Brewing for a While Now.

This is not always a forum for wonderful snapshots of life, of holding special events and happenings aloft and showing the world how busy you are and how swimmingly things are going. It can and should be, but not always. Look at my art. Look at my party. Look at my importance. Look at my pout. The medium of public electronic communication has created a dysfunctional caste system of emotional disclosure, where real feelings and conscience get replaced with a cool, detached outward thrusting of material happiness and the begging of affirmation from marginal sources. It becomes more important to show everyone how well you’re doing rather than being genuine with who you are and what you’re doing inside. How do you feel? What are your dreams and aspirations? What are you doing to lead a more wonderful life? Who even talks about this shit in person anymore?

I can no longer stand being social after my twelve and thirteen-hour days at work. Thoughts that my job is a snap should be burned and discarded, because along with the list of physical tasks from start to finish that a business-owner must face, as with any occupation, I have to manage the atmosphere of the store, which includes all of the employees and easily a hundred customers per day. Most are full- or part-time regulars, and I keep all of their relevant information right in my head, so that when they walk in, they get a proper comfort. Big greetings, firm hugs and handshakes, genuine smiles, and a barrage of questions about how they’re doing and what they’ve been up to. Customer relations. The energy of the place. Knowing what they play and what they’d like. Constant invitations to join this or that group and event. And rolling out that very energetic welcome mat dozens of times per day is fucking exhausting, as much as I love it. And while they’re all milling about, I’ve got each person on my radar, watching what they’re browsing, thinking of things to suggest, wanting to know about their thoughts and opinions on product, news, industry. And until they walk out through the doors again, all of these things are racing through my mind. This generally goes on until 10:00 or 11:00 PM on most work days. Friends get marginally more attention, but they certainly get the same level of thought, yet I’ve seemingly insulted some people who are close to me on more than one occasion by not paying them proper mind. Friends just can’t be insulted when I don’t give them every second of my undivided attention while I’m at work. But hearing this kills me, and I have to patch it, because that’s my innate sense of responsibility to any relationship of which I’m a part.

All I want to do these days is zip home and sit with my hundred foci and skim them all with boundless passion and halfassed retention. And yet it’s then when I feel the most alone, which I try to tonic with plans that I rarely seem to enjoy. It’s the one-on-ones which I cherish, or the small groups of close friends. But whereas I used to make friends so easily, eager to be so energetic and peppy, with optimism and excitement to try anything and everything, now I very much feel like a fish out of water in social situations, and I long to retire to my private space in order to hack out a few moments of intra-scanning or simply procrastinatory bliss via distraction from any angle possible.

You’d never know this by being around me, and the few who I’ve told are unbelieving. I try not to show it, because it breaches the invisible line of burden that I never wish to foist on the people I care about. But as age traverses the ages, there are some iconically depressive tendencies emerging that I’m doing some work on in order to nip in the bud. I’ve noticed, many years since, from the time I settled in Edinburgh for my postgrad stint, there’s been a gnawing sense of doom and small vortex of insatiability in my chest that cannot be quieted by any means. Careful discussions have led me to consider this might be a chemical issue, perhaps temporarily solved by light, meds, herbs, or lobotomy. If I’m depressed, however, I’m a fucking high functioner, because I’m clearly a happy depressive. Or maybe just too stubborn to let myself be sad, too overwhelmed with the blessings of life to focus on negative feelings even for a second. The idea has been posited, and I will endeavor to see what develops in the coming weeks and months, all amidst the normal grind of progression and day-to-day life in all of its glory.

28 Responses to “Brewing for a While Now.”

  1. astorax Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 11:49 am

    From what you're describing, you're not depressed. Depressed is lack of any sort of feeling, but what you're describing is an overabundance of feeling really. Seems like you're feeling overwhelmed because you're taking in each and every person that comes into your sphere and atempting to track and care about each and every one, yet, at least in the case of what I suspect are most of your customers, they do not share the same level of care about YOUR well-doing and happenings. It's fairly one-sided.
    Regarding your friends feeling slighted by your inability to focus on each and every one of them. Perhaps they need to readjust their expectations. You've become, in a rather short amount of time, a person in charge of a burgeoning business, which takes, as you're discovering, a HUGE amount of mental focus and attention. They need to allow for that as it's been a life-goal of yours for awhile. Which is to say, if they're not getting lavished with attention, they need to understand why and either accept, or move on. That's not within your control, nor SHOULD it be in my not so humble opinion.
    A friend is one that understands what is happening in someone else's life and does what they can to make it easier and/or happier. Sometimes, that involves backing the fuck off and offering support if/when asked for or needed. Not complaining that you aren't paying enough attention to them.
    I regret that due to geographic undesirability I haven't had the chance to hang out with you more. I think you and I are a lot alike in our world view (from reading your many rants on the world at large), but I recognize too that you're entirely too busy to be truckin all over the Bay to hang out, and my life too, has been and is rather full to the point where I definitely don't get over there as often as I'd like. Knowing how busy you are both mentally and physically the last thing I would want to do, as a friend, is nag for more attention. Perhaps your friends need to realize this as well. Helps to know that it won't always be like this. As the store and it's direction becomes more settled, so too will your ability to not have to stand and watch over it every moment.
    Take this post for what you will, it is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

  2. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for this support, Gabe. Depression is a massively uncompromising and difficult-to-categorize thing. You say I'm not describing depression, but in fact I very much am. It takes many different guises, and in addition to expressing occupational overwhelm and lack of sociability (both which can bring on and be brought on by depression) there's more going on here that only professionals can assess to clarify what needs to be done.
    I'm definitely a happy man, and a thankful one, as well – a very high functioning emotional blob just now. The trick is finding how much of the problem-feeling is situational and how much of it is chemical. Turns out there's some genetic history at work here, and this is not something that has just happened. It's been a handful of years and while I wouldn't class myself as a sad depressive, some of the visceral feelings in the very core of my gut are telling me that something is not right here. That's where it is, and while I still feel more happiness and excitement every day than some people are able to ever experience, I always seek to remove the discomfort from my body and mind in any way I can. This is one of those things.
    It would always be good to see you more, and as time allows. Thanks again for your concern and bolstering.

  3. angledge Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 11:50 am

    I never thought about how tiring your job must be – trying to make every single customer feel welcome/welcomed while also just minding the store. You have to be super-extroverted to overcome some of their introversion too, I imagine (perhaps I'm generalizing about gamers, but some/most seem kinda shy to me).
    No wonder you want to just curl up & rest at home!

  4. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 9:57 am

    You're totally on, Ang. These people are not paragons of security and sociability, and a big part of what makes our store special is that we're ultra-accommodating and out to make everyone feel like they're part of something really special and cool.

  5. thistlelurid Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    I know it's just me….but when I quickly read "my hundred foci and skim" I saw ""my hundred foreskins" and was convinced you were smoking teh crack rock! 🙂 You should never feel as though youre unable to foist…..foist away, I say…the people to whom a proper foisting has been had, that are still around…are the ones you most likely can take a good foisting from….and should. Those who arent able to take a foisting are just cat poop. booger chowder. fetid ocra. Not to be dealt with.

  6. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 9:59 am

    You will BOW before my Hundred Foreskins!
    Take a good foisting from? I think I get it.
    Booger chowder? I have NO idea what the fuck you're on about. 🙂

  7. scothen_krau Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 1:52 pm

    As much as I hate to resort to a "me too," comment, I find myself in a similar place. I don't consider myself depressed, but there is definitely something – an undercurrent of anxiety, of something I started but have forgotten and left unfinished. I feel stretched thin, forgetful and often very tired. The pressure to be upbeat and witty and creative and productive and "together" begins to grate on me.
    But as you said, nobody really talks about these things on a blog. Well, not nobody – but there is certainly an expectation that only certain types of people express such emotions publicly, and such people are usually IDed as "highly emotional" (aka, "a mess.") The rest of us are supposed to be free of that sort of thing, I guess. Makes me feel like a sort of Neo-Victorian.
    So on that note: stiff upper lip, old chap, and God Save the Queen.

  8. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    You've hit this dead on, and it very much sounds like you're experiencing some of the same issues. Considering your past year, it would make sense for you. And while we're both loathe to consider this an issue of depression, there's something definitely awry that needs addressing. I support you in this quest.
    You're also right about social IDing, which pisses me off to a great degree, but is also something of which I am very guilty and, conversely, which I am very afraid of having done to me. That fear dictates my behavior at times and really creates a fertile field of insecurity and social mirroring in order to avoid that self-perceived stigma.
    Neo-Victorian! Hilarious and so, so true! Pip Pip!

  9. redshrike Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 2:35 pm

    maybe it's because i still, after much time, don't know you well that i have no problem believing all of this. i have no preconceived notions of how you ought to behave. and you were indeed not exactly in your element when last i saw you in a bustling social gathering. glad to see old familiar faces, yes. that i saw, too.
    because i do know you're a good man, i'll wish you luck with the overwhelm. i'll keep reading, too.

  10. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Your support and kindness here are grand. Thanks so much. It means a lot to me.
    I'm threatening now, in a public forum, to come down and meet you on a Tuesday or six as soon as I get back from the U.K.

  11. Anonymous Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    You Be You
    Just be true to who you are how you feel! Anyone with half a heart and a quarter of a brain should understand or try to be understanding of what you must be going through. HUGS! ~(*

  12. niddrie_edge Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    dunno what i am sayin' but you made me say it : )
    hearing you..
    sounds like your work is your play now..lots of people contact, sometimes draining, go home recharge..
    are there times when we are all sociable, part of an extended gang, out all the time..then, we find we cannot commit to it anymore?..i remember my teens and twenties..hanging out.. i never wore a watch
    i felt the angst as i went into my mid thirties circa '96
    life just seemed too intense..i wanted to avoid the public sphere..even getting there was too intense.busy busy..i still go out and see people but I have my escape route sorted as it gets too loud and people get more out of it..
    out of all that withdrawing, special connections DO form and we change into different people losing how we used to be..
    it happens to friends who had families or marriage partners or relocated… myself i just got tired of all the crap i was retreading
    some I know are still the social butterfly..passive connectors..usually they drink a hell of a lot
    i am sure the care and love you show for yourself will reflect back

  13. thefastone Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    You know, As Ive only met you once, when You were in Aberdeen… As such I cant really comment on how You are personally, but then, what you are saying, I kinda think I see in 2 of my friends…
    Think you know it, but Kilau Coffee, (I know that Hermiston has mentioned it before now) is Run by 2 good friends of mine, Craig and Eion… Now Ive known the both of them for years, and both I can say were full of energy, sometimes lethargic (especially Craig) but generally fun most of the time(even at work!).
    When the idea of Kilau came along, the energy and creativity came to the fore, a great idea, and being in the position to do something about it, both were, as i'd known them from the begining, things got up and running, same thing… but you know, given time, I work away, and often I could go for a couple of weeks+ without seeing anyone, thats when You notice things more, they never had time to chat, as things were just too busy and even when the place wasn't busy, there was alyways things to be done, its part of being in business, you need to live and work hard to keep it going.
    Ive see it in them, the tiredness, that, I think if i were to have seen them all the time, or I had never known them and the way that they had been, I might have missed… on the face of it, they were still there to the untrained eye, I'm sure they were no different, but to someone who is, or who has been closer… You know…
    As I class myself as a good friend, I need to know, that for them theres a line, and I cant be offened of they cant make a minute for me, thats fine, I can see that they are alive, and that they are busy, I dont hold the need to keep the busuness running against them, Because I would hope that my friends would give me the same luxury….
    I hope that this rather long winded, and probably in the end pointless collection of words are of some help, and perhaps some comfort to your train of thoughts and feelings…

  14. scotis_man Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 6:57 pm

    I can totally understand both the desire for the contact, and yet the desire for solitude. I possess both, as well. (Maybe not in the fashion that you do, but we are two individuals, aren't we?) I will always cherish the times we have to connect. I know that I was party to one such misunderstanding about attention given at work, and I took your explanation as truth. I hope to see you more regularly outside of work, so that I don't need to keep bugging you there. 😉

  15. podle Says:
    July 2nd, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    There's so much that I want to say to you in response to what you've posted here – and some of it is of the "me, too" stripe. I don't known you well – but I treasure your friendship and I see in you someone who is constantly trying to give his all. You have such an awareness of the effect that you have on other people and you seem constantly cognizant of the quality of your attention to others. This is an amazing thing, particularly in the world that we live in – but sometimes I think it can be a thing that gets, unintentionally, taken for granted. People are hungry for the sort of focus you give and it can be terribly easy in this world to get eaten alive – even by people that care deeply for you and do not mean to do so.
    Also, you are exactly the sort of person who talks about "that shit" in person. As am I.
    If you will permit me – a small observation from my own spot in the galaxy – you will not always be exactly as you are now or who you were in the past. This is inevitable and good. Things change, you change, and I think it perfectly natural to find yourself more concerned about the core of things that the more colorful outward appearances.
    Your friends will see you through, I think. Sometimes expectations need to be adjusted. Long term friendships of any kind must deal with this terrain.
    I don't think you've got anything that needs curing, in my humble opinion you've got a steady case of the human condition. Of course, this is coming from someone whose got it bad, too – so take that with a grain of salt (along with everything else here).
    Wishing you luck and fortitude – and if there's anything I can do you have only to call/write.

  16. gingiber Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 2:34 am

    I know you need to work hard and do the best you possibly can, but don't push yourself too much and don't beat yourself up because you can't do the ten million other things you want to.
    This new phase is obviously taking a lot of energy and you need to recover that from somewhere.
    Generally I think I am saying I don't think you are depressed you are just exhausted. Just try not to break yourself – huh.

  17. hermiston Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 3:19 am

    Insightful and self-critical, as ever. You sound as though you are standing up for your humanity here, so don't be low, be positive. It's ever so hard to reconcile the day-to-day with the long-term goals, rest assured, you are doing yourself justice.

  18. avalokita Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 4:23 am

    Don't feel bad enjoying the quiet moments in life over social situations at times. I'm in the same boat, though for different reasons.

  19. hannah_henchman Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 10:32 am

    I've never succeeded in explaining to most people the difference between a 9-5 job where you do what someone tells you, go home and forget it all versus one where you're responsible for everything and your workday ends when things are done or you're too incoherent to keep going.
    It's doubly hard when you run a "fun" business…People assume it must be playtime for you as well.
    This time of year I'm in that boat too..when my day of panicky brides and demanding tourists are over, the time I have is mine. Of course then I have no idea what to do with that time because my mind is muddled from hours of juggling.
    So I don't think your reaction is odd. Of course you want to be alone–you've spent the day forcing yourself to be extroverted in a completely selfless way. But, of course, you also want the other side of socializing, where you can be yourself and not have to concentrate on other people's needs.
    Doing recreational shit in your spare time just for the sake of doing it won't help. Maybe instead snag some time with people who talk about "that shit" in person…yes, they do exist though admittedly they are few and far between. Try to be less hard on yourself…you work enough without carrying those expectations over into the rest of your life as well.
    While I'm preaching…there's nothing wrong with foisting. Viewed in a different light, it's explaining so that people will know why you can't be a perma-socialite.
    That nagging feeling may very well be, not depression, but your mind letting you know that you need more than you're letting yourself have.
    Hope you find a way to unwind. Take care of yourself–you very much deserve it.

  20. Anonymous Says:
    July 3rd, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    We've talked about this kind of thing before…
    What you describe sounds very recognizable. Depression is easier to understand as a biological issue than an emotional one, I think. It's like having a broken finger: the finger hurts, but it doesn't necessarily make every other part of your body (and life) malfunction. It's not hard to be a functional depressive – the world is full of them – because the depression is usually at bay during periods of busy-ness. Part of the trick is to target what environments and situations fuel the depression and understand them – take them apart. Obviously, not as easy as it is to type, but simple strategies make a big difference when paid attention to and implemented.
    My naive diagnosis for you, my good friend, is that you suffer from your self-imposed isolation. You tell yourself – and others – that you often prefer to be alone and you describe moments spent in groups as if you're actually experiencing these moments alone instead being a contributing member. I suspect the very act of participating more – in conversation and activity – will see a positive effect on things in ways unexpected.
    These things are weighty in their way, but the fact remains that you're one of the most solid people I know and it's these very things that define you – not restrain you.

  21. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 17th, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    I don't think I need to tell you that your thoughts on this are most helpful and clearly come from an understanding place, especially because you've absolutely been there in your life and are sensitive to the memory of it, something that you've worked hard on for some time. I have every intention of chewing heartily on what you say here, and I sincerely thank you for this support.

  22. cygnoir Says:
    July 4th, 2007 at 7:50 am

    I understand.
    We've talked about this a bit in person already — how good was that to type? so good — but it bears repeating. We are so similar on this score it's unnerving. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to try not to let your ideas about depression interfere with how you observe and then handle what you're going through. Of course, that's one of those "easier said than done" things they wrote the aphorism about.
    Regardless of how you handle it, I'm here.

  23. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 17th, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Re: I understand.
    How good is that to read? Soooo good. The past trickle of years has rendered us into nearly the same animal, your swan to my bull. I wordlessly thank you just as you wordlessly understand this gestalt.

  24. alison_ella Says:
    July 5th, 2007 at 11:48 am

    I don't think you should feel bad for taking a bit of time for yourself once in a while, especially as you are working exceptionally hard and putting alot of effort into you work, which is only to be expected from you.
    I kinda know what your going through as this year I feel like I have completely retreated in on myself and have had very little contact with any of my friends from edinburgh.
    Even now that I am fully qualified and should be out enjoying myself I've not done anything yet. However I am going out for a quiet night this weekend but I am slightly nervous that I won't be the same person people remember as I no longer feel like that happy outgoing girl that you met a few years back. But we all change and I'm sure all of our friends realise that and will still accept us and love us for who we are.

  25. handworn Says:
    July 9th, 2007 at 10:36 am

    "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for?"
    Seriously, good post. These are some of the issues of life most worth talking about.

  26. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 17th, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    You're spot on, my man, as usual.

  27. songofthesiren Says:
    July 25th, 2007 at 7:26 pm

    Would you mind if I added you? Via a hop and skip through another friend I found you and after reading a couple months worth of your posts I very often found myself thinking that I really could relate to what you were writing about …Several of your posts also reminded me of some of my own ideals which tend to get lost in the mess of the full time school and work combination…It's rather nice to see them in another's words to help me find a little more clarity…
    So either way, thanks.

  28. FunkyPlaid Says:
    July 26th, 2007 at 12:58 am

    It's a pleasure to meet you here, and thanks very much for reading along. Of course we'll add each other, and I'll greatly look forward to sharing thoughts and words in the days ahead. Thanks for saying hello!

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