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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 9: Fractures

This is my journal I wrote during the time I was homeless. It is broken up by week for easier reading. Feel free to read it on the web or download the complete .pdf version and print it for reading offline.

Week 451

Day 3151 - 2/15 - Regrets

Today was ok. Though I didn't help much in either class that I TA for, so I was left on my own mentally, which meant my mind focused on its recent worries and regrets. Again I couldn't help but think what should have been 1.5 years of money turned out to be only half that much.

While I maybe shouldn't have made some purchases, like my tablet, it has been incredibly useful for school things. And, it's great for doing quiet mobile things like playing when I'm hiding at night, taking notes for writing stories, or listening to a podcast or music. So, I don't really regret that.

But some things I do. I didn't really need to get new shirts. The ones I had were fine. I got more games than I should have, and I greatly regret the ones I got which I wound up not hardly playing then setting aside. And probably my biggest regret of all is not watching my food costs. While my system is rapidly going to crap again now that I'm not eating fresh cooked food, the two extra meals per week completely wrecked me. I did have one per week budgeted, but even at only $3.5-8 on average, twice a week, for these past 7 months, has rapidly added up to a figure far greater than I would have thought. If I'd have known how much of a toll that would have taken I absolutely wouldn't have had those extra meals.

But these past almost full 9 years have been so terrible and taken such a toll. It is so hard physically to eat garbage or micro food and constantly feel bad about it and know there is little to nothing that can be done to change it. It is so hard emotionally to not have my nice games and fun things like movies when they are new and to have to wait until they are cheap, or miss them entirely. Both of those constantly make me feel like an outsider. Like a total freak who doesn't belong. In a home, with those balanced, I can accept my quirks and weird things that make me different and unique. But with all the limitations and sadness on top of that, for so long, it is too much to bear.

But now, because of all that, the money is almost entirely gone. And what was an ever so brief glimpse of something that was a fraction of my old normal life is now gone. And what remains will be a rapid descent into the sadness and constant worry that I have been in for so long.

I try to hold on to hope those out there who were watching out for me are still out there and will send help soon. But I do not see them, and things are so quiet, I don't know if they are. All I can do is continue to hope. And hopefully it will be enough until a boon comes again. And, hopefully when they do I will have the strength to be like a squirrel and hide it away and struggle to hold on to it as long as I can.

Day 3152 - 2/16 - Self disappointment

Today I am still feeling a bit sick. I have little to no energy and I feel unwanted. Though that may be in great part due to my disappointment in myself lately.

The money being gone so quickly feels like a strange dream. It feels like I never really had it and I just imagined it. I have a vague memory of wanting to live, to feel whole again, and so that's why I spent a lot of it like I did. But now being out and scared of everything again, let alone all the things I should have had covered for the next year, I wish I wouldn't have done that.

I wish I would have lived as I had been living - in survival mode. I would not have used it for anything but the most essential of things. I'd have about 1/4 of it left still. I wouldn't have to worry about money for school next quarter. I wouldn't have to worry about upcoming car registration costs in July. Or other upcoming costs.

I again am back to feeling defeated. Feeling like I failed myself. Feeling like I am on my own. And left to wonder if help will come in time to continue to save me until I can permanently get back on my feet.

Day 3153 - 2/17 - Day off

Today was spent at the library. School was closed, so that was my best choice. I'm glad it was an option. I was afraid that, like school, it would be closed today, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. It seems the library will just be closed Monday, so that will be my tough day.

It almost felt like a day off. Yes, I still feel terrible about my money being lost in half the time I expected, along with all my other sad things about being homeless in general. But things weren't terrible for a homeless day. I played some games, watched some shows, and tried to be as stress free as I could.

I asked my Monday game group how many more sessions they think it would be. (There isn't one this week.) There was no reply, but I'm ready to drop it since money is so critical. If it's more than three I will just back out. I'd love to keep playing, but there is the annoying guy, and it is costing a lot in terms of gas money. (The one day adds about 2/3 of a week's gas cost.) Plus, since it's a run from a book, not 'home brewed', there just isn't a connection between the characters and their past. Every time I see the slightest hint of it the game is 10 times more fun, but those quickly fade away because the books don't incorporate background at all.

It's cold. It's pouring rain. My mind wanders back to similar days in a home and how much better it was. But I try to hang on. I know I can't go back, and whatever is forward will be different and require change. But I try to hang on until those days come. And hopefully they will be better days when they do.

Day 3154 - 2/18 - Soft cloth

Today was good, I suppose. There was a something going on at school when I checked in in the morning, so there was an area open for me to shower, which was a happy discovery. I expected to not be able to get to shower until Tuesday morning.

My time at the library was ok. I was basically alone in life, and even in-game I was alone most of the time. But I had an ok time, and I had a few hours to watch some shows as well.

A few days ago I misplaced my soft cloth I keep inside my laptop cover. It came with the system and was just this thing between the keyboard and monitor that came with it, I guess to protect it. I've kept it ever since. Mostly because it was soft, but also because maybe it does protect the keys from scratching things. But I've been very sad since I misplaced it. Tonight when I found it again I was very happy.

I suppose with a non-homeless life I wouldn't have cared. It wouldn't have mattered if it were lost or found. But I think because I am homeless, because there are so many traditions, that are missing from my life such a small thing being lost seemed like a big deal. I suppose in a way it feels like putting a blanket over me and saying good night when I put my laptop away. I suppose too in a way it feels like one of the few times in life I could put something away and know it will be (at least a little) safe and sound. And I think losing it, as trivial as it likely is, made all of my worries seem far worse and bigger than they are.

So I am very happy to have found it again. Though I know it changes very little in my life, maybe because I have so little it is actually a very big part of it.

But I continue to try to hang on to hope, for it is all I can do. And maybe someday my better days will come.

Day 3155 - 2/19 - Ice wind

Today's weather has been very strange. In the early morning there was a warm breeze and it seemed like it would turn to a bright warm day. But then it started raining, and the breeze turned into something that felt like it was blowing off of ice, or from snow. It wasn't just cold. It was that kind of biting cold that tears through cloths.

I suppose things were ok besides that. I got another day off because what I have due coming up later in the week is something that shouldn't take really any time, so I expect I can easily do it in about an hour tomorrow. So I spent the day playing and watching shows.

Oh, I suppose the morning started extra well because the showers were open and the church group was there. So I got super clean and had soup for lunch. Soft and clean are my two favorite... conditions(?) or states(?). Though it is an extremely distant memory one of my favorite things was to take a quick night shower and get super clean and then hop into clean (and maybe still warm) bed sheets with the covers still fluffed.

But I tried to not think about too many sad things and tried to focus on happy or neutral things. (One of which was checking and discovering my laptop is only 3.5 years old, not the 6 I thought it was.) Tomorrow will be far more difficult since it's a holiday and it isn't warm enough to be outside. The coffee shop with the terrible connection will be one of my only choices. Hopefully it won't be too bad. But for tonight I try to hang onto hope, and hopefully there will still be better days ahead of me.

Day 3156 - 2/20 - Peering into the void

It happened again last night; that extreme fear of death and what if I don't make it much longer. It's hard to describe but it is an extreme panic fear, along with a feeling of being hollow, and like there are waves of cold energy crashing all the way through my body.

I wrote something about it last night afterwards. I'll put that at the end of today. And still today I felt feelings of being shaken. In some ways it feels like the more it happens lately the more I want everyone else to experience it. If I had opportunity for change it would almost certainly grant me the resolve to be fit, to eat better, to try and sleep better, and in general not to take anything for granted.

I suppose though, even if I do make a spoken version of it and post the video of it on my page, along with this written version, it won't really have an effect on anyone. Everyone lives not thinking about their end. I suppose since it can't be prevented people don't want to think about it. Or for the most the prospect is so far off they simply don't worry about it.

I suppose too I only feel that way now because of how far I've fallen. If I did have all of my regular life distractions I would never have likely thought and felt such things. And if I did have a truly happy life with good friends, a sweetie, maybe younglings, I most certainly wouldnt have thought of it or glimpsed the void.

As always all I can do is talk about it and hope it touches the lives of others and helps them to also gain some perspective. And hopefully my end is still very far off, and I do see better days once more.

I am alive... for now

Recently I have begun to greatly fear death.
A few times in recent nights I think "what if I don't wake up?"
I've been homeless for nearly 9 years, so I often wonder if I will actually get the remaining 40 years I should have.
So I also wonder "what if I don't make it through to being in a home again?"
When I have become afraid I feel hollow, and like an icy wind is blowing through me.
I wish I could pass this feeling on to everyone so they might experience it.
But it is difficult to recover.
It is a panic that consumes you.
I think of the void of death.
I think how much I would miss out on, how much I won't get to do.
I believe in magic, I believe in monsters, in aliens, in superheroes, in unexplained things.
Yet I know if I were to die now, none of these could save me, at this time they are all just stories.
And so I wonder; is life just a string of stories and entertainment to distract ourselves from the fear of the void of death?
When I calm down that is certainly all I have.
It is certainly what I try to focus on to be happy.
Even more so in these homeless times.
And I suppose if I were to die, if I were in that void, my thoughts, desires, feelings must also fade to nothing, and in doing so and in joining the void I would no longer know what I am missing.

For now I am alive.
I don't know how much longer that will be.
It may be the 40 years I should have, or it may be 40 days, there are too many unknowns that could alter my course.
But in glimpsing the void I know it is inevitable, not just for me, but everyone.
And though I can't unsee it I can choose to look away, to find comfort where I can while I am still alive.

Day 3157 - 2/21 - Hopefully back to normal

Today will hopefully be back to homeless normal. While I have my games and shows to try and distract myself, now I will also have the other students and helping them. Hopefully that will help me feel connected to a greater part of things again. And since the advanced class are doing scenes today hopefully there will be some laughs.

The day has just begun, and I still have so many worries and sads in my life. Even more so now that my money is almost completely out and even the small things are starting to suffer; like needing to wear items of clothing that aren't terribly clean because I can't afford washing every week.

But I try to hold on to hope. And I try to distract myself with the few small nice things I have until I get the chance to change the bigger things. And hopefully that day will come and I will have better days ahead.

Week 452

Day 3158 - 2/22 - Strangers care

Today was an odd one. My professor was out, so I unofficially ran most of the basic class as I watched over the students while they took a test. And in the intermediate class I don't know if the sub would want me there or not (since I'm unofficial and unpaid, he doesn't really know me) so I skipped TAing that class and did some homework instead. As a result, I got a bit more time for whatever, but mostly got caught up on a few shows.

But today was good in that I got two donations from people who haven't sent donations before. So it was very nice to know there are strangers out there who care about others who are hurting physically and/or emotionally. I see so many in my daily life that don't help, or don't even seem to care to really look at me and notice. So it's glad to know there are caring people out there who take the time to notice those hurting around them.

I do feel a bit odd though. I had something I rarely have at lunch and I think it didn't settle well. The only way to describe it is below my heart, sort of where the edge of my ribs cover, in the middle of me, feels kind of hurt. It's like it's pinched or sprained, and feels as if a piece of wood about six inches long and half an inch wide has been stuck inside me. It's a big area, under my muscles. I think it's where my tummy is. I'm not overly clear on the biology of the stomach and intestine parts of me.

But today feels a bit better emotionally. I feel appreciated and wanted by my professor, and my other favorite professor (who subbed for the not test portion.) And I feel cared for by those around me who have heard my sad story. So I try to continue to hope for better days.

Day 3159 - 2/23 - Strange at night

Today was a bit better. I was feeling better about the donation, and this morning there was another from the Gray Ghost, which I think it's been a few years since I've heard from him. So that may have been what I needed to pay a bill and have enough for next quarter's class and parking fees. (In addition to securing my pre-order for my beloved game.) I'll have to see what is what when monies actually settle into my account to determine what can be covered when.

So today was pretty good. I got class stuff done in time for class, and after played a bit and watched some shows. But I started to feel strange after about 7. It may be due to my cold (it's morphed now and I'm coughing up yuck, but mostly feel ok besides getting physically winded.) But if felt kind of like I was in a home and the world tuned out around me save for the show I was watching. It may be because I'm super tired. I feel like I could fall asleep at any second.

But I am a bit better emotionally, so that's good. And I continue to hope for better days.

Day 3160 - 2/24 - Worried about specs

Today was reasonably ok. I am still feeling a bit sad. And I am still coughing up yuck every now and then.

In the late afternoon things became even more sad though. Specs for the one game I've been wanting were released. Technically my graphics is below minimum specs, so I'm pretty worried. The minimum graphics card gets about 5,000 benchmarks, while my system only gets 3,500. And the recommended graphics card gets 11,000. And what is even more sad is I've had a new version of my laptop on my wish list for a while at only $1300, which gets a reported 10-11,000 benchmarks. Had I known my system was so far behind in power maybe back when I first got the money I would have upgraded and worked all the other stuff around it. I probably could have scarified what wound up being all the extra stuff if I'd have done that. I suppose, looking back the new laptop certainly would have been a much better investment long-term compared to things like extra cooked meals and new cloths and such.

I suppose I did what I did out of hope. Hope that a better today would open the way to opportunity for a better tomorrow. But that better tomorrow has not come, and now I am left with only a tablet (which I do love very much), a few items of new cloths, and regrets over the rest that are now only memories.

But I hold on to hope that because the other two newer games I got were playable at lower to medium settings the same will be true of my most beloved game set to launch in just under a month. I should be able to get into a multiplayer beta test and try. That's my hope. And still, I hold on to hope for better days in the future.

Day 3161 - 2/25 - A little better

Today I feel a little better. I got good sleep, and I am finally regularly dreaming with people from my everyday life playing the parts in the dream, instead of evil bosses from either the job 3-9 years ago, or my job before that from 21-26 years ago.

I played some games and watched some shows. And I thought to look up the system requirements for the two most recent games my system struggled with. Happily they have very similar minimal specs. So I feel very hopeful I'll be able to play at lower to medium settings at least. If not, I'll be very very sad.

But for now I feel a bit more hopeful about things. And while nothing noticeable changed in my life, I hope there was change that can't be seen which will lead to better days ahead.

Day 3162 - 2/26 - The emergency

Today was pretty good. Due to generous donations lately I was able to start the morning with an (overdue) wash. So that was good. Hopefully this will last a while. The weather was warm through the bulk of the day, almost worth considering shorts. Though checking my weather app I discovered my sense of temperature is all out of whack, as it said the day was only in the high 50s. Back before I was homeless it would have had to have been in the high 70s before I'd feel like considering shorts.

Most of the day was uneventful and I played for a bit and watched some shows. An odd thing did happen in the later afternoon though. Two officers went patrolling through the library, for what I don't know. I went to the bathroom a bit later and peeked around. It seemed there was some kind of 'emergency' with some people cleaning up one of the computer stations and a few other officers standing nearby. And shortly after, a fire truck, and an ambulance, showed up outside. I'd guess maybe someone had a seizure, or an elderly person collapsed. It wouldn't be the first time an elderly person was taken out on a stretcher. I never found out what the commotion was, so I remain curious.

I suppose though nothing changed. It was an ok day. I was very sad and worried, but really no more or less than usual, so I suppose the day was average overall. And as always, I continue to try and hope for better days ahead.

Day 3163 - 2/27 - Almost no more

Today was basically pretty good. The class I TA for passed surprisingly quickly, and I had a decent time with the few hours I had after.

The evening game was ok. I will miss everyone but the annoying guy as it's almost over. I won't say much more, other than I was happy and excited to hear he wasn't going to show up, then disappointed when that changed and he did. As usual, at about four different points I said a thing and he blew me off, said I was wrong, or flat out ignored me, only minutes later to say or do the exact same thing himself. I won't say more, as he's not worth my time.

It's pretty cold today. The weather seems confused, as it seems like it wants to get warmer, but there is a cold front and still occasionally raining.

But I hope it will stay warmer soon. And, as always, I try to hold on to hope until better days come.

Day 3164 - 2/28 - Forgetful

Today I have been super forgetful. I forgot to write and post in the morning, and then when I got a chance, almost forgot in the afternoon. Hopefully it's because I feel a bit more normal, but I'm not sure.

Today has been pretty good besides that, but there were still so many things I worry about and am sad about. I'm not sure if I'll do homework that I should do, or just relax and play games and watch shows. Whatever I do, hopefully I'll continue to feel ok and feel better in days ahead.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2017
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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