Category Archives: Writing

Bring Me Home

Still living in a world without you…

 

The darkness still sits inside me. I think I’m over it… I thought I was over it. But it’s like the ghosts – the demons – still live inside me, and I don’t know why. It’s over – it’s been over for such a long time. So why am I still afraid?

The pain still feels like it’s tearing through me – but it’s been more than a decade since the knives sliced through my heart. I still feel like I’m there, feeling every stab and tear, feeling every word and tormenting ache. I feel like I never moved on.

Ten years since I left the pain; nearly thirty years since it started. So why does it still haunt me so? What is my exorcism to be, so I can finally leave it behind?

I know… It’s my life – it’s real, it’s true, it’s mine. I cannot run away from it. I don’t want to – not really. I want to learn from it, mature from it, be a better person for it. Instead I am burdened and tormented by it. But where it should be left is in the past. It has no place in the present. It has no place in my heart. The only place it has is in my history – and it’s been and gone and done with.

You’d think I’d be simply relieved it’s been and gone and done with. So why aren’t I? Why am I hoarding this poisonous toxin of agony to the point where it’s killing me? The residue of my past sticks to me and it feels like there’s no getting rid of it. I seem to have a personality incompatible with getting through this – obsessive, intense, analytical, introverted and socially inept… It’s not a constructive character to be able to bounce away from being dragged through Hell and expected to function well afterwards – especially when functioning wasn’t an easy thing to do in the first place.

But in attempting to get away from these “character flaws” (as I’ve seen them) I’ve attempted (on so many occasions) to mask them – be something I’m not. Without accepting what I am, and attempting to realistically modify myself and grow appropriately – without hiding behind smokescreens of fake interests. The only identity I seem to know is “Victim/Survivor”… So I suppose on some level it’s no wonder I continue to “fake” personalities.

…So is it strange I feel like I fluctuate between being super-obsessive and bossy – actually, dementedly overbearing – and slinking into a bland nothing of no opinion whatsoever, trying to be nothing but agreeable? I can’t find the middle-ground, where I feel I’m allowed my personality, my opinion, but I’m also laid-back about things. I have little – no – social skills… I struggle with interaction and guess what the “right” thing to do is – and I can’t seem to learn. I don’t really know how to behave around people.

 

There’s a part of my brain that says, not worry about it – it’s just who I am and if I want to learn, then I need to just be comfortable with this fact and then I  have a platform to learn from. I suppose by that, I mean that if I’m not willing to accept who (or what) I am, then I can’t really ever learn to expand on what I am. Instead I keep pasting over faked attempts at pretending to be like other people. And I’m not. A fact that frightens some intense part of my brain. I was bulled from the first time I walked into Playgroup because I was socially inept, different, quiet, academic. The kids started first, then from Primary the teachers enjoyed joining in. Openly so. It was not a pleasant experience, and I think – I strongly suspect – this is the reason I am too scared to be myself. It’s a little overwhelming when people are responding so negatively to you for who you are.

I know on some fundamental level what I am – but I suspect an equal fundamental problem is that I’m afraid of it. No, I’m not horrible or evil. That’s not why… It’s because I’ve always known (I suppose the right word is “suspected”, because I’ve never had it actually confirmed) that the reason for my lifelong torment at the hands of others. I think I’ve just got to the point where I simply rely on reacting to what’s going on, hiding myself behind it.

I’m somewhat scared I don’t even have a personality anymore – not a core one. I worry I never even had one in the first place. I’m scattered everywhere, stretching myself over so many things. I’m not sure what I truly like, what I’m good at, what I can do – and what I shouldn’t do. I feel like a chameleon without a home – just changing all the time, with rapidly-changing background to sync to. I’m exhausted from it. I just want to be “me”. Whatever that is.

But I feel – somewhere – like I do have a home. That I could have a home. A real sense of my own self… But it’s hidden. Like the centre of a horribly complicated maze. Trapped within the ruins of my life; the ashes of what has been. The fires of Hell long burned out within me, but has left nothing but rubble and ruins. I stand in those ruins, looking around me, wondering what’s become of me – of my life. My existence. Am I building or rebuilding? Am I creating a whole new life or am I having to create one from scratch, because I was too young when the fires started burning to have started one in the first place?

 

At end of all this, I just want me… Myself. Something that’s really real and genuine within me. I feel like dropping down, calling up and begging to be set free from myself and my questions, my torments. I feel like calling out Please Bring Me Home To Myself. 

 

 

2013-01-13 22.01.23


Starting Over & Changing The Game

 

The hard work begins here…. I have started on this (long?) road of my training with Chapterhouse Publishing’s course in Copy Editing and Proofreading, and I have just enrolled.

I will be waiting for the manuals with the tools of the trade I feel already quite familiar with to arrive, so I will finally learn the “proper” ways of doing it that other people will be requiring from me.

Working with Cat is always really straightforward – she’s a good writer and writes fairly short articles, which she then just emails to me and I edit on MS Word – or Google Docs, if I need easier online access. The mistakes are usually minor and quickly rectified, and the articles are always interesting and entertaining to read. All bonuses when it comes to these things! I rather think it will not be quite so easy when it comes to doing it professionally, though…

I am aware that a lot of copy-editing is still done on paper and requires specialist correction techniques so as those who receive the edited copy can adjust the writing accordingly. It’s learning this skill that will be important, but will also make editing much less straightforward than the way I edit Cat’s writing. Other than that I’ve had the experience of editing and proofreading copies for years, for so many things, so I think I’m ready for it!

What I am looking forward to (in the – hopefully – not-too-distant-future) is attaching my natural fascination and acquired skills with IT and programming to the learning how VBAs and analytical tools can be used to assist with editing. The SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders) runs courses on these skills – as well as specific website editing courses – and it’s something I’m looking forward to doing when I’ve gained the relevant skills to apply for them.

I’m not really naturally inclined to handle paper – electronic and virtual things are much easier to use, manipulate, and don’t clog up space, and they also much more fun to play with. For me, it was the final pro-point to trying to start this up as a career, as I could “geek-it-up” and continue to use my IT skills with it, and learn new ones too – a huge bonus. I would love my main focus to be with on-screen editing, website editing, and using programs and software to help me do this job to.

My original dilemma was that I didn’t want to leave the geek-world of IT behind for “traditional” non-IT work. The only “old-fashioned” thing I embrace is reading real books – as in ones made of paper, not Kindles. After reading that these skills were becoming core skills, and were being coveted by the “clients”, I was finally convinced that I would be quite happy slowly transferring my career into this industry. 


After reading there were even specialist courses on doing these things, it was the final tick for my boxes, and now I’m excited about learning how IT programming and analytical tools can be applied to copy-editing. I will also enjoy this, as it will then mean I can still use my “toys” (IT software and programs) to work – something I would have sorely missed if they weren’t the way forward in this industry. 


To be honest, if I hadn’t read about them, I would never have even really considered it as a serious option as a possible future career. Now I realise how I can finally mesh all my passions together to do one pretty interesting job – and I will be really focusing on getting on with the training, and honing transferable skills I already have to something I pretty much to anyway.

I would also love to put these to good use within the IT or gaming industries – editing and proofreading for game writers or IT manuals… But that’s for the future. I’m still putting it down as a goal though!


For the first time, I may be genuinely looking forward to the future… 


New Ventures

I have decided to simply comemorate the eve of my journey into a new, yet still slightly familiar, career path. I have spent the evening beginning the skeleton concept for a site, and I will soon be learning how to hone my skills of editing and proofreading in a more professional capacity.

 

I’ve been working to try and make this something I can be proud of, and I mean to start as I go on. Because I’ve remained silent on the issue since it’s been playing in my head, this probably seems quite a surprise to some, although  I think anyone who truly knows me, my character and my interests would know that it was a rather obvious progression for me. 

I have also spent the evening editing (in my current “informal” capacity) more of Cat’s requirements – this time her Canadian CV. The travel writer is currently in Canada for at least a year and looking to make a few dollars with the odd administrative job as she finds various things to write about. She’s already written two or three articles having been out there, and managed to score herself a complimentary trip on an expensive 30-hour cross-country train journey in return for a good write-up – and I can confidently say it was a very good write-up that she gave them, too. I already wish I had had the time and money to go and take the same trip myself – it sounded pretty amazing!


I hope to also document my journey, the published work that I have edited for Cat, and my progression throughout my coursework and beyond. I know I will enjoy it – because I already do…



Finding Futures…

I’ve always been a geek… A book-worm, book-writer, game-lover and loner. As a toddler and young nipper, my real best friend was my Daddy and we played together for hours every day – sometimes with nothing but our own extensive and vibrant imaginations. I was myself and I didn’t question myself. They were good days, and I revelled in being exactly who I was – warts and all.
 


But that just wasn’t OK with my childish peer-group (and in fairness, we were all children…). Since I stepped into the permanent company of others, I’ve been slowly trying to hide myself and my nature. Unfortunately, for this loner, I had to start school, and I slowly but surely disappeared, trying to turn into a ghost of nothing to avoid teasing, jeers, and out-and-out bullying… From the young students and the teachers.
 


In trying to fit in, get along, and “manage” in this world, I’ve made some lunatic mistakes – including attempting to take my education and career towards nursing. It took a few rather horrific incidents and one wonderful woman (as well as the support of long-suffering parents) to start me on a different path – and I somehow managed to land myself in IT. Much to my relief. The silent geek in me breathed a sigh of relief and clearly hoped that one day it would be let out of its carefully-crafted cage of silence.
 


Gaming was my first real foray back to that part of me, outside being overtly Goth and pagan. I realise I’ve always been a gamer – not a computer one (I had to wait for technology to catch up with my expectations) – but always I’ve loved games. If I didn’t own every board game, I certainly played them – and every parlour-type game and “pub quiz” style game was mine to be owned… I strove to win each time, even playing against adults – and often-times I did. And to be honest, I got too used to winning I was a really sore loser!
 


I never really kept friends if they came along – they couldn’t really keep up with my more grown-up things I liked, and tended to win easily at games, which made them not much fun to play with anyway. I stuck with preferring adult company because they were on more the same level as I was and at least challenged me somewhat.
 


When I was introduced to real gaming – firstly with the fabulous Eternal Darkness on the GameCube – I was suddenly blown away by what playing these games was really like. I also realised that I now suddenly didn’t need other idiots to play with. I no longer had to be bored and rely on waiting for other people to play – I could play alone and buff up the difficulty to challenge me (as opposed to trying to upgrade to whatever adults were around instead of the kids). I could indulge in my geek-side – one that loved fantasy, stories, technology, computing, and playing games. When I found RPGs I was away, and finally The Elder Scrolls and the Fable franchise gave me something useful to be obsessed over, instead of struggling with feelings of serious depression and musings of self-harming that still plagued my mind.
 


Somehow, playing these – like any gaming fan(atic) does, started pushing the other nonsense out of my head and I started indulging more and more in my true “geek” nature, and began to not give a hairy rat’s backside what other people thought, or whether or not I could play in the sandbox with “normal” people (non-geeks).
 


With this has slowly been a quiet confidence building as I get to know myself properly. I have felt so lost that I now feel I’ve been given the most awesome GPS system with a clear You-Are-Here and a big glittery breadcrumb trail (a la Fable) to where I need to be to just be me (… I can’t even really put “again” here, because I don’t think I’ve really been “me” since I first started school).

I feel like I’ve been given a vehicle to grasp onto to bring that side of me back out again, this time with more strength, confidence and the courage of my own convictions.



Most of all, it’s allowed me to realise that it’s so tiring trying to be someone else. I have a lot more buzz when I’m embracing the things that I love instead of trying hard to focus on things I genuinely really couldn’t give a hairy rat’s arse about at all. I think I’m happy now trying to just put my energy into simply being me – I’ll hazard a guess I’ll get a lot more out of that.


Hopeless Creatures

Crippling self-doubt… Despite the way it’s worded, I negate the thought that it is self-inflicted. I can not believe that we naturally self-doubt – we are survivalist beings who will kill before being killed – in reality and metaphorically. I think the sad truth is that we are influenced by others to the point where we really do believe anything they say. If we hear more negative than positive, this is what we end up with… That crippling self-doubt.

 

I am guilty of feeling this every second of every day. From too many people to count, I was forcibly made aware of the fact that others thought I was a joke and a waste of space – from teachers and kids at school, to people at home. I was assured that, by the majority, that I wasn’t much to give credence to. It has unfortunately stayed with me ever since. It has affected me my whole life, contributed greatly to my illness and lack of recovery for a long time, and prevented me believing I should, and could, have a future. A decent life that I could be proud of…. Instead of the flittering existence that I have experienced – flying around from one thing to another, hoping to find something that I gelled with, something I could attach to and feel was “me” and “mine”, something that I could really feel comfortable with.

 

I have, in all my life, never believed I could do anything – as in anything at all. I’ve always been felt that I must never believe in myself. I’ve tried to override this feeling – and with the help of a couple of amazing therapists, I have at certain times been able to. There are some things I have done that I am so proud of because I told that doubt to go and stick itself up its own backside, and I have reaped rewards I am so elated to have been privileged enough to have experienced.

 

However, there is one category of enemy that rallies against this feeling and plays entirely for the Crippling Self-Doubt Team… The classic cynical looking-out-for-you words that come out of the well-meaning and cynical mouths of others – and of course this is the wonderful: “But don’t get your hopes up…” (and all its derivatives).

 

This will immediately take the winds out of the biggest sails. I got it quite often before going to auditions… You know, because heaven forbid I should a) Be confident, and b) Get “hurt” by rejection. All it did was wreck my confidence, because nothing says “I think others are better than you” than those damned words. They’re well-meaning bundles cynical negativity, and they are also crippling. They also makes me want to poke the speaker in the eye.

 

I am not made of crystal, bone China, or glass. I am not delicate or easily disappointed (in fact, life has very much taught me the very opposite)… I have regularly been rejected my whole life, and I am no pampered princess that doesn’t understand the word “no”, and I am certainly not going to break if I am rejected. I get rejected all the time for jobs (as an IT contractor, it’s been a part of my territory for years – for every contract you get rejections… It’s simple maths).

 

In fact, who hasn’t been in that position where you go for interview after interview and are rejected, before you finally that cool job? Why is that different for auditions, or anything else? Why are we programmed to be against anything that is artistic, but not what is “conventional”? How many people for that Retail job, or that Office Admin job that you got?… So why is it different if it’s an acting or singing job, or anything else? And why are we told the markets are “competitive”, “over-saturated” or “difficult to break into” if its acting, singing, painting or writing – but not if it’s a Systems Administrator, Retail Assistant, Accountant or Office Clerk… Yet I imagine more people go for those jobs, and are skilled and qualified for them, than people who are going into arts and entertainment, or similar. But when you go for those jobs, you don’t hear all that pessimism, because they’re classed as “normal” jobs. Why, though, I still cannot fathom.

 

I want a full pack of cheerleaders to make me feel like the coolest person in the room when going up for something – whether it’s a job interview, audition, test or anything that requires confidence to get through it successfully. Imagine if someone told that to a football team before they went out to play in the qualifying match of the World Cup… I doubt that has ever happened in the history of any sport. I’ve recently asked for some possible support for the possibility of doing something I was really excited about. This very reaction has now blown the self-belief I spent quite a long time building up in myself as I secretly thought this thing through. I am now left feeling quite lost at sea as to what to do about it now. My initial reaction is now to play it “safe”, instead of taking a chance and trying something new…

 

I’m sure many will argue that others shouldn’t be able to do that to you. And they would be right. A popular saying is something like “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission“… However, when you’ve long ago been broken down to beyond your very core, you are wide open to all opinions, especially negative ones.

 

So I say this to people – no, I implore it… That these words are never to be uttered again. Because without hope, exactly what is there? Cynicism is the breeding-ground of self-doubt in people, and this is the ultimate arch-enemy of hope and confidence. Unless you’re bizarrely arrogant, everyone knows there is the possibility of failure at some point – but guess what? Failure really isn’t the end of the world. Loads of things have failed… The world still lives on – as you may well have noticed.

 

I can tell you that without hope the world does stop turning for some, though. It stops turning when they’re so low they don’t even care if they can remember their name, or what day it is. In extreme cases, it stops turning forever. So if you want to make sure someone isn’t “disappointed”, make sure that person doesn’t end up disappointed at you, or because of you. Because they already know inside themselves they could be disappointed by the outcome of what they’re doing (they do not need to be reminded) – however, they did not know that you were going to be the one who was going to sound like you are already feeling disappointed for them before they’ve even tried…