Dr. W's Space Travels
Space Cadet Roasts Teenage Space Cadet
Dr. Wood LXXXII
Wow, October’s almost done. For a moment, I thought maybe September was coming to a close. Nah, it’s October. I fear I might go crazy from how quickly time’s fleeted by. Kinda like that time ten years ago where I came to terms with the fact that nothing lasts forever. I seem to allude to that instance in my life quite often. It’s something I always need to remind myself of, because if I’m not conscious about the constant flow of time, I’ll be convinced that there’s an infinite supply of it. At the same time, I don’t wanna panic over the fact that it’s not infinite, either. I keep telling myself to enjoy each day thoroughly and – how does Mark Twain put it again – give each day the chance to be the most beautiful day of my life. I think my weekend with the family doing the breast cancer walk and hanging out with each other was a good way to do that. But fudge, that wasn’t even last weekend… that was the weekend before! Where did this past weekend go to? Life is short when you’re addicted to Valorant.
I’m actually not so much addicted to Valorant as I am to the delicious wisps of dopamine I get from executing sick plays. They don’t happen incredibly often, and perhaps for that reason I’m always craving them. I never pinned myself as the type of person that would get competitive with FPS games. But the competitive spirit within me has awakened. And I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing. I’m getting more frustrated when I don’t perform to the level that I think I should be at. It’s so funny – only weeks ago was I leaping out of my seat for getting more than two frags. Now ten frags is like a mediocre day for me. The hedonic treadmill applies to more than just happiness, I suppose. I really charge myself with living up to the reputation of yesterday’s “me”. And not only has this been happening with Valorant… but with Skullgirls too! I’ve definitely improved on both games, and I think I’m especially good at Skullgirls. Maybe high B-tier? I still get my booty blasted in certain online matches, though. I have to remind myself that these people put in insane amounts of hours to refine their trade – the same hours that I chose to spend on other things. So it’s not fair for me to whine about getting crushed in games that my opponents have devoted much of their finite lives to. It only makes sense.
I think I’ve figured out part of my problem, generally speaking – I have very high self-esteem. I do think rather highly of myself, as haughty as that sounds. It’s to a fault, of course – it leads me to be very hard on myself when I make errors at work, or can’t compete in games to the capacity that I want to. If I’m denied the compliments that I think I should get for something I did, I feel bothered. By the way, this is all pretty raw emotion here. I can cognitively understand the folly in such feelings, and I’m able to hide it under humility sanctioned by logic. If someone outperforms me in something, I have no problems voicing my congratulations to them and commending them for how well they did. I like to lift others up, and I will do so even when I’m not doing too hot myself. Maybe it’s because I know how it feels to be put in the spotlight – words of affirmation is my love language, after all. But then again, I also know that making it a value to praise others also gives me the reputation of being humble, kind and selfless. Those traits come pretty natural to me, but I still have a base desire to impress people. I love being praised. Even when I do that stupid thing where I’m like “aw, nahh, I’m not that great at *blank*”, in my head I’m like “yusss FEED ME MORE COMPLIMENTS!” It makes me wonder if I’ll ever be at a point where I think I’m so cool that I no longer have to prove my coolness. Yeah, it’s a ridiculously dumb thing to pay so much heed to. No one thinks about me as much as I think about me. It goes for when I do both cool things and negative things. Errors at work? No one has lost an ounce of sleep from them. Neat plays in Valorant? Nah, no one’s touching themselves while thinking of that one four-piece I did. I get though that little things like work errors or good plays, in large quantities, can build a reputation, be it good or bad. And maybe that’s the thing I’m striving for – a reputation where I’m a cool person.
When I look at my childhood days, I can kind of objectively see why I might be striving for such a thing. I really was not cool. Okay, maybe this isn’t as objective as I thought seeing as I’m always very hard on my past self. But regardless – I really don’t think I was a cool kid, even when I tried to be. I think me trying to be cool made me look like a fool. Avril Lavigne would definitively agree. When I wasn’t being told how much I suck at home, I held myself in pretty high esteem. I was in honors and advanced placement classes, so academically I thought I was in the upper percentile of the pack. But I also liked rap music, so I considered myself one of the “cool, smart kids”. Oh, but, just like now, I didn’t curse, so I was the “cool, smart and pure kid”. Lots of badges to boast. But I didn’t know crap about myself. Just the other weekend in Hilton Head, my brother and I were just chilling out at 1am, talking about life, and we got onto the topic of how teenagers don’t know jack dong. Like seriously – probably 90% of my mindset changed between my teenage life and now. I kept my lyrics-writing, my innocence and my love for video games and dumped everything else: my musical tastes, my TV preferences, my circle of friends, my spiritual life, my moral outlook, my values… all of it. I’m such a different person now. And I’m sure this applies to most people… but realizing it for myself is really something. I don’t really know where I was getting at with that… oh, I guess that my identity was so underdeveloped back then. Hmm, but I think there’s a possibility that I was much more undeveloped than other people in my age group. I look at some of the younger folks in my Discord server, and a lot of them are surprisingly wiser and more intelligent than me when I was their age. Makes me kinda jealous, to be honest. Most of them can also outplay me in FPS games. But I get it – I invested my time into other things, so it’s only natural.
As usual, I don’t know what the end state of my monologue is supposed to be. It’s just me talking about why I wanna be cool. Or to be more specific, why I wanna be special or – the word I used in therapy – exceptional. Actually, I don’t think I mentioned WHY I wanna be cool – only the notion that I DO wanna be cool. The reason why I wanna be cool? No idea. Maybe it’s an attempt to make something of my life. I’ve turned my desire to make an impact on the world through acts of good into a desire to make an impact on the world through becoming a superstar who thinks he’s doing acts of good. That’s what it feels like sometimes, at least, when I’m stepping outside of my body and looking at myself and my ulterior motives, shaking my astrally-projected head and doing that “tch-tch-tch” thing with my tongue. To be aware of my own fallacious mindset and still act according to it… I’m a typical motherflubbing human. I’m not exceptional in the least. But somewhere deep inside, I hope that by admitting my lack of exceptionality, I’ll somehow get enough good karma points for being enlightened and thus will become special – because people love a humble, down-to-earth person who knows of his humanness. And here’s me thinking I know how to game the system of life to my advantage. But just like the me who thought he was so cool over a decade ago – I don’t know crap.
Let’s talk about some things that are less stressful and more important than pondering where I stand on the coolness spectrum! A couple of days ago I received a Maitetsu wall scroll that I ordered over eBay. And I am head over heels for it! It depicts Hachiroku, Paulette and Hibiki in kimonos at a matsuri, and it’s sooooo cute! I have it on the wall directly facing where my head would be when sleeping (well, like, on the other side of the room, but facing my direction), so that I can admire it gleefully when I have to pry my eyes open in the morning. I also got my AWA Con badge yesterday! I’m SO STOKED for this weekend! Heard there’s been some rough weather all across the US lately, so I’m a bit worried about potential flight issues, though I all in all feel pretty optimistic. I’ve been looking forward to this for so long and it’s now only a few days away! Literally two more workdays and then I’ll get to see my friends! Yesterday I also got to talk with my friend Tyson on the phone for a few hours. We had a really great conversation, about things in life, friendship, video games and anime/manga. I feel like every time I talk with him, I leave the conversation feeling happier and more fulfilled. As much as he tells me that I’m a great listener, he too is a really great listener. He even took enthusiasm to me ranting about Maitetsu – and yeah, he’s the only friend I’ve really gone in depth with talking about such a masterpiece visual novel. But as expected, he was very receptive to it (he was, after all, the one responsible for me being into visual novels in the first place). I usually get impatient when I’m on the phone for three hours with someone, but I feel like he’s an exception. Same with my brother. These kinds of friends aren’t easy to come by, but when they do, they’re highly worth valuing.
I just got pinged to play Valorant in about 30 minutes, so I’m gonna brace myself for that. Let’s see if I can eat my humble pie and not get too strung up on trying to impress people. I just need to have some good ol’ fun! If I have time, I’ll probably watch some anime, or maybe finish Love Ribbon. I made it to the after story portion of it, and I really enjoyed the main story. I think I might have to finally play the Nonary Games series that Tyson recommended me years ago once I finish Love Ribbon (we talked about it briefly yesterday, and I’d been meaning to play it for a while). Pripara is still a ton of fun to watch – I just finished the first season and I have to say, it really rivals Aikatsu in the entertainment department. Aikatsu is still my number 1, but Pripara may be superior in some ways. I could do a whole review on the strong points of each series, but I should probably finish Pripara first before doing so. All right, time for me to conclude the entry – I’ll probably write one more before the con, so ‘til then… uh, I don’t actually have a witty closing remark this time. Not that I ever do. Maybe I can just end it awkwardly and do something like… uh…