Hello dear reader, it is I, the anonymous masked writer that hasn’t left his name in the ‘author’ part of this blog.
Shit, nope, I forgot how to turn that setting…
It’s being posted by someone else! Do not look behind the curtain.
I don’t want to start this with an air of phony baloney bullshit. It’s important, especially for me, to hide behind facades. I do it in every conversation because I can’t be me, I can’t stare at another person, have someone look at me and see me, I need them to see a version of me I’ve adopted through years of pop culture intake and viewing the human attributes of others. Because I’m not sure I’m a human in the way others are, or present themselves. I’m not sure I truly understand or feel in the right ways. But I can immitate and at least for a time pretend to be a normal, functioning human.
So I’m writing this because, well, I’ve been almost reclusive for 14 months, in constant agony for about 6 years due to a skin condition (Which seems to be untreatable thus far from many dozens of doctors and specialists) and just generally struggling. The pain means I can’t focus, means I can’t work, means I can’t create as much as I want. I distract myself but it leaves me in a hole of wasting time, it feels, because otherwise it only brings the agony further. And when I infrequently leave the house to see people (Something that happens so little that I get freaked out now when my calender has more than 2 outings in a fortnight) it seems to offer little respite in the end, and I feel bad that social interaction is ultimately unfulfilling. What I’m saying is I’m an arsehole who cannot appreciate anybody, and I’m sure nobody’s been enjoying my company the last few years. I’m sorry, things are going very badly indeed.
Over the last few years I’ve seen things weirdly slip through my hands in terrifying ways. For a spell I was working contract-to-contract at a small post house, where things found some stability but also some continually destructive habits. I dealt with an hour commute turning into a 3 hours there 3 hours back situation due to closure of railways for elongated times. This led to me getting less and less sleep as the months wore on, and no good meal times, leading to poor dieting and poorer health. Additionally when I made mention of a singular week away from the placement for a holiday, after only stopping for bank holidays, the destructive attitude of the employer to the concept of escaping a single-roomed single-occupied location suggested my mental health was either going to be destroyed by isolation or passive-aggressive bullying. Either way, I was a victim blaming only myself because nobody else could be at fault for my being in a place, I am an adult and I choose where to be, right?
As time grew on, I took my week off and flew to LA for a social gathering/working holiday (read: podcast festival) and actual holiday, for five days. Then only to return to be told that other people could do my job. Just not at my price range, it seemed…
2016 went from bad to worse when a friend and performer I had built a show around passed very suddenly, throwing years of work into the bin, and made me face mortality in a way I’ve never had to before. This led to a very bad working week where I spent most lunch breaks riding the tube, contemplating just jumping off a platform, looking for a station of minimal inconvenience. You know, so that it doesn’t snarl up the system cos there’s nothing worse than a severe delay on the Piccadilly or Northern.
I didn’t do anything, my employer in fact quickly set me up with a therapist, one who ultimately led me to leaving the post house after months of no-contract-only-on-good-faith working. One employer was mad at me, in fact going so far as to coming to my residence and screaming at my parents. People are lovely.
Even after leaving the dangerous, negative, destructive office I was at, it seemed inescapable, humanity was showing only its ugly side and was scratching at my door no matter what. I became reclusive, scared to show my face anywhere. And at times have walked out of events when I saw this person going to them. Some evil comes in human form and shows their smiling, kindly face all the way up until the mask slips.
After that crushed a person, I spent most of the last year in this pain-sphere, where my skin condition worsened and I distracted myself with Star Wars Battlefront, and specifially Walker Assault, where you are either the imperials marching to victory with greater numbers and vaster weaponry, or the rebels working together to fight in the weeds and take down a giant so monstrous that it doesn’t seem possible. To continually destroy a leviathon was something I needed in a dark time. To work with other people, faceless, only interacting through actions in-game, was at least a connection to humanity in the emptiness of life.
I still frequently play. I still need this. I still struggle with the pain and hurt that broke me to a mess and a half, to shards and bits and nothingness.
In my 2017 I didn’t get my editing back to where it was during the time I was working hard daily, I had turned around a fuck-ton (metric tonne of fuck even) and really pushed myself hard, proving my value because I can’t believe I deserve anything in life, I have to continually prove to others, and myself, of my own value. To the point of absolute death. What I did do during the year was write, however. Not always coherently and completely but forming ideas, building, and ultimately at least 3 screenplays were finished (2 new stories and a 5th-but-really-8th Draft of another) whilst for the first time in a long time writing with someone else. This has been both a boon and a severe reminder of the problesm stemming in paragraph one. When I spend time with other people, I’m pretending. I’m trying to sound and act more normal than I am. I try and present emotions, I don’t feel them, I’m mostly numb with just ebbings of mania and many sprinkles of sadness. But in writing I can play many characters simultaneously, which is nice, I can create worlds and work interactions in ways that I see play in real life, or how I wish things would go in a better world, or how they might go if everyone were a little more movie-like. Watching my co-writer write scenes has been fascinating, to see someone ever-so-slightly more normal, more linked with humanity, present their vision of the world and its inhabitants. It makes me sure that I’m not ‘right’ in any conventional sense, that I’m not like others, but also it has reminded me that ‘holy shit, I’m not like other people’.
As an introvert, someone who agonises over being in a social situation with anyone but a select few, being anything but wallpaper is scary, I fear people looking at me because I expect them to see a fat ugly guy with bad skin and worse teeth. I know they can’t see the funny, witty, dry, intelligent person beyond, and when I speak to people I tend to try and make things short because I’m scared they’ll not like the me inside, whatever one I try and bring out for the sake of a social event. Because even if you know me very well, you don’t know me that well. I don’t know me that well. I just know what I’m not, and only because I never feel comfortable in those situations have I gathered such comprehension.
I’m going to try and be more whatever I can be, that’s a promise to myself in 2018, but I’m perpetually terrified because I know so much of what I’m not that finding the right groove seems near-impossible.
I know I feel comfortable when I’m being silly. I know I enjoy the company of others, but I know I need to be more present and open, rather than building a wall and putting on the face I feel is expected of me. I know I should be more active creatively, and need a good outlet for that besides the weekly podcast I do, which is more a source for me to riff and improvise and build characters than it is to be a real show. I know I can do more, I should do more, I need to do more, but it’s so hard to focus and it’s so hard to keep pushing boulders uphill. In my many years I’ve rarely found enough people with the conviction to see projects through to an end, who want to work together to build something more than just spitballing, and I’ve seen that I can’t motivate or mobilise other people, which leaves only me to fight my good fights. I know I need to do things. And it only falls to me. Terrifying though it may seem.
I’ve not got a grand finale to this long piece, I’m just in a place of isolation, of confusion, of lost-in-the-woods and I felt like if I didn’t finally put words to paper that were clogging my mind, I was only going to wallow in this feeling for more years. It’s been hard, and I’m not out of the woods yet at all (between the head and the body I’m unlikely to be out of a rainforrest in my lifetime) but I need to pretend like I’m trying, a facade face of me writing so it seems like I’m not just sitting around doing nothing. Pain is pain, and it hurts all over. And all I want is to make others happy, to make others feel good, to make other lives easier, better, stronger. And then I think about my agony and feel selfish because why should I think about myself, the thinking about others is what drives me. Though the thinking of others is what hurts me, reminds me I’m not like them, like you, and that’s probably the reason why I don’t like that new film you like (This part is evergreen, check back in three years and I’ll still be trying to comprehend why you like whatever’s up for the Best Picture oscar that season).
Anyway, I guess for now that’s all I have to say. I’m pretty fucked up and I can’t see much hope in the future, but damnit I’m trying to keep on the straight and narrow until I can sprint for the next landmark, metaphorically.
Was a bad film.
(But that’s not as controversial an opinion)