I've not updated this site in ages, and I've not released Taming Dreams either! I'd like to talk about the personal reasons for these things here, then I'll probably write another post later about the more technical aspects of what I plan to do with Taming Dreams (I've certainly not abandoned it; I've simply been very distracted). Also, here's a self-portrait that I painted the other day.
It's an odd feeling, painting a picture of yourself, especially if you're insecure about your looks for whatever reason, as I am. Having to stare yourself in the face, looking at every little detail. I feel that self-portraits should show more than a photo might. They should tell the story of their subject, express as much personality as possible, bare the soul. So that's what this is. And I feel it was successful! The people I know in person were amazed by it, and said it looked so like me that it was creepy. So that's good.
Speaking of people, they've been the biggest reason for me neglecting my games development work recently. As those of you who've been following me for a while will know, I was isolated for many years. No friends, no partner, and while people reached out to me online, I was so scarred and scared by bad experiences that I rarely replied and hid away. Dark times, those. So I suppose a change from that was so welcome that I struggled to focus on anything else.
I didn't meet many people at all during the first semester, though. I still only have two proper friends, both of whom I met in the first week. This is largely due to circumstance; there weren't exactly any opportunities to meet people on my course other than the ice breaker things specifically designed for that purpose which were available at the beginning. I see some people sitting alone in lectures, and I wonder if they have any friends at all on the course, so I wish there'd been more opportunities. I'd sit next to them and talk to them myself, but I've been so focused on deepening the bonds with the people I already know that I didn't want to miss out on any chance to do so.
I've been facing a lot of anxiety and despair for reasons related to that recently, actually. There's a psychological concept called ∞ attachment styles ∞
that says that our upbringing determines how we tend to act in and feel about relationships - romantic or close-platonic - that we might develop as adults. Those whose loved ones were always there for them growing up are able to trust that those they become close to later in life won't abandon them, but for those who were neglected or abandoned, there's the constant fear of the same happening again; they become 'preoccupied', jealous, anxious about losing what they have.
I grew up in a broken home with divorced parents, a neglectful father, no deep friendships or romantic relationships, things like that, so of course my own mind has been conditioned to expect - and fear - abandonment. My only romantic relationship was torn apart by the jealousy and terror that arose from this, though I thought at the beginning of the year that my 'spiritual awakening' had freed me from that irrational, constricting, poisonous way of thinking. I've learned from having close friends that it's not so easily shed, however!
Those two friends are going home for Christmas, but I'm not. I'll be staying here, alone. This is largely a choice; I could
return to my family, but I find that more awkward than enjoyable (since the 'family' in question is mostly my step-dad's, and they're all over 50) so I'd rather not. Solitude is a relief from obligations, in that sense, but it's still a shame that I'll be all alone with nobody to really reach out to in person, and I'm plagued by fears that maybe I'll somehow lose my friends during this break; that maybe their interest in me will dissolve or they'll somehow find people more interesting than me and I'll lose all value to them.
There's also the thought that while they may top my own list of Most Important People In My Life, they both have partners, so I know I'm always of less worth or value to them than they are to me. Perhaps it's bizarre for people without severe abandonment issues or insecurities to even imagine thinking this way, but it seems to be deeply ingrained in my thought processes. "Am I good enough? Am I the BEST, MOST IMPORTANT person in their life??? Anything short of perfection is soul-shattering tragedy!!!!"
It's ridiculous. But much of the mind's nonsense is. Thoughts like this can tear us apart, and taming them - making peace with them - is what I've written Taming Dreams about because I feel it's an ongoing challenge for many of us in our real lives. I do know what I need to do to control my own mind; it's just easier said than done, and requires practice. Like how knowing how to do push-ups doesn't mean you can do a thousand in one go without a struggle. You have to work at it a little bit at a time, and that's what I'm trying to do.
Apart from shedding the self and clearing the mind through meditation - the spiritual path - there are also psychological techniques that can help, like ∞ cognitive restructuring ∞
, where you basically reprogram your inner software. For example, changing "I'm all alone and have nobody to hug and to hold and to laugh with!!" to "I have a lot of time to do a lot of things I'd like - or need - to get done without distractions or worrying about another person's happiness". Again, though, it's a process that takes practice and patience. I say, to myself.
While the social experiences I've had so far have in some ways made me wonder if isolation was easier ("does this person even actually like me, or are they just enduring my presence?" is quite a prickly thought to deal with on a frequent basis), I'm very glad of many of them. It's remarkable how deprivation can lead to greater appreciation of things that others take for granted. Even the smallest morsel of food after a day spent fasting feels like the most glorious feast. For me, just receiving genuine, intimate hugs from people who clearly care from me was enough to leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling for many hours afterwards. I know that must sound sad for those who get much more than that on a regular basis, but, well, maybe I'll be that lucky one day too. Maybe.
Apart from social concerns, I've been surprised by the amount of time I've had to devote to academic coursework. We've not had much of it, but it required the development of new skills and a lot of scientific research and reading. So that's been a huge time sink too, distracting me from Taming Dreams.
Taming Dreams. I fully expected that to be done months ago, and I suppose it is done; it's just the whole releasing it thing that I'm still scared about, and I suppose the other concerns in my life were good excuses to avoid facing the unfamiliar. I have however been posting on a forum of fellow app developers, asking how I should go about releasing it, so I've been getting a better idea about what I should do next. I feel less ignorant and alone about it all. Also, the replies my thread about it got suggested that many people were impressed by what I'd managed to make.
However, it seems that there's a long road ahead of me, and it won't be as simple as just pressing the 'release' button and watching the cash and fans pour in. I'll probably have to become a salesman
in some form, actively promoting my work, and ugh, I've never been any good at that. I believe I can learn, but again, it requires rewiring of my mind. I imagine I'll have to do a whole lot of that over the next year.
But I will try. I feel like I've learned and grown a lot over the last few months; like I've been going through the stage of development that most people do when they first move out at age 18 and start exploring the world outside the bubble they'd lived in up until then. They start finding themselves
and all that. I know I'm late with that, but, well, better late than never.
Which is also a phrase that I suppose applies to the release of Taming Dreams!!