Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Trying to Become a More Positive Person

During the Presidential Election, I got completely fed up with the loud back and forth and decided that I was done with the internet. I dramatically cut my facebook friends list, deleted my twitter, canceled all of my domain names, took down my websites, and deleted my blogs. It was a cathartic experience. It was also rather short-sighted.
 
I have been slowly adding folks back to my friend’s list. I reactivated my twitter. I haven’t gone through the trouble of rebuilding my websites or signing back up for domain names, and that may be a while in coming. I have been blogging with Blogger.com since 2004 (off and on). It does everything I need it to do… for now. As my blog title suggests I do have some secret evil plans for the future.
 
My buddy Garin and I have been recording a comic book related podcast. If you wanna hear what I sound like check it out. We are working on getting on iTunes, but in the meantime, you can check us out on our website www.theprintedpanelpodcast.com. Recording the podcast is stupid fun. I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to work with.
 
In the last year, I have dealt with so many challenges that I barely have known up from down at times. I have been sure to count my blessings along the way, but I must admit there were days that I lost myself in the sheer, bloody stress of it all. When I was overwhelmed with everything I saw a lot of things in true black and white polarity.
 
Fred would come by my job and immediately make my day better just by talking a little Dungeons and Dragons with me. Walt would come to work in a bad mood and I would go completely angry and dark. The regular cast and crew of my life began to get classified in my head differently. The people who raised me up became “good” while the people who seemed to push my head under the water while I was struggling not to drown become “bad”. My tolerance for the bad people went to almost nothing. My desire for good company grew exponentially.
 
I mention Fred specifically because it was him that provided the epiphany that made me want to make a change in myself. For those of you that are just tuning in to my life, I work in a board game/ comic book shop. It is a great gig, but it is a job just like any other. By that, I mean that there is some real actual work to it. Not every customer is awesome. I don’t get along with every employee or member of the team. It is a normal job I just happen to get to spend my time talking about and being around hobbies I love
 
Fred pointed out something I had seen a few times before. A lot of the people in the shop gaming are not having fun. They are just there passing time in the company of other people. They aren’t even happy to be playing. The joy of the hobby has been lost on some of these people. I do not want to be one of those people. The point of any hobby is enjoyment. Otherwise, it is just an expensive advocation.
 
I took a look at my life and started thinking about things I was doing and not taking joy in. The examination surprised me. Writing had become something of a chore. Reading my comics had started to be put off in favor of more passive activities. I have quit watching much TV actively, but I continue to keep something playing in the background as mental noise. I had abandoned many of the games I enjoyed even going so far as to avoid play sessions. I haven’t painted or drawn anything in a long time. How had I let fun become work?
 
The simple answer is I began to take a whole host of things for granted. Things that should have been blessings, such as spending time with my friends, have become routine and even burdensome. I have never thought of myself as a person who expects things so much as to take any part of my life for granted. That was not a person I wanted to be. I think of myself as happy, enthusiastic, and appreciative. How was I going to make myself match the vision of who I believe I am?
 
I identified the problem. I was infected. Law 10 of the 48 Laws of Power states,” Infection: Avoid the Unhappy and Unlucky.” Like all of Robert Greene’s laws this sounds harsh and unreasonable, but (again like all the other laws) it is very true. There are people in life, far too many of them, who are incapable of feeling happiness or joy. Misery can be spread like a virus.
 
I think all of us know at least one person who is perpetually struggling. We know that person who lurches from one disaster to another and no matter what comes their way they can never be satisfied. We should all RUN from this person. It is human nature to feel compassion and try to help people like this, but you cannot help. Instead, your involvement pulls you into the same waters that the troubled person is currently drowning in. You are made worse while their dire situation remains exactly the same.
 
I had let the unhappiness of the people around me seep into my skin like a poison. I made the mistake of trying to help when I should have instead put distance between me and those people. My emotional state meanwhile was working to have me cut ties with the “bad” people fighting against my nature and the logic I keep feeding myself to stick out bad situations. That may one day be diagnosed with a mental illness. I certainly should not have been fighting myself. My heart knows when someone is trouble. I should have been listening to it long ago.
 
Fred’s revelation made me realize I had become one of these gamers without joy. I liken the, to zombies from the world of Warm Bodies. They have thought. They can speak in some ways. They are just incapable of true feeling, and yet they shamble around in a strange mockery of real life. I am NOT willing to be a zombie in any sense of the word.
 
To remedy this I have done a good spring cleaning of my attitude. I have counted my blessings carefully. I have begun to make changes where I can in my life. Most importantly, I have begun to put distance between myself and the zombies.
 
It is worth noting here that the macho and the foolish will try to run off or fight these metaphorical zombies (or psychic vampires). This is completely stupid and proves a lack of understanding. All you get from fighting a zombie is more of a chance to get bit. To defeat a zombie you avoid and hide from them running as necessary. They will decay and fall apart all on their own if left to their own devices. This costs no effort on the part of the non zombie. There is much wisdom in this strategy. Zombie Hunters are idiots who will die a grisly death.
 
I have also stopped marveling at the negativity of people. I am blessed to have lived to a time in which the things I love are being produced in popular culture. The people around me who share my passions are likewise happy about things like Iron Fist on Netflix, an upcoming Justice League movie, and the 3rd season of Rick and Morty.
 
So many people these days are taking joy in tearing into things and finding things to complain about. All joy is lost to the critical eye. When I go to a movie, I go to suspend my reality for a few hours and enjoy being entertained. The last thing I want to endure is someone telling me all the “problems” with film, how it doesn’t match the book or comic book it is based on, or how bad the performance of the actors is. I pay money. Let me enjoy it in every way that I can. If you must complain there is an entire internet full of “cool kids” just waiting for your witticism.
 
The same thing is true of comic books. Every comic is a favorite to someone. Historically I have not loved Superman, but I am not going to mock those that do. I am not going to mock the work of the hard-working people who produce the book. I also believe you can discuss things with people that have passion and gain a new appreciation rather than attempt to tear down said passion.
 
I could preach about this for hours.
 

It all boils down to controlling what I am allowing to happen inside my head. Happiness and joy are a choice. If I choose to be happy on the inside and not to allow anything to affect me then I am truly free. I believe everyone deserves freedom. I also believe that true freedom is found in the heart and soul. I am going to work at being that more positive person. Would you like to join me?

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