Looking back at my dreams, what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve wanted, I find an interesting thread - I crave for attention in unique ways: doing the absurd or rare to get the attention of others. In a way it is a drive to do what no one has done before so I can claim credit, to be entombed in history books for centuries until I’m deemed insignificant. I construe this as being ahead of my time, to be given credit long after credit is due, but in all likeliness it is probably a rationalization of my own actions to make me feel better because of my sad condition - shy and ignored.
I remember reading Catcher in the Rye in 5th grade - the thin red book with yellowed pages and an indiscreet cover - and I felt sorry for how he just couldn’t get anywhere despite his intentions - not even someone who would help him pick himself up and get better. I thought the book didn’t quite end where it ended, but as it neared the ending, I see now that he has begun to move ahead rather than wander around, not aimlessly but searching, finding that to become something more, he has to go back to where he was. It was very much a false dream of his, to become a hero, and to break it, well, he has to see the change, and the change from what was exalted innocence to supposedly brutal adulthood. The division is not as divisive as he perceived, and certainly there is beauty to both sides - that the world is more than just a competition, a free-for-all blood fest.
One can draw connections - that certainly I feel that I don’t connect with most people, that I don’t understand social norms, that I don’t catch body language, but Holden is not my idol, and I realize that I have to make a concerted effort to have a relationship beyond small talk. I don’t particularly enjoy being the go-to man for questions in certain fields, but in a way it relieves the social anxiety - that I can talk about what I enjoy while knowing that someone is listening, but the problem quite often is that the relationship ends there, that no one asks me to do what I may seem disinclined to go out of my field, to go to parties and hang out, and for much of my life I was that way - not know how to reciprocate emotions and not understanding what others convey, but I understand now that such narrow-mindedness, such high-mindedness looking down at “useless” interactions hurts me more in the end because I don’t connect with others.
I’m tired, tired of getting hurt, bleeding and scaring, and tired of being so anxious about what I don’t know, and tired of thinking yet not doing. The tiredness has kept me from doing the absurd in many ways - because I don’t need more scars and more pain, but it has kept me from connecting to. To a large extent, me being adventurous and uninhibited consists of going out without my parents and talking to people I don’t know - both of which probably result in me sweating, hoping for it to end soon. For others, it may be finding the thrill of breaking the law or trying drugs and alcohol, but those to me seem out of reach - I don’t have the resources or the connections. In a way, I’m tired of being lonely - I didn’t know any programmers when I started coding and I only know a few now, even fewer do what I do. In that period I’ve learned the value in being self-taught, in efficient resource usage, and in setting goals as milestones, but I’ve haven’t learned communication skills, pop culture knowledge, and an understanding of how other people tick.
In 10th grade, on the last day, I remember that I wanted next year to be more social and of me being silent and too anxious to meet anyone new. I thought at that point that I probably won’t end up in a relationship with a girl, so I should just try to meet more girls so I would at least know more about them and not feel so uncomfortable when I do talk to them - I still wouldn’t touch a girl though because I’m still not sure if that’s ever acceptable outside of a relationship. One can read from this that I’m still a boy - very hormonally driven for sex - that I’m unnecessarily generating divisions between sexes that I shouldn’t have to, and certainly one could argue that that has hurt me because I end up idealizing girls much like one may draw conclusions about the world from fairytales, and when I walk into the real world I go in more unprepared than someone that went in unaware, because my perceptions will be shattered and that my anxiety towards talking to “mysterious creatures” is unfounded. In the end, I do realize girls are still humans - that they aren’t all cute princesses that are kind and loving - that they have periods and that they fight, cheat and steal too - and that people will be people.
Popularity had been, in my mind, inextricably tied with becoming an extrovert, that popularity would be a confirmation of my own abilities and my own aptitude, but I’m moving away from that view as I find general popularity more a test of advertising to the masses rather than simply putting yourself out there for others to criticize or appreciate. I understand now that it is important to have good oratory abilities as well as technical achievements - that even the most recognized in our society did more than just do what they are known for - they had to make themselves known so that they are seen, and that is what my goal is trending towards, away from blunt desires to become famous.
One could argue that that is adolescence - separating from your parents, finding friends you love and trust, and finding your passion - and in many ways, it is. Writing for many teenagers is an outlet for internal turmoil, relief to constant pressure, but for me it is more, it is the outlaying and the beginning of a pursuit away from fearful inaction to open acceptance, because I want to view everyone as friends and not as acquaintances, as humans and not as aliens. I don’t want to look hopelessly or even hopefully at this generation and its future crises - I want to become involved, giving to others what I know and learning from them what I don’t; to love another and not my blanket or my pillow, to be loved as more than a smart, yet emotionless and compulsive programmer.
Game development: a rough field of broken dreams and sweaty coders churning out games out of love of what they do more than love of what they’ve made. A typical game studio has 2-3 times the number of artists to programmers, reflecting the fact that game design is more art than applied mathematics. It is an industry with more revenue than Hollywood yet with less respect - it is for those who build out of passion not for those looking for gold, because the deadlocks must be broken and deadlines must be met. This is what I do and this is what I want to do, but I want to balance the lopsided nature of the life of a programmer with what I’ve always wanted yet I’ve never truly had.