March 20th, 2016

Ice King, Adventure Time

Don't Engage Life On Hard Mode. It Isn't Worth It.

This entry is coming from the perspective of a man that is broken, beaten, and at the risk of sounding alarmist or blowing things out of proportion, suffering.

I'm going to call what I'm doing playing life on hard mode. For those not familiar with the term, that means taking on a task that could be easier but ultimately taking the hard road. For example, if you like puzzles and you review the selections of puzzle books, there are some labeled "fun and easy", "challenge", or with no qualifiers that I would call "normal". You have a choice in any of those. Some people want to just have some fun and choose the fun and easy route. Some want a genuine challenge and choose the tougher book. Why would someone do that? Maybe the easy one isn't engaging enough. Perhaps there is a greater sense of satisfaction in completing a puzzle meant for experts. Whatever the reason, that person chose the hard mode when it comes to puzzles. For people familiar with video games, you should know instantly what I mean when I say hard mode.

I sometimes wonder what it is going through life as a person that is more socially acceptable. It looks like it is a more satisfying time. In the here and now they are rewarded for being socially normal. Then take people like me. I never do anything the easy way when it comes to social conventions. Let's review:

I despise politics openly, I find sports boring to watch, I don't have any interest in cars, and none of my hobbies really falls under normal social conventions. There are two things I enjoy and can talk at length, video games and anime. "But wait," you say "I thought geek culture was on the rise? I hear people playing games and watching japanime all the time." That gets hairy too. I'm not someone that plays a lot of games that get mainstream attention outside Nintendo. Call of Duty? Played it. Wasn't impressed. Madden? That's sports, and as previously established, I have no interest in those. Shooters in general? In general, they all look the same and like Call of Duty they don't interest me. Car games? Meh. Nothing to talk about there. I play Mario, Zelda, been getting more into RPGs lately, and anime games. Let's face it. When it comes to most of those games, there still isn't much to talk about aside from RPGs, and when it comes to those, the ocean is vast and varied. It's hard to get people on the same page.

Case Study: Two of the best games I played last year are Danganronpa: Happy Trigger Havoc and Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. The gameplay is somewhat of a cross between Ace Attorney and a Visual Novel. I know in my heart of hearts that most people never have heard of them. These games opened my eyes to something interesting. A compelling story can make or break a game. The story captivated me. It was relatable, intriguing, involved mystery elements that kept you guessing, and it actually triggered honest emotional responses, something a game hasn't done before. The character work was nothing short of fantastic. Each one had a distinct personality and design with more story to delve in to that isn't explicitly stated. I could talk about those games for hours. I love them. Everyone has refused me the opportunity. It's a plot that you shouldn't spoil. It ruins the experience when you go in knowing what is going on. You won't understand it if you haven't played it. Try as I may, going as far as to buying copies for people I know just so they could play it, I just can't get anyone to try it. Most wouldn't care for the style and that's fine. I thought I knew some that would appreciate it. But every time it came up it was rejected for one reason or another. I would show enthusiasm, interest, do everything aside from spoiling the experience. Nothing. I was and still am refused any kind of conversation about it. Do you have any idea how much that sucks? You have something you are passionate about, and you are denied the opportunity to express it. "I know, you can talk about it online!" Yes, I know I can. It isn't the same.

The more we've become connected as a people, the more distant we are in real life. That is my honest experience. I can talk all day to someone online, but I honestly don't feel any better for it. I might as well be talking to a wall, or to an imaginary friend. I don't know who the person truly is, or what they mean. Inflection and tone are rarely expressed well in normal online conversation. Other people butt in and either derail the topic or take it over entirely. I can't connect with people on a personal level online, especially if I don't know who they are. Take a book club for example. Imagine if the entirety of the book club met online, no one really knew each other, and everything was unorganized. Why are so many of those groups still meeting in person? The reason for it is the same reason I don't participate in an online only sense.

Personal relationships can't be online only either. It continually feels like an uphill battle just to get people to meet up and do something. Everyone has excuses on why they can't come. People say they will be there and don't show up. If you have to cancel it for some reason sometimes people respond with a "Aw, I was going to be there too :(". I've gone through this dog an pony show so many times, that I'm getting tired of trying. I was planning on having a get together with some friends in a couple weeks near my birthday, but when I was making the plans I logically told myself "How many would actually come. Person 1 has work. Person 2 has night classes that night. etc." It boiled down to maybe one other person would actually show up. I've been through these things so much that I've effectively talked myself out of doing anything about it. Can you blame me? I can't even convince my own family to do something together for one evening. Hundreds of excuses on why we can't do something.

Not only all of this, but I recently decided to take a break from being on social networking sites because I found myself becoming irritated with the majority of what was being said on it and at the risk of sounding narcissistic, no one seemed to care if I did anything on there or not. I have outright stated that I am not going to be on there for a while and there are multiple ways to contact me regardless. It's been over a week. Do you know how many people have actually talked to me? 1. Funny story, that one person, he isn't on Facebook either. Am I always the one that has to initiate contact? If I am, does that mean the other person doesn't care? Is that relationship worth keeping in my life? These thoughts are plaguing my mind more and more. Why am I at the point where I am questioning these things in the first place?

I love the people in my life and people in general. I care about their lives and I try to take an active interest in something. Randomly people I know will enter my head. I genuinely want to see them be happy. I don't want to pry or interfere in their life. I want to be like a cheerleader (Good luck getting that image out of your head). I want to see them succeed. I want to see them do their best. I want them to know they have my support. I may barely know them as a person, but I still feel the same way. This feeling is starting to feel like a curse as well. My life would be easier if I didn't care about others. There would be less pain. Less to worry about. I could focus on myself more. I'm...I'm just not wired like that, try as I may.

That last paragraph sucked. Too many statements began with "I". That's bad form. I apologize.

What else can I point out? I don't drink alcohol. I refuse to take drugs. I'm religious, but I don't flaunt it. I don't use harsh language. I like Internet memes. I keep my topics of conversation clean. I prefer comedy to tragedy. I think too many people take life too seriously. Things are at a point to where I only watch things that make me happy and nothing involving human emotion. I joke a lot. Sarcasm is seasoned in my speech. My body is large which doesn't appeal to most people. I hate feeling alone. When things get awkward I try to find a happy place. I refuse to watch the news simply because I can't cope with what is going on. I'm screaming and terrified on the inside. Ultimately, I'm unsatisfied, beaten by the world, and crushed because I every time I think I found something or someone that gets me, it suddenly isn't there. I have to hide these feelings because people start thinking worse of me. I have to tell people I'm doing well when I really want to express my frustration. With a smile on my face and a joke on the tip of my tongue, I put on this facade and let people go about their day.

The main point I am trying to come across is that I'm taking the hard road of life. One that ultimately will lead me down a lonely path. I want to be myself, but that self just doesn't appeal to people. I want to be social, go out and have fun, but no one likes my brand of fun. Sometimes I find someone that may like something I do, but it never stays. Something always goes wrong. I don't desire popularity. I don't want a lot of people in my life. I don't think I'm asking for much. I just want some people that...would just enjoy the things I do. Try out my recommendations. Talk about games like Danganronpa ad nauseam. I want to stop feeling like an outsider. I don't want to always be the one reaching out. I don't want to be in a room full of people and still feel alone. I want to forget things like friends, lovers, and companions exist. I wish I could get rid of this social anxiety I have, this shyness. Nothing has gotten rid of it. I wish I was either different, or someone would just notice me and give me some benefit.

Yeah, I'm kind of a mess right now. Playing life on hard mode stacks all the chips against you. It's you vs. the world. Everything you love, everything you are, none of it will help you. My advice, stay away from this path. You won't get rewarded in the end. You won't feel good. Even if something comes out of it, the amount of pain you go through probably won't be worth it. Don't do it. I want people to be happy. If you do want to be happy, please don't do what I do. Let me be the fool. Let me be the cautionary tale. At this point, that may be all that is going for me. happy....
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