“A Souvenir” Discussion

A lot of folks were very concerned by my last post, rightfully so. To give context and (kinda) assuage fears, I recorded my thoughts on it. Hopefully, this discussion of my mental health will be enlightening or educational.

You can also find it here

A Souvenir

This is the rock from the night I decided I couldn’t kill myself. I haven’t had it that long, only three weeks. The past few months, as financial deadlines have approached, I’ve had what I call “Plan E” in the back of my head. No matter how stressful things got, no matter how much I continued to fail, I knew I had an out. Plan E. Suicide. It seemed like a logical decision. 

I’m not sure when I decided this, but my mantra has become Create as little negative impact or burden to those around you as possible. If I didn’t want to be a burden to anyone, I wasn’t able to support myself, and I wasn’t contributing much to the world anyways, then suicide seemed like the only option. So if I got to May 31st and I didn’t have a job or I hadn’t somehow come up with a plan to stay stable in a reasonable amount of time, I was gonna call it quits.

Two weeks ago I was suffocating. It was another round of job rejections, another minor quarrel with my roommate, another day felt wasted. I just had to get out, so I made my way to the lake. It was a dark and stormy night, and the crashing waves drowned out my loud sobs. I walked the same beach I’d walked a hundred times with Jacuzzi, my former dog, and I couldn’t help but feel the intense pang of loneliness that the contrast between then and a few months earlier elicited. A few months ago I had a fiancé, two cats, and a dog. Now I had a roommate with a rabbit.

As I stood on the beach crying, I could feel myself mourning something but I wasn’t sure what. All that frustration and stress had gotten to me before, but this time felt different. I realized that this time I didn’t have the release valve and comfort of Plan E. Somewhere along the way, and I couldn’t pinpoint exactly when, I’d figured out I couldn’t kill myself. The negative impact that it would have on my friends and family would far outweigh that of my potential homelessness and/or mental breakdown.

My very mantra that’d I’d used to justify my exit plan now was being used against me. I was able to see that I made just enough of a positive difference in the world and that made me incredibly sad. It meant I didn’t have two weeks to live, I still had a lifetime. A life that for the foreseeable future was defined by the struggle to stay alive, to stay healthy, to stay housed. I cried thinking about that struggle. I wailed into the cacophonous wind thinking about the wasteland awaiting me.

I started throwing rocks in the water, no more tears to cry but still needing to vent. As the appeal of that quickly wore off, I picked up one that had been a part of a neat pile, clearly set aside by a child. It was too small to make a splash if I threw it, but it was so smooth and flat like a good skipping rock should be. I like marking occasions with souvenirs and while I didn’t know what this occasion was, I knew it needed a marker. So I put this stone in my pocket, fiddling with it as I made my way from the shore to the park’s swing set. I sat down, nodded politely at the drug dealer sitting on the nearby play-set, and messaged my friends.

I still very much want to kill myself. I think about it at least a couple times a week. If I could stop this stress, stop this pain, I would. But I’ve felt the pain that suicide causes and I know that I can’t do that to the people around me. Maybe one day I’ll have a new souvenir, one that marks the day I don’t want to die anymore, but for now a rock that reminds me I can’t will have to do. The past few months have been a countdown. A countdown to May 31st. A countdown to Plan E. I got this rock when there were T minus 20 days left.
Yesterday was May 31st.
T minus zero.
Today is the June 1st. 
Day one.

In reaction to this post, I’ve since recorded an audio discussion of it which you can find here.

What I’ve Been Up To

I’ve neglected this site a little, but not because I haven’t been doing anything! Here’s some highlights:

Started The Game Master Codex, a podcast and blog for documenting my exploits as a Game Master.

I came out as Non-binary and to assist with that process I wrote A Guide to (My) Non-binary Identity

For the lolz I also rewrote a bunch of wedding vows to be gender-neutral and religiously agnostic.

I created a non-eurocentric system for using real-world languages as D&D languages

I wrote a short essay on Decolonizing D&D which… wasn’t received well.

I created a robust randomized D&D character generator, which I can’t share, but I can share my Character Appearance Tables!

I wrote a short story about one of my favorite characters from my campaign last year, a fanfic based on the video game Darkest Dungeon, and a bit of fiction for a flashback during a different D&D campaign.

The Sunless Citadel [Short Fic]

Sharwyn leaned against the stone column, staff, and spellbook in hand. She was barely paying attention to Sir Braford who, in hushed tones, laid out their plan. It was tough to keep her eyes on him, as the beautiful dragons carved into the column beside her were so enchanting. Breya was right, this place must have been magnificent before the disaster.

She glanced over at her brother, Talgen, who was similarly in position behind the adjacent column. She could tell he wasn’t paying Braford any mind either, as he was fidgeting with his handaxes too much. Noticing her momentary glance, Talgen rolled his eyes and making the universal symbol for “blah blah blah” with his right hand.

Sir Braford was positioned next to the frontward facing door, pressed up against the wall tightly, while Breya stood beside the side door. From that secondary room came such snoring that Braford had concluded the goblins therein were probably too drunk to fight and posed no threat if they barricaded the door behind them when they entered the next room. Or something like that. Again she wasn’t really paying attention. Even from where she stood a few feet away, Sharwyn could hear the ruckus of goblin chatter from the other side of said door, which suggested a pretty sizeable, and thus concerning, amount of goblins.

The light from the wall-mounted torches gleamed off Sir Braford’s armor, giving him an appropriately holy glow. He was a dragonborn cleric after all and his cobalt blue armor bore the insignia of the Great King Ozark, still considered a symbol of peace and order even after The Great Silence. Even though Sharwyn really had no clue what Braford was saying, she knew he was saying it with passion. This was his people’s temple after all, and even if the dragonborn had fallen from grace, it didn’t mean their holy sites deserved to be raided and desecrated by goblins and kobolds.

A flurry of movement danced in her peripheral, but when she spun her head around it was the unexpected sight of Talgen juggling his handaxes. Caught off guard, she couldn’t help but giggle.

Sir Braford stepped away from the door, literally hissing at Talgen to “Knock it off.” Talgen defended himself by pointing out Braford had been talking for “like 15 minutes.” The two started bickering at each other in hushed tones, Talgen doing a mockingly and kinda offensive Dragonborn accent, while Braford’s anger made his hissing lisp practically unintelligible to Sharwyn’s ears. She looked over to shrug at Breya when she saw it. Peeking through a tiny crack in the door was a small goblin child. Time slowed down. She bounded from her position towards the door, desperate to think of a spell that could stop this child from raising an alarm, but all her years of study might as well have meant nothing. Her sudden movement startled the kid and his face disappeared from the crack.

Braford and Talgen barely had time to get a “What” out before the scream of “Intruders!” brought them to attention. There was a beat, a moment too long where Sharwyn thought maybe this was a child who’d cried wolf too many times. Then it was chaos. Goblins and hobgoblins poured into the room. Talgen responded quickly, leaping above the crowd and bouncing from pillar to pillar while delivering devastating blows to the heads of un-helmeted goblins. Braford, unsurprisingly, was doing well his enchanted sword shattering the javelins and swords of the goblins within his reach.

Then the door to side room burst open. Sharwyn was sure Braford was kicking himself for tying those goblins. Poor Breya, being the closest, was overwhelmed with the drunken but still ferocious goons, barely keeping them away with massive swings of her warhammer.

Sharwyn shot a fireball at the crowd around Breya and that seemed to be enough to give her the upper hand. Over the general clattering and shouting, you could hear the squelches and crunches of several goblin skulls being crushed by Breya.

Sharwyn smiled. Even with that setback they could do it, they were gonna win. She looked up at Talgen, who grinned back. He landed another aerial flip, gripping the small ridge at the top of a column. His legs tensed up for another leap, his tongue stuck out in anticipation. And then nothing. He froze. His legs didn’t push off, they just slide down the column, his whole body grazing against those ornate dragons as Talgen fell. His body hit the ground with a thud. Goblins began to swarm him, but before her vision was totally obscured Sharwyn saw, poking out of his neck, a tiny dart.

Oh god no. Sharwyn’s brain was running a thousand miles a minute. Since when do goblins use poison?

This time she heard it. The slight whistle in the air, followed by another dart appearing in between the cracks of Sir Braford’s armor. A second whistle, a second dart, this one in his neck. Sir Braford’s legs wobbled. That moment of weakness was all the nearby hobgoblin needed to club Braford behind the knees, bringing him down.

Sharwyn couldn’t look and she turned her eyes towards Breya, who now had three or four darts poking from her arms and neck. Damn, that Dwarven constitution is strong. Then there was another whistle, a louder one. Then a sting. For a second she expected to look down and see the same bee that had stung her as a kid, the one that had interrupted her and Talgen’s attempt to run away from home and journey to a halfling grove. As darkness started to creep in around her vision, she couldn’t help but wish Talgen was able to soothe her like he did that day, as childish a fantasy that was. She tried to cast something, anything, but her arms wouldn’t work, her tongue won’t even move. She saw the world tilt and felt herself hit the floor.

“Sharwyn!” Breya yelled, her moment of distraction allowed a goblin to jump on her back and start clawing at her.

Out of the corner of her eye, Sharwyn could still see Talgen, now abandoned by the goblins who had gotten bored beating him. Her heart fluttered as she saw his shaking hand reach out and slowly push himself off the floor.

“Remember, keep ‘em alive,” she heard a gruff voice shout in goblin.

Talgen was now on his knees. Please Talgen, please save me. She pleaded with him in her head, desperately hoping he could somehow hear her. Somehow. Instead, Talgen kept his eyes on Breya.

“Breya! Retreat!”

Breya looked surprised, but this moment of shock also overtook the goblins and it was all she needed to throw the pest off her back. Breya limped out the side door, dragging her warhammer behind her. Talgen shuffled the other way, presumably the way they came. Maybe one of them could get help. Come back with Kobolds and save her and Braford.

“Good job boys,” the goblin voice from before chimed. The goblins began cheering while a few chased after Breya and Talgen. The cheering subsided, fell silent as the clicking of a pair of boots rang through the chamber.

“We kept them alive for you, sir,” the gruff voice whimpered, this time in common.

“Barely” a chilly voice responded.

A pair of black boots, accompanied by a floor-length cloak, entered Sharwyn’s vision. The boot pressed into her, tilting her body towards the ceiling. Her eyes followed, scanning the hooded figure. As the darkness of unconsciousness began to take her, she saw the slightest glint of light reflect off the hooded face. Glasses?

“Ah yes, they’ll make excellent specimens. Take them to the grove.”

And then there was black.

Darkest Dungeon [Short Fic]

The air this deep into the ruins was disgusting, oppressive, and uniquely scented. The cracks in the damp and crumbling walls provided no relief, revealed no landscape, they just gave way to oppressive dirt and rock. If you burned incense in a room down here, you could return years later to find its scent only mildly dissipated. I felt the rot in the air clinging to my lungs, coating them like oil. Given the strange fungal life we’d seen so far, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn the unusual odor was due to an abundance of spores. I imagined an impossible scenario where I died peacefully in my sleep decades from now and an autopsy revealed a bushel of mushrooms lodged in there, much to the bafflement of the local doctor.

My mildly amusing fantasy was interrupted by the whisper of one of my companions. Something was coming. Our Highwayman cocked his gun, the Leper readied his mighty sword, and I prepared my preliminary prayers to the Lord. The slow shuffling around the corner became clear to me now too.

The stale air stood even more still and our breathing became audible to each other as we braced ourselves for another grueling round of combat. Most abandoned places felt cold and uncaring, but these ruins felt actively malicious and cruel. What had apparently once been a warm and loving home had been warped and desecrated, twisted by its greedy sons into a maze of unfathomable evil. Their excavations into the earth below their home brought none of the power and riches that the rumors promised, just death and madness.

This place was an affront to the Lord and if my light was able to cast away even a fraction of the shadows that existed against His mighty will, then I would suffer whatever wounds, physical or mental, to do so. So what would I be smiting this time?

Giant slugs and spiders?
The shuffling grew louder.
Living mushrooms and slimes?
With proximity came clarity: it was the sound of footsteps.
Bandits and madmen?
We could see the vague shadows of a hand gripping the wall’s edge.
More of those blasphemous re-animated corpses?

As the rest of the silhouette stepped into view I called down the holy light, blinding the figure while the Highwayman interrogated it.

“Hold it! Who’s there?”

Instead of the usual ferocity, flurry of movement, and unfathomable sounds that started these battles the figure just held its thin arms in front of its eyes and whimpered “I mean you no harm.”

I dimmed the Lord’s light and took in the “man” that stood before us. There was no question of his humanity per say, but rather of his functionality. He was emaciated and pale, adorned only with tattered clothes and broken long-chained manacles clamped around his wrists. The most striking detail, though, were the scars: dozens upon dozens of them, some more aged than others, scattered across his skin like a dropped bundle of sticks.

“Please, help me get out of here. I’ve been trapped down here… so long.”

The Highwayman was a suspicious man under normal circumstances. He’d led a hard life, taking odd jobs and robbing banks when the work dried up. The only other thing I knew about him was that he’d been the lone survivor of a previous excavation, which was truly astonishing when you considered the wit and determination it’d take to survive the hostility of the ruins alone. So it made sense when he barked “Why should we trust you? How d’ja get here in the first place?”

“I was kidnapped by the cultists. I think they wanted me for a sacrifice, but the ritual… went wrong and I was able to escape.”

There was hesitation in his voice. He was holding back, but perhaps with good reason. We’d run into those cultists before and the power they had wielded in battle only hinted at the madness they might be able to inflict on a captive. We all had things we’d seen in the ruins we wished to never think of again and he surely felt the same about his torturous time with the cult.

The Leper, of course, immediately took sympathy on the tortured soul and sheathed his sword. I knew nothing of the Leper, but I sensed a piousness and decency about him that only those who’ve flourished despite true suffering seem to have. He did not speak, only extending his hand to the man in solidarity.

The Highwayman grumbled, “Keep in mind this gun of mine don’t leave my hand, should yah think of making trouble.”

Our newest party member nodded in acknowledgement, his gaze locked on the barrel of the gun that was equally focused on him. It was then that I noticed it: some weight behind his eyes, something dark deep within him. It almost felt… primal.

We continued on our way through the winding halls and crumbling rooms, stopping to search abandoned crates and bookcases. It was uncommon to find anything worth taking, but we’d found enough valuables along the way that this looting became something of a habit. We’d made our way to a library of sorts: lined with collapsing wall-to-wall shelves and populated with half-burned books. We were all indulging in our habit, but I was ignoring the handful of strongboxes and trinket-filled desk drawers in favor of the cryptic texts scattered about. The abundance of forbidden texts down here made it easy for me to learn about the dark arts and while I was reluctant to pursue anything that endangered my soul, I knew it would prove necessary to surviving this journey.

“Stay away from there!” screeched the Highwayman with unprecedented fear and anger.

I was startled by such volume, as we hadn’t spoken so loudly since before we entered the ruins. It was dangerous to speak that way in a place that can echo a noise for miles. The object of the Highwayman’s ire was the manacled man, who had his hands up and was standing stock still next to a small fountain in the corner. It had no water running, but had a stained and mildewed basin. What was truly strange was that the centerpiece was no angel, bird, or even abstract architecture, but rather an oddly detailed tentacle. Our party had seen one or two similar stoneworks but never bothered them, having more than once learned the lesson of staying away from anything that hinted at the unholy so strongly. The newcomer was apparently still naive.

The Highwayman brought his voice back down and said “Did ya touch it?”

“N-n-no sir.”

“Good. Don’t. Lost some good men that way.”

It occurred to nobody in the room to inquire any further. It was not our place and we didn’t have the spare sanity to handle such things. I returned to my texts when I felt the slightest shiver on the back of my neck. Was the Lord warning me? Of what? I stood to attention, gripping my holy book tightly. I looked over at the manacled man and he returned the gaze, but with intense fear. There was a beat and I understood.

“Incoming!”

Unlike our last encounter, there was no time for preparation. A moment after the words left my mouth, cultists burst through the door we’d yet to clear. The Highwayman acted with his usual superb speed, letting off a pistol shot mid-dive behind a desk. Sadly his aim wasn’t as impressive and he only managed to clip the arm of one of the cultist brutes. I was already positioned beside a desk, so I had easy cover, but the Leper and the manacled man weren’t so lucky. The Leper was out in the open and his sword was sheathed, but on the opposite side of the room as the cultists. The manacled man was still at the fountain corner, which was adjacent to them. He ducked into the shadows and curled up, hoping his small stature would hide him.

There were four cultists: two brutes and two shamans. The brutes were massive beings of mostly muscle, probably supernaturally enhanced at the cost of their humanity. They were equipped with clunky gauntlet claws, essentially three swords attached to their hands. The shamans, always women for some reason, used their staffs to cast strange unholy spells, but each shaman’s magic was slightly different. Oh and they could see just fine despite wearing thick black blindfolds, which, while strange, was fairly useless knowledge combat-wise.

The bleeding brute leapt forward towards the Highwayman’s cover, determined to retaliate. Clearly the Highwayman wasn’t expecting such quick reaction, as he was reloading. I started to chant a stun prayer, but there was no need. The Leper darted forward with incredible speed, my vision blurring body and metal together as his sword swung downward, smashing into the ground. My eyes and brain caught up and registered the outcome. It looked like there was a section missing from the brute’s arm, as if someone had erased a few inches. The Leper’s sword had completely severed it, but at the cost of having those claws lodge themselves in his shoulder and upper arm. The brute’s delayed scream of pain boomed louder than overhead thunder, but the Leper made no noise as he discarded the arm, even though it took a chunk out of him in the process. The brute went to swing again, but was greeted by the barrel of a newly loaded gun and was swiftly removed from the fight.

To push our advantage, I’d have to take care of those shamans. I shouted the prayer of my Lord at one of them, successfully stunning her. As she collapsed, a slight glow around her, I heard the slight “thump” of her head hitting the stone floor. She’d be out for a while. The other shaman started muttering, practically hissing the foreign words through lips pursed with anger. Shadows slinked up from the floor, curling up the staff like snakes and gathering together into a ball around the tip. I was mesmerized by their movement, swept up in the surreality and a tad jealous I couldn’t wield light similarly. My stunned fascination kept me immobile for a second too long and I was swept off my feet as shadowy tentacles burst from the staff, stretching across the room and smashing into my chest. As my body collided with a bookshelf, which shattered easily, and then the wall behind it, I felt something in my body crack. A rib probably, given that impact.

I managed to keep my eyes open and stay conscious, but the wind was completely knocked out of me. I sat there wheezing, trying to regain my ability to breathe, but the musty and dust-filled air offered no relief. The Leper stormed forward offensively towards the shaman, his gouged arm dangling behind him as he ran. Before he could get close though, the remaining brute intercepted his path and the Leper narrowly avoided another claw strike. The Highwayman let loose a shot to cover him, which skimmed the neck enough to distract and hurt the brute, but not permanently impede it. The Highwayman cursed his shoddy aim this battle and ducked back down to reload.

The Leper heaved his sword and readied himself to attack again, but I could tell from the writhing shadows around the shaman that her counterattack was already poised. I tried to warn the Leper, but words require air and my lungs still had none to offer. As the shadow tentacles flew towards him the Leper defensively raised his sword, but there was no collision. The shadows just… passed through him. The Leper was stunned, but soon that surprise on his half masked face morphed into absolute terror and anguish. A pained croak, the most I’d ever heard from him, escaped his throat as he collapsed to the ground and began shaking violently. My recent research helped me recognize it: a nightmare spell, designed to make you relive your greatest traumas and worst fears. It’d take some time, some prayer, and a good woman but he’d be fine… probably.

The brute, its wound shaken off, advanced to finish the weakened soul. “Leper!” exclaimed the Highwayman as he vaulted over the desk. He ran toward the crumpled figure, drawing his dagger from its sheath. The brute ignored him, determined to wipe the Leper out. As it raised its metal claws in the air for the death blow, the Highwayman dashed across its vision, landing just outside the brute’s range with surprising grace. It took both the brute and I a few seconds to realize what the Highwayman had accomplished with such a strange attack, but as blood started to leak from a thin and long cut in the brute’s forehead I understood. The brute grunted, furiously wiping away at the blood that kept dripping into its eyes. The wiping became more and more exaggerated, slowly turning into a furious flailing as the brute lashed out against its blindness.

The Highwayman ducked a passing swipe and picked up the Leper, whose convulsing had stopped. As he turned to bring him back to cover, he stumbled and then froze. The shaman cackled, a single tentacle extended from her staff to the Highwayman’s ankle. That extra second in the range of the brute was all that was needed, as he was struck in the head by a passing arm and knocked to the ground. The brute, realizing it’d hit someone, re-oriented itself in that direction, and readied its claws for a more deadly strike. I begged the Lord for strength as I croaked out a stun spell, but the coughs confused my words and the sharp jab of a cracked rib weakened my will power. The brute’s fist came down and I closed my eyes. It was over.

The vibration of an unfamiliar roar shook my eyes open again. The brute’s fist was suspended in air, the claws paused mere inches from my companions. There was a chain wrapped around the brute’s arm, its links leading back to the corner with the fountain. From out of the shadows stepped a grotesque beast, a red-skinned devil with the teeth and claws of a wolf, the stature and build of a bear, and the horns of a ram. Where had it come from? Would its bloodlust end with the cultists or would it come for us too? How could we even begin to stop that… that monster?

The beast heaved back the ensnaring chain, pulling the brute off balance and bringing it to the floor. The predator leapt on its prey with uncanny speed for its size, its claws digging into the flesh of the almost-man that I now almost felt sorry for. The brutes death would have been quick and incredibly painful if not for its companion, as the shaman’s shadow tentacles wrapped themselves around the beasts neck and head, dragging the devil off her companion and slamming it into a bookcase. Unfortunately for her, the beast recovered quickly. She cast tentacle after tentacle, both tangible and not, but the beast kept coming and eventually overcame her. It took seconds for the body to become completely unrecognizable as human. The brute attempted to intervene, but the Highwayman scrambled to his feet and sliced its throat from behind. A more merciful death than it would have received at the beast’s hands.

Finally able to breath with some amount of regularity, albeit not painlessly, I too rose to my feet. The Leper propped himself upon his sword. The beast, bored with its prey, moved on to the unconscious shaman I’d stunned earlier. To die in her sleep was a mercy that blasphemer didn’t deserve. After finishing her off, the beast turned towards us. It walked slowly, each footstep almost as loud as its deep and labored breathing. The chains it was dragging clinked quietly, chains that were attached to… manacles? Wait… could it be? The beast roared a final time as its body contorted, shrinking and changing color. We all wanted to look away from the transformation, but we couldn’t. After what felt like minutes of convulsions and groans, the manacled man stood before us once again.

“Well… you know the truth now. I… am an Abomination. If you want to kill me, I’d understand, but I can’t guarantee that It won’t try and stop you.”

We were still dumbstruck, unsure of what to say. How do you address someone that’s simultaneously the most pathetic man you’ve ever met and also the most terrifying beast to walk this earth. The Abomination squirmed uncomfortably in anticipation of our response. For once it was I who spoke first.

“Do you have it under control?”

“Uh, for the most part? I can’t always control when it comes out, but I can stop it from hurting people I care about… assuming I have something else to attack nearby.”

The Highwayman sighed, sheathing his dagger and pistol. “Well that’ll just have to do then. We need all the help we can get I s’pose. Vestal, get to work healing Leper and yourself. We need to keep moving.”

The Leper smiled the faintest of smiles, patted the Abomination on the shoulder, and then followed after the Highwayman. I leaned over to the Abomination and whispered, “The Lord doesn’t approve of alcohol, but if- I mean when- we make it back to town I think we all owe you a drink.”

The Abomination smiled weakly and for a second I couldn’t see that weight in his eyes, that burden of the beast within.

“Thanks Vestal.”

He followed behind me as we joined our companions, resuming our journey into… The Darkest Dungeon.

Dear Con+Alt+Delete Attendees,

Hello fellow con-goers! Thank you so much for attending my panel(s)! As I promised, here’s the lists of all the titles shown.

Anime Goes to the Movies!

OVA: Original Video Awesomeness

J-Horror: Film vs Anime

Art of Emotion

Great Directors of Anime

If you’d like to see me go to another convention, tell them and give them my email or if you’re running it yourself feel free to contact me!
Have a good day!

Art of Emotion: CAD Edition

Examples used:
Tokyo Strut
The Running Man (from Neo-Tokyo)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Akira
Spirited Away
Howl’s Moving Castle
Garden of Words
Cowboy Bebop
The two examples of favorite films of mine-
The Castle of Cagliostro
Wolf Children

And of course I must credit my most used source:
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud

Questions, comments, or concerns? Email me at jwiderski@gmail.com
Don’t forget to like Mental Multiverse on facebook!
If you’d like me to appear at your favorite convention, let them know by linking them to my site!

In Regards to My Social Life

Nothing good happens after 2:00am. Hence me writing this post. It’s come to my attention after this holiday season that I could take or leave all of my extended relatives. Like seriously. I don’t give a shit about what happens to them and with each passing year they give less shits about me. I have nothing in common with them. Being around them is a chore. I’m totally fine never seeing them again. Except maybe my grandmother because she actually puts in effort, and I’d feel bad about not reciprocating that in even the smallest way.

I don’t know if it’s normal to have this kind of anti-social revelation, but I’ve felt this way off and on for a while. The amount of people I actually give a shit about is shockingly low. And even among those people the sudden loss of any of them would only elicit a couple weeks worth of sadness, followed by a return to normality.
It’s been hard to ignore these feelings in light of drama in my friends’ lives. It used to be that I’d try to actively involve myself, providing support, advice, and help whenever I could. Then I had my own shit happen and I mentally couldn’t do that anymore. Now I’m so out of practice that even a night of trying to figure out drama and talking to people depresses and exhausts me. So I decided to stop. To give up. To let them do their thing. If they wanted me in the first place, they would have asked.

And I guess that comes to the true paradox here. I’m well aware that relationships require energy and effort. I’m terrible at that, but when I do try I get nothing in return. So I’ve decided to not even try, making my relationships even more strained.

But fuck it. I look back at high school and realize that I was never as good of friends with those people as I thought I was. I could unfriend them all today and never care again. I’m often asked who my friends or best friends are and I’m tired of answering, especially the latter, with a person who I’m sure doesn’t think the same of me. The only true best friends I’ve ever had I ended up dating. So fuck it.

I’m being selfish, that’s for sure, but why not? That’s what were all doing here, right? College is for learning about yourself, so I’m going to stay in my corner, alone(ish), and figure that out while everyone else pisses about with their high school drama. If being an asshole brings me less stress and mental strife than normalcy, than I guess I’ll be the asshole.

I Had a Son Once

I had a son once. I had a beautiful wife, a decent job, and a big house in the country. It was a small rural town, the kind you find an hour outside any major Midwest city. I worked at the local Cub Foods. It was just down the street from our home. In the spring I’d walk the 15 minutes so I could enjoy the weather. I was the manager. My employees were decent, most of them teens.

My son had blond hair and blue eyes, taking after his mother. He was just your average five year old boy. He acted up every once and awhile, but for the most part he was a good kid. If my wife was busy, I’d take him to work with me. He’d hang out in the employee lounge, chatting with my staff. They liked him.

I don’t know how or when, but he changed. He became nasty, throwing tantrums and destroying the house for no apparent reason. Well, I suppose there was a reason: Kevin told him he should. He talked to Kevin constantly, treating him as if he were real. Catering to this imaginary child’s needs pushed me to the point where even I almost believed he was real.

He had nightmares. He sleepwalked. We researched and thought we were handling it. Then it got worse. I had brought him to work with me and left him in the lounge, per usual. I returned after a half hour and he had destroyed the room. Tables were flipped, papers were ripped and the TV had a gaping hole in the screen. I didn’t even have time to get angry before he pushed me out of his way and ran into the store. It was chaos. He knocked over displays, pushed people aside, stole their food. He cackled and shouted profanities I was pretty sure he’d never heard before. I finally caught up with him and grabbed him. He fought with a strength I didn’t think a five year old could have. After struggling for a few minutes, he fell asleep. We stayed home the rest of the day.

I’m not stupid, a half decade of horror movies told me what was going on, but this is the real world. That stuff isn’t real here, right? Mental illness was likely at fault, so we took him to a psychiatrist. He was always completely normal around doctors, almost unaware of what he’d done and why he was there. At home it was just rage and a constant insistence to go back to my work. He would never explain why, but keep asking and demanding to go to the store. The medication didn’t help.

My wife got bad bruises when our son tried to beat her up in the middle of the night. We started locking him in his room anytime he got in one of his moods. That made our nights slightly more peaceful. Slightly. There were still the screams. One night it was too quiet, so I checked in on him. He was gone. I knew where he was going.

He had made it halfway to the store before I found him. He was just walking alongside the road, without a care in the world. Until I tried to stop him. I grabbed him and demanded to know what he was doing. He fought back, hard, still insisting he had to go to the store. Always the store. He clawed at me with his tiny fingernails and bit with a mouth that still had baby teeth in it. The shadows cast by the moonlight made his eyes look pure black. Every blow hurt, not just physically but emotionally. It had been weeks and we couldn’t keep going like this. He wouldn’t stop. What happened to him? Why was this happening? And he wouldn’t stop going on and on about the stupid fucking store.

Then it happened.

Something snapped inside me. I hit him. Hard. I pinned him to the ground and hit him again.

I had to do this. What other choice did I have? I couldn’t stop, because he wouldn’t stop.

I grabbed a rock. I brought it down on his head. It dented like an egg cracked against a bowl.

I hit him again.

I couldn’t stop.

Again.

Again.

His face was gone.

The son I had raised for five years. My pride, joy, life, and future.

Just a puddle of blood and gore.

I couldn’t stop.

Couldn’t stop.

Can’t stop.

 

Then I woke up.

And I cried for what felt like hours.

So no, I’m never going to have a son. Because I already had one, who I loved so much. It doesn’t matter that he wasn’t real, because, for what felt like a lifetime, he was real to me and my feelings, up until the last moment, were genuine.

And I killed him.

I’m so sorry.

Learn some manners

To the person sitting in the room next to me: Learn some fucking manners. It is monumentally fucking rude to come home without letting your roommates know. I don’t care if it’s a last minute thing, you fucking tell them. So that she and her boyfriend aren’t woken up at 10am, ruining the much needed sleep they should be getting since they were up at 4am. So that the privacy of her own home that she temporarily had isn’t taken away from her suddenly and cruelly by your noisy fucking ass.
Fuck you.
Learn to actually think of others. Get your head out of your fucking ass and learn some fucking manners.
Of course angrily blogging about it isn’t courteous, but fuck it.