Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm so 20-something

I just realized that before my post yesterday, I hadn’t done anything with this blog in over six months. A lot has gone on since then, not the least of which was my impulsive move to Minneapolis in pursuit of comedy adventures.

It’s not unusual for blogs to get cold after a young writer like myself either runs out of ideas or ambition. I’d like to think that I am an exception to many of the things that plague my generation at large, but that just wouldn’t be honest. I am working a job that has nothing to do with the degree that I have, I am no good with money and I complain about the incredible piece of technology that is my cell phone. But, worst of all, I am a moper.

It’s been something I’ve had to fight my entire life. I just have this negative attitude towards everything that does not seem to mesh well with my attempt at overall nice-guyness. I don’t know what you optimists have been doing this entire time that makes you think that everything is going to work out all the time, but clearly while you were doing that I was preoccupied with reality. I have never been able to see the bright side of anything.

I believe that this is many ways due to my background as an athlete. I’ve discussed on this blog before about how I’ve grown since my days as a concussion seeking, muscle bound football player. There was a time in my life that my dream was to go play professional football. I’ve gotten to the point now that any more than 10 minutes of pregame football commentary and I start having overwhelming suicidal thoughts caused by the shame of knowing that at one point I probably sounded like these chimpanzees. But that’s beside the point.

When you play a sport, and take it seriously, as we were all required to at the college level, you have to watch a lot of film of yourself playing. Everything you do in practice and in games is recorded and analyzed by the coaching staff. So, every time I would make a mistake, which was nearly every play, I would have to watch it over and over again in a room full of my peers and a disappointed coach. Every time I stepped six inches to the left when I should have stepped right, that misstep was rewound, and replayed dozens of times with the coach repeating the same criticism in a different way every few seconds.

Part of a coach’s job is to be hard on their players, I totally understand that. And there are some people that are cut out for this kind of redundant scrutiny, and right now they are probably calling me a baby as they admire how great their biceps look in their sleeveless t-shirt. But I just wasn’t meant to put up with that any longer.

So now, when I make a mistake, whether it’s at work or on stage or anywhere else, my mind goes back to that film room, replaying that mistake until I’m so overcome with anxiety and shame that I lose all perspective of how insignificant that mistake is. The other day, I got lost trying to get somewhere in my car. I ended up having to turn into a parking lot to get turned around. I ended up driving the wrong way down one of the parking lot lanes and having a frantic hand gesture fight with a woman in a Kia Soul.

I was flustered, and starting to sweat, and found myself repeating the phrase “you’re dumber than a parking lot” out loud in my car. This, or something just like it, happens at least a few times a week. It’s this harsh negativity that weighs me down in everything I try to accomplish.

“This joke sucks, don’t even bother finishing it.”
“That open mic sucks, don’t even bother going to it.”
“The expiration date on this sour cream is three days ago… fuck it.”

You may be wondering how that last thought could fit in that same stream of consciousness, but believe me, it does. The only time I consistently feel optimistic in life is when I’m convincing myself I’m not going to get some horrible virus from food I shouldn’t eat.

I, like many so other people, am seeking to become a better version of myself. And convincing myself that I’m less competent than whatever inanimate object I’m frustrated with at the time is not helping me achieve that. My shortcomings are not going to be made up for by spending all my time thinking about the problems themselves. At some point, I’m going to have to get out of the film room, and start finding solutions.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sick. Sulking. And sober... mostly.

I don’t know what I intend this to be, but I know that what I’ve been doing lately to fight off this feeling I have in my stomach hasn’t worked. That sinking, horrible feeling when you start to think “things really might not be okay.”

Is this sounding like a suicide note yet? Good. Most everything I write starts that way. Perhaps it’s because the only time I ever get the urge to write is when I’m feeling like this and suddenly want to feel like I’m having some slow motion cathartic moment in a David Foster Wallace novel. I am writing this on my laptop. My big, expensive desktop has been put on timeout in another room. After one too many games of “DOTA 2” that ended with an embarrassing score, and the temptation to jam a fork in my eye, I shut down my computer and instantly started unplugging everything on the back of the machine. I was not mad. I have thrown more than my fair share of video game induced temper tantrums in my lifetime. This was different. This was something I knew I had to do, and this time it has to stick. Because at this point in my life, the very best title I’ve achieved is an open mic comedian and a writer who doesn’t write.

So, the computer has been moved to the other side of the hallway, I forced myself to do it knowing full well that I won’t have the inspiration to climb under my desk to reconnect all those cords again anytime soon. I’ve only just started on this weird little power trip, and my first move was to use my laziness as a weapon against my own laziness. I think there is a quote from the Buddha that would apply here, but I’m not sure if this shitty old laptop has the processing power to handle looking something up on Wikipedia, so I’ll leave the fat guy out of this for now.
Video games used to be something I really enjoyed doing, lately they’ve felt a bit more like a crippling vice, and an overall soul suck of a hobby. And it’s only been just recently how much I’ve allowed them to have a genuinely negative effect on my personal life and psyche. While I don’t expect this hiatus to last any profound amount of time, there is just absolutely no way I will be able to become an adult any time soon if I continue to live the way that I do. Video games are certainly not the sole culprit in my distraction and laziness, but if my unproductive habits were Batman villains, video games would be The Joker. That metaphor sucks. 

I’ve come down with a gross, mucusy cold now. Probably because my diet is terrible, I don’t exercise, and I’d say I wash my hands about 30% of the time that I should. Nearly all of my problems are created by me, and yet I find myself too often unable or unwilling to find solutions from the same source. 

So what is all this for? Am I just pettily bitching in angst in hopes that the internet will feel bad for me? Well, yes. I’m the middle child, everyone should always be looking at me, I’m special. But really I just want to be able to go to sleep tonight with the mild satisfaction of having actually created something. This is no proclamation or belated new years resolution. This will not pay off my student debt, clean the litter box, or make my face stop leaking. But tomorrow I will wake up. I will write. And if I cannot write, I will read. God damn it, I will be interesting.