I Want

Look at that title. Doesn’t it sound whiny and entitled. Like a spoiled brat who doesn’t know the value of things: “I want this, I want that”

I remember that monstrous being people identify as my biological mother, to my great displeasure: she used to make fun of me for wanting things. She wanted to teach me that I couldn’t just want things; especially skills but also material things, which at that age meant toys and videogames, mostly. It wasn’t enough to want, I needed to work for them, that was her point.

I’ve always been very ambitious.


In a way, I should be thankful. I haven’t updated this blog much, but that’s not because I’ve been worse. I’ve got better. So much better I can hardly compare where I am now with where I was a year ago. Many small things improved, but most of all, I’m regularly writing about games, which is pretty extraordinary for me.

When I think about how and why I have improved, I imagine a mental block that I have managed to dissolve, a little like solving a puzzle in a game; and as a result, I’m able to access a new area of my personality. It already existed, I could describe it and “feel” it before, but I could not access it, or act on its impulses. I have not changed, in a way, but I can now do things I wasn’t able to do before, because the block, well, it did its job. I can realize what I already was in potential to a greater extent.

Mostly, I’ve gone back to where I was before my breakdown, almost 2 years ago, when I was a highly flawed, but mostly functioning human being. Perhaps I improved a little, but I’m roughly there.

And I can tell because there’s another block I’m dealing with, the same I was dealing with back then, the one that caused my breakdown. It’s huge, and heavy, and solid. It shows no signs of fragility, no cracks I might infiltrate, no weaknesses. I believe if I can dissolve it, everything else will fall into place, and the vast majority of my issues will solve themselves. I’m not saying I’d be completely fine and happy, I’m still very isolated for instance, but I think things would improve even more than they did when I overcame the other, smaller block

This bigger block manifests itself in a variety of ways. It’s in everything I do. Mostly, it’s limiting the ways I am able to express myself; it can be partially summed up in that expression, “I want”, or rather in my inability to act on what I want, but here language gets tricky, and I don’t have the proper terminology to explain how I understand this in a simple way.

On an abstract level, I know what I want, and, relatedly, what I like. I want to transition. I want to be creative. I like videogames, literature, philosophy, and I like engaging with those things. Just to mention a few examples. If I started my gaming blog, it’s because I enjoy reading about games that way, and I genuinely want to write about games myself.

But when it comes down to it, to doing things in practice, I don’t know how to approach anything as a “want”, but only as a “must”, as an obligation, as a chore, as homework, as an assignment. Which can be useful, occasionally, no doubt about it. But for me, for how I work, and for how this attitude pollutes my life, it has sucked the joy out of everything I do. (Except videogames, to an extent, and even they are affected by it, but that’s another story)

And then, there’s my guilt. Omnipresent, soul-crushing guilt. It’s everywhere. It’s the emotion I feel the most, together with frustration directed at myself.

It’s as if everything I do has to have a use, a purpose, an ‘objective justification’. Every minute has to be productive, which is why I tend to make mental timetables. Not that I would like to waste time, but I tend to think of my days in time blocks, all of which have to be filled with ‘meaningful’ activity, all of them of the utmost importance, all of them to be performed to the best of my abilities, and with the utmost concentration. Of course I regularly fail, because that’s not humanly possible, and then I feel guilty for “wasting time”

This abstract description is not even half of the picture, but let’s make some concrete examples.

Take writing, for instance. I know I want to write. Over the years I doubted myself, I decided to quit it, and I did a lot of soul-searching, but I always went back to it in the end, so I know writing is important to me. But it’s been years since I genuinely enjoyed writing anything. You’ll see me complaining about my writing style on my gaming blog: I hate it. It’s dry, arid, lifeless, excessively academic, it’s the opposite of what I’d like to achieve (one of my biggest inspirations is Cara Ellison, whose style is lively, personal, “aggressively vulnerable”), but it’s a necessity for now. If I try to write like that, I freeze up. I want to write articles for my gaming blog, I really do. But never for a second I approached writing an article with an attitude of wanting to write. Only ever with the attitude that I must write.

When I try to do creative writing, most of the time I’m just blocked, and when I’m not I almost have to beat the words out of myself. Again, they’re dry, they lack any kind of passion or liveliness. And the problem is that I never ‘want’ to write, but I always ‘must’, because it’s so important to me. And when I want to get serious about creative writing, well, it’s not just writing that is affected. Because if I want to be any good, then I must read a lot, right? So, if I really want to write, perhaps I should read a minimum of 2 hours a day, and write an hour a day. The keyword is ‘should’. I took another activity I enjoy doing, reading, and turned into a chore. I still enjoy reading, occasionally, but that’s almost an accident. I’m not reading because I want, I’m reading because I must.

My day-to-day life is filled with chores that are supposed to be my hobbies and my passions, only emptied of that quality that made them so in the first place. And working pretty much every waking moment is exhausting. Well, not working, exactly, but being in the working mindset, in that “must” attitude. Incidentally, that’s why I waste a lot of time: it’s the only way I have to escape all this mental construction. And even then, it’s not like I won’t feel guilt afterwards, but at least my mind has got a moment of respite.

Aside from stress, frustration and guilt, I’m apathetic all the time, which is in my opinion another effect of that same block. Just like I can’t do something simply because I want to do it, my emotions have been suppressed too. I cannot express myself in any genuine way. In the case of my emotions, they are replaced by constant conceptualization and rationalization. If my writing style is what it is, it’s because those things are all I have to work with.

It’s as if what I want and what I feel don’t matter. They have been suppressed, removed, replaced. I don’t want to say that those two things are the most important, relevant or “true” expressions of one’s personality, but in a way they’re the most spontaneous and un-mediated. In my day-to-day, I’m missing an entire area of my personality, I lack two important motivations to act, two fundamental sources of energy.

And I think that if they aren’t coming out to play, it’s because they are scared of being hurt, and maybe someone didn’t teach them to believe in themselves and stand up for themselves.

It’s clear to me that if I manage to open the lock, to overcome this block, everything will be affected. I wouldn’t solve all my problems, but I would solve so many.

Most importantly, I’d recover an important part of who I am, and I’d be able to realize much more of my potential.

Failed Attempt at a Post

It’s weird to write this so many months after that last post, but I haven’t forgotten. Not completely, at least.

I say this despite feeling awful, and exhausted, and empty right about now, and I’ve been wanting to cry for the best part of today. Both literally and metaphorically, not-being-able-to-let-myself-go will haunt me for a very long time. I hate this coldness, this rigidity in my words, in my syntax, but I don’t know how to break it, how to make myself more “aggressively vulnerable”.

But these thoughts are for another day.

Since the last time I posted, I moved to a different house, I applied for two (very different) journalistic positions, I have been accepted for one and I haven’t heard back from the other yet, despite the latter being my favourite one by far. At first, I didn’t even want to apply for the one I liked the most, I just didn’t feel like I could be good enough for it in a million years. In the meantime, I started writing as a freelancer for the one that did get me, and one of my first article got huge, with more than 85.000 views.

My phobia got so, so much better now. I’m having some weird side effects that make it hard to sleep sometimes, but I can’t even compare how I deal with insects now and how I dealt with them 3 months ago, let alone last year. The anxiety comes back to a certain extent, when I’m under a lot of stress, but it looks like I can deal with it.

In a week I will have to decide whether I go back to university or not, and I still don’t know. I want to go like I want few other things, but at the same time I don’t think I’m ready, at all, and I’m afraid going would only mean having the phobia come back, and another emergency return trip before the end of the school year.

This was not what I wanted to write about. And this was not how I wanted to write about it. Dammit.

On the theme of self-expression, I’ve identified with my psychologist that there are several things I tend to hide to others, and to an extent even to myself, things that I find it hard to say or show or communicate, or even simply think and put into words in my own head. Things that I tend to forget regularly, not as an act of carelessness or distraction, but aggressively, almost, I’d say, intentionally, if it wasn’t that I’m not doing it willingly, it’s all automatic, and unconscious.

My task for the next session is to make a list of these things that I hide from others, and from myself, out of fear, out of shame, out of self-hate. The list includes a variety of things, going from my gender and sexuality, my intimacy, my love for other people, my desires and aspirations all the way to things like plushies and clothes and other aesthetic preferences.

And right now I’m incredibly frustrated, because there’s this weight on my chest that I wanted to address and express by writing this post, and instead I ended up writing a report because I don’t know how to put it into words, and where to start.

This is the very process that doesn’t let me write fiction. It’s happening, right now. I have these things that I want to say, things that I hold dear and feel strongly about but I can’t unlock them, I cannot get to them anymore, I’m too clumsy and detached and apathetic and stressed and tense and scared and lonely and I don’t love and respect myself enough to let myself feel them and live them.

What I do know is that I’m sad right now. And disappointed. And frustrated, like a missed opportunity. My language is like this because my heart isn’t here. My heart won’t come out.

I won’t stop trying, but I’m not hopeful right now…

Routines and “Whisper of the heart”

A routine is a weird thing. For me, it’s at the same time an incredibly useful mental timetable and an immensely dangerous pitfall.

I have a good routine going on right now, I’d say. Every day, I set time aside to do a lot of stuff; the way I allocate time could probably better, I could push myself further, but still, what I have now is not bad. My routine is my baseline, it’s the minimum I will strive to do every day, no matter if it’s a good day or a bad day. The idea would be that, once I’m used to a routine, I can then use the good days to do even more, even better, and during the bad days I can fall back on that bare minimum I’m supposed to be used to and not waste the day.

But it’s a risky concept. And it’s risky precisely because it sounds so safe, so foolproof. By building a routine, I’m making decisions about how to use my time beforehand, so that I don’t have to do it all the time, especially when laziness, tiredness or depression make me lose my will to do anything at all. It’s reassuring to wake up and know what you are going to do.

Routines are dangerous because they feed into all of my bad habits. They favour apathy, mental rigidity, a mechanical approach to life over enthusiasm, spur-of-the-moment decisions, following one’s feelings, being here with all of oneself. The relationship between forcing oneself to do something and following one’s whims requires delicate balancing, but there is no doubt that for me only one of these two factors exist.

Perhaps a good routine would be a flexible, minimalistic one, one that left space for variety as part of the routine, and not as the exception to it. I know I tend to fill my timetables so much I’d barely even sleep, if my actual plans could be followable. No amount of time is ever enough, I need to be infinitely good at an infinite amount of things. My actual routines are a bit more down-to-earth, but they often end up taking my entire day, when I factor in things like eating, being tired or distracted and talking to people (somehow, my routines never allow time for other people, it’s as if I was alone on the planet).

Yesterday, was an ok day. Nothing in particular happened, and so it was that I went through my checklist of things to do everyday, and I still had a few hours before sleeping. And I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.

Most of the things that fill my routine are chores, obligations, musts. Even if I want to do them on an abstract level, or I know they’re useful, they’re not really exciting on a day-to-day basis. Like studying, that’s a perfect example. What I may or may not want to do has no place in my day, it’s not a question that I get to ask myself.

So, when I did end up asking it, the answer I got was a confused, muffled sound that didn’t take the form of any one particular thing. I could feel something stirring up inside me, but I couldn’t make up my mind, I couldn’t focus my will in any one direction. I felt like my answer would be too shameful to admit, or more than I deserve, or too risky for me to try. (yes, writing did cross my mind, and then my mind recoiled). The freedom to take risks, with confidence and the assurance that you will get back up and try again, would be liberating.

Eventually, I ended up watching a film. This film, to be precise. And it hit me. It hit me in a number of ways. From the throwaway sentence “I reckon today good things will happen” (Why do I never say that? Why do I never think that? Why am I always so down?), to the girl’s fear to test herself and realize her dreams, from the likeness of talent to a raw, unrefined stone to noticing that, even in fairy tales, adventures happen only to people who are open and receptive and flexible enough, who can let themselves go with the flow of what is happening around them (I learned the importance of being Receptive from M. Nussbaum).

My best friend lent me that film, to give me hope, to show me that happiness is within my reach, I just have to allow myself to try. I got that message, and yet, in my evanescent self-esteem, after the film was over I questioned whether that hope was for me, whether I was not the (negative) exception, the black sheep to be left behind. I felt like what was being shown was not a possibility for me; rather my wishes, forever to be unrealized, were being flaunted in front of me, to provoke, to show me what I could never reach, what I had lost forever.

The film woke me up from apathy, but it made me want to kill myself…

But it’s ok.

Tomorrow I will go back to my cocoon, with its lack of feelings, and it will be as if I never even watched that film, so I can keep sleeping through my days, wrapped in my comfortable blanket of routines.

Chastised Kid Syndrome

Thanks to one kind commenter, who did honestly try his best to help me, I’ve been making a couple of experiments on myself, to see if I could change a few things about my attitude and my mentality. It didn’t go well, through no one’s fault really, and I did have to spend a few weeks effectively recovering, picking myself up and getting back to where I was before, for, even if it wasn’t the best place, it’s certainly a better baseline than the misery and hopelessness my experiment left me with.

Still, it wasn’t a purely negative experience. I learned a lot from it, as well as from the stimulating conversation I had with him. And perhaps the most important thing I learned concerns why I behave the way I do. I like to call it “Chastised Kid Syndrome”.

An example of what it is: Dark Souls 2 came out a few weeks ago, I’ve been waiting for it for a long time, and it’s one of the very few games I’m willing to buy on launch at full price. Not only I enjoy it in its mechanics, but I strongly relate to it on a thematic, emotional level. When it came out, I asked my father if I could buy it, and he said that I absolutely could. 10 minutes later, I asked him again. And 30 minutes after that, I asked him again, again.

Eventually I did buy it, but the whole time, even though I got permission, I didn’t feel like I actually had permission. The way I behave, the way I feel, is like a child who has been punished by an authoritative figure, and was never forgiven, never pardoned, nor I ever earned my way back into “normality”, into a state of psychological independence and control. In a way, into adulthood.

And so it is that, if I’m not worthy, if I’m not important, then everything that stems from myself equally doesn’t matter. My desires, hopes, fears, preoccupations, my thoughts and my emotions, my creativity and my uniqueness don’t deserve to be taken into consideration, nor they can function as meaningful motivations to act. I don’t deserve to be cared for and loved, I don’t deserve enjoyment, I don’t deserve to play, I should only fulfil my obligations, be a good child, behave and maybe one day I will have done enough to be set free, to be the “master of my fate, and the captain of my soul”.

This explains so much. It explains why I work so well in a school environment (the authority imposes on me), why, during the last few years, I was only able to write when someone was very close to me (almost as if I was doing it for them, instead of myself), perhaps it explains why I can’t really progress with my transition (after all, like writing, I can only do it for myself). Obviously it affects my confidence, my sense of self-worth, the way I use my money and my time, and the fact that external praise never gets to me.

I believe it’s also one of the factors why I’m so disconnected on an emotional level. I’ve been reading Cara Ellison’s blog, her writing is always very powerful, very touching, and it reminds me of how I tried to write, but these days it’s as if I couldn’t quite remember what it feels like anymore. Not on my own, at least. My writing, like myself, tends to be clinical, cold, detached, instead of intimate, warm, I want to say, feminine. I’ve been quite upset since I noticed how I can’t seem to write more like I used to, more emotionally involved. It’s as if my brain was here, but my soul was a bit too scared to come out.

If it did, I’d finally be able to cry.


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.

Hopes and Relapses

For the past few weeks, I have often felt on the verge of making a clean break, turning my bad habits around, making an upward spiral of positive energies out of my downward spiral of negative thoughts, fear and self-hate. I even managed to write, a couple of weeks ago. It was a short, stupid and bad poem, but right now, the action per se and its symbolic value mean more to me than what I actually write.

But then, everything is ruined all too quickly, I can never quite make it far enough, and I come down again, depressed, hopeless, lazy, scared of finding myself empty, terrified of not being good enough for anything. All it takes is a small mistake, giving up to temptation, listening to the voice of my best friend (who certainly loves me more than I do, and perhaps doesn’t entirely share my ambition and my views – but I’m not blaming her) that tells me to not be so hard on myself, to reward myself for the good things I do. I rewarded myself for managing to write, and here I am, 2 weeks later, and I have lost (and regained, and re-lost, and so on a few times) all that momentum that I had managed to build.

It’s a shame that I can’t seem to keep on a good path long enough to let some good habits stabilize; my best moments seem to be when I stare at all my hideousness, I see all my shortcomings and defects clearly, I feel them clearly; sometimes it all becomes too much, I have no hope in anything and I simply close up. But eventually, often immediately, all the negativity gives me motivation to apply my energies and my best effort in all I do. In a way, it’s either that or suicide (literal or metaphorical). I wouldn’t be here writing this, if this process hadn’t repeated itself so many times.

But linking my positive energies to the negativity I’m trying to eradicate is self-defeating. Not to mention all the obstacles that can break that surge of good will – distractions, practical problems, tiredness, sometimes it takes as little as going to sleep, and the next day it’s all gone.

I can tell something is getting better. I feel like I’m cyclically coming nearer to that turnaround I need, nearer and more often. I’m strongly attracted to putting myself through some life-changing symbolic actions, something ascetic like a spiritual retreat, something painful that lasts an extended amount of time, a couple of weeks, maybe, or a month, or as long as it needs to be, so that when I come out on the other side, the scales are tipped the other way.