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This is my casual blog where I write about life and stuff


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Member Since: 6/30/2006
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Creating vs. consuming and a sense of humanity

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2022

I can't emphasize how much my life has improved since I stopped spending like, every waking hour consuming. I still go on reddit, and occasionally play video games, but before I would spend all day at work on Reddit, come home and play video games all night.

I thought, briefly, (mistakenly) that was it: I was doing the best I ever was - with a job I could forget about after-hours, and plenty of time in the afternoon to do whatever I wanted. I felt okay, but still deeply unhappy with my life in general and unable to pinpoint the cause. I was deeply alienated during this time in just about every way possible but I could fill this void with temporary entertainment... until I couldn't anymore.

When I started making my website, I was able to (for the first time in a looong time) focus on creating rather than consuming. This allowed me to become a lot less alienated from myself because my role shifted from someone who was passively observing the world around me to someone who was actively participating in it, for the first time in ages.

During the time before this, the best way I could describe my 'participation' in the world around me was: going to work, going out to eat with my ex and going to the mall or other 'events' from time to time. I would look forward to receiving Amazon packages in the mail for stuff I thought I wanted, just to have, but once it would arrive, I would feel underwhelmed, and usually forget about it in a week.

In each of these scenarios, I was just consuming stuff in different forms: food, drink, buying shit I didn't need, etc. I dunno, it just made me feel really empty and hollow, like I was barely a person but just someone going through the motions.

I had a lot of really big life changes around this time. But I feel like the thing that really put things into perspective for me was learning to create again. It brought my quality of life WAY up and made me feel a sense of fulfillment I had forgotten even existed.

It's hard for me to articulate the difference between consuming and creating. It's one of those things that you need to experience and judge for yourself. I think there is a place for both - we are consuming when we read a book or watch a documentary for example.

In my personal experience, consuming usually takes a lot less energy than creating. This is especially true when we're not used to creating and it becomes this big, scary thing with ~expectations~.

Art, for example. If you're not an artist, and you sit down to make a drawing, you might become frustrated at your inability to draw things how would like them. You have to let go of your expectations and be prepared to not be 100% in love with the final product.

Lately, I've been messing around with a new visual medium. I've been using the program Inkscape to make vector art (mainly because as a non-artist, drawing absolutely Terrifies me and triggers me into a self-hating trauma spiral lmao). It's different than drawing because every line and shape can be infinitely manipulated in a way that's just not possible with programs like Photoshop.

But it's only relaxing for me if I approach it with a particular mindset. If I sit down and think, "I want to make something incredible that expresses myself perfectly", I find that I get really stuck and just end up being super frustrated.

Instead, I tried something new - just deciding on something simple to make and following through with making it.

I went through something similar with visual art that I did with coding. When I'm learning, I like to play around - make little things, study the things I make. But they aren't 'finished items', they're just little pieces that could potentially be made into bigger pieces. I couldn't actually genuinely draw pride from these little things, even though making them was something I enjoyed, so in the end I would lose momentum and decide it wasn't "worth my time/energy".

Once I started actually following through with something I could be finished with, that's when I started noticing improvement in both coding and art. My finished products weren't amazing, but they weren't terrible either, and even though I knew I couldn't be 100% happy with the finished product, it still genuinely sparked a feeling of... accomplishment? That doesn't feel like the right word though.

But I feel like it's related to how alienated we are at our jobs - just hear me out. We spend all of this effort making shit for something we probably aren't passionate about. Our bosses are passionate though, because our labor makes them money. As a result of this, we spend so much of our energy on predetermined tasks that are designed to benefit someone else.

In my case, I shifted the energy from consuming (which, honestly, benefits no one but advertisers and companies most of the time unless you're actually reading books or learning about things) to actually creating stuff that 1) I wanted to create and 2) I felt that I could look at it and go, "wow cool, I MADE this!"

Literally... human beings are amazing because we can create in ways that other animals cannot. When we lose the ability to do so (because we're too busy using our energy to consume) we lose touch with ourselves. In my case that resulted in just... a never ending feeling of hollowness, like I'm not even a person.

Also, and most importantly, making stuff allows you to complete a process and learn from it, and then move on to the next thing. If that seems unnecessary, I promise that it's not! When we make mistakes, we learn from them and that's how we learn to improve.

Learning to make stuff, websites, coding projects, art, it all looks really cool but the biggest benefit of it all to me was reclaiming a sense of humanity.

 

Energy = mana and my regeneration is timelocked to every 24 hours T_T

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2022

I’ve been so tired lately, like mentally exhausted and spending a LOT of time writing in my (private) journal. But I also don’t want to abandon this, because I think there’s something beneficial about putting these thoughts out there, in case they help someone else.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the term “spoonie” and “spoons” and how, on the “outside” this can look like, idk, bad?? Like people are just using this as an excuse to be lazy or “soft” or whatever. I also identify as one, I guess, since my energy levels have Never been high. Obviously people have varying levels of energy, but why don’t we ever hear anything official about it? This concept was pretty much circulated on the internet. I think I first saw it mentioned on Tumblr around 2015 or so. But it must have some relation to real life or else a concept like this would never have taken off, right? I feel like most neurodivergent people know what it means to say you have “low spoons”, which means it must be widespread enough for a large group of people to have learned about, and then adopted and continue to perpetuate. There’s gotta be some truth there.

I actually looked it up again and it looks like “spoonie” refers to someone with a chronic illness (although I’ve seen it used to refer to people with mental illness). I don’t know if PTSD is considered a “chronic illness”. I also never got an answer about what kinds of physical illnesses I could have because doctors don’t give a shit, so that’s always fun. I definitely have a tumor on my pituitary gland, one that I should have probably gotten checked out this Spring. In case it grew or anything. I mean that has to be causing something, right? If I’m chronically ill then I wouldn’t even know what it feels like to be healthy right?? Or maybe it really IS all just in my head?

The point is, I strongly feel and have always felt as if I have a limited amount of energy every day. Instead of thinking of it like spoons, I always liked to think of a ‘mana bar’ or something in a video game. It resets every night, not to a stable number (like starting at “10” every day) but to a random number based on how I slept, how stressed I am, how much crap I’m dealing with, etc. Some days it IS a 10, supposing that’s the highest. But most days it’s like a 4 or a 5 lmao. The fact that this doesn’t seem to be a universal experience is mindblowing to me. It feels like I’m being gaslit by society because apparently some people are totally capable of having lots of energy. Or appearing to, at least.

Also I get, like, bursts that hit me out of nowhere. I go to approach something that I was previously putting off because it took ‘too much energy’ and then I just get like a quick second wind that lets me blast through it, but then at the end I’m like OH MY GOD that just made me twice as tired. 

I take these ‘bursts’ as they come because honestly… I’ll take them where I can get them. I’m never really sure when another will hit, IF another will hit. I’ve definitely had periods in the past where I was just genuinely unable to get anything done, and I was absolutely miserable, feeling like a prisoner in my own body. 

That was me unmedicated.

It was also me totally miserable. I guess I haven’t given “unmedicated” a fighting chance since my conditions have improved. I do skip a few days every so often, but during those days I feel awful. I know stopping using it has a little bit of a “hangover” period. Maybe I’ll give a week off of my ADD meds sometime in the future and just see how it goes. If I journal enough during this time, maybe I’ll be able to pick out more specifically how the meds help me. If I’m able to trace the connection where my limits are and where the medication helps me push past those limits, I can better understand the situation.

It just feels like sometimes, the biggest struggle of day-to-day life is just fighting myself. Idk if fighting is even the right word for it. Like my brain is this feral creature that I am trying with all of my willpower to control, but it only listens to me sometimes and rarely cooperates. I’ve heard you can overcome this with discipline, but I’m not even sure I’m capable of that… on top of everything else.

Anyway that's enough for now, I'll try to write something new here soon :)

an extended job rant

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2022

I was looking up some interview questions/answer to prepare for my next one, and I ended up clicking some SEO-optimized top-result on Google, and I saw this. It’s an article about how to answer “Why do you want to change jobs?”

I found a quote that I felt “spoke” to me and illustrated part of my problem with this whole thing.

If you do mention an external reason for changing jobs, emphasize that it’s not the primary reason. For example, if you’re moving to a new city, that might be a contributing factor to your decision to change jobs, but it shouldn’t sound like the only reason you’re interviewing. 

This made me do a double-take and go “excuse me?” If someone’s moving to a new area, they of course need a job. Why wouldn’t it be acceptable just to honestly answer, “I moved from x to y and am now looking for a job in this new area”? 

Why does it have to be this whole dog-and-pony-show? 

I mean, I know the answer, so that’s more of a rhetorical question. This type of thing is just what ‘competition’ looks like. It’s “survival of the fittest” out there, when there are multiple (even hundreds) of people applying to the same position. This type of thing is widely celebrated as a good thing in our society. 

And the more interviews I take, the more I feel like a “dancing monkey”. Like I’m just there, performing for someone in hopes that they will judge me and I will win the job.

Here’s a fun story - when I first applied for my current job, I put on my best interview ever. I had never felt so confident about getting a position before. In fact, I had extra credit because I was already kind of doing half the job, as my current boss at the time volunteered me to do extra stuff for this place until they hired someone.

I did not get the position. 

But how am I working there now? Well, the first person they hired “didn’t work out” and it turned out he didn’t know anything. It was someone twenty years older than me with industry experience.

Once that guy didn’t work out, my boss decided to hire me, the second choice. I’ve kept this job for several years and I’m burnt the fuck out bro. My whole job, the whole ‘industry’ that I work in basically reminds me of job interviews. It’s a fancy, fluffy dog-and-pony show that’s all about marketing and little meat. I’m sure there are millions of other places just like it, but at least I won’t need to sit in a mind-numbing commute into the office just to stare at a computer the whole entire day. Just let me do my job in peace since I've demonstrated that I do it well TT_TT

cool cool cool cool

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2022

One of my biggest struggles with writing is honestly that I have way too many, way too fast thoughts, and before I can even finish thinking about them, they're gone in a flash. I make mental notes to write stuff down, and usually I do, but that only actually helps sometimes.

It's been *checks time* like six months since I tried to make a committment to note-taking and organization. I started off strong but still became extremely overwhelmed by the organization of everything. I couldn't find stuff... I thought about starting another project that helps me manage stuff (couldn't be much harder than making a blog, right?) so I might do that.

I just... need projects to keep me busy. If I don't have anything I'm actively (enthusiastically) working on, I feel like total crap, like wtf else am I supposed to do with myself?

I got a new game recently called No Place Like Home. I saw it on Steam, and it was cheap so I got it. It's basically a farming simulator but you're on a post-apocalyptic abandoned farm filled with garbage that you have to mine and suck up with your vaccuum tool.

It's super cute and relaxing! Trouble is, I think I went too hard early in the game and now I have like 20 storage chests that are vaguely organized and it's (guess what) overwhelming. I also just have trouble focusing on games like I used to. It just feels like, "I'm putting all of this work in and I have nothing much to show for it".

I feel like learning to code is partially what changed this about me. It's kind of like a video game, I guess, except when you're finished with something you have something you can look at and go "damn... I MADE this, so therefore, my work has actually manifested into something I can Look at and Use".

As someone who is not in any way, shape, or form an "artist" this is revolutionary to me. I'm addicted and I want MOARRR.

And Iunno, there's not much else to do anyway. I haven't read in a while, but I've been meaning to start again. I feel like I get into 'reading moods' where I read a ton and then I stop for a bit while I recover, haha.

I have a job interview when I get home, even though I'm feeling super tired today. Sometimes I just get these waves of PURE exhaustion that last for a little bit and then go away and then I'm functional again.

Interviewing has been cool, I guess. I managed to feel a little less nervous during the interview itself, which is nice. I just hate hearing about how it's gonna be "4-5" interviews. Like bro!! Just give me a job T_T

One of the jobs I looked up interview reviews for on Glassdoor and a bunch of the reviews said they did like 5 interviews, made people complete this 12-page project, and then ghosted them. They suspected they were just doing free work for the company.

I HAAATE stressing about all of this. And I hate having to put on my 'worksona' to get through all of this. Being asked about my 'career objectives' makes me feel sick. It's just this whole song and dance to choose the "best" employee, when all I want is to get out of my mind-numbingly boring and mundane current job.

When I first got contacted for interviews, it felt so real, like "I'm actually doing it! I might actually be able to escape from my job!" Then after hearing people give a number range for interviews I'm like ughhhh this is going to be forever.

Anyway, I think tonight I'm gonna try and finish up the Yesterweb Blog and set it up for submissions. I wrote something short for it, just so it's not totally empty haha. I have no idea what else I'll have the energy to do. I do wanna spruce this Xanga up a bit, that might be relaxing :3

Ayyy I'm back

Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2022

So, I’ve decided to start using this thing again.

The first time I built it, I was like “I did it, I’m done, I can rest now”. Except instead of resting I just made a bunch more stuff. Now I’m back because I always underestimate my comfort and nostalgia when I think about Xanga. 

There’s something just really fascinating about genuine blogs, like nothing polished, just reading someone’s vents and life. There’s also something… different about it being public. It makes you feel more accountable for updating this kind of thing, I guess? 

I used to blog all of the time. I have some archives of my old blogs and I said a lot of… nothing. But in a way it’s kind of nice because I had somewhere to get my thoughts out there. 

I’m gonna try it again, keeping a ‘xanga-like’ blog, as part of my “quest for creativity” aka, figuring out how to be creative, how to create in a way that feels meaningful and expressive to me. 

I noticed that since I became medicated (adderall) I spend a lot less time self-reflecting. At the same time, I feel much more mentally healthy - since a lot of my thoughts were negative self-reflecting 24/7 before. I still feel like self-reflecting is healthy, though, so that’s why I want to do this. 

I guess I could tell my friends some of these things, but I also hate burdening them with my problems honestly. All the friends I would go to have their own shit to deal with. I think “these types” of blogs are good for friends keeping in touch with each other even in busy times. They allow us to reflect on life at our own pace, share with our loved ones, and allow them to respond if they like, if they have the time.

I guess a side effect of my medication is that my mind feels kind of tired a lot. It helps me focus (sometimes overfocus) and I do like that it helps me focus on external things rather than being wrapped up in hyperfixating on my emotions.

I spent a lot of today coding, and I also had two job interviews. I'm pretty exhausted actually, haha. But I feel like I'm in a pretty good place, at least.