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What does it feel like to actually do something right?

by dampshadows59

My entire life, totaling twenty-two years at the point of writing this, I’ve never had a real aspiration. No dreams, at least if I did they were lost when I was young and my mind was still free. My father died when I was young, leaving behind no more than his story and the memories his loved ones had. He was very successful for himself. Having served his time in the Air Force to protect the ones he cared about, he attended college achieving a bachelors degree in computer science with only a single class that he had a grade lower than an eighty. His pay in a year back in 2000 was more money than I’ll ever see throughout my lifetime. Both my parents kept foster children for almost ten years and adopted two of them. After that, they had two of their own. My dad succumbed to cancer just a few years after that with lots of life left to live. My entire life has been in his shadow, the near perfect man he was. I’ll never live up to those standards, but that’s what people expect of me.


I know that I’ll never be him, and I always have. I shrugged off every comment about how I favored him so much, how I’m just as smart as he is. I slugged through high-school doing poorly with not a care for anything in the world other than video games. It’s pretty safe to say at this point I was addicted to them, getting that unreal feeling of not being myself. I thrived in that letting myself really believe I could mentally be someone else. As it became time for college, I applied to a few small colleges near me that would accept anyone. I had a GPA of about 2.8 and managed to attend a community college near my home. I dropped out after a year, and there I was. Almost twenty with no job, no future and no aspirations. Since then, I’ve done nothing but make mistakes and fuck more up than I could have ever imagined.


I got my first job when I was twenty-one, it was at a dealership cleaning cars. I worked my ass off six days a week clocking as much overtime as my job was willing to pay for. Half a year into that job, I was at my lowest. I was depressed going home each night at around ten PM just to shower wake up and do it all over again. I questioned whether I’d actually be able to do that for the rest of my life, because that’s what life is. I realized it wasn’t, and that I couldn’t at the rate I was heading. I decided to join the armed forces. I took my asvab and scored a decent score, just below an 80. They offered me a list of jobs too long for me to comprehend, and I just picked one randomly. A technical job working with any device that had a screen. I took the next step going to MEPs, and passed everything. All except one small thing, my blood pressure. I get nervous very easily and am consistently nervous in situations I don’t need to be. I had nothing to hide from the doctors there, but I was just nervous around them feeling like they had my life in their hands.


I had already picked my job and handed in my two weeks notice, but wasn’t getting the job. So I wasted away again, spending all my saved up money on take-out and energy drinks. Seeping back into video games again to escape the hell I hated. After wasting away I moved around a bit living with different people from time to time. My brother let me stay at his house for a few months, letting me eat and sleep there as long as I watched his kids. I got fed up with that and found my way home. Once I got there, my mom told me she had actually found a boyfriend. Since my father had passed away, she hadn’t strayed away to date anyone. This was the exception, and he offered me a chance to work for him. He did landscaping, something I knew nothing about. I agreed to help be manual labor and headed to work with him the next day. I spent the entire day stuffing pine straw under bushes and fluffing it to make the yard look nice. It was a decent day, I worked hard and went home to sleep confident. The next day was an absolute fucking mess.


He spent two hours trying to teach me how to use a weed eater, which I couldn’t even manage to do well enough for his thumbs up. When he ended up giving up on that, he just had me pick up trash. For the entire rest of the eight hour shift, he didn’t say anything to me that wasn’t: “You’re retarded”, “Even a child knows how to do this”, or anything along those lines. By the end of the day, I told him I wasn’t coming back to work with him again. Just like most things, he tried to pull me aside at the end of the day to talk out our problems, like real adults or even real men. I ignored him, walked to my car and left. Driving home, that was the closest I’ve ever been to really killing myself. The mindset of being a useless, brain dead human ate away at my mental health. I conceded to my thoughts of regret and peril, wishing that I hadn’t another breath in my lungs. Without fail, I managed to fuck something else up on the way home. My mom questioned me when I got home, and I couldn’t contain myself. I explained to her what happened and she called it off with him. She was happy with him, and now she’s not.


I took myself back to college with the money I had left from work. I failed every class and dropped out again. Now I’m back to being nothing. An incel locked away trying to find a job, and I can’t manage even that. So I tend to ask myself quite often, what does success really feel like? How much failure is too much? When am I really just going to say fuck it and quit? I hate who I was, more-so who I am and I don’t want to imagine who I’ll become. I just need to know how other people can make themselves happy.


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MikeZero 1/27/2020 - 2:06 pm

Thanks for your story. It’s like we’re all living in these bubbles, isolated. I wonder if you ever feel like you could just be around someone who didn’t expect anything from you, that you couldn’t “let down.” I know I do. Other times, I feel like, if I could just be self-sufficient, who cares about other people. I don’t know which, if any of those, you are. I just wanted to let you know that there’s another human responding to you who doesn’t need or expect you to measure up to anything.

dampshadows59 1/28/2020 - 1:09 am

Thanks, this really hits close to home. I highly doubt in my lifetime I’ll find someone I interact with on a daily basis that I’m not afraid of letting down. On the flip side, I think I fall into the self-sufficient category. I hate being a burden to my family and loved ones, but I can’t find a way to change that. It really warms my heart with the way you worded that, as it really does make me see the world in a different light. I tend to be tunnel visioned on not letting the people that do care down. I never really expanded my horizon to focusing more on the ones who don’t.

infinitetears 1/27/2020 - 11:00 pm

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading that. Just your style of story telling was compelling. What makes me happy is not being around people that can crush me in a few words. Sounds like you could’ve used a nice dad to see what’s good about you. My mom divorced my dad when I was young. Apparently I thought he was dead. It makes it hard for me to feel who I really am before anything happened too. It’s a hard place to build a life on. Prayer is slowly bringing my pieces together as well.

dampshadows59 1/28/2020 - 1:14 am

I’m glad you enjoyed it, I just hope someone in a position like myself can read this and realize they’re not alone. Hundreds of times I’ve looked in the mirror and told myself I’m the biggest fuck up on the planet, even if it’s not true. So hopefully other people see that as well now. I’d have given anything in the world to meet my dad, even have a memory of him for myself. Was it the same for you, people trying to mold you into the person you never knew? I’ve never been religious, my mother was when I was younger. Is there anything in specific you focus on with your prayers?

moon-light 1/30/2020 - 9:46 pm

I’m at a really bad place rn. And reading you le story made me feel not so alone. Thank you that. And life does get boring. It’s a lot of waking up, working, appointments and sleep. My life isn’t how I thought it would be at all but I beleive that you will find your purpose and have a happy life. That’s what I’m hoping for myself too!

dampshadows59 2/5/2020 - 11:45 pm

Times change so quickly, I hate the feeling of going to bed knowing I might wake up in a darker place than I before. So, I completely understand the bad places. It’s enlightening to know that even in a bad place you can keep your head up, and think about how things could get better. I’ll try my best to learn from you.

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