MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MDBronyCon
: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Accepted, going through payment process. Otakon
: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...Anime USA
: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.
The biggest difference between venom and poison is its method of delivery. Venom is a toxin that is forcibly inserted into the body (usually through stabbing or piercing) while poison is a toxin that is ingested (whether by eating/drinking or breathing). It could be said that the method of delivery is the only real difference, hence the literary idea that a poisoned dagger has been envenomed…
I'm quite certain that anybody reading this has heard and understand the term "the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions".
In his novella Candide
, Voltaire wrote: "Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable."
. . . .
So, what do these three mostly unrelated concepts have to do with each other? Well… me. I guess.
In my efforts to try to improve myself and try to take the words of wisdom I often give to others to help them out when they are stumbling or struggling through hardship, I have inadvertently poisoned myself.
I am a firm believer in the idea that if one wants something badly enough, they will
</i> get it. This is not up for debate. Every single successful person both in reality and fiction had that something
they wanted with all of their heart and they reached out and took (or earned) it. All of those really cool inspiring stories are firmly grounded in this core concept or slight variations thereof.
To a suitably driven individual, this sort of thing is fuel to the fire. It drives them on and forces them to take that one additional step because they know, with that step; they are that much closer to their goal! And that is inspirational!
…but what of someone who doesn't have a goal?
What if the person doesn't have a particular drive or spark…or if they did, it sputtered and has died?
This is where the good intentions of adopting and seeking to apply a positive mindset to something begins to lay the foundation to for that trip to hell. By taking something positive and twisting it, even accidentally, just so…this great philosophy suddenly becomes a poison. The concept is good, the intent is good and even the applications can be good… and yet it can still become devastatingly toxic. Taking it a step further, this is also where the logic and arguments become circular and ever-more self destructive.
…I think this may need a little context…
Last night, I read a journal entry from a friend of mine and she had pointed out that a lot of great things were coming her way and were also in the works. Nothing concrete mind you, but certainly encouraging. Considering that she is wanting to do something similar to me, I figured I could try to do what it is she did, or at least learn and at, perhaps get a little positive reinforcement on my own projects and such. Good intentions.
Through our discussion, she had pointed out that there were some things that I could
be doing that I was not. I was not using my time wisely. She has a point to this, and I cannot disagree. But in my defense, I haven't felt like it.
I have a full-time 9-to-5 (well… 8-to-4) job that is mentally stagnating. On one hand, I can't complain too hard about the job because it is a paycheck (and a reasonable one at that), and that it is not really stressful by any extent of the concept. I mean seriously, the hardest thing I have to do is fight to maintain my consciousness every day. But it is boring and I have to exert an inordinate amount of willpower and energy to at least look busy. Oh, sure, I could bring a book or two to read, hell, I have a couple of notebooks that I sketch and/or write in, but my mindset and the office environment creates the feeling that such things are frowned upon and are generally discouraged…even if this is not true. You see, perception trumps reality every time…and the perception that I have is that such things are not permissible and so I cannot really feel comfortable doing such things while in the office…even if doing so would actually be an exercise in self-improvement.
Needless to say, when 4 o'clock rolls around, I am spent and when I get home I want to do nothing more than sit back and mentally decompress and then recharge so that I can start the whole thing over again the next day.
be drawing. I should
be world-building. I should
be writing. But I just can't muster the willpower or the focus to do it because most of that capital was already spent sometime between 7:30am and 4pm.
These are some things that I think my friend does not really understand, or, rather does not understand as well as she would otherwise claim. And, maybe, I think it is a lack of this understanding and her reactions that started one hell of a downward spiral.
My friend pointed out some other things that I could also do to get my name and work out there a bit better. One was throwing together an online portfolio (I'll be the first to admit that I have been lacking in that…but that is another matter entirely), the other was making use of social media such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter… and that I should write a blog. A very good idea…but there is a problem.
Regardless of what social media I use, part of the thing of making these things work is some degree of consistent (if not constant) updates. The problem is that I am not terribly chatty. I am one of those guys who tends to be silent unless he's got something to say. The required amount of updates and their consistency to get any sort of attention or curiosity from others would pretty much require me to talk a LOT about, well, nothing. That just isn't me. It also does not help that I am very passive; I don't have an opinion on most things, and usually when I do, it tends to fall pretty close to where rational, reasonable people reside and so I am not inclined to add to the echo-chamber.
My friend equated the internet, social media and the like to a sort of really large ballroom dance. This is not an unreasonable comparison. I mean, to get noticed on the internet, you need to speak loudly about lots of stuff and have very strong opinions. You also need to be inclined to reach out to people, contact them and initiate conversations. This poses a problem for someone like me because all of that stuff I just outlined, well, I am exactly the opposite.
My friend had made a lot of great points, and I am quite certain there was nothing but good intentions behind them, so I can't and won't fault her.
The discussion regarding social media was a pretty rough wake-up call in a way. It is difficult for me, 15 hours (give or take) later, to outline the thought processes and logic. I don't even think I could figure out what the triggers that caused this, much less the exact working and full context of the conversation…
From my perspective, it kind of went back and forth, starting with me not making the most of my time. This shifted to my general lack of motivation, which stemmed from work (we both agreed that I was at my best between November and January where I was working as a graphic designer & illustrator), which then shifted to the use of social media for self-promotion. This then moved to the fact that I have few opinions and what I do have, very few are strong. This is compounded when you realize that I only voice my thoughts when I have something to say. The internet doesn't like this sort of thing. Continuing, the circle of logic then went in this general direction:
- do you have strong opinions?
- Are you passionate about something?
- I guess…
- Then write about it.
- Write what? I have nothing to say.
- People don't care, they'll read it anyway.
- But I don't say anything unless I have something to say
- Then maybe you aren't that passionate about it.
- I guess not…
- Then I guess you really don't have anything to complain about do you?
- I guess not…
This caused me to make a rather quick assessment about the things I do like, the things I do want and am passionate about. I realized that because my general demeanor is passive and opinions on most things are somewhere between zero and the square root of negative 1, that perhaps the things I value, I really don't value that much and by logical progression realized that perhaps the things I do want I simply do not want badly enough.
It's obvious when you think about it:
If someone wants something badly enough, they will get it. If they don't get it, then obviously they did not want it enough.
This in turn caused me to take stock of my life – where I am going, what I am doing and what the future holds and, to be honest; it did not look very bright. Downright abysmal actually. No hope. No light. Nothing but bleak darkness. And I realized that I had been fooling myself. All of the self-motivation and words of perseverance and optimism was a twisted amalgamation of lies, bullshit and delusion.
I looked into that abyss and, well, I wanted to just step through. I was just so tired. I still am. I wanted it all to just end. I still do.
Life is about the journey, not necessarily the destination. But there really should be some payoff, right? Something that, at the end, you can look to and say "yeah…totally worth it."
For a moment, I slipped. I really and honestly thought about just giving up. That whatever was at the end of the road was not
worth it. That all of the time, effort and energy was wasted and pointless.
It took a very good friend of mine to help me up. He pointed out that the good advice that I often give and the philosophy that I try to live by could just as easily be made poisonous and that I had been inadvertently poisoning myself. The fact that my other friend said what she did, despite her best intentions and desire to help, ended up being a shot of venom instead of inspiration, which was caused in no small part by the preexisting poison in the system.
But where does that quote about optimism tie into all of this? Well, quite simply, the continuing struggle. The knowledge and hope that something better is just over the next hill and that good things are bound to happen…especially to those that work and/or suffer.
I let the good intentions behind my philosophy blind me. I honestly thought that there was not a way that it could turn against me in the way that it did. It let me live in the delusion that all is well, when this was not necessarily the case…it let me poison myself.
So there you have it: a good philosophy laced with some optimism proved to be quite poisonous and when some good intentions were applied, made the whole thing worse and almost terminal.
…seems I have quite some way to go yet on fixing this mess that's in my head…
…but hey, I'll get through it, right?
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey JonesSir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!