To Be Thankful

This writing started near the end of Thanksgiving, which I spent alone in my apartment because I was going to have my family gathering on the upcoming Saturday. It has only been finished now because it’s a hell of a long piece and an emotionally invested one at that. Emotions are hard to translate into language and quantify in general, and the pauses between understanding what needs to be said about them and the crippling sensations they give tend to add up. But finished it I have, and it’s likely the only thing of worth that came from me this whole holiday season. *shiver*

Despite the obvious, this piece of writing isn’t Thanksgiving, Christmas, or even New Year related, though it could be said to have arisen as an idea when another talked about being thankful. I never undertook the idea because it was too large and over the top, and certainly not my style (never be a bother, hide in room, only communicate if it’s absolutely necessary, etc.). However, due to my life crumbling into depths I dreaded it could go, changing how I think, act and cope needs to become centric for survival. So why the hell not take on the one idea which could properly let the world know what I’m thankful for? I may not get another chance.

This will likely give some people a fright, because the opposite is usually the one thing people chose when thinking on what they’re thankful for: I am not thankful for being alive. If anything I’m annoyed by the matter. I’ve lived a stunted existence long enough to know I’ll always falter behind my peers, issues of trust have steadily grown into a feeling of constant pain when around others, and my self worth couldn’t be lower. You could call me out on anything which puts me in a horrible light, and I would likely find logic to agree with you. The anxiety from all this has only continued to bring about my downfall. My life sucks, and to be clear it’s from every fault of my own. Weaker people would seek fault in others, but I’ve never been one to shit on people for things I could have fixed with but a single change of heart and committed work. There’s no one to blame but me and my own inept self.

So what can one with a foul existence be thankful for? Those around them I suppose, but given I’ve secluded myself for over three months now, and when you consider those I’ve neglected even before then…well, there aren’t that many people around to be seen. Once again a fault of my own, even if the social anxiety and other shortcomings were in the way, because I could have worked through it. Can still? Maybe. It’s hard to come back from such a dark place that I am in, because I honestly don’t know who to go to for assistance. Obvious responses are to go to a medical facility which specializes in mental health, but if I can’t give my trust to those I’m supposed to, why give it to complete strangers? Though that’s more prior logic then current, so I’ll have to adapt that?

Those I have let into my life likely wonder why they are left out of the loop, at least that’s what I think they would say if I just bothered to ask. But the fact they are there at all is something I am ever thankful for, yet I have no idea how to express. The weight of the beauty those around me have to offer is without limit, and given there’s a whole world outside of whatever you could call my “social circle”…the act of being thankful is taken far too seriously, and I usually end up never give thanks at all (or at least in a way that feels adequate to me, as in never). Whatever my broken self could give would never be enough to level the debt I feel instilled into me.

This debt has continually been building into an ocean of regret as I continue to falter. Every droplet is just a piece of a bigger relation, and tending to just it or even the whole relationship seems pointless when one looks at the ocean it’s within. Having to pick and choose which relation has more meaning has hurt me beyond comprehension, more so when it’s noted the time you waste means another bond is being broken. From all this I lack the energy to reach out to those around me, and thus never build something which feels safe and worthwhile to me.

So I can’t possibly give thanks to just one person in my life, but all of them, lest I forget someone who will likely never give a care for me again. I realize that doesn’t make much sense, but that’s what I feel (felt?), and is thus the point of this writing: To give thanks to all I could manage in one go. Not repay the full debts I perceive with them, which is impossible, but to note the impression they have left on me. Yes, this is the equivalent of a giant Christmas card to a large group of people, you have every right to call me on it. On why I couldn’t just write Christmas cards instead…I got nothing. I’ve never been one to act “normal” either, so whatever. Will see where this takes me like all my other stupid actions.

Below is everyone I’m thankful for listed in alphabetical order rather than anything that denotes value, because again the importance of what one has done for you cannot possibly be quantified. I tried to keep the list as slim as possible to those who have brought impact into my current life within the past year (or that which I could recall in my current state of mind). However, it’s hard to keep people out when you know they are a part of where you came from. Moving on.

Alexis – Randomly finding you through YouTube has been a great blessing, and I’m glad to have committed to communicating with you when something else told me not to bother and give energy to another friend who deserved validation. It’s hard to find people willing to invest time in the entertainment you create, and more so those who care to say more than just a few words. That we managed to keep it going long enough to discover how our interwebs connect is nothing short of amazing. Be safe in the coming months, because it is just the start of things, good with the bad, but more than likely worthwhile. You know what I speak on.

Amanda – Now that I’m living in the city you used to call home for a few years, I can understand the appeal and zest for life it can give. Has given you. Or did you always have it? We made a few comments about eventually taking the city hostage or something of the sort, but we never really do anything that isn’t planned for us through family. Ever upset by that, because it’s always good to see you smile, and one would think that would be enough to push someone along to communicate more. However it goes, your spirit has kept me going, so please don’t lose it.

Amanda – Making the magic happen is hard work, though working through it with you made it more fun than actual work. For all I know you wanted to throw something at my head every time I said, “Love and peace!” in response to frustrations you were having, but it’s all good. You’ve otherwise gave me and the rest focus through it all, and getting fired from my job allowed me to give more time to the process, and was the best thing ever…strange as that sounds. If all else, let it be known you’re deserving of more than just “french toast” as a means to make up for a gathering you should have been part of to begin with. Maybe this can be “remedied” in the future, but should that never happen, you have my words.

Amon – I don’t think I’ve ever followed a game designer as closely as you. For some reason your work has caught hold on this curious fellow, and I tend to obsess if you’ve managed to “make it” with whatever wonders you happen to be working on. I refer others to you when talk about poor games come round, because what you make is simple to pick up yet complex enough to keep coming back. There are big budget games whose entertainment is abysmal, and you create better games on just what you can manage…which apparently isn’t much. Shame! You got a fan in me, and I’m certain I can turn a few people onto your work soon enough. You be deserving of that and more.

Arden – It’s always the strange quirks of others which pique my interest, and you have plenty of them. I can always expect to see your hair styled a certain way, a wonderful smile when something makes you happy or even nervous, and dammit does seeing you create “surprise art” make me smile. You’re a fascinating bundle of an individual, and for that alone your make me happy. Now keep kicking ass, you hear?

Ben – You were given a lot of crap through the years I’ve known you, and you certainly put forth effort to make things work out. Through it all I’ve kept my hopes up for you that things would come to balance, and they did (in a fashion). Would have liked to have seen more from you, because there were indeed some surprising moments when you did manage to take initiative. Keep on with the effort, because yeah this life be hard with the missteps we take, but they teach us if we allow it.

Ben – Finding someone to talk to about films, YouTube, and anything tangentially related to those topics is hard to find. That we had a few moments to do as such makes me happy enough, and saying more than that makes me feel a little weird. At the very least, expect me to throw some money at you for your previous works at some point, especially the one for my clone. Or I’m a clone of. Whatever.

Beretta – How and why in the heck have I managed to follow you this long through the years? I honestly got nothing for you on that. But it’s been a good investment on my part, because the show you have been working on for over a year now has entertained me a lot through my dark times. Got me to think on things that are of interest to me, and because getting out of my head is likely the best thing for me at this time, thank you. That I manage to be an intermission point in your show is just a curious perk, and I really need to make more because I think you’re running out of episodes to use. Also need to figure if I’m going to a con? If my head is on right. Time will tell!

Beth – Truth be told, I’ve always felt you thought I was an idiot through the years we’ve been around each other, and you’re otherwise too polite to say it to me. But given the constant state of my head, it’s hard to judge what’s genuine or imaginary. Besides, it’s better to believe the positive, and you do always seem to lighten up every room you are in with your manner and smile. It’s enough to put this bundle of negativity at ease. Let it be known I still have that story we hoped to cooperatively write. I wonder what could have become of it if effort was kept on the project? Maybe in the future we’ll be able to have another go at it?

Brian – As a fellow YouTuber who has expressed a means for us to possibly pimp out each others work, we…haven’t done much. I can’t say what it is that’s been keeping you down through it all, though my own failings are apparent. Hopefully we can keep at it, because the music I’ve heard you play really grabs me just as much as the philosophy you ponder and evolve over time. All while smoking from fancy pipes, of course. Just hope you’re pushing through life better than I am, because you got the touch, you got the power after all is said and done. 1980’s lyrics…wow.

Britta – Given our shared employ, you would think it would be something anime related we would geek out over. But no, it’s for an American animator I adore that you just happened to find all on your own, and that knowledge makes me smile. Along with the fact you’re ridiculously adorable at times, to the point I feel like I’m in the midst of a sugar rush just by observing you. I’ve yet to see your fighting spirit thrown in my direction, which I have the feeling can blow my head off if I’m not careful, so hopefully I continue to be on your good side. Please be calm. I haz candies.

Bryan – Time keeps on slipping with me, and despite the otherwise large gaps of it between our meetings, they seem like yesterday. I’m coming to learn this is mostly because my brain is attempting to survive through my troubles with a living that is otherwise filled with nothing but essentials to keep me going. That needs to change, because…well, it sucks. Plus seeing your face and what you always bring forth makes me smile. Otherwise, I have plenty of work you’ve done that needs to be caught up on, as there is plenty I need to share in your direction when I finally get around to finishing it. May it be worthy when it finally comes round.

Casey – You are likely the one man who has pressed me harder than family or any other friend I’ve had. Through your own bouts of madness, you’ve given inspiration and direction to get me out of the messes I’ve always found myself in. Still find myself in. Knowing the path is ever different than walking it, of course, but I keep striving to evolve into something new. Going to make those changes now lest I crumble, and through it you will always be in the back of my mind, Master Pain.

Casey – Were it not for you, a mutual friend wouldn’t have an awesome album, I wouldn’t know about a collective of other artists you work with, and a whole lot of other things behind the scenes wouldn’t be happening if it weren’t for you (going to believe this last bit even if it isn’t true). I may be fairly distant in relation to you, but the effects you’ve had are real. At the very least it’s obvious your music gets to me, so I’m ever looking forward to what may come from you.

Chris – May I be honest and say I knew of you and your work for over a good year before I realized you were actually a talented and funny guy? I always seem to find myself in such circumstances where I put everything new on the back-burner, and when I finally get around to it I kick myself in the head for not realizing I was sitting on gold. I’m just glad to finally be up to speed and can now appreciate what you do in real time (hopefully). May your tech issues end soon enough, because I’m in need of your entertainment like Bruce Dickinson needs more cowbell.

Chris – You and I haven’t been in touch. At all. You have your life and I’m happy you’ve pretty much found your place in the world, and what attempts I’ve made to bridge the gap are laughable. To be honest, we have every reason to drop the friendship given I’ve dropped others for less in the past. You have been kept in my heart through this, however, because you were one of the few who were present for me in a time I have otherwise forgotten. Regardless where it goes from here, thank you for that.

Claudia – You don’t need me to tell you how awesome you are. I’m quite certain the compliments are streaming in like a river. Though maybe that’s just what I feel you are deserving of? But really, you are as punk as any rock star, despite the fact it isn’t your major profession. As made evident in your work, you have appreciation for the music and pop culture of prior decades, all while embracing the new to make for an amazing amalgam. And dammit, if I don’t get you that short film I promised, I may as well surrender and lock myself in a box. Yes, this has been considered. Alright, I have officially gone overboard with the praises here, I’m quite sure. Just keep being. That is all.

Dad – I believe you’re the first I go to when something is really bothering me. As I’m sure you’re aware, you were the first to know I was becoming suicidal. Opening up to someone at that point was a necessity, and you were the only one I felt I could talk to about it to get an outside perspective. You’ve always brought good balance to my head, and that alone makes me thankful enough. The rest shall be considered icing on the cake. Thanks for being an awesome dad…Dad.

Gaby – Your capacity to geek out is astounding, and I’ve had many a good laugh because of you. A shame distance is a bothersome factor, though that’s a lame excuse given how much Internet each of us tend to consume. We never did get to work out any banana shenanigans, crappy poetry art (for the poetry, not the art itself), or even chili pepper roulette, but there’s always hope for “next time”…hopefully? Keep doing what you do, and looking forward to seeing your work unfold.

George – I’ve had the honor of having you be my director in the first acting role I’ve ever undertaken as an adult. Aside from the process being incredibly fun, it jump-started a lot of other theater roles along the way. I don’t understand the reasoning why I was asked to take part, but I’ll save myself the worry and just be glad the ride was had at all. Mostly because I would beat whatever worth I have into the ground, because it ever feels undeserving. So really, thanks for giving me the chance.

James – If it wasn’t apparent before now, you were idolized in my youth, which likely didn’t help our relationship when the title of “adult” was thrust upon me. You were the one who introduced me to anime, a wider selection of video games, and ideas I would otherwise not think on if you weren’t presenting them. Obviously things have gone south for both of our lives, but you’re still the guy that gave a lot to me in my youth. I’m hoping you’re treating yourself well, and that we can both pull our asses out of the fire to make something awesome in the future. I believe there’s still plenty to be shared between us, so…let’s see what the future has in store for us. Other than more bullshit, that is. Peace!

Jan – There’s only one Ryan Gosling in this world, and many a man would give a chance to be him if just for a moment. Given I had the chance to play as Ryan Gosling in a short play because of you, I feel exceptionally lucky. Don’t think I had the figure for it (lest you were going for that time Ryan drank Häagen-Dazs), but I hopefully pulled off enough confidence, of which I usually have none. A shame I couldn’t come to a later audition for a play you were working upon, though if this post is any indication it’s likely for the best I didn’t. Or would it have kept me going? I don’t know. The resulting play was entertaining regardless, and I’m looking forward to what more can come from you in the future.

Jason – Prepare for awkward: you have the most amazing bald head I’ve seen in person. Ever. Or at least of all the bald heads I’ve recently seen. Not the most proper way to start a dialogue of how you have impressed me, but you have a stage presence that can’t be ignored. I’d be damn lucky to see another show you are part of, because I know I’ve only seen a spectrum of what you can do. I also still have some items you shared with me that need to be checked out, including a convention you are part off. May I ever get up off my ass to appreciate you more in full.

Jason – As someone who has to deal with my shit on a daily basis, I thank you for that. Oh, and giving me the chance to move to Madison at all so I could be closer to you and everyone else I had gotten to know over the past year. That one especially. We have a growing list of movies, games, and projects to catch up on, and it will be a day of celebration if we should just start on the task. May I continue to be tolerable in the coming months, and actually get my head in the game…whatever that should mean.

Jenna – Obvious work involvement as to why you would be thanked, but it’s your personality which comes to mind when I think on ya. Your fighting spirit is known, but it’s ever in contrast to the moments you geek out and also lay praise upon a doll you adore. It’s a window of perspective I’ve yet to see in person, and having the chance to observe that was nice, if for just a little while. Never let go of the goof! It keeps you grounded when things get rough.

Jennifer – Despite my best efforts and flat out reasoning why you should likely leave me alone, you’ve been persistent with communication all the same. It’s been rocky, for sure, and I still don’t know what benefit we gain from our relationship (mostly because of my present moods). But it’s good to know you’ve kept stubborn, because the talks we’ve had have been nice. That something will come from it all shall be seen, but at least it can be said you had a hand in how I’ve become. In a good way! Honest!

Jimmy – You made my friends cry and pushed my mind to a dark and twisted place I never thought I would accept, let alone defend. You are thanked for this, because your world of color and madness is one I’ve felt was in my head for the longest time, but was never personified till I knew of your work. And given the stills seen from When Black Birds Fly, there is a whole lot more to the world you can give. Yes the world and not just me, because I apparently want everyone to be touched by this madness. But it comes from a genuine place of goodwill, so it’s okay? Ever looking forward to seeing WBBF in motion, along with what (if anything) you do with my voice in said film.

Joe – You’ve been a pusher of many things to me: bar/concert shenanigans, returning to school, moving to Madison…well, I did that last item, though I can’t say much for the others. But you always push me to do things with the intention of getting my life in order or just to live it, and having that is quite the blessing. Along with getting me my current job, for without I would likely be sobbing while I crawled out of Madison. You’ve been good to me, and I best give ye proper respect for that. And how have we not gamed with each other on any level yet, despite how much we tend to talk about it? This is a wrong that must be addressed, under punishment of stinky feet. Because death is too severe, while stinky feet is just right. And cruel.

Joey – Were it not for you and my own random lark to take part, I would not be here in Madison right now. Since then some wonderful things have happened, and this is only the start. Now hopefully I don’t blow it? There’s so much to be doing right now, and I ever find myself letting the pieces fall where they lay rather than build something of worth. Only now am I attempting to pick up the pieces and make something of it, and I’ll be damned if I don’t make it work (no, really, I’ll be damned). You’ve opened up my eyes to a world of possibilities I didn’t think was possible, and you deserve more than thanks: you deserve a massage. Let me know when you want to redeem it.

Jordan – I miss you! Plain and simple. Would have liked you to stick around in Wisconsin, but it’s ever your choice where and how you should live, and I’m happy to just know you have found a place to experience love and peace. Best I can do for you at this stage is be a decent Internet friend, of which I haven’t been. Hopefully it can be forgiven and I can be awesome from here on out. And if not…at least it can be said we shared some good moments together. You have indeed given me a collective of first experiences, and they are treasured. Will otherwise be sitting here waiting on your magic, for which I do believe I’m supposed to work on something for you. Patiently I wait like a Snorlax! Except I’m attentive! Yes!

Josh – You are the best Internet friend I have, plain and simple. Given the origin of our friendship, it’s ever amazing we’ve managed to keep it going this long. Our communication has been inconsistent, but the gaps never felt wrong (unless it felt wrong…you know?), given we could begin a talk as if nothing had happened. You’ve been good to me because of that, and I can only hope the same can be said of you. We do have quite the age gap, which should by current society norms make me the teacher rather than an equal, though I’ve never been one to follow the norm. Here’s hoping we can continue to be there for each other in the years to come, if only to punch society in the face.

Josh – I last saw you in the grips on an anxiety attack, which made for a very bad beginning of the rest of your day, I’m sure. But thankfully you were very understanding of what was happening to me, so I’m going to hope not too much resentment is had. What more is to be said about you that I haven’t already mentioned? You’re an insightful and talented guy, and I ever feel shamed I didn’t take advantage of our friendship while you were still within the same state as me. Hopefully I’ll get over myself and realize all I need is to speak with you on a level that let’s you know you’re appreciated. Or something. Dammit, I miss you man. Hope you are well.

Jovon – Your training monkey is happy you are continuing to grow, though is sad to say I’ve gone backward instead of forward. Not just in physical health, but in video production as well, of which you are continuing to make steps with through vlogs, shorts, and communicating with people on the field. Envy is obvious on my part, though I’m still proud to see where you are going. Hoping to walk beside you when I’m back on track, though if it should never happen…well, you keep on walking, you hear? Good things are coming.

Juli – I was a bit all over the place with a production we worked on, but I recall being a child speaking to my adult self in a play you directed, and being a swamp in one you wrote. Those were some mad times, for certain. So mad I think I got a little out of hand sometimes, though you never seemed to mind (too much?). I’ve let myself go a bit since then, and I’m quite fond of the moments had, small that they were. And might I say you play quite the menacing officer, all while having a singing voice that’s a treat to be heard. Any chance I can force you to sing the Ten Thousand Moons From Here song again? Probably too much to ask, but it’s the best way I can say, “thank you,” at this time.

Karen – With your smile, cheerful attitude, and musical talent, one would think I would be a bigger role in your life. Heck! At the very last come to one of your live performances, but no, that hasn’t happened yet. This is something that needs to change, because having you round is a gift that needs to be acknowledged. Next time I know of another live performance, may I not be a depressive butt and come for the show. And there needs to be a shopping day. Dress shopping specifically. Because!

Kat – The last I heard from you is a text sent to my phone almost last year. I’ve communicated hopes of seeing you sporadically over the past few years, because not seeing you since 2007 didn’t feel right, especially given the gap of years even before that point. I honestly have no idea what’s up with you at this time, and I’ve cut relations out of my life for less in the past. I keep attempting to reach out to you (all while understanding how small my attempts usually are) out of pure stubbornness, because you were the first penpal I ever had. And we’re talking even before email was a thing, where after people had no excuse not to get right back to people. Strange that thought. Whatever be happening, the fleeting memories of our shared past are much appreciated, and I hope you are well in the now.

Kathy – I think the last time I saw you in person, you were speaking with my Mom and I had walked in while in the midst of one of my wretched self destructive moments. It didn’t make for a very good conversational moment, for which I do apologize. Let it be known you are like a blazing star that always seems to spout sunshine and hope wherever you should go. That this should be the case of how your life truly is, I don’t know. I just know what it is I see you speak on and share with others, and for that I am thankful.

Keith – Your desire to jump into Dungeons & Dragons as you did was not only welcome, but inspiring. Others at the table might have found it troubling to play along with, but the challenges brought on some circumstances which wouldn’t have happened if you didn’t walk such a gray line. The prospects of what could even come should the game continue make me curious. And of course, all this coming from not knowing how taken you would be with the game. I’m hoping you continue to enjoy it, and continue to give something challenging for the table.

Kellie – Given my antisocial tendencies, it’s a given why I don’t know that much of you, and what glimpses I get make me sad I never took the chance to know. You’re a very curious person, and if I could just get over my shortcomings I think I could appreciate you in full. However, one thing I do know is you love an acquittance of ours, and it’s enough to make me appreciate you completely. Please to be keeping on with that, because the joy of another is something I always seek.

Kelly – From my understanding you take up way too much work. Granted, most anything sounds like too much to me, so if I didn’t hear through the grapevine you’re sometimes overburdened, I would otherwise thing you’re a sorceress. So…are you a sorceress? Regardless, you’ve been kicking pretty damn hard, and the effort ever makes me smile. You’ve thankfully been patient with my own inability to have any effort at all, though I think you would be right to take a hammer to my face. Hopefully just the depression talking, because the patience keeps me calm knowing I have something to come back to when I’m ready. Eventually? May it be sooner rather than later.

Kiel – Would you think it weird for me to say I think you’ve become quite the badass? Well, it’s what comes to my mind when I think on ya, so deal with it. Our shared appreciation of pop culture is overshadowed by the fact there are still plenty of things for us to share and discover, and that I’ve been like a ghost through the years with this knowledge is depressing. Hence the state I’m in right now? Ever I say this needs to change, and it honestly does. A presence in each others’ lives is needed, and a physical one when possible. Also need to bring my bro along with me as well, because I think you two left off a gaming venture a little too early. Are you a bad enough dude to continue it?

Laura – Having recently gotten to see more of your acting capability, I was reminded you are more than a dark character on a variety show, and my vision is now thankfully altered. Memories of you squealing in joy have reminded me of your energy, and appreciation of puppets and gaming alike. In addition, I’ve yet to check out the writing and voice work you’ve done. So yeah, some things to look forward to in the coming months, because my curiosity demands to be sated. At the very least puppets need to make a comeback, if just to brush up on the skill.

M. – Does it really need to be said why you are someone who needs to be thanked for the impression left on me? As thee Forever Alone Filmmaker, you have shown it doesn’t take much to make a movie, and yet so much at the same time. You’ve entertained and enlightened, and will likely be doing so on a yearly basis with each new amazing product you create. You have one heck of a committed fan here, and I know you won’t disappoint. Also, Bitcoin. Pump and dump. Yo.

Matt – I do believe outside of Dungeons & Dragons and other occasions planned by others that we only got together once of our own volition. This just doesn’t seem right, and you think the math would work out into a bigger number than that. Far as I can tell we’ve enjoyed the company of each other, and I’m always amazed that you have something witty or interesting to say in almost every situation. Granted this usually lead to less focus upon D&D, but if you can’t unwind with fellows while batting a brute in the face in our minds, you aren’t really living it up. Point being, you be a cool cat. I’m pretty sure that title annoys you, and that’s the point. Cheers!

Mom – I’ve honestly been a dick to you more than I should have over this time. The proper way to say that would be, “I shouldn’t have been a dick,” a fact impressed upon me by a friend, but as it goes. Point being you’ve put up with a lot as I constantly point out when I get the realization, and I’m amazed you still tolerate me. You’ve worked damn hard to be where you are right now, and it’s ever surprising life continues to throw things at you. You keep on kicking, and while I’m certain you have your reasons, I don’t know if I could understand them. But damn do I dig that fighting spirit. At least when it’s not thrown at me, that is, because I could do without. And you can still manage to laugh and smile as well? I really don’t get it. But I dig it.

Nick – As the other person who has to personally deal with my shit, it’s strange to note how much energy I invest in video production and don’t even talk to you about it. You know, because you went to school for it? Or something related to it, and I would know the specifics if…again, I talked to you about it. And when it should happen, I think it would be a nice talk too, given all the other curious conversations we had in the past. Here’s to the eventual awesome! Or maybe I’ll just stick to my room and not be a bother. I haven’t decided yet?

Odari – I don’t think much can be said of me and what I brought to the table in the play you had me be part of, but I’m ever glad to have been part of it at all. It was the ideal play to begin taking a break from theater, and was a bittersweet experience through and through. Hopefully not the last, because there are plenty more acts to enjoy, or at the very least see. Speaking of performances to enjoy, I do believe I’ve yet to see you and a certain troupe perform. I’ve only seen you dance live in one performance and another via YouTube, though I yearn to see what the fuss is about, because I’ve been hearing plenty of talk to regret missing out in the past. May my eyes be glued to the calender and my car raring for the drive.

Older Brother – What began as a curiosity of an obsession of mine has now likely become an obsession of yours as well. I’m glad? At the very least, it can be said that gaming has brought us together a little better, because it has otherwise been a void up until that point (that I can recall at least). For poking at me to work and be better in that regard, thank you. For poking at me to be a better person at all, thank you all the more. You’ve been an inspiration in the past as most older brothers tend to be, and while some things are better known because of what wisdom I’ve gained through the years, this is still the case.

Omar – It’s the same story with you and me. Big plans, good start, then lots of silence…till an eventual reconnect wherein we catch up a tad. Repeat. It’s a sad story, but it’s one I hope to continue for the sake of friendship and our respective goals. You are one I am in awe of even after all these years, and you are ever deserving of a more competent person than myself through it all. But ever I try and smother such feelings, because no matter how much wrong I do you never seem to get angry with me. Almost like you’re speaking from a place of humbleness and understanding I can’t even comprehend. It’s calming, and makes me yearn for the dreams a little more. Missing you, and hope you’re working hard.

Paul – You are a man of wisdom, and it just so happens a lot of that wisdom comes in the form of knowing almost everything about music no matter how obscure. Okay, obscure to me is a little more fair. You’ve made me laugh and smile with your wit, and also kept a production on it’s feet through your ability to be awesome. And given you like to Party Hard through it all as well, how can I not tip my hat in your direction? Seriously though, your musical knowledge is baffling to me. How!?

Peter – As one of the only people I’ve kept in touch with since high school, your presence up till now has kept me more sane than you can imagine. I honestly don’t think I deserve what little we’ve shared with each other, but that’s likely the mess in my head creeping into my thoughts. Ever try and smother it, but it tends to rise in conjunction with the good times we share. And when good times are had, man do those talks ever flow. Be it film, politics, or just goofing around, you are my go-to guy for any kind of talk…at least if I went to you as much as other do for their own go-to people. Ever hoping the silence doesn’t make you distant, and may I get out of my rut so we can catch up on some films you’ve yet to see.

Randy – As someone who has been a friend to my brother for the longest time, I never really knew how well intrenched you were into fantasy books/gaming as I was. There were clues, but hey, I tend to keep to myself, so as it goes. So your continued appreciation of Dungeons & Dragons makes me smile, even if it should be filled with min-maxing that’s only magnified by my inability of foresight and poor design. But as long as you were having fun, that’s all that mattered to me, and I’m ever glad to be “beaten” if that’s how it’s to be. There’s also the matter that I don’t speak with you as much as I should, but yeah, I keep to myself. A tad too much. Ever I need to change that.

Robin – Of all the people in the artist collective we are part of, I think you’re the one I’ve had least contact with, and that’s always bothered me. So the fact you responded to my call for assistance with so much energy, and gave so much during filming…yeah, I don’t think I can thank you enough. I could be wrong, but you’re a bit like Robin Williams: deathly serious when it counts, but a bundle of energy in the moments between it all. When I finally get out of my fog and work on the footage we made, you can bet I’m going to be smiling all over again. Crying too, because it will likely mean I get to stress all over new filming to be done, but in that moment beforehand I’ll be giggling.

Ryan – I keep about as much contact with you as I do with all our other former employ, and it’s ever a failing on my part. But from what I see, you’re doing alright, and better than alright. You even entertain me every week with each new production from your fellow crew, and it’s top notch material at that. Always look forward to what comes forth, and I’m sure this is only the start something amazing. May your next tattoo be as ridiculous as the one on your chest.

Sam – As my one somewhat verifiable contact with the UK (aka the one I have the most communication with), it’s good to know we finally got to have a chat “face to face” with some brew. Drunken and awkward that it was, I appreciated it immensely. Our contact with each other since then has been sparse, though I’m certain it’s normal for most Internet friends (a term I seem to recall you loathed, but all the same). You were busy with drama school, and I was busy inside my head not doing anything substantial. But hopefully that won’t be the case for long, and we can discuss drama and acting more in-depth now that I finally had experience with it. I look forward to being schooled in that as well, as you always seem to do with me in our conversations.

Sans – I think you’re actually the first person I’ve legitimately made a piece of fiction with. Any piece of work? Possible. It was a troublesome process, for certain, but it got done…sort of. But then we got to work on some things afterword which were awesome! Then I think we both got absorbed into something that sucked the life out of us like leeches on mice? At least it was in my case, and the void is felt. I know I’ve said it before, but I have every intention of having our work come to life. That my intentions will be allowed by my body remain to be seen, and hopefully I’ll get out of this funk and commit myself to something other than breathing.

Satchel – Aside from a couple of friends, you are likely the only fellow schoolmate I’ve kept tabs on over the years. It helps you continue to create music to appreciate, and what a wonder of a mood it puts me through. Shame I hardly took advantage of your presence when I was living in town, and continue to miss out on performances you have. That I should put the effort into seeing you perform again to let you know the smiles you brought me…yes. This should be done.

Shawn – Through you, a lot of talent has been able to come forth and make awesome happen in Madison. If that weren’t enough, your own talent makes you shine like a rock star…well, you are one? Not to mention the fact you are ridiculously charming and witty at every gathering I’ve been to, and that’s a mega plus. At this point I would also comment about how much you can bench, and while I don’t know that number, I will otherwise assume it to be a lot. Enough praise, I’m just glad to know you’re alive in this world. And I still say improv guitar comedy is a bit that needs to be performed, so hopefully we can bring that to life in the coming year. It’s going to be hilarious, honest to god.

Simone – From all the people I’ve gotten to know in the Madison area, you are one of the most persistent in terms of communication. Even when I was feeling down on my birthday, you pressed that I should at least have cake and ice cream. And while all I did on said birthday was sleep, the gesture and others are much appreciated. You’ve expressed a willingness I have yet to even start to reciprocate, and it’s all been positive. Please continue to smile and dance, because while it may not look it you are making a change in me. Slow, but it is indeed happening, so…thank you.

Tim – In the limited time we’ve known each other, you got me hooked on a new type of beer, got me enthralled with a certain fantasy event in Wisconsin Dells, helped out on two video productions (my own and another), geeked out with me about gaming and pop culture, gave advice through my depression, and wished me a happy birthday when I was passed out in my bed. In your defense it was rather early for sleeping, and I’m all for empowering people to contact me whenever they want, so as it goes. It’s only been a short time I’ve had with you, but it’s been a good time. Here’s to more?

Yesenia – I don’t know what happened, but I seem to recall a time when coming onto Skype and having a chat with you and others was no big deal. Now I can’t even do the bare necessities of keeping each other in the know of what’s going on, and that’s quite a shame. I miss those conversations, even if they got inappropriate at times. Or thankful for it? No idea if things are going to change, but wanted to let you know about the good times had. Intentions be there, but I got some work before I’m quite sane. Till then, remember the butter. Is delicious.

Younger Brother – It’s already been noted I think of you as a pimp, given I said it at your wedding, so I don’t know how much more praise needs to be given to you. I’m glad that we tend to get along very well, so much so that it’s hard to recall a moment where we had issues. If we had them, please be sure to remind me so I may crawl deeper into my hole of depression even more so I may berate myself for even thinking too positively of you. I kid! But seriously, you have an energy about you that’s rocking, and I’m ever happy at the place you are at life…wherever it should be? Yeah, we need to catch up a little bit. And some real talk, none of this Dungeons & Dragons stuff. Okay, maybe a little bit.

Zakk – You’ve had quite the year, haven’t you? And from what I’m sensing, you’ve managed to find not only balance but a home for yourself. As much balance and home as can be said, of course, because you do live life on terms too chaotic for me to comprehend. It’s been one of your interesting traits, along with the pop culture that we geek out over too easily. And through the madness you’ve shared some good moments with me, and continued to let me know you’re there to speak to if/when I’m able. For that you are thanked beyond measure. To future gatherings!

There. That’s what I can say without surgically cutting into myself to find the most minute details. I’m certain I’ve neglected to note someone because that’s the nature of dealing with a beast as this. It’s okay to loathe me for the failing given I’m going to do it anyway. Feel free to throw things at me if you feel left out. Seriously. Just throw things at me. As messed up as I’ve been, a reminder of the Five Ws would do me good. At least I tried, and I need to as a means to possibly jump start a change in my methods. Because when you really think on it, I haven’t been very aggressive with what actions I take. In the case of my writing, I just put it out for the world to see and maybe someone takes notice, rather than actively seeking out input…which is the point, right?

Part of me now feels the need to tell those I contacted and happened to read this far that it’s not necessary to respond back to me. There’s no obligation to respond because I took effort to let you know some things, because it’s just something I personally needed to get out. However, this thought is really just a reflex, bred into me by years of programming myself. Rather than being the polite way to act like I thought, it’s really just self destructive behavior. I’ve always been honest with my writing here, usually having it be the first place I go to if I needed to voice something before going to the world (as I’m doing right now?). I think it’s time I started going to the world first. So for those who happen to have any words, concerns, or just want to tell me off, please send them along my way. It’s certainly better than talking to a void.

In summary, isolation is over. Needs to be over. I’ve held to a Ella Wheeler Wilcox poem out of a fear of loneliness only to be alone. Thus I give up out of a sake for survival. Regardless if I should keep flying or crash and burn, it will (hopefully) be done with a trust in others I’ve never allowed in the past (or used to, but grew to resent the act for some reason). No promises on the outcome, but certainly one on this commitment. Lived far too long within myself to understand the world around me in full, and would like to appreciate it with some peers. Everything is a lot more fun with another, especially the rotten things. Like how The Room becomes awesome rather than frustrating when you can vent about it with your friends. No, not the best example to illustrate a point, but it hopefully works.

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5 thoughts on “To Be Thankful

  1. James January 1, 2014 at 4:42 pm Reply

    Thanks Jac,
    I appreciate that you spent the time to include me and so many other people. Wish I had the magic words to increase your self-worth. I however am thankful that you are alive and thankful that you are an original thinker. Writing helps to clear away things that are stuck in your mind so you no longer need to worry about them. So I am glad that you have such an extensive piece of writing here.

  2. M dot January 1, 2014 at 7:09 pm Reply

    I’m starting to think that perhaps when this life is over- we will wake up surrounded by friends and they’ll go “so how was it?” and we’ll be like “what?!” and they’ll say “The game you were just playing” as we’ll be in some future arcade wherein you get to “play” as a past human- in the game years past but in the arcade only a few minutes- Thinking of this life like that has caused me to be a lot less serious and take a lot of things less seriously-trying to find the absurdity or humor in things helps deal with the bullshit that takes up a lot of human existence at this current time-

    If it was all a game that you could play again and again once it was over- would that change anything?

    Thanks for your continued support and for your kind words-

    Best to you friend!

    M doTs

    • JoeSomebody2 January 1, 2014 at 7:26 pm Reply

      I’m suddenly reminded of the ending to the original Neon Genesis Evangelion run, with everyone congratulating Shinji for coming to a realization, allowing him to become a part of the greater whole that was experiencing itself subjectively through him and the rest of those he knew. Or something to that effect?

      I’ve no idea if any of that would be the case when we finally begin to rot, but it’s a comforting thought. Meanwhile, there’s enough trouble in the world/game right now that makes continuing it quite a mess. It’s a ride, that it is, but knowing that it will continue to be a good ride when I’m gone makes me worry. A balance between worry and calm…oh dear. 😀

  3. Beth January 3, 2014 at 10:32 pm Reply

    Jacob, I very much admire your courage to share these words with us all. Most of us never have the cuts to tell our friends and family what they mean to us. That has always impressed me about you. In the spirit of that honesty, I want you to know that in fact I think you are quite brilliant. I’ve always wished we had more in common so I could tap into your creativity. I had forgotten about that story, next time we’re together we should give that another go! I hope that you can appreciate all that you are as well.
    ~Beth

  4. 2014 in review | Joe's Ranting Place January 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm Reply

    […] actually got comments! The majority coming about because I contacted people directly for my To Be Thankful article, while others noted how nuts I was getting from my depression, and needed to give a digital […]

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