I debated whether or not to write this because I feel pretty dumb about it. I’m also sure I’ve talked about some of this before, but recent events and conversations with friends brought this topic back to mind. I figured since I’ve been fairly open with you all so far, why stop now? I also feel that I can’t move forward until I get this entirely off my chest. I’ll try to keep this short, but I’ve kept this in for a long time so bare with me.
First, let me talk about my irrational jealousy and how it contributed to my depression and stagnation as a writer for the last several years.
From 2011 to 2013, I wanted nothing more than to be a game writer. I poured everything I had into learning how to write stories for games. I talked about it non-stop with friends. I attended the Game Developer Conference nearly every year, from 2010 to 2014, and sunk thousands of dollars into my education. Each year I attended GDC, I would meet the same successful game writers and would listen to their stories on development and how needed writers where in the industry. I would also meet new aspiring writers and game developers one year, and by the next GDC they would have made significant strides in achieving their dream. Granted this was not always the case, but it felt like it at the time, and the mind has a way of blowing up and dramatizing insecurities. Before long, my conversations with people shifted from, “I want to be a game writer,” to, “why won’t anyone hire me?”
I tried to rationalize as best I could. Maybe I didn’t know enough. Maybe I wasn’t making the right connections. Maybe I’m way shitter at networking than I thought. Maybe it’s my lacking portfolio. In truth, it was all of the above. I gave myself endless excuses as to why I couldn’t develop a game. I would say things about how I couldn’t program, and my art was lousy, and just didn’t have time because I was working several jobs and going to school. The business cards I received from people would be placed on my desk and never touched again unless I needed to clean my room. For the longest time, my portfolio never expanded beyond school projects.
By the time 2013 rolled around, I had been at DeVry for over 5 years. My little sister had graduated high school and college. Several friends were closer to their goals or found something they were happy doing. Meanwhile, I was struggling to write a novella that I would ultimately be unhappy with. When I moved out near the end of 2013, I would sit around my apartment for hours thinking about the things I should do and make a schedule so I could achieve those goals. Because I figured I didn’t have enough knowledge as a writer, nevermind game writing, I decided to get a Master Degree. Surely that would solve everything?
It didn’t. It only made things worst.
At some point during undergrad and my master, anger and jealousy were all I felt. I refused to read because “how dare this guy be published and not me!” I stopped watching T.V. because “I could write a way better episode!” I stopped watching movies because “that plot is so overused and I could do better!”
When I realized, I had become a miserable, irrationally jealous person that had created her own stagnate hell, I was devastated. I withdrew from everything and curled up on my couch for most of 2015. If I went out at all, I tried to act like everything was fine, but everyone knew I wasn’t. I refused to talk or even think about writing because I felt nothing but heartbreak. Anytime I want near a computer other than to work, I would cry. My chest would constrict and my head would fill with disgusting thoughts. I’ve spoken about that before on my PMDD and Depression post.
At the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 I was starting to come to terms with my failings, and again made a schedule to reach my goals. Some things were looking up, and then they suddenly weren’t. In the span of a day, several projects I was involved in fell apart. That started the death spiral again. Anger, shortly followed by depression surged through me, and it took some time to put myself back together, but this time it was quicker. That’s when I decided to start Pocket Change Stories.
It’s my redemption, and if it fails, there is no one to blame but myself.
A lot of my self-hatred is why I try to do some many things on my own, but also because I don’t want to direct my anger at someone who’s just trying to help. Still, as I’ve said before, I can’t get better on my own. “You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped,” that applied to me for the longest time. I’ve lost a lot because of this, and I can’t tell you for sure if I’m getting better or not. But I do feel a lot happier nowadays since I started chasing my own goals. I’m achieving each one slowly, that’s also frustrating but it’s a growing pain I can deal with.