Alright, I've reached my stress limit. Tip me over and pour me out.
While my world has been a crazy roller coaster from the start, its accumulation, along with the annoyances of the last few days have pushed me to my limit.
I am an introvert. I don't gush about my feelings or put my life on display for the world to see. I keep these posts to keep people up to date on The Glow and possibly to amuse you along the way. Apparently, however, if you don't tell everyone about every little thing that happens and every emotion you feel, they see fit to fill in the blanks themselves. Normally, I just let this go because, really, I just don't give a damn. Recently, however, human stupidity has truly become an annoyance in my life.
Let me tell you who I am and how I came to be this person.
On July 14th, 1977, (yeah, the mysterious New York blackout) I was born dead, and it was pretty much downhill from there. I was born to a... bizarre family. My father was essentially the most evil creature you could conceive of. Ex-marine, ex-biker, alcoholic, self-proclaimed pastor, woman and child abuser. The last time I saw him was at his sentencing when I was in junior high. My mother, on the other hand, was damn near angelic. She was ever-loving, ever-forgiving, non-judging (I think, in the early morning, while walking around the kitchen in her nightgown, she even levitated). No, I don't have some messed up "Oedipus" issues, she really was that much of a pure, radiant spirit... it even annoyed me from time to time.
You have to assume, by the general rules of genetics and environment, I'm a screwed up jigsaw of those traits... good luck figuring that out. What I can tell you is that, my brain had repressed all of the evils of my childhood, leaving only the doe-eyed innocence of my mother to carry me through my early years.
To hit the relevant highlights; our family had "family game night" (once a week, I guess). I wasn't allowed to be involved in this because my father said I was "too young". My mom believed this to be the reason for my obsession with games. She theorized that, to me, games = family. Fine.
Growing up on welfare, as I got older, we couldn't afford to get all the cool boardgames I saw in the stores. So what did I do? I read the hell out of the backs of the boxes, then ran home to attempt to recreate them with cardboard and tape (I forced my brother to playtest them with me.)
Fast forward to high school. I was a nerd. Super nerd really. Not kidding. I wore tube socks and tucked my sweaters into my jeans. I annoyed the crap out of the Dungeons & Dragons crowd until they would finally talk to me. Yay! I made friends!....
Now, at some point in these years, a valve broke in my brain. While washing dishes one day, all of the super-fantastic horrors of my childhood just decided that they wanted to pour into my consciousness. So. Much. Fun... lemme tell ya. I was quickly rushed between three different therapists, all of which had different theories as to how I felt. Cute.
Anyhoo. This became a fast, downward spiral. All of the happy, happy genes from my mom collided with the invading mongols of my father's bloodline. I became angry and depressed. And what happens when a nerd becomes angry and depressed? That's right! Goth!
Apparently, however, this weird cocktail of mentalities that I had developed, baked into a strange, commanding presence that I hadn't expected. I became goth, then next thing I knew, people were hanging around with me, also turning goth. Then more... and more.
Now, I won't get into the details, but this evolved into absolute insanity that splattered across front page news. It spun out of control and, next thing I knew, there were Wanted Posters of me all over town, I had a 40 caliber pistol tucked under my jacket and I was being chased by the FBI through the mall parking lot. Sweet baby Jesus, I wish I was making this up.
After the smoke had cleared from all that, I said enough was enough. I found myself in a field, surrounded by my 40+ cult minions. I told them we were done. It was over.
...it didn't go well.
A few days later, I found myself in a park, exchanging blows with two people who, at one point, had sworn to protect me. Not to toot my own horn, but I held these big guys off for quite a while. Eventually though, I had a picnic table dropped on my head (don't ask), and was knocked out cold. Apparently, they then decided to pick me up and toss me into the lake. I awoke a few minutes later; they were gone, but one of their girlfriends had stayed behind and was now hold my head above water.
I didn't even care. I was finally left alone. The insanity was over!!! (Nevermind the fact that one of those guys later went to prison for attempted murder... of someone else.) Granted, things weren't perfect. I now found myself penniless and homeless. Winter soon set in and, being homeless in Wisconsin in February is no picnic.
I wandered the streets, begged and conned for change (not easy for someone with a... reputation) and I started cleaning tables at a local diner in exchange for pancakes and a cup of coffee. My mother offered to help me, but had a list of stipulations regarding changes to my life that I would have to obey. I was too stubborn, proud or stupid to accept her terms (but she still gave me something to eat from time to time).
Long story short, I ended up living in the city where I currently reside. A friend of a friend let me sleep on his floor and use his shower. He even hooked me up with a factory job at a book printing company. That was the beginning of me rebuilding my life.
I finally carried on with my life. I cut my hair, started wearing khakis, and even smiled and told a joke from time to time. Years of rebuilding later (sans a few rocky points), I was self-sufficient. I had a son named Gabriel (who thinks I'm just the coolest person in the world... weird). Things didn't work out with his mom, but she's a great mother, and we still get along great.
I formed a game development company with a friend of mine (third shift waiter at the aforementioned diner), and we began work as hobbyist developers with people all over the world. Things were going great! I would meet with my mom about once a week. I would have coffee, she would have ice cream and we would talk about everything; life, physics, religion, work, politics, writing, etc. She even bought me a tie-clip, saying how proud she was of me.
We were leaving Starbucks one afternoon and she turned to look at me and asked, "is it strange that my youngest son is my best friend?" I answered, "Not at all. I tell people all the time that you're my best friend."
Those were the last words we would ever say to each other. (I couldn't have asked for better.)
I was at work, talking with a customer when my phone rang. It was my sister... odd. She never calls me. Then something clicked in my brain; I don't even know what it was, but I looked at my customer and said "something's wrong".
After the customers left, I saw a few missed calls; one from my mom. I called back and my step dad answered. He managed to tell me what happened. My mom was out for an afternoon walk with her friend (as she always did). A 19 year old girl, distracted by her cell phone while driving, swerved into the shoulder of the road and hit her. My mom was killed instantly. (The girl received a traffic ticket.)
My mom was cremated, and I now carry her ashes inside a silver eternity necklace around my neck.
Things started to fray again. My boss questioned me about "all the work I was missing". (I had taken 2 days off. One for the funeral, and one on the day she was cremated...not even kidding.) I became... agitated, and I'm not very good at keeping my mouth shut. This lead to them preparing to fire me.
While on lunch break (meanwhile a corporate exec was at the office to "evaluate my position"), I received a strange text message. It was from one of the old developers we had worked with. The message simply said "Check your email!" ...ok?
The email was basically from a European business man who was looking into getting into video games. He had seen our work online and was interested in merging our teams. It was a dream come true!!! I went back to the office and to that snooty corporate exec with a HUGE, cocky smile on my face.
I quit my job and began my career as a professional game designer. This went well for about a year and a half. Come to find out, however, that the investor was basically running a giant Ponzi scheme and we were soon cut from their payroll.
Since I'm not the kinda guy who gives up, I quickly took our experience and started marketing the team as a "freelance, software development company". This kept things going, but the company was on life support. What little money we had coming in, I distributed to the few remaining people who needed it most (some had other jobs and alternate income by now).
Sadly, this wasn't enough. The lack of income raised tension, and soon (recently), everything erupted. Most everyone local left the team (apparently carrying a big chip on their shoulder with them). So here I am, working with a handful of skilled folks across the country (and the globe) trying to get a game on the market so that the company can, at last, become self-sufficient.
But of course! People can't just leave me alone! My ex-business partner, ex-best man and apparently ex-best friend is now causing me all kinds of headaches. He and an ex-programmer were digging through my emails, illegally accessing the webserver (and banning my IP) and generally just making my life hell. When I discovered who was doing it, I told them I wouldn't call the police if they just left me alone and let me continue on with my life.
Yeah... that went well. Haven't heard from the programmer, but my ex-business partner is now coming back and trying to stake claim in the company again. (He had reduced his ownership to 10% when things had gone to hell. He got a different job, and had to have less than 20% ownership in order for me to make all the necessary decisions for the company without him. When he locked me out of the website, I voted him out... he disagrees... whatever.)
And this brings me here. I've left out some of the more personal issues, but that's me in a nutshell. Fun ride, huh?
Now I'm not looking for pity. I don't feel entitled to anything. I know I made some truly stupid mistakes in my life. All I'm really looking for is a little understanding and a whole lot of LEAVE ME ALONE AND LET ME WORK!!!
I am a damn good game designer, a great graphic designer and an even better writer. If this world, for just one little second, would leave me alone and let me actually do my job, I could finally pull myself (and my family) out of all this lame, Jerry Springer drama and stress.
*sigh* Ok.... I feel better. I won't be promoting this post (obviously not a fan of attention), but its here for those who discover it. Hope you enjoyed reading it just a little more than I've enjoyed living it.
I promise, I'll have a game update soon. (I may even have a new programmer to lend his considerable skills!)