I don’t know how the fuck some of you guys do it. I really don’t. I’d been out of the creative world for a while, and completely off the social media grid since just before we had kid #1 so, essentially- dead to the world. In a relatively short span of time everyone is EVERYWHERE and doing EVERYTHING. YouTube, Twitch, podcasting, SoundCloud, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter. It became vastly “not enough” to just do something and do it well, you gotta slap your face all over every fucking thing to stand even a passing chance at being relevant, whatever the fuck that even means anymore. I knew it, but until I dove back in I didn’t realize just how true it actually was.
Shit Ain’t Easy.
I’m gonna jump around a little here so you can get to the part where you understand why I’m here, why things are changing, and why I thought this new and wonderful thing might have to go away entirely. A lot has happened in a pretty short period of time so buckle in.
Back in 2017, just before our son (kid #2) was born my wife and I got ourselves a Nintendo Switch because we both thought it would be a great addition to our life and something we could do since we were about to be child-rearing hermits again with a new baby. Our families and friends had pretty much cut out full-stop by this point, and the rest wouldn’t be far behind. It was something new, and fun, and we could do it together. What ACTUALLY ended up happening, was that I discovered the indie gaming scene and became enamored with it, getting way more into video games than my wife was probably ever going to. I pretty much got obsessed and it wasn’t something that ended up bringing us together at all. Kinda made shit worse in fact, which is why you’re reading this right now.
A Whole Lotta OOPS.
What was also going on, was that I was having a little bit of a hard time with pregnancy #2. I love my wife and my kids with all my heart, but at the time my head was here- We’d had one child, we were abandoned by pretty much everyone in our life, and right now things were ALL about the baby that was on the way. It felt like every conversation my wife and I had was pregnancy/baby related and I think a part of me was having a hard time with it. I was feeling alone, and I was feeling lost. I’m not here to say that all of my feelings were right, I’m just here to say that I had them. I didn’t start a family with the assumption that everyone around us would go AWOL, and I think the feelings of abandonment and loss were something I was having a harder time dealing with than I understood. I think it was just a fucked up time, surrounded by a really joyous time, and that made shit even harder to make sense of.
Our daughter was our little sleeper, after around 8 weeks of your typical newborn situation she started sleeping through the night and it was awesome. Finally getting some much needed rest, lowering the stress level in the house, and getting into some good old-fashioned normalcy- it was absolute bliss. Our son, on the other hand, went a different way. he decided to not sleep AT ALL for the first 10 months of his life. It was agony, it was constant stress, and for a long time we settled into a situation where my wife slept on the couch downstairs and I slept in bed upstairs. See, I’m a SUPER light sleeper, so pretty much anything will wake me up. It is also extremely difficult for me to get back to sleep once I wake up, so the only logical thing was to do it this way. We’re in America, see- paternity leave isn’t a thing here, so aside from a few days of vacation time it was essentially ‘back to work” for me. I couldn’t be up all night, and with how he was at the time I wouldn’t have gotten any sleep AT ALL. And again, no real time off for me, just sucking it up and going back to the fucking salt mines. That’s a whole other subject I’m sure I’ll get on a tangent about but we’ll save that for another day. Point is, not only were we isolated from others, we were starting to end up isolated from ourselves too.
Paid Family Leave. That is All.
Since I wasn’t doing this (The Ghost Generation) yet, and I wasn’t doing music anymore, video games ended up becoming my outlet. I guess they kind of became my refuge too if I’m being honest with myself here, and with all this isolation floating around I became pretty singularly focused on that. I dove in head first, became a part of the community, and amassed a frankly-fucking-stupid amount of games in my library too. It wasn’t all dysfunction- I genuinely do love it as an art form and there are so many people creating amazing things, and after not having much of a creative outlet for a while I fell completely in love with it. That being said though, I see now that it became a crutch for me, a way to deal with all those fucked-up feelings of isolation and a way to feel like I was part of a community or a scene, and a way for me to escape all the stuff that was going on around me. In the process of falling completely in love with fucking video games though, I was making my wife feel like I wasn’t very much in love with HER at the same time. Awful shit, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for that but I’d sure as shit like to try.
“We never anticipate the ways in which we isolate ourselves from the people we love”- The Endless
Maybe I just didn’t WANT to believe I was doing anything wrong, I don’t know. I essentially did it every night, my wife would be next to me but I’d be playing my Switch. I told myself that we were next to each other, so it was OK. I wasn’t “out with the boys”, and I didn’t have any to be “out with” anyway. I wasn’t out working on my golf swing cause I don’t fucking play golf. I wasn’t leaving the house to do any of the things that men typically do to escape, so I was justified in my own mind. We’d fight about it every few months, cause I had started staying up later than my wife pretty much every night too, and I’d calibrate for a while but things would end up back the same way again before too long. It also became an anxiety thing too, cause I was scared that if I took a few nights off I’d end up having to give it up and I’d lose this thing I loved so much. I’m one of those people that is all or nothing- I get into something and I get obsessed, it takes over, and that’s it. It happened with music, it happened with fitness, and it was happening here too. My wife and I are a lot alike, we share a brain in a lot of ways- but she doesn’t have the fucked up parts that I do. She sees me obsessing and sees a cause for worry, and I get it. I really do. While I’m not diagnosed I do know that I struggle daily with anxiety, depression, or some combination of the two. Making it worse over the course of two years probably wasn’t exactly the BEST move but fuck me- I’m human. Moving on.
It’s also been wildly unfair for her. My wife had my undivided attention for the first 5 years of our relationship. The truth was, I didn’t NEED to write music for hours on end because I was happy. I found a way to work my exercise into my workday too, so once we were home it was all about us. Add a couple kids into the equation, throw in a video game-obsessed husband, and without me even realizing it my partner, and best friend, has essentially felt alone in our life for the past 2 years. It would never be anything close to my intentions for this to happen, but it did. Like I said earlier- I’m not saying anything that happened is right, I’m just reporting the news.
Your own life can get away from you- FAST.
When I started The Ghost Generation I saw a chance to finally build something of my own. To finally have my creativity back, and to find my way to making a living on my own terms. I’ve never been the best at being a “normal dude with a normal job” and after years of it I have had some dark days and dark thoughts to contend with too. Feeling like I’d never achieve anything to be proud of, feeling like I’d always be taking orders from someone, and feeling like I was worthless to my own family. Feeling defeated before I even started my day, every day. This was my chance, but I also felt like I needed a hook. From being involved in the gaming scene I also saw a way to find a niche, to be relevant, and to be a part of that world while also getting my thoughts and fears out too. I’d loved reading video game reviews (music, movies, and books too) since I was a kid and this felt like the perfect way to intertwine it all and build something great.
The problem also is, I’m kinda good at it. I put my feelers out and before I knew it I had a pretty large amount of games to review. Another thing is, when you’re reviewing games (or just even PLAYING them these days) you have to spend A LOT of time with them, so I was essentially committing myself to being isolated from my wife, and even my family at times, and since it was for my growing business/venture I didn’t see it as anything wrong. Hell, I was excited but even I was starting to feel a little stressed. I see how much shit people are doing and I wanted to be “relevant” so I figured I didn’t have a choice. Shit is CRAZY in the gaming world nowadays, everyone is streaming, everyone is doing reviews, everyone is doing a million fucking things just to stay above water and it is SUCH a different landscape in that world than it used to be. I was posting almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day, and it was a tremendous amount of work and pressure to keep up.
Same goes for blogging and the creative world in general. It is a daunting challenge just to get people to even fucking pay attention to your shit now, and if you’re like me and hoping to turn it into a living somehow it’s even tougher. It can take years, and years are something I don’t feel like I have anymore. I’m almost fucking 40, and if I stand a chance to do this thing for real it needs to fucking happen NOW. It’s scary, and I guess I thought by combining my love of writing & creating with the whole gaming angle that I’d be able to more relevant and make more of an impact. While that might be true, what is ALSO true is that I was overextending myself, and I was going too far.
It all came to a head a couple nights ago and I’ve been trying to figure this shit out ever since. I even took down The Ghost Generation’s social media pages and I was going to take the site down too, today in fact. I felt like the only way I could keep my marriage and my family would be to quit everything entirely and just get down to the business of forgetting all this. You’ve probably guessed by now that there is no fucking way I can do that, I’ve worked too hard on this and managed to start building a following too. There MUST be a way to work towards this dream and keep the most important parts of my life too. There must be a way for me to get better, to do better, and to BE better for my wife and my kids. I mean, I didn’t even fully realize the extent of how my dysfunction was affecting them so it can’t be beyond fucking repair for Christ’s sake, right?
Reroute to remain, indeed.
Here’s what’s happening, take it or leave it- I’m not going to be doing video game reviews anymore, I just don’t have the fucking time. I’m also going to be a lot less involved with that side of things altogether. I’m not saying I’m throwing my Switch into the fireplace or anything, it’s gas anyway so it would just leave a melty pile of mess for me to clean up. What I am saying though, is that I’m realizing how obsessed I became and I’d rather be a happily married father who also plays a little Switch than a sad single dad in a sadness apartment playing Switch with my one-legged dog or whatever other sad crap you can think of. It’s just not fucking worth it. Christ, I was even going to start reviewing albums- so let’s just cover it all and say that The Ghost Generation isn’t gonna be doing fucking reviews of anything. I’m going to be writing just like I have been, just minus the clutter and misplaced obsession with things that might only be serving to sabotage this wonderful life I’m very fortunate to have found myself living.
There are going to be some of you that don’t stick around, and that’s gonna have to be something I accept. I appreciate the few of you who have been paying attention thus far VERY much, but I understand that if the gaming stuff was why you stopped by than you may not give a shit about all my other ramblings. That’s just how shit is, I get it. If you DO decide to stick around though, the same promise I started with holds true- The Ghost Generation is a blog/website dedicated to providing a voice for those of us who feel lost in this ever-devolving world. I think I slightly lost touch of that goal in trying to be a little too much to too many. I lost my focus, because the reason this all started was so I could have an outlet and build something special too. It was NOT to become the next IGN, which would most certainly not happen anyway. I have nothing but love and respect for the gaming community, I just need to calibrate how I’m doing shit moving forward so my life can be more inclusive of ALL its parts.
They say the internet never forgets, but I like to think you guys might respect me for calibrating and doing what is necessary to NOT fuck up my family life forever but who knows? Maybe you’ve all moved on already, it has been a full 24 hours since I’ve tweeted so The Ghost Generation might be ancient history at this point, but we’ll see. I’m going to reactivate the Twitter and Instagram accounts, and we’re gonna change gears. Cause here’s the thing- I think a lot of you guys have been reading, and not JUST the reviews. I think the reviews might even have been diluting the message for the ones who didn’t so much give a shit about the gaming stuff, because I think the shit in my head is universal. I think we’re ALL struggling to figure out life in this fucking war zone of a world. I think we’re all dealing with anxiety, I think we’re all feeling isolated, and I think I do want to be one of the people who brings us all together. Even if it’s just to laugh at a stupid fucking tweet, or to share a story about something I’ve been fucking doing all wrong in my life- whatever. I want The Ghost Generation to be the foundation of a wonderful new chapter in my life, that I am building for myself and my family, and I need to be tuned in enough to recognize when I need to fix shit. Not so tuned out that I don’t see what’s in front of me.
New day rising, and I need to stop quoting album titles.
So there you go. My ultimate goal has not changed, I want The Ghost Generation to go all the way, and I’ still gonna be out there trying to land writing gigs and all that jazz in the meantime too, but I need to get this ship back to the port of purity it started its life floating in. Writing about truth, writing about life with no filters, and building a community of like-minded misfits who feel a little less alone. It might not be the fastest path, but it’s the right one. To my wonderful and hopefully “still there when I get home” wife- I’m far from fucking perfect but I’m trying, I hope you allow me the chance to do this in a better way and to help me make this all better together. I love you and none of this would exist without you. For the wind. 😉
To the Ghosties- since we are living in a fucked up world, and since it is absurdly difficult to get yourself out there in this landscape- I’m calling on you, cause I need your help too. If you like what I’m about, tell your friends, tell your family, tell your fucking DOG for all I care. Just help to spread the word, cause I think I have something special here, and I want to be able to share it with you guys for years and years to come. Retweet, give me feedback, whatever- just engage. Show me you’re here, show me you’re alive, and let’s get down to business and make The Ghost Generation what it deserves to be- together. I promise to stay focused, I promise to give you thought-provoking content, and I promise to be fighting the good fight with you all.
I’m not perfect and I never will be. It took me a few confused and sleepless nights to sort through all the shit in my head but I think I found my way to the solution. So, in the immortal words of Flight of the Conchords, “It’s business time”.
PS- The image at the top of this post is from Dante’s “Inferno”, it shows the Wood of Suicides which I have mentioned in a post before. It’s the circle of hell where the suicides go, a forest of thorns, and the only time they can make a sound is when they are in pain from being pricked by said thorns. It’s all metaphor from a poem obviously, but the imagery has always stuck with me. If you’re struggling and feeling like giving up, don’t. Start here https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org and find your way back to the light.
A brand new blog/website where this happily married, 30-something father of 2 little minions rants, raves, and speaks in tongues. Raw, honest, and riddled with profanity. Get on board and let’s make The Ghost Generation awesome together!http://theghostgeneration.com