Branding Through Trauma

Searching for my brand

I was listening to one of my fave writing podcasts — which there are very few — and they were on the topic of branding, which reminded me of the thing I had intentionally avoided when redoing the website. I had focused on visual accessibility for myself and others, while avoiding updating my author page or any of the things that talk about me as a writer. This was intentional because it was, as they say, a whole can of worms that I wasn’t ready to open just yet. I’m still not ready, but I’m at least willing to think about it from a place of curiosity instead of reaction and avoidance.

Part of the issue is I don’t know myself anymore. A decade of illness changes you, and the last few years have been so extreme in that regard. I have collected definitions and labels and understanding of myself, and I see how these things are presented within this field as badges instead of defects, to the point each diagnosis feels more like a collector’s item instead of the extreme complexity they come with. Expectations to hold oneself to when exhausted by said complexities.

Defined by limits?

I don’t begrudge authors their spin, their strength in vulnerability to define themselves by these conditions — to define their brands by these conditions. To get empowerment instead of to feel weighed down by the challenges each one embodies. But I am struggling to see any of this as my brand.

Part of it is absolutely self-ableism. But part of it is how I see myself — how I feel I need to see myself to cope and continue on.

The reality is, these conditions have limited me from being a writer. I write despite these things. And these conditions have made writing so arduous, they are what I fight to do the thing I once loved greatly. I don’t want to define my brand by the things that have limited it, and that’s just the place I’m in right now.

I’ve always tried to define my brand by the writing, because that is the two-dimensional version being put out into the ether, so easily summarized into blurbs and slapped on a package. To claim a brand has room for complexity is a lie. But at the same time, it is always a human being in the center of a brand.

Traditional branding?

It always feels like the waiting default, and I can’t fall into that treacherous hole. I can’t default to the traditional branding many authors have done, and still do, in a modern era that doesn’t respond to such separation with bios in third person. Like they’re trying to put a tense between the author and their fandom. It’s antiquated, and self-serving to claim that one will not have to sacrifice any sense of invulnerability in the name of putting the stories from their inner world out there. It doesn’t resonate with me. It never has.

Limits again…

Not talking about certain aspects of my life because they didn’t coincide with my brand, left me with nothing to talk about. These conditions absolutely limit me. They define me by their limits, by my battle to push back those limits to steal something of myself. Because I didn’t want to share how much I had been lost to these limits, I was unable for years to maintain any sort of brand. I let it grow dusty and silent, which was a severe disservice all its own.

…Rebranding is hard

Rebirth is a difficult thing. One would think it would be easier than initial birth, but it comes with the experience of being someone else. Of knowing that you become someone else on this journey. The feeling that you need to know the ending before you’re allowed to present it as you. I have so many hopes, so many goals I’m reaching for, many of them in reaction to the limits forced on me by my illness. And I don’t want that to be my brand either, because that is a reaction, not a being.

I don’t want to be in this place. So I don’t want to define myself by being in this place, nothing more than trying to overcome challenges placed on me by out of control limits. Even if it’s honest, it’s not everything, and it’s certainly not enough to drive a creative force.

So let’s look at the genre, my writing in the genre, and what I was hoping to accomplish. There is a brand in there, one centered on a goal, which honestly might be enough to be a brand in general.

Branding in a genre?

Within this genre of erotica and erotic romance is my battle to be different. To be an authentic voice that is brutal in its willingness to not conform to the expectations narrow-minded people set, while also refusing to apologize and hide away.

Then there are the outside voices. People who want to define erotic fiction as a reality that should be held to the morals and ethics of a living, breathing community. In this is not just the extremes of people trying to put an age on a group of words, define a species on a group of words, or a crime on a group of words, but also in the demand that a happy ending is required, or a character must act in a way that a sole voice insists upon to be valid within the fiction of a group of words.

Some people find safety in regulating words, and in having those words regulated. Because they’re unsafe in their brains. They are unsafe to conceptualize without fear of something breaking, of a wall bursting open and their entire sense of reality and self shaking away into chaos. And how do I know this? Because I had PTSD since I was a toddler, and how the brain modulates concepts — memories — that feel too dangerous to face is by regulating them. And when one cannot regulate their thoughts because it is an impossible task that leads to extreme suffering for the person doing it and for those around them, they try to regulate the world.

They try to regulate groups of words. They try to regulate the brains of others in the hopes that if everyone is working together to insists that the concepts they define as dangerous disappear, they will one day be safe with their own brain.

The thing is, PTSD — traumatization — is being frozen in that place of inability to accept. It’s being frozen with the inability to face a concept. It is being trapped trying to regulate one’s own thoughts and the world around them. These extreme, quite frankly, irrational behaviors are not cures to PTSD, but a symptom. It is trauma unleashed upon the world, committing trauma upon others as it tries to force conformity and regulation of thoughts and concepts and words. And as a result, as an author, writing what I write puts me in the path of the traumatized who would really like to re-traumatize me so that they might feel safer in the world. And that has made this thing I love to do fucking difficult.

It would be far easier to put a sanitized version of my inner world into a group of words to prevent such conflict. To prevent the reminder of the pattern of trauma by regulating before it’s demanded I regulate. And I think there came a point where this illness had traumatized me in a new way, and there just wasn’t enough of me to tackle it all.

The trauma pattern is built deep into my psyche, telling me if I just regulate what I share by spinning a 2D image of myself out in the world, that I can avoid triggering the pain the trauma pattern will inflict on me if I don’t. Because this is the brain doing it to itself, the psyche traumatized, hoping to avoid an imaginary future pain by inflicting pain now.

Trauma is self-destruction spun to look like empowerment some days. Trauma is self-afflicted abuse as the brain infuses impossible value into a memory — into a concept, because a memory is not an experience but just an interpretation the brain has crafted. Trauma is certainty of death if those self-created concepts are faced. Literally, the psyche will choose annihilation of existence to avoid the very thing that psyche created in the first place.

We create our monsters. Only some of us make friends with them.

Writing is my healing, exposure therapy. It’s my defiance against trauma, and the self-destructive patterns of thoughts and behavior the traumatized psyche is victimized to as it victimizes itself.

And doesn’t that just sound so self-important and valuable when the end result is a fuck fic? I’m crafting legitimacy.

A process doesn’t really have an ending. The same with branding.

This is a process. One that requires the most from me because of PTSD. It’s why I’m not allowed to give up, and not allowed to justify and rationalize for too long stepping away and letting it just disappear into the ether. Because I don’t get to be a living being who is just being, not when trauma has defined so much of my existence for so long. I am still a reaction, asking myself to grow into something more because that’s what self-awareness demands. Self-awareness, the existential horror of a dead universe.

Trauma can’t be my brand

I don’t want to present my brand from the lens of trauma. Partially because it’s a defiance of trauma. Partially because it sounds too intellectual, too important. This is not a medicine people are supposed to be aware they’re taking. It’s supposed to be an experience. It’s supposed to be a way to get lost in a concept, fully submerge, where one comes out exhilarated instead of questioning if they read it the right way. If they got the results they were looking for.

Also, I think it’s just extremely condescending to present what I write in a way that could make others look lesser for writing similar in comparison. I understand why I’m doing what I’m doing, but that doesn’t mean I’m doing it for those reasons. It’s not a choice, but an impulse, a pattern that needs completing.

I don’t expect other people to mimic my impulses, or to feel forced to justify their impulses in the same way. I’m here to get lost in a potentially unsafe concept in defiance of trauma, and I don’t want to place expectations or my self-serving intention on any author or any reader. I write for myself because I’m selfish. And it’s in that selfishness that these stories get written. There shouldn’t be a contract in that. Just an understanding.

Being ill has taken me away from my selfishness a lot. It is a different experience, one of survival. In those constant battles and exhaustion, I’m left seeking an easier route. But as much as I can claim it would be so easy to write something that would not make me feel vulnerable, or put me in conflict with the traumatized seeking to traumatize of the Internet, I can’t. I don’t get to choose what I write; it chooses me. It is a byproduct, not a goal, not an instrument that I get to yield. My brand is a byproduct of that, of the person personing.

It’s become important to understand this when faced with writer’s block. When frustrated and just wanting an easy path for a change. But I suspect after 30+ years of PTSD, and now a decade of illness, my brain has become addicted to the difficult path. There is no safe thrill of the unknown in the mundane. That’s why we escape into our minds as it is.

I already know part of the answer…

I understood my branding early into writing. It was the embracing of it all. It was the fun, the cheeky defiance to the voices that wanted to make everything so fucking serious to the point no one was allowed to have their own thoughts without shame being forced on them in punishment. I just don’t know how to balance that branding with the version of me who has had their ass kicked by illness all these years.

It’s rare for me to feel silly and playful lately, and it’s work to find that inner voice. But I want to. I want to be more than the limits that keep growing as I age into this mortal form. I want to be more than the frustrating comparisons as I try to figure out if my brain is working today or if its succumb to inflammation and allergies.

Where we dwell in consciousness is where we truly dwell

As a crafter of concepts, that saying speaks to me. It’s the tattoo I’ll never get until I finally get a tattoo. It speaks to not only what I’m trying to do — to open a psyche into an uncertain place that can have greater rewards then punishments — but to my journey as an individual. As a person who has battled years of depression and anxiety, and a chronic illness that has physical and neurological side effects. As the person left in screaming face pain for months upon months with no one offering answers or solutions while I was left to endure and solve it myself.

There is a balance to be found in the value we place in our memories and experiences, and the value we place in our goals of who we want to be as individuals. But there is only ever the being we are in this moment, being. And if you’re not fostering your mindset, being aware of where you’re dwelling in the conceptual minefield of the psyche, there is no way to get to a better state of consciousness.

Limits feel like failure in an ableist culture

image of author self conscious of camera looking away

I’m resisting listing the labels and diagnoses I’ve collected these last years and connecting it to my writing brand because I don’t want to deal with the vulnerability. The feeling like I need to present myself in a “worthy” way to make up for what feels so limiting and broken. But I also see it as a disservice to the version of me who feels empowered to represent what is so rarely even acknowledged.

Disability is erased in our culture, looked down upon as a failure of the individual, instead of as the blunt reality of being a living being that will eventually die. Perfection is a lie. Painlessness is a lie — only life can feel pain. It is by definition a state of suffering to be alive. But we as a culture choose to paint the most idyllic picture because that’s where we want to live.

And I did that too, which was why I couldn’t show up to be a writer when everything just got too difficult. I perpetuated in my erasure, because that’s what I was taught. Because that was how I coped with the pain of limits and living imperfect.

So however I end up doing this, I’m going to need to find that balance. Truth, genuineness, but from a place that doesn’t feel completely defeated by the limits of fighting. Tired, but hoping energy will come. Unformed, and afraid to create a shape that I can’t fit into. And begrudgingly okay with the shape I’m in now.

April 21 2023

Style: Minimalism

Okay, I’ve decided the game

It’s going to be a choice of style. I’m struggling with two huge limits as a result of my current writing style: 1) my ability to focus because of the ADHD, and 2) my ability to read with my vision limitations. I need to make this easier on myself, and the support tools that I have at the moment are not enough. So what is the next direction?

Minimalism in style.

For one, it’s a challenge. It asks my brain to look at everything in a completely different way as a writer, and that’s something my brain enjoys. There’s a game in there. There’s a game with a desired outcome that can be measured.

This means there will be less decision fatigue because I’ll be moving toward a desired outcome instead of feeling like I have so few limits, that I have to spread out in all directions.

Less words means less editing. Editing is where I’m struggling the most because of the requirement to read as part of editing. It’s an acceptance of the difficulty involved with my executive dysfunctions and visual impairments, which is a healthier way to move forward. There’s less self-ableism when I’m making things easier on myself based on my limits, instead of fighting limits that can’t be changed.

Ideally, it will be less time-consuming — but there’s no guarantee of that, and that’s not necessarily a goal I’m looking for.

I suppose when looking at writing as self-publishing, the measurement of time is quite important. The faster it is to get from the conception of the product to the publishing and income reception of that product is absolutely important. But I’m not in a race right now. I’m in the experiment and understanding phase of everything. These metrics might become important later on, but they are easily abused into something self ablest if I’m not careful, and therefore aren’t a goal for me at the moment.

My goal right now is to be able to have a completed story with the least amount of pain, but one I can still feel proud of. With the requirement of keeping my mind engaged. And these issues are really what kill my time, if I want to get into the whole measurement of what it’s been taking to get me to complete this writing process for one basic story.

Time sucks

Time is taken away because of allergies, which slow my cognition, and flare executive dysfunction, making my attention span even shorter than its default.

A lack of schedule allows for every random thing to become a distraction, instead of something put aside in its own time block away from my writing time block.

The requirement to read as part of the organizational process of writing. I’m treating this with my support tool editor, creating visual blocks that the text falls into, so that I can focus on the purpose of each block, leaving notes to myself to help keep that focus. But this is still time consuming.

I know it’ll grow easier as I become familiar with my new process — I’ve literally designed it with this in mind. But right now I’m in the phase of training my brain, which can be extremely arduous because of my executive dysfunctions. Once I learn something, it’s second nature (when not ill), but the learning process can be difficult. Especially when learning through text. Reading is taxing on me, the focus it requires, especially when every small detail is important with writing.

I didn’t realize how much my brain filled in text that I hadn’t read. It leaps. It glosses over entire sentences and paragraphs, and just fills things in. I suppose I’m lucky that it’s usually filling things in the correct way, until I find myself faced with a set of instructions that I can’t focus on, and I realize the extreme limits of my brain’s inability to hold attention to text.

There is so much time lost in this battle to keep my brain focused. And that my allergies are so intricately connected to my brain’s ability to focus only makes it all the more frustrating. So, a game. A game where I’m not focused on the stakes or the frustration, but instead I’m leaning into the path of least resistance. With a goal that keeps my brain interested enough that it won’t automatically fuck off like it usually does when reading.

And maybe it’s time to go back to listening to text to edit as part of this process, but I’m not a great audio learner. It’s still really difficult to focus. I’m a good visual summary learner, taking concepts as a whole and organizing them while ignoring the unnecessary details. But this is writing, where every letter is a necessary detail, so I’m kind of shit out of luck in that regard.

Perfectionism as a coping tool to trauma

I miss writing short stories that are actually short. I miss being able to have an idea that doesn’t have the exhausting requirement to flesh it into something so much larger. I’d like to be able to get back to that, and I know part of why I can’t right now is that I’m stuck in the neurosis of perfectionism.

I’m putting a lot of self value into my ability to write at the moment. I think it’s normal for what I’ve been through. Writing is one of those measurable things that can tell me my brain is working after the last decade of really messed up cognition and health, along with all the fear that went into not having control over what was happening to me. The neurosis right now is just these little self checks asking “is my brain still working?” “Is it happening again?” “Am I going to disappear into this invisible illness, and have it all cascade out of control once again?”

As much as I keep reminding myself the trauma that occurs with long-term chronic illness, I haven’t really addressed it much in my day-to-day beyond trying not to be so self ablest. Getting to this point of getting to say I “overcame” chronic illness is rare, impossible, and it never fully feels real.

It’s surreal after a decade of struggle — fighting invisible, microscopic enemies floating on a breeze — to be handed an answer. To be asked to perceive my existence, in what was once such an unsafe world, from a place of safety. And until I can feel a little more certain with my health, I don’t think anything that I do in the world is going to feel genuine and insignificant. Instead, it’s just another way of measuring if the illness is still gone, if my brain is still working, or do I need to act immediately to prevent everything from spiraling out of control all over again.

Redefining minimalism as a style

I’m going to have to remember what minimalism is. How it’s effective writing, instead of sketchy writing. I think a part of me is worried that to become minimal with my word count is to become lazy as a writer. Because when I first started writing and making short stories, I was minimal because my brain literally couldn’t be anything else. It couldn’t focus, couldn’t see its inability to create effective visuals and mood. And I was just so fucking tired all the time that anything was good enough. Any amount of words was proof I was alive and my brain was doing something.

Which is probably why I’ve been avoiding short form writing since recovering a lot of my cognition. At some point I associated brevity with inflammation of the brain — because trauma is damn frustrating like that.

So yay, I get to learn something. I get to challenge myself. And through that process of self-improvement, I’ll also be editing, writing, making my life easier based on my limits, and getting closer to feeling safe as a self published writer again. I’m interested to see how it’ll go, which is already a good sign that my brain is engaged in this new game.

April 20 2023


So I spent this morning on my drive to get allergy shots thinking about caving, about changing Breeding his Nephew to add a paranormal element so it would be allowed on Smashwords (Amazon would ban the fuck out of it, but Smashwords allows certain kink if there’s an obvious sentient brain involved — although it’s been a while and I should really recheck all the terms of service on this shit to make sure…)

Anyways, I was considering caving, only to realize it was coming from a broken place. It’s fear. I’m looking to add multiple characters and story arcs to what was supposed to be a basic fuck fic reminiscent of the whole pittbulls and parolees thing, all because a part of me is afraid I’m not going to be able to get back into writing. That the sickness will grab me once again, and I’ll lose so much time and cognition that I’ll never be able to get back to my life.

And that’s a dumb fuck reason to do anything.

It’s wrong. I already know it’s wrong. I’m absolutely better than I’ve been in years, and I know exactly the things that set me off and how to deal with them. It’s never going to be a loss of years again with my brain dribbling out of my head while I’m left staring at a wall trying to remember what a person does every day. I understand the airflow issues that push every allergen in the house into my room, the litter box as the source of everything pain/destroying to my health, and there’s no reason to be afraid it’s ever going to be as bad as before. I don’t have to make choices from that place — bad story choices, btw.

Like, seriously, what a waste of time it would be to add in multiple minds to this thing — and there is absolutely no way you can add a touch of magic/paranormal to a contemporary story without demanding a completely different change of plot. Everything becomes about the magic in the normal world, instead of the kink. No.

So, I’m refocused. Added the note taking linking element to my scene editor to be able to link and auto-populate descriptive text into the database without filling out a bunch of forms each time. Good. My eyes hurt, which is shit, but whatever. Allergies be allergies.

The Writing Process: A Rant

The Writing Process: A Rant

Today sucks

Today, I want to talk about the writing process and why it’s actually important. And I mainly want to talk about this because I am super frustrated. I feel like everything I’m doing is about trying to get back to writing, instead of just writing, and honestly, I’m not wrong. That’s the majority of what I’m doing right now. I am building a system instead of writing a story.

After years between now and publishing my last book, I just want to be at the end of this process where there’s a book to publish and I don’t feel like I’m fighting everything, including my very difficult brain and all my executive dysfunctions. But I’m not at the end of this process. I don’t have a book to publish. In some ways, even as I polish off the last of this current short story, I still feel like I haven’t started this process — mostly because I don’t see the story I’m writing as viable for publishing.

There’s a reason for that; it was to take a lot of pressure off of me as I get back into this writing journey. It was so I didn’t have to make a cover with my fucked-up eyes in pain all the time and having to face that aspect of what I’ve lost in such a short amount of time on top of getting back to writing. But because I’ve taken the “easy” way out, I’ve put a lot of work into something that’s going to be locked on my website (unless I add a fantasy element to it, and I don’t want to. It’s all fantasy, but somehow pretending it’s supernatural makes people who read understand words aren’t real? Like, dumb fuckery.) I don’t feel like I’ve succeeded in anything, and I think a part of me needs a win right now.

So, the writing process. The importance of doing all the busy work I’m doing now. A refresher to remind me why the fuck I’m here.

I can’t claim that a writing system is solely a good idea because of executive dysfunction. I think someone would need to have an amazing memory to write a series or serial without some sort of process in place. Even if it’s as basic as writing an outline, I genuinely don’t believe that writing a complex series can be done — done well — without a structure to keep focus and to juggle all the plot points and character arcs and background information that needs to be juggled.

I am a poor mental visualizer, which is why it’s essential for me to have reference for what I’m writing about. I need background images, and blocks of text describing setting and characters and clothing and items if I’m going to be capable of conveying visual information to readers.

Because I’m such a poor mental visualizer, this is obviously something important to me. It’s a void in my brain that I’m trying to fill for myself, not just the reader, and that can get difficult when addressing such a deficit. My neurosis can pop up, and I can put greater value on it than it needs to be, or I can feel frozen in my writing because I don’t have that image to convey. Having the database where I store the description of that image can help my brain disengage from the obsessive need to ensure that I’m conveying something that I’m struggling to visualize. In that regard, doing this background work is one of those steps that might look like busy work, but it’s actually allowing me to move forward instead of being stuck as a result of my very difficult personality.

But it’s boring.

Last night, after finally stealing enough time to get the manuscript into the editor I had created last week, I started the editing process. And I found myself hating it. Partially because I was exhausted; partially because I was holding a ton of expectations that were overwhelming my curiosity; partially because I’m still struggling with allergies and what they do to my cognition. And today I just feel frustrated. My brain is conceptualizing everything I’ve gone through, everything I’ve created to get me to this point, and all I’m seeing is the struggle without reward.

Somehow I thought creating the support tools would make this editing process easier. But there is only so much I can do that will actually get results at the end that are measurable. Everything else is just trying to create a little more ease, a little more convenience, but nothing of impact. Nothing is going to fill out this database for me — although I have made a way to link text into my reference forms so that it will auto populate, and I’m probably going to expand on that because it does seem the path of least resistance. But I still have to input the manuscript, and separate the text out and link it to the correct data file. I still have to battle with my many executive dysfunctions in regards to reading and focusing to get that done.

To make my life easier. But it doesn’t feel easy. I have to do all this very difficult — feeling near impossible — work, in the hopes that it’s going to make things easier in the future.

It sucks. I’m bored as fuck. Writing is fucking boring.

I just want to get to the end of this already. I want to get to the end, not because I’m avoiding hard work, but because my brain is not certain that I’m ever going to enjoy getting to the end of this process. I want something to prove that all these doubts and frustrations aren’t grounded in anything real. I want concrete proof that the work I’m putting in will guarantee results.

And maybe that’s just unrealistic. Maybe that’s a level of dumb fuck expectation that no one really has a right to put on themself. We cannot know the future. The whole point of experimentation is the understanding that failure is a part of that process.

But I don’t want to be understanding about the process right now; I want a fucking win.

Have I written multiple novels without this new process, without this structure I’m putting into place? Yes. And I would really love to default to that. It’s a place where I’m doing, completely ignoring the deficits, getting the writing done and over with. But it is always going to end with me back in this spot, where I see a new mountain I need to structure before I can climb if I want to move forward as a writer. I am at this place right now because I am well the fuck aware that there is no going forward if I don’t commit to some sort of structuring and reference with my writing.

My brain is not getting better — actually, that’s not right. My brain is not changing. This new system of support tools is designed to acknowledge the very real deficits my brain has in regards to working memory, long-term memory, visual conceptualization, and attention. But it’s not designed to make me feel good about this process, to help me cope with the frustrations I’m feeling as I have to force my brain to work with its very real deficits. That’s something I need to provide in a different context, and I’m doing a shit job of it today.

It has to become part of the process. Every time a block comes up, stopping, assessing, and naming has to be part of the process of getting back to writing. And not just getting back, but the process of writing. Because that distinction needs to become part of the definition of writing. What feels like busy work, be it research, building these structures and support tools, looking at the market that I’m creating the product for — in this case the book for — has to all be part of the process of self-publishing.

Every step taken is a step closer to the end result. And it can be difficult to conceptualize that when all I want to do is be at that end result.

I’m very funny with my conceptualizations. I have a brain that can conceptualize extremely complex structures, but not in a complex visual way. I have to create simple visuals to box a concept — and for some reason my brain needs that visual language when it comes to learning and expressing what it’s trying to say. It’s already doing the work in the background, but it needs a different language.

The structure I’ve created in regards to the outlines and the scene editor all utilize that visual language of mine. The notes I made as I was designing these elements also utilize the visual language in shorthand. It would look nonsensical to most people, just symbols on a page, mostly squares and rectangles much like a brainstorming cloud. But that’s all I need to see to create something complex in my head and then translate it into a project. I do these very basic notes when it comes to coding, understanding the nesting and order of operations of elements I learn how to use by seeing how they break. But if I didn’t take that step, if I didn’t know that about myself, I would not be able to move forward. I have to be honest with my weaknesses to be able to gain anything, and that has to be part of the process.

Blunt Honesty

So, today, my writing process is acknowledging how fucking shit it is to do all this difficult work only to feel like no product has been made. To know that I am going to push my brain to limits that it has in regards to editing. To overwhelm it. To make it ask what is the fucking point of any of this as I go through the decision fatigue of “What’s the best way to convey this concept to a reader that is both clear and also engaging, and why is every fucking choice wrong?” For every single sentence. For nearly every single word in that sentence. All while knowing this book isn’t publishable.

I’m going to commit time and energy into something because it’s important only because I say it’s important, even as it takes me away from putting that time and energy into a product that will make me money by the end — a product that will prove to myself that everything I’m doing is actually getting results, and not just me fucking around learning new things because doing the shit that requires me to focus is boring.

This is so fucking boring

That’s really it, at the end of the day. There are so many things my brain is good at — strike that. There are so many things that reward my brain with dopamine because my brain is actually quite bad at it in the right ways, and the challenge is addictive. But right now, writing is not that. I haven’t done the mental work to turn this project into that. I haven’t set the stakes. I haven’t built the game that will give my brain the dopamine to keep going as I do the arduous work it is normally willing to do when it feels rewarded.

Also, decision fatigue sucks

Decision fatigue doesn’t feel like a reward. My brain likes there to be one answer, the one answer it solves, just like a math problem or a script of code. There isn’t one answer with writing; if anything, writing is all the answers being whittled down into the path you end up on. And that path isn’t the right path, it’s just the one you ended up on. It’s a lot like life, and there is very little satisfaction to life. I’m never choosing the right words when writing; I’m just choosing words until my brain is tired enough to go, “Okay, fuck it, none of this matters, every options is shit; it’s good enough.”

There’s no dopamine reward in that, just letting go, and that is one of my greatest deficits. I don’t have a stop switch easily accessible. Once my brain has taken all the pieces in, turned sentences and concepts into a story to tell, and built the structure of thought — holding it all in my head — it needs to ensure that it’s translated properly. Well. Even as I see that there isn’t one solution, and that none of the solutions are wrong, my brain is still doing math, trying to solve the problem with one answer. And once it’s dedicated all that time into building that complex conceptualization, it doesn’t want to let go until the problem is solved.

The problem that doesn’t exist because none of it really actually fucking matters.

The real problem is my brain

You know that very wise advice of not trying to solve people? My brain doesn’t understand that. It takes complex data about a person, conceptualizes, and then tries to solve — even as it’s aware that isn’t how things work. Most social interactions are about disengaging my brain exactly for this reason. There’s a pattern of thought that comes naturally to this organic computer in my skull, and it is completely useless for the majority of things in life. It’s literally why I choose to write, choose to create anything, ever.

I need to make the game for my brain to solve, or there is no satisfaction or happiness in my life.

I am not writing a novel or series when I sit down to write. I am creating the data (all the shit I make up) and adding in the structure (the rules of writing, as well as the end goal of plot and character arcs) and giving my brain a problem to solve so that it will be happy in a way it cannot be happy any other time.

[data] + [structure] = [customized problem to solve (aka: game)]

I’m the kind of person who is looking for broken things to fix to find satisfaction in life. I fixed a trashcan the other day, solving the plastic mechanism to the lid that had broken years ago and no one had gotten around to dealing with it — and that brought me more satisfaction than the entire room I had also cleaned that day. It’s madness.

So this is also why I need the writing process. Because before, the structure I was building — the game I was creating so that I could then solve with writing — was too simple. It was designed for my brain when it was inflamed. Now the game needs to be more complex, or I can’t find a reason to come back to it. Because I’m not here to write a book. That would be too easy. My brain doesn’t get dopamine from that. I’m here to make such a complex problem for myself that I will feel satisfied once I solve it.

Self destructive by design? Maybe.

It’s not a choice. It’s my base chemical makeup. It’s a pattern of thought that I’ve had since small. It’s why books were so compelling to me as a kid, because I realized that everyone is searching for circumstances where they feel there talents are actually useful, and that’s what good books provided for the main characters. There was no point in having a character that was supposedly smart or talented or had some crazy magical power or difficult flaw, without having a challenge for them to overcome as a result. The strengths and weaknesses of the character would define the main plot points to come.

Books were wonderful like that, because unlike life, they always had a damn point. Someone was always trying to say something in a book, while with life it’s just chaos that we hope to organize in a way to cope with the complete lack of logic.

What I can control is in choice

The choice is that I keep coming back when my novelty seeking brain has decided there’s nothing left in the task of writing.

I don’t want to be a good writer. There’s nothing I want to master. I want to learn something. I want to be effective in what I do. I want to add data to my perceptions of the world and existence on a whole, and if the task I’m doing isn’t providing that, my brain checks the fuck out.

Really, how many times can you do the same damn task, sitting in a chair staring at the screen, hoping something different will happen? The choice is that I show up even though I know nothing different will happen. And then the next choice is to try and find a way to make it interesting enough so that it feels like something different is happening.

Why write?

I don’t really have a story to tell. When I first started writing, I was in the middle of PTSD therapy. I was trying to understand all the many things I needed to understand about the human animal and coping. That’s what drove me. The motivation isn’t there anymore. I understand enough. Now what.

[game] ?= [satisfaction]

Okay. So, it’s like, I’m here to make a game. I’m here to make something spectacular with all I’ve learned, so I’ll be engaged in the process. But how many times can you set up the dominoes and watch them tumble in glorious ways, until you become disinterested? When you know there’s only so many outcomes, none of them lasting; what drives you to create another pattern of the same?

People think it’s to move from pain, that the goal of money and getting out of a difficult situation is enough. But you know what you find in difficult situations that just so happens to fuel dopamine? Challenges that matter. In every direction. And isn’t that just so interesting for a brain that likes to problem solve?

One could contemplate, design, and make something absolutely unique and perfect for the space they’re in… Or they could buy something instead. When you don’t have money, you’re forced to dedicate the time and thought into a project, and my brain likes that. It wants an excuse to be creative in a way that matters, where there’s no guilt for ignoring the silly game it’s building for itself that makes an income.

That’s why building the game is far more interesting than playing the game I built. Building those support tools has value to me, measurable cause-and-effect to help me improve my existence in the world. Using the support tools to fuck around in a world of my own creation…?

Does it even matter? Does anything I do as a writer actually matter? And if it does, is it enough for my dopamine driven brain to grab on and keep going?

I think if I had the answer to this, I would already be writing (or I wouldn’t be trying to come back anymore.) And that’s the whole fucking problem. I know it doesn’t matter. And I know even if it did matter, my brain can’t conceptualize it as actually important enough right now to switch on and show up. Everything I do as a creative is an exercise in self indulgence, and my brain is bored by it.

Do other people deal with this?

There’s no way to really know myself without my deficits in executive function. When my brain was so inflamed from allergies that my OCD was everything, keeping me focused and driven, I thought that was my personality. It’s the same with ADHD; I don’t know if not having this fucked up dopamine system would mean I experience the world differently and wouldn’t be so driven by the novelty of learning to the point that everything that sparkles so quickly fades. I don’t know if having a different brain chemistry means I could be satisfied with doing the same thing again and again, and never once question — instead of always questioning — the path I find myself on.

This is my brain as I know it to be, with all its many flaws and difficulties within the current, severely flawed structure of the modern world. It is forever sharp teeth tearing into new concepts, slashing and dissecting, and then dismissing for the next meal. Never full, never satisfied. There is no plateau to rest, just the challenge of being trapped, fighting to get higher. And there’s not much I can do about it beyond live with my brain and pretend that with enough time these teeth might somehow soften, that it will eventually find whatever the fuck it’s looking for and be content.

Self destructive by design…?

This is not good content. This is not sellable as a product on a website. This is not a concept anyone seeking self-improvement wants to hear: desires in life are nothing more than chemistry and self indulgence, and we’re all puppets to our chemistry with no control in making the shit we do every day make sense or have actual value.

It’s certainly not information someone interested in growing a following as a writer for a consistent income would want to share with their readers. To know that the creative work one creates is boring to the creator? No one wants to know that. New writers don’t want to know that the creative process doesn’t fit into the mold of the capitalistic system that demands one create a product of similarity again and again and again, just so they be allowed to live on the income that’s returned. No, the reader is too caught up in the consumption. Because as my brain seeks novelty that it only feels capable of having exist if it designs it personally, their brains are seeking novelty without needing that frustrating step in between.

I miss those days of being a reader where shit was actually satisfying…

Does anyone really want to know that in the same way I create problems for my characters to solve to make an engaging story, I have to create challenges for me to solve so that I want to even show up to this gig? There’s nothing inspiring in the reality of this. But I’m not here to put a spin on it to make it inspiring. I’m here to cope with the shit-realities of it all.

Because I’m here, ready to write. And I’m so fucking bored. I’m so bored, I’m writing about why I’m bored, hoping that it will solve the problem of my boredom by pushing me further and further away from the actual writing/editing I’m supposed to do. And yeah, being self aware of it doesn’t solve shit. It’s part of the process.

Because part of the process of writing is not writing!

…See what I did there?

No, it’s not actually meaningful. It’s a fucking cop-out. But it’s the best I’ve got today as I hate on the hard truth that my brain is seeking something it is never going to have. Never. Yet it can’t fucking stop.

It’s an addict by nature. There’s no purpose in it, just coping. If I didn’t need my brain to write, shit would be so much simpler. But it can’t be simple. That’s boring to it. So here I am, ranting about shit I can’t change, before I go and do the boring shit I won’t have an excuse to avoid once I’m done writing this.

Fucking words.

April 17 2023

New editor and delays

So after I realized the issues I face with editing — mostly visual and focus issues — I decided to make an editor to help. And it’s been amazing. Learning to code has really allowed me to create my own support tools, and it’s just opened up so much. I’m going to be using this to write, it’s been so helpful, and I’m really excited about it.

Unfortunately, I’m faced with old challenges this week and who knows how long, as my allergies flare. At first I thought it was a cold because my throat just became raw a couple of days ago in the matter of minutes, and I had no clue why. As it lasted, and the heat increased with the weather, I assumed environmental allergies from the sudden explosion of Spring. It took until a day or so ago to realize it was the new cat litter we got, and it’s really bad.

We stopped any kind of ‘dust’ based cat litter ages ago when we realized how bad it was for the cats and humans. Somehow, those lessons were forgotten — I swear I just become complacent, you know? Looking for convenience. And these litters make those promises of “no dust”, but they’re fucking lies. I don’t know what the standard is for dust in the cat litter industry, but however they’re defining it, they’re full of shit.

So I’ve been sick. And it’s been the worst version of the allergies, meaning the exhaustion combined with the difficulty moving my limbs, and fucking save me now, the face pain has been sparking again. It’s been over a year free of that excruciating pain, and one fuck up and I have a house full of dust and the screaming face pain is building. I’m hoping having a bunch of teeth pulled means there are less nerves in my face to react, but I can’t know. Not until the allergic responses get so bad that it’s beyond anything inflammation wise, and at that point, if it’s not screaming pain, it’s severe cognition loss, which is its own hell.

I might be living out of my car a bit until I can get the dust under control — or just to avoid my allergies reaching that kind of extreme again. I don’t know. I’m going to talk to my allergist tomorrow, see if they have anything useful to recommend. At this point, I don’t understand the lack of solutions from the medical community. I can’t be the only one who gets screaming face pain from allergies. I can’t be. It’s clearly an inflammation response that is happening in the nerves of the face, and that I keep getting blank fucking looks and no help after all these years isn’t just nonsense, it’s a failure of the medical system. This is an a + b = c problem, and I shouldn’t be the one to have to keep pointing it out.

Whatever. I’ll be writing while I can. Like I said, the face pain is more a threat, and less full blown screaming right now, so I’m hoping to cut it all off before it reaches that point. I need HEPA filters and I’m going to have to break out the construction level air filter that was powering the clean room when I needed a clean room, and see if I can capture the dust asap — but it’s going to be days for new filters to arrive. Have to wipe down every surface, walls, ceilings, floors, everything. The fine particulates of the dust is just as bad as whatever is hitching a ride on the particles to my system right now, hence the hoarse throat.

One day, if I ever get my life back long enough to not be struggling just to survive, I’m building a toilet designed for cats. At their level, so if you have a cat with mobility issues, they don’t need to risk falling from a height to use the bathroom. I don’t know why the fuck humans have normalized raw sewage and dust in their houses as “sanitary” when it comes to cats, but it’s a fucking problem for everyone involved. If you have allergies, or find that you just don’t feel well at home, and you have a cat, that litter box should be your first concern. There’s nothing okay about 2023 still not solving this shit. We don’t have chamber pots anymore for this very reason, so why keep with litter boxes?

Taking on Impossible Projects

How to take on a project when you don’t know if you can complete the project

As I reach the end of the creation process of my story reference database — finally — I thought it might be nice to talk about how I got here. To the end. The same end as one might find at the end of a book, or the end of a trilogy, or of a series. The end of a project that was too large to fully conceptualize, now actually completed.

This is a project I didn’t know how to do on all levels. I knew a little HTML from running the website, but that was it. I didn’t know the language. I didn’t know the syntax or what form anything was going to be within these foreign computer languages to give me the results I wanted. I didn’t know the limits of what I was asking for, and therefore didn’t know the right questions to ask. I didn’t know the path to start on, to branch to, or if I needed multiple paths to get to my destination.

The only thing I knew was that if I was ever going to write again, I needed to take this journey, because my brain was too broken to be able to write without the correct support system.

That might seem huge, unrelatable, but it’s not. This is where I come from when it comes to tackling an impossible task — you have to believe it’s impossible for whatever reason. It’s for everything I haven’t done before, and therefore I don’t know if I can do. I don’t know how to do something until I do it, and I certainly don’t know how to do it well until I mess it up enough times. This is how things that feel impossible get done — by doing.

When I decided to make this database, it was when facing the largest psychological hurdle I had ever faced. I was very aware that my brain was the most broken it had ever been, and that I couldn’t write anymore (among other things.) In that reality was not only the impossible goal I wanted to reach, but during a time when my brain was struggling the most. It should have been impossible.

Why wasn’t it?

In some ways, I truly don’t know. Because it was impossible. How could I have gotten here when I couldn’t remember the names of my characters anymore? Where I had no visual concept of what they looked like in the scene, or what the scene looked like… But the thing is, these weren’t new problems. My brain had always struggled with visualizing what I was writing, it was just worse now. Yeah, I couldn’t remember my plot arcs, or how to stay focused to form proper ideas out of my rambling sentences… but again, not new problems. They were just presenting in new, more difficult to overcome ways. And I could see that without some foundation of support — without a brain outside my flawed brain — I was far too overwhelmed to be able to juggle all these aspects to move forward.

ADHD and Executive Dysfunction

I’ve always had ADHD, but I first truly understood it to impact my life in high school. I had been an obsessive reader, reading a book a day, then something had changed in my brain and I couldn’t focus on reading anymore. I changed my values at the same time, told myself that if I wanted to be effective and change my life, I needed to be present for it. But that was how I coped with having the thing that I did — my identity as a reader — stolen for me so completely. I adapted and pivoted so well, I could pretend I hadn’t lost a piece of me.

ADHD defined me after that point, the executive dysfunctions and cognitive fog becoming my identity when I wasn’t lost to impulse and novelty. It wasn’t until the end of my 30s that I even had an inkling that I had ADHD. When I started this database, I didn’t know of my ADHD and autism, and the many executive dysfunctions that go hand in hand with the way my brain works. I learned as part of the journey of building this database and getting back to writing. It helped me understand how my brain works, why what was happening was happening. And this knowledge gave me a much more useful perspective on my path going forward.

A Lifetime of Impossible Tasks

None of it was new. I had been adapting around my executive dysfunction since my teens. The most prevalent was my poor working memory, and difficulty in storing short term memory into longterm. I was blessed with a level of intelligence that allowed me to deduce in the moment answers that others could memorize. If I studied the hours before, I could hold answers that would be long gone a week later. I passed complex math classes that way, only to realize I had no memory of formulas later. And it got worse when my immune system was flaring from living in black mold, my cognition dropping. But in those moments I was blessed with a superhuman level of neurosis that I substituted for my broken motivational system.

Even as I say blessed for both these supposed “positives” that got me through, I understand they were also completely self destructive. Neurosis is such a painful mental illness — no one asked if I had OCD back then; no one noticed that the thing I was relying on to get through what everyone else seemed to do with ease was so damn destructive. And intelligence — there is no harder prison to escape from than from an intelligent mind. Especially when mental illness comes rearing from the chemical imbalance of a raging immune system.

I needed self awareness to break out of these two gifts turned curses — and to be fair, I would say self-awareness is the sharpest double-edged sword out there. But I did gain it in my 30’s, at the same time my body failed along with my brain.

Self-Awareness: The Prison Breaker

Self awareness allowed me to see that what I thought was me failing impossible tasks up until that point, was me looking from the wrong vantage. And when my body failed and my brain was inflamed, and I was the sickest I had ever been, I took on the first impossible task that I knew was impossible, and I decided to become a writer.

And I did it. Sick as fuck, barely able to lift my arms for hours upon hours every day as I was struck by weird, mysterious glitches. Having maybe 4 hours a day of mental clarity, of my body suddenly moving like nothing had happened at all. During this time — when broken and well — I wrote stories I didn’t know how to write. And I kept writing, and self publishing, and at some point it wasn’t about me becoming a writer. I was a writer.

I had done the impossible. And then the impossible decided to double down in my late 30’s. Something in my brain broke differently, bigger than ever before, and I found myself staring at the walls most days, unable to get my brain to focus long enough to collect a thought, never mind do a thing. I couldn’t write. My executive functioning had failed so greatly that I couldn’t remember to do most anything. I was completely defined by the walls around me because my object permanence was gone, and I couldn’t remember there were rooms on the other side of doors.

So I did it again. The impossible task to become “functioning” was met and conquered.

I didn’t magically overcome the impossible, but instead built an executive functioning board along half of a wall, using words and symbols on dry erase notecards to spark my memory. Putting items in a To-Do and Done column so that I could stay on track. And as long as I could remember to look at that board before and after each task, I could do things again.

Eventually, I was able to combine those tasks into routines, my brain growing back, reconnecting. And when it glitched, the board was there, waiting to help.

And then I didn’t need the board at all… but I was still broken. My brain couldn’t adapt to my limits like it did before. I still couldn’t write.

Looking at the Impossible from a Fresh Vantage

Pinpointing my mental deficits and learning the term executive functioning were the pieces to the puzzle I needed to eventually realize I had ADHD and find a doctor to help. It led me to understand the role hormones play in ADHD as we age. And when they finally noticed my adrenals weren’t producing enough cortisol and that I had adrenal insufficiency, I learned how the adrenals play a role in hormone production.

I’d say it took at least a year with the appropriate cortisol supplementation for me to fully heal from the severe cognitive decline I had been living in from the untreated adrenal insufficiency. I’ve gotten a lot of my brain back, and the ADHD treatment has given me much more executive functionality than I’ve ever had before. Now, when I look back to when I started writing, and when I started making this database, I am truly left in wonder and absolute awe as to how the fuck I actually got here.

Because I can see from this perspective just how broken I was. When before, while living in such a struggling brain and body, all I could see was the tunnel vision of task after task, goal after goal, step after step. In that place I never allowed myself to believe I couldn’t do something. My only question was how?

Self Doubt Cannot Exist When Doing Impossible Things

You can cry. You can rail at the universe for what it has done to you for making shit so unfair. You can fight reality all you like. But if you want to do what feels like the impossible, you can never doubt yourself. It cannot be part of your identity. You can never doubt that you are going to reach the goal you’re reaching for.

The reality is, you could drop dead tomorrow having never reached your goal. But that’s not how living beings get things done. We need to be oblivious to reality when it comes to these tasks that seem so impossible. We need to be blind to the time it takes, to sacrifices made, and to our emotions when something inside of us screams ‘I’m done and I don’t want to do this anymore.’

When it comes to impossible tasks, we do not start out being the person who can complete the task. We start out being the person who will be changed by the process of trying to complete the task. And even though this is everything in life, not many are aware of how this is just the way things are.

The Motivation Has To Be Bigger Than The Goal

When I decided to become a writer, it wasn’t any easier for me to read. I had stopped reading for years, and had only come back to it because I had gotten so sick that my body would freeze and refuse to move for hours on end. Chronic fatigue isn’t sleeping all the time. It’s being in a body that refuses to move, bored out of your mind, demanding an escape. All you have left is your imagination to see you through, to remind you what living is, and that impossible task to start a business when I could barely lift my arms didn’t actually feel impossible. It just felt like the only thing to do to get through the moment.

Making this database was the only thing that I could do to be able to be a writer again. I did not write during the time I was making this database, because I couldn’t write. Making this database didn’t actually give me back the part of my brain I needed to be able to be a writer again. But what it did do was keep me focused on my goal — my impossible goal — of being able to write again while my brain was broken. It gave me hope when I saw that I could learn a new skill, a new language. And even when my cognition would drop and I would lose it all, it reminded me that I could get it back again when it came back and the code would work.

It gave me something to measure my achievements, small as they might be, while going through the process of my brain healing. While distancing me enough from my written works that I wouldn’t put my failures on to them. Because that was something that I was seeing as well. I was so focused thinking I couldn’t write, that I was going to ruin what I already created, instead of seeing that my brain was broken. It was easily promising to become a complex, and I knew that was detrimental to being able to go forward as a writer if it was allowed to sink in and take root. I didn’t want something else growing to trap me in this prison of a brain.

Taking the impossible journey was as simple as breathing. It promised something more when there was nothing. Taking on these tasks has to mean everything, otherwise why would anyone take on the impossible?

Preserving You During The Impossible Failures

Self awareness showed me where I was self destructing once again. I had learned by now, could see clearer each failure.

I transferred my end goal of being able to write, into the goal of being able to create a support system to write. The goal was the same, but when failure inevitably would strike, it was about the failure to create the needed support system instead of a failure to write.

Dealing with my vision disorder, and having my insurance provide the worst coating on what was supposed to be vision support screen glasses, was a failure of the support to help me see, not a failure of my vision. It was a failure of capitalism, of a society that thought any sort of glasses wasn’t automatically a vision aid, not on my failing sight.

It might sound so small, these little distinctions. These little transferences of where to place the pain and blame when things don’t go the way we need them to go. But it’s essential on this journey. It maintains mental well-being and self-esteem. In science, no one ever says your vision failed because you can’t see a virus with your bare eye; it’s that you failed to use or obtain the correct tools, and therefore couldn’t see what was there.

It’s a shifting of expectation and pressure that one places on oneself when we try to be accountable for everything we can’t control. It removes the question of if one is good enough, and again brings you to the how does one do something no matter abilities or talents. We’re brought to how to achieve the goal, instead of asking why all these parts of you aren’t good enough to let you reach that goal.

It’s not about owning the limitations, but about owning the solutions.

The Journey is the Goal, Not the Goal

I learned a new language and pattern of thought when my cognition was at its weakest. I held onto motivation when I literally had a failure of motivation as a result of ADHD. I was able to create the support tool I needed when my brain was at its weakest. And if I’m brutally honest, even with this support tool, at that point of my health I don’t know that I would have been able to write. I would have, because the tunnel vision would have allowed it, but without a healthier vantage, I’m not sure I would have been able to get past my perfectionist neurosis. But it would’ve given me hope and sent me looking for the answers that would help. And that is everything about taking on the impossible.

You need hope that it’s not truly impossible.

Our experiences don’t always change us into the person we need to be for the goal we’re chasing after. Sometimes they reveal that we want to be someone else. That the goal isn’t right. And that’s okay. Self-actualization is not an A+ B always = C formula. What we put in might define or shape the results, but that doesn’t mean we understand why our results are so unique and different to what we imagined.

Just like we can’t know the book we’re going to write until it’s written, wanting to be a form, a career, a completed task, an achieved goal doesn’t mean we know who we are going to be on that journey. So we have to be kind and forgiving, instead of trying to be that goal. Because if we are cruel and unaccepting of reality, fighting ourselves, filled with dissatisfaction and hate on the journey, that is the form we’re left in. The goal won’t define us; we define the goal.

So not only can you not doubt that you can do the impossible task, but you have to realize it’s not about the task at all, it’s not about the goal. It’s about you on the journey, because that’s what’s going to fuel and sustain as you do the impossible. It’s going to be why you show up. It’s going to be why you decided to take on the impossible in the first place when you have never done anything like it before. And it’s going to show you that you’re not as smart as you think you are when you look at something that seems impossible.

What we think is impossible is just our limits of imagination and experience. We haven’t become the people yet who know that it’s not impossible. It’s only in taking on the journey of the impossible that we ever get to discover the truth: impossible is just a concept, one we create. Our belief isn’t truth, isn’t fact, but just another limit we place to hold us back from meeting reality.

We’re a collection of scattered atoms with consciousness defining something we haven’t even attempted as impossible. It’s pretty nonsense the longer one even thinks of it. We have no idea what is actually impossible or not.

March 9 2023

Migraines and Possible Vision Solutions

Well, apparently I’ve been overdue for a good migraine. It’s going on day 3 — started the middle of Tuesday after a weird bout of crying, and when it hit it didn’t feel like a headache. It felt like I had gone full right back into an episode of fatigue, brain fog, and loss of motor skills, just hunching over in front of the computer, my brain glitching out unable to do basic shit again. Seriously thought it was a thing — like an ER thing — but nope, guess that’s just the opening act of this current migraine, one that has hit with fun bouts of euphoria, less fun anxiety, and really fascinating skewed visual distortions. The pain has set in this morning, hitting in waves, and gonna be real, it’s fucking boring being sick.

I have been able to get some work done these last days — seriously, what am I really supposed to do with my time, sick or not? Stare blankly at a television screen? *snort* I’ve added some useful bits to my database code that allows me to copy templates and alter, making the multiple sheets in the character form creation a faster process. I’ve made some basic forms that I’m adapting for Demon Bonded at the moment — that’s where I wanted to go when I finished the last PATB book. I wanted to jump into Demon Bonded, get another episode out, and then write another PATB, but my executive functioning just couldn’t support that by the time the mold was cleaned up.

I’m probably going to continue coding as much as I can through the pain — creativity just isn’t sparking from this place. My brain is going through weird distortions, and I don’t want to end up writing a bunch of nonsense on the current work only to need to edit it all later. (If I’m real, I shouldn’t be coding cuz if I fuck that up, it’s so much reading to find the problem. But I can’t just sit here all day being sick. Fuck that. Let’s make a mess.)

I’m noticing something interesting of the last few days. Exciting, even. My vision issues are different with the migraine.

So, I’m not sure if it’s the fluid build up/inflammation changes happening in the head, or something to do with pain receptors not reading when the euphoria hits (leaning toward this one) but my eyes haven’t hurt much at all the last few days, even though I have absolutely been coding. I’m still photosensitive, but not in the same way I’ve been on a daily level. My eyes are still fucked, don’t get me wrong, but this eye condition has always been here since I was a kid. It’s only been recently that it’s been preventing me from doing the things I love.

After my insurance provided me with the most painful, useless support glasses to help me read the screen but instead gave me eye pain for days, I had kinda given up a lot on finding a better perspective on this shit. I hadn’t realized I had adapted down into the daily baseline pain of this condition, and that it might be better with a different intervention. The pain shutting off during the early days of the migraine reminded me that it doesn’t have to be this way. That if I can find a better solution, I might be able to claw back more of my life and functionality.

And maybe that’s just a lie I’m telling myself out of desperation and hope. But fuck, I can live off of lies if it gets me pushing toward a better tomorrow, you know? I think that’s part of the human condition, otherwise we’re just staring at the inevitability of death every day until the end. (what, that never crossed your mind as an activity you can start today? Oh, darling, existential dread is just a thought away.)

So I talked to my PCP about migraine prevention, and we’re going to try something different to the neurophthalmologist’s protocol. They can’t really be mixed because of how aspirin can interact with the new med. And if it doesn’t work, I’ll be seeking out a migraine specialist to see what they can do. What I’m looking at will take weeks to work, if it does work, and given my questionable brain chemistry, it might not be a viable option because of how it impacts the serotonin system. Aka, I might go manic and have to stop, leading to more lost days of work. But if it does work, it won’t just be preventing migraine pain; it’ll be helping with all pain. Like the eye pain and the strain of the muscles as they struggle to not default to their resting, skewed position when in use.

So as shitty as this migraine has been, I’m quite happy to tear out a silver lining and sew it into a couture garb to wear for the next months as I see how this new treatment goes. (Because yes, I’m also watching Netflix’s as I code, and I found a new season of Next in Fashion.)

March 6 2023

Currently Coding

Just wanted to check in and assure peeps that I haven’t fucked off for a bunch of years again. ^^; I’ve been working on my story reference database, finishing the template creator and building character sheet forms. It’s essential for me to have a one stop, visually organized system of reference to be able to continue to write the complex serials like Demon Bonded and The Paranormal Academy for Troubled Boys. The ADHD treatment has helped my executive functioning a lot, but it’s not a cure, only a treatment. It’s my job to create the tools that work for my unique brain (and eyes) to ensure I can return to getting these stories out with any kind of consistency.

Last week was also a week of really bad vision, eye pain, and allergies. Apparently something was growing in my humidifier, and it took a lot of adapting down to the pain until I started problem solving — it’s rather fascinating how much suffering a person will endure until they finally wake up out of it, huh?

Anyways, that’s much better now. I was able to flip my sleep cycle again (only lost 1 day this time around) so that I’m waking up at dawn instead of falling asleep. And yeah, it’s been really nice to measure the clarity of thought my brain can produce lately when coding. Getting the adrenals treated has helped so much. I’m solving these coding issues one after the other instead of the slow, confusing slog it used to be, and I’m already into the final form creation. It may still take a week or two to get it all polished up, but my goal is to try to task switch into finishing up the current Breeding His Nephew scene this week so I don’t completely get out of the habit of writing.

I really struggle with balance. It’s kind of like my brain loads everything it needs for a task like a giant video, and then buffers until it’s all running smoothly. But switching to a new task requires loading completely different info and all that buferring happens again. This is why the database is important — I need to store things outside of this wonky brain of mine so it has less it needs to load up each time. It’s quite practical, but for some reason I really resisted getting to this point…

What New Writers Don’t Understand About Writing…

Writing to solve the problem, not supply the answer

I’ve been thinking about the writing process a lot as I get back into writing. I went into writing sprints previously because that was what I was focused on then. Now I’m focused on developmental drafts, the place where questions are found and problem solving happens. There are multiple stories I’m dealing with that are just waiting for me to show up to this stage, and I’m going through the thought experiment of what that actually means.

The thing is, writing is problem solving. Creativity is the act of solving problems, and if you don’t have a problem to solve, you have nothing to do. It’s why I dislike writing systems so much — you know; pre made, packaged systems sold to writers to get them making a story. Writing systems provide an answer without understanding that the answer isn’t what creativity is about. It’s about the problem solving. The answer, alone, is nothing. It doesn’t reflect the journey, the stress factors, the issues that need resolving. It’s just an answer— literally, no one asked for that. Why are they going to read it?

Preplanned answers to questions not asked

Writing systems are about looking at a finished book and promising a writer that if they sit down and follow their steps, they will get their book written. But a book doesn’t exist before it’s written, and it is the process itself that creates that book. If that process is restricted to limits — limits designed with a very simplified mindset in regard to everything — the end result will be limited to the writing system.

A writing system doesn’t teach someone how to think like a creative; it teaches them how to follow a plan, one they’re taking on faith because they themselves did not have the experience to make a plan of their own. It’s training wheels to get a writer going, but you’re not learning how to craft a story, or even look for what you need to look for to make a story good. You’re just shown one limited path, a path designed to be as accessible as possible, without an understanding of the real problems a story holds. It doesn’t explain how the creative process is in solving those problems, or how important it is to create new problems to keep a story interesting.

So, let’s talk about what limits a new writer, or even a veteran who is stuck to the point they might think answers for questions not asked looks good. Let’s talk about the biggest problem of the would-be-writer.


Do you think you know the story you’re going to write? Your expectations are already unrealistic.

A concept is only ever that; a concept. You can’t know what doesn’t exist. If you sit down thinking you’re going to write the story you’ve been kicking around in your head for a week or for 10 years, you are never going to meet that story on the page. The “what it’s going to be” version of your story will never exist, and when people fail to realize this, they can get stuck and never write their story at all.

Do you think that the first draft of your story is your story? Again, your expectations are set to unrealistic. That’s still stuck in expectations, defined more by what the writer wants it to be and less by what it will actually become.

What about your characters? If you were to write a bio of your characters for the story when you first start it, will that bio change by the time you get to the end of your story? If it doesn’t, if nothing of importance has changed your characters by the end of your writing process, you haven’t written a dimensional character.

You can’t know a character you haven’t written. You can’t know a character you haven’t met, which means until your character has gone through enough experiences within your writing, you cannot predict their actions or know them as a fleshed out being. You can’t know the world you’re creating and settings these characters are in until you’ve written it and have them interact within it.

The process of writing should reveal the fullness of your characters in the same way it reveals the true form of your story. You can’t reverse engineer this like a writing system tries to do. You can’t start at the end. There is no shortcut. You have to go through the process.

There is a lot of putting the cart before the horse when it comes to expectations of writing, and it is all unrealistic. It asks for cookie-cutter, two-dimensional answers to complex questions because people are expecting to base their worlds and their characters on something they haven’t even explored yet.

Draft writing

This is why I subscribe to draft writing. And when I say draft writing, understand I’m not referring to any kind of writing system that might be called that. I’m referring to the act of writing multiple drafts of a story until, through the process of making these drafts, you have a finished piece.

You might not know your character until you’ve written a first draft and seen bits of them shining through. You might not know the world your characters are in until that first draft and you see nothing is there. And when you start writing your world into the second draft, you see everything must change because the world is an environment that has defined so many different actions, created so many problems that need solving that the first draft didn’t. You might not know your plot until you’ve written your first draft and you see that the characters aren’t growing, their talents and abilities are not being stretched to have them shine in any way.

What’s the point of having a character with *insert ideal magical power* if they’re not tested? Why have a highly empathetic character if there’s nothing for them to react to? Why have a shut-in character who isn’t being forced out into the real world? Why define a character with traits if those traits aren’t going to come into play?

If you write character centric stories, your plot needs to be about growing that character. Otherwise, it’s not character centric. Then it’s just plot centric with a character jumping through hoops that an author has set up, completely disconnected as to why any of the elements of the story are there.

Exploration without expectation

Draft writing allows for exploration without expectation. It allows you to find the problems in your story and start problem-solving. It’s where you get to develop something off of the foundation of your initial draft without demanding you use that original writing.

But the thing is, without going through that first draft, you can never get to this point. You can’t develop something that doesn’t exist. You need a jumble that creates a form — even if it’s not the final form — so that you can start sculpting from there.

Questions, problems, and crossroads

Every time you have a question in your story, you are developing it. Every time you identify a problem that needs solving, it’s developing. Every time you end up at a crossroads with a path to choose, you are developing the story. This is everything in the creative writing process.

I was talking to my partner about Star Trek because he’s been rewatching Voyager lately, and their closets came up, and we just started hypothesizing what would the living space of a futuristic society on a spaceship really look like? The ship would set huge limits because of a lack of space, and there being limits on weight. Most of the space on that ship would be for functionality to allow it to move, store fuel and water, and to have life support. What energy/fuel could really be put into the luxury of people not working, and how would the replicators play a function in it all? Would people be less materialistic when they realize they don’t have to hold onto anything; it can be replicated as needed? Or would that drive them to want more and more and more, because there are no limits; you can have anything? What does a hoarder look like with a replicator? This is a culture that has technology to make people look like entirely different species, sometimes changing them completely genetically. Would that mean body modifications would be far more normalized because replicating the latest clothing trend would be so easy that it wouldn’t feel unique? Would it be an educational thing to be genetically modified for a certain amount of time to understand other alien cultures before going out into space? How would humanity direct their current innate drives when put in a future that allows for so much with so few consequences?

All of the above questions come from interacting with a preexisting source. Star Trek has been out there for decades. We’ve seen some of their tech enough to have questions about it, but we haven’t really seen the answers to these particular questions (at least, I haven’t. It may be out there.) If the writers of Star Trek asked these questions, we might actually see entire episodes focused on the answers, because in each question could be an entire world to explore, a path to take, a problem to solve as we ask how it could work, and how to make it interesting AF.

When you see the generic spy gadgets being brought up in a spy thriller, if there isn’t a situation where they’re used, has a problem been solved? If the watch with a sleeping dart never trips a sensor, do we believe the threat the hero is walking into is really that high tech, advanced, and cunning? How do you solve the problem of having one organization developing amazing tech to surveillance another organization that does the very same thing without under powering and making one side look far weaker and not an actual threat?

Or, how can you have a David and Goliath situation when the physics of a slingshot could never bring down a giant? How would you do it better, make it believable, and make it in a way where the character grows? Could the slingshot represent getting into someone’s heads with words until the bully self destructs and gives up? How would you portray that? What sort of world would that happen in, and would you need a media presence to be involved to really spread that rumor/gossip? Maybe we take a path where it’s the court of a dictator, and your main character is low in a system trying to take out an enemy that has been keeping them stuck in the worst situation, and the entire book is about using psychological warfare to take down the greatest of foes. Or maybe the path to take is about kids at recess, where one puts a pebble in the bully’s shoe after the bully made fun of them. But the pebble has a rare bacteria on it, and the bully dies.

If you don’t ask the questions — if you don’t identify the problems and choose a path — you can’t create something new. And if you don’t know that writing is problem solving, you can’t understand what you’re doing in the first place.

There is no magic to creativity

Too many talk about creativity like it’s something only certain people have. Or worse, like it’s something the fickle muses gift, something that must be waited on to strike, and can’t be honed or grown. But it’s just problem solving. Most people go to work or school every week and solve problems in their day to day life, not realizing that they’re being creative.

Writing a book is the same thing. You’re showing up to learn a craft and then do it. But while school and work will tell you the problems that need solving, and limit how you can solve them, creative work is different. You aren’t handed the answers; you have to solve it yourself. You have to find the problems, figure out why they’re problems, and then generate solutions that will bring you to your most ideal goal.

It requires experiencing the problems first hand, not through someone else’s structure. A writing system can’t teach someone how to think creatively — aka, how to think in a way to problem solve (unless that is literally the system). It hands an answer while not teaching the would-be-writer how to look for the problems they supplied those answers for.

To problem solve, you need to actually solve problems. You learn through doing — you learn best through failing, experimenting, and eventually solving. If your problem is you’re afraid to start, you can solve that problem by starting right now. If your problem is you don’t feel like you have any opportunity to problem solve in your life to get better at it for writing, that is a problem you can work on solving too — by writing a book.

You can try writing a book and see what it’s like to solve a whole bunch of problems. And then you can choose to create more problems in that story, because those problems — the limits found in a story — are needed to decide its form. When a book can be anything at all, limits decide what it will be. It’s the paths taken instead of the ones closed off. It’s the problems solved instead of the ones ignored. It’s the questions answered while others have no importance. Answering no to a question as simple as “does the world have gravity?” can decide so much to the shape of a story, and it’s up to you as a writer to see which questions are worth asking.

Curiosity before certainty

All those questions are idea generation. Not even the answers; the questions are the source of where those ideas are coming from. First drafts to stories are about laying a foundation to ask questions about. Developing a story is about taking a jumble of interesting ideas and taking paths to explore those ideas, and then, eventually, pinning them each down to form the final shape of the story. And that pathing and pinning down process can take multiple drafts as you decide what works and what doesn’t. What works will depend on the problems you have in the moment and the questions you ask to solve it.

If you can allow it all to be malleable, all to adapt to a better change, a better path, a better question, you’re giving your story the best opportunity to be its best version. But that’s on you and how comfortable you are with writing something and then cutting it up, moving the pieces around, deleting pieces, and building something completely new. How you feel about fucking up something that could be super important to you, that you might have spent years on, on the off-chance that this version might actually be the one people want to read. How you feel about letting go of expectations to instead experiment and explore.

Getting comfortable being uncomfortable

You don’t know the story you’re writing. Even as a plotter. I am lying to myself every time I make an outline and sit down to flesh it out. You don’t know what’s going to end up on the page because it hasn’t happened yet, and you don’t know how it’s going to change, just that it will. You need to get comfortable here not knowing what you’re writing, and still writing anyways.

If you can embrace that and become the daredevil who rushes to the cliff to see the spikes they’re going to be leaping over next, this can be a lot of fun. But if you’re someone who needs to read the finished book before you start writing it, it won’t be fun. It can leave people lost and angry and hating themselves because they think they’re failing at manifesting a book into existence. But it’s not manifesting; it’s a process that creates the end result. There is no joy being on a journey of discovery when you expect the answer to be handed to you. You have to stop expecting the wrong things.

Fostering a creative mindset

I’m not here to tell people how to do this; I’m just here to say you need to. You need to be creative with how you deal with the things you’re doing that hold you back. This can’t just start and end in a book. Your attitude and how you see the world is reflected in everything you do, and if you’re wasting your energy creating problems that keep you from creating solutions, that’s on you.

If you find a writing system helps you, you need to understand that the limits placed don’t have to be there if they’re holding you back — and they will hold you back. Training wheels only help to a certain point, and then they slow you down and prevent tight turns. Being comfortable can only get you so far. Whatever your frustrations on the first, third — fiftieth — draft as you fail to get closer to where you want to be, is more likely about how you think about writing and your level of comfort, than the piece you’re working on.

Because you could solve your book if you were willing to slice it into a brand new form that doesn’t have the problems you’re stuck on. You could solve it if you’re willing to let go of what you’re clinging to, throw away the safety net, and see what you pull out of the dark woods of creativity. Experimentation is how we solve problems. You have to allow yourself to fuck up or you’re not going to gain experience solving anything.

You need to go down the wrong path to see that a problem is there. You need to write the wrong book first to see that it’s not the book you want to write. And then you solve that book as many times as it takes to get to the results you want — while understanding that what you want is absolutely part of the problem, part of the limits that form the final shape of the book.

Every time you write and don’t write a book, you haven’t failed. You have experimented, practiced problem solving, and gotten comfortable not know what you’re doing. You’re solving problems, and hopefully finding new ones, bigger ones, as your mind expands to the possibilities.

There is a mountain to climb, and it shouldn’t feel daunting when you get to the top and see another one to reach. It should be exciting. Every challenge is another high to reach, something to learn, something to understand about the world, humanity, and yourself. All things you can put into your writing, taking on a fresh challenge of how to do it.

The creative mind creates problems, useful and not

If you’re drawn to creative work, a part of you is a problem solver forever asking “how can I do that?” You have to remember you’re participating in the creative process, not being led by it. You’re accountable for showing up, for if you’re discouraged by a setback or see it as your guide to what to try next. You have to be creative for your mindset just as much as for your craft, otherwise the problem solving mind can start making problems for itself just to keep shit interesting.

There is no inspiration to wait for; that’s a lie people tell themselves. There is no system that will shortcut through this. It’s work. It’s practice and experience. It’s showing up and leaning in to being bored until you create something to make it interesting. It’s accepting that you’re going to work on something and be BAD at it, for ages, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. You are going to write a collection of terrible books until you’re good at this — and people might still say your books are shit when they can’t even write a paragraph for a negative review — but none of that can happen if you don’t do the work to write anything at all.

You have to see failure as your guide to the next problem to solve, and the emotions you feel when you want to give up as a warning that you have a problem that’s not solved when it comes to why you’re writing, what you want out of all this.

Being creative is a way of life, but for some minds it forms our very reality. You’re allowed to acknowledge how much something sucks, but if all you’re doing is wasting time bitching instead of running toward that next challenge, you’re harming yourself, refusing to solve the problem of why you don’t want to show up and love what you do. If you’re stuck creating a concrete concept of the problem holding you back, you’re not putting that energy into finding the solution — a solution which can be as simple as realizing it’s not actually a problem in the first place. It just looked like one because you wanted an excuse to not go forward.

At the end of the day, everything in the story you’ve written — everything you’re battling with — is you. Your limits will decide the final shape of your story, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. If your expectations are limiting you, they’re limiting your story. If your fears and self doubts — or self hate — is limiting you, the same is limiting your story.

Give yourself permission to get out of your own way when it comes to writing, and if you can’t, you’re going to have to problem solve that shit. No one else can, the same way no one else can go through the writing process and hand you a cheat sheet that you’ll have the experience to utilize. You need to become comfortable with being a work in progress. If you can, you can become comfortable solving the story you’re working on and reveal the final version waiting.

Writing When All Plans Fail

The Best Laid Plans Of Labrats…

So… nothing this week has gone to plan. Second week of getting back into writing, and after the way last week ended early, I was dealing with a lot of hard truth moments in regards to my neurosis and my inability to really compromise with it. I went into this week with a plan, one that looked really good on paper.

The main idea is to switch to a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule so that I could use Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend as buffer days to prevent me from falling into my obsessive patterns. And that I would need to fill those buffer days with non-work related tasks, creating a schedule or a list of these safe projects that I know don’t trigger this pattern centric aspect of my brain. If I can find a way to ensure that I can’t work the second I wake up after falling asleep working, I thought I could break the dangerous cycle and force myself to return to the waking world.

There are some other things, probably just as important. Giving myself a task shut off time, and a bed time. Locking my laptop in a different room so I couldn’t just grab it and start working in the middle of the night (as I do.) I know that if I’m doing a task when I start to get tired, it’s so much harder for me to pull away, especially if I’ve been doing that task all day. (6am writing this — 7 am editing — so as we can all see, my task shut off time and bedtime have both failed tonight, and I sure as fuck didn’t lock my laptop away.) But the hope was if I could stop myself before my brain became stronger than my will, I could prevent the cycle from repeating.

Shit Went Wrong

To be fair, it’s still a good goal, it just didn’t happen this week.

Monday I realized the fabric covered cardboard storage chest I bought about a month ago didn’t actually get rid of the dust mites it was filled with when I steam cleaned it the day before, and after having an amazing allergy attack, I spent the day washing all my linens and spray painting the chest, hoping that might seal the little buggers away. And then, after some thinking on it, I started to wonder if I should be treating for dust mites or considering mold, seeing as out of the two infesting cardboard, mold was the most likely culprit.

Frustrated, and not wanting to lose the day completely, I thought I might check out AI art between coats of paint. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot as my vision issues get worse and making digital art becomes so destructive to my eyes. AI art seems like this bridge, this tool that could give me something back. I could edit and filter art into a book cover if it’s a high enough quality starting out… maybe. >_> But when I went to try the discord one, midjourney, I ran into a problem beyond the horrible scrolling that was such a strain on my eyes.

The addictive pattern part of my brain was triggered as I kept feeding prompts in trying to get results. It was gambling combined with problem solving, and peeps, if you don’t understand that the most dangerous aspect of my brain is that its default is a sharp toothed predator of problems looking to tear them to pieces and build a beautiful, blood soaked answer out of the bones, this fucking system sure did. Everything about making art is problem solving, and adding in AI gambling to spit out random images that may or may not fit the goal didn’t change this for me. It just made the cause and effect for bigger issues faster, not allowing me to focus on an end goal since there was no process to follow and close poor paths off like one does with making art by hand.

There were too many paths, and my brain needs to map everything before it can map a single point. That’s a big issue with my default type of learning; I need more data to see the big picture, which then allows me to see the details. Yeah, it’s helpful to get multiple vantages and understand a topic fully, in context with so much more. But when the data is too great to take in all at once, it’s overwhelm, and a problem solving loop of misery as I try to talk myself into figuring out how to have it not be overwhelm, creating more overwhelm.

Needless to say, after starting multiple accounts to play with the free version for hours straight, I knew it was too dangerous for me, another possibility of getting back into making digital art cut off because of this neurotic fuck of a brain of mine. And yeah, it’s crushing. My vision issues are in a lot of ways a product of how I abuse my eyes when it comes to the shit I obsess over — I am never going to win this.

So Tuesday, I woke up planning to get my allergy shots — you know, fill my day with things that aren’t business focused so I am a full human being instead of defaulting into the last task I did — but because I was up so late fucking around with the AI art, I couldn’t go. My car was needed for someone who actually works a job consistently, and it was getting too dark anyways for me to be able to drive safely. Because my night vision is done now. The lights in the dark make me nauseous and I spend most of my time with my eyes closed and hands covering them when in a car at night.

I felt really defeated. I didn’t have a plan. Honestly, I didn’t want to do the plan I made because there was a mess of a painted chest I couldn’t use reminding me of cash poorly spent, I couldn’t get my new eye glasses — they came in apparently last Friday and I missed the call. Not that it mattered because even though I can mostly drive during the day, I struggle with areas I’m unfamiliar with because of the lack of muscle memory. I was just feeling really shit about myself and having to face these really difficult limits.

Giving In

So I opened up my laptop, turned to the last story I had been working on, and just started writing. No sprints, no fucks to give on proper editing or anything. I just needed something to throw myself into so I didn’t have to think about all the fucking shit I really don’t want to think about.

It’s why I started writing all those years ago when I first got sick. I had a lot of shit I didn’t want to think about then too.

And yeah, I started feeling better. Because that’s part of the draw of the things that change my thought patterns into simple, restricted designs. There’s no room for doubts or negative emotions. There’s just the task and completing it. Hours slip away, meals are skipped, all social interactions completely neglected. Everything is so much simpler when the human doesn’t get in the way and there’s only the thing to focus on.

Task Addiction Isn’t Trending

I can’t find a proper name for what I have — oh, there are trendy names, you know, the ones that fit nicely into search algorithms like productivity addiction or the old school workaholism, maybe a task completion addiction here and there. But these terms aren’t really helpful because they don’t come with a diagnosis or even a damn handbook. It’s just a weird flex most days, some trope in a story about the executive who keeps giving himself a heart attack because he works too much. There’s very few practical steps to take when you’re trying to find a balance with something that for most abled people just means not working past a 9-5.

There is one part of it I had found a name for some years back and have since forgotten, and it had to do with a faulty kill switch when it came to giving up. I guess most people, when faced with an impossible task or a big challenge, will naturally stop after a certain amount of failed attempts to overcome it. And it’s quaint how people talk about it like it’s a choice, like it’s self awareness to either “try harder” when challenged, or “let go” when never giving up. But I am very fucking aware when I can’t walk away from a task I’m trapped in. My wiring doesn’t care. It’s getting whatever high it’s getting from it, and I am fighting my biology every time I manage to pull away.

The little I found was of the productivity addiction stuff and it’s what I used to build my plan for a new week. I was cautiously hopeful… but not deeply invested in it working. Because it involves my willpower being greater than my neurosis, and I’m pretty sure by definition, neurosis is going to fucking win. And yeah, part of me loves the addiction, especially since it happens over basic shit that leads to a better way of thinking.

Changing is asking me to be something I’m not, sooner rather than later as the way my brain works pushes me to break every damn time. And the depression sure as fuck isn’t adding anything useful into the mix. That’s been something coming on strong, in waves, month in and out, since about… fuck, it started after my teeth were pulled and the meds had an impact on my adrenals. But I don’t think the low cortisol is the cause at this point, just a lot of different things all leaving the same unhappy chemical result…

The Point? Brains are stupid.

I don’t even know why I’m writing this. Maybe just to show that yeah, I had a shit couple of days, was feeling really low, yet still managed to write about 4500 words in the story I was working on today and I didn’t have to solve all the deep fucking issues of my brain, disabilities, and situation to be allowed to do it.

And maybe the consequences aren’t that dire — fuck, I’m going to drop dead eventually. Who really cares if I ate chips for dinner? I dunno. I’m too extreme with everything, from fasting months over the summer and then carbing through the winter, to always fighting my sleep cycle that naturally believes morning is the best time to be unconscious, and instead of just accepting that I’m never going to fit whatever fucking ideal I keep thinking is the thing I need to be to get through this, I keep fighting reality.

I’m not okay, and I can still write. And that’s probably going to be most days going forward. It was most days getting to this point before the multi year long break. I just kept expecting something different.

I thought getting past the weird chronic fatigue and brain fog was going to be everything I needed, and then the mold took over the house. Then I thought getting over the screaming face pain was everything I was going to need, and then my brain just flatlined. Now I got my brain back, and hey, it’s still a fucking neurotic mess and I still have to get up and live this imperfect life.

Shit has never gone how I planned, and that shouldn’t be the reason I’m upset. This illusion of control has always been bullshit anyways; I’m just too stubborn to admit it when I’m stuck fighting my brain. The illusion is just so damn tempting, easy, that one single answer in the sea of chaos that my problem solving brain craves.

Would nihilism be better for it? Sure fucking would, but no, it doesn’t want to do that kind of work. There’s no pattern to obsess over in nihilism. It wants the illusion of control with steps to follow when things get difficult, like the dumb fuck it is.

It’s too late to pretend any of this is legible… comprehensible? Whatever words. Tired. Just remember: don’t believe that your brain decides your decisions. Most behavior happens and then the brain swoops in to justify and explain it away like the smug, dumb fuck it is. The brain isn’t the control center; it just plays pilot like a little kid pressing buttons that don’t do anything while the body goes about its routines, uncaring of the steady, usually unkind critique only a superior intellect can so foolishly rationalize spewing.

Also, if you’re not an asshole to yourself, carry on.