I Lost Myself Some Time Ago

I’ve felt this way for over half a year now.

I keep telling myself I’m in a mental funk. That because I’m aware of it, I’ll be fine in a bit. I just need time. Then I’ll be ok again. That’s just how mental depression works.

I need to stop lying to myself. To you. To everyone.

This is more than a funk. This is a realization. A conclusion I am choosing to ignore.

I’m not just in a temporary state of unhappiness. I’m not happy in my state, and I don’t know where I want to even go from here because I feel utterly lost and without my compass.

I’m almost 37, and I realize one moment I’m pining for the days when I was younger and dreamed of having all the things I have now, or wishing this ride was over the next.

You’ll have success as a writer, young man, but you’ll want more from life by then, and you’ll always doubt yourself. Doubt what you have accomplished.”

Kid. You get want you want and what you deserve, and I’m sorry for that. You didn’t know because I didn’t. I couldn’t even tell you what to do now to change things.

I wanted so much better. Not money or fame. Just…quality. I still try everyday, and each awakening is a new negotiation for less.

I tried to pinpoint where my compass started to fuck up, and I keep coming back to the bullying incident that happened to me at the end of last year. It still haunts me. I have heard the two culprits are a bit quieter, regained very little footing on social media, and essentially campaigned to the point my friends felt the need to apologize to me for speaking with them online, which I never wanted nor asked for.

It left this abscess in my soul, infecting me. Keeping me from finding comfort and healing. I wanted to forget, but I had to move on and hope people would just stop bringing it up. But when you are a part of the same community and work in the same field, with the same people, it’s near impossible.

All this fed into my imposter syndrome, making me fearful of retaliation and paranoid of the community and my place in it.  Scared of what was being said on their end to try and get back in good graces. It felt like, by doing the right thing, I had done wrong.

But I had spoken up, and, while it had unforseen consequences, good did come from it. So I ignored the pain I was still feeling and buried myself into a passion project.

I got back into the Year 47 anthology. Worked real hard with everyone involved (too hard if you ask certain people). Got emotionally invested in it, and I took some lumps because of that.

But it paid off too. It was a best-seller in its category. Really good reviews. All the authors did an amazing job. And after it was finished…

…I was worse off. I was worse off because I didn’t have them anymore. I wasn’t talking to Baylea, Adrian, Dustin, Liam, Shawn, Charity, and Anya nearly every day. Having everyone so damn excited about a singularity. It didn’t even matter if it was gonna work. I remember not caring. I just remember them being so excited. Us being a family. I wasn’t thinking about what happened.

There wasn’t anyone making fun of me, who I was, my work, how I sounded, how I was promoting my art. No one was hating me for existing.

I had forgotten that familiar feeling of being an outcast until last year. Now it’s all I can remember.

I was reminded that existing as Bo Chappell was joyless, repetitive, and exhausting. And now that I’ve achieved a great deal of the goals I’ve set out for myself in life?

I don’t know what I want out of this existence anymore. My motivations are reciprocal, seemingly pointless. I exist now mainly because I just want to see how much more help I can be. Even then, I carry guilt for not being able to be there for the people I care about more, online and off. For letting what’s eating me deter my motivation.

And it’s not that any of you haven’t been there for me. It’s quite the opposite. I’ve received so much love and support, I constantly question what I did to receive it. Where I am now is not on you. It’s not even on the bullies.

I take responsibility for how I feel about myself and my life at this moment, and I very much still love each and every one of you. If you need anything, I will do my best to help and support you. And if you felt like I haven’t been there, I’m sorry.

As for myself though, I need to fess up and admit the hard truths about my life. I know a lot of people love, support, and believe in me, including some of you. I cherish and respect that.

But I also know that ultimately I must respect myself before I can move forward safely.

I feel alone in the world right now, and I am desperately hoping that the right someone will show up and help me because I am absolutely lost. I don’t know how to give directions to where I am, describe what I’m seeing or how I’m feeling, but I do know I don’t want to be here.

That’s all I can say, and I am sorry for not having anymore words to describe what I’m going through, but this is an all new kind of darkness for me.

I’m trying to outlast it, and maybe this will serve as some preparation. I don’t know. I do know I miss feeling joy. Miss writing. Miss you.

I miss me, and I hope in time I can find myself again.

Just hang on.

 

Advertisements

Art Friday: Always An Opportunity

So, I’ve been in the hospital for about a week with a bad kidney infection, and drawing has helped kept me sane. So, I offer up this (decent) piece I did today with a BiC pen, an office marker borrowed from a (CNA/RN/?), and folder divider from my info package.

I call it “Pulp”, and threw together all my favorite retro heroes together. The Batman, The Shadow, The Phantom, The Rocketeer, The Green Hornet, and Kato.

Is it great? No. Is it what I imagined? Not even close. Did I have fun? Absolutely.

20190510_185043

Art Friday V: The Dream Child

Today, I came across an old piece I did inspired by Guillermo del Toro’s Trollhunter Series where I Norman Rockwelled myself as a troll. I remember it being a real fun project to do, and I’m still happy with the results.

Sketch316135014

Art Friday: First Blood Part II

Today, I picked two drawings with the same core as a fun way to illustrate how design elements can be transformative.

First, a redesign of Darth Vader’s iconic helmet. I’m a big fan of Ralph McQuarrie’s original design and, after seeing how much it changed from paper to screen, thought it would be fun to attempt my own version. It totally was fun.

Sketch23223622-1

But after I finished it, heck, even while I was in the process, I thought, “Oh man, this would be a cool Black Manta.” Best part? Realizing I could do that because why the hell not?

So stripping down some of the original linework, adding some new, simple coloring, and:

Sketch191183046

I guess what I’m saying is it’s fun being able to get ideas out of my head so I can see them and play around.

Art Friday II: The Quickening

A tad late, but another week of releasing some artwork. This week, a request from horror-writers.com own Shawn LaChance, who wanted me to post the commission artwork I did of his characters Alex Azura and Knormf. Well, Knormf was free. I read the first installment of the sci-fi series online years ago and saw him so clearly. Had to draw him. But Shawn loved it so much, he commisioned me to draw up Alex. These were a lot of fun. *Note these images and the characters therein are the copyrighted property of one Shawn Andrew LaChance.

KnormfTaac

Fan Art Fridays?

Yeah, it’s been a while. Can you believe it? Let’s just drop it. I feel odd enough. Yes I have been writing though. I’ve also been doing a lot of drawing again.

I want to try to do a new thing where every Friday I share at least one piece of artwork, old or new. If it goes good, I’ll try my best to keep it going. And to those that voted in the Twitter poll and encouraged me to do this, thank you.

For the first installment,  I figured I would start with something older and pair it with something new. So, here are my takes on Brainiac (an older piece) and Darkseid (brand new post), two of Superman’s most epic foes.

Brainiac(infrafan)Darkseid(infrafan)

An Open Letter To Those That Hate Your Love

This whole thing, to say the least, has gotten out of hand.

For the greatest portion of my life, I have felt like a nobody. A real loser. There often seemed to be a level where I knew I could be, and I was constantly looking at it from afar like it was a forbidden love. I lived with a constant broken heart.

And no solution I had to offer was acceptable. Shutting out my family and friends. Food replacing love. Attempted suicides. Convincing myself I wasn’t a good person. I had cast myself into solitude because I thought people like me didn’t deserve what “normal people” called happiness.

I grew tired of that feeling though, and I stopped talking about doing it. Stopped with the excuses. Stopped feeling sorry for myself. Learned to accept I was good enough to tell my own damn story. And all it took was someone who made me believe in that again.

Thank you Ren. N4.

And so, picking my dreams back up off the floor, I trusted myself like I did when I was a kid, and then my friends noticed the change, and they put their full support behind me. They were there at the finish line. Hell, they were part of the finish line.

Thank you John and Liam. My oldest friends.

Momentum picked up, setbacks were now just that, and I started trusting others for the first time again. With a single knock on the door, I was welcomed into the Horror Community.

Thank you Shawn and Dusty.

And now I was here. I was writing more, learning, and more importantly, gaining friendships that I treasure deeply.

Thank you to all my friends on social media. You know you who you are.

You took your trust, transmuted it into encouragement, and gave it to me. Made me believe in myself to the point where I actually accomplished things I thought I would never do. Reach levels I didn’t even see.

Now, here I am, about to launch a new book with seven of these people…

Thank you Anya, Shawn, Adrian, Charity, Baylea, Dustin, and Liam

and I let two individuals make me feel like I didn’t matter.

A nobody. A real loser.

Though they have already been outed in the public by people defending me, I still refuse to acknowledge them here as I have been and will continue to do so.

Say what you want about me, but those seven authors have worked too hard to have their work be undone and/outshined by this. They all deserve better.

So, here is what happened:

I left the Twitter group the first time because Jill (not real name) illustrated the symptoms of several dangerous and destructive social disorders. That and Jary (not real name) constantly posting cringeworthy, sexually charged, and often homophobic joke responses toward everyone, many of which could easily be considered sexual harassment. I wasn’t comfortable in the group, and I wanted to avoid confrontation at all cost to avoid drama. And for a time, it worked.

But then, several months later, I was put back into the group without my permission along with others who had left. We were all very confused and angry, and I wanted to confront Jill, but I was warned to just let it go out of fear of starting drama.

So, for a second time. I left the group, and then I blocked Jill to keep this from happening.

A mere two days later, I am told by others still in the group if Jary and Jill think I left because of the video?

Video?

Yes, it seems during an episode of a podcast I have, Jary had laid into me a bit about having asked him if he was interested in doing the anthology I was fixing to announce and never asking again…you know…the public submission that was open for months, announced multiple times, and retweeted by Jary at some point. He then proceeded to make homophobic jokes about an unaware author who had just started following them, and then closed the show out by making fun of my voice.

Jary was then blocked. And I moved on with my life, continuing to write and do commission artwork. I had taken the higher road. Soon I had even heard an apology was issued on their show.

But recently, and for what reasons I am still unsure of completely, Jill and Jary decided to announce a new guest was coming on the show.

Joe Appleton aka Joe Asshole. (Joe=Bo, Apple=Chappell, Ton=Weight). Bald on top. Round on bottom. Upside-down head. High pitched voice. Small genitalia. Has no family. No friends. Will be eating two microwave turkey dinners alone for Thanksgiving. Made a shitty video to promote his book, Month 12.

Suggested he should hang himself with Christmas lights.* Fuck ’em.

[*EDITOR NOTE: I have received word from a third party that Jary and Jill are adamant that, in the deleted video that you can no longer watch on their channel:

“The Christmas light hanging was not actually stated. [JILL] and [GARY] both said that they were referring to hanging it off a penis and not suicide.”]

In series of moments, I had forgotten all those people. All I could hear were two.

That is the power of bullying.

Part of me thinks I was being made fun of for the sake of entertainment. Another, because they are upset our friendship ended, and our paths diverted simply because of differences. But the act wasn’t a childish statement or bargaining chip. I wanted to move on.

So with this, I am doing just that. I am deciding to not let them get to me. I won’t stop writing. I won’t leave social media either. There are too many wonderful people I am honored to call friend I would be forced to leave behind.

I won’t do any of it, not even to out and attack these bullies. Hell, I just wrote a story for The Grey Rooms about this subject.

No. I want to remind people that bullying happens to adults as well, and it is all too commonplace in the horror/writer community. We grow jealous of each other’s successes instead of being happy for them. We disagree about how things should “truly” be done and try to impose our beliefs onto those “like-minded” around us, choosing to stifle and criticize differing and/or original ideas. And if we express dislike or resistance at any time, suddenly we’re weak. Our passion is not legitimate.

We aren’t beautiful and unique, but we are snowflakes apparently.

All because I grew to realize I couldn’t call them friends anymore, and they couldn’t grow up at all.

But their actions have already had negative repercussions for their own work. And even now it continues because others are seeing their actions. And when they go to hide them, people see them more. And where I thought two people had taken something from me, I was ignoring my family. I was ignoring Ren and John and Liam and Shawn and Gavin and Dustin and Adrian and Chris and Anya and Baylea and Charity and Tapia and S.R and Colin and Madeline and Silvia and Jesse and the hundreds of other people who have called me friend, supported me, bought my books, retweeted a positive thought.

Been an actual friend.

I let two people get to me and forgot all the good in my life. Bring me back to a place I haven’t felt since middle school.

I let them stop ME.

Bullies don’t have to have that much control over you, especially as an adult. You don’t have to put up with it because you’re worried you’ll be embarrassed.

“…we’re all terrified of embarrassment. That’s why we’re so… dead.” – Archie (John Cleese) – A FISH CALLED WANDA

No one should be afraid to be proud of their work. To have an opinion that differs from others. To do something different when what is considered correct is only a guideline. And no one should be afraid to recognize when they’re uncomfortable in a social situation and want to leave. That’s being an adult. And if they argue they deserve an explanation?

You say you deserve respect.

It has already been done by Kendall Reviews and Aphotic Realms, but we’re asking all publishers, reviewers, podcasts, everyone, to post this message on your social media to commit to stopping bullying at your gates:

We celebrate HORROR at _______, we do NOT support/condone anyone being HORRIFIC to one another.

White or Black, Gay or Straight, Fat or Thin. We all die with a grin. It costs nothing to be nice.

Let’s #PromoteHorror & each other

#antibullying #benice

Now, to go hang with my friends and play games, have Thanksgiving dinner with my family, and get ready to launch the new book with my writing family.

To those that hate your love, love their hate.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!

Behind the Door

I was very honored to be a part of the first episode of Behind The Doors, the podcast where the cast and crew of The Grey Rooms discuss the episode for the week, “Look Alike”. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by creators Jason Wilson and Brian Black, along with voice performers Holly Linden and (our week’s guest host) Graham Rowat. I had such an amazing time talking about the episode I wrote, and you can watch and/or listen to the episode below.

The Grey Rooms Podcast: Behind The Door – Episode 1: “Look Alike”

The Grey Rooms Podcast: Behind The Door – Episode 1: “Look Alike” (VIDEO)

Haven’t listened to the episode yet? I got ya covered.

The Grey Rooms: Room #1207 – “Look Alike