Friday, December 5, 2014

Carpe Blogiem: Recovery, Worthiness, and Humility

I've stayed up half the night trying to write this blog entry. (Bear with me, it rambles a bit.) Part of it was typing on my small 10" tablet and the other was trying to figure out what to say. I eventually just snagged a friend's computer for a few hours and the cursor just stared back at me like some maddeningly taunting blinking horizontal bit. "Words to paper" I said as I stared at the screen over and over, getting up, getting a cup of tea, doing something, then more staring. I hate being at a loss for words - job hazard and all - but it still irks me. I wanted to write something appropriate and non-rambly - but that just wasn't in the cards.
             When I posted the update about my laptop last week I was neither prepared nor expecting the response I got. I'd tweeted in the early hours the day before about Neuromancer's (my laptop's name) death. I despaired. If you read my blog then you know I'm bi-polar - I've mostly got it under control (with the help of sheer will, medication, and support), but sometimes I slip when I'm scared or stressed. I was both. I didn't know what to do. Still trying for a disability claim means I can't work any kind of real job or perform any labor other than what I did when I applied. Given the fact that I was unable to walk when I applied and was unemployed...well, you see the position I'm in. I couldn't sleep after I failed to fix my computer and the blackest of moods took me into its midnight embrace. The world descended into a nightmare of grey. I had gone full on depressive.
             Where could I possibly get the money I'd need for another laptop? I quite literally pour every single dime I make back into my household to pay bills, the mortgage, and other necessary expenses. I don't go out to eat unless my friends take me. I don't buy new clothing or personal items (I haven't had a new shirt in about 4 years and I'm wearing glasses from nearly a decade ago). I don't go to movies and I borrow books from the public or private libraries (namely my other other mother's). My only vices are music (which YouTube seems to be filling more and more lately) and gaming (which I need to earn an income anyways). My only frivolous expenses are my cat - which isn't really frivolous because he keeps my blood sugar in check (but that's a matter of perspective) and the occasional diabetic friendly goodie. I calculate every expenditure. I scrounge the trash for electronics I can fix to sell (occasionally given to others - no one should be without a computer these days). I barter those same skills to hunters, fishers, and farmers in my area for food and I grow or fish/crab/clam when I can. I "trade" skills. You know "I'll fix your TV if you fix my car." I fix other computers for people. I set up networks. I do some (light) programming. I run wiring. Basically, I work oddjobs. I write whatever I can for money (both articles and ghostwritten content for various folks on the web) - I'll scribble anything for a penny - and it remains the bulk of my income. In short I do whatever I have to ensure those I'm responsible for are safe, warm, and fed . I sacrifice and send anything of mine to the altar to get to the next month - pride, sanity, whatever. Still, I live a very spartan life (and I mostly like it that way) and I don't need much. Simplification when you suffer from a mood disorder that makes you want to destroy things is a Good Thing (TM). Luckily, I'm able to get my insulin and medicine from a local charity - I'd be in a really bad place otherwise. I didn't know what to do so I wrote that entry.
             And then you all came in and reached with your collective hand and pulled me out of that pit I found myself in. You didn't ask how I got down there - you just reached and you pulled. You said "No. Don't give up." There is one particularly poignant scene in the Doctor Who episode of "the Wedding of River Song" that smacked so heartily of synchronicity in that moment that it still makes me wonder if life was imitating art on a small scale:
"The sky is full of a million, million voices saying yes, of course we'll help. You've touched so many lives, saved so many people. Did you think when your time came, you'd really have to do more than just ask? You've decided that the universe is better off without you, but the universe doesn't agree."
It was like that, but with social media, emails, and messages. I was ready to give up. Ready to write myself off. If I couldn't get some form of income all I would be is a burden to my household. Then I got dozens of missives saying "Of course I can help! You helped me when I needed it" followed by Paypal donations or packages arriving in the mail or both. You kept giving until I grew ashamed for asking and you kept trying to help long after I said "I think I've got enough to get a good computer." You just kept on and apologized for not being able to give more. You were sorry because you couldn't give some bloke you barely knew more money to fix a problem that wasn't yours to begin with. That is such a wonder that I am still in awe of it, gobsmacked by the generosity without a second thought.
             After my grandmother died my faith in humanity and in the goodness of others - a longstanding and tolerant belief - began to crumble. Some of my family did my nana so wrong and I've tried to pick up the pieces after for my mom and the others. I've still not grieved. How can I when others rely on me so much? When I need to keep everything moving along because that's my duty and I must do it. But wonderful, amazing, people took those crumbing, fractured pieces of my beliefs and remade them anew. Gave me hope when I was at my lowest. To say that I am humbled by your actions, by your words, and by your belief in me...well, it's an understatement. I thank you all for what you did. For giving me the ability to keep fighting uphill battles and tilting at windmills. For reminding me that I should never ever give up or give in. "Unto the last" is the family motto...and I think that sums it up nicely.
             Again, thank all of you and forgive the rambling. I'll probably do another post when my new computer comes in (I ordered it Thursday!) and maybe an unboxing video. Considering that I managed to save most of my files and had the majority of the super important backed up it'll almost be like it never happened when I get my new machine. Soon as I can I'll get back in action and resume my normal activities. Until then I guess I'm on forced vacation (which SUCKS) and I'm really ready to get back to work. Just FYI, any leftover funds will be helping me pay my mortgage and buying a few new peripherals (I need another set of headphones and a new gel-mousepad) so I won't be partying or the like with your gifts/donations. I cannot say thank you enough - so I'll just say it again: thank you. You made a difference in my life and all those I'm responsible for. I'll try to be worthy of your faith. Worthy of your gifts. Worthy of your kindness. Worthy.

Humbly and with Much Respect,

Christopher R. Rice
~Freelance Writer~


  1. It's all good man, we all know what it's like and with this "recovering economy" (>.>) some of us are in a similar boat. Even without meeting you in person, through your writing and posts you come off as a good natured and talented guy and I doubt that is just a persona you cultivate.

    You know, if anything the one good coming from the current economic situation is that it's showing that when the chips are down that most of are still caring individuals who would do more if we could (and also adds more weight to why I think the selfish gene theory is bullshit heh). So keep on keeping on man, your writings are nommy food for thought and if anything, in the meantime, grab a pen and paper and use this time to brew up some extra tasty ideas.

  2. Have to keep one of my fave indie writers going although my donations are unfortunately not monetary

    1. Being able to test my blood sugar the way I'm supposed to is a battle you helped me win vs. one I had to struggle with. :-/ I'd be equally screwed without said help.