Better

My psychologist asked me to analyse the feelings of guilt that taint all my playtime and free time.

What I observed, first of all, is that there is no time when I am free of this guilt, there is no “pure” relaxing free time for me, ever. What changes is only the intensity of these feelings, whether they’re on the back of my mind or if they dominate me, whether they’re too strong for me to keep playing, or if they’re just intense enough that I am stupidly lead to play more as a way of coping with them, in the vain hope that they’ll go away and leave me free, just for a little bit, even if I am in fact simply strengthening them.

And what causes these changes is a variety of (mostly) external factors, but it all comes down to the basic reason for my guilt itself: I could be better, and I should be better. I feel guilty because I could be a better person, and I should be striving for it, doing something different, but I am not, and my playtime reinforces these feelings as much as it vainly tries to make me forget them, to make me feel better. My playtime in fact, says the opposite: I cannot be better. I want to do this because, it may be simple, it may be stupid and it may be profoundly unfulfilling, but there’s nothing better waiting for me, all the effort in the world won’t lead me anywhere.

The two opposing lines of thought – belief in my self (you’re wasting your time when you could be so much better, so much more) and self-loathing (may as well play and try to not feel too bad, because you’re not going to get where you want to be) – are always both present at all times in my mind. The latter has obviously taken over the majority of my practical life, and so there is nothing left for the former but to remind me that what I am doing is not ignoring a broken wish, but wasting real potential.

The intensity of my guilt is proportional to this belief in my potential, in what (I) could be if I tried harder; and consequently it’s fuelled by external stimuli, from awe at the dedication and effort that some people put into what they do (no matter how insignificant their achievement actually is) to inspirational talks, and a variety of often random and inconsequential things, up to Charlotte, probably the person I most hate and most admire at the same time, whose music I love and can’t listen to anymore; my guilt incarnate.

It is not secondary that the feelings I can rely on for guidance are almost exclusively negative feelings. (It usually creates a reaction so that the moment I start to get better I run out of energy to follow up and consolidate a positive change) The only emotions I can rely on to push me to make the right choices are depression, and guilt and the like; I have lost all my positive feelings (such as my drive to write) somewhere in the way, possibly when I lost the ability to play without guilt tainting it. They are still there, somewhere, occasionally they re-surface, and I’m confident I could bring them back, somehow, if I manage to ever solve this knot.

Lament

I’m slowly fading into my memories…

 

I’ve been taking steps back, getting worse.

I’ve been playing League of Legends a lot lately. And I mean, a lot. And I despise myself for every minute of it, I’m even ashamed to say it (and I haven’t admitted it for months)

I guess there are two ways of being “taken in” by something. One would be passion, and the motivation is precisely the thing you’re being taken in by. The other is escapism: you’re here not because you like it here, but because everywhere else is worse. Somehow I always fall short of the former, and end up in the latter.

I was watching the GDC talk #1ReasonToBe, and the final moments of the Laralyn McWilliams made me snap back to reality in a way. Nothing new, nothing I didn’t know or think already; it’s just been the trigger to make me wake up again. Every time it’s a different trigger. And every time I manage to fall asleep again. Maybe tomorrow, maybe in a month.

I always fall short of passion. I’m not sure why. Everything else seems overwhelming. My dreams will never come true, and I am always tired of struggling without nothing to show for it.

The reason why I’ve been playing LoL so much is that it rewards me for doing well. Putting aside all the toxicity and the stupidity of the community as well as how enjoyable the game is in itself, if you do well you win, and if you win, the game gives you points, and you go up in ranking. In a totally empty, meaningless, illusory way, when I do well I feel praised for it, and I have something to show for my effort.

Meanwhile, time passes, and I wish I could beg it to stop, because I’m 22 and I have nothing to show for it, nothing that I have done, nothing that I’m proud of and no one that believes in me. I wouldn’t even know where to start, because everything seems to be so big and impossible, and I’d just like time to stop.

Please stop.