I watched a playthough of The Beginner's Guide today. It's from the same folks who made Stanley Parable. They keep messing with minds, and I'm glad they are. The Beginner's Guide made met think, which is less and less frequent in modern games. It made me think about the value of distance. Not physical distance, although there are theories and studies revolving around the psychological effects of physical distance, but of emotional distance.
In the last decade or two, a discussion has risen around the antisocial behaviour of young people - teenagers and young adults - that keeps revolving around the psychological and economic impacts of a new wave of societal and cultural change. Internet allows us to have relationships over the internet that may not in fact be there at all. Looking at a Facebook or Twitter feed, seeing all these names that you know scroll past with intimate stories or glimpses into another person allows us to project a friendship with these people. These so called parasocial relationships will be there even if we don't actually have any connection with the people that we see in our feeds. I don't mean to rail against the culture of social media again - not this time - it is simply a result of a shifting culture.
There's a lot going on in our current cultural shift, from the symptom of isolation all the way to the very opposite; the symptom of latching on to others. We are losing certain emotional cues by interacting via an emotionless screen, but at the same time we are perhaps gaining a greater resolve to connect to others. When you are unable to read certain emotional cues, there will be a lack of understanding that some will want to fill. I know I have had this before in my life. I would argue that we all want to be happy, and we want those around us to be happy. When there is a problem, we want to fix that and move on as fast as possible. We fail to realize that trying to fix something can often end with the problem being magnified. And when we fail to realize that the problem we are trying to fix isn't in fact a problem, we are in fact ending up creating a problem by the act of fixing.
I feel like I'm slowly ending up writing in nonsensical circles. Let's pull this back. As always, I'm sure from this point onwards this will devolve into some kind of a faulty self-reflection.
I have, for most of my life, kept people at a distance from myself. Some would probably call me antisocial and I wouldn't necessarily say that I'm not. I enjoy the act of creation, I enjoy freedom of being inside my own head and painting these magnificent worlds that I can then try to translate somehow onto a page. I enjoy sitting in a room by myself, doing absolutely nothing with myself. It is a strange feeling when you have the freedom to do that, and the confidence of your family that you know what you're doing, yet somewhere deep inside feeling lost and confused. Wearing a mask of confidence ended up breaking me and spinning me into a depression, because all of a sudden I felt like I couldn't handle that anymore. For more rambling about that, you can start my blog from the start. This was originally my place to vent all the frustration and insecurity, when all of this was still on blogger.
Attempts at trying to fix me, to make me normal, were met with extreme resistance, and still are. To me, I am normal, and no matter what anyone says I will work for the rest of my life to keep up being my own, unique normalcy.
My fiancee continues to struggle with anxiety and depression. I've been sitting here, watching the spiral and then the slow climb back up for over two years. I've seen my fiancee completely immobile in bed, paralyzed by overcoming anxiety and fear, I've seen her starving herself, I've seen her lash out at everyone who has tried to fix her. I have seen the very personality that I fell in love with crumble, get stomped on and then slowly put together like a broken mirror. There will always be gaps there, there will always be fragile lines that will never heal and which I will forever know as coming from this period of her life. I want to so desperately to just fix her, and it's been all I have wanted since she started spiralling out of control. The saddest thing is to discover time and time again that you cannot fix something like this, and to realize you must back away from the attempt before you make things worse. The best thing you can do is to try and mirror what they need most, and to be some semblance of a symbol of motivation for them. It is another mask to be put on, in order to hide all the deep fear and sorrow. A mask that, at some point, will need to shatter as well.