UPDATED 8/31/2020: I added a couple more sections upon realizing more, to wrap up this post.
Chapter 1: Groundhog Day
This past week, I had come to a dark place in my life, as I have, time and time again. As I've progressed in therapy, though I don't hate myself anymore, or have suicidal thoughts anymore, I can't help but feel like I've been living in the movie Groundhog Day in the sense of my reality offline.
So then the question comes, "What do you do"?
I came close quitting music it got so bad, and everything else I've been doing. In fact, I dropped everything for like, 5 or 6 days, trying to escape my reality in games. I was miserable. I stopped responding to most people who messaged me, thinking to myself the thought, "everything in the before, now, and future, is pointless to continue pouring my effort into"
I had come to a point where I completely lost hope in my life getting any better, that I would live alone for the rest of my life, that I would always be betrayed by friends at some point after many years (many people have left me), I became so attached to people, wanting to please them, scared because I don't know what I'm doing, and I constantly have felt like I failed myself, that things never reach as far as I want them to successfully.
I felt that everything felt out of reach, and I was so far in a hole, I felt I no longer had the energy, or effort, to keep running in circles for many more years as I have, just tuning everything, and everyone out. I realized, what I'm doing now, isn't just for me, but I feel exhausted trying to make a life of mine stable.
I struggle with mental disabilities, and I hold myself back sometimes in fear because of what has happened in the past where I would be overwhelmed and unable to process things like other people can. I can't do it, things the same way others can. So I stopped trying to.
Part 2: A Failed System, Both Mine & Theirs
Then I realized, after days of shutting down and giving up hope, and didn't even know what would make me happy anymore, I came to the realization; I don't think money, or fame, or just any achievements would make me happy at all, because they haven't.
Then, other questions came: "What do I want to live for?" "What would make me feel proud of myself?" "What would make me happy?"
As therapy continued, I realized the source of my mental breakdowns are because, now, more than ever in my life, I actually for once CARE about myself, and the lack of knowing how to tend to my life properly in the way that is good for me, upsets me. I want to do good for myself, my life, but I'm frustrated because I keep constantly failing, and feel that void, that it kills me I don't know what to do with myself or my life anymore, since a lot of things aren't bringing me further to stability, to lead my life with.
I am not going to bend over to the corporate slave life I used to live again, serving these slimy assholes who don't ever give a damn about you. This is when I realized, though part of it is holding myself back, ultimately, this is a proper realization to make as a whole:
By system, I mean the government. Charlie's speech inspired me further, cemented these beliefs further (granted, it was a film that was written for him). No, you can't entirely blame the system, as I said, I do take some responsibility. But, because I am still learning about myself, and my needs, I am still frustrated not knowing what is good for me, after trying so many things, and failing so many things. And lately, because I've been drowning myself in video games to escape, to have fun, I realized, thats exactly what I needed: Fun.
Part 3: Redefining the Meaning of Success
I wasn't having fun anymore. My last post about the Necromancer Theme/Simple Sight Collection album is a good example of that, just doing things out of desperation, misery, fear. That, and a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as that Charlie Chaplin speech, really opened my eyes. I had been so worried about others buying into my work, and taking everything seriously, that like Arnold said, I haven't been focusing on the fun part of anything anymore, the love of it, like I should be.
Like he said, because people who love what they do, get the success they want because of the joy people see in them when they work, doing what they love. I had been focusing on how it would benefit me to the point where I would constantly be scanning for results, driving me mad. I wasn't sure how to rely on myself, so I kept relying on others, like friends, way too much, in terms of what a friendship is, and when someone hurt me, I would spiral down into a dark place and be afraid, always looking for that safe place.
I was angry that a lot of my music wasn't near as successful as my song, Simple Sight, because I know for damn sure many of my songs are better quality, and I worked much harder, yet the songs I spent less effort on, put less heart in, got out there. That's what broke my heart when it came to making music. It wasn't fun anymore because I was constantly wanting to get the attention, the approval, of those millions of people who like that song.
It broke me that many of those millions, thought that one song was all I was good for; a one hit wonder. I kept trying to prove them wrong. Key phrase: prove them wrong. I was trying to win them over, like their opinions mattered to me for validation that I was a good composer. I was tired of being boxed in, limited to a song I made in 2008, that pales in comparison to my higher quality music I spent days on. I wanted them to see I could do more, that I went farther, to see my accomplishments.
Some have even said my other music was "trash", that it was the only good song I ever wrote, and that 10,000 subscribers on my youtube channel only came around for that one song, not my others. I get an average of 100 views per video/song, sometimes 200. I always thought it was weird they only subscribed for one song, and keep awaiting for more news on one song, when I release a lot more music. I found it quite disrespectful to my craft, and me. But, aside from their bad manners, the problem was, their opinions mattered too much to me. I wasn't happy with myself.
I was wanting to do something current that would carry my life forward, to move me farther than I've ever been, and I've worked hard, but I've been running out of ideas, and have felt confused, lost in direction, for weeks now. My OnlyFans failed hard, no one subscribed to it, even though it was $5 a month. I wasn't just seeking money, I was seeking love. I didn't feel proud of myself, I felt empty, disappointed at another failed effort.
That Simple Sight Collection album was me, crawling up the walls in desperation not to fall into the abyss below, when I was losing myself, and have overdrafted my bank account so many times, needing more help than ever, as I've been broke. I was upset my album The Other Side Chronicles didn't sell well for $5, that I worked hard on for 5 years, so pouring my heart in, got less out. It was for the fans, this album as well. I was desperate for money, so selling it for $2 was my agenda, I sold out, because I lost faith in my ability, and I needed money badly.
Now, not all my ideas have been out of desperation, I have had some fun ideas, but ultimately, I'm still confused as to what I want to do with my life, what I want to do next.
In a shameful confession, I've even been so depressed, from giving up as if I was dancing in a fire, I said, "Well, we might as well pour more gasoline on it, since I'm going up in flames anyway" and made impulsive decisions with my money (too embarrassed to say what), this past couple of weeks. I had to stop, I realized it was bad for myself. This is where my mind has been recently.
With everything I try "failing" in my eyes, not getting the views I wanted, the money I wanted, shooting myself forward in a career, I felt like giving up everything, like nothing mattered, and so I lost all motivation. But after realizing everything I mentioned, I realized I needed to redefine what "success" really is, what happiness is all about.
My dad said something to me I will never forget: "All I want is your happiness, good health, and well being. I don't expect success. I'm happy that you're happy". It's one of the nicest things he's ever said to me, recently. It really makes me think. If he can see that in me, why can't I? So, that's it, I want my happiness. But, where can I find it?
Part 4: Soul Searching for Myself
This whole period has been a journey for me, seeking to reevaluate my life, to question everything I want, and thought I wanted. I looked back on my past achievements, and to put you in my shoes to understand why this is so confusing as to why I'm not happy, I'm going to list some of them:
At 16 years old I got a song I wrote, only 2 years into composing music, in the game Castle Crashers. As of now, the song has 1 1/2 million views on YouTube, I still get royalties for those views, because people still listen to it, as it's still a popular song, 12 years later. Like, how? People tell me this song made their childhoods, and is a part of video game history. This was after having my song Clearing the Sky featured on the Top 5 Weekly Audio on the Audio Portal page at the time.
Age 16, that September of 2008, I won the very first Madness Day Audio Contest, 1st Place, for my song Hank's Return (though honestly I felt the other submissions were way better than mine, still not sure why I won that, but hey, I'm honored). Krinkels and I became friends not too long after, honestly made me happy that he likes my music.
Age 21, Phyrnna and I designed a contest based on an album idea I had. This contest was (and is still) the Art-Inspired Music Contest, still going strong 7 years later, even after I stepped down as organizer (run by Random-Storykeeper, who is doing an amazing job). This was because Tom Fulp advertised it, he liked my ideas, made it an official Audio Portal contest/event, and remains to be one of the biggest based on the turnout and forum post views.
- Age 22 - 25 (or somewhere around there), I ran my own music business, Flareheart Studio, composing music for others, making a decent amount of money as a side job, after taking many years to challenge myself, to see how many genres of music I could make, since I love many different styles of music. It turned out to be around 40 to 50 genres including subgenres. I ended the business because I was bad with time management, began to lack inspiration from others, I was backed up on orders, I got overwhelmed, burnt out, hardly slept, and ultimately was making me hate music.
Age 24, created Pixel Day, an idea for a brand new, original Newgrounds-exclusive holiday, for pixel artists, and building on the Neo-Geo foundation that NG was started on, inspired by games of the 90's. Tom said in the wiki it is his favorite Newgrounds holiday, and that meant a lot to me, still does. We judge it together every January. It's an annual holiday event that still happens every year.
Age 24, Tom Fulp commissioned me to make an original soundtrack for Pico's School (Newgrounds' most iconic game, that made it famous back in the early 00's for it's controversy) as well as to rescore the very first submission in the Flash Portal, Scrotum.
Some of my favorite artists I've been following since I was a kid on Newgrounds now follow me and say they enjoy my work, I'm even friends with some of them! I've done work with some of them too, or did tributes of their work they liked. Also, I met some of them at the Pico Day office party, as I was invited to the office parties multiple years. Being invited to Pico Day (the office party) is a rare opportunity for only a handful of hundreds. I love Philadelphia, and the people I talk to every time I go.
You guys (my fans) & my friends like Tom Fulp himself, all donated to get me out of Florida when I had my emotionally abusive roommate situation. That's a lot of love.
Age 28, auditioned to be one of the hosts of The Newgrounds Podcast, got accepted, did a good amount of episodes and interviews, and got many opportunities as a result of being on the show, one of those being that I now have my own radio show (@OfftheWallShow) broadcasting to two cities in Canada, even though it's volunteer and I don't get paid from it. I can play big bands, underground artists, and my music, over the radio waves, pre-recorded in my own house. Like, that's really cool, and my friend Hikari gave me this opportunity and has been immensely supportive.
The list goes on, but even all this alone, even ONE of these, is a huge accomplishment, and yet, I somehow have still been miserable? Doesn't feel right, man. Isn't that crazy? Isn't that weird? That's when I realized I had to take a step back and really think about what would make me happy, because for some reason, this ain't it, chief. Ultimately, I want to keep carrying my life, and I want to have fun, more times than I have been.
I started to think, "Is it just as simple as having a voice? As having the privilege to even be able to speak, since there are some who don't even have the ability to? That I wasn't aborted? That I didn't die before I was born"? I had another thought, "Think of a life without achievements, as if you never achieved anything like you have at all", to get to the root cause of my unhappiness, to challenge myself, to see what it would take to be proud of myself, to find the answers.
Ultimately, I wish I didn't have to focus on money, fame, trying to survive, it's stressful, and the system we're in HAS failed us, regardless. In this pandemic, it's really been wearing on me, making everything I dealt with, many times worse. Living by myself all these months (and living alone for years in the past), not seeing anyone, during my struggles, is hard.
I'm still looking for answers, I'm soul searching. Searching for myself. Searching for what would make me happy, what I live for, but I find it disappointing, and confusing, why none of these achievements gave me that long-term happiness, when I've achieved a lot. Ultimately, I think it's because I haven't been doing well enough for myself in my offline life, to have that peace and stability, to do something for my life, like Arnold did, to work hard at something, and lead my life with it, in a healthy way. I'm unhealthy.
I'm taking a break from music after my next album release on Friday, and I have a couple more projects to release soon I'm finishing up, but I'm trying to find something not out of reach, as my dad said today, "the one thing you need that's attainable. The world you need is one where you can attain something you can be successful in. You have to set a goal each day. Walk to a telephone pole, then walk back. The next day, walk a bit father, and farther the next day. You gotta keep going, and going, one step after the next".
I don't know what that attainable thing is, or something to lead my life like Arnold, but I guess right now I have to figure out something I can do available to me right now, attainable. I don't know the goal I'm working towards though, the career I want, that's unknown. I'm challenging myself to ask myself what I want. My dad said, "The question isn't, what I can do with the rest of my life, it's what I can do today". I guess that's all I can do for now, because he's right.
I feel like I want to create a community someday, and build a team of some sort, to build each other up. Maybe I could make games, tell stories from my experiences in creative ways. I've done that with some projects of mine. Secretly, a friend of mine who is working with a publisher, if all works out, whenever he's free, we want to make a game together adapted from one of my stories. I really hope we can. If anything, that would be something I would like to dedicate my life to, as it's been a passion project for 10 years, with that story. Maybe that's it.
If you have any advice, let me know. Thanks everyone, I'm currently seeking my happiness, and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, trying to find my happiness with myself, instead of the toxic, unhealthy mindset I've been in. I'm gonna improve myself. Thanks for everyone who's been here this far. I love you all. See you Friday.
EDIT: Thank you @MysticSkillz for giving me another amazing speech video to watch, a compilation of speeches though, by mostly Denzel Washington, but also Will Smith (who i've watched all my life, always been a big fan of his), and this has been a big help to me, and what I want to do with my future. I think I have a better idea. Check it out:
EDIT, AGAIN: Upon realizing more even further...
Part 5: Who Is "Mr. Guy"?
As the time has passed since I last posted in this post about my journey to happiness within myself and my life, I have realized even more. Building on the point of seeking fun in life, to seek enjoyment in life, I began to notice other areas in my life, the little things, why I wasn't having fun, or wasn't happy about them. I've been breaking habits, and accepting situations out of my control for a change.
Another thing I realized that I wasn't happy with, well, I have always been unhappy with, is my natural speaking voice. It's better than it used to be, as I've worked on improving my speaking voice, but it sounds like I'm always scared or has a hint of anxiety and insecurity like I'm shriveled up, and I was. With my new attitude (which I will explain), I wanted to reflect confidence, empowerment, fun, playfulness, energy, to compliment my personality.
I never liked the way i talked because my mom raised me to talk that way, always correcting my grammar being too technical and articulate, so my accent was modeled after hers, and too uptight. I needed to relax, loosen up my voice. For years, I've been so sick of that anxiety-fueled way of talking, that reflects my insecurities. I want to talk in a way that says, for once, "I think I'm important, I care, and I'm my own presenter, I'm the presentation, and I am presenting myself as a showman". Something with pizazz, a little sizzle, projecting the positive qualities of my voice more. I have found this voice, broken out of my old way of speaking, and I love it. It's natural.
This leads me into an important decision I decided to make, well, a few. I've been thinking about rebranding to something new, everywhere but newgrounds (I will always be RealFaction here, period), taking on a new persona for the radio show, my youtube channel, my life in general. All my life i've been called Mr. Guy, by teachers, people at work, people love the name, and it's my real last name, as many of you already know, but I always thought it sounded like a character name, something made up. I always found my name odd, yet funny that it's my legit legal name.
I want my name to be the character, I myself want to be the character. I can be whoever I want to be, so why not have fun with myself? To be what I want to be, not for anyone else, but to impress myself, to be the show i like to watch, to enjoy my own presentation of myself, but bring along people for the ride, the adventure.
Why not be who I want to be, to decide to be more fun, to seek that fun in life, instead of worrying about being successful, but to just find the things that I enjoy in life, and radiate that joy to myself and the world? I want to reflect something pleasant, joyful, fun, playful, because that's me, that's my personality. That's the me I want to be. I want to reflect that in my voice, in my personality more, the way I dress, but for myself, to radiate that joy, to have fun with it, to be what i want to be, instead of always trying to please others and do things to make others happy to win them over to rely on them to judge if i knew what i was doing. I was so wrong.
I relied on my music, fame, money, girls, and i realized none of that would make me happy. Not even friends. Friends are nice, and help support you when you're down, sometimes we need that, but don't rely on friends, because in the end, they'll disappoint you. You can trust them, but don't rely on people solely, rely on yourself.
I realized i need to have a good time first, and in that, i will find joy wherever i find fun, and that joy will radiate through me, and spread it to others in turn, and when i give that to myself, it'll give that to the world. When you plant a plant, it grows, and in turn because it's healthy for itself, it gives to the world, and the world gives back, planting another one of those seeds.
In other words; If you're good to yourself, the world will be good to you, you'll be kind to others, they'll be kind to you, your joy will be giving to the world, and they'll give back to you, but don't rely on receiving anything. Rely on giving yourself the most fun you ever had while you're living. I gotta say "hey world, im havin fun, have some fun with me", but more so for me.
How good it felt to listen to those inspirational speeches, i wanna put that back into people. I want people to feel that feeling i felt, I want to spread more of that joy, because I love the feeling, and I remember how it felt when I was a kid and I didn't have that, I didn't have anyone like that to tell me the things I know now.
I was miserable because i wasn't having a good time with myself, or in life. I was constantly thinking life was about being successful, making it with money, or making it in the world at all. But, that's not it. You gotta make it with yourself, you gotta chase after joy, what makes you joyful, what is fun to you, what you enjoy, seize the fun things in the disasters, not to rely on friends, money, girls, any of that, but knowing how you manage to find a good time in what you do.
This realization started with a question my friend asked me, "What makes you laugh?" and that made me think. What makes me happy? What makes me laugh, and what makes me feel joyful? After watching that Denzel Washington speech compilation video, that's when I got it, when it struck me. So, I thought about the things I thought were funny, and fun in general, playful things, so I wanted to reflect more of that in my voice, my personality, even the way I dress, for fun, for myself, and I'm getting more energy, more motivation from it.
I'm learning how to walk in every day life with a spring in my step for a change, not to change things, but to change how i feel about myself, to change how i wake up, how i feel about the day, how to have fun win life in little ways. All these realizations not only broke me out of my dark place, but helped me see how to live, how to enjoy life for a change, how to enjoy myself, instead of judging myself, relying on that BS success, and now, I have detached myself from worrying about money, success, girls, friends, what people think of me, the works.
Part 6: Rebirth, Rebranding
With all this, I realize what makes me happy now, and what doesn't. Where I was doing things for attention, and where I'm doing things for myself now. I am going to finish up a few songs, and then take a break from music for a while. I'm not feeling it right now, and I'm honestly okay with that. After these few songs, which will be released soon, I am rebranding (except NG), and mainly using my secondary youtube channel "Real Talks", and turning it into "Mr. Guy".
It makes me happy that people like to hear me share advice and stories from my personal experiences from my own life, and honestly, I like doing that a lot. There's quite a few of those I have planned in Reality Bytes episodes. I plan on turning this entire post into one of those episodes, but I don't know if it'll be one, or multiple episodes, since I generally try to keep those episodes really short for the format I want.
Crypt: The Simple Sight Collection will be finished, and on BandCamp on Friday (they're waiving all fees on Friday too, so thats an amazing day for me to get sales) for $2 if you can pick it up. That might very well be the end of Piercing Lazer. I feel like Piercing Lazer has run it's course after 13 years, I'm okay with that. In the future, if I'm still feelin music for my side projects, I'll continue the debut record for A Silent Voice, my new rock project that kinda evolves and derives from the sounds of the newest Piercing Lazer album, but new stuff to the mix.
There's something else in the works but I can't talk about it yet, but I will when it's released this year in the soon future. I'll probably do more with character voices, voice acting in general, not sure what yet, but the NGVA Collab is coming out in the soon future, and I wrote a couple scripts for that, voiced in some of the skits, and am writing music for one of them too. WHEW. That's also some of the last music I'll do for a while, exclusive to that project.
Still don't know about Talking Real's future yet, it's kinda just updates. It used to be more like nerd theories though. I'll have to figure out what I want to do with it besides make it just an updates thing, I'm kinda sick of that. I feel like that was another thing I was doing for attention, so...ick. Just, no, I don't want to do that anymore.
So, a little more music, more of my radio show @OfftheWallShow (sorry for the missed upload, you'll get that later this week, and doing a new broadcast soon), more podcasting about my life stories and advice and other stuff, and who knows what else? Love you guys, thank you for your support as always. I know this is a lot to read, but I'll turn this into podcast form to maybe easier digest. I don't expect anyone to read this, but if it helps someone, I'm glad. :)
I want this to give hope to anyone who's struggled with depression, feeling hopeless, as I did. Find what gives you fun, worry less on success, do your best, and then you're golden.