Short story: Back, sorry for the month hiatus, working on Kingdumb Hearts some some dissecteds again.
Now long story, feel free to skip and write "Too long; didn't read." it makes you look cool and smart.
Past Thursday I had my first free day in a month after non stop stress, intense life lessons and severe selfdoubt, but it was finally over.
Hahaha, man, that's the awesome thing about having a bad time in your life, when it's over and things pick up again it's awesome!
And not just one day but 2 and a half days! Animating, videogames, napping, eating crazy food, finally recharging!
No words can describe how awesome that is.
So yeah, then the phone rang. My uncle died, was appearently accidently killed by his doctor, then the phone rang again, I made a mistake with my administration and have to make some phone calls and pay extra bills. Then the phone rang again, a person was coming over to my house that day unexpectedly to continue the activities I was taking a break from, so bye free day. Phone rings again. New apointment tomorrow. Later that day I discovered Robin Williams was dead.
These aren't the reason I was miserable, these were just wacky extra things to come along to spice up the day I desperately needed to recover. Box is like a box of chocolates and I'm starting to think I should get a diffrent brand.
Most of our generation is struggling with the concept of "manchild", you know, that past a certain age you shouldn't watch cartoons, comics or videogames and start behaving properly. Get rid of those toy collectons. With those you'll never get a girlfriend (Or boyfriend) (Please ignore the thousands of nerd boys and girls, relationships with those don't count), complaining or thinking about movies is childish. Time to become a real man or woman, presumebly by proudly sitting in chairs calling companies, filling in taxes and working at 2 jobs to get the money for the mansion every proper adult should have. A complex struggle for the most of us, how much of this is true, how much should be sacrificed, is it worth to me to become an adult if i have to distance myself of so much of what makes me me?
The past month I had an intense crasscourse in what adults are and what childish behaviour is. I think I now know what I need to do to become a full fletched adult I can respect. And spoilers; it has absolutely nothing to do with rejecting/ embracing games or ponies.
So I moved apartments last month, and I knew it was going to be a big event. If your life is in stasis, you never grow. Plunging into the deep is, to me at least, the best way to improve. When I suddenly took a trip to Canada on my own a few years back was one of the best things I did to me as a person. Can't face your weaknesses when you're comfortable at home, you probably don't even know what they are.
And you are probably to busy with little tasks or resting to even care.
Well then. I hate the fact I'm lacking confidence because I'm way to self aware, and completely aphatic about my living situation. I don't want to be the best or rich, just let me do my litle job and little chores and little taxes and whatever dumb things society throws to me and then leave me alone.
Not anymore. Fixing up this apartment here with several experienced and well meaning adults around me was going to send me one step further to adulthood. In the end tough, the opposite happened. I didn't grew out of my lacking self confidence or Apathy, instead I grew proud of them and credit them with saving me from a worse experience, and now i'm not entirely sure if that's a good thing or not.
Little backstory. Looking at the 4 family branches I grew up with (That is, my dad's father and mother's side, and my mom's father and mother's side.) 2 of them have an extreme fixation on wealth and power, strangely both from my parent's mothers, and the 2 of them are dominating over the more mellow "Work hard and do what society tells you" and "I just want to sit in my chair and read" characters of the dad sides.
And from my youth on I considered both of the wealth focused branches to be the most pathetic thing ever, one constantly gives parties to show of how rich they are far outside of their budget. And the lenghts they goes trough to make it happen are often clearly visible so it's extremely artificial.
Tough at least they act nice and friendly and mostly make a fool out of themselves in their quest for recognition, the other branch is way more vicious. As a kid I remember after my grandfather died, family members telling me, my sister and cousins to sit in a seprate room while the adults were going to have a chat, and then hearing them scream and hurl insults to each other like toddlers. Of course resulting in the obvious "Wait, am I in the group of the children of the adults now?" joke springing into my mind.
There's a whole debate of them disagreeing and fighting over how the money had to be shared and how the funeral would be, even tough Grandpa actually wrote a clear will, but whatever. There was money to be gained, so screaming and lawyers and fighting it is over what's essentially free money they didn't have to work for. Also nice way to pay last respects to your father.
Whatever, I barely know how it ended, point is, the race to wealth and power is pathetic and terrifying. If I didn't already have more of my grandfather's blood in my veins, than those pathetic displays of behavior definitly sent me running for the hills.
Now my parents are fortunately a mixture between both their parents, so while they have touches of their mother's, they're a lot more self aware and it's mixed up with a more healthy "Money and power are achieved by honest work" attitude, so I'm comfortable around them.
But they also need a manual.
Mom's hyperactive and a worryward, so you need severe information filters to survive one of her lectures.
And my dad is a great man and very reasonable most of the time,but he does have the occasional explosions where he channels his mother's spirit. Okay, here's probably the most pathetic problem anyone ever had about their parents; He got me a new bedroom once, a better and bigger one. Hooray.
See, the thing is, when as a kid you WANT a bigger and better bedroom, and your parents either deny the request, or go along and make you work and save money and such to get it, that's good. Teaches kids that you can't always get what you want, or you have to work hard to get something. Good lessons. But the key part is that the kid him/herself has to start the chain of events.
Instead I was just sitting in my little corner reading a book, when suddenly dad snapped, presumebly frustrated that I'm never ambitious, and tried to teach me the wonders of getting an awesome new room. But all I learned was that I was just having a good time with my book and all of a sudden there's this energetic madman pushing me up the stairs with paint and carrying closests around yelling orders.
So I didn't learn anything about the wonders about working to achieve something. I just learned that ambition is terrifying.
So decades later. I'm way past the age I should be an upstanding adult now. I'm about to move to a new apartment. I did so twice before, but they were shared apartments, assisted apartments. Practise rounds, so to speak, more comparable with student homes.
Not this time, it's the real deal. Girlfriend in tow, a job on the horizon, it's time to take the big step.
I fully intended to tackle my lack of self confidence, clumsiness and apathy about status. I WILL actively participate in how the apartment will look like, I will take an active part in the construction.
And I was extremely lucky too. I really don't give a damn about interior decorating, you can let me stare at a room for 3 hours and afterwards I wouldn't even remember a single color of any of the furniture. But fortunately for once, the fashion going on with interiors has something I actualy like. There's this new trend that's like vintage old timey world traveling. Those old postage stamps and moving crates and newspaper clippings, that worked into the floors and curtains. It's awesome. So with an actual theme in mind I could take a more active part in buying the floor and furniture and not just stand around confused.
It's still difficult tough, see, I'm a hunter when it comes to shopping, I got the general idea of what we need in mind, a price I'm willing to pay for it and then I rush into the store until I find it. However I didn't shop alone, and the others don't just buy what we need, they look for perfection. There's always something with better quality and cheaper somewhere. Shop after shop after shop, it keeps going.
Way past the point where my brain stops caring. I ALREADY found the perfect floor, it's right there! But nope, maybe there's a better one around the corner. And around THAT corner. And around THAT corner.
The frustrating thing that makes being a gamer such an "unsocial" and "bad" hobby is that it's one of those hobbies that aren't attached to an activity that has direct use. I mean yeah, videogames can relax, teach and improve skills, but that's all indirect, so in many people's eyes not a "proper" hobby.
Unlike, say, fishing. You get fish, fish is food, so fishing is good and better then gaming! Even tough with videogames you read and learn and recognise patterns, while with fishing you, uhh, stare at water.
And then there's cooking or shopping, which are useful and logical activities and therefore respected, but whom can also be stretched and intensified by hobbyists until unbearable lenghts. I was watching a tv show about cooking some time ago where one of the contestants admitted to being a collector of Transformers figurines. He was relentlessly mocked over and over again with every host bringing it up everytime he talked. The thing that amused me was that when the collector explained why he enjoys collecting transformers, it perfectly lined up with the same reasoning the other cooks had for spending entire days cooking. So in my eyes, both activities are hobbies. An activity with no direct purpose but something to entertain the brain and give yourself energy to tackle life. But of course cooking is a useful trait, and collecting figures isn't, so one is a bad hobby and one isn't even considered one. Even tough they seem completely unaware that there's cooking, as in preparing a balanced meal of nutritions for consumption, and COOKING, which is nerding out over spices and warming techniques that 90% of the population wouldn't even notice. It's just as nerdy as collecting figurines, so their snobbish attitude makes them look like children to me.
So yeah, shopping. The walls had to be painted, the color agreed on was white. Simple right? Nope, because there's white, and white, and white. There's like 12 diffrent tones of white, slightly grey, slightly red, slightly blue. And no no no no, that 'slightly blue" that just appeared in your head is WRONG, I'm talking about this:
You see that? See those grey lines? Those indicate that each white bar inbetween is a new shade of white.
Each of those white bars represent a new color and people were DEBATING over this. I'm probab ly just coorblind or anything but it's just lame not white to me. Which of those fit with the furniture, which fit with the curtains? I tasked myself to be active, to participate. I wouldn't just let others decide, I was going to make decisions too but..You know.. It's white! Just white! And not even real proper white, the shiney super white that burns so deeply in your eyes that you have to stare in the sun for 10 minutes to recover, the kind of white I can proudly point too and say "See that? THAT is white." No, they're all just Dumb not-really-white.
I feel bad even calling these a color, they're not colors, they are merely a vague hint that you're not staring to infinity but that there's the vague illusion of a wall. The suggestion that you MIGHT hit your head if you walk into them, but just barely. They're specifically designed not to exist. Yet there's over 12 of them and people were DEBATING. Am I blind? Are they stupid? I don't know, but I do know it's exhausting to spend hours fighting and debating about soemthing you don't understand or care about. But I can't just sit down and let others decide while I play my game in the corner. I have to be an adult.. I have to..care..about...Not-Really-white #9...
And then painting the walls. The walls were white by themselves. Then you put transparent stuff on it to make the paint stick better.Now the walls turn from white to white, then you put the paint on, which makes the white walls into white, and then there needs to be a second coating because the white white white walls aren't white white white enough. I was just endlessly putting white stuff on white in an eternal loop of hell.
Yet people notice if I missed a spot, pointing triamphuntly to a section I missed. "Hey, see that?" "What?" "You don't see it? Look! This section is clearly white, it needs to be white!"
One wall was chosen to be colored diffrently tough. One brown wall and it was the most glorious thing ever.
My eyes started to bleed after 4 days of white white white, but now all of a sudden I had the luxery of moving the brush over the wall with paint and... Actualy see something change. Oh holy mother of wallstructures, look at that. The white wall now has a brown thing on it. I'm..'m actually doing something! I carried out an activity and there's visual evidence that I did something. Wow. You have no idea how satisfying it is to finally be able to "PAINT" a wall rather then just smear stuff on it until other people with terrifying alien eyes finally tolerate the not quite whitey whitish white as proper not really white.
Okay, so far so good. A little challenging and some frustrations, but healthy frustrations. So far I was participating in the activities, making decisions, buying things, painting walls and other chores. And everything that frustrated or irritated me was a valueble lesson.
We're all a team, making this apartment happen step by step. Great. However after the first few days the move stopped being just a collection of challenging tasks, chores and jobs it suddenly became more complicated.
Like a Harry Potter, all the clues I needed to know about the upcoming drama where all there hidden in plain sight, in normal conversations. And just like Harry Potter I didn't take notice of any of them until the heat of the battle.
Some people were planning and having big ideas for the move, years before it happened. I always ignored it because I knew that their plans would constantly swift and change and mutate up to the day of the move.
After all, you don't know exactually what you want until you're inside the building.
And as I just explained with the diffrence between COOKING and cooking, or buying furniture and BUYING furniture, I only consider planning the house a proper investation of my time when I know we ARE going to do it, the money's there, the information is there, the house is there. Just a matter of putting the puzzle pieces into place. Planning while the situation wasn't final yet was a waste of time to me.
But man, the passion and energy they put into the planning.. At the time I was already joking to myself I should have given them a The Sims videogame for Christmas and hold a gun against their head until they're addicted, so they can get all their interior decorating out of their system before I get all this energy and passion and planning dropped on me like a waterfall. I didn't. Unfortunately.
Then just like the better Harry Potter books, there's these breakfast or dinner conversations where someone makes a little joke or a wry observation that seem innocent and fun but later becomes the vital missing clue in the terrifying mystery. There's all these amusing anecdotes about the annoying stupid neighbour or terrible family member.
You laugh and nod. Of course, we all know about that neighbour and that family member who sucks. You assume those people probably earned their reputation. The brain doesn't seem to notice yet there's an increasing amount of stories about dumb neighbours and bad behaving family members but a suspicious lack of stories about any friends or people this person doesn't hate.
Before moving, I expressed worry to my girlfriend that especially my dad was suffering severe depression and I was watching him become more bitter and reclusive as the years went by. But now he was excited about the moving and more life was coming back. He looked excited. We're going to make this an awesome apartment!
The puzzle pieces were set up. It was time to play.
So we're working, several sets of adults.
My mom with her eternal 500 thoughts and worries starts lecturing. It interupts with the planning the other adults have, who become grumpy, until one suddenly snaps, freaks out, runs of, screaming, angry. The mood souered.
I'm terrified and my parents back off, realizing they were overbearing, but are now angry themselves that they never got a chance to discuss their behaviour and change it. Now they're forced behind their back to retreat.
The situation improves again, my parents stay away, only occasionaly showing up for specific tasks for them while the other adults do their own thing. Just when I tought it went well, I screw everything up. I wanted to learn how to install the floorboards and asked my dad for help, who, being more reclusive and depressed suddenly has a lot of strange impulses and jumps to the conslusion that he should somehow finish the floor all by himself, even without letting me help.
This was the other family's territory and one freaks out again.
My mom who wasn't even present is affected and is also slowly sinking in a depression.
Sleepless nights, traces of tears beneath her eyes. They're already worry wards even when they don't have a reason, I was shocked to learn they were awake another night just because they miscalulated how much paint we had and made me buy one bucket too much. For God's sake, I just spend over 2000 bucks on a floor, attachments and wall paint. The most money I ever spend in my life, all on things I don't particularly care about all colored and shaped to specificaly barely exist. You think one 10 euro bucket too much is going to affect me much now?
Anyway, so 2 emotional unstable factions with me and Silvia in the middle. Everytime one family did a task and the other family inspects it, they harshly attack every minor thing they see. At first they had some good pointers about mistakes my dad made, he is becoming a little sloppy lately by age, but after a while it became more and more nitpicking.
Then my parents come in and attack everything the others did while tolerating their own faults.
Okay, this is no longer a case of "just" my father slipping up or people "just" inspecting problems.
It became a petty contest.
Despite me making just as many, if not much worse mistakes like using the wrong bottle to clean up a table and almost entirely destroying the paint off it, I don't seem to be in anyone's targets and am always immediatly forgiven. This confused me until I realized what was going on.
My lack of confidence, my lack of pride. Everyone is making promises they'll fix everything, everyone has big confident smiles. Everyone is big and mighty, except me.
Constantly apologizing, constantly asking for pointers, constantly wanting to be usefull. I hate my lack of confidence and my girllfriend dislikes it that I apologize so much, however, while I was trying to figure out what was going on I suddenly came to realize it's BECAUSE of the fact I act beneath everyone that I am immune for their hatred. In fact, I found myself into the position of the diplomat.
Now I had to rely messages, now I had to talk to people to calm people down. The spokesperson. I'm the only one of all people involved that has a well known handicp in communication, yet here we go...
I was invited to a barbeque to one family after a particular nasty fight and I was terrified to be among them, but I was the diplomat... I'm the only spokesperson of the other family who's still accepted, I had to be there to keep the peace. In the end it wasn't bad.
It helped there were at least 2 people I immensly respected, especially now. The father and the brother, men of my heart. They come in, have a job, do their job, have a laugh and leave. If there's one adult I can point to and say "jup, that's what I consider a proper adult", it's one of those 2. Awesome. The hunter mentality. You have a task, you get in, BAM, and you get out. Thanks and compensation is barely necesairy, it's not about pride or money or fame. it's about doing a job. Indeed. A sight for sore eyes to find people like that.
Besides that, the rest went okay too. As much hate and anger and depression boils trough the soul of my parents and the other folk, everyone is an expert Stepford smiler, always acting like nothing happened.
This infuriates me to no end, the whole situation would have been SO EASY if they would just sit down a table and openly discussed each others shortcomings and a possible solutions... But no, too much pride. THEY'RE not flawwed, it's the other.
Well okay, my parents are very aware of their own flaws, when it's not the heat of the moment, but there's no room for them to express it.
Stop thinking, laugh at the jokes at my parent's expense, agree that my family is flawed and the other misunderstood and we're ready for round 3.
And so it went. In loops. Everytime everything seems to be okay, someone oversteps their boundries and everyone starts screaming and yelling and pointing fingers again. I curse myself for being too honest, I should have conceiled more information since none of the adults ever use the information in any constructive way, they either freak out or sink into depression. This is why I'm gaining more pride of my lack of self confidence and too much self awareness. Whenever something goes wrong I can relate, I can reconstruct, I can analyze what I did wrong and how to respond. After the initial shock after watching an adult I had respect for suddenly pout and scream like a child, I can quickly come up with a plan on how I can change my behaviour and what things I can say to calm things down again. I don't get angry or get depressed, I only get plans. Well okay, when dealing with humans. If I have to deal with malfunctioning comptuers or incomprehensible administration I'm a diffrent beast.
One afternoon, after my family was chased away after a fresh anger attack, I suddenly had the luxery of having an afternoon off.
It was sunny so I figured, hey, might as well do a summer thing now it's still summer and visited the old outdoor swimmingpool in my old parental hometown that I haven't seen for the past 15 years. Nothing changed, I even spotted the guy who gave me swimminglessons all these years ago.
Well, one thing changed, they added an old waterslide they found for sale. Funny, as a kid I always wanted a slide but there was none, only a boring divingboard. Yet now it's mostly the divingboard that get's my interest, I haven't seen those at swimmingpools for ages.
My inner 10 year old screamed I should still check out the slide, but it looked like it was just for children. I checked the instruction sign just in case.
It said it was made in 1985, my birth year, even in the same month. Wow. "Where have you been all my life" indeed, litteraly.
I stared at it for a couple minutes, didn't see a single 20'er or adult use it. Hmm. I looked at the diving board, I did saw more teenagers then the slide but even there I didn't see a single adult. Where are all the adults here? I looked around. Other then a few of em swimming in strict tracks in the pool, most of the adults where all laying on a towell in the grass. Figures, it's summer, you go to a fun filled swimmingpool with a slide and divingboard and everything and then you go take a nap.
So this is it huh? This is what being an adult is all about? Stop watching cartoons, it's childish, don't eat pancakes, it's childish, don't jump off the diving board, it's for kids. All the good things about being a kid is prohibited. But the pouting? The screaming? Pulling hair? Being friends with the smelly kid when she gives out free candy and then immediatly insulting her behind the back? The actual CHILDish behaviour of being a child? No, that remains. In fact, it evolves to even more monstrous shapes. It gains terrible qualities that even children don't have in their darkest moments; misplaced pride and twisted experience.
I look back at the waterslide. Still no adults. Eh, what the hell, here we go. It was short, awkward and lame, but my inner 10 year old is proud of me.
4 weeks. 4 weeks struggling with my weaknesses, 4 weeks watching respected adults break down and turning into children, 4 weeks of not knowing where you sleep, what you eat and who's your friend or your enemy. I've lived for 3 years mostly by mself nonstop before this, so it was a double culture shock. And there's No relief. Can't play my vieogames, they're all locked up in a cellar somewhere. Can't animate. Computer's too weak. Can't even sleep, often after midnight I would still get new messages on my phone updating me about the latest feud.
Just people helping you, the only problem in the world you aren't alowed to complain about and have to be grateful about. Even when it can just be as torturous and damaging as anything else.
So yeah, on the subject of manchildren.
Enjoying pancakes makes you a manchild? VIdeogames? Collecting toys? Watching my little ponies? I did a little experiement, I asked every adult I saw the past month what they thought of cartoons and comics and such. There are a few adults I respect a lot, like the mentioned dad and brother, or my pal who heped out for one day. They never smile or assure everything will be fine, they're always calculating, thinking, planning. And they do their job and get out. My friend immediatly warned my about what behavior he can't stand, his weaknesses and in what situation he can be the best use to me. And he was a great help, no drama at all. As for my test, cartoons rank from "awesome" to "eh, if you like it, whatever."
Then there's the ones who do smile, always say everything will be fine, are always proud of themselves, but explode when things go wrong.
"Cartoons? Sigh. Grow up."
Aha. So there you have it folks. Stopping to collect figurines, comics and videogames doesn't make you an adult. Quite the opposite. it's when you are mentally uncapable of becoming an adult. THEN you reject cartoons as a substituation for your missing mature behaviour.
It's almost over. 90% of the hous of complete and most of the remaining stuff should be able to be done without help. My workroom is back in action and I have spare time again.
I've been removing all the boxes from my videogames, so I can put them in more convienent and less space taking folders.
"Why do you ven still keep so many videogames? You're an adult, perhaps it's time to move on?"
EXCUSE ME? I spend 4 weeks watching respectable adults pout and scream and show behaviour I haven't seen since kindergarten and you're telling me it's having a lot of Videogames that makes me childish? Hah. Adults. Wonderful.