What’s Next? – Short Blog

The day I started writing for Destructoid as staff was a dream come true. The culmination of years of studying, writing and honing my skill, finally publishing a review for potential millions to see was enough to bring me to tears. I had achieved the goal I set out for myself all those years ago.

Then a few months later, reality crashed into me. I had been working as a per diem employee at a homeless shelter when a very unfortunate incident happened. I ended up losing my job due to management’s decision right before December. While becoming unemployed at any point is unfortunate, doing so right at the peak of the holiday season is disastrous.

I wasn’t completely up shit creek, money wise, so I decided to start fresh at the beginning of the New Year. I would have the best possible chance to get my resume seen if I applied while employers were actively looking for new recruits. Sadly, as of the time of this writing, I am still unemployed. The magnitude of my situation at the homeless shelter has finally sunk in and I realize that I’m going nowhere and fast.

You’d think achieving two dream positions (working directly to help people and being a video game “journalist”) would see me elated, but that isn’t the case. I’ve slowly been running out of money and nothing seems to help. I’ve tried being an Uber driver, but apparently there aren’t a lot of people in Connecticut in need of chauffeuring. I’ve been constantly putting out applications, only to get rejections from basically everyone (including an unpaid internship!).

A few years back, I found myself in a somewhat similar situation. I left a job with my friend’s dad to obtain a personal training certification, which I successfully did. After that, I started on the job hunt only to get nowhere. Employers wanted me to have previous client bases while individual people wanted me to have experience in training. It was a ridiculous catch 22 that I couldn’t find an answer for.

Still, to this day, I cannot obtain work at any commercial gym. It makes me wonder what the value of education is. I took a big risk and it failed, but why did I even do that? I wanted a change of careers to something I enjoyed, but I guess that is too much to ask of the world. It feels like all of my choices are wrong.

Really, what is next for me? I’m 29 years old, sitting at home wasting away and getting nowhere in life. I don’t have money to return to school, I’m slowing depleting my funds on medicine and cellphone bills and I have little to show for it. It’s great that I’m able to engage with the gaming community on a larger level, but that doesn’t pay the bills. Why does everything have to come down to the almighty dollar?

How do people cope with the realization that their lives are nothing? When all you do is wake up, go to work, come home, eat and sleep, what is the point of life? Is there no possible career option that allows me to simultaneously enjoy what I do and earn a living? While I am always going to be grateful to Destructoid for giving me the chance to finally live out my aspirations, it’s looking more and more likely that I’ll never be able to turn this hobby into a job.

It hurts so much to write that, but it is the truth. I’m lost in a state of arrested development and I’m not sure how else to proceed. I just want to become something important to the world, but that doesn’t seem likely. For me, toiling away in obscurity until I inevitably die might be the only path.

Really and truly, I am just looking for possible options. Where is the flaw in my logic? What is preventing me from becoming successful? How do I accept reality and become a mindless drone? How do other people manage to find consistent work that lets them be independent?

Someone For Everyone?

This past week, I had taken a long deserved vacation. I went to Anaheim, California and spent some time at Disneyland, as well as venturing further south and visiting Sea World and Lego Land. It was definitely an eventful trip, if a bit predictable.

The most troubling part was the plane ride to the West Coast. Not only do connecting flights truly suck, but I was separated from my family for the second flight. While I don’t mind alone time, I felt a tinge of sadness strike me.

Unable to block out the world around me, I started to eavesdrop on the conversation this older woman and younger lady were having. They spoke about life, love, trips, drugs, sex and romance. To put it bluntly, things I have no relation to.

I felt an intense jealousy as both women spoke of the “loves” of their lives and the adventures they had. Snorkeling in France, moonlit dinners in Italy, flings in Spain; it was basically an amalgamation of every Nicholas Sparks novel.

While I typically don’t care how people spend their time, I couldn’t shake the idea that I had been wasting my life. Very little excites me anymore and I tend to draw a blank on what to do with my day. I like being active, but my idea of a fun day isn’t about meeting people or sharing anything.

I don’t mind taking hikes through the forest alone. I love rock climbing and rappelling. I am enamored with playing video games and working out. These types of things don’t require anyone else to be fun and often are less fun with less experienced participants.

My mind is perfectly capable of rationalizing why I shouldn’t worry, but my heart wants something more. I want to be alone while being surrounded with friends. It’s a strange dichotomy that causes me a lot of hurt.

And makes me stare into scenic backgrounds…

As I sit and ponder why a relationship would even be beneficial, my heart is telling me to get out there and find someone. I don’t even know what I would do with a significant other, but my heart keeps nagging me to get on with it.

I’m not sure if my thoughts are infused with societal pressure or if my body truly wants something. I’ve never been able to express to any woman how I feel about her without some kind of sexual connection. It seems that I truly value sex more then anything else, which troubles me.

Even so, I hear stories of people moving from partner to partner and finding love in peculiar spots and I begin to feel hollow. I have never dated anyone one or gone on a date. Sex only happened because I still live at home, negating the need for me to truly save money. An escort is good enough when you can’t form a solid connection with people.

It makes me sick when I visit most ladies of the night. They are just so disconnected from their current situation. I have only found one escort that makes the most of each moment and I find myself falling for her.

Even then, I still look at other women. I still fantasize about whining and dining other girls and living a life of decadence. I want to be out in the world and getting my fill of adventure and lust.

Then on the flip side, I don’t want to hurt anyone. Sex is a tricky proposition for a lot of people. To the general public, monogamy is the only option. To even question infidelity or dabble with taboo is to be branded a pariah.

I long ago gave up on faith and it seems that I’m now on the cusp of releasing myself from the shackles of normalcy. Obviously I’m not meant to have a regular “American Dream” style life. To be with wife and child in suburbia turns my stomach inside out.

Yet, my heart still wants that. My body keeps telling me to love and be loved. That is nigh on impossible when you have so many social dysfunctions. As I learned last year, I’m autistic; I have asperger’s syndrome, a fairly big social disorder.

While a test concluded that I more then likely have an extreme case of social anxiety, diagnosing an adult with autism is tremendously difficult to do. There are a lot of habitual occurrences that age will help change. One of the therapists at the psyche ward I was sent to even said that the results are no where near 100% accurate.

Why can’t life just make fucking sense?!

Getting that label explains so much about my life. The fact that I can’t make friends, that I am intensely interested in a few things and that I struggle to even speak to people. That autism also covers daily routines and an unwillingness to change furthers frightens me. I’m living a life that I have little power to rectify.

This doesn’t bode well for romance. Most people don’t like someone who is so rote in their execution of life. Spontaneity wins hearts, not comfort. Risk taking and confidence are huge turn-ons, not calculated strikes and logical reasoning.

I am lacking in a lot of ways and don’t quite know how to change. To ask me to instantly mix-up a routine is basically asking me to breakdown. Even when my friend calls unexpectedly to hang out, I tend to seize up a bit and get nervous. I don’t work well with unknown variables.

An ex of one of my friends once said to me, “You haven’t dated anyone because no girl has challenged you.” While I kind of nodded in the moment, those words have never left my mind.

The current apple of my eye is definitely challenging, in more ways then one. She’s an energetic ball of zest that grabs life by the horns and then proceeds to make love to it. She has a past in pornography, a love of the Beatles, an intellect far greater then the average human and looks that could be weaponized. She is far from typical.

On the idea of any kind of future together, she has said this; “Remember how we met.” While this wasn’t directly to me, she is basically stating it for all of her potential clients. If I wasn’t some horny, deep pocketed nerd with a lust going unchecked, would I have ever met her?

If I wasn’t willing to basically bend the law, would I have met her? How does one describe our initial meeting to any potential family and friends? “Yeah, I met my wife a few years ago. I went to her apartment, we introduced ourselves and then had sex.”

Basically like this, but with less clothing and more moaning.

Should any of that matter? As I said, my life is far from normal and I doubt any more therapy or extracurricular activities are going to bring me back to normality. I’m a man who is very damaged mentally and broken emotionally.

I just want to figure out if my heart is making sense. Should I even bother with finding love? What will that do for me? Will I be able to shut off my carnal desires long enough to maintain a relationship? How come everyone else seems to do this so easily?

Whatever the answer, this past vacation just brought up a whole bunch of questions that trouble me. I needed to write this to simply stop the thoughts from swimming in my head. I don’t want to keep things bottled up anymore. That led to my past breakdowns and I’m not going to repeat that routine.

Survivor’s Guilt

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an exceptional game with a shockingly awful story. Fans of the series are disappointed that many questions are not answered (or even brought up) and that the conclusion doesn’t really mesh with the Metal Gear canon. It seems that Kojima’s shift to open-world has put the plot on the backburner in favor of making an expansive and rewarding gameplay system.

That being said, there are a lot of individual moments that I truly enjoyed in the Phantom Pain. I like what the ending stands for and I’m really fond of the exploration of child soldiers in the modern world, but the side plot that focuses on Paz is probably the best of the bunch.

While Snake feeling remorse over the loss of Paz doesn’t make much sense for his character, it’s only after beating the game do you begin to understand the majesty of this side story. Since Venom Snake is actually the medic from Ground Zeroes, his guilt over being unable to save Paz makes sense.

Venom Snake may barely remember he is the medic, but his true identity can never be erased. He was there, staring at Paz as she blew up in his face. He even shielded Big Boss from the explosion and nearly died in the process.

You can’t even tell he had a different face!

Having lost his arm and identity, Venom Snake is left confused and alone. He doesn’t say much, constantly has people trying to kill him and bonds with a quiet woman who then leaves him. Worrying about Paz seems too minuscule in his life, but it’s very touching.

Throughout the course of the game, you can undertake side-ops missions that have you rounding up some of your soldiers from the MSF days. These guys were with you when Big Boss was taking on all the AI pods and saving the world from Paz and ZEKE.

The medic may not truly know that Paz was a traitor, but his mission with Big Boss to Camp Omega had one clear goal; bring Paz and Chico home. Even if Kaz and Boss’ intention were to extract information from them, they weren’t supposed to die in that plane.

The final revelation of Ground Zeroes turns out to be that Paz had a bomb implanted in her. Venom makes the call to extract it fast and proceeds to cut her open without anesthetic. It’s a tortuous scene that doesn’t make sense at first, but comes full circle with this side plot in the Phantom Pain.

The medic is guilty that, not only did he inflict more pain on Paz, but that he lived through the terrible ordeal. She was blown to pieces, but he is still alive and well. He cannot deal with the fact that he lost a patient that was so crucial to Big Boss’ plan.

It wasn’t for a lack of trying, though.

As such, when you gather up your soldiers from MSF, you are given memento photographs that showcase some of the best moments of Paz’s time with MSF. Things like her sun bathing, throwing a birthday party and singing with Kaz and Professor Galvez; it’s all really touching and helps to detail the internal struggle she suffered by being forced into hijacking ZEKE.

When you reach chapter 2 of the Phantom Pain, Ocelot informs you that a very important patient is waiting on the medical platform. When you go to inspect, you are dumbstruck to find Paz sitting on the bed. You saw her die with your own eyes; how is she still there?

At first, even the player is at a loss for answers. There is no conceivable way she lived through that incident. Unlike her falling into the water at the end of Peace Walker, Paz was torn asunder by a bomb. There is really no other definitive way someone could die.

As you bring the photographs back to Paz, it starts to become clear; this is an illusion in Venom’s mind that is materializing from his guilt. He has a classic case of survivor’s syndrome; he feels that he should have died in that explosion those 9 years ago.

The ending also has him relive the moments that ripped Paz out of this world. He sees her extract the bomb from her stomach and throw it on the bed. He tries his best to run for her and shield her from the blast. Nothing he can do changes the outcome; Paz is gone and Venom’s past life is over.

When he awakes from his delusion, Venom looks to the sky and realizes that life goes on. While he might have been able to do more, what happened is over. Paz understands that he tried his best, just as she did with Skull Face and Cipher.

More so, the medic comes to terms with the fact that he is now Big Boss. Though he never asked for the responsibility or the notoriety, the medic is Venom Snake. He is the Big Boss that the world will get to see. He will exist to increase the legacy of the hero he pledged allegiance too all those years ago.

With that revelation comes the image of a floating morpho butterfly (Morpho being the name of the pilot from Ground Zeroes). As Venom looks at it, he sees that Peace is written on the exterior of Mother Base. That was truly what Paz wanted and it is precisely what Venom will fight to give the world.

In a game whose story moments are so scattered and disconnected, this side plot does more to elicit emotion and understanding then anything else the game throws at the player. Not only that, but in a title dedicated to absolute player freedom, this quest has no alternate outcome; you have to face the fact that a character you may have bonded with is gone.

Much like life, shit happens. What defines a human is how they deal with the aftermath of a tragedy. What they give to life in their worst hour is how they will be remembered. Venom isn’t going to let anymore of his men die, not without a fight.

Forbidden Fruit

America has a strange taboo involving sex and pornography. We shun what is a basic human function and need. Everyone likes sex and our brains are triggered to make us want it (sometimes at random). Why do people look down on this?

I can no longer lie about my isolated habits. I play video games, I work out, I go to work and I look at porn. Porn doesn’t control my life, but it is a decent part of it. That habit led me into beds with six different women before I stumbled upon a big discovery; there is a pornstar living in New York City.

Not only is that incredible, to me, but there is another caveat; I’ve watched her videos. I’ve found her incredibly attractive. I’ve fantasized about what I would do with her, if I could only have her for an hour or so.

After I learned that she was close by, I also figured out that she does escorts. My mind was blown. Could I pass up an attempt to be with a pornstar that I’ve actually pleasured myself to? Well, clearly no, as I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I did.

I just never thought that I’d find myself in love with a porn girl. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m very sexually oriented and that I don’t truly believe in relationships.

Marriage seems like a silly concept to me and getting mad over sexual exploits is just futile. People like to mate. But being with this girl, I can’t get her out of my head. It feels like the first time I truly made love to someone. While I’m probably just a small blip on the radar of her life, she has become the most satisfying and interesting love encounter I’m ever likely to have.

I know what her lifestyle is, though, and I don’t feel right having these feelings. I could never ask her to stop just to please me. I’m finding myself getting more and more accustomed to being in an open relationship and allowing my lovers to be free.

I know I wouldn’t want anyone to constrain me to an outdated ideal. Most of the problems that remain in my life are simply from older people attempting to control me. I just want to live my life and have people accept me. I’m so tired of being judged as a pariah.

Obviously this crush I’m harboring for this pornstar won’t last. The two of us come from very different ideals and barely know each other. The only time we have met was this past weekend. Talking to her, though, just made me feel so great.

That look in her eyes was to die for, too. Either she had a blast, or is a phenomenal actress. I can’t say for certain, but I do know that I want to see her again. That has to mean something.

Resolutions – Broadening My Horizons

I can’t begin to tell you how many games I finished this year. Yakuza 3, Demon’s Souls, the entire Zelda series; this year has been one of the most productive for me in terms of finishing virtual tasks. As I’m literally a few hours away from completing Unreal 2, I believe I’ll end 2011 with a grand total of 65 games finished.

Yet, there are things I didn’t do this year; I didn’t play a single JRPG, Racing game or Sports title. I’ve also neglected my own social life. If there is any resolution I plan to make for next year, it will be to broaden my horizons.

This past week was a very pleasant one for me. At long last, I was able to meet fellow blogger VenusInFurs. We walked around the Union Square area of New York and had a wonderful afternoon getting to know each other better. We talked about whatever came to mind and nearly froze to death from the colossal winds.

That kind of thing is what I need to do more of next year. I don’t necessarily mean meeting other DToid members, but I do need to focus more on expanding myself to other people. I’ve only recently begun friendships at work, so why not take the extra step?

My trips to bars have even been a bit more fruitful recently. I was hanging out with my DJ friend and some girl walked up to me and told me her friend thought I was cute. Well, I strolled right on over and spoke to her. I even got her number (regardless of how that later failed). That’s something.

Gaming wise, I think I’ll finally tackle Command & Conquer 3 next year. A game I had wanted when I was in college (in 2007), I bought it on a Steam sale and have neglected playing it. As a matter of fact, I haven’t even touched Shogun 2: Total War either.

In an effort to bond with some of my fellow co-workers, I may also buy my first Madden game in 12 years. I know nothing of sports, but NBA Jam is just too awesome, so maybe I can dig the NFL.


THAT’S SOME FOOTBALL!

One thing I neglected this year was my love of cinema. I’ve always had a penchant for films, but I only managed to catch about four movies. Three of them I didn’t even care for, but I’ll happily say “Winnie The Pooh” was the best thing I saw this year; hands down.

Since everyone talks about the mega blockbusters and mainstream cinema, maybe I’ll just force myself to go. I have no problem plowing through games I dislike, so cinema should be a lot easier to digest. At least I could converse a bit more with others.

I loved that I saw a bunch of concerts this year and they weren’t all in the same genre. I didn’t think I’d ever get to see “The Big 4,” but that is now something I can check off my bucket list. I also caught Mastodon and Deadmau5, so I think for next year, I’ll focus more on classic rock and indie/local bands.

Regardless of what I do, though, I know that next year is going to be about exploring areas I haven’t dared before. I can’t promise that I’ll kiss someone, but I have a good feeling. If anything, I have enough cash saved now that I can buy a girl a drink and not regret it.

I also plan on finishing the test for my motorcycle license. I’ve come so far and the damn DMV is not going to stop me (regardless of how asinine their tests and policies are). I can finally bust out my Chuck Greene jacket and feel bad ass.


Maybe I’ll get the paddle going, too…

So look out 2012! If everything goes well, I’m going to kick your ass thoroughly! Don’t come crying to me, either! I’ll be too happy to notice your sadness.