And That’s Enough For Now

I’ve been thinking recently about what I’ve done in life, and what I haven’t done.

I turned twenty-seven years old in May. And I remember, when my older brother was in his twenties, I used to think to myself, “I won’t be like him. I wont’ be in my twenties, sleeping until the afternoon, living off my family without paying rent, having no job, staying up all night playing video games and watching movies, doing nothing with my life.”

But I was wrong. That’s exactly what I’ve done.

When I was eighteen, I graduated high school. I hated school, all twelve years of it. There was a brief period in eleventh grade when I started having fun, but mostly I hated school, and never tried very hard. Which is a shame because I was a very bright student and a naturally intelligent person. But I got terrible grades from middle school onward. I started out with the mind of a sixth grader, so the first five grades were simple, and I could coast on my natural ability, and especially my ability to read and comprehend. But starting with middle school, things got harder. And truthfully, I didn’t care.

School didn’t matter to me. Video games mattered to me. Because video games were the only thing in my life that made me feel safe and gave me something to believe in. Final Fantasy was a world I belonged in, not this one, not this world without magic or airships or crystals or monsters. This world was boring, school was boring, and when you grow up and go to work, that’s even more boring. There was no way out of the boredom except to spend as much time as possible in fantasy worlds.

My mother criticized me for living in a fantasy world, but I always found it so confusing when she told me I needed to grow up, stop spending all my time in a fantasy world and live in the real world. Because my genuine response was… why? What does this world have to offer me? There’s nothing interesting here. Just tedium, monotony.

Sex happened when I was seventeen, and I began to have some understanding of what this world has to offer. I sucked a cock before I first kissed a guy, but regardless, I enjoyed it. And for the first time I felt tethered to this reality by something, by a desire in my chest, not just to fuck, but to feel safe and loved. I had my first kiss, and the boy who kissed me laid me back on the couch and pressed his lips to mine, and then we wandered into my bedroom, my hand in his, and lay down on my mattress, and for the first time in my life I understood what sexual connection was like. The intense pleasure, not just of orgasm after orgasm, but of the smell of another person’s body, the sweat on their forehead and their armpits, the musk of a guy’s balls in a hot room where the box fan doesn’t really cool you off, but it doesn’t really matter. The need to pump yourself against one another again and again, relentlessly until there is no energy left in you, and then the moment you’re awake to do it all over again.

I experienced a broken heart. I experienced a longing to be loved. I fell in love with music, then, and I learned to play piano. I had a new passion, not just video games. Music was something real and tangible now, and it was another fantasy world to lose myself in. I began to write poetry and lyrics, and then I began to write stories, giving me another fantasy world to live in. I spoke in the voices of my characters and lived their lives in a world with more than this one could offer, and I walked around with these things constantly swirling in my mind: lust for a boy to hold close to me, the warmth of his kiss and his affection to fulfill me, the sound of the piano with all the lights out, comforting me in the darkness, the sound of the music that inspired me, the names and places and events in the stories I wrote.

I graduated high school. What was college to me? I had made a decision very early on, during the first week of Kindergarten. I remember where I was. I had gotten off the bus and walked into the school, it was so early in the morning that it was still dark outside. It may have been raining, because I seem to recall the sound of wet shoes scraping across the floor. I remember a kindly older lady standing in the middle of the hallway, directing kids to where they should go. I remember looking up at the ceiling, and how it seemed so high above me that it was like a cathedral with a domed top. I must have been six with this happened. I remember thinking, “I don’t want to be here. I hate it here. I want to go home.”

And I held on to that moment, that anger, that resentment. I never wanted to go to school. I wanted to be at home, where things that mattered were. I wanted to be with my games, and my movies, and my books, and my toys, and my friends. I didn’t care about math, or about labeling pictures on a piece of workbook paper, or about reading comprehension. Of course, I know now how important school was, and I did enjoy the feeling of excelling, particularly at reading, but still, the feeling never left me that this was not a natural place for me to be, that this was not where I belonged. I remember sitting in those classrooms for eight hours at a time, thinking about all the time that was being wasted, and drawing Sonic the Hedgehog running through green fields on the back of every sheet of paper. The stories in my head were always more interesting than learning the months of the year song, or reading aloud in class, or making popcorn, or nap time. I just wasn’t interested.

Twelve years passed, and though many things about me changed, I never let go of that old anger that I felt, looking up at that ceiling that seemed so high to the six-year-old boy, and thinking, I don’t want to be here. I remember asking in Kindergarten, how long kids have to go to school, and they said that you have to do it for twelve years. Frequently during my time in school, I would make a mental note of how many years were left, I’m sure I’m not the only one to have done that. By the time I’d reached twelfth grade, I was just ready for the damn thing to be over. My mom and everyone else pressured me to go to college, but I didn’t care about college, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, and it hadn’t occurred to me yet that I was now grown up, and it was too late to give it any more thought. Obviously you don’t need a major picked out when you start college, but still, I was entirely, completely aimless.

I knew I wanted to write, I’d like to be a novelist. But a college education doesn’t get you a publishing deal. I knew I loved playing music, even though I was still just an amateur, but a college education certainly doesn’t get you a recording contract. I knew I loved playing video games, but the process by which someone becomes an actual video game designer involves a lot of technical proficiency and training in computer coding, which wasn’t what I was interested in. So where was I supposed to go?

I said I was going to take a year off. My mom was more willing to allow a summer off, or even a half a year.

I graduated in May. I met a boy right around the same time. A month later he broke my heart, and I sunk into the most intense heartbreak I’ve ever felt. For three months, my world was nothing but tears, longing, and intense, burning loneliness. My only life preserver was a friend who lived too far away for me to possibly visit (funnily enough, it would be easy now, he was only a five hour car journey away, but five hours in a car is an impossibility when you have no vehicle, license, or driving experience), and I had no desire to go to school. My mom pressured me to get a job, but the only thing I could imagine that would be worse than going to school again would be working a job. Standing behind a counter serving food to people, or ringing people up at a register, day in and day out, an endless boring tedium with no reward except for money that’s only used to sustain you so you can go back to working the pointless job.

In December, I met another guy. He was a couple of years older than me. We had sex within an hour of meeting, on that same mattress where I’d rolled around a couple years before with the first guy to ever kiss me, and I lost my virginity. He sat down on my cock and I gasped at the unexpected feeling. I had no idea it would feel like this. He lay on his stomach and I pumped into him, collapsing beside him, my head swimming. He held me.

I felt so guilty.

I didn’t really like this guy. We didn’t have much in common. But I’d just done this with him. I was lying to him, wasn’t I? I was giving him something I didn’t really want to give to him, but it was done and it couldn’t be undone now. I was immediately conflicted. What was I supposed to feel?

He took me home with him, back to his house. We spent the weekend together. I found myself crying uncontrollably several times. This was wrong, this was all wrong. I didn’t love this guy, I didn’t even like him. But here we were, fucking again and again. And I was insatiable. I was eighteen, and I’d tasted real sex for the first time, and my body wanted more, as much as I could possibly handle and then some. I pumped myself inside of him over and over, delighting in our size difference (he was a foot taller than me and thicker around, and much stronger), but when I was inside of him I unlocked a power that existed through pure adrenaline, and his body was mine to move around, to pick up and and to hold, to lift and to fall over onto, and to roll around with. And our lips kept meeting, and our cocks kept touching and going in one another’s mouth, and I reveled in the curiosity I felt to toward his uncircumcised cock, the likes of which I’d never touched before, and he laid me out naked on his body and covered me in massage oil and rubbed my whole body. But when we weren’t fucking, I was crying, because I knew this was wrong, I knew that I didn’t know this guy at all, and that I wasn’t really interested in him.

But I couldn’t help feeling a need for him, and uncontrollable need to be near him, and when he dropped me off at home, it was torture to be separated from him. So I was caught in an endless cycle of pain and despair: being away from him was unbearable, I needed to have him close to me, but when we were together, I knew that I didn’t really care about him. But still, I needed to touch him, to fuck him, to kiss him, to hold him close. I was caught in a situation that had no way out. I could stop seeing him, but that was unthinkable, it would hurt even more than being away from him or being near him.

My obsessive compulsive disorder kicked in harder than it ever had or ever has since. I would word-vomit everything I was thinking, often saying incredibly mean and hurtful things to him because I felt the obsessive need to be completely honest with him, and told him how confused I was, how I didn’t like him, but I didn’t think he was attractive, but how I did like him, how I did think he was attractive. It was all completely paradoxical, utter nonsensical ramblings. I called my best friend and talked in circles for hours and hours, and he listened attentively, and patiently. A month went by. I told my new half-boyfriend that we should just be friends. He was heartbroken, so was I. He called my crying, he missed me. I missed him too.

Two years went by. Two years in which we continued this abusive cycle. I didn’t want to be with him, but now I was used to him, now I needed him. He wanted to be with me but I was psychologically abusing him without meaning to, because of the combination of my intense anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and misguided need to be honest with him, brutally honest, about everything. He lived with his father. I lived with them too, though they insisted I just visited a lot. But I only ever went my mother’s house for a day or two a week. I cleaned up my half-boyfriend’s house, and I went to my mom’s house on the weekends, because now he was actually dating his ex-boyfriend, and still seeing me at the same time.

I got jealous. My jealously over his ex-boyfriend was greater than my love for him, but I wasn’t ready to admit that to myself. I asked him to be my boyfriend, for real this time, and I begged. And eventually, I got what I wanted. There was never a moment when we made it official, but there was a moment when it was understood. It was a terrible relationship. He had become abusive as well. He spit on me, he pissed on me in the shower, despite me asking him not to, he called me names, he didn’t listen or show attention or affection to me, and when we decided to open our relationship up so that we could flirt with other guys and invite them in for three-ways, he began spending our time together on his phone, flirting with guys instead of paying attention to me, many of whom were underage high-schoolers, but I really wasn’t ready to deal with that fact yet. He called me one night, drunk, and asked permission to go on a date with a seventeen year old. I wasn’t used to him showing me emotion, so I tried not to pass judgement on him, I just told him that what he was doing wasn’t healthy for any of us, and he shouldn’t go. But he wanted to anyway. I told him that it wasn’t my place to tell him what he could or couldn’t do, but truthfully I knew that once he went to see this guy, my feelings would be forever changed, and he did, and they were.

I developed severe agoraphobia, and rolling panic attacks that lasted throughout the day. I was only comfortable when I was inside, preferably with a video game, or with music, or something else to occupy me. I didn’t like my mind to be quiet, because then I was forced to think about what a sham this whole relationship was, what a liar I was for pretending to love him, and how angry I was at him for the way he treated me, not to mention how angry I was at myself for the way I treated him, and for allowing myself to come this far into something I’d have been better off leaving behind a long time ago.

When we broke up, two years had passed, and now I was twenty, and I had severe agoraphobia. I couldn’t start college because I needed to have a job, and I couldn’t get a job because I couldn’t go outside without having a panic attack. I started taking medication, which opened up my life and gave me possibilities again, but I still needed a job. My mom kicked me out and I lived with a lesbian couple for a few months, I found a job but I didn’t get a chance to start it because they kicked me out too, and now I lost my insurance and my medication, so I was withdrawing from it, while staying with a new boyfriend in another state. I couldn’t find a new job and we were starving, so I asked to come home, and my mom let me. The first thing I did was cheat on my boyfriend with my ex, and that relationship ended. Now I was back to where I started, and even more alone and confused than ever.

My family moved to Georgia, and after spending months moping and feeling sure that now that I was twenty-one and still had no job and no future, there was no hope for me. I began to regret not going to college. I wanted to know what it was like to be surrounded by people, to be in a pool of people which is known for containing many gay people and having a lot of potential sexual partners. I wanted the opportunity to drink or do drugs, to fuck new guys, to make friends, to feel wanted, but instead I lived in a camper in my mother’s back yard. I hadn’t stopped my abusive habit of meeting a guy, and then holding on to him even when I didn’t have feelings for him, dragging us both along and tearing us both up in the process.

I met a new boyfriend and had the same doubts I always did. After a couple months my family moved back to the Carolinas and I moved in with my boyfriend’s family, and we lived in a shabby trailer with no food and not much in the way of transportation, both of us aimless. He quit school to be with me, giving up his future as a teacher. We slept all day, played video games all night, sometimes we kissed, even rarer were the moments when we fucked. I hadn’t been very attracted to him at first, and had continued my upsetting habit of being brutally honest about that, which of course only hurt his feelings. The funny thing was I was now very attracted to him, and the more time went by the more beautiful he became to me, until I loved every inch of his body. He wasn’t as affectionate or as sexual as I was, but we shared video games a common interest, and we supplemented any actual growth or connection or work we might do in our relationship with playing video games for endless hours.

Another year had passed and now I was twenty-two. How had so much time gone by so fast? We moved in with my family, and both found jobs, then moved in with a roommate. College was still out of the question, I had to pay rent, how could I possibly go to college at the same time? My chance to go live in a college dorm, surrounded by friends and potential lovers, going to parties or having fun, spending my time learning, was gone. I had to work now.

We broke up. Another year passed. I was living in the camper again, in a different back yard. My mother told me I wasn’t allowed to come into their house for anything. I was hungry. She cooked dinner in the front yard but didn’t let me have any, and that night she texted me saying she left food for me on the back porch. I expected it to be the dinner they’d cooked, but no, it was half a bag of chips and a bottle of water. I briefly found myself in a three-way relationship with two Pagan guys, but when they wanted to introduce a fourth guy, with whom I shared a mutual animosity, things didn’t work out.

I was twenty-five now. Fuck. So much time had passed and I’d done so little. I was still so aimless. And now I wanted to go to school. The little boy who looked up at the ceiling and wanted to go home didn’t feel the same way anymore. He was still in there, though, home just became a different place. Home was an air-conditioned little building, outside in the yard, where he would sit with his computer and watch television shows and listen to music and watch porn and jerk off, then drive up the street to buy fast food. The eighteen year old who had been a hundred and seventy pounds had become the twenty five year old who was two hundred and sixty pounds, and who, though I didn’t know it yet, was developing type two diabetes.

Some friends stepped in and saved me. I packed what I could into a suitcase and a computer back, put on my heavy leather coat, and got on a train bound for Delaware. Zack showed up at the train station and took me home with him. I spent those first few months crying, having breakdowns, terrified I’d have to go back to my mother. Zack would hold me and promise me it would never be like that again.

I still couldn’t go to college, because I had to find work. I found a full-time job, I had a car, I had a smartphone and insurance, I was actually succeeding in life, for the first time. But my anxiety remained. I made things worse than they needed to be, and I gave up. I quit the job, and bounced between part-time jobs afterward. I found another full-time job in a pawn shop in the bad area of town sandwiched right between the liquor store and the homeless shelter, and I loathed going to work. I was exhausted. I was so exhausted. And now I’d learned I had diabetes. And my anxiety medication was failing me. And I didn’t know what to do next.

I decided to go back to my mom’s house voluntarily, so as not to be a strain on my roommates anymore. On the second day I realized it was a huge mistake and asked Zack and his husband if I could come home. They let me, but I just get jumping from job to job again, and with tears in his eyes, Robert told me that it was time for me to go. I packed my things again, and I came to South Carolina.

Where I still am. That was November. I’m twenty seven now. I was eighteen, and then suddenly… I’m twenty seven. I’m twenty seven and I’m two hundred and forty pounds, and I’m still no closer to achieving success. I still have no degree. I still can only hope to find a job in food service, or retail, or if I’m lucky, a call center or maybe office work (the latter of which I would like very much). I’m still writing, I’m still making music, I’m still playing video games. My novel has been written and unwritten in my head a million times over the past five years, while scraps of it exist in reality, pieces torn from different versions of the story, a hundred-thousand words of notes and concepts and scenes and old drafts. But the book is still not written. And as for my songs, it’s taken me ten years to write less than ten songs. Most of them are just ideas, floating around. There are mountains of poetry, and for that I’m glad. And there’s this blog. There’s seven years of this blog. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of words, expressing who I am.

I’m proud of that. I’m proud of this blog, of my writing, of my music, and of who I am. But the fact remains that I’m still in my mother’s house. And I’m tired of that. I just can’t live that way anymore. Sometimes, this compels me to work harder. Most often it depresses me, and I sink into my bed, which of course isn’t really MY bed at all, it’s a bed in my mother’s house, and I sigh. Because I’ve wasted so much time.

It’s never too late, I know. But still… I’m so far behind. There is so much I could have done. If I had been responsible, I’d still be in Delaware, working a full time job and making something of my life, even if I were only doing school part time or online. But no, I’m here. And it’s hot, and I’m sweating, and I woke up this morning feeling like absolute shit. There’s a boy who I love, and he lives in England, and he gave me two weeks together, and held me in his arms, and he made love to me, and he talks to me every day. But he has his own path, and there’s nothing I can do to place myself on that path right now. He’s going to teach English in another country, and I can’t go with him because I don’t have a valid reason to go to another country. And besides, what would I do there?

I’m still lost. I’m still aimless. I’ve still done so little.

So I’m sitting here at a coffee shop, and I’m putting in job applications. And I’m thinking about what comes next. I’m trying not to think about the misery I feel when I realize how trapped I still am, how incapable I am of caring for myself, how much I’ve failed. And I know plenty of people will tell me I’m not a failure, and I accept that, but I HAVE failed. I’ve failed at so much. I accomplished other things, and my failures were lessons in themselves, that taught me about life, but I’ve still failed. And truthfully, my anxiety still has me just barely hanging in there. And how can I possibly hope for some hero to swoop in and save me a second time? Zack gave me a chance and I failed him, and failed myself.

I failed those guys who I tried to love, but I failed in loving them, and maybe I haven’t really learned what love is, maybe I’m still learning how to love someone in a functional way, what love is really like. Maybe we all try to recreate our first love, and all love we feel is a dim reflection of first love that is sometimes brighter than it was the day before.

For now, all I can say is that here I am. I can’t know what happens next. I guess I can just keep hoping, and keep making tiny steps. And maybe that’s enough for this day, and for this hour.

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Some Random Facts About Me

I am gay. I am attracted to both cisgender and transgender males. As far as I know there isn’t a specific classification for this, because it isn’t pansexual since I’m not attracted to trans females. I think I shall call it Ultimate Level Gay

I identify as non-binary gender with a leaning towards male.

I am a Hufflepuff

I play piano

I’m a Baritone, though I was a Bass 2 in high school chorus

I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder

As a child I had Deinophobia (fear of dinosaurs), Mysophobia (fear of contamination by dirt or germs), and I was also afraid of words that began the letter “T”

I was raised by Christians but it never took, I went through an incredibly religious Christian phase, then became Pagan, and finally became an “IDGAF Atheist”

I am left handed

The first time I tried to write a novel I was twelve, the villain was a leviathan who could transform into a human and controlled water, and the book was called Horizon Zero. For exactly no reason whatsoever. I was twelve.

As a child my favorite movie was Little Mermaid. I used to put my legs into a pillowcase to be my fin, and sit at the coffee table and pretend I was Ariel singing on the rock in the sea. I even pushed my chest out the way she does.

My all time favorite album is Boys For Pele by Tori Amos

I put so much cream in my coffee that it usually turns cold

My guilty pleasure artist is Nicki Minaj. As an artist I find her reprehensible, but I know every word to Stupid Hoe and Roman’s Revenge.

I can name every Madonna album in chronological order, including the compilations

My favorite classical musician is Mozart, and my two favorite pieces are Lacrimosa and Rondo alla Turca

I hate plain chocolate ice cream

The first five albums I ever received, in order, were: Oops! I Did It Again (Britney Spears), Beware of Dog (Lil Bow Wow), Unleash the Dragon (Sisqo), In The Zone (Britney Spears), and The Very Best of Cher

The first anime I ever watched from beginning to end was Pretear

I want to be a writer, and an English major, even though I failed Creative Writing and English 12 in high school. In fairness, I failed those classes because I was lazy and refused to finish my work, not because I’m bad at those subjects.

Aside from the normal everyday colors you learn in grade school, I learned all of my intermediate colors (like Aquamarine, Teal, Periwinkle, etc.) from Microsoft Works Word Processor

I once tried to write a fanfiction novel based on Kingdom Hearts called Kingdom Spades (I didn’t come up with the name, my best friend at the time insisted upon it). Interestingly, I invented Drive Mode in my story before I saw it in Kingdom Hearts II.

I’m hypersexual. A therapist told me this. That’s how I know it’s true. Also, ask my ex-boyfriends, they will confirm.

My first crush was Nick Carter, followed by Lance Bass, Tom Felton, and Liam Aiken. Clearly I had a thing for twinks when I was a kid.

In a related story, I dyed my hair blonde when I was eleven because of my crush on Draco Malfoy

I once lived with a Presbyterian Minister and his family for two months. I convinced his son (who was the same age as me, by the way) to play “you show me yours I’ll show you mine.” On several different occasions.

My favorite animals are pigs, rats and cows

The first song I ever learned completely to play on piano, through sheet music and without any help, was Hello by Evanescence

My first date was the movie Juno. The movie sucked, but I did get to hold the guy’s hand and make out with him in his car afterward.

The first guy I ever had sex with was someone I had met an hour before.

When I was eighteen, I went through a severe depression and identity crisis in which I destroyed everything I’d ever written, including close to two-hundred poems, three novels I was writing, and all journal/blog entries I’d ever written.

The first boy I ever kissed was cheating on his boyfriend with me. I knew this going in but I didn’t care. For the record, it was an amazing kiss, and my heart was broken for months when he chose his boyfriend over me.

The song that makes me happiest is Watchin’ by Freemasons

(EDIT 2/18/16: I’m going to overrule myself here and say that the song that makes me happiest is Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox)

The song that makes me saddest is The Bed Song by Amanda Palmer

(EDIT 2/18/16: Overruling myself again, there are a LOT of songs I could choose but I think Iris by Goo Goo Dolls is the song that makes me saddest)

If I ever get a tattoo, I want it to be lyrics. Most likely the chorus of Iris by Goo Goo Dolls

When I was fifteen I had an online pseudonym of Roku Matsamura

I have a fear of heights with one exception. From the time I was twelve until fifteen I used to play on an old rickety abandoned railroad bridge above a river, complete with loose boards, huge holes in the bridge, and I even did this during winter when the whole thing was slick with ice. I was not afraid.

I once fell in love with a fictional character from a television show. And I mean that I really and genuinely believed we were together.

I had two imaginary friends throughout my teenage years. Their names were Lance and Max. They originated as my “good” and “evil” sides, but it was more like “naughty” and “nice” sides. Lance was the naughty, foul-mouthed one, he was tall with blonde spiky hair, and Max had shoulder-length straight brown hair. Over time, Lance became the only one to usually speak, while Max was constantly somber and emotional. Eventually, I went through a bad breakup and told them to go away. I didn’t see them much after that, but the last time I spoke to them they were in love with one another and were together as a couple.

When I was fourteen, my best friend was a stuffed dog. I talked to it, took it from room to room with me, and slept with it.

I have acid reflux and can burp on command.

I become a complete needy emotional baby when I’m sick. It’s best if I’m in a relationship during these times, and woe betide the poor boy who has to take care of me.

I’m incredibly clingy with friends and especially with boyfriends.

I have a fantasy of a boy whispering sweet nothings into my ear in German.

The first gay-themed movie I ever saw was a German film called Sommersturm

When I see dead animals in the road, I think about coming back with a shovel and burying them in the woods.

The earliest video game I can remember playing in Super Mario Bros, followed by Mega Man 2.

My favorite series of novels as a kid was A Series of Unfortunate Events

Part of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder was that I used to go through phases of taping sitcoms and watching the episodes over and over and over again. I taped and watched every single episode of Seinfeld ever made, and watched them so many times I knew them word for word. Strangely, I never actually found the show funny.

One of my all-time favorite video games is Breath of Fire III. I’ve played it many times but never actually beaten it. Maybe I don’t want it to end.

My favorite musical is Into the Woods (the original stage version, not the Disney film)

As a kid my favorite television show was Dragonball Z, and I used to read a magazine called Beckett Dragonball Collector

In my opinion, the greatest video game system ever made was the Sega Dreamcast

My favorite fictional witches are, in ascending order of awesomeness: Luna Lovegood, Myrtle Snow, Elphaba Thropp, and The Witch (portrayed by Bernadette Peters in Into the Woods)

 

I attribute my creativity, love of fantasy and adventure, and love of music, to Final Fantasy VII.

On a similar note, the next few facts are going to be all Final Fantasy related. I first learned to play piano so that I could play songs from Final Fantasy VII.

I have never played through Final Fantasy VIII without using Zell Dincht in my party, primarily because I’ve pretty much always had a crush on him.

I have spent something like two-hundred to three-hundred hours playing Final Fantasy XIII, and have never once voluntarily included Snow in my party.

Fran from Final Fantasy XII is one of my all-time favorite Final Fantasy characters, and one of the first songs I ever composed on piano was inspired by Fran’s feelings about leaving the forest.

I’m obsessed with the concept of Mages, particularly their color sorting, with differently coloured mages having access to different spells (black mages cast offensive spells, white mages can heal, green mages can affect stats and both positive and negative statuses, etc.) This system was a big part of what inspired the novel I’m currently writing.

My two favorite fictional heroes are Lightning Farron from Final Fantasy XIII and Ellen Ripley from Alien

I wish people had tails, similar to Zidane from Final Fantasy IX and Goku from Dragonball Z. I think they would be useful, fun, and could be an interesting erogenous zone.

My favorite Final Fantasy villain is Kuja.

My favorite Powerpuff Girl is Bubbles

My favorite female name is Bronwen

My favorite male name is Oliver. Or Wolfgang. I’m not sure I have a difficult time making decisions.

I am generally very indecisive. I’ve spent days not beginning video games because I couldn’t decide what to name my characters.

Bout Of Books August 2014: Update #2 (And An Unexpected Rant About The State Of Video Games As An Art Form)

Bout of Books 11

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I admit, I’m a little disheartened. I have had a very tough time living up to the goals I set for myself at the beginning of this week. I have not read every day, nor have I read for at least an hour per day, and my updates have been kind of sporadic. I also didn’t start at the beginning of a book, and I will by no means get through two by the end of the week. In short, I failed at all my original goals. However, as my friend who got me into participating in the read-a-thon pointed out, “If’ you’re reading at all, you haven’t failed.” So, since this is a no-pressure read-a-thon, I am once again amending my goals. My new goal is to simply read something this week, and I want to finish the book I’m currently reading, which shouldn’t bee too difficult because I’m about seventy percent of the way through it.

In my defense, I have been busy this week with work and with writing, as I’ve begun writing my novel for the second time (the first one turned out to be a false start with completely separate characters who had nothing to do with the plot of my book, so they’ll get their own story sometime if I ever come back to them). I’ve also had my hands full with playing some awesome video games. As much as I do love literature, video games are my first love, and though I do sometimes overload myself on them, I always come back to them.

As weird as it sounds, playing video games is actually a creative outlet for me. I don’t know how, because I’m not really creating anything that can be shared, other than a save file, but throughout my life when I’ve felt the need to create flowing through me, the desire to write, to draw, to make music, I have found video games to be a great release. I get all that creative energy out customizing my characters (since I tend to gravity almost always toward role-playing games, particularly those with “Final Fantasy” in their name) and battling enemies and immersing myself in a deep story. It’s a part of why I feel very passionately that video games are an entirely legitimate art form, comparable and sometimes far superior to novels or films, because the experience is both thrilling AND personally engaging. Unfortunately, games like the Call of Duty franchise have not only lowered the bar so much that many game designers just pump out horrible crap that makes millions of dollars, but it’s also given a false impression of video games as a whole, and there are people in the world who think video games are still just beep-boop-bop noisemakers with PacMan on them, or that they’re all shooting games where people blow each other’s heads off. The amazing creativity, lush and beautiful art and music composition, and engaging systems of battle and play in games like the Final Fantasy series or Journey (which is as much a masterpiece as any video game ever produced) are completely ignored by most of the world, both gaming and non-gaming, because many gamers only play shooters or massive multiplayer online games, or “western RPGs” that are nothing but glorified shooters with slight RPG elements thrown into the mix.

But anyhow, my new goal is to finish The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice (or any novel, for that matter) by the end of the week. Wish me luck!

Kingdom Hearts: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Etc.

I feel that I should preface this with a warning that this is an angry rant. While a lot of the things I said are completely true, and Kingdom Hearts storyline can get very convoluted, that doesn’t mean that I hate the series, or even the individual games. I think that there are a lot of positive aspects to Kingdom Hearts, the characters are loveable and the music is beautiful, the situations are moving and it’s easy to see why the game has such a large fan base, which has for a long time included myself. I do enjoy Kingdom Hearts, and I’ve liked every Kingdom Hearts game I’ve played, the points I made here were all based on my anger at how repetitive the games have gotten, even though each has a unique storyline, but it was the recycling of the places, scenarios, and abilities that bothered me so much.

I just need to take a moment to rant for a second. The new Kingdom Hearts game (Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance) is coming out soon, and I was watching this video where the guys at Square Enix unbox the game, and the first thing that one of them said was that if people had been waiting on a follow-up to Kingdom Hearts II, this is it.

I want to just go ahead and say that when Kingdom Hearts came out when I was like fourteen, I was amazed. I was so excited to see my favorite Final Fantasy characters again (especially Cloud, who at that time had never appeared anywhere other than his original game, because this is before Square Enix started trying to cash in on the Final Fantasy VII fandom with all of their spin-off games), I loved the story, the opening theme song was amazing, and I had a lot of fun playing the game. When the first sequel, Chain of Memories for the Game Boy Advance, was released, I played it and had a lot of fun with it. It introduces a lot of new characters that you’re going to meet in the second Kingdom Hearts game, it refreshes your memory of the events of Kingdom Hearts, and the battle system was a lot of fun.

Then Kingdom Hearts II was released. Again, I was beyond excited and fanboying all over the place, and when I got the game I had a lot of fun, but this is when the plot of the series really began to branch off into the silly and unbelievable, and a few sequels later the plot of the series has completed it’s descent into absolutely ridiculous. In the first game, the enemies were the Heartless who steal people’s hearts. That made sense, it was fun, it was a good concept to tie-in the Disney worlds. Then, beginning with Kingdom Hearts II, every game pretty much introduces a new version of the Heartless, in the second game they’re the Nobodies. When someone loses their heart, they become a Heartless, but their body left behind becomes a Nobody, and a persons heart can go into another person and a person can have two hearts inside of them becuase of that and you can unlock someone’s heart and you can turn them into a heartless but then their Nobody is created and…

It’s just ludicrous. It’s lazy plot design. It’s like the creators didn’t really try at all. The main concept of the game is that the main character, Sora, is the “Keyblade master”, but you learn that his friend Riku is ALSO a keyblade master, and then King Mickey is ALSO a keyblade master, and then Sora’s nobody, Roxas, is ALSO a keyblade master who somehow inexplicably has two keyblades, and then later on in the series another girl named Xion who is kind of the half-Nobody of Sora’s friend Kairi, but Kairi never became a Heartless because she gave her heart to Sora, but Namine is also her Nobody, and Xemnas, who is the Nobody of Xehanort, whose Heartless is Ansem, who is fused with Riku, who lost his heart but isn’t a heartless, wants Xion and Roxas to fuse together to become a different Sora, who…

See? Ludicrous. This is literally the plotline of the games. And we’ve only covered a few of them. It gets much, much worse. To add to this frustration, each “new” title after Kingdom Hearts II has been a rehash of that game, in which you go to the same worlds (such as going to Agrabah and saving Jasmine from Jafar, going to Wonderland and saving Alice from the Queen of Hearts), do the same things, and they even recycle the music too! The enemies are usually recycled, and while in every new game they do add some new tracks and villains, it’s always just lazy ways of recreating the same already confusing story from the first two games. The way you can tell is the main theme of the game: in the first game, Utada Hikaru recorded a song called Hikari (or it’s English version, Simple and Clean), and it’s used for the first game and it’s Game Boy Advance spin-off (along with aforementioned spin-off’s Playstation 2 remake), and in the second game, Utada Hikaru returned to record Passion (or it’s English version, Sanctuary), which has, as far as I can tell, appeared in every Kingdom Hearts game since as the main theme.

It’s just unbelievable to me that Square and Disney are really making money by remaking the same game over and over! The plot is absolutely ludicrous, the characters come and go and don’t really matter to the overall story arc (if such a thing exists), the adventure is exactly the same in almost every game (even in Kingdom Hearts II, you still traveled to a lot of the worlds you went to and supposedly solved the problems of in the first game), and you have to listen to the same music for the places you go and enemies you fight. I am just confounded with this series’ popularity, surely I can’t be the only person to notice how ridiculous it is, but beyond that, how each new game is just the same game with slight variations, a couple new enemies thrown in and a terrible twist on the same already unbelievable plot. Then you have the “final mix” versions of the original two games, which add in more story, weapons, and challenges, but ultimately give you important storyline info you can’t get in the original, and you can’t even purchase these versions of the game in English!

For the final count, this is how it adds up: Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories, Re:Chain of Memories, and Kingdom Hearts “Final Mix,” for a total of one Kingdom Hearts and three spin-offs for that game. Then there’s Kingdom Hearts II, 358/2 Days, Coded, Re:Coded, Birth By Sleep, 3D: Dream Drop Distance, and Kingdom Hearts II “Final Mix,” for a total of one Kingdom Hearts II and six spin-offs for that game. That means you’re getting eleven games for the price of two. And yet, people keep eating it up.

It’s not an awful series, in fact the two main installments are pretty good, and I’ve enjoyed playing them (despite having a big lack of replay value for me personally because not much changes throughout the story), but the fact is that nine of these games are remakes or recycled versions of the original two, and no one seems to notice that they’re spending a ton of money to get the same game over and over again. It makes me mad because it’s lazy game design, and an attempt to get money out of people who like the originals without having the decency to MAKE A NEW GAME.

Supposedly there’s been talk of a Kingdom Hearts III somewhere far off in the distance, but when will that be? After they’ve milked Kingdom Hearts II for another three or four titles? They’re even releasing 3D: Dream Drop Distance on the ten-year anniversary of the first game, and still after ten years, there have only been two genuine titles. I don’t know why it bothers me so much, it just seems unfair to people who enjoyed the first two games to ruin them with all of the ludicrous and unnecessary plot, and keep recycling them again and again without creating a NEW adventure for the players.

As a final note, I would like to say that I personally have enjoyed a lot of the Kingdom Hearts titles. I haven’t said that they aren’t fun games, and I can clearly see why someone would buy a game, even if it IS a rehash of the last game, because the enjoyed the last game so much. But I cannot respect it. It’s just like with music: there are a lot of musicians that I like, but don’t respect (i.e. Britney Spears), and there are a lot of musicians that I respect, but don’t personally enjoy (i.e.  U2). I think that it is a franchise’s responsibility to their fans (especially one ran by Square Enix and Disney, both beloved companies known for superior and original products ) to create respectable games, ones in which a player is given something new to work with, not a slightly tweaked version of the original. It may still be fun, but it certainly doesn’t earn my respect as a player and as a customer.