Fingers Crossed

I got a new job this week. Full-time, decent pay, and so far… I don’t hate it. I actually like it enough that I’m looking forward to learning more things and having more to do. Moreover, it’s a nice little office job with a consistent schedule and all weekends off.

My last job was at a call center. And it was a nightmare. I hated constantly dealing with people and having no escape. I hated not knowing from week to week what my schedule would be. I hated being told to work nights (which I never wanted in the first place, but wasn’t allowed to change) and having to pay ten dollars’ parking for the privilege. I also hated taking the bus. I especially hated never knowing which phone call would be That One Customer with the horrible attitude who sent me back to being a helpless little girl whose drunken father screamed at her and wouldn’t leave her alone. (Fun Fact: one “nasty customer” incident was so bad I actually blacked out.) My co-workers were nice enough, but everything else… NO.

My new job is so different in every possible way, so much so it’s almost like part of the reason I got my last job was to help me appreciate this one. A bad day at my current job would still be better than a good day at my old one. And yes, it pays better, too.

If this entry seems a little all-over-the-place, that’s because it’s how I’m feeling. I’m just not used to things going well to such an extent and I’m not sure what to do with myself. I can have a routine now. I’ll have all the money I need to get the stuff I want. And even if I grumble a bit about waking up early, actually being at work at this job is something I don’t mind. Me with a decent income, a satisfying job, and some kind of working treatment for my depression/anxiety issues…. That’s never happened before. I know I should just be happy about it, but it feels so strange. Like part of me doesn’t believe it and may not for a long time and at the same time, I sort of believe it and have no idea what to do.

I still want to work on games. And that novel that’s been long-neglected. My creativity is part of who I am. I’m just (again) in this weird state of quasi-disbelief right now and the last month has been soveryunusual. I’ve never asked myself “What do I want? And where do I go from here?” from this vantage point before. A point where “Keep making stuff and pray for a miracle” doesn’t feel like my last hope and I’m not required to live in quiet desperation.

Having the option to Make Stuff again just because I want to. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that. A very long time indeed.


One Week in Dreamland

My boyfriend stayed with me all last week. It was our first time meeting in person after countless Twitter and Skype chats over many months. Also, a full week is the longest I’ve ever voluntarily had anyone stay with me. Since I hadn’t even had company in ages (much less the overnight kind), I was worried before he got here that it might be a bit much. But once he was actually here and we were spending time together, it didn’t seem like nearly enough.

I’ve never been in love before, not really. There were times when, not having been exposed to all that much, I mistook just being grateful to someone for being in love with them or mistook passion-feelings for love and both created problems. But this…. It’s different. There was no apprehension at all when we saw each other and pretty much everything felt really natural and right. I don’t need to contort who I am to fit his expectations, which is (unfortunately) kind of a new thing for me; we just seem to accept What Is and grow from where we are.

Of course, all this loveliness wasn’t the greatest thing in the world for me getting [practical] stuff done last week since I was kind of busy. ;p And I miss waking up next to him like I did for six wonderful mornings, so it’s kind of an adjustment getting back to the real world. But the time we had together (which I hope for more of in the future) was definitely necessary.

In getting my apartment ready for him, I also wound up making it look more inviting in general. Stuff that was just sitting on other stuff is in now its own little storage areas, which I only put up then. All the old junk is cleared out. Knick-knacks are nicely displayed in places where whoever comes in can see them right away.  The formerly bare living room walls even have pictures on them to make them look less sterile. It’s as if the person who lives here actually wants guests, which made me think about real-life friends and having people over. Before I spent those 3-4 days clearing out, dusting off and rearranging stuff, I wouldn’t even consider it.

In spending time with him live and in person, it became easier for me to believe that I really am acceptable. That maybe I don’t have to be a perfect, compliant porcelain doll for anyone to love me and that I can still be loved when my life is messy. And that even when I feel ugly, others can find me beautiful. And desirable.

And, of course, one week without pressuring myself to do X or Y VERY IMPORTANT THING makes me feel kind of rejuvenated for facing the world again.

It’s funny how allowing  just one person — the right person — into your life completely can make the world a little less scary. Maybe there’s more for me out there; maybe it’s not all bad.


Things Remembered

There are certain things I miss from when I wasn’t working. Not the constant sluggishness and untreated depression/anxiety, but certain little rituals that always gave me moments of happiness in spite of everything else.

One thing is working out every day. Having real, vigorous workouts that left me tired and sweaty and feeling just a bit nicer for knowing I’d done something good for myself (and for my girlish figure). Nowadays, I do take a brisk walk during my breaks and lunches, but it’s nowhere near the same. Yes, it’s exercise, but it doesn’t have that sense of accomplishment. And it isn’t so much doing this one special thing for me as desperately needing to escape the office for a while.

Another, perhaps even bigger thing is that I miss cooking. I miss having home-cooked meals every day. I miss trying out new recipes. I miss how every Saturday, I’d cook some extra-special meal. And I miss how often I took pictures of what I made. But since I started working and because my schedule can be so haphazard, it’s been hard to find the energy or feel like I have the time — which, when I have to work into the night, I actually don’t. My current job (to put it mildly) is draining. After I get home from it, I usually don’t have much left other than the anxiety of knowing I’ll have the go back. My main impulse is to “hoard” all the time that I’m not there. Or to wonder “What’s the point of getting into anything pleasant? The feeling will just get ruined as soon as it’s time to go to work.” Which, ironically, might be making things even worse.

Today, I reclaimed one small part of my former world. I decided I’m making baked brie (a small one) for dinner tomorrow. And I’m going to try something new with flavoring popcorn: I bought a pepper mill and a little grinder full of Himalayan pink salt. When I got home and put those on the shelf and just looked at them for a while, remembering all those recipes and thinking of this snack experiment I’m so looking forward to… I actually cried. Funny how something so little can unexpectedly mean so much.

Here’s hoping my next day job at least has a regular schedule. I need some of my old routine back. I need it so much.


Where Things Are Now

I haven’t written here since getting my new job. I’m still thankful to be employed, but I’d be lying if I said I enjoy the job itself. Even when you want desperately to make the adjustment, customer service is probably the absolute worst job possible for an introverted person with depression and anxiety issues. I might go into more detail once my contract is up (assuming I make it that long), but since I need the money, I’ll leave it at that for now.

I hope there’s something better waiting on the other side. The idea of that does a lot to keep me going. But this “pay the bills” work is taking its toll; it’s really hard sometimes to find the energy to do what I want/need to do when so much of it is spent dreading the next work day and knowing as soon as I really get into doing thing-I-love, my time off will be over and it’s back to the real world. So I guess in some ways, I’m right back where I started.

Though I have to say actually writing that out makes me feel somewhat better. Maybe part of what’s made it all so draining is trying too hard to convince myself it’s really not that bad.

When I can, though, I’m going to keep working on my games. I have one underway right now that I think has a lot of potential–assuming it turns out half as cool as it looks in my head. :p I also have two novels in mind. One, an idea I’ve been toying with on an off for over a year now; the other, something that I wrote some time ago, but now I wonder if I might’ve been writing towards the wrong genre. (My favorite genre is science fiction. Horror is a close second. For the most part, I don’t like fantasy except for Harry Potter. So trying to write urban fantasy (however popular it is) was probably a bad idea, but rewriting it as straight-up horror… might not be.) And at the request of someone special, I have a comic to draw, so be on the lookout for that. I just need to figure out what said comic should be. And I have a Patreon under construction. I’m not sure where it’ll lead, but I want it to be there when I feel the time is right.

I’d also like to get back into writing personal blog stuff sometimes. :) There are definitely topics I’d like to discuss; I think I just needed to get this post out of the way.

Anyway, that’s where things are now. Here’s hoping there are better things to come.


New Job; Changing World

I probably should’ve posted something about this earlier, but… I have a new job. I start work next week. It’s an office job (nothing fancy, but it is a job) and pays enough for me to have something like a life.

For a long time, I doubted it was even possible for me to get a steady job. I wasn’t even getting interviews, much less anything else. I even gave up and quit looking for a while. Now it seems like out of the blue, things have turned around.

I have a lot of feelings about this. The first is a sense that this really IS the start of a new life for me. From now on (and especially once I’ve tied up some loose ends), I can think of all the money-related misery I’ve dealt with as part of the past. And not just because of this job, either. I think that’s just step one.

Without that particular thing weighing me down so much, it’ll probably be easier in a way for me to make progress with my creative stuff like writing and game design. Yes, I’ll have to learn to work with a new schedule, but not having 50-90% of my day eaten up with wondering how I’ll pay the rent can only help my focus. And with money, I’ll be able to by some new game-making tools.

And… I’ll no longer feel so ashamed to be around other people. I won’t have to be “That friend who can’t afford to pay for lunch”–a situation I avoided by just not making friends. If I want, I’ll be able to see movies other people see instead of maybe (if I’m lucky) going to see one once a year. I might even be able to buy a current game console.

I think it’s all still sinking in right now. After so long with so few options, so much is opening up. For so long, I’ve dreamed that something like this would finally happen. And it is. Maybe that means it’s safe to believe I can attain bigger dreams.


Uncluttered

I took care of some things yesterday that I’d been putting off. Tedious, unpleasant but rather important things like taxes and healthcare options. For the last couple of weeks or so, I had been lethargic and quietly miserable; I couldn’t seem to get much done without it being a struggle.

A few hours after I did all that (which took up most of the day), I suddenly felt amazing. I wanted to do all sorts of things, both practical and creative, and some “just for fun” type things of whatever sort: catch up on writing in my personal blog, spending some quality time online with someone very special, enjoy some video games, get back to work full force on making video games, sundry household chores….

Oh, yes. Household chores. This is about household chores. Namely how my weekly taking out the trash turned into something symbolic.

It started with just that: taking out the trash. Then I thought, “Hey, why stop there? It’s way past time to clear out all this junk.”

So I got to sorting through all sorts of paper stuff that had been accumulating wherever, mostly junk mail and magazines (for some reason, they seem to send me ALL of the sample subscriptions), anything that was bothering me and had no reason to be there. And I shredded up old bills and threw those out, too.

It was a lot of work. It took me well over an hour. But in the end, that stuff was gone and I felt strangely lighter. Like I was cleaning out more than old trash: maybe I was cleaning out some mental clutter, too.

That industrious feeling is still with me now, as evidenced by the fact I put up this new blog entry today. Hopefully, it really IS out with the old and in with something much better.


X-Post: My First Game Jam

[Crossposted from my Games site.]

[You can play the game I made here.]

Last night, I finished my first game that I made as part of a game jam. Well, not finished, exactly; more like managed to put together something serviceable that kind of makes sense, even if I didn’t get to do nearly as much I wanted to with it. Anyway, the game jam in question was the Cyberpunk Jam. All the games are listed here. And I have to say it was an interesting experience.

[Read the Rest]