I strongly suspect that I am heavily depressed and perhaps a bit sick. I'm really not motivated to do the things I should be doing; all I feel like doing is playing games and watching things and even there I am horrifically behind on everything. Like, it was only today that I watched RNG versus Fnatic and there's still like five matches I need to watch...and guess what? By the time I am up tomorrow, there will be plenty more.
The one I failed yesterday. Turns out there's one spot, an area, where even just walking...I have a lot of trouble breathing. The air is robbed from my lungs for whatever reason. We can speculate what it is all we'd like, but it's there, and it's a thing.
I told my teacher about it, saying that I could probably train myself to overcome it, maybe, hopefully, more or less. (I probably didn't sound too convincing. How could I? Knowing the area there's a problem, and knowing that there IS a problem, doesn't mean you know how to fix it, it just means you know there's a problem in an area.)
She offered the alternative of testing on a treadmill.
I feel like that's cheating--but I don't really have much choice other than to accept it, because with me as I am now...this is probably my only shot at it. Frankly. I don't think I will get any physically stronger. I'll be going the other way. Weaker and weaker with time.
I know that I can do it on the treadmill. The test is a nine minute mile pace, scaled up: 1.75 miles in 16:15. Now treadmills work in MPH, but if Google's translation metric works out as accurate (turns out I'm not the only one needing to convert "X minute mile" to MPH or for that matter KPH), then 7 MPH would be more than enough.
Six, while it is supposed to be "running" according to the treadmill, is basically a jog for me.
Seven is a slight run. Slight. But it can be done easily.
The most problematic parts of using a treadmill: the sheer boredom of 15 minutes of monotony, combined with the instability whenever I climb off of one. I can be walking at 2 MPH--WALKING--for FIVE MINUTES, and feel dizzy when stepping down from them.
But while these things are things that are annoying, they're manageable. They can be dealt with.
So I can do it.
I can pass.
Even if the method of passing feels like cheating.
I do know that I could've made the run on the normal course if not for that area taking all my breath out.
When I did the walk, I did it in 26:15. Ten minutes higher than the target time, but I was walking. Walking, at half the speed I'd be running. If you halved that time, you'd get the estimated time of what I should be capable of doing the run in.
Using the treadmill, then, almost, almost feels unnecessary. Almost. But...I only have the one chance to pass now. One last shot at passing. And I refuse to fail it when I know that I am capable of passing it. Mental fatigue can make me think "I can't do this". But I felt my body.
My legs were fine. When I stopped because I couldn't breathe, they became like lead weights and today they are sore, but in no way shape or form was I unable to use them at the necessary level.
My arms were fine.
The only problem was my lungs, and it was only in the one area.
So I know I can do it especially if bypassing that area via using a treadmill.
I do need to constantly reinforce the facts. Tell myself the math. Tell myself all the pieces of the equation which I know are there. Tell myself "You can do this Bree". Point out all the reasons why I should be able to do it. And then quash the "who am I kidding, I can't do this" doubt which comes up. Push through it, say, "Yes, I absolutely can do it", realize I can make it, that I can pass. That's all I need to do.
And while i admit. That mental state isn't easy to achieve.
I know I can do it.
I will do it.
I have to.
I had all the time in the world.
An endless amount of spare free time.
To be honest.
I'm having a bit of a mental breakdown right now. Hard, hard depression hitting me. This morning, I was cheerful, energetic in spite of being exhausted from not having enough sleep, manic. Full of life even if full of tiredness. And yet, now.
Now I am the opposite. Awake, and yet in spite of being awake. Just...in a bad mindstate. And it just kinda...hit me hard. I don't know why. I mean.
I've wasted today.
This wasn't a day where I can look at it and go, "what happened to the time?".
This is a day where I know exactly what happened to the time; I know I wasted it doing nothing productive. Timewasters. Timekillers. Things that were useless, served no function. Led to nothing. Nothing, chosen instead of something. A hallmark of depression.
But I didn't recognize it as depression until just now when all the negativity, the "god I suck", the "god I'm an idiot", the "I want to curl up into a ball and die" mentality just slammed me.
I talked to people today.
They'd never suspect I was depressed.
People at work would've thought I was upbeat; I felt upbeat.
My counselor noted how I looked upbeat; I felt upbeat.
People who I talked to would've seen "same ol', same ol'" when it comes to me; rambling and talking and talking, the hallmarks of a better day for me.
And even when I talked to my girlfriend earlier. In our conversations today. I've been normal, even happy.
After the fact.
Before going to bed.
I just got slammed. Slammed, hard, by the self-loathing.
I'm a full week behind most of my duties.
I've slacked off on working out for tkd.
I've been doing nothing that I am supposed to be doing.
And I just.
Why am I so bad.
Why am I like this.
I know I should be better than this, that I can be better than this.
And knowing that's probably why me knowing that I'm currently not is hitting me so hard.
I feel like I'm failing at everything.
And I promise that I'll fix it.
That I'll work on it.
And then I don't.
So I'm just.
...Not in a good mindstate right now.
And it sucks that that's the mindstate that I'll be going to bed with.
Yet there's nothing I can do in that time to snap me out of it.
So my one hope.
Is that overnight.
Those feelings, instead of worsening, get purged.
I feel like a failure.
So I've been lucid all day.
Today's a fairly short day. I woke up at some time after noon.
I go to bed shortly after midnight. (Well I could stay up until 12:30, but I'd prefer to have six hours and change, as to allow me the guaranteed six hours, rather than exactly six hours which usually means I sleep less than six hours. And having half an hour extra gives that comfortable cushion of extra time.)
Twelve hours isn't exactly the shortest of days, but a usual day is like sixteen to eighteen hours. Sometimes up to twenty, albeit rarely. So the true test is having a day like that.
Yet all of today.
I haven't been tired!
As far as I can recall, no need to nap, no having taken a nap, no heavy reliance on caffeine, no more caffeine than normal (in fact, probably less!), and having had caffeine early in the morning...it has long since worn off (I had it almost 12 hours ago and it only stays in you for half that amount), and yet.
Now, that's not to say there's no problems.
Stress is there, from a self-inflicted hell of my own making. (Basically I undertook a wonderful project, but one which I am simply put...rapidly finding is something incredibly hard to execute.) Fatigue from working on it for three hours straight is there as well; I needed to do something else with the rest of my day because of how much it took out from me.
Guilt's there for feeling like I'm not doing a good enough job, and all of that, but like. These aren't long-standing problems that have been plaguing me forever. This is just a problem which is my own fault for having taken it on and thinking arrogantly that I'd be able to do it far easier than I actually can. (It's much harder than I thought.)
Which isn't mind you in of itself even a new problem; I do that sort of thing all the time, where I start something thinking it'll be easy, a breeze, a cakewalk, but end up learning that it's a ridiculously hard task. One which I hope will be worth it in the end tho!
Mind you, I chose that wording carefully because while I'm not as bad as I was yesterday, this is more a reversion to be what I was two days ago--that being, still depressed, just...not as painfully so. I am still down and can feel that I am quite down, I just am not as horrifically down as I was yesterday.
I'm not upbeat, I'm not energetic, I'm still fairly lethargic, I'm down, and I'm just not enthused by most things, but I'm at least at the point of feeling like I can live, whereas yesterday was actually kinda DANGEROUS levels of low.
Soyeah. Not gonna lie. I could be better. I could be much, much better. I would love to be absolutely entirely better than where I am at right now. I even kinda have an inkling of a desire to be inspired, a desire to work on something, a desire to be passionate, so maybe I'm on the rebound.
...But I know I'm not recovered yet, because while there's that small portion of desire, it's not actually focused on anything. If my lack of focus were because of too many things, I'd know I'd be recovered, but my lack of focus here is because there is no thing. No single thing, and no more-than-one thing. Just nothing.
I have the desire to be inspired, which is good, but nothing actually inspiring me, which is not as good. In actuality, I feel like I can kinda sorta express where I'm at with this, kinda sorta. I feel like what I want to do isn't so much as work on anything, so much as I want to talk about something. On here. On my blog.
I want my blog to basically, were it to actually have readership (which I know it doesn't, stats be damned, because I know there's no way that I'm getting at-lowest 30 readers a day, at-highest 110 readers a day; I'd expect maybe one tenth of those to be real, 3-11 people per day).
If people were actually reading what I was writing. For it to actually be something that was inspiring to them. That was uplifting to them. I need not write uplifting content myself. My blog entry could be entirely a long entry about why my day sucked, but what I kinda want is that if people actually read my blog, for them to actually have some thorough enjoyment, entertainment, enrichment, enlightenment, from it.
It's the same dream I had when I first became a writer which kept me being a writer for all those years that I was a writer.
It's the same dream I have for being a webcomic artist, and for sharing Phyrra and Cyrus with the rest of the world, even after having had the writer within me be basically dead for novelwriting.
It's to have others feel the same way about what I wrote, that I feel about things that I read. You know how I go on about all these things that enriched my life? How Dan Shive was a massive inspiration to me once I read his work. How Grrr Power was a massive inspiration to me once I read the comic (okay admittedly you never got the full blog entry there but you did get a part of it).
How Worm was an incredibly uplifting, inspirational, piece of work in spite of it being incredibly dark, just because it represented how you can do so much and make a work so incredible online using just sheer willpower combined with clever planning basically, determination combined with competent storyboarding, to lay out a guideline to a plot.
And so on and so forth.
That's been going on since I was a kid. When I was young, I saw that Eragon was published by a person when they were a teenager--I knew that the Inheritance Cycle was, objectively speaking, not a too terribly well-written book series filled to the brim with flaws, but the inspiring fact about it wasn't the quality of the books (which I felt were entertaining in spite of being flawed; think basically "like most mainstream films these days" which are absolute junk in so many ways but can still be mindless entertainment that you get creative ideas from).
It was that a teenager managed to write, then successfully sell, the book he wrote. The books sold, and they sold well. That they sold so well, no matter what you think of the quality of the material, means that the author did something right. Same principle applies to the Twilight Saga. I enjoyed reading it, and the books sold well. I objectively know about all of the flaws in the series which have been pointed out to the point of being old, boring news.
Everyone knows the books are objectively junk--but they were still enthralling enough to be an enjoyable read in spite of knowing all the flaws therein, and the books still sold incredibly well. You can say whatever you'd like about the author; you can say whatever you'd like about the quality of the books. But the fact that they sold incredibly well, combined with my subjective experience of enjoying them in spite of knowing that they were flawed. Means that you have to acknowledge that objectively, she did something right.
She was able to sell something that was flawed, and make people buy it in spite of its flaws, and even enjoy it knowing all of what is flawed within. For all the flaws of the writing you can find, the fact that it had that effect, again, means that there was something being done right.
And that's the effect which has always been inspiring to me as a writer. Knowing that in spite of the flaws of the writing, it is still possible to make a product that people genuinely enjoy, and can derive entertainment from. More than that! That they can be enriched in their lives from having read a work in spite of the flaws of that work. That they can be inspired, that they can be uplifted, to the point where they dream big and can maybe do something that they otherwise wouldn't.
In other words.
My dream of dreams is basically. To be able to have it so that I do for others, what others have done for me, throughout my life. Picked me up, made me stronger, made me more enriched, made me more inspired, made me the dreamer that I am. I want to make other people dream. I want to make others be picked up by what I do.
And right now the only way I have of doing that is through the one thing that I've never consistently failed at for the longest time of anything I've worked on. Which is my blog. Yes, I occasionally for whatever reason miss an entry in spite of the aim to be a daily blog. But the simple fact of the matter is. By and large. For four and a half years.
I've kept this going.
Do you know what else I've kept going for four and a half years?
Pretty much nothing.
Nothing that's me, at least.
Sure, job; tae kwon do; dancing; counseling. Stuff like that, been doing longer than four and a half years. But it doesn't really count as being me. Those things are a part of me, but they aren't a part of my expression of me.
Every dance I try to write, I don't finish.
Every time I take up songwriting I never go anywhere with it.
Every time I try to compose music, I keep it in my head and do nothing with it.
Every time I write a story, I never end up following through with it and publishing it.
Every time I start a webcomic, I end up abandoning it, even after having taken precautions against abandoning it.
Every time I work on a project, I end up abandoning it, even after knowing about my bipolar disorder and taking steps to counteract it.
I have listened to uplifting speech after uplifting speech. People who succeed say the same cliched lines about why they succeeded, not because it's a cliche, but because the cliche is cliche because it is true to reality and they all say the same thing because the same thing held true for each of them. I forget the exact words, but something along the lines of willpower being temporary, of how the drive to work is temporary, but you need to keep doing it, keep efforting at it, even when you don't feel like it, force your way through it, keep at it, and if you really want it, you will put in the work necessary to get it done.
More or less, something along those lines at least. And I have tried to implement that advice before--tried...and failed. I have, consistently, failed. In spite of knowing about the autistic concept of inertia. I know that once I get rolling I can keep things rolling but that when they screech to a halt they stay stopped with a near-impossibility to get started again. I take measures to prevent the stop, and even if the stop happens, I tell myself that I have the strength of will to push the stopped train, inch by inch, until it's moving again.
...But I never actually do and all the planning in the world falls apart because I, frankly, just suck. I dream. I dream the dream, I never bring the dream to reality. For all of those things. For all of those ideas. They all fail. I've gone into this before, about how while I dream of succeeding, I'm actually happier in my failures, and hypothesize that's why so many people who don't make it big can still be happy and why quite a number of people who do make it big are often not-so-happy in spite of having made it big.
Who knows, maybe that is true. I honestly don't know anymore. I am a contradictory being. Old enough where I'm expected to more or less be solidifying myself, young enough where I can't actually do so and am constantly, consistently, second-guessing every single thing about everything. All my beliefs, all my thoughts on myself, how I view things, everything, I doubt it all and I constantly revise everything including my outlook on life.
But I'm going on a bit of a tangent, there. My point is...I generally am just. A failure in general. Yet this blog is pretty much the one thing which I don't think I have failed at.
I've had plenty of blog entries where I didn't succeed.
I like to pour my heart and soul out every single entry, so when I am forced to blog-dodge for whatever reason. Forced to make an empty, substanceless entry. Forced to make nothing. Or whenever I forget to make an entry. When anything like that happens. Obviously, it's not a success.
But by and large. Four and a half years. Four and a half years, I've been doing this blog. And by and large it actually has succeeded. It hasn't succeeded as often as I'd like. It certainly hasn't succeeded in all the ways I'd hope it'd succeed, in part because those hopes are by and large contradictory. I've wanted different things out of my blog at different times, so of course my blog can't be all of them.
But it's still been most of them, most of the time. Even this entry. It started out as any other would, and yet now has been built up to be something actually unique. And there's the charm, I feel, in my blog writing. There's where I derive some hope from.
I want what I write on this blog. No matter the subject. About me. About me talking about my latest passion project. About whatever caught my fancy. About something I read, something I watched. About whatever I have on my mind when I make a blog entry. I want what I write here to be something that readers can get some enjoyment from.
I want as many people as is possible to read my blog, so that as many people as is possible can find something, anything, in my blog, which made it worth the read. I want a blog which is worth the time and effort to read. After all.
It's four and a half years.
Filled with entries that are this length and longer.
Like, what's my longest entry? I wouldn't even know, but it'd have to be something probably ten times as long as this already-lengthy blog.
I know that even I can't read all four and a half years of my blog.
I can't even really stand to skim too much of it. I just don't have the time/focus to review it all, even though I know that I'd actually be better off if I did review what I wrote/said from time to time so that things that I said that I didn't want to be forgotten, aren't actually forgotten.
And if I.
The girl who wrote the blog in the first place.
The person who made the entries in the first place.
The person who can read 800 pages in a single night and then some.
The person who could read almost all of Worm in the span of weeks, and then finish the rest in the span of days. When that work is over a million words long by some significant amount.
If I can't do it.
Then I doubt anyone else could. And even if they could, I doubt that they would.
Sure, some people like to stay fairly current on my blog; they read it every day, or if not, they binge-read it every few days, every week, every month, you name it. Some people do that, and can do that. That's not too hard to do; keep current on something updating every day.
But starting from the beginning? Yeahhhhhhh nobody can start from the beginning, read every entry, and get caught up, while having read it all well and truly having read it all. It's impossible.
But believe it or not.
I'm actually kinda proud of that.
It's enough content that it's impossible to keep track of it all.
Instantly that means it's worth more than most other things.
I know that my few readers, such as they are, have changed over the years.
I know that they come and they go.
That I legitimately do have a small readership who stay...but who said readers are that stay, tend to change.
But right now the closest I have to inspiration to do something is...well. Just this. My blog.
At this point, I think that the closest thing I'll ever have to a lasting legacy is in fact this blog.
Not any story I'll write; I won't probably ever publish even though that's been a lifelong dream of mine.
Not any webcomic I'll start; I won't probably ever finish any of them no matter my desire.
Not any ambitious project, e.g. a video game, Phyrra and Cyrus; you actually think that I, me, Bree, could actually have the conviction necessary to see it through, by myself? Nooooooooot a chance in hell. Maybe, maybe, MAYBE with the right support network I could see them through, but that would require that support network be perfectly placed and able to push me in that direction actively and consistently and continuously and to keep me from slacking.
This blog is it.
It's all I'll ever actually have as lasting proof.
Because after I'm gone.
You'll have random scattered notes everywhere about random scattered ideas I had. In bad handwriting, with most of the papers having long-since deteriorated due to whatever various poor conditions they were stored in having withered away the penciling/ink to the point where the already-basically-unreadable writing is turned utterly-illegible.
The ideas die with me.
And because I will probably never actually get those ideas to reality.
They will never be made. They will always just...disappear, when I (hopefully very very very far away) eventually die.
Which, mind you, I know is morbid and is obviously something which isn't something that many people (including myself) like to dwell on, but is a hard fact of life. Much as we like to dream of being immortal and plan on living forever, everyone including myself dies eventually.
Since I don't want to really ponder on it much further, not going to say more on that than that, but what I'm focusing on is how this blog is basically...well. Assuming it isn't taken down at some point. (Which would really really suck and screw you weebly if you ever do that to me.) It's the proof I was alive. It's the proof I was a person. It's the proof I existed. It's the best insight into my personality, my being, my existence, that will remain. It's the record of who I was as a person.
It's not a perfect record, of course. But it's a lasting insight into who I am--and it is something which is there available for everyone to see. It is available to all, which is one of the things which I've always wanted. I've wanted to share myself with the world. I've wanted to share my being with others, open up and just. Tell them about myself. Tell them anything and everything about me.
Basically lay out my life's story, except for the things about my life that I want to keep private to only me or those that I choose to share those things with. (E.g. things that I tell my girlfriend and only my girlfriend are...pretty self-evidently, going to have a level of intimacy to them.)
This blog is who I am. It's not all of who I am, but it is who I am, as is recorded in time, in history. And I know nobody reads it, in spite of my dreams otherwise. But that doesn't stop the dreams from existing. Of this blog. Of my writing here. Being the thing that I get from others all the time.
Of being something that enriches the lives of those who read it. Of being something worthwhile to have read. Of being something that people actually enjoyed experiencing. Of sharing my visions with others, and those visions having inspired those others, in spite of them having been mine.
I guess that typing this out has made me feel even better than I was before, a little. Because that spark is there. Mind you. Beyond continuing to blog every day, not gonna do anything with it. I could, theoretically, have ways to spread my blog to others. When I comment on webcomics that allow you to link to a site, I deliberately avoid linking to any site including this blog, even though I could easily do so without consequence and have said link theoretically lead to potentially more exposure. Same for comments on Worm; I left a few and had that option, but chose not to take it.
I could theoretically explore post options more; there's options for search engine optimization. There are sites which I have profiles on that don't link to my blog even though both ComicFury and the site I play mafia on contain the blog link; on the ones that don't, I could add it in.
By having an increased presence on other sites, with a link to the blog, I would in theory be able to get an increased number of readers. Heck, all of those are free but if I really wanted to, there are paid options to expand what I can do using weebly's software (paid options which can go to hell as far as I'm concerned; I'm never paying so much as a cent to weebly and if they try to force me to, they can kiss my presence goodbye; I'd find somewhere else to blog).
That I can list these options but am not going to do them tells you what I mean--I could do more with my blog to increase its exposure, and with luck, increase the odds of my dream coming true, of me succeeding in having it be what I dream of dreams it being, of it being uplifting, inspiring, and so on and so forth.
But beyond making entries like this.
I won't actually do that.
So the dream will remain just that, a dream.
But it's a nice one to have, isn't it?
Well it's not purely my depression, mind you, as some things have gone, to use a non-cuss-word, rather poorly to say the least, with screwups that are entirely my fault (can't really talk about them, mind you), but those things? Theyyyyy don't explain my sudden inexplicable nosedive by themselves, not even coupled with me being depressed.
The depression had to have gotten just outright worse than it was before. No other way to explain it; the bad things might've made it worse, but this was happening anyway regardless of those things. Heck, even how I react to events I know is different, based off of me binge-reading another webcomic.
In this case? Evil Plan. Tone-wise, it's actually something I'd call probably overall more lighthearted than dream*scar, albeit because it's literally documenting the rise of supervillains, having its moments of darkness. (The two stories are obviously vastly, vastly different in so many ways, but I'd say they have similar themes/undertones/atmosphere to them in that they are documenting people who want to make the world a better place knowing how bad it currently is, who take actions that are fairly tragic and gut-wrenching but which make total sense given the setting.)
Yesterday, dream*scar was uplifting to me, in spite of it being overall darker than Evil Plan is. And yet, today, after having binge-read Evil Plan, I actually felt awful. Still enlightened, mind you. Still enriched from the reading experience. I absolutely love superhero/villain settings and I absolutely love villain protagonists so no duh I love a setting which combines the two together.
But when I caught up, instead of just a minor disappointment of, "aw, that's all that's been released?!?", there was just a genuine sadness to my emotions after I caught up and I just kinda hit a slump and realized...that my feelings were different today than they were yesterday.
Honestly, if I had reversed the reading order? Yesterday doing Evil Plan and today doing dream*scar? I think you'd be in for this exact same blog, pretty much, just with the situations slightly reversed, with me swearing that the slightly-darker atmosphere does not justify the feelings for my attitude after catching up on it.
Because, again. Think this is just a me-thing.
Gives me comics to look forward to, sure, yeah.
But it's also just...I'm legitimately sad and just. Down. Really, really down right now. Depression was there before, but not gutwrenchingly crippling before. I can physically feel the pain of my emotions right now. And that's not just reading a webcomic; that's not just bad things happening to me; those things might contribute but aren't the root cause. The simple fact is that my depression just got worse and I just...can't do anything about it.
I want the blog to be all upbeat and energetic, filled with passion and love where I pour my heart and soul into explaining the myriad of things that I love to ramble on about. New story ideas, new love of things I've read/seen/etc., experiences that are incredibly noteworthy from my day, and so on and so forth.
But right now all I can think to do is...vent, and hope that this can make me feel some semblance of better, even though I know it won't. Nothing but time can truly cure depression; any activity I derive happiness from simply staves it off for a temporary duration.
It's just that with shutdown week at work, I don't work for six days (stupid bloody staff meeting scheduled during last day of shutdown week means I don't quite get the full week). No work, no need to go to bed at midnight. Also, with depression set in as well (it comes and goes but is still definitely here to some extent), I had free time.
Lots of free time.
"Binge-read about 840ish comics in a night", time--albeit spread out across two comics. One appears to be on a hiatus for whatever reason (the tvtropes page didn't mention why, but it's probably something which I could track down the info on why if I searched, but I don't need it to recognize that not updating for a year is a hiatus for some reason), but was quite the good read in the form of dream*scar.
The other still updates, and is called The Fantasy Adventures of Jack Cannon. Though I haven't read them yet, I also picked up two extra comics which I may or may not get around to binge-reading this week. I just...kinda...felt like reading, I guess? Depression tends to be the time I do a lot of that. Comics can be kinda uplifting to read (even if the content is anything but--within reason), and for some reason I just am really good at reading stuff.
Those 800 pages? It was done in less than three hours. That's about my estimate, at least. Didn't mark the exact begin time, but I know that I started well after midnight--I started on TVTropes, with a browse based around the EGS trivia page (image liiiiiiiiinks), and it was only from there after reading multiple pages (well parts of them anyway) that I found the comics, which is where my estimate comes in.
I'm guessing that the TVTropes browsing concluded at about 1:30ish? Okay so maybe it was under four hours, but I was finished before 5:30. Depending on my start time, then, guess it may or may not be that impressive. But to give you an idea of the TVTropes browsing I did, it was the pages The Atoner, Chirping Crickets, Conveniently Seated, Deadly Upgrade, Defensive What, Defrosting Ice Queen, Differently Dressed Duplicates, Distracted By My Own Sexy, Dope Slap, Education Mama, Fantastically Indifferent, Faux Yay, Filler Strips, Flat What, Gender Bender, Hates Being Touched, Humanity Ensues, and Hyperspace Mallet.
I started after midnight, made my way through all of those, then started the webcomics, and did that in less than five hours, sooooo. Reference point, kinda sorta. Point is. Pretty sure that's not a normal reading speed and that most people can do less than that in that amount of time.
One of my gifts, I guess.
Once more, by the way, my conclusion's the same as I made originally; reading vastly enriches my life, but largely gives me nothing except a method of doing something other than sleeping to deal with the depression. When you don't feel like doing anything else...it is something that at least feels like it had purpose, because, again. Enrichment. I feel genuinely enriched by the experience.
Not, mind you, particularly inspired (though there's a really good EGS sketchbook entry I'm deliberately not moving past because reading it was incredibly inspiring and I'm hoping that rereading it will get me reinspired when the depression wave has faded), but still enriched. I don't see anything productive from spending the time reading the stories/tropes. But it still felt good, and it felt like it was something that I was better for having read.
Which, given the depression, is about as much as I can really ask for.
Oh and by the way--speaking of the time. Did I mention it's almost six am? I should probably go to bed soon. The coffee I had six hours ago's by now fully worn off. Not that that was what was stopping me from going to bed mind you. But. It contributes. I'm not particularly tired (tired enough to go rambling on in the magic productivity zone of "tired enough to wander, not tired enough to not be able to be any semblance of coherent"), but I can feel the sensation of tiredness and even if I couldn't...
...Objectively. I kinda know I should be going to bed anyway.
Spent the night reading.
Now to spend half the day sleeping.
When you sleep for three hours and the only effect is you're tired of sleeping so can't sleep anymore, and yet all the other tiredness still remains...kinda can't think of anything other than depression. I just...don't feel like doing anything right now. I want a void, a time warp, between right now, and a time when I can do something and enjoy it.
That's not the reason I didn't blog yesterday (I once more thought I already had, mistakenly), but it's been a big problem for the last few days. I've been sleeping beautifully. With vivid, wonderful, fairly good dreams. (Not that I remember the details of them, but I remember them being good.)
But every day, I've been waking up and just feeling like I need more sleep...in spite of having slept for like nine hours. And then I get sleepy fairly early into my day. And just...am feeling...constantly...so...tired. I don't know why; my best guess is maybe depression.
I want to do stuff, but I just feel so...so...tired.
A fair amount of that comes from reading through the EGS sketchbook entries (while I bingeread all of EGS in four days, it took me about a week to get up to date on EGS:NP and I'm obviously still working on getting through the sketchbook), because of the obvious.
When you're seeing the drawings and reading the thought process of an established, relatively-accomplished artist (it's not just that he's been doing it for 17 years, it's also that he has gotten remarkably competent and continues across the years to get better in spite of having gotten good years ago; early 2002-era art might be slightly cringe, but he improved to have a stunning style that got better and better and still occasionally makes leaps and bounds in quality albeit so subtly so that you only really notice by comparing the current stuff to older stuff).
And you, yourself, are a similar-mindset artist with a similar pop culture knowledge basis. (There's a lot of things which make it evident I think a lot like he does, which I suspect is autistic tendencies. For instance, his author notes are tremendously detailed, a trend I am infamous for. He has a few gaps in his pop culture knowledge and I know I do, while he also knows some obscure material in a similar way to how I do, and lots of stuff like that.)
It's really just the inevitable consequence.
When you see a guy who is by every metric an objective success, who has managed to succeed at something like that for so long. Of course you want to get art going of your own. Even though there are so many obstacles in my way. My scanner is still not working, and I think my dad's given up hope of making it work. And my burns haven't fully healed yet and drawing puts them at risk.
Then there are of course the various other blocks, mostly mental. There is the concern that because I know my art is a "me" thing, that I fully intend to never make money off of (basically, it's a combination of three factors; my art is largely cheating by using multiple reference images heavily rather than partially/occasionally so I'd feel like I was plagiarizing; I don't feel like I deserve to make money off of my art; my art is art and when I share it with others I want to share it with the world for all to appreciate, and making money detracts from that), that people will see it as a waste of time.
Art is, while a bit of a personal enlightenment thing, pragmatically speaking, absolutely worthless. Aside from occasionally being useful for expressing myself in a way to feel like my femininity is strong, it does nothing to get me closer to transitioning. It doesn't make me money. It doesn't prepare me to leave the house. It doesn't get me closer to my girlfriend. It doesn't do anything for me. Art is just basically the same as any other thing, like reading, watching, or playing; it is personal gratification without tangible results.
Well, there's the drawings as tangible evidence that I spent time on the task, but I can't point to a drawing and say, "this drawing is productive!", because it's not. I draw because I want to draw. Not because I want to make something from the drawing, accomplish some grander goal with the drawing.
There is the mental block of always thinking I'm not good enough--that I'm a hack. That I don't deserve to succeed with my art, because I am genuinely a cheater. (See also, my feelings that I'm a plagiarist, via me heavily using reference images, sometimes even directly sketching from them, which is as rip-off as ripping off gets.)
There is the mental block of not being able to bring my vision perfectly to life. I'll have a vision in mind and be unable to well and truly bring it to life as I had intended it to be.
There is the mental block of being able to tell something is off, but not being able to identify what--or if I can identify it, not being able to fix it.
And there is the mental block of feeling like I don't really know what I'm doing--and not unjustifiably so. There are often "gaps" in my vision. I'll have a vision of what I want to do, but gaps in how to execute it, because I couldn't figure out all the details. It happens all the time in stories; I'll see point A, point B, and point C, but not how to get from A to B to C. When I try to make those paths, errors exist.
Plus there's my constant revisionistic tendencies. The fact that I have twice remade the signature scene of Ruby saying "Hello" should be a tip-off to that. At least two and a half times, I've revised The Descended, and if I worked on it again, I'd be revising it another time even though I know I should just keep going on it.
There's even the urge to redo the poorly done bits of Red Hood Rider...even knowing that I'm likely not able to do them better than what I did.
I constantly make excuses, too, every step of the way, to delay making art. If I can think of a reason not to make it, I will end up not making it. Yet I still want to.
One of the things which I want to make, now, is a character height reference guide for my female cast of both The Descended and Red Hood Rider.
The Descended neatly recorded the heights of characters.
Red Hood Rider, I sketched an image with about half of them--but unfortunately, not the other half, which I'm not sure there's any recording of.
One thing I keep seeing Dan mention for EGS in various places as I read the sketchbook mainly is a desire to create character models for the characters--variety in facial structure, but consistency for characters. I really, really want to do that for my characters, even though I know it will take a lot of time and effort to get done right.
There's also a bunch of things that are specific to webcomic format that I want to revisit. My skills in sketchbook art have continued to rise throughout the years. In a sketchbook, I've gotten better and better and better each and every time I've been drawing art.
But webcomics have rules (well, guidelines) for structure, and these are rules that I have more or less forgotten the details about. The 3x3 grid, flow from one panel to another, proper method to style a word bubble (there is a right way to do word bubbles and half a dozen wrong ways; I forget what the right way is) and by extension the text within, maximum dialog in a panel, how much space between panels, page/panel layout optimization, and so on and so forth.
If I do get back into making a webcomic rather than just sketching.
These, and so much more, are skills I need to have down. Mastered. To pull off a comic with some semblance of competency. Yet I've forgotten all my knowledge there, and I don't know how exactly other than meticulous, painful, trial and error, to regain it.
Also, while there are some things that I can go without mastering (screw backgrounds, I'll do the bare minimum necessary to convey the idea of the location and a basic idea of the layout of where people are, but beyond that I'll leave it to readers to fill in the gaps), there are others which I never mastered that I need to (such as lighting).
I am an artist, dangit.
I know I don't look like one anymore.
I know I am a failure of an artist.
I know I'm not particularly a unique artist.
But that doesn't change that the artist within me is very much alive and that she wants out badly. She wants to create. She wants to share her visions with the world. So many ideas of mine have been lost forever because I didn't let her draw what she saw.
But I want to.
Art is in my soul.
The artist that I am may not show the quality which I theoretically could be capable of. (I know that theoretically if you combine all of my strengths in all of my artistic works I'm an amazing artist, but that's an "IF" that's never to be because it involves combining all of the strengths with none of the weaknesses, when I can never combine any of my strengths.)
I'm not a good artist, even if I theoretically had at some point the potential to be one.
But no matter how much I don't look like one.
I am an artist.
And it's maddening that I can't create what I want to.
Just your average blogger.