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A Blue Ribbon In Sucking Less

To clarify right off the bat, I am neither for nor against the whole “everyone’s a winner!” campaign. While I agree that, yes, children should be applauded for their actual accomplishments rather than just being a participant, I also recognize that for some kids, just being a participant is a goddamn accomplishment. I know this because I failed to be one, and the few times I was one I wasn’t told that it was a good thing, so I just assumed “Well, I hate this and nobody else seems to be happy about me being here, so screw it” and became ever more introverted. Then again, my parents never told me they were proud of me about anything, and that hurts. Try as I might, they never once told me they were proud of anything I did accomplish, nor did they tell me it was important for my own sake, so at some point I just stopped trying altogether. Eventually I stopped doing homework, classwork, or participating in life in general. The things I did do of my own accord, like get my film degree or get paid to write, they didn’t say they were proud of those either, which only minimized them to me. Why should I do anything if nobody else is going to care? If it’s only important to me, then how important can it actually be?

See, nobody ever taught me about self worth. When I was in 8th grade, I had to pick an elective class, so I chose art. I hated it. It ruined art for me for years. However, my teacher did see something in me, and picked a painting of a flower that I did to include in the Rotary Arts Show in our town. I got noticed by her, by other artists, and even got a ribbon for it. My parents didn’t care. Oh they went to the art show, sure, because it was expected of them, and my mother still has the painting because it’s something she can show off to others, to lord over them, a sort of “my child is better than your child” situation, because in the end, it’s all she has that I did well in. It’s not that she’s proud of me for painting it, she’s proud of herself for birthing someone who painted it. She’s proud of this extension of herself. At the art show, or even afterwards, nobody told me, “Hey, good job” or “That was a really great painting, well done”. I just got ignored like always.

Self worth. If I don’t mean anything to anyone else, why should I mean anything to myself? If nobody else sees anything worth believing in in me, then why do I even matter? I kill myself to create content, I drive myself to the brink of exhaustion chasing perfection when it comes to what I do, and yet…nobody ever says “Well done” or “Man, I love this!” or anything of the sort. These days, my girlfriend is my biggest supporter, which is so weird to me because if nobody else ever said anything, how can I be sure she isn’t just saying it out of pity? And see, the fucked up thing is, I realize this is all fucking irrational, but because nobody ever said they believed me, or were proud of me, then I can’t help but shake the notion that nobody ever will be, even if they say otherwise. I say that I do what I do because it helps me survive, which isn’t total bullshit, as it does help me categorize and clarify everything in my life, and in the bullshit world surrounding me, but when it comes right down to it, self preservation just isn’t enough. I don’t need admiration. I don’t need adoration. I don’t need a star on the fucking hollywood walk of fame. I just need to be a participant.

“Everyone’s a winner!” is a dangerous motto to bandy about because no, not everyone is a winner, and despite how often you tell your child that, some of them just aren’t gonna be winners. Take it from a girl who was told, when she was very little, that academically she would be great and was then abandoned when they realized she wouldn’t live up to their standards. Take it from a loser. Sure, your child might end up having some talents, but not all talents are bankable, and even the ones that are that they might obtain, you still have to get lucky enough to be successful. Success isn’t just hard work. It’s also a lot of luck. So, to tell your child they’re a winner, and then have to watch them fail repeatedly, all it does is send them the message that you’re a goddamned liar, and you only said that to protect their feelings. I’m not saying to tell your kid they fuckin suck. That’s even worse, obviously, but make sure to clarify to them that they need to find their strengths and aren’t good at something just because they were involved in it. Everyone’s a winner? No. But everyone should be a participant.

I’m 28. I lived through a lifetime of abuse, failure and a suicide attempt. But guess what, I’m still here. I’m still participating, and I think I deserve some fucking acknowledgement for that. Where’s my goddamn blue ribbon?

If you like what you’ve read here, and wanna help support me in my artistic endeavors, and not ever make me put on pants, then perhaps you should consider donating at my Kofi? It accepts PayPal and you don’t even have to give more than 3 dollars! It’d be greatly appreciated and help buy groceries, pay for our rent and more. Thank you.

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This One Girl In Band Class

When I was in 7th grade, I had to take an elective class. I chose band, because a friend of mine chose band and you’re dumb when you’re a kid and just wanna do what your friend is doing. I also made another mistake by choosing trumpet, which my asthma sincerely thanked me for. However, during my one year in band, I also met a girl playing trombone named Natasha. As a burgeoning lesbian, I had the absolute biggest crush on this girl, and we talked a lot in class and when we saw eachother around campus. People weren’t too fond of me because I was weird, and while people liked her a bit more, she had the same sort of issue. Come 8th grade, when we were learning what high schools we’d be attending, she discovered she was going to a totally different highschool than I would, and since social media wasn’t as much a thing back then, it was harder to stay in touch, so I was pretty sad about our lives parting ways.

After I graduated highschool, I moved to a small, seaside town. On the drive over the small mountain between where I grew up and the new place, I stopped and had lunch at a diner on the highway. When I walked in and sat at the bar, someone said my name and low and behold it was Natasha. We sat and chatted for an hour or so while I ate and just discussed how our lives had gone since then and what we were both up to at the moment. She’d had a kid. She was living on her own. She had a steady job (she didn’t seem dissatisfied with her work, but what do I really know?) and everything seemed to be on the ups for her. Seeing someone I knew in person as a kid now as an adult really fucked me up though. Seeing someone via social media, it’s filtered, in a way, you know? It doesn’t seem as real. But seeing someone my age succeeding in person? That messed me up, dude.

All it did was drive home how poorly I was and still am doing. I’m 28. I graduated high school. I have a film and multimedia degree from a trade school. I have never had a “real” job. The closest I’ve come to employment is the freelance writing I’ve done for a few years, which stopped paying about a year ago now. I am 28 and I am fucked beyond every comprehension. I have no money to my name, I am living in a bedroom without paying rent because it’s the only option I had, and I rely on my girlfriend for everything. I could’ve been so much more. I could’ve done so much more. But, when you get no support or enthusiasm from your parents ever, it makes trying seem pointless. I wanted to impress people. I wanted to impress my parents. Seeing everyone else my age have an apartment, some buying full homes, some having children and getting married…

…it’s soul crushing. It makes you wonder why you should even go on trying. And that’s when the depression I’d been dealing with for my entire adolescence finally kicked into high gear and I found myself wanting to die. We compare ourselves to everyone around us, society values us at how much we accomplish, who has enough money, the nicer car, the better job, so when you have nothing whatsoever, it makes you realize not only do you look upon yourself as a failure, so does the rest of society. It isn’t just a personal thing. It’s how you feel everyone feels about you. Society tells you if you don’t have as much as your friends that you’re not as successful, and then society has the gall to follow that up with, “But don’t worry about what others think about you! Their opinions have no meaning!”

I’m a 28 year old gay woman. I don’t have children, I am not married, I don’t own any property, I don’t have a real job and I, by all accounts, am a failure. But that’s okay. I’m GOOD at that. I’m GOOD at failing. I’ve been succeeding at it in spades all my life. Would I like to be “successful”? You betch yer sweet bippy I would. Am I ashamed of being “unsuccessful”? Hell no, cause I know nobody can hold a candle to my shame. Time and time again I have to relearn that it’s okay to suck. That it doesn’t make me less than anyone else. That it, in and of itself, is something I succeed at doing, and to take pride in that because if I don’t, I wouldn’t take pride in anything.

Okay, so Natasha might have her life seemingly together.

But I have perspective, and that’s just as important.

If you like my blog, want to see more content or just wanna help a poor, disillusion lesbian, then maybe donate at this link? Be greatly appreciated. You’d be helping me get food and stuff. Thanks! (For those who wish to donate and don’t use SquareCash, I will have a PayPal set up this month, so look for that!)

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How To Fail So You’ll Succeed

People often get irritated with me for continually saying that I suck, that I hate my work, that I’ll never be successful or that I don’t wanna do what I do anymore, but what they fail to realize (somehow, even after I tell them this) is that I need to externalize the internal in order to continue going. I need to believe I’m bad so I can continue to prove myself wrong with each new success.

By belittling myself to myself, by telling myself that I’ll never reach my own standards, all it does is make me feel incredible when I do reach those standards, when I do reach even a small piece of success. That drive is what keeps me going. If I don’t say these things, that hatred sits inside of me and festers into a horrid bubble of pure rage, and then I never get anything done. That’s way more unhealthy. I succeed because I believe I can’t.

Now that isn’t to say there aren’t times I really do believe what comes out of my mouth, because believe me, there are, and it’s a lot of the time too. Being touched by failure for the majority of your life, outside of career and inside career, really makes you feel pretty fucking terrible about your chances with success. That being said, more often than not do I use it as a way to continue to push myself towards the goals I wish to achieve with my work, and my life in general. Negativity is a bad copying mechanism? Bitch, please. It’s my only coping mechanism.

My entire life I’ve been told by people that I will never succeed. By my peers, even some people in my family at one time or another, and yes, you eventually start to believe a little bit of that, or all of it, in some peoples cases. But for me, spite thrives my craving for success. You wanna tell me how much I suck? We’ll see how much I suck when I’m happy and successful and you’re bitter that you’re still suck in that loveless marriage or in the same crappy job you claim you hate but can’t leave to chase whatever dreams you might’ve once had. Guess what. Dreams don’t go away with age. You will always have your dreams, so stop saying you can’t go after them after a certain age. THAT’S real negativity.

You hate me for achieving my goals? You hate me for even attempting to? Go try and achieve your own. Be happy. Tell yourself you can’t, and then do it, and prove yourself wrong. Be a successful failure. “Fake it ’til you make it”? No. Fail it, then nail it.

Own your sadness.

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I Have Nothing Left To Say

I have nothing left to say, and this devastates me.

I have no more original thoughts of anything creative to say. I can’t create. I can’t dream. What does a “creative” person do when they can no longer create? They stop being, honestly, which is what’s happened to me. I just sort of….am, now. I sit and listen to music, I eat, I take care of the house. I just do things to fill the time in my day that used to go to creating art, and this is just….it’s soul crushing. I have nothing left inside of me that scratches to get out. That doesn’t let itself go until I vomit it up into some form of artistic expression. I don’t know how to exist like this, and I don’t want to exist like this.

But creativity isn’t something you can force, either, so a lot of it’s just sitting around and waiting for something to inspire me. For something to come to me, and for me to go, “Yeah, that’s okay, I’ll make that!”. I’m lost. I’m completely empty and cold and don’t know what to do anymore. I think sometimes some people are meant to give up on what they thought they were “meant” to do, a sort of realization that destiny isn’t a real thing and that no, you just sort of lied to yourself for a few good years and now the magic is gone and it’s time to grow up and realize you need to join the ‘real world’. What does one do when that happens? I think often they go mad, or become so depressed that they often kill themselves.

While I’m not in the market to die anytime soon, which is a step in the right direction, I suppose, it’s still not where I want to be. I don’t enjoy anything. I don’t enjoy creation and I don’t enjoy existing without creating. Where does that leave me? It often leaves me laying in my bed or on the couch and just staring at the ceiling or the wall. It leaves me empty. I have no desire to participate with other human beings, and I barely had any energy or willingness to even type this entry, let alone come up with something to type about. And how cliche is this? “Oh, waaah, I can’t create, I’m too depressed to create, guess I’ll talk about my depression!”

Now I’m nothing but a trope.

I started this blog with the intent on figuring out things about myself, but what happens when it turns out you have nothing inside of you worth learning about? When you’re just not that interesting? I don’t know, and I’m afraid to find out. Perhaps there’s nothing inside of me worthy of getting out, of being seen, of being heard. Art. Writing. These are the only things I know how to do. It’s how I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, for the last 15 years to make a living, and now even I’m realizing I have nothing worth listening to or looking at. At least people who read these blog posts are disappointed in short bursts once or twice a month, I’m disappointed in long stretches of time every single day because I’m stuck with me, and stuck with my failure.

Whatever. Who cares. Nobody cares when I have something to say, so why would anyone care when I have nothing to say. Sorry.

I’m really sorry.

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It’s All About Effort

At what age is it socially acceptable to end your life?

It seems to me that it’d be somewhere between the ages of 30 and 40. You’ve made it through your twenties, you tried hard, you’ve reached the point of ‘adulthood’ that everyone else seemed to have reached with ease, and you still spend all your time wallowing in sadness from not having viable employment skills or lasting relationships of any kind. You burned your bridges for friends years ago after they got tired of having to listen to you ‘whine’ about how bad you feel, your parents want nothing to do with you because you’re becoming an embarrassment to them and anything romantically never lasts because you ‘don’t try hard enough’. The job market is a crushing joke, school is out of the question purely from an economic standpoint and you’ve got nothing left on the table except for becoming that friend who ‘will only sleep on your couch for like, two weeks, I swear to god, Brian.”

Life becomes a ‘choose your own adventure’ of suicide. Unsure which path to take, which page turn will eventually lead you down the road of your own demise, and both excited yet afraid, because it’s totally natural to feel both. In fact, it gets to the point where planning the end of your own life is actually a positive thing, because it means you’re doing something every day! You’re working towards an actual achievable goal! All these external factors you have no control over are forcing your hand to this decision. It’s not fair, but it’s the way it is. You get creative with the possible, seemingly endless ways to end yourself. You’re starting to feel more intellectually stimulated than you have in years. It’s so refreshing to feel like what you’re doing matters. You choose your method, get your supplies together and then sit down and look at everything and realize…

“Hey…I did something. I DID something!”

You’re 34, and things aren’t looking great, your prospects are shit and you feel so utterly alone, and society may have given up but you DID something. That took effort. Effort that can be applied to something else with the same passion you had for this. The way I see it, if I can do something like this, something that takes a lot of time and thought and preparation, then maybe I CAN do something else. Maybe I can work towards getting my work made, get people to care, fix my life and make things worth being around for. I could get married, I could get my writing published and maybe I could even help others who have been in a similar position.

And if that doesn’t work, at least I know in the back of my mind that I COULD kill myself. It’s nice to know you have some semblance of control in your life.

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We Were Supposed To Be Happy

Derek Fisher and Sandy Price were sitting in the car in the parking lot of a superstore, watching people come and go from the store to their car, carrying enormous bags of groceries and other purchases. They had a huge bag of chips in between them, shoveling them into their mouths as they people watched, and Sandy stopped eating to light a cigarette. She took a few puffs and left it between her lips as she motioned with her hand towards the windshield, at all the people outside.

“I’m not against consumerism or capitalism in any way,” Sandy said, “But think about it this way…this is the highlight of these peoples lives. This is what they do for fun. They spend money on something they’re guaranteed to hate and be disappointed by in under an hour.”

“Shit, if I had money I’d do the same thing,” Derek said, and Sandy exhaled some smoke.

“Yeah, me too, it’s true.”

“I’d complain about it, go buy stuff and then complain about it afterwards too,” Derek said, “That’s the American way.”

“…I got a job,” Sandy finally said and Derek looked at her, his eyes wide with shock.

“Really?”

“Yeah, I mean, sort of. It’s a temporary situation. I’m going to be a pseudo ballet instructor for the girls downtown,” Sandy said, “I’m pretty happy about it, actually.”

“Well, good for you, I’m proud of you,” Derek said and Sandy blushed, looking out her window.

“I guess if I can’t dance myself, I may as well help kids learn to,” she said, then after a pause added, “I don’t know why but I can’t shake this feeling that we were supposed to have more than this. I don’t mean like a 401k or anything, but…something…bigger. A better reason for being here. Not like, fate or destiny or anything like that written in the stars bullshit, but just something better in general, for existing.”

“I don’t know where you ever got the idea that life was supposed to mean something from,” Derek said, and she chuckled.

“We’re told since childhood that we’ll be loved by someone, that we can be anything, that we will be happy…but what happens if none of that comes true? There’s some people out there who can’t find love no matter how hard they try or how badly they want it. There’s others who can’t succeed, no matter what their level of schooling was. Some have degrees upon degrees and still can’t get a decent job now. A lot just aren’t happy. Not for selfish reasons either, like the media would like you to believe, but for legitimate reasons. For believing the things our parents told us. The things I just listed.”

Derek didn’t respond. He just ate some more chips and looked at the people.

“Look at this woman,” he said, “She’s got three kids and she’s wheeling out a large wide screen TV. She’s in yoga pants and I guarantee you she doesn’t do real exercise. She probably jogs and drinks expensive coffee and listens to self important talk radio and recycles and is a vegan. She probably puts so much effort into that appearance, that she’s better than everyone else, and then she goes and buys a huge TV for her three kids. She is everyone else.”

“I don’t want to judge people anymore,” Sandy mumbled.

“What?”

“I don’t want to be that kind of person. I’ve lived off hatred and snark my entire life. I want to try and be more positive. I want to be uplifting and…and just…nicer. I’m so tired of being so angry and mean all the time. It takes too much energy.”

“…well, I mean, nobody’s stopping you really,” Derek said, taking the cigarette from her and taking a long drag.

“I need to quit smoking at some point too, but god knows when that’ll happen. One lifestyle change at a time.”

Another pause, as Sandy watched that woman Derek had ripped apart open her van and get the TV in the trunk, and then get the kids into their seats.

“I’d be her,” Sandy said, “I really would. She looks happy. She looks like her life is great.”

“American life is engineered to look great and ideal. That’s how they lure people into the trap of student debt and housing payments they can’t afford,” Derek said, and Sandy glared at him. He thought for a second, and then said, “I mean, I guess she could be happy, sure. But it’s not ideal for everyone.”

“Happiness?”

“Her lifestyle.”

“It’s ideal for those who don’t have it.”

“Not really. There’s lots of women your age who wouldn’t want that.”

“…I guess that’s true,” Sandy said, “To each their own though. Still…bet she’s happier than me.”

“When I was in elementary school, this woman, Miss Klinger, came to the classroom and asked everyone what we were proud of the most about ourselves. Guess she was some feel good child psychologist or some shit. Anyway, she took answers from everyone, and we had to write it down on a piece of paper and hand it to her, and then she’d meet with us about our answers. I just wrote ‘I don’t know’ because I was in elementary school…I didn’t know what the fuck pride was. How could I know? I was like, 7. I’d barely been alive long enough to even accumulate anything to be proud of.”

“What did she say to that?” Sandy asked as he passed her cigarette back to her.

“She took me aside, like she did with all the others and she told me ‘there has to be something that you’re proud of’ and I always assumed grownups were right about everything so I believed her and just made something up to be proud of so she’d be happy and let me go. I don’t even remember what I told her. I just know it got her off my back, and so for the rest of my childhood, I just told adults exactly what they wanted to hear because I didn’t know what really to feel or say.”

Sandy looked at Derek, who was looking at his fingernails.

“I guess,” he continued, “if I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t know what to be proud of. Knowing you, I guess. That’s been something I’m happy about.”

Sandy smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder. Derek reached his hand up and stroked her hair.

“When do you start your new job?” he asked.

“This Monday,” she replied.

“…have you told your mother?” Derek asked, and Sandy tensed up.

“No,” she said flatly, “Why would I. She’d only be annoyed that I didn’t have a real job.”

“Are you proud of what you’re going to do though?”

“Absolutely.”

“Well, then that’s all that matters.”

Sandy put her arm through Derek’s, smiling. He may be negative a bit, and he might be a bit lost, but he grounded her, and she lifted him up, and watching this woman and her children, Sandy realized what she had was better than what this woman could ever have, and yeah, she was proud as hell of that.