Probing the Depths

June 9, 2003

That's right folks, it's another edition of "Jason's Mind Won't Leave Him Alone." Strap in, it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

At what point does failure become a way of life? Or, to the point, when did it become my way of life? I've become so certain of failure that most of the time I don't even bother trying.

Three years ago, when I was in the middle of my time at Brady, I was cocky as all hell. And I knew almost nothing about Web Development. I had just learned ASP and put together my first attempt at a project -- an automated version of the job assignment board we had -- and we used it for all of two weeks before ditching it in favor of something else.

That didn't really bother me though. I mean, I was pissed that I'd sunk that much time into something to have it tossed out, but it wasn't my programming that was the problem. So, I carried on.

Fast forward to the spring of '02, when I lost my job. I actually didn't start looking for work right away. I didn't even sign up for unemployment until more than a month later. I was that sure I could get a job quickly.

Then I went on a couple interviews and got the same thanks-but-no response. I wasn't some punk kid fresh out of college; I did some pretty heavy stuff at Brady. Sure I had help, but that was just a consideration of time constraints.

So why wasn't I hired? I don't think I was asking for too much money; in fact I'm pretty sure that I'm still underpaid, just not as badly. And I know that some of the money being paid for me is probably staying at Tek, since they're technically the ones I work for. (I didn't ask, but I assume that's the way it has to be -- otherwise they wouldn't be able to stay in business.)

By process of elimination, that must mean there's something wrong with me, right? I'd go on an interview, I'd think it went great, and I'd never hear back. I kinda got used to it in a way.

I didn't expect to get the job at Equitable. I thought the interview went horribly, and the guy I interviewed with was a total cypher. To tell the truth, I stll don't know why they picked me over the other people they talked to. But I'm trying really hard to justify the money they're spending on me, and hoping they don't realize their mistake.

In just 13 months I got so used to failing that now that I have a job I wonder of there was some sort of mistake. When I go to bed at night, sometimes I expect to wake up with no job and a kitchen with nothing in the cupboards but ramen. I just can't shake it.

And that's at something I know I'm good at, and after only a year. Imagine how much of a wreck I'd be if it's something I wasn't sure I could do, and it had been going on for more than a decade. How neurotic could I possibly be then?

Well, if you've seen me around a cute girl, you know. I have never been able to talk to women easily. I'm always afraid of saying something stupid. So I either freeze up and don't say anything, or I babble like a fool and wind up saying something really stupid. Go, me.

Around women who are unavailable, or who I'm not interested in, I think I do OK. I mean, they don't recoil in horror when I look like I'm about to say something, but maybe they're just being polite. I've been told by more than one person, just pretend they're not available. Then the pressure will be off. Sorry, I don't have that vivid of an imagination. I tried it; I can't do it.

When I talk about my hang-ups with women, I usually say I got shot down in high school a lot, and that's the source of my problem. Unfortunately it's nothing but a convenient lie. I asked out maybe two girls while I was at East, and that's if you allow an extremely generous definition of asking a girl out. My problems really date back much farther than that, and I don't even know for sure what their root causes are.

Sadly enough, this is who I am. I can't count the number of times I've decided that I'm just going to say the hell with it and talk to some girl, only to wimp out once again. "Well, just be confident," I've been told. "Women like confident men." You know what I hear when somebody says that to me? "Just don't bother concerning youself with getting laid, 'cause it ain't gonna happen." Yeah, thanks for cheering me up, bucko. I'll just go weep quitely in the corner if you don't mind.

To tell the truth, I hate having these conversations with people. Because they always try to do it in an "I did it, so can you" type of way. Except I've already seen that I can't do it, so I just come out of there feeling lower than a dog turd. In fact, if I could turn off comments I would, since all anybody's "help" would do is further ingrain the sense of failure I already feel.

Y'know, when I was living over in Greenfield I had my own little world. I got up, I went to work, I came home, I watched TV, I went to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. I didn't have a girlfriend, but I didn't really know what I was missing. I knew in the general sense, of course. But I didn't have many particular aspects of my life I could point to and say "this would be better if I had a woman in my life."

Then I moved over to Negley. And now I can tell what I'm missing out on. And all these doubts that I'd hidden away have come back. Because I want this, and I don't for the life of me see any way I can make it happen.

I can't remember how the topic of conversation drifted over to me and women, but not too long ago while I was haging out with that girl it did. And she was doing the whole "I changed, so can you" spiel, while I tryed to convince her that people just can't up and change who they are.

I don't know if the look she gave me was disgust, pity, or both. But it's one I don't care to be on the receiving end of ever again from anybody.

Christ, I can't belive I wrote this. Or that you slogged through it all. I'm sorry, I really am. I probably sound like some whiny teenage LJer, just without all the 1337-5p34k. But if it makes you feel any better, I'm done bitching and moaning now. So maybe I can get some sleep.

June 6, 2003June 10, 2003