Monday, November 23, 2009

Realise Your Limitations

That's what my old flatmate Rob once said to me several years ago; "Realise your limitations". That was back when I was doubtless bitching about my lacklustre life like some evil Emperor who hadn't, as yet, conquered anything.

'You mean you want me to just give up?' I scowled.

Rob squawked at me, and told me that wasn't what he meant at all. He meant I should narrow my goals perhaps, try to attain something a little more achievable.

I didn't. In fact, I dismissed his advice even if I appreciated his intentions. The fact was that despite 'getting' him, I found his argument repellent. I knew where he was coming from, but there was something overwhelmingly depressing about its implications. Rob could've dressed it up all he wanted (and he tried). It still sounded like: "Give up."

And that, I've realised, is why I'm depressed - perpetually, it would seem - and 3 introspective years blogging is proof of that.

After my strange wet eye scenario last month, and my attempt to avoid wheat to improve my mood (I'm having trouble - It is both not easy, and very boring), I have given my situation some thought, and I think I know why I'm feeling particularly depressed these last few weeks:

It's my limitations. I've finally realised them. Until quite recently, I'd held on to the belief that I really could do anything, and that I'm just on the cusp of a great job, a lovely girlfriend, and a decent future for once in my violently atrophying life.

But something's just clicked; I give up.

* * * * * * *

Edit 24/11/2009: Since reading your comments and emails (and thank you, by the way), I ought to stress that I'm not suicidal. I'm just very, very, very, very, very bored and pissed off with it all as the truth becomes self-evident that I can't write my way out of my well-worn rut, and I'm basically just a cunt.

Thank you.


PurestGreen said...

Crap! You need to get out of that flat, out of that town and see something out there in the world that is like a slap in the face. Do something that shocks you - try something that pushes you out of the comfort zone that is also acting as your prison. You can do anything.

Une Londonienne said...

Mondays are shite. Fact.

Am also trying not to eat wheat and nearly cried when got given sandwiches at a lame office lunch today. It's hard to control what you eat as people tend to (in my case) think you're a weird weight obsessed loser (which I am, but I don't want people to know it!). I blame the soggy sandwich for me now having raging pizza lust. Pathetic, but true....

Dandelion said...

Noooooooooo! Don't give up Fweng! The reason you're depressed is the same reason that's holding you back. Whatever you do, don't give up.

Anonymous said...

Mate. dont give up, cos then nothing will change. And its certain that something needs to.

Ive been reading your posts semi regularly for about a year. They used to be funny, and yes a little angry at things, but still poking fun at stoopid shit. But more recently, they do have the tendency to make me worry for you.

Ive been there, and personally, if you are really glum, you need to make some change. ~1 in 10 people do get "the flu" in the head. There's nothing unusual about getting some help to get your head above the clouds to see things clearly, and then make some positive change.

Its worth the effort to get back in control of the situation.

Anonymous said...

we've accepted this imaginary 'dream life' (job, woman, avocations) as attainable, and in fact, we have come to believe it a right! oops.

blame society, movies, media... or just our own silly expectations. but in fact, the ability to find joy in a few simple things... really made a difference for me.

it may not be bad to give up on those 'dreams', but don't give up on finding pleasant moments along the way... good luck.

i am not your freud said...

having realistic expectations doesn't mean giving up. and believing in being able to find a better job and a girlfriend is realistic.

maybe he meant you're trying to achieve big goals at the same time and being hard on yourself when you don't see yourself achieving them.

i still think you should do something about that job thing. doing something you don't like every day is a good reason to be depressed.

Anonymous 2 said...

I agree with Anonymous 1.

Also, 'Une Londonienne' - way to make the comment box all about you! *frowns*

livesbythewoods said...

If by "giving up" you mean the blog, well arse! I like reading it, although I agree with Anon up there who says is is a bit worrying of late.

Maybe take a break and do something about sorting your head out - talk to a doctor, or take a holiday, or find a new job, but please, after that, come back.

You have a gift, and I for one would be sorry not to share it any more.

digressica said...

Oh boy. Your E! True Hollywood Story (or whatever the equivalent is for fancy literary types) is going to RULE.

Fweng, none of your I-suck-at-life bullshit is true. Everybody here knows you are a great writer. We READ you. We KNOW.

luna said...

I dug out the old lifecoach advice for you:

- plan a change
- change one single thing at a time
- tell someone you know will be supportive (not a sabotager)
- do not frame your change as "losing" or "giving up" anything;
think of it in terms of gaining, improving.
- carry on despite the odd slip up

Z said...

Sorry, Anonymous 2 - this is meant to be a way of sharing an experience, not making a comment all about me.
My mother was unwell for a long time and became obsessed with her appearance, amongst other things. One day, she was talking about her hope of recovery. I said how much I hoped for that too, and added that, of course, she'd be 10 years older than when she became ill so, at 80, she might not quite look as good or feel as strong as when she was 70.

"That's not enough for me. I want to be completely recovered and look and feel like I did 10 years ago."

There was a silence as we both absorbed what she'd said and its impossibility, but also her honesty.

Thing is, darling, you're a romantic. You also believe in magic. You want what you feel you deserve without doing anything much to make it happen. When you do do something, you go at it full pelt when it's obvious you're setting yourself up for failure, and at some level you do this deliberately.

Sorry to say this, but I don't see much evidence that you've really tried very hard. You duck out of dates, you are rude to women the moment you realise you like them, you do everything you can to not meet new friends. When you apply for a job, it's one you're unlikely to be considered for, although it may well be within your capabilities if you worked up to it. You want a new job - have you approached any employment agencies?

Hard work and the way to happiness is dull and boring sometimes, but when you get there, you'll know you deserve it. At present you are a mixture of pride and doubt that makes you sabotage everything you do.

Sorry Fweng, I'm kinder than this in person, but in fact I'm not meaning to be abusive. I really wish that you would accept who you are, like that person - blimey man, there are enough of us who like you, why can't you be one of them? - and choose what aspects about yourself that you really want to change, and then do something constructive about it in a realistic fashion.

jason quinones said...

don't give up you cunt.

Anonymous said...


looby said...

You should frame Z's comment there and read it carefully every time before you go out of an evening. It's a brilliant diagnosis of your situation which if you take it seriously, could sort you out better than any faddy diet.

This is a bit meta, commenting on comments, but also, Daisyfae is right too. I, like you F, want a lovely girlfriend. (I'm not bothered so much about a job - it would be nice but I'm not career-minded). At the moment I'm having a mainly sexual realtionship with someone I met on the internet who is a long way from being my perfect girlfriend. (My perfect girlfriend exists and I know her and is one of my best friends, but she doesn't fancy me). But it's so nice to be able to touch a woman without her flinching or putting in a harrassment claim. It's a Faustian pact where we both know we're not The One, but in the meantime, it's better than the awfulness of never going to bed with or kissing anyone.

So without lowering your expectations, maybe see the lovely girlfriend as a long-term plan. In the meantime, perhaps stop hanging around crappo bars where Lovely Girlfriends don't hang out. You're a good writer. Why aren't you going to book launches, book clubs, the London Review of Books open evenings. It doesn't matter if you've not read everything some obscure Estonian postmodern writer has written. You've got the chutzpah to blag it. And if anyone *did* show an interest, make sure the conversation is about her and you in a 70/30 proportion, and have in mind a quiet wine bar to suggest. You've got to put more effort into this thing Fweng.

digressica said...

^ Props.

Anonymous said...

Anybody out there???

Lilly said...

So, what happens after you give up?

fwengebola said...

PG ~ Your advice is somewhat prescient, given the last couple of weeks. I think comfort zone is pretty apt.
Lond ~ Mondays are actually evil. If they were a comedy double act, they’d be Horne and Corden. I take it then that you cracked and had that sandwich?
Dand ~ I’m not that bad. Well, I kinda don’t even know. I don’t really have any particular reason to be depressed; more a whole bunch of stuff.
Anon ~ Oh dear, they’re becoming a little introspective and bitter, aren’t they? Thanks for coming in to comment though. I’m still in two minds about ‘professional’ help though. I am trying to make a big change at the moment, hence my non-blogging. I’m hoping this’ll take things to the next level.
Df ~ That’s interesting. I guess a dream life isn’t a right, but is a happy one? Hang on a minute, you’re saying give up too!
E ~ I’m not sure what Rob meant. Maybe trying to achieve everything, like you say. And I think that yes, maybe I have to get another job, although that’s getting me down as I’m in my mid-thirties and still at a loss as to what to do.
Anon2 ~ Yes, I could, but I’m embarrassed to see someone. There. I said it.
LBTW ~ I’m not giving up the blog yet, although it has, over the years, become worryingly self-centred and miserable. But then it’s a blog.
I have actually got something big on the horizon I’m working on, but that’s for a new post.
Dig ~ Erk! Thank you very much, except there’s a chasm of difference between bitching about real-life, pre-established bullshit on a blog, and inventing an entire world in a fictional story.
Seems simple enough; isn’t.
Luna ~ Plan change – tick. One thing at a time – tick. Find a supporter – blog commentators, tick. Gain, improve etc –tick? Carry on – I think that’s a tick.
Z ~ Woah. Well, yes, I had unrealistic if boring dreams about the future: Job, wife, house, kids. And no-one told me that the job part was a vital stepping-stone to the rest, and had better be both fun, and well-paid, because drifting and getting bad-tempered at work won’t help.
I don’t think I’m rude to women per se, I’m just… okay, I’m rude. But in a fun way, using my patented and foolproof ‘Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke’ womentester™.
I’d have better luck getting jobs if I had the relevant experience, but I don’t, which is admittedly, crap.
Absolutely no problem, Z. I appreciate your stark, cold and fierce advice. All I have to do now is listen to it.
JQ ~ I’m trying. And with comments like that, are you sure you’re not British?
Anon ~ I want to, but I can’t. There’s this fucking blog, and everything.
Loob ~ Yup, I’ve read it a few times and am letting it all sink in. I know from experience that having a perfect girlfriend in the person of a current friend is a fucking disaster, best left unspoken about, but then that’s just my opinion.
I don’t go to bars that often, ironically. (Why that’s ironic, though, I’m not sure. Perhaps because everyone assumes I’m a drunk who silently hangs around the female clientele).
Yes, perhaps I should possibly go to book reviews and whatnot. Hmmng.
Dig ~ Yes, they need to be given. Thank you.
Anon ~ Yes, yes, okay.
Lilly ~ I’m not sure. Can that be given up?

digressica said...

Hold the phone. You mean there's a DIFFERENCE between writing a BLOG and writing a NOVEL? Thank you for teaching me this valuable lesson.

fwengebola said...

Oooooooooooh! Sarky.