So, I recently binge-watched the third season of BoJack Horseman, and I must say it was pretty spectacular. There were a few things I had hoped/expected to see that didn’t come to pass, but the absence of these elements was made up for by the sheer number of beautiful and haunting moments that I could never have predicted.

Anyway, down to business. Today’s post is primarily going to be an explanation of the main reason I love the show, and the numerous ways it has affected me. I haven’t done a “personal” blog in a while, so I figured this would be a nice way to be personal whilst also ranting about one of my favorite shows.

The reason this show resonates with me so much more than others is the way in which the characters are all written in such a way that I can relate with all of them – which is an incredibly unusual thing, at least for me.

Throughout the first two seasons I was able to see a little bit of myself in almost all of the characters – and in many of these cases seeing my neuroses personified in such a way allowed me to recognize and acknowledge them in a way I hadn’t previously.

Initially I saw myself mostly in Diane, but the more I observed BoJack the more I was able to put a “face” to my depression and recognize just how far it’s influence had reached.

Mr Peanutbutter also hit close to home when his more depressive traits started to see light. The way he acknowledged his need to constantly stay distracted rang particularly true, and I began to see his positive outlook as a facade – much like the one I had felt obligated to keep up for years.

In fact, the only “main” character I was unable to relate to in those first two seasons was Todd. That fact changed dramatically, however, by the end of season 3. But that’s probably something for another post entirely… once I’m able to process things.

Since watching this show for the first time, and going on a journey with the characters, I’ve slowly gained a new degree of self awareness… which isn’t something I ever would have expected. It’s really made me think about my flaws and try to address them, and whilst I’m under no illusions that I’ve magically improved in these past few months, I feel like the show has started an internal dialogue which could lead to real change.

Obviously all of this is only a small part of why I love the show so much – but it’s an aspect of the show that means a lot to me… so I wanted to at least attempt to articulate it. Hopefully I’ve managed to do that to at least some degree.

I may go into more detail about this topic later, or I might simply write a post about one of the other parts of the show I enjoy. I guess it depends on whether I can write something that doesn’t just make me feel like a vapid fan-boy…

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Week so far (spoiler: it’s been boring)

Been focusing on my BoJack Horseman stuff for a few days now… so I figured it was about time for a “regular” post to break things up a bit.

It’s been a relatively uneventful week for me, but I did find out yesterday that there have been a couple of issues with my housing funding application – so that was a bit of a downer. I seem to be expected to have a bunch of things I shouldn’t really be expected to have this early… so I’ve been kinda stressed out about that.

On a more positive note, I’ve managed to commit to my daily doodle-comic thing – which I’m quite proud of. I’ve only done 8 days in a row so far… but quite frankly that’s more than I’ve managed before, so I’m impressed. I did go through a bit of a crisis when I found out my work was super similar to that of a friend, but I’ve managed to shake off the resulting worries for the most part – I’m just going to have to use it as motivation to push myself a little harder. It’s all a learning experience after all.

Still, it was really freaky.

I’m nearly halfway through my “BoJack Dissected” series now. I haven’t started on episode 6 yet, but I’ll have it done by tomorrow – and I think after that I’ll take a little break, and do the second half of the first series in a week or two. As much as I’m enjoying it, it is taking up a lot more time than I expected it too – and I’m a little worried that the constant re-watching of the series is going to sicken me to it – so I think a little time off from it is a good idea.

Plus, by the time I get back someone might actually have read it.

Anyhoo, that’s really all I have to say for now. Like I said, it’s been a fairly uneventful week so far. With any luck I’ll get the letters I’m needing some day soon, and then I can get that stress out of the way – which will be nice. Other than that, I think I’ll be spending most of this week working and doodling.

Fun times.

Community.

I’ve known I was gay since I was pretty young. It’s not something I’ve ever been particularly shy about, although there have been many times when I’ve wondered if I would have been better served keeping it under my hat for a longer period than I did. Nonetheless, my sexuality has never really been an issue for me on a personal level. I was bullied sure, but there was never a period where I doubted myself, or wished I was different  – so I’m grateful for that.

However, as easy as it was for me to accept my sexuality, I’ve never really felt like I was part of a “community” because of it. In high school, the only time I was approached by other gay people was when they were interested in sex – beyond that they all made a very intentional effort to distance themselves from me, for fear of their sexuality being brought in to question (which would, of course, have made them a target for the same abuse that I publicly received). So instead of being supported by those in the same boat, I found myself ostracized by them – with a few going out of their way to join in on the bullying to help maintain their heterosexual facades.

As a result, I’ve somewhat struggled to “feel the love”. In fact, it’s only in the past few years that I’ve really become aware of the fact that there is “love” to felt. When I was first starting to explore my sexual identity, I remember signing up for a number of LGBT-oriented forums and receiving nothing but hate when I made my presence known – with complete strangers mocking me for my “ridiculous” red hair, “obvious vanity” and youth. Needless to say, I didn’t visit those forums again. I eventually signed up to another forum shortly after moving into my own house and, whilst I never really felt a sense of “belonging”, I began to see that there was more than just sex and hostility out there – which was a pleasant discovery.

It wasn’t until I watched Queer As Folk for the first time that I began to feel like I was missing out on something, however. Up until then I had been quite happy to make do with the friends I had and just accept the fact that talking about my relationships and desires wasn’t appropriate. Girls didn’t want to hear it, guys really didn’t want to hear it, and I just accepted that. However, after watching Queer As Folk I not only realized that I deserved to be able to talk freely, but that I really needed to.

Sadly, this awareness didn’t change the fact that I lived in a very… regressive area – and as such there was little community to be found there. I mean, I did eventually discover an LGBT group for the local area, but it meets in a town just over 100 miles away from the area it’s supposed to represent (making it incredibly impractical for me to visit), and whilst I signed up for the groups newsletters they always seemed far too mature to relate to. These people seemed to have the answers already, and that wasn’t what I needed – I needed to find people who were still working things out, so I could work it out with them. Because as much as I’m a part of this community in theory, I have no idea how to be a member in practice.

My recurring desire to leave my hometown has partly been fueled by these feelings, and as my departure is finally becoming a reality I’ve started to contemplate the potential this move has in regards to these matters. I’ve become aware of an LGBT group that meets weekly at the campus I’ll be attending, so with any luck I’ll finally get a chance to see what this “community” thing is all about. It could be an integral part of my personal revolution, or it could be a completely superfluous exercise in decadence. Or it could be neither. I guess only time will tell…

Hello again.

Decided to post a blog, because it’s been a while (well, that’s an understatement), and I’ve been feeling surprisingly lucid these past few weeks – and with that lucidity comes a greater capacity for introspection than I’ve been capable of for quite a while now.

I’ve been suffering from depression on-and-off for what seems like a lifetime, and whilst there have been a number of bright spots, they always seem fated to dim. Lately, however, I’ve been in a much better space, and thanks to the timing of this improvement, I was able to do something I’ve wanted to do for years now – apply for college (an Art & Design course, specifically).

Since applying, I’ve committed myself fully to art, and getting my portfolio ready, and in doing so I’ve finally found a goal. It’s made me start to think that my depression has been so persistent because I haven’t had any real goals for a while. Every time I started to feel better, I would become aware of how pointless my existence felt, and retreat back to square one – whereas now I have an actual goal, which could lead to some forward momentum in my life, and help me break out of stasis.

As I’ve been working on my portfolio, it’s reminded me how passionate I am about art – something I was almost starting to forget. It’s reached a point where even if I don’t get into the course this year, I think I’ll be able to maintain my “good vibes” simply thanks to the fact that I’ve rediscovered my primary motivator.

I’m not really sure if I’ll get in this year, to be honest. I seem to be flitting between confidence and doubt quite rapidly. I’ll make something and get a boost in confidence because I think it’s good, but then I’ll see someone else’s work and start to feel inadequate. Then, after that, I’ll see another person’s work and it’ll remind me that I don’t suck, but afterwards I’ll make a terrible piece and feel like I have no talent as a result. Not the most unique of plights, I’ll admit. Still, I’m focusing on next year as my Plan A, with this year as my Plan B – if that makes sense. That way, I won’t feel too bad if I don’t get in.

Don’t want to churn out a whole essay on this optimistic-downer subject, so I think I’ll just leave it here for tonight.

Actually feel a little tired, which, considering it isn’t 4am, is kind of strange. I have a feeling my tiredness may have made this post a little less coherent than it could’ve been, but I’ll just post it now and spell/grammar/point-check it later, to make sure it’s not terrible.

There’s a chance that this blog is an indication that more will be on the way. We’ll just have to wait and see if the mood recurs. As I write this I plan to do more, though I don’t yet know what I’ll write about. However, if I do start blogging again I predict it will be a tad different to my previous efforts.

Thoughts on Alcohol

I had rather mixed feelings about alcohol in the past. Ironically, considering I work as a bartender, in the last few years I’ve found it hard to find any merit to the idea of drinking. When I was younger (by which I mean, about two-three years ago), I drank rather heavily (a side-effect of my living alone and unsupervised for the first time), and looking back all I can really remember getting out of it was an empty wallet and a hangover. Well, that and the consequences of the poor decisions I often made while inebriated.

As a result of my disillusionment with alcohol, I made it a resolution of sorts to “cut down” on drinking after my 20th birthday, and during 2014 it’s safe to say I succeeded. Subtracting birthdays and special occasions, I think I went out – for no other reason than going out – about four times in total, with only one of those being my idea. And honestly, looking back, it didn’t make me feel “better” in the way I expected it would.

In retrospect, I think I partly “demonized” alcohol in my mind, using it to take to blame for many of the poor decisions I made “back in the day”. I’ve never been one for purely empirical experiences, so the money I spent on alcohol always felt wasted the next day, as I never had anything physical to show for it (besides a host of blurry, unflattering photos). But, after going out for drinks over last weekend – and admittedly getting rather smashed – I’ve come to realize that sometimes the experience is worth the price of admission, so to speak.

So, while I have no intention of returning to my previous ways, I think 2015 is going to be the year I stop avoiding drink, and just start going with the flow again. I’m sure I’ll have bad experiences at some point, inappropriately-timed hangovers come to mind (amongst other things), but hopefully the good experiences will outweigh the bad. Given that I’m a little older – and a little more mature – I think now I’ll be in a better position to enjoy alcohol as opposed to just consuming it with intoxication in mind.

“RESOLUTIONS”

So, what with it being New Year an’ all (or, at least, 7 days into New Year), I figured I would make some of my resolutions public, in an attempt to motivate myself, by making me feel culpable should I fail. Generally speaking, I’m not making resolutions in the “traditional” sense, more just setting myself numerous goals which I wish to reach within the space of this year. I’m hoping that by being somewhat casual with these goals, I won’t feel forced into them – and thereby might actually stick to them. Besides sticking my initial goals up here, I will probably attempt to update with my progress as and when I feel like it… so if you’re interesting in seeing how long it takes me to fail, stay tuned! 😛

Goal 1. is quite simply; quitting smoking. It’s an incredibly loathsome habit that I picked up when I was 15 in attempt to make myself look cool in front of my then-boyfriend, and that reason alone should be enough to quit! Considering how against smoking I was as a child (at one point I basically started an anti-smoking campaign against my father), it’s always felt a little strange that I ended up becoming a smoker – and 2015 seems like a good year to stop. So, I’m going to attempt it more or less cold turkey this time, only using patches and/or electric cigarettes when the cravings hit boiling point. In the past two days I’ve managed to only have two cigarettes, and I’m hoping to nip that in the bud, and finish the week having smoked no more than that. I’ll update with my progress on this in a couple of weeks (to see if I’ve managed to stick with it that far), and then see how things go from there.

Goal 2. is also rather cliched, in that it’s simply a goal to lose weight. Over the past few years I’ve slowly, but steadily, been putting on weight (in this last year especially, as I gave up vegetarianism), so my goal for this year is to reverse this process, and get myself back to a weight in which I feel a little more confident – as I’m not going to lie, my confidence has definitely receded on account of my weight gain. I’m by no means over-weight at the moment, but I could definitely stand to be a little lighter – and if it helps my energy levels then it can only be a plus. In order to work on this, I’m going to start off by resuming my vegetarian diet (as I can’t even remember why I stopped it in the first place), and attempt to fit more exercise into my daily routine. I’ve never been averse to exercise, but due to my erratic work schedule, I’ve always found myself feeling incredibly lethargic around the times in which exercise would be a valid option… so I’m definitely going to have to make more of an effort to squeeze it in. Generally speaking, I’d like to lose about 2 stone by the end of the year, but I’ll soon find out whether that will be a viable target or not. If so, then my target will be a loss of roughly 2 pounds a month… which as far as I’m aware is a relatively safe and realistic goal.

Goal 3. is in regards to my creativity – and the decline it went through last year. Again, I’m hoping to put a stop to this, and produce more work in 2015. To that end, I’ve set myself the goal of renovating my art portfolio, recording a small EP, and designing a functional video game demo – all by the end of the year. I’ve also set myself a couple of “stretch goals”, but those will only be relevant if I manage to complete one of these projects in a shorter time span that I’ve predicted. Generally speaking, my portfolio will most likely be taking priority – as Goal 4. is to apply (and hopefully get accepted into) college to further my art studies. While my portfolio was ready a few years ago when I had initially planned to apply, it’s somewhat outdated in regards to my capabilities now, so I’m hopefully going to completely re-do it to the point that I can be proud of it once more, and use it as a tool to further my creative endeavors in an educational environment.

So there you have it, my 4 main goals for the year. Will I fail, or will I succeed? Only time will tell…

KID CHAMELEON | FIGHTING FANTASY DIGEST

So, I wrote a post recently about the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. It wasn’t particularly in-depth – being more about my experience with the books, rather than being about the books themselves – but it got the job done. As with the majority of the content on this blog, it wasn’t really written with the expectation of people actually reading it… so I was surprised to discover the next day that it had been featured in the Fighting Fantasy digest. At first I was frustrated that my content was being shared without my consent – as I only discovered it due to a mention on twitter, announcing that I had “contributed” – but eventually I decided to just take it as a good thing. After all, at least I got credit for it, which is more than some people get out there. So, I just thought I’d do a little post about it – after all, being featured sent readers my way, so it’s only fair that I attempt to do the same. So, if you read my post about Fighting Fantasy, and enjoyed it, feel free to follow the link below for more content of that kind. If you’re a fan of Fighting Fantasy, I’m sure that you’ll find plenty of things there that will pique your interests.

Fighting Fantasy Digest – 28/11/2014