Use the fucking force

I assume I’m not alone here, but I have to ask – did anybody else get really frustrated with Obi-Wan Kenobi for not using the Force against Jango Fett, the elctro-staff-equipped droid bodyguards or General Grievous?

That is if anybody could get through being really frustrated with the existence of the Prequel Trilogy in general?

My point is that, while messing around with light sabers and doing cool choreography is all well and good, it’s spoiled by being very obviously one of the less pragmatic choices available.

There’s a point to this.

I have yet to follow through with my plan of making myself write exactly what’s on my mind for my first drafts. I have anxiety. It stops me from doing a lot of things.

But I’m going to force myself to do it. And I’m also going to delete my Tumblr account. Also right now I’m going to formally apologise to Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl for the huge rant/essay thing I wrote about Beautiful Creatures. I absolutely meant all of the things that I said, and that’s part of the problem. I still firmly believe that the book is a racist, sexist, seriously creepy piece of garbage and that Ethan is the most incredible – as in lacking-in-credibility – male character I have ever read. But there is no excuse for the personal attacks I launched at the writers as people. I don’t separate art from the artist, but at the same time – oh no, you wrote a straight, white, cisgender teenage male protagonist in a way that I didn’t buy. Somebody call the fucking world court to report a human rights violation.

I had a pet peeve and turned it into a blog post. Not the end of the world, but still not quite the level of quality I expect from myself. I’m quite sure they never read my post, but that’s not the point. The point is that I regret the way I wrote it. I was an ass, and for that I unreservedly apologise.

On top of that, I was also a complete fucking hypocrite. Seriously, who attacks somebody for misunderstanding the inner workings of a gender not their own, and then in an attempt to cement their argument, makes huge assumptions about the inner workings of a gender not their own? Me, apparently. Apparently I am That Guy. Fuck.

So, again, I am very sorry, and I will not do it again.

What I will do is start taking some goddamn initiative. Posts like the one I’ve just apologised for come out of my mindset, which has not been the healthiest for the past, I dunno, ever. I sit and stew in my own private thoughts and fantasies, and then externalise them in writing, and get a bit of an ego-erection out of it. It’s quite sad. It comes from spending too much time imagining hypotheticals through to full volue instead of considering the here-and-now, which in stark comparison is actually very incomplete. You never have the full picture in real life. You only get that in your fantasies.

That’s why people misunderstand other genders, cultures, sexualities, socioeconomic classes, religions, political affiliations, religions, life experiences – we are dealing with real life, and we go through real life not just with “our own narrow perspective”, but through a 120p resolution image where the sound is tinny and jumpy and cuts out half of the important stuff. That is reality. It is an incomplete picture for every individual who goes through it; empathy will get you only so far, and even then that mostly comes from being able to relate to somebody else’s situation through remembering what you’ve already been through yourself. We have an incomplete understanding of reality because we are an incomplete part of reality. Only when taken all together does every thing make up everything.

There’s a point to this, I promise.

I had plans for this academic holiday, a four-month holiday where I could have gotten so much shit done that wasn’t sitting at my desk every hour of the day trying to avoid playing World of Warcraft. I made the mistake of renewing my subscription last month; I will not make the same mistake again. I spent my time not just doing that, but lingering on the hypothetical, which was full and rich and complete, and it told me everything, accounted for everything, and it was hopeless. Then this morning I asked myself what life would be like if instead I tried thinking about what was actually going on. Mostly with other people. I have a really hard time remembering birthdays, and I keep telling myself that I’m bad at giving presents at birthdays and such because I can’t remember what my friends and family like. The truth is that I just don’t think about it. I think about things that might, could or should happen or have happened, and I miss out on everything else. And this only clicked into the Reality Check slot in my brain last night.

Seriously guys there is totally a point just gimme a sec.

The thing about making yourself focusing on what is rather than what could be is that you lose that comforting feeling of exact knowledge. With your own hypothetical scenarios, you know everything about them, because they’re in your imagination. What a fucking surprise. It’s comforting, it’s anxiety-reducing, and it can make you feel less lonely, or at least take the sting out of it. The reason I’ve spent so much of my life thinking about the complete hypothetical is because I knew that if I focused instead on the incomplete actual, I would come face to face with how fucking empty my life is.

I think 15 years of denial is quite enough.

Hypothetically, I know exactly how Tallulah works as a story, because my hypothetical Big Picture of Tallulah literally includes the phrase “it works as a whole story”, as well as “it’ll be so fucking awesome and rich and fulfilling to read once it’s done”, and “jesus christ people will love this fucking story it’s going to be so in-depth and have all of these fucking insights and shit and fuck it’s just so awesome I can’t wait“. That’s the beauty of imagination; you can fill in the blanks with whatever the fuck you want.

Actually, I know that Tallulah does not work as a story because it’s badly structured, bloated, has character and plot-arcs that seem like they’re going to be important and then peter off into redundancy at the critical moment to make way for something totally different, and I never had a clear idea of where it was going to go.

Actually, I know that I want to write – well, there are several scenes, bits of dialogue and action that I have thought through to completion. That is actual, not hypothetical. That is what is, not what might be. It’s incomplete, and it’s fragmented, and it’s what I understand, because it’s what I want, what I value, what I think is worthy.

It has been so long since I acted on that incomplete knowledge of what I actually have to hand that I almost can’t remember it ever having been that way.

Anxiety stops me, and so many other people, from doing so many things. Facing the un-wholeness of reality is one of them. Doing things like writing angry aggressive blog posts about seriously trivial bullshit is one of the symptoms. And I think, given the choice, I have to take the incomplete picture, because it’s relevant right now. It’s also my responsibility to do that. And, perhaps unintuitively, it also makes me feel more involved with everything.

If I had felt more involved, I might have written my Beautiful Creatures rant a bit more good-naturedly. I knew it was an inane, trivial topic to begin with, and I could have really run with that, but instead ended up taking it far too seriously. Too personally. I could have said what I had to say without being so mean about it, and I truly regret having used my energy to such aggressive and negative ends. I was not in a miserable or angry mood when I wrote that post, but I was certainly in a bad mental state, simple because I’ve been in a bad mental state, to varying degrees, for the past 15 years or so. I can’t imagine that didn’t play a part, but it was not so bad that I think I’m excused for my decision to write it the way that I did. If you wanna read something interesting, reassuring and uplifting about writing from a different gender perspective to your own, have a go at this. It’s from my Tumblr blog, so I guess I can’t say that blog was all bad. And it’s a much more productive use of writing than my Beautiful Creatures rant was.

If I had felt more involved – well, there’s the hypothetical again. “If” can cover a lot of imaginary ground. Not so much in real life. The truth is that when I make myself focus on what’s going on right now, I’m not very happy with how things are. But I can’t keep avoiding how things are if I ever want them to change. It may not always be under my control. There may not always be the choice to change things. I’m not trying to assign blame, or suggest that anybody who finds this instructive try to find new ways to blame themselves for not being more involved. Us socially anxious folks get way more than enough of that to begin with; we need to give ourselves a break. But while our reasons are as valid as anybody else’s, it’s just a fact: if you’re not being involved – and it may not be your fault that you’re not involved – then life is kinda shitty. The fact that often it’s not your fault and you literally can’t do anything about it is part of that shittiness.

Well, right now I’m lucky enough, I think, to have it under my control. Or to have part of it under my control, and recognise it. That’s the part I can understand, so while it’s not the full picture, it’s at least something I can use. It’s just that I’m so habituated to not doing that that it’s going to take some effort. I’m going to have to force myself into it.

And I’m going to force myself to delete my tumblr blog, because I use it in a way that I don’t condone. Like I forced myself to apologise for my Beautiful Creatures post because it was the right thing to do, and I don’t want to be somebody who just ignores responsibilities because he can. Not least because that’s a very “guy thing” to do, and if I ever have a son I don’t want him picking that shit up from me. Or anybody, but definitely not from me.

And I’m going to force myself to write those things that I want to write, just like I let myself write what I wanted to write when I ranted about how bad of a male character Ethan Waite is. Except this time it’ll be a private first draft that nobody will ever fucking read, exactly how it should be, and exactly how that rant could have gone, and then undergone revision and, perhaps, come out being the amusing, slightly self-effacing ramble I now wish it had been. Will it be good? Will it make me happy? I do not know. There is a lot that I do not know, and it’s never been any different. I’m just now getting to the place where I realise that, be that as it may, it’s still what I’ve got to deal with. It’s the only long-term strategy for any kind of fulfilling life, a life that I can be proud of living.

No more superfluous light saber choreography for me. From now on it’s Force-choke or gtfo, baby.

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