My 2015

Happy New Year! I had hoped to be posting today’s post yesterday and tomorrow’s post today but it seemed all out of nowhere I had a life again, with places to be and people to see and that was exciting so it took precedent over writing blog posts for basically those same people to read. I’m going to look back on my year today and tomorrow, look forward to the new and this post is for those of you who take some interest in the man behind the rant and how his head works (Spoiler Alert: Not very well)

2014, as it drew to a close, had been an odd year but it ended on a high note because whilst I had recently become unemployed and was still in the same old situation of single and sponging off my family whilst earning just enough to pay for my own things (Social life, phone bills, contributions to the home), I was happy enough and I figured with such valuable experience and good friends, life would work out. 2015 then, said “Ehh…” and whilst I had been employed for a good chunk of the year, working in care, come the end of the summer I was now back on benefits, the margins for which had tightened and the people giving the handouts had gotten meaner than I ever remembered them being. Alas, getting ahead of myself so I’ll try to follow the course of the year and explain myself, omitting names of course for the sake of those involved.

Looking back at what scraps of a journal I had maintained in the start of the year, the year started on a bum note, social events being scrapped last minute and my general tone in the book is grim but with a sort of underlying hope, something I can admit is the same now. The ambitious plan to go jogging out in the wild fell into obscurity around February but then things got better around March because although I had been going through one heck of an odd journey with a friend of mine, I then found myself employed and in a job that didn’t make me want to throttle people, which is hard to come by. All seemed well, perhaps the key word being seemed.

Through no fault of their own but rather their circumstances and general isolation, I was employed as the sole carer of someone, and though we were told there would be more hours and pay coming my way someday, tomorrow never came and I found myself worked to the bone as the carer, cleaner, personal shopper, psychiatrist and advocate of someone who really just needed the various officials in her life to shut up and listen to her. Things reached a peak and the pressure of it all caused her to breakdown, followed shortly after by me and so she found an alternate living arrangement and I found myself unemployed. No malice held for them for what they chose to do, they did what was best for them and for me – after all, I could get work again and whilst I am currently unemployed, at the time of writing three different employers are all very interested in me.

So, with the autumn and winter ahead, my 21st looming and Christmas after that, I was back on the hunt for work, honing my skills in retail by making my semi-triumphant return to Oxfam, having become something of an urban legend in the place judging by the number of “(VOLUNTEER NAME) told me about you, I’m (NAME)”, perhaps the most realistic substitute for actual fame is that sort of remark – though 2015 was the year that saw my blog reach new heights of over 1000 views in a week, video posts on my Facebook page and even some recognition on the street as “That wanker who writes about feminism”.

2015 wasn’t all doom and gloom, there are some friends I found myself closer to than I had been previously and whilst some saw fit to kick me whilst down, I at least weeded out bad eggs in the process – namely people harboring hilariously outdated views and people willing to abandon my friendship for £20, go figure. I also made a new friend in someone whom previously I had not exactly been pally with, they were friends with people who belittled me in my youth and they then contacted me, having remembered me from encountering my blog, they then apologised for following the crowd and explained themselves to the point where we mutually agreed that school isn’t about an education, it’s some sort of psychologically traumatising rites of passage in which you are just doing whatever it takes to get through it and we just happened to have different means of doing that. I also changed medical practice and got my formal diagnosis at long last, considering my former GP was determined my social anxiety was nothing more than “stress” and the need for “a good holiday somewhere nice”, as if I had that as an option.

So 2015 ended with me now unemployed, still single and my depression has only gotten worse but on the upside, perhaps those things won’t last. 2014 ended with me single and unemployed but also lost, which I tried to pass off as looking for opportunities but with no idea where to look where as now, I have jobs lined up, fewer but better friends and I signed up to an actual gym so if nothing else, I can at least be attractive whilst wallowing in self-pity!

Happy New Year and shit.

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My 2014

Trigger Warnings – Strong language throughout

Are you excited readers? The new year will dawn upon us soon, it’s time to make plans you’ll never stick to and get so shit-faced your first words of 2015 will be “Oh my fucking god, kill me”, your first morning will have you wake up to being upside down and almost blind with your arse out and your guts on the floor. I’ll be starting my new year entirely sober, bored and probably sat on my butt in front of a screen but I’m not complaining, tis how I almost always start the new year, the only new year I ever spent away from home I spent sat in front of my girlfriend of the time’s TV instead… both of us, I didn’t just turn up and lounge on her sofa like some sort of intrusive sloth. Anyway, as is the tradition, this is the time of year where we all look back at the last twelve months and judge how far we have come and how far we still need to go. Tonight, I’ll talk about how far I’ve come, tomorrow, how far I need to go, a post in two halves such as it were.

I started this year with nothing really, my social life was dead in the water because my pockets were empty and my mood was awful. I had a small circle of people I could kill some time with now and then but for the most part I was just going through the motions. I’m in a similar stance now but something about it then seemed even less worthwhile, maybe it was the lingering feeling I was there because I didn’t get up, as opposed to biding time to come at it again. Anyway, I eventually got my ass back on job seeker’s, I’d been out of pocket since losing my job as a bartender and needed the money to get by. Shortly after that, things started picking up and I was learning to market my skills a bit better, a few job trials but nothing really went my way for a long time. Socially though, I improved, I got myself into a cosy relationship that I was quite happy with.

I won’t divulge into details of the relationship but you’re all aware I’m single so you can tell it didn’t last. I could bitch and whine or make them out as a callous cretin but I’ll avoid it, in spite of everything I just don’t feel venomous or anger towards them, I just keep out of their way and they keep out of mine. I learnt a lot from the relationship though and they helped me understand so many things from different perspectives – gender identities, contemporary feminism, philosophy and even how to be a better writer. The relationship wasn’t one of the body but more one of the mind but I suppose putting two people like us in a room together for too long was either going to be phenomenal or disastrous and so it started as the former and ended as the latter. If you’re reading, hello, hope you’re well, I’d be surprised if you did follow my blog but then again maybe I wouldn’t be. I’m not sure what I’d say to you if we met in person, I’m sure you feel the same probably, undecided if you’d punch me or kiss me but I shan’t overstep the line either way, just know that I do still think about you at times and I’m thankful for everything I gained from what we had, I like to think I am a better man now than I was then, and I don’t mean that with arrogance or bravado but with the opposite, I have learnt the value of listening, of measured selflessness and that we are more than a collection of traits, we are all vast and wide as oceans and just as mysterious. Thank you for that.

Sentimentality aside, the break up was about May time I believe, the details are hazy but it was around that time I started working at Oxfam. I quickly proved myself as a capable worker and found myself being entrusted with greater responsibility as time went by, my manager telling me I was being considered for a managerial role myself. I enjoyed my time at Oxfam, I met some good people and I got to see some of my old friends more regularly in an environment that was engaging without it being “Let’s meet up and stare at televisions and eat stuff”, now we were working together, we came to understand each other a bit better. I finally mended a long since shaking bridge with a friend of mine who has become irreplaceable over the past few months and I got to see sides to my best friend I had not seen before, all of us becoming much closer and much stronger as a unit and as individuals. I have no regrets there, this year to me is defined by the bonds I forged, the friends I made and the old friends I grew to know much better than I once did, holding them through tears and having them cheer me on to make something myself. I became warmer inside, warmer than I had felt before, much warmer than I started the year, a bitter and grumpy man simply existing, now I was working hard, spending time out being active and giving something back to my community.

Autumn rolled in and I got the job. I like to think I did pretty well, with everything considered, and my colleagues came to realise that I was not the shadow of my manager, I was a leader in my own right, I could feel that level of respect from them and it was demanding, sure, every issue that cropped up had a face staring towards me for directions. As the job came to an end, the overall evaluation came as a disappointment, I had not lived up to what I expected of myself or the targets I had been set, management is a challenging line of work for a man who barely says more than twenty words a day. I had my confidence shaken, some had doubted my capability in my role and went about their problems with me in ways I didn’t feel satisfied with, namely going around me to my superiors but hey, that’s the world of work, not everyone has it in them to come up to someone and resolve problems in such a direct manner, even myself at times. I took a step back from Oxfam after that point, to rest, to try and enjoy the festive season with a fair sum of money to my name, which I used to get some essentials for the future and to thoroughly spoil those that I cared about, knowing I wouldn’t get the chance too often. I did it because, well, even though not one of them would say I owe them anything, I felt I did, I had started this year so bitter and cold but each of them gave me something, each of them made me laugh, supported me through tough times and I had grown to love them all in ways I never did before. Blah, mushy…

The year has brought joys and sorrows. Ok, so I had my heart trampled on again, my cynicism towards romance is at its absolute peak now but through careful discussions, I came to understand what I REALLY want in a relationship, not what I told myself I wanted, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that things will work out and I actually feel some hope there. I felt a sense of elation on my birthday though, that for me was brilliant, that so many would show up even without seeing me for so long, just to celebrate my birthday and all of them paired their contribution to the party cost and then some, it reminded me that for all my money worries and dead love life, I’ve got good friends, in that sense I am rich. Granted, this is all a bit doey-eyed but it’s New Year’s Eve, it’s what we do, followed by ridiculous promises tomorrow.

So where am I now? Well, back to being unemployed and single but I have a better sense of who I am, how I feel and I now have a blog I actually put effort into, friends who actually want to spend time with me (Like, few weeks ago, met up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years and my god, it was like we’d never been apart, it was just natural friendly banter all the time, we shared a lot about ourselves and we’re meeting up again soon) and I have more experience of work, a better attitude and the support and resources to do more than claim benefits and rummage around for job opportunities like some sort of beggar, now I’m a desirable employee… though a car would help. Plans for the new year! Woop!

Anyway, happy new year readers, hope 2014 was your year and if not, fuck it, here’s another one, maybe it won’t be shitty, maybe it will, let’s find out together shall we? Hit like and share on here and be sure to check me out at my Facebook page, it’s funny now and then and the comment sections are a hoot (Though if this ever takes off, beware ze trolls!)

http://www.facebook.com/oldmanwolfeofficial

All Together And All Alone

Trigger Warnings – Death.

At the very core of our fleeting existence upon this world, we are lonely creatures. We may well be born into a family, make friends and fall in love as is the way life often proceeds but in the face of death, one meets their maker alone, you can’t hold hands with your parents and ask them for moral support whilst you die, it simply is the way things are. With the threat of the end looming over us, it is in our best interests to lead rich full lives and enjoy laughter and love whilst it lasts and thus relationships are formed when you meet people like yourself that you want to spend that precious time with, be it playing video games, discussing literature or wrestling under the bed sheets laughing.

I am lonely, we all are, we are a race of social animals seeking our place in the grand chaos of the universe. We face this human struggle in different ways, we might be anxious, we might be arrogant and we may even be angry but there is not a human being that has not considered or will not consider their own end. The pursuit of purpose makes us yearn for wealth or the afterlife, the justification of this lonely struggle against the coming darkness, but as a man with no real desire for great wealth or a belief in the afterlife, I embrace the struggle all whilst accepting the fact that light and dark shall forever feud between themselves.

Do not take this as an attack upon religion but for me, I find the reward of a good deed is the deed, not the concept of heaven. Heaven or not, our lives as we know them now are nothing but the blink of an eye, we must cherish that moment and why use your time on this Earth being cruel or unkind, what does it ultimately achieve? We are all in this together on one planet, perhaps in the interest of being civil, we should look to a society of empathy, not envy.

Pick up litter, ask someone about their day even if you don’t really care, hold a door open, all these things are so trivial and insignificant yet they bring me an endless sense of wellbeing. If there is a higher power, they will notice and they will reward you but if not at least you lived a life of positivity and you can rest in peace knowing you did what you could, in your own little way, to make that struggle of life better for someone else. If we all did that, that would be beautiful wouldn’t it? An endless cycle of little joys selflessly given away from one human being to another so that we can feel a little bit better about the reality of our situation as temporary beings. I’ve made these points before in many ways in many articles and there is more to be said but perhaps with time I will come to see someone take this to heart

Call this tripe or rubbish, maybe even beatnik lunacy, but for me, it gets me by, what makes life better for me is making life better for someone else just because I can and I care. I won’t pretend to know the hearts of everyone around me but I cannot be the only one carrying doubts, fears and unspoken wishes with me, if my kindness can lighten that burden for someone, why not? Perhaps someone will do the same for me, perhaps not, I will find the road to happiness either way.

Thank you.

Cheer Up Sunshine!

Trigger Warnings –

I’ve probably covered this topic before but I am not a sunny man, my disposition, whilst perfectly hospitable, is one of a stone faced man who can only just about force a smile onto his face most of the time. I’m capable of having a laugh and enjoying myself, don’t get me wrong, but my cheeriness is generally quite reserved and softly spoken.

With Christmas fast approaching, I feel I should be excited for it, it’s been a generally good year for me, I have a tight social circle, I know I’ll be receiving some nice gifts and I have gifts lining up for a number of friends and family members, quite good ones too. However, I struggle to feel excited, I always have in all honesty and I’m not 100% sure why but I have theories.

Contrary to the impression given by the number of personal posts I make on this blog, my innermost feelings are really quite valuable to me and I tend to keep them under my hat, which has advantages and disadvantages. The advantage is strength, I can plough on through personal dilemmas and get stuff done. I can suffer indignation and still be driven to rise from the ashes like the metaphorical firebird of legend. Disadvantages are that I give off this impression of never enjoying anything and when people comment on it, I internalise it and so here I am, unable to be excited because everyone has to ask why I never am.

I guess this is a standard of masculinity forced upon me by being a male, the eldest brother of the household at that, everything was about strength and resolve, weakness was not an option. I went out of my way to be a strong person, I had to prove it at every opportunity. Feelings, or at least feelings like excitement, were weak, they were childish and unnecessary to a fighter. All of this loops back to my teenage years of anger and fire, I’ve overcome that part of myself but there is so much more to it than just learning not to resolve problems by punching them in the face, you have to rethink everything.

Overcoming that anger was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and even now there a handful of people I’d love to do some damage to if there were no consequences to it. However, such things exist only as petty fantasies like we all have, we all know that one guy you would like to see get what’s coming to them, for me I used to do just that by mashing their faces into walls, now I just mumble. The trouble for me was learning to walk away or breathe slowly but also the process of changing because I think only one person ever really had any faith in me, everyone else seemed to label me even after months without so much as a raised voice. Change is like that though, a painter isn’t paid for holding brushes, they’re paid for a painted wall and any substantial change is the same, nobody will applaud you for saying it will happen, only when it has happened and even then they’ll remind you how much of an asshole you used to be. I don’t mind people bringing up my past but when it’s in the context of “You used to be a real sack of shit”, how do I respond adequately?

Anyway, rambling on, this sorta wandered across a broad spectrum. I meant to say I feel too exposed when I’m visibly displaying a passionate emotion and open to mockery so don’t take it personally if I don’t jump up and down grinning when you say you’ve got me a Christmas present. If you ever see me opening up, don’t take it for granted and don’t call attention to it or I will clam up right away.

Final note to anyone struggling to change, don’t give up. People will doubt you, deny you, resent you and maybe try to break you but we are all capable of great things if we have but the courage and resources to try. I used to be a hyperaggressive super jerk with delusions of grandeur, now I’m just me, I’ll leave you to your own descriptions of me from there.

Expiration Date

Trigger Warnings – None.

Well, the job has come to an end, the contract technically expires on Friday but with no more hours this week, today was my last day. I’ve been told to be on my way, take time away from the store and come back refreshed in the new year to volunteer. I’ll still pop in to see the team, celebrate with them but come the new year, I will need to think about the next step up, such a thing is inevitable really.

So my plan is to look into retaking a subject I did in college, maybe a couple, knock the grades up and then look into further education from there. Granted, it’s late but I need to move on somehow, not just potter around Shrewsbury playing second fiddle to a bunch of different managers and supervisors. I’m walking away from this job with stronger social skills, admittedly still an introvert who would rather leave people alone than bother them with my awkward company but at least I can make decent attempts at human interaction now and my presence isn’t greeted with indifferent sighs any more.

I need a job though, got to pay my way somehow and I don’t want to live with my dad forever, my independence would make everyone’s lives
much easier. In the future, I would like to say farewell to Shrewsbury altogether, go out into the world for real, not just for a day trip with a train ticket. I’m not sure where to, picking a path to walk down has always been a tough one for me, I feel like I am always sacrificing something that could be amazing to walk down the path before me. Curse my tendency to overthink fucking everything every moment of the day, it makes me sensitive and indecisive

I should have invested more in my future but truth be told, it never interested me until recently, to want for myself has always filled me with this sort of nausea. Strange, I know, I can’t explain it very well but it explains why a child prodigy wound up working behind counters if he never took interest in using his talents to do something for himself. I enjoy charity work, I’m working for my pay (or was) but also for a good cause far beyond checks with my name on. I hope that whatever I end up doing, it benefits people beyond myself or I would be going against my core ideals of community and such.

In other news, I need a laptop, seriously, this blogging using a touch screen is maddening. Finger blog is accurate by the way, I use two hands to type on a keyboard, a single finger to type on a touch screen. Takes forever to get nowhere, this post feels long but it isn’t really is it? Bleh. Life sucks, first world problems and all that.

Anyway, gonna have to call it quits there, my hands hurt, I get awful pains from using touch screens but you can’t avoid them now. See you all tomorrow for more mini posts!

Twenty Years On

Trigger Warnings – None

Today is my twentieth birthday. No, I’m not expecting birthday messages from my readers, don’t worry, though any received will be greatly appreciated. I had a fairly standard day of it, nothing special but nice enough and the evening was spent on a dinner date with my closest friend, essentially combining the two things I enjoy most into one evening. Anyway, I’m twenty years old, inside I feel much older but I figured given the occasion I’d share some personal feelings with you all about my journey through life thus far

I consider myself the old man for more than one reason. Yes, I can rant and grumble and be generally miserable at times but I  actually feel like an old man because my life has been so full of stories and mishaps so far. Almost a dozen failed romances, countless short-lived flings, friends and enemies too numerous to list, a number of jobs and journeys and so many good times and bad. I’ve been lots of different people, all ruled by the same underlying traits but I’ve been an emo kid, I’ve been a typical child, I’ve been an artist with a head full of clouds and I am currently a cocktail of characteristics picked up along the way

The teen years are all about trying to be someone people will like or that will get you the response you want from people until you get older and realise you’re better off just being whatever the fuck you feel like being and telling the world to love it or loathe it and shut up either way. I made that realisation leaving college really, I did a lot to try and keep people as friends but I kept losing more and more as life went on and now I’m used to it, I can carry on strong and stone-faced through almost anything and everything, though the blogging helps and I have good friends to rely on.

I sometimes pine for what I’ve lost – the friendship groups that were such good laughs, the relationships that could’ve lasted if I’d done this differently, the people I’d never have hurt if I thought more carefully about how I treated them and on a darker note, the people who have passed away who I once held so dear – but through it all I’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff and I’m happy with what has come from that process and what I see for the future if the present is anything to go by. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go though and I need to crack on with that sooner rather than later

I feel jaded, a terrible thing at only two decades of age but still, so many failures so far and so much having happened in such a short time, I worry the next twenty years will be drab by comparison. I have my fears for the future, romance and career-wise mostly, fearing I’ll never achieve my goals and never find a woman to spend the rest of my life with romantically, currently I’m struggling to find one I can even spend a few months with. I’ll avoid the entire story of my love life, it’s a long one and a little too personal for this blog, maybe even for some that know me but those that know why I am as I am now will know why I struggle

Oh well, this isn’t a day for finicking over that, this is a good day and it has been nice enough, the past few years have been an interesting story indeed. I have a number of good friends now, one friend in particular who has seen me through hell and high water, stood at my side when I’ve been a total twat and we cannot picture a future in which we are not still thick as thieves, two goofballs versus the world. You know who you are, the world probably knows, and I know this is mushy but it’s my birthday and a bit of a milestone so I just wanted to give thanks for you and to let you know that I love you so very much.

And of course, to my family, my father in particular, who haven’t always liked me but have never abandoned me, even when I convinced myself I didn’t want them. I’ve been an ass and that’s only just improved in the last couple of years but thank you all the same, to those I live with and to those a little further out. To my newer friends and friends of the past few years, credit goes to you for actually consenting to joining the craziness, you’re special kinds of people for doing that and I hope the friendships I have forged as of now are the ones that will last because they are with some brilliant people

Mushiness and sentiment about aging and such aside, I look now to the future and to what a genuinely Old Man Wolfe will one day be. Anyway, the birthday time is passing over, less than three hours left until the day is over so that’s the syrupy sweet stuff done, bleh. Ok? Tributes paid, grumpy as usual again tomorrow! (I make that sound like a conscious choice…)

The Other Cause Of The Day

Trigger Warnings – None

Hello internet, I’ll begin by telling you I had great fun last night with some great people and although not everyone could make it, everyone who did had a blast and was splendid company and it reminded me that no matter how bad things get, I’m surrounded by some truly brilliant characters. Anyway, if you’re British you’re probably well aware that today is Children In Need day. I’m not doing an article on that, I’m sorry, my say on the matter is rather unnecessary with the celebrity phone-in donation mega events and all the crazy costume wearing fundraisers in every nook and cranny but I am here to represent something, something that is being overlooked today in favour of yellow teddy bears and spotted handkerchiefs

Today is World Diabetes Day, perhaps my American or European audience was aware but the British, probably not so much, it’s a shame two big days coincided and to coincide with Children In Need is always rubbish, you get overlooked (I should know, my birthday has done so on several occasions when I was a kid so on my birthday everyone was more wrapped up in cakes and fun runs than giving me any attention and hey I was a kid, I wanted attention)

So what can I do to represent my cause? Well, if you live in the UK, look up Diabetes UK, that’s a good place to start and it tells you what you can do to make a difference and I know I’m not doing much, I only hear of these things ON the day, same with Asexuality Week and OCD Awareness Week and so on and then I want to do something, partly because I then have guaranteed readers, mostly because I do genuinely give a shit.

Diabetes, like a lot of illnesses, is misunderstood, it is not as simple as being the end result of eating like a pig all your life and then being very very ill as payback. Diabetes comes in two types and you can usually either be born with it or be diagnosed later in life and the best way to remember the types is Type 1 is a lack of insulin for the cells (A padlock with no key) and Type 2 is the body not responding to the insulin in the body (A padlock with no keyhole). Basic but it’s a starting point to build on. The condition is lifelong and affects someone with it in pretty much everything they do, they must be much more conscious of what they eat and do than those without. Diabetes is no rare thing, we all know it exists and last year it was predicted around 382 million people worldwide are diabetic, 90% being Type 2

So what’s Type 1 and Type 2? Type 1 is the one you are born with, it is your own body destroying insulin before it can help you digest so the resulting build up of glucose (sugar) becomes damaging and this leads to a dependence on external-insulin. Type 2 is a failure to produce enough insulin or the body not responding to it, it’s often associated with obesity and is normally treated through medication

Being a diabetic obviously affects your lifestyle choices and it’s no laughing matter, we all like to make a joke about it, what with the Diabetus meme being a fad a while ago but in truth it’s not fun to live with, from what I’ve heard. I’m not trying to be an overly politically correct stick in the mud but just remember that it’s a serious plight for those who live with it, like any illness or condition. The recommended plan of action for diabetics is to avoid foods high in sugar and salt, eat less fatty junk, snack more on fruit and get at least two hours of moderate physical exercise a week, which in all fairness is probably a good idea for anyone so kudos to those who manage, I’d struggle and I technically don’t even need to, I’m not technically overweight

Still, any setback is something to overcome so don’t go babying the diabetics, they obviously still function well in society and go on to achieve great things in their own lives, they’re nothing less for a bit of an insulin issue. I’m sorry to rain on the Children in Need parade of joy and funny antics to save starving orphans, support that by all means, but this is an issue that affects someone close to me so I’m writing this for them and for you all. Once again, it’s about educating yourselves, don’t assume you know something just because you hear the word tossed around, do a little read around, talk to people, the pursuit of knowledge is one of the best bits of being alive!