Generation Loss

Here’s another article I’ve written that didn’t get published so you’re more than welcome to have it.

In analogue media terms, generation loss is where something degrades after repeated editing, compression or saving. It affects things such as music and pictures, dropping the quality of such materials the more you save them or have to save them to add other things. Analogue music mixing and subsequent copying made for many different generations in the process. Firstly there’s mastering, then more mastering if you need to add more tracks (large channel mixing was very expensive). Genertaion one. Then there’s copying that to versatile media such a vinyl, CD or tape. Generation two. Then if people copy that to a tape or rip it to a computer in a compressed file format that’s generation three. The cycle goes on and each time the original song loses more and more cohesion which manifests itself in static noise, tinny compression and lower quality. Newer digital technology has eliminated a lot of this but it still can occur.

My generation (the actual human people, not The Who song) are hitting their late twenties and early thirties. A combination of factors completely outside of our control, and arguably outside of the previous generations too, has effectively degraded our chances of prosperity in our economy. Austerity has hit us hard as we hardly had any money to begin with. Jobs are so fiercely fought over for barely liveable wages (and sometimes not even that) with many employers simply unable to afford to keep up with the cost of living. Private renting has escalated to such a unregulated level that demand keeps prices too high and social housing hasn’t recovered for several generations.

These are 2010's party manifestos. Or a employee handbook, a Raisin sales brochure and a bland book you'd likely find on a Wetherspoons bookshelf.

These are 2010’s party manifestos. Or a employee handbook, a Raisin sales brochure and a bland book you’d likely find on a Wetherspoons bookshelf.

The problems we face are the same as everyone else, yet it seems that we are the least vocal about the false promises and the lack of hope. We’re called millennials, as if this is a nice code word for being “stuck living at home due to no savings, lack of jobs that pay or being burdened with debt.” Desperation sees us having to take multiple jobs, I myself have three including self employment and a zero hours contract. Practically none of us have equity thanks to the astronomical property ladder. Our reality is that unless we are paid well, which admittedly some people are, we have to starve ourselves of spending, which isn’t helping us nor an economy already hamstrung by austerity. The more likely reality is if our parents/grandparents leave us enough when they pass on, we can start to be comfortable. We can look at house deposits and the like, and finally leave home for the first or second time.

This is a terribly morbid notion and ever more unlikely due to the increase in life expectancy which is tightening strings at the other end of the age gap. The thing is with our generation is that we’re now at the age where we want to settle down, have families and plan for our future. Yet for many of us the future lies between the next phone call offering a days work and the next glass of cheap alcohol to combat the ever increasing depression of this dilemma.

This collection of bricks thrown down an alleyway in Islington is reportedly worth just under £750,000. That's the same as 750,000 McDonalds cheesburgers

This collection of bricks thrown down an alleyway in Islington is reportedly worth just under £750,000. That’s the same as 750,000 McDonalds cheesburgers

You’d be right to think that we’re quite salty about all of the above, the election promises and the confabulated statistics that support a parties rhetoric. The generation before us of business and home owners suffered massively with the banking crisis that we’re still reeling from today. The generation before that suffered from the economic problems of the late ’80s and early ’90s. The generation below us occupy low paid part-time and zero hours work, as well as working for free to jump start careers, and now WE’RE expected to be beginning the next generation – Starting families and investing in our genetic future.

Our education system was in tatters as we were going through the end of primary and secondary school. Help wasn’t there for people with difficulties in learning. Technology didn’t come until after we left the system, meaning that we just missed the technology and coding boom that our schools couldn’t teach. Our grades, passable or otherwise, are over a decade old and now mean nothing in an experience based, nepotistic world. We’ve lived and are living through the spiralling cost of private accommodation thanks to the lack of social housing, a policy the Conservatives seem set to repeat. Over reliance on the service sector, thanks in part to Labour, completely left us bereft of employment but was a massive lie due to the lack of any career progression. We spent the early part of the decade in now closed call centres selling financial products nobody wanted, leaving us all with frustrating debt. We’re not stupid enough to blame it on UKIP’s phantom job stealers (although some blindly do as a focal point of directing anger) and many of us were sold down a river by the Lib Dems last time out. Trust and optimism was broken and we were hung out to dry.

This is actual generation loss. Which just goes to show the visual representation of how wee feel.

This is actual generation loss. Which just goes to show the visual representation of how we feel.

All of this can be seen as a generalisation. Some people in our generation have escaped this or are just about surviving comfortably. There are both fiscally and socially successful people in every generation who are doing well, but en masse we are not. This is well documented but ill communicated between the lines of optimistic sound bites and manifesto rhetoric. Many generations have suffered from unemployment, public service cuts and the divide of the rich and the poor. Arguably however it is our generation that has felt the combined forces of all of these problems more forcibly and has degraded the most. Like the MP3 file on your music device, we have been suffering from previous generations worth of strain leaving us with nothing but static noise and the tinny residue of a people compressed. The next bunch after us, who are equally disenchanted but young enough to be convinced of false hope, are now the focus of recovery. We’re not even a generation loss but “generation lost”, an unaddressed burden that will haunt the next government (whatever that may be) for years to come.

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The Bi-Annual Clean Shave

There comes a time, which by the title is usually once every two years, where I have to shave. I HAVE to. I must completely rid my face of all trace of brown, ginger and grey colours and reset myself to default. I must allow my cheeks to breathe and just remind myself that I have skin around the lower part of my face. Some people could see it as a euphemism, a visual receptor to my willingness to begin a new, refresh my current state of affairs. Well I suppose it can be at times, but mostly… I just get bored.

I’ve been able to grow facial hair to a fairly decent capacity since I was 18 and I’m 31 now. I can’t develop it to the size and length that hipsters do, mostly because I get bored waiting, and I’m pretty sure that most of those guys go to the various hair and beauty shops around East London and get their face-weave done. I honestly have never seen a transitional hipster, that phase between lumberjack anti-establishment beard and nicely presentable facial hair. It’s like they’re clean shaven and suddenly BOOM! Beard.

Here is a stereotypical hipster, waiting around a generic East London estate area, presumably waiting for his Dad to invest in his Crisp Sandwich Pop-Up business.

Here is a stereotypical hipster, waiting around a generic East London estate area, presumably waiting for his Dad to invest in his Crisp Sandwich Pop-Up business.

I haven’t clean shaved for nearly two years and that is with good reason. It has nothing to do with laziness, fashion or my weight… Ok maybe a little bit about my weight but it’s more to do with self-confidence and more precisely, fear. The last time I clean shaved was in August 2013. I did it for a job interview at a theatre in London. I got myself sorted for this swelteringly hot summers day, which was already made uncomfortable by me having to dress appropriately for the interview. I decided, slightly on a whim and slightly because I felt my beard wasn’t looking the best, to trim my beard. As normally happens whenever I need precision trimming, this ended with me trimming a bit too much and ending up with uneven beard. So it had to go. No question.

The problem is that I’ve always had terrible fickle skin. If it was an alibi it’d be OJ Simpson’s glove. Through bouts of Acne and dry skin, my face has always been quick to betray me. This interview was no exception. Everyone gets stubble rash and a few nicks here and there and I thought, for once, that I’d got away with it. From the morning at home, the commute to London, the few hours work I put in where I was working before I went to the interview AND THE SECOND I LEFT…

Here's a completely realistic job interview with a trainee psychopath.

Here’s a completely realistic job interview with a trainee psychopath.

I started bleeding. Underneath my chin. I had to have a a piece of tissue on it during the entire tube journey to Leicester Square. It didn’t stop. I went and got some more tissue and made my way to the interview to be suitably early. It didn’t stop. I talked to my friend in the theatre lobby for a while as they were running behind on the interviews. It didn’t stop. I got taken to be interviewed in an upstairs bar, while a performance was on, nervous, stressed, looking like a lobster from the heat outside and inside the theatre.

It didn’t stop.

There is literally nothing you can do. The interview is already fucked before it’s even begun. You look like a twat because you’re holding several different tissues to your neck which come back with spots of blood from the SMALLEST LITTLE CUT that took six hours before it decided to bleed. So I did the only thing I could. “I’m really sorry,” I said, “I normally have a beard and I decided to shave for the interview and on the way here a cut just started bleeding.”

“Oh, ok,” they said.

The elephant was out of the room and the awkwardness was averted but the interview was long lost. It will go down as one of the worst moments of my life and is one of the direct contributors to me trying to forge my career over the past 18 months. If you’re keeping score, I have still had only three proper job interviews since graduating and that was one of them.

Future beards may occur with sufficient gains in arm ballast.

Future beards may occur with sufficient gains in arm ballast.

So put simply, I don’t shave until I can get in to a position where my utter boredom, or my skin, dictates that I must. Therefore, today I decided was my bi-annual shave. I should be starting some part time work soon to supplement my non-existent income. I’ve had a few entry level career jobs opportunities that didn’t give me a look in and I recently turned 31. So it’s time to shave and to stop hiding behind the beard.

Maybe it is a bit of a “turn a new leaf” kind of thing. Trying to persuade myself that general life and career attempts aren’t just futile exercises in send many emails to no avail. I go in to year two of career forging with a literal fresh face and a few realistic promises that I need to make to myself, which I shall list here.

1) Stop getting pissed at the world, it doesn’t hate you it hates everyone equally.

2) Get your flabby ass to the gym, son!

3) Never grow a beard until you get a job interview, or can look like Triple H.

There’s more but I think they’ll be blog posts for another time.

On why I’m not enjoying Doctor Who

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Yes. You read that title right. I am not enjoying the latest trips in the TARDIS that the BBC have offered us. Me, of crazy Doctor Who fandom and an incredible jealously of anyone who’s able to work on it, is a dream of mine to write for it, and the very show that inspired me to start this current 5 year avoidance of paying tax and not claiming jobseekers allowance; I have not enjoyed this latest series of Doctor Who. And as we are half way through it I thought I’d mention it, come clean.

I want to tell you why though because I have been enjoying Peter Capaldi. I find his terse nature to be quite enjoyable and his stern all-convincing authoritarian nature – to hide the inner admission of guilt that he uses other people for his own end, despite it being the best course of action in general – fascinating. His eyes have it and there are moments where this has shone through. Most notably some points in his debut episode after our clockwork robot friend flew and in the Dalek episode where he tricked the person to sacrifice herself to buy some time for him.

Which is why this series has been all the more annoying because it’s very obvious at times that the writing knows exactly what this character is and can nail it. But for the most part, it has missed the mark terribly. The only criticism I have of the Matt Smith era is that the pacing of the writing and of the episodes plots are so fast that it’s very easy to lose and get confused as to what is going on. In fact the best way to watch the Eleventh Doctor and to understand it fully and get all those little story arc nuances is to power disk it, watch each series all in one go.

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I however don’t think that will rectify this current problem because the problem isn’t in the perception of the audience, although if you’ve read the reviews you wouldn’t know it. It feels like every look by major sites at the episodes are afraid to be critical of it to the degree that they should, maybe for fear of it being taken away. I don’t think the approach to Doctor Who this year has been entirely objective. The problem can be easily pointed at the writing of the show, but in truth, it boils down more to the collective problems of very lacklustre scripts with bad pacing and confusing cuts, editing at such a pace that loses the interest of the viewer and direction that appears to be very undirected from the director and more of the show being in control of itself.

Let me explain my thoughts. There is a definite hangover from Matt Smith’s era and from a writing and character point of view. That hangover could be characterised as Clara. I love Clara, she’s a strong independent woman who reminds me of Ace; eager to help and yet entirely confused and put out by this change in the man she loved. Even though she knew all about the entire regeneration thing and saved multiple versions of him dozens of times. That she has discovered she has a problem with this change is because she loved the Eleventh Doctor. The only way to combat that is to admit that and address it and move on. There was a touching, although slightly discrediting to Capaldi, scene in the first episode where the pervious Doctor talks to her. This is intended to get Clara past that bridge. It didn’t. Mostly because for the rest of the year she been following Capaldi like he was Matt Smith. Which is exactly why the pacing of the episodes has been off, including why the editing has been so quick and jumpy and exactly why the directors haven’t got number Twelve off the starting line yet. They’re still thinking of Eleven and how to give Twelve a non-sexual yet intellectually stimulating addition to their chemistry.

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Capaldi hasn’t had a lot to work with admittedly and the introduction of Danny Pink is good to get Clara out of the frame. The Doctor once again playing a protective father figure is a good thing. It harks back to when Hartnell’s Frist Doctor looked after his granddaughter Susan and basically abandoned her at the right time for her to live her own life (Dalek Invasion of Earth). But he spent that serial making sure that she was in good hands and that’s exactly what he’ll do with Clara. It’s not exactly original but you try being original after 50 years!

But it’s the fact that everything around him is still being designed for a Matt Smith audience in an attempt, I suppose, to keep that younger viewer that Smith got. Despite Capaldi being a more obtuse and argumentative character. The stories have involved quick jumping to everywhere they can very quickly and seemingly pointlessly. There are nice little touches here and there (like Clara being under the Doctors bed as a young boy – despite Gallifrey being time-locked/in a separate dimension/wherever it is) but it has ultimately jumped too much to lock down a narrative to be enjoyed as a whole. Which is why the Promised Land/Afterlife storyline really isn’t working because by the time we get to it, I really don’t care. Although it’s the only time when the pacing slows down enough for me to pay attention to it enough and immerse myself.

I’m not pointing the finger at Steven Moffat’s running of the show. To do so would be too easy and incredulous to the team effort it takes to make one of the most popular TV shows in the world and arguably the BBC’s biggest commercial asset after Top Gear. I think a collective rethink is in order though and the pace of the stories needs to slow down dramatically. They need to be a lot more calmly entered and a lot more smoothly positioned in their plot reveals and scene cuts. Because this older Doctor is a different proposition to the young and sprightly Doctors of before and deserves to have a bit more of a psychological and character driven plot that isn’t paced with jump cuts every 8-10 seconds in a frantic “Clara dodges many personal faux pas bullets” kind of situation.

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The thing Moffat needs to realise is something that Russell T Davies might have realised by now and that is how to think of your target audience. Yes they are children and families. But they have been that for about 4-5 years now. They are older children and families. Much like J.K. Rowling adapted the style of the Harry Potter novels and characters to how they grew up as well as how the audience reading them had also begun to age, Doctor Who needs to realise that the audience it had before is growing up and can handle slower things with better story that will stick with them. Children will not get bored of something as long as you give them something to wonder and follow. The adults will not get annoyed if you scale it back a little and give the viewers minds a little room to breath and absorb the story that is happening.

I of course know nothing of the production techniques and problems of Doctor Who in 2014, but I do know as someone who has studied the show to almost an academic level, as well as being academically qualified to have input on it from a writing standpoint, that the Doctor is not yet in. He’s still being flittered about like a younger version of himself and everything about it just needs to settle down a little.

Misogyny is a Bigger Problem Than We Think

Here is a piece I wrote the other day, hoping to get it to The Guardian, The Independent or some other paper. Didn’t happen so, enjoy and disagree/agree as much as you like.

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This has not been a good few weeks when it comes to the perpetration of sexism on the internet. The big news of the leak of personal pictures stolen from celebrities is now garnering all the headlines but the problems have been simmering since a potential conflict of interest in the video games industry was exposed in a heinous way.

For those who have done well to stay away from the Gamergate story here is the short version:

Angry jilted lover exposes affair with his former partner (a game developer) and alleged people involved in the games industry to get alleged favorable promotion, kick starting a torrent of misogynistic response masking itself as “social justice.”


 

I say misogynistic but even that doesn’t do it justice as, in the case of feminist vlogger Anita Sarkeesian, the response as been abhorrent and terrifying. As a games journalist myself of four years, I know and follow a lot of people in the industry and the torrent of abuse that both sexes has received about their profession and ill-evidenced supposed corruption has been appalling. But the level of threats that females have been exposed to during this has far outweighed the vitriolic “freedom of speech” that the males in the industry have received.

To paraphrase Hank Moody from Californication, why is the internet so intent on destroying its female population?

I have read many articles from commentators in the industry. One that stood out for me by Devin Faraci, trying to understand the people behind this event, was claiming that these people are kids. Not in the age sense of the word but in the way that they have no idea how the real world works because they’ve been shut out of it. They find themselves promised so much by the adverts and media around them growing up that they become disaffected and subdued in later life when it turns out not to be true, such as the pursuit of women and popularity.

If this were just a small minority of people doing this then yes, I’d possibly agree that Western society as a whole does have some questions to answer in to how to combat social inclusivity in the mediums consumed by young people. But it isn’t and maybe we should begin to realise that, while the online misogyny may be the most vocal in the minority, it is far removed from that now and, despite having never fully gone away, is almost an epidemic. In fact, it’s practically cultist.

If a mass group of people believed something so outrageous that normal society deemed it too out of the norm then these groups would become cults. Except now these people don’t have to meet in secret sects or hold mass meetings. The forums have become their meeting grounds, the cloak of detached anonymity their shield. As the celebrity photo leaks have proved, this is not just a small business venture in adult entertainment anymore (in fact the leaker bemoaned the lack of money they’ve made from the leak). This is a shark feeding the many schools of piranhas that beg for the sexual objectification they crave like a dealer teasing his junkies. This isn’t a subculture anymore.

Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic in my interpretation of the scale of this problem and it’s hard to separate the lines between the freedom of expression/speech and what is socially unacceptable or even criminal. But there has been a culture of burying ones head in the sand over the scale of this issue, like if we ignored this small amount of vocal people they would go away. I don’t think it is going away and in fact I think it’s getting stronger. What we need to do, as human beings and as women and men, is be the social justice warriors everyone else is pretending to be and begin to notice where this happens in everyday life and shoot these attitudes down before they start.

People will blame the media, the adult industry, the video games industry and the people who took these personal photos, because it points the finger away from their own inaction. We should celebrate our freedom, champion the sexual freedom of others and make sure that personal things remain private, be they women or men. We should express ourselves how we want. As Keith Stuart from The Guardian said in his piece on Gamergate “Objectification is never the answer.” But when those expressions become toxic to the freedom of others and potentially criminal, then we may need to acknowledge that a bigger stance on this “epidemic of misogyny” might be required.

You know, this whole camouflage thing, for me, doesn’t work very well.

It’s 6am and I’m in Gatwick Airport waiting for a flight. Just before I forced myself to sleep hours before, it was announced that Robin Williams had died of suspected suicide.

Depression, as the quote I’ve adapted in the title from a Williams movie, is a tragic burden on a human. There is nothing more criminal to the human psyche than being trapped in it’s own tortuous prison. Such a high profile victim of the affliction can only highlight its reality.

But that conversation is for better qualified people than me. Robin Williams’ body and variation of work is astounding. You could argue that he was one of the first truly comedic actors to make the leap from comedy or farce on screen to serious acting. His roles from Good Will Hunting and in my opinion the deeply underrated One Hour Photo are a testament to his range.

Of course his comedy has known no bounds: Hook, Mrs Doubtfire, et al. But I want to thank him for one thing, the movie that the title quote is from, Good Morning Vietnam.

It’s a movie that might have lost a bit of an edge now but was always well respected for it’s soundtrack. That’s what got me in to it for sure, before Williams’ excellent anarchistic portrayal of the zany radio host mentally plagued by the realities of war censorship.

My mother grew up watching the Vietnam war unfold on television. For the first time in history, television images of gunfire, death and flames beamed themselves in to living room sets around the globe. And for my mother, along with countless other young teenagers no doubt, it was horrifying and traumatic to see.

As such, drama and movies about the Vietnam war and war in general are unable to be watched in my house. I don’t have the same problem having been conditioned from a very young age of the televised atrocities of conflict (which in a supposedly civilised age is a worrying statement). But for my mother it was too much.

Until Good Morning Vietnam. Gritty in its own right, it presented a lighter, more detached picture of the conflict. A focus much more on the condition around war as opposed to war itself, allowed my mother to watch it and thanks to Williams, enjoy herself. That put a slightly more palatable spin on that part of history for her and for us, we were able to share a movie that at a young age taught me about about the duality of conflict and some of my first truly adult conversations with my parents.

So I thank Robin Williams not only for everything he’s done in his career but how a little thing like this enabled a person to revisit a period of history previously too much for them and to be able to share experiences and memories with a family. I’m sure many other families and people will have the same kind of moments and memories of Williams’ work during their life.

It’s tragic and wrong that such a thing not only could happen but happen to someone so loved. But it happens and the sooner ignorance around it is addressed the better. Until then, I’ll put on I Feel Good by James Brown and I’ll keep looking for that second star to the right.

Give me a better metaphor

Back to the drawing board… Which is probably why this is all going so badly, because I can’t draw. Does anyone fancy giving me a more personally accurate metaphor to my skills please?

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering if I was going to discuss this publicly at all if it didn’t work out. It hasn’t worked out, so I’m going to discuss some of it. If you’re a friend of mine then I apologise. That sounds like I’m being hard on myself but I really am. I’ve been particularly shit company lately and if you hadn’t noticed or if I seem to put on a act then I’m better at that than I thought I was and believe me, that act is purely for you.

I’m caught between the strange sensation of feeling sorry for oneself, keeping a positive mental attitude to everyone, trying not to just vegetate in a chair until I can have a alcoholic beverage at a socially acceptable time and just laying down and hoping nature reclaims me.

I had a plan B. If you don’t know about plan A (get a job) then check the article I did a while back for “How To Be Jobless” run by the excellent Erica Buist. Plan B was to get in to education again and do a masters. However plan B required me to have some sort of success with plan A in order to finance it, given that plan X (write for a living) so far has grossed me a grand total of around £900 in four years.

I ummmed and aaaahd about it because financial stress is not a thing that I need more of. After a particularly intriguing, depressing and drunken night out to celebrate the launch of a university anthology I discussed the idea with my former tutors and friends.

Before I come on to that though, how depressing and horrible is it to be the one guy at a semi reunion failing at life? I mean it wasn’t an exact reunion because we’ve seen each other a few times since university but, and I can hear the voices telling me to stop being so hard on myself already, I am decidedly the worst of our graduating class in the present tense. We were asked to give advice to the next crop of graduates and I declined because I felt telling them I was going to sign on after a year of rejection hell wasn’t the truth they were probably looking for. I do like these reunions because I miss my friends and care a lot about their successes and want to support them. I have a friend in Edinburgh right now… Two technically, and another with an excellent opportunity with Auntie so it’s great that they’re doing so well, along with everyone else.

But I discussed my options with two people who I hold in very high regard for their consul, along with my friends. So I bit the bullet. I applied for a Masters at a prestigious university that I hoped would help my dream cause and found a scholarship program with an equally prestigious organisation to fund it.

I’ve had a year of getting nowhere but it is true that getting closer and failing hurts more. So let me say now that this isn’t a rant, I’m not imparting blame on anyone but myself and the cosmic designs at work to ensure my constant unhappiness and rebuttal of hope.

So I had an interview with said prestigious organisation and the prestigious university asked for references very quickly. I had the hope. It was one of the most nervous things I’ve ever done, the interview, and I’ve asked out girls far prettier and more amazing than a man like me should be deserving of. I got to talk about my favourite things with some amazing people and, apart from it being an incredibly hot day with public transport delays and London reeking of perspiration, I did well.

I still believe that. Despite the fact that late last Friday I found out I was unsuccessful. Which left me very… low. I wasn’t relying on it but it had been a while for a decision and delays breed hope of better news. It also left me with a financial quandary which was soon addressed at 1:10am this morning with a rejection email from the university for the MA programme. So over the course of a long weekend, plan B was fucked.

I haven’t really publicly addressed this because I didn’t tell that many people. In fact this is the first I’ve said to many people about what I was doing because I didn’t want hopes to get up, etc. I’m not exactly happy with myself or the situation and I’m taking this kind of hard. Because I know that it isn’t the last opportunity I have for more education but it was certainly one of the best. Plus going back to a constant grind of job applications and if I’m lucky responses of rejection from them isn’t the most appealing prospect.

I’m trying to focus on the exciting things coming up. I’m going to Germany in a week or so to cover GamesCom 2014, the big European game industry show. I hoped that I could get paid for some freelance work while I’m there which has been another disappointment so it’s a financial mess and an excuse for me to have a holiday/make contacts and give out my new business cards (don’t worry, they aren’t bone colouring with a silian rail type font). I’m also a few thousand words into what I think might become a novel.

But for now, I’m feeling pretty shitty. I feel sorry for my parents who have to put up with me in my grumpy defeated way because it’s not anyone’s fault really and it’s completely out of their control. So please, find me a better metaphor for going back to square one (another strange etymologically mysterious phrase), back to the drowning board, whatever. Because at least if I can get anything out of the past 16 months of disappointing, soul sapping, hope crushing, demoralising hell, then I’d like it to be a personalised one liner metaphor.

Atychiphobia

I haven’t written a blog in a while. This is because of (un)employment, distractions and me being trapped in a self inflicted mental bubble. If you want the big life update, go and follow me on twitter.

I’m here to write about something else. Mostly because a few people, including myself, haven’t had the most encouraging time lately. I’ve spent the past weekend thinking about it and trying to figure out why.

If I’m honest, I’ve applied for a few jobs over the course of the past couple of months. Literally a few. This is because I’ve grown accustomed to the inventible rejection and failure that I can’t bring myself to do it. I cannot drum up enough enthusiasm to rework my CV, create a cover letter tailored to whichever area I’m trying to get in to and see it receive no reply, a stock reply after a month or just get to nowhere.

It is actually quite crippling how the rejection of jobs, not even interviews but the preliminary applications, affects you. I’m not talking one or two, I’m talking dozens. I’m nearly up to the magic century of jobs within a year. Of course most of the work I want to do involves working for free for a completely unknown amount of time (which is something I or any family sponsoring me cannot afford) or mass networking. The latter I can and have done but I don’t feel it to the shameless enough degree that I could ask anyone something. It’s a hard thankless and cutthroat world I’m trying to enter and the more you try, the harder it will resist you.

I think I sit in this room in front of my computer every day of every week. I have little physical socialisation and, apart from the times where I’m working a night shift here, I rarely accomplish anything. At least that’s how it feels. I’ve had two recent rejections for screenwriting submissions and these were encouraging. Mostly because I heard something back and it was actually proof that someone had read it. I’ll be honest, this was my first time out for a script and I was over the moon that at least I had got as far as I had. I should have been bummed out or angry and persistent to carry on. But I was happy and encouraged and this pleased me.

Then I realised I couldn’t share that enjoyment with anyone. I also realised I haven’t shared anything about my anxiety and fear with my friends. Not only do I worry that they don’t understand and that I’m a bit of a bum and a failure in their eyes (which I guess I am at the time of writing) but they can’t relate to what I’m experiencing or the work I’m attempting to do. And why should they? They don’t know anything really about what I’m attempting to achieve other than it’s quite hard. They don’t understand exactly how much my insecurity and, for lack of a better word, fear grips me and keeps me awake for hours, stops me moving when I wake up and how much I feel imprisoned.

I am lucky in my current situation but I am aware it’s stopping me from being forced to do things. With the last year, I had such a run of productivity that I genuinely yearn for now. The only post-uni blues I have is based around that sense of confidence, encouragement and excitement at the work I was yet to do, coupled with my location. I’ve always tried to move away. Not because I hate the place or anything, my friends have chosen to settle here and I respect that. But for me it’s like a weight. It’s hard to explain and maybe my words aren’t formed enough to do it justice. There’s a pressure on your body that you get when you suddenly brake your car from a high speed. It forces you into a position and makes you immobile. Not just your body but your mind as well. The adrenaline and sudden rush almost paralyses your brain of any thought and you live for a moment completely thoughtless and absent apart from your own body and what you see in front of you. That’s how I feel here.

This isn’t intended to be a whiney post to cultivate sympathy or support, although the latter is always welcome especially as I’m a needy twat sometimes. But it’s intended to speak to the people I know that also have problems, feel like dropping it all and giving in. Those of you who read this and recognise a bit of yourself in it. Whether or not a job you wanted hasn’t materialised or you just feel a bit lost and unsure where you’re heading, just read the following:

You aren’t alone. We are all in this together. It sounds silly but we are but young and naive creatures in a vicious environment. Regardless of what we’ve been prepared for, our age, our experiences, nothing could have exactly prepared us for how things have turned out. But they will get better if they believe they will. Because if we believe, then we will work at making our beliefs reality. As hypocritical as I probably sound saying this, there will be a time for us, all of us, and it will come when we least expect it because we are so busy trying to make it happen. But we all need to support each other and prop each other up. It’s hard and you need to pick and choose what you listen to and who you seek counsel in. Sometimes, people seem different and distant but that’s more because you have done the same to achieve your goals. Once you get there, they’ll understand. You need to find the people now who will completely support you and remind you that carrying on is better than giving in. Things will come together.

The title of this post means fear of failure in the sense that is is persistent and uncontrollable. Everybody will say they are optimistic but deep down, we all have this rooted in our psyche. Sometimes things happen in our lives that bring this to the surface much more predominantly, and that’s OK. We fear that we are wasting ourselves because we believe in ourselves that we should be achieving something. We are hungry for it, desperate maybe, and certainly willing to sacrifice for it. I’ve found that my fear of failure isn’t the fear of me failing, but the fear that if I do fail, I’m not sure where I would turn to be picked up again. Once I find that which picks me up, and you find that as well, then we all shall never fear again.