the point of your life in itself. I hope I’ve at least gotten enough perspective to resolve that sort of existential crisis stuff, at least enough that I can go on living more or less productively.

And if you’ve stuck around for all my bullshit, dear reader, I want to thank you as well for helping me with that. I am really grateful for it. Next time, I’ll post something at least marginally less self-indulgent than this post was. For the foreseeable future, I’ll be leaning towards the anime reviews since I’ve been watching so much of it lately (and a reminder to check out Asobi Asobase! Weird in a good way.) But I won’t be neglecting games either — I just happen to be stuck in the middle of a few massive ones at the moment. There are still those itch.io indie games to get through, and some of them are pretty interesting, so I’ll be taking those on in the meantime as well. Along with one game in particular that’s extremely overdue for a review. Until then!

 

* Except to note that it has nothing to do with having a kid or a wife or anything. If that were the case, I’d dive into all that headfirst without complaint.

** Not that I really expect it to make for water cooler talk. Still, this is an issue that someone could write a book about. Maybe someone already has. The fact that I’m expected to give a fuck about pro and college football and the NBA, yet my fringe interests are just that: fringe. I know “nerd culture” is supposedly mainstream now, but it feels like only a narrow band of works are actually included in that. Namely the ones that are put out by major studios and publishers.

But I don’t want to have “nerd rage” here or whatever people who complain about nerds complaining about things call it. This is a subject for a different post, really, and one that I’ve written before and might write again later. I’m nothing if not repetitive.

14 thoughts on “Eight years on, a few thoughts

  1. I do a lot of posts on mental health and self-care, but one of things that I haven’t really had the guts to talk about yet is how impossible it is to be positive and true to oneself in a culturally significant/stressful/impacting environment. My parents don’t understand my interests and professional pursuits (which are in the field of my interests) at all and think it’s a waste of good effort. Also because of how society tends to perceive people like me, especially my geeky inclinations, I don’t really reveal the depth of who I am to anyone other than the online community that’s helped nurture me. When you talked about these things, I deeply empathised with it. It was kind of like looking in the mirror. I don’t have a lot of IRL friends who get it either or they think my passions and pursuits are “immature and childish,” not realising the hard work that actually goes into it. It’s isolating and super depressing.

    I’m glad you talked about it here because it’s definitely not garbage and it can be a comfort to a lot of people out there to know they aren’t really alone in their solitude (so to speak) and also that it doesn’t have to consume their lives and futures. It sucks (for me anyway) to be in a place where no one gets it and I’m constantly belittled for what I love, but without these things, as you mentioned above, which includes writing and blogging, I’d be much worse off in the long-run. It all helps me survive and move forward, bit by bit, and I think that’s really important and also really awesome.

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to prattle so much. 😅

    • No, absolutely! Thanks for your comment. I’m happy to know other writers here who can relate to these issues, though of course I wish we didn’t have to deal with them. It does feel isolating, and I don’t like having to conceal part of who I am and what I like with colleagues and especially with family. But society and culture really do make it impossible to be open about these things unless you want to expose yourself to a lot of criticism and sideways looks.

  2. Congrats on 8 years blogging here. Sorry to hear about some of your issues going on with work, life, and everything. I can definitely relate to not talking about “acceptable” interests like sports and whatever since I have more nerdy interests or even artsy or scholarly ones. I hope you’re able to feel better though.

    • Thanks! When it comes to these interests, it certainly feels like I have separate online and offline lives, and it seems like more than a few of us here feel that way.

      As for work/life/etc. issues, I guess I’ll have to keep dealing with them as well as I can. Part of being an adult and all that shit! But I’m happy I have an outlet.

      • You’re welcome. I can totally see that. I only talk about some interests with certain people. However, I was told that having such a wide range of interests is engaging from another blogger I respect and I wish someone told me that earlier in my life.

        Sure thing. I hard relate to that whole adulting thing. Hahaha! Keep on keeping on with your blog as an outlet. Blogging has been so cathartic to me with my multiple pages on WordPress.

  3. It’s funny. My work life has so many stakes and such a large amount of stress that I came back to blogging after more than a decade because it helps to have a puzzle to sort out that doesn’t really matter. I can’t imagine anyone reading my ramblings and taking them that seriously. That’s what I enjoy about blogging.

    Though I will admit that there are times when I fade a bit on my blogging because it starts to stress me out a bit too much. I mean it’s supposed to be fun.

    And congratulations on eight years. 🙂

    • Thanks!

      And I feel the same. I admire the work that goes into professional online writing — I’ve done some freelance work like that in the past and I know it’s no simple thing. But I’m happy to just write whatever I want here without constraints. Also goes for being able to step away when you feel it’s necessary.

  4. When things pile up in you, it can feel like you want to explode. It’s okay to want to let it out.

    I don’t know if this helps at all, but I’ve always enjoyed reading your posts (for as long as I have followed you), including this one, and no matter what you write, I’m sure I will still want to read it.

    That said, you do you, and if you want to take a break, that’s totally understandable.

    • It does help to hear that. I’m happy that people get something out of my writing. And if I ever do have to take a break, I certainly will. Doesn’t look like I’m capable of stopping right now even, but you never know what the future holds.

  5. Congrats on 8 years.

    For what it’s worth I don’t think that letting go of hope is depressing or uncalled for. Acceptance and acknowledging what you can and can’t control is a pretty powerful thing.

  6. Congratulations on 8 years and counting for your blog! First of all, here’s to many more years of posts on this place.

    Moving on to the next part: don’t worry too much about having personal posts from time to time – I find it helps to enhance the diversity of the blog, in my experience – having recently written one about two months ago, so thanks for sharing yours.

    I’m in software development, so in my experience talking about things like anime or video games is kind of the norm among some folks probably more than law, but to be honest I can relate to you a bit. But I’ve always had my own personal rule to not out myself as a weeb until the other person does. This leads me to watching anime in my office cafeteria or a secluded place under my own watchful eyes, and putting it aside whenever someone else came by. Just this past week, for example, I found out that a few of my co-workers, including my team lead, also liked anime so that’s when I sprung out of the bush and went full “YOOOOO I LOVE ANIME” XD

    All in all, you do you – don’t let others try to change what you like. Never lose yourself, your identity, or forget where you came from.

    • Thanks very much for your wishes. Occasional personal posts can be a good way to vary the flow on your site, I agree.

      I have the same rule you do. You can’t really just throw yourself out there. From those I know who work in IT, I do get the impression that game and weeb-related interests are a lot more common in that field, but it’s still good to exercise some caution. The most out there I’ve heard most colleagues get is the aforementioned Game of Thrones or Marvel movies, but I can’t rule out that there’s another secret weeb in the office with me — but maybe we’ll never find each other either. Law is way too formal and strait-laced of a profession (at least until after hours, but even then we’re not talking anime or anything.)

      And good advice. I have to do some degree of required trying to fit in, but I’ll never give up my own identity or likes, yeah.

      • I know, I have a few friends who are lawyers and it’s a very demanding, formal profession. It feels weird to see a lawyer not in business attire, to be honest! And as far as my interests go, very few people, apart from a sibling and a few friends, KNOW THAT MY BLOG EVEN EXISTS. I shudder to think of the day that my other unaware friends come across it by accident, hence as much anonymity as possible.

        And no worries. We’re all humans and so are other fellow bloggers, so personal posts are no problem and a good way to, I guess, make ourselves relatable and connect with readers 😁

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