The Inevitable End

One day, maybe, I will write something happy. Or, at least recognized as happy by the general populace. I get quite a bit of comfort from topics like this. Knowing that I will die, just like everyone I know, gives me some comfort in knowing that I will do something seen as normal in my life.

What do I mean by ‘everyone dies’? Well, just that! I do not mean that in a defeatist or dower way: there is absolutely no point in giving up all because there is an end. That’s like watching a TV show all the way but not sitting through the last episode because then it ends. There is a difference between acknowledging an end and giving up to an end.

By giving up to an end, you are ending your life before you see the ending. It pains me to think of how many amazing things could have been accomplished if, let’s say Bob, just accepted that he would die and did that amazing thing. Bob, in this example, is a defeatist. He sees an end and, instead of doing something with the time he has left, lies down and gives up. He just remains a husk until his end. He will probably spend his last moments thinking about how he should have done so much more.

That is in contrast to, let’s call her, “Cindy”. She knows that she will die one day, and tries to make sure that the world is exactly the way she wants it. She creates art she wants to see. She does her part to fight injustice. She spends her last moments thinking about how she could have done more, but ultimately did as much as she could.

To abuse the old meme: Cindy is smart. Be like Cindy.

Death is an end. I’m not going to pretend that it’s not, and I’m not going to create a bunch of false platitudes. Regardless of whether you believe in Heaven, Hell, or reincarnation: you (the “you” that you are) does not exist anymore. There is nothing daunting or depressing about that fact. Everything ends, and death is the event that we all face. It gives meaning to us, as a species.

Neil Gaiman in his graphic novel The Sandman did a fantastic narrative arc where a man lived forever. He was visited over a period of 1000 years, and went through different stages of grief. Initially, he felt invincible. Then, he spoke of the horrors of having to bury everyone he loved. In the end, it showed how shallow and meaningless his life had become while he delved into a life of superficial attachment and arrogance. I read that story about a decade ago and it has become a crucial part of my outlook since that day.

I guess I should make an ultimate point after offloading a series of truths which may, or may not, disturb you. I really can only point out how now is all that matters, in the end. Yes, the world will continue. Lives will be lived and lost after you die. Social change like #BLM and the political stife hitting the USA right now are going to be around forever. I am being optimistic when I say that fewer than 10% of you reading this will actually change something, and not 1% will change everything. That does NOT mean you shouldn’t try. Total change starts with the masses. Don’t be afraid to be a face in the crowd. As a performer, I can attest that masses are important. Without an audience, there can be no change.

If you cannot be a creator of change, be the audience that wants it.

Depression

I am going to start this of with a warning. I don’t plan on getting too dower or bleak, but this is a very triggering topic for some. If you are someone who has a tendency to get upset by talk of suicide, depression, or the state of the world, consider this a warning and remember that I love you. Call a help-line, talk to a psychiatrist, or get hold of a friend. You can even just leave a comment with a statement as simple as “help” and I will make sure to reach out.

Also, this is not a request for help. This is not a sign of warning, nor is it an answer. It’s more of a series of ideas and questions posed as a blog. I am not an expert, and I do not pretend to be. Again, resources are available if you need them. The one thing I am very passionate about is that talking to someone is, not just a step, the best step. That includes morons, like me, on the internet with too much time on their hands.

Okay. You have been warned. This is the last line that I will post before launching into my thoughts. I promise you that they will be upsetting to someone, and I refuse to be sorry for them.

If you couldn’t tell from that 3 paragraph intro, I have a lot of thoughts on depression, suicide, and mental health in general. Again: I am the furthest thing from a professional, and I have never been diagnosed as depressed. If that is a deal breaker for you, have a good day.

When I say that I have never been diagnosed with depression, I mean that in the most clinical definition. Am I depressed? Almost definitely on paper. The thing that keeps me from confirming the suspicion I have of depression is a sense of irony. It would almost be too perfect if I am depressed because my outlook on life is so bleak. I don’t care what happens after I die; I am dead. I cannot believe in an afterlife no matter how hard I try. I guess one could argue that I lead a hedonistic life, but that term seems too definite to me.

If I refuse to define my life as headonistic, how do I define it?

Well, I would say that I live a life of insecurity and stats. I obsessively watch things like YouTube subscriptions, video view numbers, stats of interactions with Twitter, and fancounts on FaceBook. I will spend the next week obsessing over the engagement that this post receives, as I have with every post I have made to this site over the last five years. The first AND last thing I do in a day is look at book sales, which haven’t shown a single number in three months at this point.

I have tied my worth as a human being to a series of number and engagement ratings. I hide my personality behind paywalls and am constantly disappointed with how poorly I am doing according to the numbers today, as opposed to seeing how they may have increased over the last year. The other day, I noticed that I lost two followers on my Twitter a month ago (the one stat I don’t keep up with) and spent hours re-reading the 40 or so posts I have made since they vanished to see what I might have done wrong. Damn, there is a chance that they were never real people. Alternatively, there is a chance that they WERE real people that realised how pointless Twitter is and disabled their account to go do something cool, like eat a sandwich.

I have a hard time disassociating likes, followers, and view numbers from accomplishment. I should be proud of the fact that I have 10ish releases of music and a book under my belt, but I find myself hung up on how I am very broke, rely on family and friends, and am very broke. Ironically, money is something that I cannot attach myself to. I have had the same Patrons forever. I appreciate them very much, but I don’t plug or push donating to that because I am trying to make stuff without relying on that. Even though I do have three dogs and a cat that would like to be fed.

So far, I know that this post has seemed like waffling. Those opening paragraphs seem like nothing more than fodder to keep the morbid few reading further into this post, but I swear there is a point to all of this. I cannot talk about my own mental shortcomings without defining where my head is at the point.

Back to my point of “who cares what happens after you die?” That is actually something I have been struggling with a lot as of late. Therefor. I have very little regard for life. I cannot find a reason to care about what happens after I die. If my identity gets taken, if my book gets plagiarized, if my unreleased work gets finished by someone else and published under their name: I will be dead and therefore cannot reap any benefit or dismay that it might generate. If anything, I do not have to deal with the fallout and heartbreak of it not going as well as I think it should.

So, if I have this very “selfish” view on life; why keep going? If I am so convinced that there will be no repercussion that I have to deal with, why even risk the heartbreak? I should be willing to take my own life. I should be already dead. I should die quietly and make sure that I go in a quiet manner to make sure that I matter as little in death as I did in life.

One word.
Tomorrow.

I’m curious about what tomorrow brings. I’m curious about what I can accomplish. I’m curious about what my friends will do, and if the things I have (or my friends have) done will matter in the long run.

If you can’t find reason to live, just remember that the reason could be as simple as what the butterfly effect might bring in the next moment.

That might sound stupid, juvenile, or even selfish; but it helps me see tomorrow. Yes; I have a wife that I love very much. Yes; I have my family, friends, and possible prospects in writing. Yes; I have a small collection of people that might read this line. I love all of you very much, and I appreciate you coming to my articles. I know that I have been a bit more rambly as of late, and much less directed. I am sorry for that, but please remember that I appreciate you.

Also music.

To reply…?

I have gone a couple of months without saying too much about the review that was published. Official opinion? I like it! I was very honoured that they compared me to Chuck Palahniuk, as he is one of my favourite writers. Even being called “undercooked” by comparison is like saying that a painting is no Mona Lisa. That comparison alone brought tears to my eyes as I read it.

I refuse to refute any points I do not agree with. I am a firm believer in the idea that a work is a living entity that exists on its own. The review, though I do think it is a bit too tough on the vignettes, is very good. Even the “undercooked” is surrounded by words of encouragement and praise, so I need to stop focusing on it.

It’s hard to detach personal attachment from something that I created. I still get mildly defensive when people attack bands I was in a lifetime ago. Hell, I have notice lyrical discrepancies in regards to The Twin and I will never elaborate on that. If you can hear where we were offensive, let’s talk about it. I’ll tell you 234982340 other times you should be offended, and I will fully agree that we should have payed more attention to what we were saying.

On the topic of creation, I am about 1/5th into writing my next book. I know that does not sound far, but you have no idea how little hair I have left trying to wrap my mind around timeline and greater scope. I have the ending done, I have a major event. Now, it’s just a matter of connecting those two points, while also making those points make sense in the greater narrative. Also, I need to give some importance and gravity to the initial event.

I showed a very early draft to my friend Pat, and he pointed out how there was no reason to care that an event happened to the main character. At that time, I had the inciting event happen right at the beginning. I still hold that it could have worked, but starting with an emotional moment only to have it undercut by how we don’t know the character is not ideal…

MY GREATER POINT

If you donate to my Patreon (as low as a dollar a month) you will be listed in the “Thank You”s at the end of the text. I will have the book done by 2021, because 2020 is a garbage fire and I want nothing I do to be immortalized by this horrible year.

Patreon Update

I cleaned up the Patreon (clink that link to consider helping out) site as much as I could. No new categories were added, but I removed the redundant ones.

Keep in mind: you still get a place in the “Thank You” section of the end of my book for continued support. I am not going to say when the new book will be done, but I have given the three chapters to a couple of friends of mine for opinions. They see where I am going with it, and are rather excited to see where it goes*.

*Their words, not mine.

A New Branch of Government

Maybe I just missed it in my research, but I want to start a section of municiple government that looks into local bylaws regarding disability.

What would that cover? Things like industry complying with laws that govern accessibility. Resource management for individules. Set up and manage wheelchair transportation.

Yes: I know this would govern a small population in any city.
Yes: I realize that a good portion of what I am proposing should be set up by private companies and it DOESN’T exist right now because the demand is so low.

The idea that this branch doesn’t even exist*, again, upsets me very much. I am more than willing to take up the mantle if no one else is. In the case where it does exist: please give me the information for me to, at least, check in: to see if there is anything I can do. I have mentioned in this blog before, but I want to be a contact for people. I have little to offer, in the way of legal connections. Sometimes, all you need is a helping hand. I feel as if the connections I DO have are very solid, and a few are mildly ignored.

If I had unlimited money, and political power, I would create accessible housing options. As it stands, there is very little in this region. Actually, there seems to be very little in most, if not all, regions. My wife and I have been looking and, unless we want to go back into an apartment (which we don’t), there is always at least 2 reasons not to keep looking. It’s disheartening. It’s depressing.

I want to take action assuming that I will not be in the chair forever. This has become more of a passion thing, for me, and if I see no return (but break even) I’ll still feel like I had a minor win.

Independent Book Sales

I have not talked much about my book in a while.

I assume that, if you are interested, you have already picked up a copy. After a conversation with a friend of mine on Twitter, I realized that I should really stop thinking that way.

So, I re-edited and re released my book back in March. I expanded it with several short stories, and moved it from 73 pages to 195 pages.

On the physical copies, I have made the cover art black with white writing, but the opposite is still true for the digital.

I have been pushing towards buying from Friessen Press for two reason: They pressed the book, so they are going to have the proper copy. AND I try to damndest to support private and independently run storefronts, whether digital or physical.

NOW, FOR SOMETHING MORE DOWER.

I know I expel the great parts about being independent often, but the bad parts are starting to become to big to handle.

Since the initial release of You’re Not Dead back in 2016, I have made a total of 832.89 in total sales. For one month, that would be decent, but we’re talking a period of over 4 years. Considering by outgoing was 4878.93, I have not even made a full quarter of my outgoing back. To top everything off, that payout doesn’t include things like web hosting, facebook ads, or physical copies to be reviewed on the international stage. The real number is closer to 6000.

Anyway, the point of this post is to ask that you at least consider looking over my book. There is a review posted on the linked page, and you all have a feeling for my writing style by now.

Morning Person/Night Owl

I will start this post by exclaiming that all of this will be conjecture and observation. More of an expression of my own experience than fact, so take my words as “fun” rather than actual truth.

I have noticed a discrepancy in the labels of “morning person” and “night owl”. In western society, anyway, we toss those terms around to describe either someone who is good in the morning, or seems to perk up as the day continues. I wonder, however: can you be both?

I am rarely in bed before midnight, and I am usually up around eight in the morning. I usually get the mandatory eight hours of sleep, and I don’t have a nap most days. I am able to stay up later if I am stimulated, so I often get the label of “night owl”. This ignores the fact that I am most productive in the morning, where my evenings are reserved for entertainment and waffling. One could say that I am a “morning person” most days. From simple description, I fall into both categories.

While dwelling on this fact today, I got analyzing categories, in general. Whether they be to define sexuality, or personality types like into- or extrovert.

Society, as a whole, seems determined to place everyone into boxes. I am not immune to this, but I do not use them to judge people. Some people seem to wear them as a badge of sorts: proudly declaring to the world which camp they belong to.

Some things, I do understand. Race, sexuality, gender, disability… these are all things that are discriminated against and identifying as one is not a choice. Taking a stand with a label like this is announcing a kind of political stand in regard to the discrimination faced by these minorities. I do honestly wonder if people who do not belong to one of these categories are jealous in a way. They, therefore, attach themselves to ideas and regiments that are supposed to benefit, for example, introverts.

The other way I have been contemplating is that this is a way to employ people. If you work in a high-interactive environment where your employees are talking to potential customers all day, it is easier to ask if someone is an extrovert as opposed to running down a list of questions to figure out if they would be a decent fit. That, however, doesn’t explain the rampant obsession that goes along with these, seemingly arbitrary, labels.

Like stated in the first line, this was a concept, and far from scientifically backed. If you have insight, leave it in the comments below or on my FaceBook page. I will respond to every one of them, even if they are unrelated and talking about pants.

What is your normal?

The title of this alludes to what I want to discus today.

We speak of normal as if there is a ridged and long lasting definition for what it is. If we went by the first time I heard it in relation to someone’s life, it would include accepting the Gulf War and Bill Clinton is the president of the USA. Human rights were discussed but not universally implemented, smoking was far from being ban in most countries, and grade 13 still existed in Canada.

Social changes are inevitable, so what does it mean to lead a “normal” existence? It could be argued that the nuclear family, a steady paying job, and aspirations that are achievable are normal. Ironically, that cuts a huge swath of the population out of the definition. I mean, by definition, single children families, single parents, and the disabled would all be cut from the definition. Collectively, they make up a greater majority than the sample size. Would they no longer define normal?

This is why I choose to define normal for myself, in that I just define it as being comfortable in life.

Now, where this gets tricky is when people decide to compare and contrast. All because I cannot walk does not mean that I cannot have a normal day by my standards. This leaves me to wonder by what metric people are gading “normal” when it does not exist?

There are plenty of studies showing how 99% of the wealth is held by 1% of people (cite). Their lives are the ones portrayed in movies and TV shows, so are they the definition of normal? If majority reigns, normal should be living in destitute conditions under a communist regime. (looking at current populations of China and India [India is not communist, but does have a large population in poverty according to the World Vision poverty calculations])

I vote we all define our own normal. Our own place to keep our minds at peace. We have to survive this world, we should be able to dictate what we consider normal.

Something Old

This is a video from 14 years ago! LOOK AT HOW SKINNY I AM!!!!

I miss playing in this band. It was incredibly fun and formative. Not just as a musician, but as a person.

Being in a band teaches you how to interact with people. You have to get along with bandmates, you have to get along with promoters, and you have to get along with fans.

This show, in particular, predated our last album.