Let’s Play Undertale to Redeem Chara (and talk about mental health)

A lot of posts I’ve made recently have made references to the game Undertale, and specifically the character of Chara. I keep harping on this subject because it is something important to me, obviously, but I know that there are many readers who don’t know Undertale, or just don’t care. So a few weeks ago I livestreamed the whole game with the express purpose of giving people context for why I’m so interested in this character, and also to talk about the host of mental health issues the game brings up and discusses (in a relatable, non-obvious way with goofy characters). I’m hoping that this will bring greater understanding to anyone who’s not going to get around to playing it themselves. But even more importantly for me: now that this has been posted and isn’t just rolling around in my head, I can probably move on instead of obsessing about it. If anyone asks, I now have something to point them to instead of feeling like I need to explain context for two hours.

So enjoy! If you don’t want to watch all of the many hours this takes, speed it up to 1.25x or 1.5x and listen to it in the background. There’s some important stuff here and I’d like to start discussions about it if at all possible. Let me know what you think!

Connecting (a response to responses)

So I got some…unexpected responses to my last post, which I felt I needed to address before too much time had passed (also I’m on a bit of a roll when it comes to blogging, so while I’m in the zone I want to keep it up before going silent for three years again or something).

The most common response I got was “So…have you considered therapy?” I understand the sentiment behind this (“I have no idea how to be helpful, but maybe a professional does”), but it’s not exactly good form to suggest this to someone in a public space. That’s akin to seeing someone who’s a little out of shape breathing hard and saying, “Whew! There sure are a lot of stairs up to this building!” and responding, “Well, have you considered changing your diet and exercising?” loudly in a crowded room. If you have suggestions for me to help me out, let me know; just be aware of where you are giving that advice. Private messaging is preferable when talking about such subjects. I post personal stuff on this blog, sure, but I try to do my best to keep it anonymous when talking about others, and it doesn’t give anyone else leave to discuss my personal matters publicly too.

As for the actual matter of therapy, to be frank, it’s not something I feel comfortable talking about publicly at this point. Just know that whether or not I’m seeking help should not reflect on what I’ve posted and what you take away from it.
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Crazy Bachelor

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Upon re-reading the decade-in-review post I made a short time ago, there was one sentence that stuck out to me as something I’d like to elaborate a bit on. I was writing about my current dating life (or lack thereof), and I said this:

Getting into a serious relationship with anyone would require some vast changes in how I currently approach life, and while I know there are people out there worth changing for, I have no idea how to find them or recognize that, and I don’t know if they’d have the patience to help me become the person who’s right for them instead of this dude who’s been living by himself for half a decade and has started going a little “crazy bachelor” as a result.

It’s that last phrase I want to especially focus on. Living alone for several years (as I have since late 2015), especially when you spend large amounts of your professional life alone as well, begins to alter your perception of things a bit, to a point that there are some things I do/think/believe/etc. that I’m not sure if they’re normal, or quirky but harmless, or worrisome. So I though I’d outline a few random things and let you, the vast Internet audience, draw your own conclusions, or at the very least get some insight into what life is for people like me. Please allow me to indulge in some intense navel-gazing, as we start with…

1. Indulging in intense navel-gazing

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Spending the teens in my 30’s: a Decade-in-Review

As the 2010’s comes to a close, I’ve been mulling around in my head a “decade-in-review” post for a while now, like I did in 2010. I’ve been putting it off for a bit, even posting some mostly unrelated stuff in the meantime. This is largely due to the fact that there are certain dominating events in my life, especially in the latter half of this past decade, that I’m still not super comfortable discussing on a public blog, though any true review of my life in the 2010’s would be incomplete without at least mentioning some of them. Still, I’m going to give it my best shot, and hopefully won’t step on any toes in the process. So with no further ado, let’s turn the ol’ clock back to the mythical, mystical year that began this decade:

2010

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My final year of college was far overdue. I had been attending university classes in some form or another for the entirety of the 2000’s (barring two years off for my LDS mission) and, with an internship at a marketing co-op company in the winter and my final class in the spring (a Persuasive Writing class where I wrote this), I was finally done! I may have still been a bachelor, but I was also…a Bachelor!

2010 also saw Poison Ivy Mysteries begin to find its footing. Annelise had started the murder mystery company in 2009, and 2010 saw the writing and production of several new shows, including a sci-fi show, a saucy film noir show, and a medieval wizard show, though for her the year was defined by her pregnancy and delivery of her son Ian, who, sadly, was born premature and only lived for a few days.

After graduating from BYU in August 2010, I moved back home with my parents to prepare to seek a full-time career in the music industry. I was still working at the marketing co-op under Nate Drew, writing bits of commercial music for advertisements, trade show videos, and so on, in addition to working on my first album: a complement to my friend Johnathan’s ABC Monsters book he was working on. In early December I posted on my blog a bunch of the music I had written that year, which was quite fortuitous, because it turns out that those were the only surviving pieces of nearly everything I’d worked on that year. Over Christmas weekend, my workplace was broken into and somebody stole a bunch of music-related equipment in the building. All of Nate’s and my computers, keyboards, microphones, interfaces — all gone. The equipment could eventually be replaced, but all of the dozens of projects I had worked so hard on the entire year, including the ABC Monsters stuff, was irreplaceable. All I had left were the demo MP3 tracks of the ABC Monsters that I had sent to Johnathan and the stuff I had posted online in that post I linked to earlier.

It was devastating, and even now, ten years later, I don’t think I’ve still fully recovered from that blow. But we’ll get into the aftermath soon enough.

Oh, also I crashed my grandmother’s car into a wall and totaled it. She wasn’t in it, though, so it’s all good.

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Pop Culture Ephemera

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This has relevance, I swear.

I’ve been thinking of doing a “decade-in-review” blog post for a while now, now that the 2010’s are ending and it seems like a good time to take stock in both my life and the world before beginning the roaring ’20’s that are on the horizon. I first considered doing a year-by-year breakdown, much like I had already done for the 2000’s, but had a more difficult time coming up specific year-related milestones. Turning 30 and getting a steady job meant that I had reached the point in my life where individual years didn’t matter as much as specific events, which is related to something I want to expound on a bit.

I recently came across an interesting video. What I found interesting was not necessarily the content (a dive into popular bad memes of the 2010’s), but how, for the guy who made the video, these memes represented the general tenor of the years in which they came out (2011 was the “Nyan Cat” year, 2012 was all about “Gangam Style” and figuring out what the fox says, 2016 is when Pepe the Frog was stolen by the alt-right, and so on). Thing is, I recognize and remember most of these memes, but I couldn’t, with a gun to my head, tell you what year they came out, or even make an educated guess. Internet culture stopped being delineated by calendar years for me around the same time that Homestarrunner.com stopped updating regularly, and it was a little bizarre seeing someone treat stuff from 2015 with deep nostalgia glasses, when for me, I have to really think hard to place what separated 2015 from 2014 or 2016 in my life (and actually, 2015 was probably the last year I had before I settled into the “living alone in an apartment and working” routine I’m still in today, and even then that’s mostly because before that I was in a “living in a small house with a roommate and working” routine).

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Afraid

So I started a “new” blog, with the intent to start writing more. That was nearly three months ago now, and I still haven’t actually posted anything new.

Fear.

I’m afraid of putting myself out there again.

I’m afraid of unnecessarily repeating myself in these posts.

I’m afraid that people will give me well-meaning advice that I will either have to find an excuse not to follow, or ignore and then feel guilty about yet another thing I’m not doing.

I’m afraid because I have nobody to talk to. I have plenty of people who will offer to talk, but I have nobody to talk to. Not anyone that I can trust with my whole self.

I’m afraid that when people do try to break through to me, I deflect and obfuscate because I wasn’t ready to open up, but when I finally am, they’ve given up or moved on.

I’m afraid that nobody trusts me with their whole self, because I don’t know the proper things to do or say if they did.

I’m afraid that people who do care will care for a minute, before their other priorities reassert themselves, and unless I keep putting all of myself on display, day after day, I become forgotten, less and less of a thought.

I’m afraid because some of the people I care most about care less about me than I had thought.

I’m afraid because recently I had to sever a long-term (non-romantic) toxic relationship, and, while it was necessary for both parties involved, it still hurts.

I’m afraid because I’ve never been diagnosed with any mental anything, but obviously something’s going on here, but I literally can’t afford to seek professional help, at least not without being unable to live on my own. Do I need it? Can’t I just live? Some days I can. All days I can.

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New blog!

Welcome to my new blog! I’ve decided to start a whole new personal blog (with the same URL as my old one so that anyone following me won’t have to change bookmarks/subscriptions). This will be hopefully similar to my old one (now housed at jefferykritarchive.wordpress.com), being a place where I can do some freeform writing, usually about some sort of philosophical or lifestyle observations I’ve made, or insights I have on topics that I feel are important. I still haven’t come up with a good name for it (“Jeff’s New Blog” is very much a placeholder, though I want something different from my previous blog names “Boom Chicka Wiggy Wagga” and “¿Le Gusta Leer?”), so if you have a suggestion lay it on me in a comment or something! I’m still working on the layout and design as well, so it may be changing quite a bit in the next little while until I find something I like.

The main question you may have, however, is why am I starting a new blog instead of just reviving my old one (which has been virtually silent for more than three years)? I go into it a little bit on my last significant post that’s hosted on the old site, but basically I feel like my life in the past few years has undergone a rather dramatic paradigm shift. A large part of that has been my departure from the LDS religion I was raised in and considered myself a member of until around 2015, along with the shifts in viewpoint that that has engendered. Part of it has been my dating/romantic life, which has also dramatically changed (I may or may not go into this in more detail in a future post, but suffice it to say that dating is different when you don’t have the rules defined for you by an organization), though, true to form, I still don’t do it that much. Part of it has been my living situation: my old blog went silent around the time that I started living in an apartment by myself, which affects a lot of how I operate. Part of it was due to the Player and Doodler Youtube channel I was running for a large chunk of that time: though it was more specifically about gaming than about general life stuff, it was still a lot of content that I was putting online there instead of on a blog. And part of it has simply been getting older: I’m now 36 years old, and a large chunk of my worldview has simply shifted due to that.

I tried several times on the old blog to make a post. I probably had about ten or so in the “draft” phase. But for some reason I was never able to really finish one in all that time. It felt like I was adding onto the story of somebody else, somebody who was quite different (at least in terms of the personal picture the blog painted). I’m now somebody who doesn’t look at Mormonism with either adoration or contempt, but just as part of my cultural and philosophical past. Somebody who is no longer pining away or obsessing over why I’m still single. Somebody who, quite frankly, feels a lot more secure and stable about where I am in life. And I would like to start writing about things from the perspective of who I am now without the baggage of who I’ve been featured on the same site.

For there is a lot on the old blog that shows where I came from, but not a whole lot that shows where I am or who I am now. This has actually come back to bite me: not too long ago I was dating a woman who read all of that blog and consequently thought she knew me really well. The problem was that she assumed I was mostly the same person now (or at least she could plot a course from who I was and figure out who I am), and that simply wasn’t the case. It…did not end well. So one reason I’ve started over here is to hopefully avoid that kind of situation in the future.

In any case, I’m hoping that making a clean break like this will inspire me to start writing more, with the knowledge that readers will understand that I may be coming from a different perspective than the guy who wrote most of that other blog. Hopefully it’ll work and I won’t get into any trouble.

There are a few posts, however, that I left here when I moved everything else to that archive. One of them I left mostly because for some reason most of my views come from that one post, for reasons I’ve never quite understood, but hey, traffic is traffic. One I left here because I have links to it elsewhere I can’t easily change (in some videos) and it’s a good post anyway. Another one I left here because it was it was really the beginning of that paradigm shift I mentioned (and also I think there are links to it in places I can’t change and I don’t want them to be broken). The most recent one, however, I have here as officially part of the new blog, to the point that I actually didn’t include it as part of the archive (despite the fact that I first posted it on the old blog). It’s only about two months old instead of three years or more, and better represents who I am now, so I wanted to include it here as really the first substantial post that wasn’t simply a holdover.

So there you have it. New blog, new ideas, new posts! Here’s to the future!