One Last Gasp

28 Sep

So it’s past 10:30 pm here and I find I’ve gravitated to this old blog of mine once more. It’s been 4 years since my last update and I found it somewhat amusing, and a little sad, to go back and read through my old posts. You see, a lot has changed in 4 years.

But a lot has also stayed the same.

Officially, I guess I’m not a Hikikomori anymore. Shortly after my last blog post I lost my job and ended up going back to college. I’m a senior now and will be graduating with a Bachelor’s degree next Spring. Hurray! I finally got out of the house! Things are better now, right?

Wrong.

It’s true that I do leave the house to attend classes 5 days a week. However, things haven’t been going well outside of that. Before we go into that, however, let’s rewind a bit and catch up on the last 4 years.

So, remember how I swore off having a car? Well, you probably don’t but it’s in one of my older blog posts. I now own a vehicle – a pretty nice one at that – and it’s been necessary since I have to commute to my university. When I started going to my first college (it was a 2 year college I’ve since graduated from) I joined a club, met some new people and made some friends. Things were going really well – I had a friend I hung out with all the time, he liked video games as much as I did, and a bunch of us from the club would go see movies, go out for dinners and so on. But, like everything else I come into contact with, it soon went to shit.

Because of the life I’ve had I’ve developed abandonment syndrome. This is how a psychologist I saw explained it to me, anyway. I always feel like I need to be included in everything people do and if I’m always the one sending the first text, coming up with the event, doing the organizing, and so on… after a while I’ll start to either lose interest in them or feel like they don’t really want to spend time with me. It’s a weird mental state to be in and it’s difficult to describe (and probably even more difficult for you to imagine) if it’s something you haven’t experienced. It sounds selfish and, well, it is. Long story short, I drove everyone away and quit the club. I cut off all contact and would completely ignore them whenever I passed them on campus. When something affects me on an emotional level my response is to simply cut it off. I don’t even acknowledge that it – or the people involved – exists.

Anyway, that’s how things went for the last year I was there. I graduated with no friends because of how broken I am. That was all 100% on me and it wasn’t their fault at all – I want to make that clear.

So, the year comes to a close and I’m sitting at the bar on new years just getting completely plastered. By the time midnight hits I’d been there for about 9 hours drinking mostly doubles and let me tell you… that night was rough. However, I came to a decision and decided that I was going to get into shape and turn things around. You know how it goes, resolutions and all that jazz.

Well… it worked.

I bought a gym membership at the gym near me. I was 275 pounds at the time – not the absolute worst, but certainly not great either. I started going 3 days a week and it was incredibly tough at first, but within a month my body had adapted. My cardio sessions went from 10 minutes to 20 minutes and eventually to 45 minutes. I was lifting weights and spending hours at the gym. The pounds melted off me and come Spring I was around 235 pounds.

Then… then I got a job working out of a national forest.

Consider the posts below this one from 2013 about how I never set foot outside of the house. Can you imagine what a huge step this was for me? I actually drove across the country, by myself, and worked in the forest with other people for 3 months. I even had a roommate (whom I ended up hating by the time I left). I was going out to bars, drinking socially and playing games… some girls were hitting on me and for a while I felt, well, normal. But then the job ended, I drove home, and realized… nothing had really changed. Home was still a lonely affair and my family was still as boring and lifeless as ever. Except now… I just had no patience for them anymore.

You see, for years I had been an actor around my own family. I was miserable inside, on anti-depressants, I had an eating disorder, no friends, no love life, nothing. When I was around them, however, I would act like everything was fine, crack some jokes and put on a show to keep everyone talking. After I returned, I saw them all again and just… couldn’t do it anymore. I soon stopped visiting them entirely and eventually withdrew back into myself just like I had been in 2013. I didn’t go outside anymore and every single day I would just go to McDonalds or Burger King and drop $20 on fast food. Then I’d sit in front of my computer while watching anime or youtube and cram myself until I felt like I was going to throw up. I was 220 pounds when I came back from the national forest I’d spent the summer in. I was well on my way to a healthier lifestyle and being fit again for the first time in years. Instead, the depression set in again – as if there’s some curse on me here – and I fell back into my old ways. I’ve now eaten myself back up to the 275 pounds I was previously and prior to this semester beginning I spent 5 months completely withdrawn in my apartment never going outside except to get fast food at 11 pm at night.

At my university I have no friends. I’m alone in a crowd. I go to class and nobody talks to me. I don’t talk to them either. I haven’t seen my doctor, I haven’t gone back on anti-depressants and I’ve thought about taking my life more times than I’m comfortable with. I truly don’t know what I’ve done so wrong in my life or why I’m so broken that I can’t form relationships with people. Mind you, I have tried to go to a few social events at my university. It’s not like I haven’t tried at all. But the same thing happens every time – I go to a place, I talk to a few people, and then I end up sitting around alone and ignored.

I suppose I just want someone to truly look at me because I feel like nobody has ever truly seen me. They look past me, or through me, but never at me.

And so the lonely march continues. I’m not sure what I was expecting coming here and posting this. It’s likely nobody will ever see it, and even if they do, it’s even more unlikely they’ll get to this point. And even if someone does read it, and gets this far, what would they say or think? Probably nothing good. Nevertheless, here I am anyway. I realize that this just sounds like “some emo dude ranting on the internet woe is me” but… I don’t know where else to go or what else to say. These are things I can’t just openly talk about to people most of the time (thanks internet anonymity) and these are the honest thoughts and feelings inside of me. I’m not saying they’re right, I’m not saying I’m a unique butterfly or that I deserve special treatment. It’s just… I’m fucked up in so many ways and I don’t know how to deal with it.

If you read this, know that I am a selfish individual with unrealistically high standards. My emotions are a scrambled mess, I hate my body and I’ve never truly had a relationship with a woman – mostly just failed attempts. I’m not even sure I’m capable of love. There’s so much wrong with me that I believe the greatest mechanics in the world would look at this mess and say, “Toss it in the scrap heap!”. I feel like somewhere along the way I slipped through the cracks of society and there’s no place I belong. The question most prevalent on my mind is simply:

Why am I alive?

I haven’t yet found an answer.

The Great Journey

28 Apr

It’s been a bit since my last update. I do have a good reason for this, I promise. My mother got back surgery recently and ended up with a staph infection where the surgery was done, as well as meningitis. The meningitis was giving her severe headaches which they thought was an aneurysm at first (luckily it wasn’t). Just yesterday they drained out the fluid and had her in the ICS, but she’s back in her room. So, as you can imagine, things have been pretty hectic in my family. This also means that I’ll be undergoing a great journey tomorrow to visit my mother at the hospital.

The hospital is actually only 11.6 miles away from me, but I don’t drive since I don’t currently own a car (I don’t need one 99% of the time since I don’t go anywhere). For an average person this would be no big deal, but in this case you’re taking someone whom actually goes outside into public a couple times a year at the most. I’m lucky in that it’s not a huge hospital, but I’m still not looking forward to having to converse and mingle with strangers. Plus, one real concern I do have is that being in a public place (which I rarely venture to) there’s always the potential for me to catch something just from inhalation or touch. I rarely get sick since I don’t deal with having some co-worker coughing and sneezing all over the place, or from having to touch things that other people have touched, and so on. At least the flu season has passed.

A downside to not having a car is that the round trip cost to me is going to be around $30 – $40 just for a taxi. It’s for these times that I wish I actually had a vehicle, but the long-term cost of not owning a vehicle is much cheaper than the occasional taxi fare, so I can deal with it. I prefer using this small-time taxi company when I do need to use one instead of the big guys. They tend to come in very casual vehicles that don’t stand out, are usually quite friendly, and if you give them a good tip they’ll remember you.

As for what I’ve been doing, well, since I couldn’t reliably visit my mother during this time (she was having procedures done and was transferred between two hospitals so visiting wasn’t a good idea with my limited access to transportation) I just took three days off last week and played video games and watched anime while waiting for status updates from my grandmother. My grandmother is terrified of driving in my area, so she’s been hitching rides to the hospital from a friend of my mother’s (I live about 40 minutes away from her). It’s kind of funny how nobody except my mother can drive in my immediate family. I have a current license and could drive a vehicle just fine, of course, but again I’m not going to fork out a bunch of money for a car and insurance for something I would use like twice a year tops.

I’ve been doing some research on Gunpla and even bought a Master Grade Unicorn Gundam that was on sale. Considering I haven’t assembled a model of any type since 6th grade, this was a horrible, horrible mistake. I read the description of “Easy assembly! Snaps together!” and impulse bought it. What they really meant was, “Easy assembly if you have a few of these under your belt already, are experienced at model building, and have about $50 – $100 worth of tools to make it not look like crap when you’re done with it.” Needless to say, I didn’t even take the parts out of the box. I spent $65.00 on it, which is a lot of money for a bunch of plastic, so I don’t want to screw it up on my first attempt. I’ve been looking at some High Grade kits which are like $15.00 – $30.00 and I think I’ll pick up a couple of those and start from there. But, seriously, even they can be a bit daunting, especially if you want them to look anything like what’s on the box.

You see, you can’t just snap the pieces together and call it good. Well, you can, but there’s about 20 more steps required to make the finished product look good. Each steps improves it a little bit, but it’s very easy to get caught up in devoting dozens of hours to a single model. If anyone out there is considering model kits of any kind as a hobby, my recommendation is to not get carried away with your first couple. Just focus on assembling them first and then worry about the rest later. That’s how I’ve decided to do it. I know that if I start following a guide or guides on all of the various things that could/should be done to improve the finished product I’ll probably end up frustrated and burned out before ever completing it (after all, I know myself best).

On a side note, the current season of Doctor Who and Game of Thrones are both awesome. I usually exclusively watch anime with the occasional movie, but these are two shows that I’m hooked on and they make my weekends that much better. Watch them naow!

Anyway, this post is all over the place. Tomorrow I’ll be embarking on my “great journey” to the hospital and breaking my hikikomori status for a day. I’ve been thinking of ways to try and combat being a hikikomori that won’t make me freak out, and I think the easiest way is to just walk a half mile to a mile each day around the neighborhood now that the weather isn’t sucking so much. Baby steps and all. If I just throw myself out there I’ll end up realizing that I still hate people and nothing will improve, so perhaps I can gradually break myself out of my self-imposed cage.

I’ll post again after my visit. See you next time.

Spring 2013 Anime

16 Apr

This is a subject I feel compelled to talk about since it’s that time of the year. Also, because this season appeals to me on such a large scale. Usually, I’ll have a couple of choice anime that I watch in a season, but they have really hit my G spot this time.

The standout anime that I’ve seen so far are as follows (in no particular order):

1. Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet

2. Oreimo Season 2

4. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU (WTF is a SNAFU?)

5. Attack on Titan

6. HENNEKO – The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat

I’ve found all of these to be quite enjoyable. On the mecha side, honorable mentions go to Valvrave the Liberator and Majestic Prince. They have nice mecha designs, but the former has a generic character and story setup while the latter doesn’t even take itself seriously and doesn’t know what it wants to be. I’ll watch them for the mech action, but I don’t expect to rank them very highly at the end of the season.

If you’re into anime then at this point I’m sure you’ve heard all of the hype over Attack on Titan. I’ve seen the first two episodes and while I can attest to the fact that I think it’s a high quality and enjoyable anime thus far, it’s one where you have to check your brain at the door to enjoy it. There’s too many things that simply don’t make sense when you utilize even a little brain power. Like, how did they even build walls like that with their level of technology? Why didn’t they develop better weapons over the 100 years? Why are all of the soldiers completely useless? Why didn’t they build escape tunnels instead of running out in the open where the titans can see them? It goes on and on. If you put too much thought into it, you’ll never enjoy the show. Is that a negative? Yes and no. I feel that the author could have done things more logically in order to actually make the humans situation believable. On the flip side, I expect amazing action scenes from this anime, so I feel that I can still enjoy it while not worrying too much about the details.

The other standout anime this season is Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet. It’s a mecha anime, sure, but not only does it sport a very unique look on a mech (and one fans are still torn on), but the story and technology used are all quite innovative. Animation is top notch and it’s really nice to see a mech anime with a serious, intelligent character who isn’t emo at the helm. I don’t want to spoil the story, since at the end of episode 1 there’s a big reveal, but it’s extremely well done. While this only appears to be a 13 episode show for the time being, I really hope they manage to get 26 episodes in. We’ll have to see how the story develops, as I’d rather see them wrap it up nicely than drag it on unnecessarily.

Oreimo is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s basically about a guy and his tsundere sister (who’s mostly tsun and not so much dere). She is addicted to eroge and the whole premise is that she is basically in love with her brother and tries to use eroge to get closer to him. By the way, all of her eroge are pretty much big brother characters seducing little sisters. It’s kind of creepy when you read about it, but the anime has some kind of special charm to it. There’s a lot of other characters and love interests in the anime, so you have a lot of diversity at least.

Lastly, on the romantic comedy side of things you have My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFFU and HENNEKO – The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat. Despite the name of the latter, it’s not a hentai by any means. But, it is actually quite hilarious from what I saw in the first episode. The gist of this anime is you can bring an offering to the Stony Cat on top of a hill and it’ll grant your wish by taking something you don’t need and giving it to someone else. In the case of the main character, he loses the ability to restrain himself from shouting his thoughts at every given opportunity. It makes for some amusing situations, especially when he calls one of the girls “Flatty”.

My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFFU is also a different take on things – basically, the main character is a loner and is forced by his teacher to join a club with only one member, whom happens to be the most popular and gorgeous girl in school. How convenient is that? But hey, we don’t watch these for the intelligence factor, now do we? Anyway, the purpose of the club is basically to volunteer to improve the lives of others. By the end of the first episode another member has joined, making them a trio, and we get to see a bit of cleverness that I quite enjoyed.

You see, they are all baking cookies at school and the new girl can’t bake cookies to save her life. My first thought was, how in the world can someone burn cookies? I mean, I’m a guy and I don’t burn cookies. Ever. You set a timer. It’s not hard. But, hey, my mother always managed to burn chicken when I was growing up, so I guess it’s possible. Anyway, he tells the two girls that he’s going to make some awesome cookies and for them to leave the room for 10 minutes. When they come back in, he offers them a plate of cookies and they’re like, “These aren’t that great at all.” So, he’s like, “Well, I’ll throw them out,” but they stop him and try to say they’re fine. He then says that he didn’t actually bake any cookies and that they’re the same cookies that the girl whom can’t bake had just made.

It seems a bit unrealistic that anyone would be able to fool someone like that in real life, as I mean, it was 10 minutes – you can’t make and bake a batch of cookies that fast. But, even so, it was something I didn’t expect and added a nice twist to the situation, so I’ll give it a pass.

I’ll leave off here. These are the anime that I feel are worth your time so far this season. They stand out from the pack, have consistently great visuals, great voice actors, and should hopefully be entertaining enough to last you through the season.

As for me, I’m back to attempting to watch Evangelion again. Never could get through it in the past, but I’m powering through it now just so I can say that I’ve seen it.

It’s Anime not Animes

13 Apr

As an avid watcher of anime one of the biggest pet peeves I have is whenever I see people talking about their favorite “animes”. Folks, I have a newsflash for you; anime is already plural. There’s no reason to add an “s” to the end of it. Please, for the sake of the little sanity I have left, stop appending an “s” to the end of anime all the time.

Phew. Finally got that off my chest.

Anyway, as you are most likely painfully aware of by this point, I’m not someone whom merely likes anime. It’s a part of my existence, much like food and water to everyone else. What this means is that there pretty much isn’t a day that goes by where I’m not watching anime in some shape or form.

I’ve always been into mecha, but I’ll watch most anything as long as it’s entertaining. I can handle some “moe” stuff, but it has to be something that makes me laugh constantly. If it’s not, I’m usually sick of it by the end of the first episode.

Let’s talk about how I got into anime, though. I’ve thought long and hard on this and I’ve decided that Toonami is to blame. I watched cartoons as a kid: Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Darkwing Duck, Duck Tales, Popeye, you name it. At some point in time Toonami came into being and this is where they showed a number of anime in English dub format.

Which anime did I get hooked on? Well, Dragonball Z, of course, What adolescent boy doesn’t want the power to beat the living crap out of his worst enemy at hypersonic speeds and then shoot a ki wave that can annihilate an entire planet afterwords? Oh, and I also watched Sailor Moon.

… Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I don’t know what it was about that show, but it had some comedy to it, a bit of a love story, and Tuxedo Mask was cool, intelligent, and never seemed to win any fights. He always arrived just in time to save the day, but when it came down to it, he got owned more times than I can remember.

Those days I still had dial up, so I was really limited in what I could watch, but eventually I got broadband and that was pretty much where my addiction took off. I could suddenly download entire episodes and seasons in a decent amount of time, and this lead to me watching… I honestly should have counted because I can’t even remember most of the anime I’ve seen. I know I’ve probably finished at least a couple hundred anime, though.

The average length of one anime is usually around 13 – 26 episodes. So, if we assume I’ve finished 250 series at either 13 episodes or 26 episodes (this is not a scientific calculation at all since I’ll never be able to obtain accurate data) that puts my guestimate at around 54.17 days on the low end and 108.33 days on the high end. Note that some of the series I watched were also longer than that (like Naruto and One Piece which each have hundreds of episodes).

Either way, that’s a lot of time spent just watching anime.

Now that you have an idea of just how much anime I’ve watched, you can see how this would have an impact on my life too. Most of us Otaku types don’t hang out with others; in fact, it’s difficult to find anyone else that will even have a serious discussion about anime, let alone watch it with you. So, this means that the habit of watching anime in itself promotes a singular, reclusive life.

Sometimes I wish I had a more productive habit like… Tennis. Or curing Cancer. There’s a lot of activities I could’ve participated in over the years that would have promoted a more socially active life, but instead I chose the route that’s usually shunned by society because of everything else in my life. Do I regret it? Yeah, I do. If I could go back and do things again, I definitely would’ve taken a different road. But, I am what I am, and there’s no changing that.

The Military Years

11 Apr

When I was 19 I decided to join the military. Unfortunately, this was a time when they were thinning out the ranks and not taking in many new people, so I ended up having to wait about 6 months to get in. They called me up the day after Christmas and said, “Hey, this guy that was supposed to go to boot camp broke his arm and can’t go. Do you want to go in his place? Oh and by the way, you’d have to take his job.”

Well, you know how I answered that question. I was dumb and agreed, which ended up putting me in a job in the career field I had scored the lowest in during my ASVAB – mechanics. At that point in my life, I was working at CVS part-time and living in my grandmother’s basement, so I was pretty desperate to get out of there. In retrospect, it really wasn’t that bad (aside from the job I had at the time).

Anyway, boot camp at the time was still 6 1/2 weeks in the Air Force, which was the branch I had joined. Even though it was shorter than other branches versions of boot camp, it was still mentally taxing. I’ve never been the strongest mentally and right from the start I had issues. I didn’t really fit in with the rest of my flight and found it difficult to interact with them. Take someone who is socially awkward, mentally scarred, and has trouble dealing with people in general, and put him in an open dorm with 54 others for almost 7 weeks and see how they fare. Not to mention we had about 10 minutes in the morning to shower, shave and get dressed, so I had the joy of cramming into the bathroom with a bunch of other naked men. That was not exactly the highlight of my life.

Once I graduated I went to my first base, which unfortunately, would remain my only base for the majority of my time in the military. While I did have a tough time at first, somehow… things actually were going well. I was in a nice dorm room on the 3rd floor of the dorms, I was in the best shape of my life, and my co-workers were all pretty fun. I gradually began to open up and even got along with my supervisor. While I only had two friends outside of work and still didn’t get along with the rest, things were looking up.

Then I went to the flightline. You see, the flightline is a different world. That’s where all of the aircraft are (it’s basically the military version of an airport) and things tend to move at a faster pace. Being a mechanic, I still had to work on the engines, but now the airplane was wrapped around them. This made everything twice as difficult as it normally was. Imagine trying to install a bolt blind, put safety wire on a space so small you can’t even get your hand all the way in there, or changing the oil filter on an aircraft that’s just landed (it’s not scalding hot at all, I promise).

Needless to say, I just didn’t do well out there. It’s not the flightline’s fault, though. It’s definitely that I just wasn’t suited to the work. If I had stayed in back shop I may have still been in the military right now.

During my time on the flightline I thought I had made some friends, but ultimately, they were really false. These were the kind of people that would come over and hang out, eat your food and drink your beer, but otherwise didn’t give two shits about you. I found this out one year when I invited everyone to my birthday party at my apartment and they didn’t bother showing up, which resulted in me drinking myself into a stupor and passing out on the floor by myself. Good friends, indeed.

As my last year was approaching, and I was completely miserable because I didn’t get along with my supervisor, the people I worked with and had been banished to midshift (11 pm – 7 am) I put in for “Overseas ALL” on my dream-sheet  Anyone in the military knows that if you do this it pretty much means you’re going to South Korea. Sure enough, 2 months later I got orders. I thought to myself, “Finally! I’m out of this shithole and traveling to another country like I’ve always wanted to. Things will be different there!”

Things were definitely different. That’s true. However, I soon found out that they were actually much worse. While I loved the country itself and had a grand time when I was able to go off base, everything else was horrible. I was on a brand new engine on an airframe I’d never worked on before (F-16) and it was even more difficult to work on because it was so tiny. I didn’t cope well with the small spaces and struggled more than I had on the F-15. My time there was supposed to be a year, which is not really enough time to even really become proficient on much more than the basics, yet they expected me to be able to do everything on my own.

My supervisor was the worst person I’ve ever met. He was a great mechanic, but as a person, I had a very difficult time not going postal on him several times. He really made my life miserable and did nothing to try and help me. Whenever I asked him for help, he would simply mock me. Then, we got another guy in who was Super Amazing Technician Dude and had been in the military for 19 years. He was able to do everything perfectly, didn’t understand my issues and still refused to help me, and then started finding ways to give me paperwork at every opportunity.

Around that time I got lucky and tore the ACL in my right knee. I ended up having to go to a Korean hospital to have it reconstructed. You may think to yourself, “How is this lucky?” Well, it got me out of work for a couple of months. I went in, did some stuff on the computer, sat in the snack bar and then hobbled home. I got to leave work early for physical therapy appointments all the time too. If my job had been going well, this would have sucked, but since my life was completely miserable there I was all too happy to not have to bother with the jets.

They did get me back out on the line before my time came to an end, but here again, the paperwork they’d given me made me “eligible” for the early release program and so they ended my enlistment 6 months early and sent me home. That means I only ended up spending 6 months in South Korea, but still had a positive separation status and retained my benefits.

I really could only cover things in light detail as it was 6 years of my life and that’s a lot to talk about, but when I say I had a hard time with people or that someone was the bane of humanity, trust me in that it means every day of my life during that time was a trial in which I struggled to maintain my sanity. It’s difficult to compress that into a single blog post. My time in the military definitely damaged me further. I used to be able to co-exist with other people, but now I struggle to even deal with a crowded room, let alone having to work in an office or something on a daily basis. It made me retreat further into my shell and I find being around other people, dealing with their false smiles, false promises, and abusive personalities something that I never want to experience again in my life.

My next post will be about my Anime, how I became attracted to it, and why I find it impossible to put down. I’ve spent a large portion of my life engrossed in Anime, so it’s an important factor into my being a Hikikomori.

Grandpa

9 Apr

I briefly mentioned my grandfather in an earlier post, but I figured I would expand on that a bit here. To give you some perspective, I’ll start with my own father.

To this day, I honestly don’t know much about him. I can only recall two very specific instances of where I spent time with him. The first one is when I was attempting to fish by the river. We were on a very steep hill, with the last part by the water being all cement, and he was sitting next to me as I finagled with the fishing pole. I did more finagling than fishing that day. At some point I dropped the pole and it fell into the water. Mind you, I was like 4 or 5 years old at this point. I’m actually shocked I remember it. I asked my father to help me and he just kind of waved me off, so I went to try and get the pole on my own. Nearly fell into the water doing it and never did get the pole back. I definitely couldn’t swim yet, so I can only wonder if he would’ve actually jumped in after me or not if I had fallen in.

The next, and last time, that I remember is on a camping trip. He was with a friend of his and I and said friends kid were out in a field of milk weed playing around and throwing it at one another. Well, I was a kid and had no idea what milk weed was or that the sap was poisonous to your body. I mean, it looked like milk, thus the name. After we finished playing I went over to the camp fire, like any good kid, and immediately started munching on Cheetos without washing my hands. Shortly after the trip was over I woke up one night with horrible stomach pains, went to the ER and spent the next month in the hospital on an IV. I got pretty close to dying, but they ended up pulling out my appendix and somehow saved my life.

I haven’t seen my father since then. He was injured at his job and was waiting for a settlement to come in. My mother says that during that time all he did was sit at home, bake cookies and then eat them without sharing them. He also beat her and actually kicked her off the porch on one occasion. I don’t remember any of this, of course, but it’s what she says. Anyway, he got a ton of money rewarded to him from the settlement and proceeded to run off to another state in the US without a word. He barely paid child support over the years and did everything he could to worm his way out of it. I heard his voice once at a hearing for, you guessed it, child support as he was half way across the US and in court over the phone. That was it, though.

After all that, my mother ended up doing a rebound to a friend of the family. This resulted in a marriage that lasted 5 years in a beautiful cabin in the woods with lots of land. I made a lot of friends and the girl next door, whom was really good friends with me, also had a huge crush on me. If everything there had worked out I have no doubt in my mind that we would’ve ended up dating eventually. Hell, she gave me my first kiss (which also lead to me getting the flu, but hey, sacrifices must be made).

That all ended after my mother found out that he had been cheating on her the entire time. At that point I was about 10 years old and we ended up having to move, which lead to me going to an entirely new school district and completely losing touch with all of my friends.

Now, you may wonder what all of this has to do with my grandfather. Let me tell you; during these years I never really had a father figure. Neither my own father or my step father ever had much interest in me. My grandfather, however, was everything I’d ever wanted in a father. He was kind, intelligent, a hard worker, and yet stern. His catch phrase, whenever I got hurt, was “I didn’t feel it!” followed by a coy grin. Somehow that always made me laugh even when I was covered in bumps and bruises. He was a veteran of WW2 (a tank mechanic) and I fondly remember sitting on his lap at the kitchen table as he drew out scenarios on a napkin and told me his stories from the war. He never talked about it with anyone else; I was the first person he’d ever opened up to about his experiences which made me treasure the time we spent together even more.

He always paid for everything in cash, spoiled me just enough, and yet he loved to taunt me as well. On one occasion I had decided I wanted a coconut for dinner, so we went to the grocery store, picked up a coconut and brought it home. I then sat there with the coconut trying to figure out how to open it. I kept trying to whack it open with a hammer, but I was pretty weak back then, so I was whacking myself more than the coconut. He just sat there next to me, without saying a word, as he watched me struggle with the coconut. It might seem cruel to some people, but he was very much one of those people that liked to see you struggle first and then would show you the proper way to do it later.

I was 12 when he passed away. He didn’t lead a healthy life, as he smoked for most of it and drank for most of it too as he ran a bar with my grandmother when they were younger. He had a triple bypass on his heart and spent a while in the hospital, but then he got better. They released him and he came home. Everyone was ecstatic; grandpa was back! Unfortunately, he was a lot weaker after the surgery and didn’t have the same energy to him anymore. The little gut he’d always had dwindled down to nothing and soon it all came to an end. His heart finally gave out and he spent half a year on life support, unconscious, in the hospital with no means for recovery.

Seeing all of that really destroyed me. Much more so than if he had just had a heart attack and died on the spot. I was visiting his corpse long before the funeral, after my grandmother finally signed the papers to have his life support terminated. To this day I still feel cheated. There are people that get to live with their grandparents throughout highschool, college and even sometimes through a decent portion of their lives. I wanted my grandfather to see me graduate from highschool, to join the military and see his proud face, but I never had that opportunity. While I treasure the time I spent with him, it seems like my life took a turn for the worse after his passing.

I’ll stop here for now. If I keep going this will end up becoming a biography on my grandfather. Next time I’ll fast forward a bit and talk about my time in the military, which was another major change in my life.

Dependent on Depends

8 Apr

As you may guess from the title, I do mean those things that most people pass in the grocery store without a second thought. When I was a kid, I found out very soon that I had an issue which other kids my age didn’t have; each night, without fail, I wet myself. I almost never woke up during the night as I slept incredibly deeply to boot. Over the years, I went to a number of specialists, even so far as going to a hypnotist, and yet the problem remained. Thus, my life was severely hampered by this constant stigma in the back of my mind.

You see, I had this issue up until I was 18 years old. Nobody knows why it suddenly stopped, but it’s as if the water works just turned off one day. During my years growing up I could probably have counted the number of “dry nights” I’d had on one hand. It was a rare occurrence and I never really knew why that night was different from the rest. Most kids while growing up have sleep overs, go camping, and so on. I did manage some sleep overs on rare occasions, but you can imagine my embarrassment when it came time to go to bed. I would have to go and “change”, which meant putting on my pajamas accompanied with my depends underneath, and then move as quietly as I could back to my bed. I was always paranoid that someone would hear the depends swishing around underneath my clothes.

Despite all of this, I spent time in Cub Scouts and, eventually, Boy Scouts. I managed to hide it from my friends and fellow scouts throughout the entirety of all of that. I don’t know if they suspected or knew I had that issue, or if they just thought I was weird, but I would usually try and get a tent to myself during summer camp so as to spare both myself from the awkwardness and them from potentially having to face the sweet smell of urine in the morning. Kids are ruthless, let me tell you. Most of the time they don’t realize it, either, and so I knew that no matter what I had to keep anyone from finding out. In Middle School it would’ve been really embarrassing, but in High School it would have destroyed me. I don’t know how I pulled it off, but somehow I did. If you’re reading this right now, then congratulations, you are reading one of my most closely guarded secrets. Even Fort Knox would be jealous.

The whole thing always disgusted me. I mean, it’s just not something you ever get used to – waking up each morning covered in your own urine with no way to stop it. No matter what kind of medication or treatment I tried, nothing worked. There were times when the depends overflowed too, and so it’d get on my sheets which just made it worse. Considering I was completely dependent on wearing these things, I can only imagine how much money my mother must’ve spent on these during that time.

So, when I finally figured out that the “dry night” I’d had was a permanent change and that I no longer needed the depends, I was finally able to relax at night and not worry about the mornings anymore. But, the damage was already done. That issue followed me through my entire middle school and high school life and made it so that I was never confident about going anywhere that required a sleep over where I couldn’t have some form of privacy. Probably the most dangerous scenario was when I went to an ENCON camp in 8th grade for a week and had to deal with all of the cots being in a single room. I ended up going to bed earlier and waking up later than everyone just to maintain my secret.

This, in combination with everything else I faced while growing up really squashed any kind of confidence in myself. If I told you I was unfortunate in my youth, that would be an understatement. I am glad that I was able to outgrow the problem and didn’t have to suffer through it my entire life, but it was with me so long that the damage is something I never really recovered from.

Tune in for more next time.

A Warm Summer Day

6 Apr

Summer, a time of beaches, swimming, sports and recreation for most people. For me? It’s when I install my air conditioners and press the On button. That’s about the only difference summer has been for the last two years of my life. With the season just around the corner, I’m ready to defend myself against the combined strength of heat and humidity. Looking back at my life, it’s a testament to my mental state that I’m not outside doing, well, anything during these warm months. Let’s rewind a bit.

When I was a kid I grew up in the woods. My grandparents lived on a lake. So, I was either climbing trees, riding around on a go-kart, or fishing and swimming. I did a lot of bike riding too, and I was always tanned by the end of the summer. When it came to the water, I was practically a fish in that I could spend pretty much the whole day swimming. Granted, I was terrified of chestnuts that were floating around with their sharp, black spikes. Seaweed was another thing that scared me sometimes – there were a lot of weeds in the lake and every now and then one would touch my foot or ankle and freak me out (I always imagined myself getting pulled under by them). I also used to do some really weird things, like finding a big rock, sitting indian style in the water with the rock on my lap, and then exhaling all of my breath so I could sit on the bottom of the lake. It’s amusing, now that I think of it, that I was scared of the weeds, but not of being trapped on the bottom of the lake by a big rock with no air in my lungs.

As I became older I gradually stopped riding my bike, I swam less and eventually stopped altogether. This is partly due to the fact that I moved, yet again, and my grandmother eventually moved to a new house away from the lake after my grandfather had passed away. I went from a small house by the lake to a really nice apartment in the boondocks with my mother and her boyfriend at the time. Ultimately, this lasted a couple of years, but ultimately ended one night as he smashed the kitchen table, choked her up against the door while shouting threats, and then smashed my camera (which was the last gift I had received from my grandfather before he passed away) when I took a picture of him in the act. He had always been abusive, and I wasn’t the kind of son he wanted (I was into computers and he wanted a kid that was into hunting) so we never really got along, despite my attempts to fit in.

After that, we could no longer afford to live in that nice apartment and so moved (I told you I moved a lot) to a smaller apartment where I lived in a room that was never meant to be a bedroom. My bed barely fit in the room and if I pushed my computer chair back too far I’d hit the door. It was jam packed, let me tell you. There I remained until I graduated highschool and started college, but I moved out shortly after starting college because of some conflicts with my mother.

I miss the days when I could bravely venture out into the world and spend all day riding my bike up and down hills, swimming with my friends and fishing for carp in the early mornings. Instead of seeing a warm summer day as an opportunity for fun and excitement, I now view it as an enemy and crank up the AC. Even trying to remember my youth has become more difficult with time, as many things have become a mere blur. I feel like there’s a large part of my life that I simply can’t remember at all, which is a bit frightening when you think about it.

Analyzing my mental state is something that I do on a regular basis, but being that my logic is my own it’s probably flawed. Even so, this is all just a part of the whole and I can only wonder if there was ever a single determining factor in my life that caused me to become a Hikikmori. I have a good idea of one of the major contributing factors, but I’ll save that for next time.

How I became a Hikikomori

6 Apr

The first thing that should be covered is what, exactly, is a Hikikomori? The accepted definition, at the moment, is someone whom spends 6 months or more inside of their house/apartment without going outside.

So, how did I end up holed up inside of my apartment, locked away from the world, and how have I survived? Well, the latter part is an easy answer. Thanks to the fact that everyone delivers now, including grocery stores, I literally never need to step foot outside of my apartment to get fresh food, package deliveries, you name it. I subscribe to Amazon prime and thus get my packages with free two day shipping all the time. I’m probably one of their favorite customers at this point. Simply put, there’s no incentive for me to actually go outdoors. Everything comes to me, and usually with free shipping.

That was easy. Now, the former question of how I ended up this way is a lot more in-depth. It’s certainly not something I can answer in a single blog post. I’ll attempt to give you a summary of my life which should help give you an idea. Here goes: games, computers, overweight, anime, little to no friends, no significant other, wasted time in college, military, work from home, no car, zero friends, depression.

That’s just a general overview. Like anyone else, there’s a lot more to my life and it’s not as simple as it looks. I grew up with a single parent and spent a lot of time moving around as a child. Not only that, but my mother worked a lot of double shifts so I was home by myself a lot. When I was 12, my grandfather died and it was at that point I started to become broken. For most kids, losing their grandfather would be the most tragic thing in the world, and yet I didn’t shed a single tear over his death. I’m told from my family that after he died I became more withdrawn and very “cold” towards others, so they’re probably onto something there.

I struggled for years with the social aspect of my life and often took out my boredom and frustrations on food, so when I was in school I wasn’t popular since I was a fatty. Luckily, I lost the weight, but it still ruined my golden years. Instead of 4 years of bliss, I ended up with 1 year of great studies, 2 years of sleeping through highschool and skipping classes, followed by 1 year of playing catch up so I could graduate. Then, I was off to the real world.

Let’s skip ahead a bit. So, I did the military thing and hated every minute of it since I picked a job in maintenance for some reason. I had never done anything remotely related to mechanics in my life before that point, so I wasn’t very good at it. Surprise! That contributed to my “I hate my life” meter filling up even further. Once I got out of the military, I moved onto the job I have now which allows me to, blissfully, work from the comfort of my home.

In that respect, I’m not like a Hikikmori as I have a well paying job, insurance, and I’m pretty well off. But, since I never have to leave home to do the job it certainly doesn’t make me want to go outside.

So, here I am in my apartment and you’re probably wondering what my mindset is like – how can I just sit inside and not go outside when the weather is nice? What do I do all day when I’m not working? Well, these are some questions that are still easy to answer.

Basically, I’m scared of going outside. I don’t know what to do with myself when I am outdoors, and when I go to throw out my trash (that’s as far from my apartment as I get) I quickly retreat back inside. I typically dump my trash around 1 or 2 am in the morning before it’s due to go out since the neighborhood is quiet and I almost never have to see people, cars and so on.

That leads into what I do. Much to the stereotype, I tend to watch a ton of anime, read some manga here or there and play video games when I’m in the mood. I have wifi over my entire apartment and a tablet, so no matter where I am I can stream my anime, surf the web and so on. I used to have more hobbies, like writing, but I stopped being productive a while back. I would say that the majority of my time is spent immersing myself in anime, which is sad.

I used to be on Facebook and I had a lot of people I talked to, but my depression drove them all away. I closed my Facebook account a long time ago and my address book on my phone has dwindled down to just my immediate family. I have absolutely no friends, online or off, whom I associate with anymore. I’ve tried to figure out where to find people with similar interests and how I can go about making friends, but thus far have not been able to come up with any ideas.

That leads me to my conclusion. I’m a Hikikmori, or what most Americans would call a recluse. Despite my attempts at fitting into society, I’ve spent my entire life failing at it and as such have completely separated myself from the world. How long will I stay like this? Only time will tell.