This was the 4th drawing I made one night and the first in what would be an ongoing series dedicated to my own life. When I drew it, I had just switched from Holywood to Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. Until now, I hadn’t ever given much thought to how perfect that album title was for the situation. In truth, it was chosen because it is a favorite album of mine and it soothes me. I draw much inspiration from it, having heard it hundreds, if not thousands, of times since I found it. It is one of the most important albums in my life, and it seemed only fitting that I would listen to it this night.
The original plan for the drawing session had been to listen to all 3 of Marilyn Manson’s albums about his fallen god in order, but after I finished Holywood, I started to think about the woman I was kinda-sorta involved with at the time and how that relationship actually existed. Being in the state I was in, actually seeing that I was not special to her in the ways I needed to be special was threatening to collapse my psyche and throw me into a downward spiral. So, I hastily changed albums and settled on something that I knew would bring me back from the brink and put me back into a safer place. It was my safey-safe. And there began my journey in art and self-exploration.
The upper right – ‘I almost lost you’ – came about from nearly spiraling when the album changed from Holywood to Mechanical Animals. When it was averted, I simply wrote the line on the page. At the time, it felt like a note to her, but looking back, I think it was just as much a note to myself. I nearly lost my mind delving into a situation I really wasn’t prepared to deal with that night (it took me nearly 8 months from that date to finally confront it and I’m still dealing with it today).
The words are ‘*MROW*, ‘My Dear’, and ‘Whore in Sheeps Clothing’, which come from “Keeping the Blade”, “Always & Never”, and “Welcome Home”, respectively. At the time, they were written to my first. They were evocative of our childishness (the *mrow*’), my unrequited love (‘my dear’ crossed out), and my eventually pain and lashing out (‘whore in sheep’s clothing’). They are floating in the scribbles, buried in them and written upon them. They were always on my mind, as the scribbles represent. But they were also shrouded in chaos.
These words were just the ones that came through as I was drawing, but the entirety of the lyrics of the three songs represented here capture the emotion conveyed within. They speak of the pain of loving and having nothing returned. Of wanting and not being needed. In “Always & Never” the Writer says ‘I’m still waiting here, my dear/For one kiss from you’. While this, to me, speaks of loving and wanting, there is also a literal interpretation in my own life: I had just one kiss with my first love, a very chaste peck on the lips, and I have been waiting for the next one for the past ten years. Not from her, but from anyone. With ‘a whore in sheep’s clothing’, I am not wanting to call her a whore. More accurately, it is about her being something other than what I saw and my inability to cope or be with what she truly was. I loved what I thought I saw, but the reality was far different from what I wanted and needed.
While I had my first in mind when I drew this, it turns out that it was quite apropos to the situation I was dealing with at the time. So much of that played out as an accelerated replaying of my first kinda-sorta relationship. It’s eerie. Even the names were similar. I cared deeply for both of them and they both came about during very chaotic times in my life. Looking back, it seems that the last one was there to close out the first. Through it, I found closure. I was finally able to put her to rest and move on from her. And while I am still working on moving past the latest, I was not crippled the way I was with the first. This time, I am hurt but I am not giving up and running from it all. I have chosen to stick around and deal with it, even if I can no longer do it directly with her.
This series, taken from a single night of drawing, was drawn with my future in mind. When I did it, I thought it dealt with who I was talking to at the time. I wasn’t wrong, exactly, I just wasn’t right about what it meant. She was there, but not as I saw her. She was a ghost reborn and she exited far sooner than thought. I think that going over all of this and finally posting it all and talking about it will be my way to say goodbye. As I lay it bare to the world and analyze it in the written word, I am seeing it in a new light. I am finding things within it that I hid from myself before. It was far deeper than I ever expected.
I showed all of this to her, but it didn’t go as planned. I had hoped to share it with her, but I ended up just showing it to her. I think that was part of why I decided to leave. It was then that I realized that things were not as I had seen; that I had blinded myself to her because I was in need of closeness, which she could not really give. I had imposed things upon her subconsciously that she could never have lived up to. For that, I am sorry. For the rest, I am hurt.
I don’t think I’ve ever cried this much before. I’ve cried enough that my eyes feel dry. I cried myself to sleep this morning and when I woke up, there was still my crying left to do. I’ve had a lot to mourn these past 24 hours.
Right around 4 PM Wednesday night, I got a call telling me that I was fired. Not because of poor performance or because I fucked up or anything so deserving as that. No, I was told I was fired because they had found cheaper labor in other countries. Worse still, they had brought them in several months ago and made us train them. Yes, I saw this coming, but no, I was not prepared. I figured they would at least do me the courtesy of finishing out my contract, they owed me that much. I was one of the best damned moderators that they had.
I never once applied for the job. I joined the forums back in August of 2009. Back then, I was just an avid player of a pretty awesome game <name withheld>. When I first joined up, I would mostly lurk, and read, and get to know how things worked there. After a bit of time, I finally started posting. First it was just to ask some questions I had had, then it was to answer questions that others had. Eventually, I got in the full swing of it and was spending nearly as much time on the forums bullshitting and answering questions as I was playing the game. I loved it. The game and the forums were helping me through my depression. I finally had a place to express myself, talk with others, and help.
After a few months of doing that, the Community Manager for the game contacted me and asked if I wanted to be a Volunteer Moderator. I jumped at the chance as I had been secretly working towards it for about a month. I never asked anyone, but I did what I could to emulate the moderators without going too far. I was so excited to be asked and get to do it! I had set a goal and accomplished it. I had not done that in quite some time. It was an exciting time for me. I got to spend my day plying the game I enjoyed and answering questions about it in a semi-official matter.
I did the volunteer gig for 9 months, right up until they decided to discontinue the volunteer position. At that time, the current CM for another game asked me to put in a resume to be considered for the Super Moderator position. Within 24 hours of submitting my resume I they were doing a background check and I had a job, provided everything looked alright. Which it did. After 3 horrendous years without any income whatsoever, I had a job. Things were finally looking up.
When they brought me on as a Super Moderator, they put me on a different game, <name withheld>. It was an awesome placement for me. I had been playing the game since the first hour it was live and all of my mod friends from <name withheld> were now working there, so it was like a reunion. I loved it. I was working 55+ hours per week and making decent money because of it. On top of that, I was modding a far more active forum and answering even more questions. It was probably the single best job I’ve had so far. The hours were rough, but the pay made it worth it. It allowed me to start doing stuff for myself, which I hadn’t ever really been able to do at any point in my life.
In all, it was a great time. The only sour part was that I ended up having to take a 3 month hiatus after one year because of some bullshit law regarding contract workers. That was tough, but I made it through, barely. After my 3 months was up, I reapplied and was immediately brought back on. During my absence, they had enacted some new styles of moderation, which were difficult but not impossible for me to work with. The real issue for me was my placement. I got a game that I didn’t care much for, but a forum that had a vibrant group of posters that I could care for. So, in spite of not liking the game, I came to love the forums. I had inherited them from another, but I tried to make them my own. I think I did a good job of it and I enjoyed my time there.
After a few months back on the forums, they finally asked me to do something that I had been waiting over a year for: to take over a game’s forums from the inception. I was finally given a game from day one and given some free reign to make them my own forums and help mold the community. I cherished the opportunity and did what I could to make it a great forum while still working on the previous forum I had been assigned to. Overall, it was a fun time for me and I would have loved to keep doing it, but after a couple months longer, they offered me a promotion, though it was just in title only (no pay raise or anything).
This is when the end game was enacted though. They brought in other moderators from outside of the US and moved us to another new moderation style that pretty much nobody wanted but would provide better coverage. Everything was changing. Initially, it seemed like it would be for the better, but things changed. Eventually, we started to see what was happening, how we were being pushed out. I tried to overlook it, tell myself that I was seeing things and that they wouldn’t get rid of us. And then I got that phone call. In that moment, it all came crashing down and I saw the man behind the curtain. They had manipulated us into training our replacements and getting them ready to take over for us. It was a sickening feeling to realize all of that.
I’m not overly bitter about it though. It was handled poorly, but the company had still given me nearly 2 years of employment which had been a big part of my healing process from my deepest depression. The job had also lead me to a lot of people that I will forever call friend. It was tough saying goodbye to the job and knowing that I wouldn’t get to see everyone every day any longer. They were a part of my daily routine and I knew it would be tough without them.
However, that wasn’t the toughest part. Compared to what else I had to do that Thursday, everything else was easy. After work that Thursday, I had to say goodbye to a good friend; my first.
It wasn’t something I wanted to do. I didn’t want to say goodbye to her. I wanted to stay her friend and have her around, but I wasn’t being her friend. I was waiting for her to change her mind and realize that she wanted to be with me, and it was killing me. Waiting for her and knowing it wouldn’t happen caused me pain every day. Every time she signed in, I hurt. I couldn’t do it any longer The only possible solution was to say goodbye to her for a time, no matter how badly I wanted to avoid it (and had avoided it).
That may have been one of the most difficult things I have ever done. The whiskey definitely helped it happen, but I knew it had to be done. I didn’t even remotely keep myself together for the conversation. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time. We weren’t even together and it was tearing me apart. It’s times like that that I wish I didn’t care, or at least, that I cared for the right ones. I have a hard habit of falling for women that will never be with me.
When it was all said and done, I ended up just crawling in bed and sobbing myself to sleep. She was never mine… but it killed me to say goodbye. I never wanted it, but what I wanted was never going to happen. The hardest part was that I shared a part of myself with her that I don’t let anybody see. I showed her my soul. I let her see just who I am inside of all of this. And that’s the part that hurts. The part that knows she could accept it and be okay with it but could never love it. And all it wants is to be loved. And it is the part that still hurts today, though it doesn’t hurt nearly as much. We weren’t together, I can’t devote long to mourning our parting.
If I had done this sooner, these last few months may have been very different. I might have been able to make some progress like I had been doing before she came into my life. I put a lot aside to pursue her, and even after she told me it wouldn’t happen, I still tried. I couldn’t help it. There’s a very lost little boy inside of me that just wants to be loved and he will attach himself to anything he thinks will give it to him, regardless of what I think or feel about the situation. I tried so hard to change things, to make sure I didn’t get hurt. The only thing that really changed was that I managed to tell her I wanted to fuck her and that I was able to end it. It didn’t matter though. I still got hurt. That doesn’t mean I won’t try again, it just sucks knowing I have to try again. Who knows, maybe this next one will lead to a girlfriend.
I just don’t know how many more times I can be hurt.
And now, I’m hurt and adrift with no real direction in any part of my life. The only constant I had was taken from me because they found someone willing to work for less money. I’ll survive – I always do – I’m just not sure what levels of survival I will have to use. The last time I got laid off it took me three years and a shitload of luck to get a new job. I hope it doesn’t come to that again. I might not survive it. I barely made it out the last time and I am nowhere near where I was before it happened last time.
Sometimes you try to put pen to paper (or tablet, in this case) and nothing really wants to happen. Other times it flows like Niagra. I don’t know which this will be today. I haven’t started yet, but I have felt conflicted on what I wish to do. However, my unspoken goal has been to make one drawing per day. I haven’t been perfect, but I have tried. I am going to see if I can do that for this entire week, from 10/14 to 10/21. I’ll post them all here be they good or be they shit. It is what it is and nothing more.
For today the music of choice is Babel by Mumford & Sons. Maybe not. Got a few songs in and for some reason, the audio quality is choppy. It keeps going in and out. So, Florence + The Machine it is.
I need to stop doing this right before I pass out so I can actually write something coherent here.
Honestly, this one did make me feel as greatly as the last few have. I am happy with it though. Originally, I had thought of using ‘Surrogate lover’ as the opening text. I think it would still work, but I think the imagery for that phrasing was too strong and not quite what I was going for.