Making An Impact

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I was on the phone with a dear friend of mine the other day and we got to talking about the idea of “making an impact” or “making a mark” on the world, and what we “get” out of doing certain things with our life/career choices. Is it important or helpful to think about things in these terms, or should we just be focusing on what we as individuals enjoy? To what extent, if any, should the impact of your work on others have any bearing on the work that you do? These were the kinds of questions we were throwing around, and I don’t know if there’s necessarily a concrete answer to any of them, but they’re interesting to think about.

I find myself having a hard time relating to people actively pursuing certain careers which, through my eyes, don’t seem to have much impact on the world at large or which don’t allow you to make your own mark, so to speak. Like, I get that certain careers are simply more profitable and that’s that, but what really motivates you then? I’d just really like to get inside the heads of some people to understand their perspective and their motivations that come with that. As a creative, most 9-5 jobs just seem really draining and unrewarding to me. For certain jobs, like medical professionals, it is clear to me how you could get satisfaction out of that work and feel motivated to do what you do. But for most other 9-5s, it’s really hard for me to wrap my head around. But I understand that not everyone has any interest in being an “artist,” so I’d really just like to be able to understand from that angle. Maybe this whole line of thinking is rooted in a belief that I have more to offer the world than what I can do in a 9-5 job. Heck, I don’t know. But I know the typical 9-5 lifestyle is not for me.

My friend would go on to contest that we should not be concerned or waste too much energy worrying about having an impact on the world but rather that we should just be motivated by doing what we want to do. Not to worry about what others think, just to do what we love for ourselves. And I largely agree with this mentality and the sentiment of it. My only qualm with this idea is that I believe we, as artists, inherently want to have an audience and to make an impact on others as a result. In that sense I would argue that all artists are motivated in one way or another by trying to leave their mark and as a result their individual love of their art wouldn’t be able to exist without someone being there to consume it in the first place. While it’s true that over the years I have put out countless things that little to no people seemed to care about, ultimately I love to entertain and to share my opinions so the things I create always feel more validated when people respond or care about them in some way. So while I do put out a lot of videos even though I know they probably won’t get many views in comparison to others, it’s still that idea that someone, somewhere, got something out of them, that is a big motivating factor. Even this blog was mostly started for myself, but I obviously could have kept everything private if I really didn’t care for anyone to read what I have to say. As an artist or a creative it is always so much more rewarding when you hear that what you create is appreciated on some level, even if you feel compelled to create it for your own sanity as well.

Hopefully all these thoughts were coherent and made sense in the way I presented them. Obviously all of these thoughts are formed through the prism of myself as someone who is entrenched in the creative arts side of things so my beliefs are limited in that regard, but hopefully you can understand where I’m coming from. If you have anything to add on the topics of “rewarding” careers or making an impact on the world, don’t hesitate to reach out because I genuinely would like to understand more perspectives and hear additional opinions.

As always I’m dealing with my depression one day at a time, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking during my extended time away from work and I am motivated to make some change happen in my life. Thanks to everyone who continues to be there for me, and to this friend in particular for having this conversation with me and giving me the idea for this week’s blog. Much love to you and yours.

Videos I Posted This Week:

Things I Enjoyed This Week:

Depression Lurks

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Depression can be hard sometimes, man. Just when I start to think I’ve figured some stuff out and am making some progress, it’ll come back and hit me harder than ever. And then I realize, yep, I’m definitely still depressed, though I might have fooled myself into thinking otherwise for a brief moment. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely in a better place than I was a few months ago, but during some particularly tough days it doesn’t feel that way, for sure. Depression has a harsh way of giving you a reality check every so often, just to make sure that you know you’re not out of the woods yet. Depression’s not something you can cure over-night, so it tends to lurk in the background, waiting for its opportunity to strike, even on your best of days.

That being said, I continue to spit-ball ideas on how I can improve. I feel like it can be slightly therapeutic every now and then to just let it all out and be sad for a little while, giving yourself some space to genuinely feel how you feel. But of course too much of that can be taxing as well, and a lot of times when I am in the sad zone I can basically become a zombie with no motivation to do anything, including not only anything productive but often not anything fun as well. I’ll just end up sitting in the same spot for a period of time just listening to sad music and doing nothing. Not a good look, I know. But sometimes that’s the only way to really get it all out and even that might be better than bottling it up forever. Outside of that I do think maybe just actively trying to have a more positive mindset could help. I haven’t put this plan into action yet, but this is a theory of mine that if I just tell myself that I am happy, even if I don’t believe it, then I might start to feel more happy in general. I used to do a better job of this back in the day, but the longer I’ve been depressed the harder it has become to even muster the kind of energy needed to give off such positive vibes on days when I’m not feeling it.

I do hate to be negative, so all of that was not to say that I’m in a worse spot than I was last week or the week before that or even the month before that, because I’m not. My point is really that it’s okay to not be okay, though I’m still finding ways to deal with that myself. For people who are depressed, one or two happy days certainly won’t make it all go away, though it certainly doesn’t hurt to have those happy days become a more common occurrence. So ultimately what I’m always working towards is trying to get myself into a position in life where I can experience those happy days more often than the sad days, where happiness is more of the norm for me rather than the exception.

Not that I have the most time in the world to work with on top of working, running two YouTube channels and this blog, but I was wondering if there might not be even more ways for me to channel my experiences and feelings into something creative. Particularly, some form of creative writing is what I had in mind. My only concern with that is I’m not sure if I have the knack for it nowadays. Other than the one screenwriting class I took in college, I literally haven’t done any creative writing with any sort of consistency since grade school, so my confidence in putting together some worthwhile stories isn’t exactly there at the moment. But hey, couldn’t hurt to challenge myself, right? The only problem with that is, like I said, trying to fit that in on top of everything else I’m working on, when I already don’t have enough time to enjoy some of my other hobbies as much as I’d like to. But that’s definitely something I’ll be thinking about in the coming weeks.

Videos I Posted This Week:

Things I Enjoyed This Week:

Being Sociable

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One thing I’ve noticed about myself over the years is that I really do value friendship and being around good company. I am a sociable person! Growing up and even into high school to an extent I would often describe myself as a “loner” and say that I’m okay just being by myself for long periods of time. Looking back, though, I see that was more of a coping mechanism and a way to justify those times where I just was alone. So instead of conceding that I felt lonely, I would embrace it and pretend that it is just part of my character in some way. But as more and more time has passed, I’ve realized just how friend and community-oriented I seem to be naturally. I’m not a social butterfly necessarily, and I’m usually not a fan of larger, less personal gatherings like parties or weddings, but throughout my life I’ve always felt happier the more I am around good company.

From online forums to in-person friend groups, I’m usually drawn to being a part of some sort of community at most points in my life. Maybe that’s just human nature, that natural desire for like-minded groups to come together and connect, but more often than not I’ll find myself actively starting groups or organizing community events rather than being a passive participant. Even in the parts of my life where I wasn’t a part of any in-person groups and just did a lot of community things online, I would still spend a lot of my time with my best friend, and those were some of the best times that I had. Now more than ever I value genuine friendships and bonds so much, and love bringing good people together. I rarely ever will turn down spending time with good company in favor of spending time by myself.

And that right there, that community-oriented trait, is not really a trait of mine that I was cognizant of throughout most of my life. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt so much regret about how I handled certain parts of my life. I would describe myself as “the weird kid”, or off-beat, or a bit of an outcast as a means of explaining why I don’t need friends, and as a result was dismissive of some of the true feelings of loneliness I would go through. A few years ago is when my depression really started to sink in as I finally acknowledged my issue for what it was: Loneliness. I wasn’t a “loner,” I didn’t want to be alone, but I found myself in this spot and my mental health was struggling in many ways. As I went through college feeling this way, even though I understood that I wanted more friends and more of a sense of community in my life, I didn’t make enough of an effort to actually make this happen. This is a big part of why I didn’t enjoy a lot of my college experience and also why I remained depressed for several years.

As I’ve discussed a lot, I still deal with depression now but in terms of friends I am in a much better spot than I was for most of my college years. Though I still battle with a sense of loneliness which I’ve also talked about on these blogs a lot, most of my depression now is rooted in my position in life rather than just the social element. Now I have some really good friends who I care about and who seem to care about me so that’s a good feeling to have to help with my depression overall.

The biggest takeaway from all of this is that I feel like I’ve realized a lot about myself over the years. Like, maybe I was the kid that sat by himself a lot because I was a “nerd” or because I was a little different than others, but that didn’t mean that that’s the way it had to be. I could have stepped out of my comfort zone more back and changed that narrative then but I didn’t. I could have branched out and done more to change that narrative in college but I didn’t. So now I’m doing the best with my life to live with less regrets and to make the most of my time with the people around me who I care about, now that I fully acknowledge my desire to spend time with good company. Not to mention that I love to make people laugh and have fun rapport with people so a lot of time alone can be particularly draining for me, especially with my continuing mental health struggles. But I’m doing my best and will continue to improve on other aspects of my life now that my social life is in a much more sound place than it was even just a few months ago.

Videos I Posted This Week:

Survivor: Vanuatu Ep. 13 Reaction (Julie Gets Burned) – Tarqaron
Conclusion to the TRUE Gents Challenge 2021 – Tarqaron ft. Ryan
Jungle Cruise Review – Tarqaron

Things I Enjoyed This Week:

Making Adjustments

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I have felt pretty exhausted this past week. My sleep schedule’s all out of whack, I guess. Lately I’ll not have enough sleep the previous day so I wake up later in the day than I’d like. Last year, I pretty much never worked before 9am, but I was at a point where I would set my alarm for 7:30-8 regardless of when I needed to wake up so I could try to get a nice and early start on the day. It didn’t always work, but I would usually wake up by 9am at least. Now I tend to work later in the day on average than I did last year so I often find myself staying up later and waking up later as a result. In order to reach a happier place, I definitely feel like it would be beneficial for me to work towards establishing a better sleep schedule again. That, and developing a more productive schedule for the day in general. I’d like to be able to set clear goals for myself while also leaving myself an appropriate amount of time to do enjoyable things as well as work towards a healthier mind/body in general. Everything I want to do is so time-consuming but I’ve got to make it work somehow.

Starting at the end of next week I’m going to be taking eight days off from work, and I intend to use those days to the fullest. Getting my resume/portfolio finished, getting everything ready to make videos on my solo channel again, buying CLOTHES that I need to buy… I want to get it all finished. And I’m putting it out there now so that I can hold myself to it. I want to have some time to relax during my time off but I also want to finish these tasks that have been hanging over my head for a while now.

For now, I’m still dealing with this problem where I’ll be fine one day and miserable the next. And I’m not sure if that will ever truly go away for as long as I’m depressed, but I do think it mostly boils down to two things which I have mentioned in previous blogs. One is that element of “keeping busy” or just productivity in general. Generally the more I accomplish in a day, the less down in the dumps I am. Which makes sense, I guess. The second element is the people I’m around. For as much as I convinced myself growing up that I was a “loner,” I really have come to realize that I am a people person so surrounding myself with good people, especially after what I’ve gone through these past couple of months, is a must. My mood is definitely elevated when I’m around some of the people I’ve been around at work lately who have such a positive energy about them. If it weren’t for these people I’d probably always be miserable at work. Making sure to take time to be with good people outside of work has been crucial as well. I try to make it a point to do something with a friend at least once a week. And I’m always open to more! I’ve always made a conscious effort to be there for my friends if they need me, and if they take the time to reach out to me I am always appreciative.

That’s gonna be it for this week. Hopefully in a couple weeks’ time I will be able to talk more specifically about developments I’m making, and some of my creative plans for the future. In the meantime I’m posting new videos on the Tarqaron YouTube channel every week so be sure to check those out if you have any interest in film/tv/gaming! Thanks again.

Trying To Move Forward

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I have been depressed for years now, pretty much ever since I enrolled in college in 2015, but maybe even a bit before that. Their were certainly ebbs and flows in how severe the depression was, but the common thread was always some sense of loneliness. My social life was usually minimal, and in college I never really put too much effort into putting myself out there and socializing with people. That’s where I feel like a lot of my depression really started, me lying alone in my dorm room for hours, not doing much of anything. There were things that I certainly got enjoyment from, like my YouTube videos which I really started dedicating myself to from that point on, and my usual nerdy hobbies like video games and television. But underneath it all depression was always there. Through 2019 I had decent working relationships with people, but didn’t really engage with co-workers that much, both in and outside of work.

In 2020 I thought I had finally figured it out. I decided I would make a conscious effort to be more sociable because even though I had convinced myself when I was growing up that I was a “loner,” I really do love getting to know people and having real friendships. I started finding more and more people who I enjoyed talking to, some of which I had worked with for a couple of years but never really took the time to know. I eventually started a group through which I would play Among Us with a bunch of these friends weekly, and I really loved it. It gave me something to look forward to each week, and despite being in the midst of a pandemic, I really had more of a “social life” than I had had in a long time. I didn’t necessarily enjoy my job, but at least I had some awesome people there who I cared about that I got to see every day. I was proud of the group I had put together. I always felt like an outcast in high school, even among some of my friend groups, but I thought I had finally found a group in which I was truly accepted. I cared about them, and would have done anything for them. I always did my best to be a good friend. Through the year, I got keychains for everyone in the group to show my appreciation and spent a lot on Christmas gifts for a bunch of them, which I sincerely really enjoyed putting together. I never expected anything in return, I just wanted to show my appreciation for them since I never really had a group of friends like that. Their friendship was enough for me.

Fast-forward to the beginning of 2021. One week I’m on good terms with everyone, messaging and playing games with the group like usual. The next week I am alienated, ostracized, and completely ex-communicated from the group entirely. All of these people that I cared about stopped responding to my messages, and some of them blocked and unfriended me on everything outright. I hadn’t done anything but be a good friend to these people, and I was the same person that everyone was on good terms with just a week before, so I was truly shocked. It seemed that everyone had decided overnight that I was a horrible person and I never got the memo. I reached out to everyone individually, looking for some kind of answer or at least someone who would hear me out during all of this since I felt so isolated and alone at this point. But none of them responded. I was really lost.

After hearing about some of the things my friends were apparently saying about me, the only conclusion I could reach was that someone had made up a story about me and spread it around, since a lot of what I was hearing was just completely false. And to this day, I truly don’t know how someone could hate me enough to do something like this to me. This wasn’t just silly drama, either, it was horribly defamatory gossip that was carelessly being used against me when I wasn’t even able to or allowed the chance to defend myself. All of these people who I considered friends thought I was “playing the victim” when in reality, they had never considered that these things weren’t true and none of them even bothered to reach out before casting judgment on me.

These couple of weeks were some of the worst of my life. In one fell swoop, my work life was completely turned on its head, most of my friends turned their backs on me without a second thought, and I was unwelcome in a group that I had put my heart and soul into. If they had cut me off for something I actually did, I feel like I would have been able to deal with this a lot better. But that wasn’t the case. I understand why they were so quick to believe these things because I can’t even fathom why someone would go to such great lengths to try to ruin my life and make something up about me like this, especially something so damaging. It didn’t make sense to me then and it doesn’t make sense to me now. So of course it wouldn’t make sense to them either. I struggle to think of what I could have done differently. All I ever did was try to be nice to everyone. I really cared about them.

What hurt the most was that none of the people in this friend group cared to reach out to me and none of them cared to respond when I reached out to them. So much of the hell that I’ve gone through could have been avoided if even one of them stopped to question this and listen to my perspective. It was as if everything good I ever did for the group suddenly meant nothing, and it only took one hurtful lie about me to do it. I sat alone in my room for days after this, either crying or staring blankly, unable to motivate myself to do anything meaningful. Luckily I wasn’t suicidal, but they certainly didn’t know that and it isn’t lost on me that people in similar situations have killed themselves. I had even talked to some of them about how I was so depressed before all of this. So getting no response hurt more than I ever could have imagined. These people who I considered friends all hate me because of something that isn’t true and there is nothing that I can do about it. If I could prove it to them, show them that these things aren’t true, I would gladly do it, but I can’t because it’s all word-of-mouth and the well has already been poisoned against me.

Luckily there are a couple of people outside of this group who were kind enough to speak to me on a human level and who were really there for me. You know who you are and I appreciate you now more than ever. Because of this traumatic experience and how so many people have treated me, I went to therapy for the first time ever a couple of days ago as well. A common sentiment among my therapist and those who still care about me can essentially be boiled down to this: “Fuck them, they are awful, if they are treating you like this then they were probably never really your friends to begin with. They would have heard you out.” Yeah, it is true that I have been horribly mistreated and they have caused me so much pain in such a short amount of time, but, and maybe I’m being na├»ve in saying this, I can’t accept that it was all malicious and that they never cared about me all along. I have to believe that many of them are good people but they truly believe that I am the horrible one and therefore they think they are justified in cutting me off. They were horribly misled and how they handled everything was horrible, but I don’t think they are horrible people. And that’s why this hurts as much as it does.

I’ve literally had dreams where the person who started all of this comes forward and admits to everyone that they made everything up, and everyone apologizes for how they treated me and everything goes back to how it was again, but unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen. Instead I have no choice but to move forward and basically start from scratch. Everything I worked towards in 2020, and all the progress I thought I was making mentally/emotionally, has been lost. I am more depressed than I have ever been. I’m hard on myself a lot but I know I didn’t deserve any of this. I don’t really know what the lesson is that I should be taking from all of this. I never in a million years could have anticipated something like this. That being said…

I am down but not out. When all this happened to me, I was almost catatonic. I didn’t know what to do with myself, I was hopeless, and I wasn’t sure if I could ever be happy again. My whole world was crashing down around me. But now I’m trying to put my best foot forward. Although this pain surely won’t go away anytime soon and I can’t just forget that this happened, I’m already infinitely better than the catatonic state I was in a couple of weeks ago. The only silver lining I can glean from all of this is a true motivation to change where I’m at in life, work towards what I want, and focus on the things I love. And perhaps that motivation is truer now than it had been for quite some time. It’s just a shame that it took something like this to really motivate me.

You might be confused as to why I decided to post this in the first place. Frankly, it is no one’s business, but it’s something I felt like I needed to do. I’ve always been a pretty open book and I have put so much of myself out there on the internet over the years, but never really just my raw thoughts/feelings in this way. Since I have been cut off by so many people I cared about, I wanted to use this as a way to vent and let my voice be heard on some level. And in addition to that, I didn’t feel like it would be fair to those still in my life for me to just pretend like nothing’s going on and act like everything is business as usual. Like it or not, this was an awful experience in my life that I won’t soon forget, and I’m sure the effects of it will be felt in my personality and friendships I have on and off of the internet. So for those of you who actually took the time to read through all of this hell, perhaps this will provide some added context as to why I might not seem entirely like myself lately. And thank you for taking the time to understand.

All in all this was pretty therapeutic for me so if I can keep myself committed to it, I’m going to try to make this a weekly thing where I can talk about what’s going on and how I’m feeling. Usually everything I post on the internet is through the lens of talking about some form of entertainment like music, film, or gaming so it would be interesting to have an on-going series of blogs focused on my mental health and introspection more than anything else. We’ll see.