Second Reality

I just can’t do it today. I wish I knew why but it is what it is.

I woke up at the right time, even brushed my teeth for the first time in days, and then completely failed to make any further progress.

Something possessed me to find a video on YouTube, and when I saw it I cried. I don’t know why, I really wish I did, so I thought I’d ramble about it and see what came out.

Here it is for context:

I think for me this represents unfulfilled potential. Back when I was at university a friend introduced me to the wonders of the PC demo scene. For anyone who doesn’t know this was a world where skilled programmers and artists came together to create demonstrations of artistic and technical proficiency. The example above was first shown to the public in 1993 (where it won… everything) and that all of the effects you see are generated in real time on hardware that by today’s standards could barely run a wrist watch.

There are a lot of tricks utilised by these impressive pieces of code to accomplish the effects. Drawing every other line, pre-calculating as much as possible, making use of often undocumented or esoteric CPU features; every little helps. At the time I quickly became obsessed with it.

I started learning the basics: drawing directly to the screen, rendering fonts, simple animation. I got a few things working well but nothing particularly impressive, and as usual I didn’t stick with it.

One of my character traits is getting very excited about learning new things, trying them out for a little while, and then getting bored pretty quickly. In this instance I wasn’t good at the maths involved. Maths has been an issue for me all my life. At school I could do the basics but quickly got lost when trying to do anything even a little bit more complicated. And if it involved memorising formulas… forget it! Making demos of the type shown above is all about this stuff.

I consider myself to be fairly artistic but don’t believe in myself enough to trust that what I’m doing is any good. This also applies to my technical abilities - I second guess everything I do, and never believe I’m doing a good job. It’s incredibly frustrating at times.

I’m not much of a visual artist, but I’ve had some success editing videos. I’m a bit musical and have tried my hand at composing a few time to varying levels of success, but I’m not a performer. I did A-level music and took the theoretical track rather than subjecting myself to the pressures of performing. While I’ve composed a few little snippets I’m proud of I’ve not yet been able to assemble anything more than a riff that I’ve thought was good enough to share. I might one day assemble enough courage to share some here.

But back to what is apparently the point… unfulfilled potential.

I feel this, strongly. I have no motivation to do anything about it, but I do feel like I’ve wasted my life. I feel like I had so much more potential than I was able to realise. I feel like I could have done it so much better if I knew then what I know now.

If I knew that the way I was feeling was not normal. If I knew that help could have helped. If my parents had understood the signs. If more than one teacher had tried to tell my parents that something was very wrong (“do you know you have a very unhappy child” was apparently the feedback from said teacher).

I feel like my life is over, despite being roughly middle-aged. I also don’t think I can change.

This morning was, I think, caused largely by my first real therapy session yesterday. We didn’t really talk about much; an easy session as she put it. We talked about my grandparents, parents and sisters. My early years, my first memory, where I came from. My memory sucks so details were lacking, but the emotions that were stirred were far from sparse.

We talked about what my parents were like and which character traits I had gotten from them. Were they distant or close? Were they open or closed? How about you?

Simple stuff, nothing complicated, nothing traumatic, just me, laid bare on a table ready for dissection. I’ll talk about anything, I tell people that quite often, and while it’s true it’s also untested in certain areas, in certain subjects.

I guess the testing continues next Monday.