Thirty five thousand, seven hundred and ten words. 35,710. That's almost half as long as the first Harry Potter book. It's a third the length of The Hobbit. It's also, to be more specific, how many words I've unleashed on this site through my blogs... since January. Prior to this one, that is.
I won't quite have been blogging here for two years until July, but when you think about it, that's not a milestone I actually have a say in. I could have posted the one blog and then done nothing and that would still technically be true. Just like it's technically true that, despite those seemingly large numbers I just mentioned, I once put a third the amount out in one day last year, which suddenly makes that count look small by comparison. It all depends on your perspective, you know what I mean?
And this is the perspective I'll take for now. I do have control over how much content I've put out, so if there's a milestone I want to stop on and reflect on a little, I'd say rather than how long I've been on this site, it's 100 Blogs. Maybe I'll say something again if it won't be too redundant in July, but for my 100th blog, I want to do something fun, so I'm getting the looking back out of the way a little early if it's just as well. I'm also going to ignore the fact that if I count the four blogs I've written for Japanator (and only Japanator), then I'm actually past 100 now, because then this would be pointless.
Besides, I didn't say anything when the first year rolled around, so if I looked at it that way, I'm owed one, right?
At the rate I'm going, I'll probably be well past that Harry Potter book by my real anniversary. If I include the blogs I haven't posted but have still written this year, I'm probably already well onto a sequel. Maybe I should try NaNoWriMo one of these years...
Seriously though? I actually hate looking at numbers like that. It makes me way too self-conscious. Much as I feel like there doesn't need to be a distinction between quantity and quality, that you should be able to have quality and quantity together... It's still something you have to think about, especially when you're a writer. It's obvious, right?
When I look at how much I've put into these blogs, these irrelevant, silly little blogs, wastes of time that both I and those scrolling past or even taking the time to read them will inevitably forget about by the day's end, it makes me stop and think about other things. The time it took to write them, the form that number of words could have taken if I'd focused them into something else, what they and I could be if I had done something else---
If I vanished tomorrow, would they have mattered?
If I spontaneously decided to stop coming back to the site, would that presence be missed?
Not as much as I would have liked, though.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a cry for help or a plea for reassurance. I'm criticizing myself. I can scroll through nearly two years of my life and my growth as a writer, and even as a person to an extent, by looking at this website and my blogs here.
There are aspects of myself I liked better in earlier blogs compared to now. There are similarly aspects of myself from them I feel have become significantly better over time. It's pretty cool to be able to just flip through your work like that, see how you've grown (and not grown). I mentioned last year I don't think I'd be able to write a blog like my first Bloggers Wanted response again, and the sad thing is, that's still probably the case.
Whether that's growth or just allowing myself be exposed to too much toxicity (so essentially making it anti-growth), I can't say, but it is a sign I've still got some growing to do as, as both a person and a writer.
Speaking of growth, this is actually my fifth attempt writing this blog. I would say "everything from this point onward is fresh," but in actuality, that phrase was introduced on the third try, so I couldn't really do so in good conscience, now could I? A couple of the times it got too reflective for its own good, and one of the times I just decided I needed to up and quit writing forever! Clearly, I was not taking shit from anyone, least of all myself, and I was going to let the world know!
Or, you know, I was human, lacking sleep, and had been having a particularly lousy day, and it was showing.
So I stopped, dropped, and rolled. Well, no, but I did at least stop to consider what I was doing, then I vented a little in the word document I was working on, and then left it to rot on my computer somewhere where I'll either forget about it or stumble upon it at the worst possible time and promptly close out of it as I desperately continue my search for whatever I was looking for in that moment.
Although you could say it's counter-productive seeing as I was once front paged for a stream of consciousness blog I hadn't thought anyone would bother to read even back then, as I sit here pointedly avoiding the hostile environment that is the comments section of a certain article on the front page where once (hell maybe even a month ago) I might've spent far too much time on comments that would've amounted to nothing, I feel like that's at least some progress made.
Time is precious, more precious than any amount of currency or any possession we'll ever own, and we need to learn how to better use ours, because before we know it, we won't have as much as we thought.
I'll be the first to admit I'm not great at doing this myself, but I'm working on it.
The main reason I'm stopping before my 100th blog to do a 99th pre-100th blog isn't to stroke my ego, but because I did want to reflect a little and to... I guess talk about something I don't really talk about much on this site. That thing being, strangely enough, me. I don't feel as though I talk about myself much, but from the outside in, maybe I do? I'm not sure. I go out of my way to not do it, so from my perspective, I certainly feel I don't, but who knows?
To be totally candid about that, however, I actually don't know what direction I want to go in as far as that idea.
If you look at a person's self as their opinions, then I do actually talk about me to a fair degree.
I do wonder if I differentiate myself from my interests, my beliefs, and my opinions enough, and if I'm giving a very incorrect impression of myself and what I like and feel about certain things based on the things I talk about and "fight for," but then one must ask if coming out and saying "well actually this isn't how I am, this is how I am!" isn't just egocentric and arrogant, which I'm... not really. Though when you get to that point, isn't writing about yourself pretty egocentric anyway?
Needless to say I didn't get pretty far when I went along those lines.
If you look at a person's self as their life and personal experiences, on a different end of the spectrum, then a lot of that is just stuff I'm not completely okay with sharing with people, making this whole thing sort of moot. If the saying is once burned, twice shy, then I'm probably somewhere around five times burned, ten times as likely to wear their own personal gas mask everywhere they go.
Hey, hey, don't look at me like that, it's a joke, a joke!
I don't own a gas mask yet.
When I was a kid, I was probably on the quick path to being a real atheletic type. I did close to half a dozen different sports and activities at local youth centers and the like. If I'd had a more positive or involved role model, I might've stuck with them more, but as it stands, I didn't, and so here I am now, writing on a video game website, not even pursuing my own passion of creating and writing as much as I should be and want to. At the very least, maybe I wouldn't have taken so long to realize my passion for writing, which I was even starting to tinker with as far back as third grade or so. Thanks, adults!
Anyway, I was pretty normal. At least I think I was. But then wouldn't you know it, the year before high school I went and I got pretty sick. I had to get pulled out of school and my options were have serious surgery now or try to fight off what my problem was so I might not have to have the surgery done. Considering the options here, naturally we took the non-surgery one. But that kept me out of school some more and I ended up having the surgery anyway. All in all, a pretty typical story.
And as I recovered from that surgery, not allowed to get up from bed for over a week, what did I do...?
I laid back and I marathoned freshly imported DVDs with some of the worst subtitles you could possibly imagine. It was all I really could do.
Yeah, "Zetta discovered English subtitled anime available in Japanese" is something of a massive leap from "Zetta could die," I know, but obviously I lived, and this was something like a decade ago, so that's sort of old news now?
Taking the wait and see option only for it to fail was pretty huge for me. Not only did it cut me off from my peers and the friends I was making at my new school only just after I'd started making them, but it was what led to me getting my first real taste of the world of anime outside of the ones they showed on TV. The world of poorly translated Naruto was only the beginning... Once I ended up having the surgery and needing to lay back and recover, that is.
In a weird way, my life as it is now is owed in large part to me losing it as it was then, and nearly losing it completely at that.
I've wondered in hindsight if this is why I'm not really bothered by "moonspeak." When people talk about Japanese voice tracks like they're extremely alien and foreign, to the point that they'll just skip something they might otherwise enjoy because of it, as foreign and alien as the mindset is (and this goes for folks who don't play dub only games/watch dub only shows too, don't get me wrong), I can't help but be thankful I was able to be exposed as early as I was. No offense intended here, but I would hate to think that way.
If something interests me, I don't care whether it's in Japanese or French or Spanish or German or whatever, I don't see why I should deny myself that, you know what I mean? So what if it's different or not what I'm accustomed to? That's how we learn and experience new things. Maybe it really is just that I got hit by it relatively young, but so many things lately feel like they boil down to people being less inclined to step outside their comfort zones. It could just be that first thing, but it's worrying, as both a fan and as someone who wants to make things down the road.
When I think of how I've been hearing Japanese for literally the majority of my life at this point, how I've been having some degree of exposure from extremely early on, I guess it makes sense that at this point it's just kind of natural sounding to me to a degree. These days you can have your pick of whatever you want, so of course most people choose their native language, but back then (and I'm sure not to mention before), if you wanted to watch a show, you had to wait or you watched it in Japanese.
I suppose it helps that my grandmother was really into different cultures from all over, and I think I picked up that trait too. Thanks to her, I grew up reading about mythology from all over the world even before I got too into games and anime. In fact, I've only ever seen most earlier Ghibli stuff with my grandparents, come to think of it.
Back then, these things didn't seem all that big, but they probably were pretty influential in the grand scheme of it all.
My next blog will be my hundredth blog here. I'm doing all this now because I have something much more fun in mind for that one, but I think I still have a lot to look back on a hundred blogs into whatever this is. I can't say whether or not I'll be here in another year or two to have made another hundred of these, nor can I know if the site will even still be here for such a thing to be possible in the first place. Who knows?
I'm sorry that I haven't really given anyone much to go off of here, not to mention that this one was sort of all over the place, so perhaps in this respect, maybe I have wasted my time doing this. I'm cool with that this time. For all the time I've wasted with the 98 blogs prior to this one, not to mention the thousands of comments, at least now I've put a little more "me" out there. Out here. If I wasn't able to do that much, then why was I even bothering sticking around at all? Why should I spend time here, when I could find somewhere that I feel more at home?
I hate to harken back to it and make it a self-fulfilling prophecy, but it'll be a year in August since I posted it, and just as I said then, Destructoid still isn't my internet 'Best Place' or my 'Sacred Hang.' There are times, as I mentioned above, when I think about just packing up shop and vanishing. When you get right down to it, I don't think I actually have a lot in common with a great deal of you guys here beyond a shared interest in games, which, as many point out, is no longer the good enough qualifier for people to be considered automatically compatible as it once seemed.
I say this because, for a lot of very different people, this place is their Sacred Hang, their Best Place. And that's pretty awesome.
I firmly believe it is the differences in people that is what makes us all, in this human race, so great, and it's why so many people with so many different views are able to congregate on websites like this. It sucks that a lot of people, including ones on this same website, aren't willing to be accepting of views other than their own, but at the same time, life wouldn't be life without that. Without the potential for narrow mindedness, there wouldn't be the potential for open mindedness, for freedom, for creativity, for any of that.
I guess it's true that there really can't be love without hate.
I don't really have a message here, and I didn't really to start this off beyond sharing... whatever came to mind, though I guess I actually got out a lot more than I thought I would. Which honestly isn't all that much, really, but it's a lot for me, so it's progress, right?
Be that as it may, I suppose if there is one thing I'd like to offer from this... I would have to say it's that sometimes stuff just doesn't go the way you thought it would. You don't know where you're going to end up, no matter how likely it seems like you do, and maybe you won't always feel welcome or at home there. If you're still there, though, chances are it's not so bad.
That's just what, how, life is.
Life can't be a utopia and it's not going to be perfect. It shouldn't be. The only person that would be happy in a utopia is the one who made it that way. The second you try to make life, make the world, perfect for you, you've probably made it not perfect for someone else, because your perfection is very likely not someone else's perfection. It likely won't even be what you consider perfection in the future. What will you do then?
It's nice in theory, but not only is it impossible in reality, when it comes to our beloved online communities, our "echo chambers" as we've taken to calling the darlings, surrounding yourself with only things that agree with and appeal to how we already think and feel will just stunt our growth as people. I can't imagine how I'd be if I'd chosen to hang around some sites like that rather than Destructoid.
Instead of chasing perfection, we have to learn to compromise.
Don't give up on your passions, and don't not speak up when you think something is wrong. But don't ignore what those who disagree with you are saying, and once in a while, if not more than that, seriously consider why the people doing those "wrong" things might be doing them before you jump right to disagreeing. See if there's room to meet in the middle, so long as we're not talking about genuinely heinous people here. With the vast majority of so many things I've seen debated online, there absolutely is, and then some.
And for the love of Gaim, don't let me get preachy like this!
I need to save up my cheesy, dramatic lines for books and games and stuff I'm going to make someday! I can't use up all my material on these blogs, you know?! Shoot!
Anyway, that's all for this blog. I need to cut it short before I spoil the ending to the dramatic speech of the hit game I haven't made yet. Right? Right.
Seriously though, I hope someone got something out of this. No idea whether or not I did, but look at the bright side, the significantly less introspective, probably less interesting 100th Blog is on the way! Won't that be something fun to look forward to?
For now, this is your friendly neighborhood Zetta, sitting here being something like a dozen Marvel movies away from being able to see the new one. Peace!