STAGE 7 - Why I Draw

A lot of people ask me how long I've been an artist, but rarely am I ever asked how I became an artist. I'm glad they haven't, because it's kind of a sad story. But you know, I figure if it can help one person, just one, who could be in a similar position, then I can deal.

Basically, I've been drawing since I was about five years old. After watching Adam West Batman on Channel 11 one day, I took one of my grandma's notepads, and tried to draw Batman with a pen. The next day, I traced Spider-Man from one of my dad's comics, and began freestyling. I would show them to my grandma, and she was amazed at how a five year old could DO that. (Admittedly, they were kind of good for five.)

Soon after, everyone knew I could draw. And by 'everyone', I do mean everyone. People genuinely enjoyed what I did, and it made me happy. But happy doesn't last too long in my world, and sure enough, people picked on me because I was now a smart AND talented kid and it made them jealous. They would never admit it, but my aptitude got me a lot of attention, as in, it took the attention away from them. Whether in school, or at home, everyone ganged up on me to the point where I wasn't happy anymore.

As smart as I was, I was still a kid, and most people seemed not to realize that. I was an only child living in a project apartment with a bunch of siblings, so I was already an outcast, and it only got worse when everyone else took their frustrations out on me. So all I wanted to do was escape. I did that in two ways: Playing videogames, and that other thing, the drawing.

As covered in my birthday post, my uncle took notice of this and encouraged me to stick with it. So I did. Drawing was that thing I did when everyone left me out of their games. That thing I did when the girls treated me like shit. That thing I did when everyone made fun of me for crying. It was reactionary. I never did it just because I wanted to. I've always had a hyperactive imagination so expressing myself was never a problem, but it felt like I had to bring something to life on paper in order to keep my sanity - a concept a kid shouldn't really be contending with.

With my mom out working all the time, my dad being Q from Third Strike, and my cousins doing everything without me, I spent a lot of time alone drawing. School was no different, because while I had my few friends, life goes on and they'd turn on me to join the populars, so I'd be left alone to draw again. I got better at it only because I had the time to do it.

The true turning point for me and art came in March '96. It's been stated that was the month I created the Rocket comic, but the day I actually did it was the day after my "girlfriend" dumped me for a thug boy in the most extravagant and embarrassing way possible. I didn't DO anything to deserve that, but you know, kids are mean. I've stated many times Rocket was kind of a super-take on myself; That was part of the story. The whole story however, is that I made Rocket to feel good about myself.

Problem here, is that I knew I wasn't a good artist at this point. So I hatched this amazing plan to sell my Rocket comics. If people bought them, I knew I wasn't that bad. And people did, for 25 cents. Quarters, which I would go to the arcade and just play on my own. Being from a lower-class family meant I wasn't seeing a Playstation or a 64 anytime soon, so the video store arcade machine was where I would go at every chance. I didn't just play the games, I absorbed them. Poetry in motion, they taught me colors, clothes, and so much more that a comic couldn't.

After much practice, I began to develop my own style, and my work improved. However, that only emboldened everyone around me to continue picking on me, and this time they went as far as to scribble over my work (Rocket #1), crumple it (Zero #1), or tear it up (Rockets #13-19). At that point, I had to draw in secret, subsequentially hiding the results. So I couldn't find solace in drawing anymore, and I got angrier. I couldn't hide how much I hated everyone, and it was the start of me carrying that rage everywhere I went.

I didn't make a single drawing for a nearly year, but naturally no one noticed except my uncle and grandma. I was mentally through with trying, and in their own ways, they reversed it by reminding me that it was something I loved doing and I let the terrorists win. They were right. Taking that into consideration, I started drawing again a month before my LaGuardia test, and after being accepted, full-time.

I've had my ups and downs since then, but I still draw. I don't take requests, I don't do fanart for established characters, and I never wanted to be a professional illustrator. I draw because it keeps me sane. It's still my escape from people and situations that make me unhappy, which have increased tenfold since the old days. There wasn't a day in college where I didn't have my sketchbook beside my notebook, because productivity is how I deal with well...everything.

The damage people have done to my life has long passed the point of unacceptableness. I'm actually self-conscious enough to know that I tend to expect the worst of all my personal endeavors and I have an extremely low tolerance for stupid people. It causes worry whenever my amazing mental inhibitors look like they're crashing - which is understandable because I don't expect anyone to handle stress to the capacity that I can. But, I think the day anyone should find the time to worry about me is the day I stop illustrating.

The lesson here is. If you like doing something special, then keep doing it. Because when the chips are down, it's your tether to the existence that beget your passion, and it's strength is invaluable.

And right now, that's why I draw.


STAGE 6 - On Behalf of "The Blacks", Fuck Ya'll

So, Obama bagged Bin Laden. That's a victory any way you slice it and fuck hippies, I don't mourn evil. But you know what, this post ain't about that. No, this post is about anger, why I'm still angry, and why my tolerance for ignorance went from 1% to 0%. Why conspiracy theorists, revolutionaries, or whatever imaginary problems bored people with privilege do in this country pay attention to don't mean shit. Fall the fuck back, I'm talking about a real problem: This racism toward black people is officially out-of-hand.

Last week, the President released his long-form birth certificate amidst straight up racism, and I hit my rage point. Insulted. Disrespected. Embarrassed. Disgusted. And if that wasn't enough to infuriate me, I was more upset at the sheer volume of people who couldn't figure out why I felt that way. People who were just skipping through the daisies like shit ain't happen, wondering why I was mad about seeing a President that looks like me being held up like a slave because Republicans can't handle him being there.

That day just reaffirmed how easy so many people have it in this country. How they don't have to think about how the perception of being less-than-human by everyone overt or covert can ruin their day, every day. How they can say shit like we're "post-racial" and actually believe it. How they don't have to worry about their merits being challenged because of their ethnicity. How they can focus on trivial shit and focus on it well. How they don't know that I wish wondering how good a movie was could be the least of my problems.

More importantly, everyone's lack of reflection on President Obama doing what he did reaffirmed just how many people don't care about black people. It ain't just George Bush. I can't count how many situations in my lifetime where despite my stand-up qualities as a person, I've been examined, judged, and written-off by not just white people but almost every non-black group there is. Look no further than a comments section on the Internet if you don't believe that's going on. (And if you don't, then there's no hope for you. Die slow.)

Black people aren't perfect, but for terrible reasons our imperfections are nonsensically exaggerated compared to those of other people - and it's not fair. It's not fair, that we bring SO much to the world (that people steal) and went through so much just to get there, and everyone knows the story but we'll never get any respect. Despite the fact that we are targeted daily with real consequences (see: exclusion, denial, jail, murder, etc.), we're still fighting this same damn fight on our own, and it stretches all the way to the office of the President of the United States.

A President, that's an intellectual such as myself. A President who's done nothing wrong, like myself. A President, who believes in the good people are capable of, like myself. And he's still treated the way he is with no one sticking up for him, which doesn't bode well for the many, many, stand-up black people like me who want to be someone. Yeah, that's what asking for a birth certificate from a black President does, and yeah I said black President. He's half-white, but guess what, he's got enough black in him to open him up for disrespect.

And that's what this is: Disrespect. Not just any old disrespect toward black people, no: This is publicized disrespect. Between pretty much everyone in the GOP, FOX News, Pat Buchanan, Trump, and other racist-ass "contributors" to political discourse in the USA, the media loves giving them attention when it's time to shit on black people. You are not doing us any favors by supplying these blowhards a forum to spout their prejudice, especially when you KNOW they dislike and disrespect our President because he's got African blood in him.

This is the kind of "black people are inferior despite the fact they've done nothing wrong" disrespect that optimistic, hopeful little black boys and girls across America that Wednesday had to be sat down and explained to. That even littler kids who've seen nothing but Barack Obama as President have to endure with a curious skepticism that only a kid with nothing more than a toy and a TV could have. And no one cares about them just as much as they don't care about how the President is being discriminated against.

That's what angers me the most. I'm under no delusion that no matter how far I make it in life, everyone is going to hate me. I can take that. What I can't take, is that there's another generation coming in behind me that's going to be seen as the enemy long before they've had a chance to be a part of the world. Racism is here to stay, but when you can't keep it away from the kids, who have their whole lives ahead of them to make their places, then you've made an enemy out of me. That's when I'm zero tolerance for foolishness.

I'm not what-abouting any other group of people in this. Honestly, if you're not black and you don't know that society cares a LOT more about you than they do me at this age, there's no hope for you. The time for marginalization has ended. Racism will not be tolerated. Prejudice toward my people for what we look like will be met with a much stronger, angrier pushback. If I have a kid one day, I want them to know that when they inevitably learn about our history, they can be damn proud of the fact that another generation didn't lie down for this bullshit.

I don't care how long people have known me, or long visitors have been reading - do not, under any circumstances let the diverse makeup of my friends or romantic interests fool you: I don't forget who I am, and I don't forget my duty to the people who come after me to be better. Dog-whistle racism is out the window - it's live right now, and if you thought I was black before, forget that at your own peril. This ain't a game. Say some ignorant shit in front of me if you want to - you will get bodied. Leave jokes on the stage.

When you can have the best job in the United States of America, the land of "freedom" and "opportunity" and still be viewed through lenses as nothing more than a lucky degenerate unworthy of not only reaching for but grabbing the brass ring, then things have got to change more than ever.

Usually I'm prepared for everything, but I wasn't prepared for just how ugly this racism was going to get. As a young black male with nothing but upside, I gotta roll up the sleeves and show that Barack Obama isn't an anomaly. It's time to go H.A.M. on this 'cism.

So on behalf of "the blacks": Fuck ya'll.

If you're not a part of the solution, you're a part of the problem.

P.S. Give us all our shit back, too.


STAGE 5 - Rap For Dummies (4/13/11)

When rap comes up in conversations with many of my friends from around the world, the reaction is always less-than-positive. At best, I'd get a sincere indifference toward the genre due to a common lack of exposure. At worst, I'd get a hate-filled vitriol the likes of which another genre would receive no such equivalent (e.g. "Rap isn't even music!") With this post, I aim to challenge these attitudes.

I'd venture to say the negativity rap sleeps with has two main sources. The first, being the upbringing of the detractor. The second, being the current state of mainstream rap, which is absolutely soulless and warrants no defense.

So regarding the first, let's be real here: If you're not black or latino, there's a heavy chance you grew up in a home or neighborhood utterly devoid of rap and/or the hip-hop culture. In some cases, it was probably considered unacceptable because of it's roots in the ghetto. A lot of people I talk to cite this as a reason, and that's fine. But to quote Rakim, "It ain't where ya' from, it's where ya' at."

If you're not interested in discovering what you missed during the time rap established itself as a genre (which isn't hard seeing as rap is less than 50 years old) in the name of easy dismissal, then you're not trying, and anyone with half a brain would call you out on it (And if you call yourself a "music lover", shoot yourself.)

So, in a series of installments I'm gonna drop three rap songs to set people straight on the one genre that most people know everything, and yet nothing about:

Not only do I hope ya'll enjoy these, but tell a friend, and do right by music.

Trust me, it works.


STAGE 4 - April 5th > April 2nd

April 5th is a special day to me. It's my uncle Larry's birthday, and it's always three days after mine. But the reason I remember it, is because he was the only thing standing between me and completely wasted potential.

Everyone has their own definition of success in life. Making lots of money, getting famous, blahblahinsertsuperficialreasonhere. I'll tell you flat out, mine is earning the ability to leave the world a better place than it was when I showed up. How? Through the ability to create. It's not something everyone can do, and if I can use it for anything, I want to use it in a way that'll get someone to see good in the world. If I can inspire even one person to do the right thing through my work, I'll be satisfied with what I've done with my time.

It was my uncle who got me to find that path for myself. When I was that little kid who drew on everything, he was the one who actually took interest in the things I drew. He read all of my comics, knew the characters, and encouraged me to keep at it. No matter how crap I thought I was, he inspired me, because that's what heroes do. And that was just my art.

Whenever we spent time together he'd notice my curiosity about the world and instead of giving me the answers, he'd give me clever ways to get to them. When I'd get sick in school, he'd stop whatever he was doing to come and get me out. When I was trying to get my first girlfriend, he was the one who got me to use my skills to reach the goal. When everyone picked on me just to be mean, he was the only person there telling me that I should never be ashamed of who I am. That's the kind of guy he was.

Every positive I have he had a hand in, and I was lucky. Simply put, there aren't many mentors for young black males. No one around to help us transition from fine boys into fine men, and because of that, a lot of us get lost in the shuffle. I didn't know it too well then, but my uncle was my mentor. Whether success or failure, he learned from everything, and he taught me that knowledge is an invaluable thing, because it truly is the power to do anything.

All my life I had someone to look up to, and I turned out a lot better than anyone could have hoped because of it. Brownsville got a lot of the dudes I grew up with, and it either changed them for the worse, or killed them outright. My uncle didn't let the streets get me, and he didn't even have to, but he did anyway because he believed that I had the potential to be somebody one day. So of course I'd go to his apartment and help him clean the place up. Little did I know, it would be the last time I got to talk with him.

He passed away 8 years ago from years of smoking. I was in high school then, and I took it really hard. I started screwing up in ways I didn't even know I could, and no one cared. I let myself down, and by proxy, I let him down. I dealt with it all alone, because no one understood the bond the two of us had, and if no one else gave a fuck, why would I? So I dropped out, because I thought it was all over. Then, something amazing happened: I happened upon a new school a few blocks from that same apartment. I enrolled and finished with flying colors. The rest was history.

People have called me many things: Intelligent. Talented. Modest. Selfless. Funny. Hell, even charming. There's many more, but no matter how many there are, my uncle went out of his way to make them possible. That's why even if I'm not doing too hot right now, I am a walking upside, and even if I have to climb mountains and break barriers alone for the remaining years of my life, I'm going to do it, because I believe in myself like my uncle believed in me.

And when you believe in yourself just a tiny bit, the world can suck as bad it does and you won't falter:

Happy birthday uncle, and thanks for everything.


STAGE 3 - Seven Reasons I Love Sobriety

I don't call myself Straight Edge because I'm not a part of that subculture, but drugs and alcohol are not my thing. They weren't on my radar then, and they never will be in the future. For some people, it's pretty cut and dry. For others, it's a concept beyond comprehension. I don't like taking the risk of discovering what side of the spectrum a person falls on, so if you were to talk to me in the street and the subject comes up, I just say "I have my reasons", because I normally don't have all day to explain.

Today, however, is a different day.

"I have my reasons" is exactly what it says on the tin. I've acquired many reasons over the years, and I'm going to use this space to put ya'll in my shoes. But beforehand, I need to drop a disclaimer for anyone who may feel threatened by the subject matter: Your choice is yours. At the end, I'm going to come back to that, but first, allow me to outline my reasons for not participating:

1. It's an inherently unhealthy practice.

All the excuses in the world cannot change the fact that the human body is not meant to ingest that stuff. That's why it's necessary to put...y'know, warnings on the labels, like they do on any dangerous substance. You don't have to tell me twice that there is extremely little-to-no nutritional value in drugs or alcohol. I made a point to italicize 'extremely' because if I had a dime for every street corner M.D. that tried to spit some bullshit medical benefit my way after I told them I don't drink or do drugs, I'd be a rich guy. It's like, why are you trying to justify your activities to me, of all people? Unless they don't even believe the words coming out of their mouthes, then who the fuck am I? Your choice is yours.

2. I've got better things to do.

There's no other way to say that. To me, it's a waste of free time, and I could find a lot more productive things to do than idle or babysit. I don't expect anyone to be wired like me, but my tendency to do what I want to do with my free time often appears in my productivity (I'm typing this on a Friday night.) I'm often producing things because I choose to use all my time for it. To the general public, it's social suicide, but I've got better things to do than worry about someone thinking I'm a loser - as does the person who chooses to do drugs or drink. It works both ways, but your choice is yours.

3. I'm absolutely sure most people do it because their friends do.

Staying on that ball, peer pressure is a concept that bears no consequence in my personal development - even when society virtually dictates that the consumption of drugs and alcohol is the true mark of an adult. That being said, I bet the bank that both would lose a considerable amount of appeal if your nearest social circle decided to just up and quit one day. Crazy, right? Not so much. If the stuff is so great, why is it so taboo when done alone? Even those responsible enough to drink or smoke in moderation are less than enthusiastic to get drunk or high alone. But whatever, your choice is yours.

4. Nine times out of ten, losing control ain't worth it.

Spinning off the penultimate sentence above, I do believe alcohol is the next best thing to a truth serum. It eliminates inhibitions (or bullshit, depending on your way of life) and grants people the balls to say and do what they would otherwise have the mind not to, with the safeguard of amnesia. That being said, the social and physical consequences of doing something absolutely stupid while drunk is often not worth the story. For me, it's more the latter than the former, because I foolishly speak my mind and I'm low on secrets. Drugs though...Jesus, the dumb shit people do hopped up on drugs is enough of a deterrent. But whatever, your choice is yours.

5. Solving a problem with a problem remains a phenomenally bad idea.

This is where drugs and alcohol become less of a social thing and more of a social issue. To drink and smoke because you can't deal with a problem is a real weakness, and everyone knows it. It leads to addiction, which you have no chance of diagnosing if you have no one in your life to set you straight. One too many times I've seen so-called "friends" become enablers for their own enjoyment, and pressure whoever's vulnerable into the pit with them. Then when that addiction inevitably spirals out of control, they're nowhere to be found - but drugs and booze can. Your choice is yours, but a strong person deals.

6. Here today, gone tomorrow.

The reasons listed thus far are more logical than personal, but these next two will certainly deviate. Simply put, I've lost more people to drugs and alcohol than I can count. If the warning labels weren't enough, they pale in comparison to seeing your loved ones in caskets far before their time. Whether family or friend, it was painful to watch them suffer so much in the last years of their lives because of the afflictions associated with consuming that stuff for too long. Once lovely, lively people transforming into sickly, worn-out husks. And if you were really unlucky, they'd feel the need to share their pain and suffering with everyone around them. Nor man, woman, or child, is immune to the effects of drugs or alcohol, and I have a conscience that tells me I'm capable of fucking up enough as is.

7. The future.

And that brings me to the biggest reason of all: The future. As previously alluded to, "unhealthy" is shorthand for "die faster", and as someone who often thinks in the long-term, that's counterproductive. We all gotta go one day, but I can't die knowing that I put my life on fast-forward to be socially acceptable the end. Whether we like it or not, we all become role models for what to do and what not to do in life, and the last thing I want to do is give anyone who comes after me an extra avenue to blow it. Because at the end of the day, that's all drugs and alcohol is: an extra in life. It's not required, and no one should run the risk of feeling that way.

Like I've been saying, your choice is yours. These facts and observations have been enough for me to make my choice not to drink, smoke, or do drugs in any fashion. I've run the gamut from the illogical to the personal, and these are my reasons and mine alone. Whether anyone agrees or disagrees is completely irrelevant to me.

But what is relevant to me, is that my decision be respected, in the same way I respect the decisions of the many people in my life who chose to do drugs or alcohol. And if you're reading this as someone who partakes in these activities, heaven knows I have enough problems on my own so I'm not better than you, and you're not better than me, so let's keep the horses in the stables. This isn't a conviction post.

It's a big principle of mine and I've gone to unbelievable lengths to retain it, so now that you all know it from top to bottom, do me a favor and stay above the influence of asking me.


STAGE 2 - What Do YOU Do?

"What do you do?"

A question that you've probably asked or received in your lifetime. A question, that I think when answered, says quite a lot about the recipient. So the researcher in me decided to do a batteries-in-the-freezer ghetto study, and these were a few of my findings:

Asker: "What do you do?"
Person A:
"I'm [Insert occupation here] at [Insert establishment here]."

Ah, the vintage answer to the question: This is how I make money. Fair answer; We live in a society that lives and dies by status, and that manifests itself in the way we treat people according to their occupation. So when posed with this question, many people choose to define themselves by what they do for a living. That being said, in my opinion Person A is unconsciously saying: "I hope to God this impresses you off the bat because I am a really boring person."

Asker: "What do you do?"
Person B:
"I [Insert generic activities here]."

"Generic activities" is a tricky term, so let me lay it out. If you've ever heard anyone say something along the lines of "I go to parties", "I listen to music", or "I watch [show]", then congratulations: You've identified a generic activity. However, Person B scores more points than Person A with their answer for the simple fact that they are not trying to impress anyone. This is a safe, simple declaration of interests, and I find that more respectable than a sentient resume.

Asker: "What do you do?"
Person C:
"I [Insert talent/talents here]."

Now we are moving out of average territory. The person who snaps into their talent set without certain words (more on that next) isn't trying to impress, and they want you to know that. Person C is not like Person A or B, and they'd rather you know it sooner rather than later because what they do is uncommon. Though it's a good one, the downside to this answer is that it can come off like Person C is trying to impress, which means their delivery is also important. The more nonchalant the delivery, the less of a factor impression truly is.

Asker: "What do you do?"
Person D:
"I'm an [Insert talent/talents here]."

Remember that bit about certain words in the previous paragraph? That's because despite the similarities, Person D is the red to Person C's blue. This person is actively trying to impress the asker, which is warranted if they have a passion for whatever talent they have. But by using "I'm an" in their answer, Person D is defining him/herself by their talents - which makes this the riskiest answer. On one end, you may be the red-nosed reindeer. On the other, you may be the Green Ranger.

Asker: "What do you do?"
Person E:
"As iiin...?"

What sets Person E apart from all the rest, is that they've got this thing figured out from jump street. The quintessential answer to "What do you do?" is the ability to navigate the fog of your ego well enough to discover "What do you do?" is a vague fucking question. This forces the asker to go into specifics, ergo, getting you straight to the point without a tinge of the risk (a.k.a. the coveted post-bullshit zone). Thus Person E has not just the safest answer, but the smartest.

So, here's a recap of this analysis:
Person A: You may be piloting that Gundam, but you didn't build it.
Person B: "I am, therefore I don't have to think" ain't a good look, b.
Person C: Confidence is a two-way street.
Person D: Charisma is a two-way street.
Person E: Scouting the perimeter is an advanced strategy - know it.

Amazing how a simple question can take you to the next level, huh? Well, hopefully the next person to ask "What do you do?" doesn't have my thought pattern, because the people who are usually in the position to ask tend to be the only thing standing between you and justifiable irrelevance.

Think about it.


STAGE 1 - Maybe You Noticed

I've taken the liberty of reviving this thing. Sorry, but I don't fit in a world where thoughts are seemingly incapable of exceeding 140 characters.

What brought this on? Well, I'm doing this during a nearly 10-month losing streak: May: Lost my job. June: Knee degenerates. July: Other knee follows. August: Lost my fall semester. September: Woman uses me. October: Stuck in unnecessary program. November: See September. December: Death pays a visit. January: Lost my academic career. February: Crush two fingers in a freak accident.

I dealt with that alone.

Why am I making a point about loneliness? Picture this: Your family you see everyday? They don't exist. The long-term group of people you call friends? See them twice a year. That significant other who keeps you in the game through thick and thin? Never in your lifetime.

Miraculously, I'm still a functioning person (suck it Gibson), but apparently enduring 10 months of fail alone without a strong support system is extremely unhealthy, and one afternoon while raiding the fridge I collapsed. The good news? I regained consciousness in time for Archer.

Sounds bad? Well it's worse when no one knows you're a member of a certain 20% of the human population - including you. At least y'know, until now.

For those unable/too lazy to click that link, I learned from a professional that I'm an HSP - a highly sensitive person. Means that my brain is the organic equivalent of a supercomputer, everytime. Awesome, right?

Well, it is. Allow me to make an example: If you've ever seen my music collection, you'd know that the archive is pushing 10,000 songs and most of them are purely instrumental. But what you don't know, is that I can thoroughly identify every single one from a simple excerpt (try me out next time). Yet, I can't tell you what I ate three days ago.

Being an HSP doesn't make you a genius - it just turns your neurological senses all the way up to 11, as the name implies. As demonstrated by the example, and possibly vouched for by many people, I think in an obviously derivative way, but not in that "why are you walking around without a strait jacket" way. Been that way all my life, to great success, and also great failure.

And that brings me to the big downside of being an HSP: You feel everything very, very deeply. "Everything?" Everything. Again, as the name implies, I am highly sensitive. Doesn't mean I'm walking around with a Kleenex every five minutes, but it does mean that when things go wrong, I don't just know they went wrong - I feel they went wrong. And let me tell you - it's crippling.

It brings me back to dealing with failure alone. As someone who can't stop thinking intensely, being alone kicks it into overdrive in a way that feels like aggravated assault. I don't make a habit of complaining because it relies on two things: 1) My ability to convey the intensity of my feelings, and 2) The capacity of understanding in another person, which is often lacking.

Since those two things are oil and water, I unwisely/inevitably opt to hold it all in, and if my frustrations are unaddressed like they always are, my brain gets overloaded and it crashes. That is why a trip to the fridge suddenly turned into hours of unconsciousness. It was the first time in almost three years that happened, because I had been relatively content recently.

So when I finally got up, I realized that I spent the past month being a hub for intensely negative thoughts, and I decided on the spot to isolate myself in a familiar, welcoming environment for a month: Playing stuff online with the crew, exclusively. That meant I wasn't using Facebook, answering my phone, using IMs, or trying to contact anybody who's seen me in person.

During that time, my fingers healed (which actually made doing the things I love to do easier) but I wasn't ready for that stuff still. I didn't want to hear relatively happy people be happy because all that does is make me feel worse. Involuntary over-feeling leads to involuntary over-absorbing, and I think I have enough people trying to kick me while I'm down.

But like most things, it can't last forever. As fun and stress-relieving as playing a bunch of rounds with my international gang is, I still have to face the rest of the world. The world, that I still feel sees me as nothing more than a utility. The world that quite frankly, I feel can be a little more evenly distributed in terms of how much I enjoy being in it.

That will not come overnight, and that will certainly be challenged time and time again by people, but right now, I believe that I am on my own this time for a reason. Not because of other people, but because of me, and I am going to use this space to assist me in my never-ending quest for happiness.

That being said, expect more engaging posts here. It should be recognized that my ability to reflect on myself won't be a regular feature, but this one had to be done, so don't get used to it.

Here goes nothing!