On Being Burned Out........May 24, 2004 Write an essay on this topic.
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I dont plan on this being the last Epinions review. But at the same time, lately, it seems as if I keep going through this circle of watching something and obligating myself to write about it. That wouldnt be so bad if I felt that everything that I was churning out was of reasonable quality, but I do not think that it is.
When it comes to Epinions, I consider myself to be one of its worst members. For one thing, I barely read and comment -- occasionally Ill go through a spurt in which Ill rate a handful of reviews, and actually say a couple of thoughtless comments, but a lot of times, I could go through an entire week and rate only a few reviews (a few as in less than 10). That could possibly be the reason why, even after nearly four years on the site, and nearly four-hundred pieces, I still only have 80 people who trust me. Well, actually, I'd probably have a lot more if it werent for the phenomena of one or two people dropping me every few weeks or so -- if it werent for that, Id probably have about a hundred by now. Although I suppose the fact that I dont read and rate enough could be why those people dropped me to begin with. Funny. Ive never dropped anyone from my WOT.... not knowingly, anyway.
Another thing is that I feel that half of the movie reviews that I post are just fraudulent hack jobs that meet only the minimum requirements. Over the past few months or so, I have had this great difficulty in watching certain movies. Ill put the movie on, and then suddenly tune out - well, not so much so that I dont know whats going on, but enough so that I dont actively engage my brain with what is going on the screen. Sometimes I think that I could just go to sleep -- or look out the window or something.
Writing the reviews are even worse! Occasionally, Ive been known to take more than three hours to just write the damn thing. Sometimes Ill have to leave the thing behind for the evening and start again the next morning. Ill often fight over how to describe the plot, and find out that my memory fails me, and that I do not recall every little detail, even the important little details. This is why half the time I end up having to tell you that I dont remember all the details, or that I was a little distracted that night, or that maybe I just wasnt in the right mood, or whatever. Even worse is when I know how to flawlessly regurgitate plot -- but I find it difficult to actually make a rational opinion on the regurgitation.
Mind you, I wouldnt tell you a lie in my reviews, or commit an act that an abuser of Epinions would do. Everything that I write is certainly the real deal -- but at the same time I still feel like a fraud, because I feel that Im just squeezing out whatever puny little turn of phrase Im capable of forming, yet it just looks and reads like awkward junk. Ive been having this problem on and off for a long time -- I remember years ago being able to whip something up in less than an hour, and feeling that everything I wrote was good enough for a mere film review to be posted on a website. But now, I just want to finish the damn thing - the problem is that it takes me hours to do so.
It doesnt help that the feeling of being burnt out is not really an Epinions thing. Its a life thing, and the last six to seven months have been the worst. Sure, there are a couple of intriguing things that are going on right now. The meetings with the screenplay guy, that I talked about recently, are nearly finished, and Ill just have to get my mind to employing all the stuff that he told me, and to fix up the script that I already have to such a degree that it could be filmed -- at least as a local production. And Im also hoping to be able to go back to college in the fall. So I suppose that I dont have a whole lot to complain about on that score.
But its just that Im starting to understand how little of a properly functioning person I really am. Ive lived alone in my own apartment for a couple of years now, and Im certainly not experiencing the life of a fully functioning adult. I could sit in this apartment for weeks at a time (well, not really nonstop for weeks at a time, but you get my point), and hardly get a phone call or a visitor. Actually, other than a few members of my family, Ive could count on my two hands the amount of times a human being has actually visited this apartment in the last year or so! It would help if I could actually meet people and gain some valuable friendships with people that I want to be friends with -- but as always I meet people who are either never around or who basically screw with me. I can go for weeks at a time without a regular, civilized conversation. Ive always been pretty withdrawn, timid to actually have conversations, but its getting worse and worse -- I dont think I really know how to have a decent conversation anymore. Thats if I really knew how to have one in the first place.
I really dont want to e-mail any of my so-called Epinions friends and say, yet again, anything that could potentially alienate them. Well, I suppose its too late for that -- since I have hardly heard from most of these people in the last four or five months. Most of them have vanished into thin air. That certainly doesnt help out with these spent feelings. Its pretty bad when you dont think that, or know if, you have anyone to turn to, for anything, even just a petty little case of idle chitchat. And I dont feel right to just annoy them with e-mails asking them where the hell they are? That would be just selfish -- the world doesnt revolve around me, does it? Surely they have lives too, right?
Theres only so many times a person can withstand someone who occasionally bursts out with silly prattle like why cant I find anyone to date?, or Man, why am I so stupid?, or I had another boring night as usual. or any other bout of negativity. Nobody wants to hear that stuff over and over again from the same person -- I dont know if I could withstand myself either. I really wish that I did not have to resort to narcissistically posting this article instead of having meaningful conversations with actual people that I know, and actual people that I ought to feel comfortable in having these conversations with. But, like I said, I can go through weeks at a time without seeing people, because they are busy -- or because they are not online -- or because, for some reason, things change in overt or subtle ways, and youre not quite sure if things are the same as they were before. So I suppose thats another aspect of feeling burnt out.......
And a related portion of this particular aspect of feeling burnt out is the fact that the last few months had me utterly deluded over this woman. In my infinite wisdom, I believed that this would finally be the saving grace. Finally, for the first time in my life, a well-adjusted woman actually had some interest in me. If you think that statement is melodramatic exaggeration, Im afraid it isnt. Every other woman Ive associated myself with (of which there is very few) were even more disturbed than I was, and none of those relationships were what you would call normal, typical boyfriend-girlfriend situations, if indeed they even were anything like that at all.
It would be terrific if I could actually experience a real, genuine romantic relationship - or at least something akin to dating -- before I turn thirty. But the bond between me and this supposedly well-adjusted person wasnt it, because we really only had any spontaneous kind of friendship for about a couple of months. After that, it was just a bunch of brief verbal encounters, and then, after that, none at all. Since nearly four months ago, Ive only seen this girl face to face at her job at a local gas station about four times, and spoke to her on the phone for less than that. And yet here I am, thinking that me and her actually have a real friendship. But I got to pretend, because if I dont, I wont have much of a social circle, will I, even if its all in my imagination. Even if all it is, now,, is a two-line response to my much longer e-mail. Even if, now, its always me that calls her up, and never vice-versa. Even if, now, half the time that I tell her stuff that Ive done, I feel like she is patronizing me with her response. Even if the only reason that we even have any contact is because I, and to a much lesser extent, her, tried to keep this friendship alive because of the supposedly great circumstances of our meeting.
I guess I cant blame her -- how was she to know that I was a depressed and lonely person, who had no clue as to what to say and how to behave, who had so much mental baggage from past experiences? But I dont think she realizes that all the stuff that she did say at the beginning of our friendship has ended up creating more mental baggage. Put it this way, the next time somebody tells me that we met for a reason, that youre such a cute and wonderful guy, Im going to sardonically ask for a polygraph test before I have anything else to do with you............
Im of the mind now that I really will never experience any of these great things involving romance, dating, and so on, and that Im just going to have to live with being single, truly single, forever. It doesnt help that Im going back to my summer job, where Ill be mixing with female employees whom (as they do every other year) do not care one bit about me -- who probably consider me on par as the teenagers, and the eccentrics/rednecks of the fishing village where this particular restaurant is located. So after a few years of this, Im, well, burnt out.
I suppose you are saying at this point that Im complaining about trivial things -- that Im expecting far too much, that Im a bit of a taker and not a giver -- and you are probably very right. Im more of a taker, I suppose, because Im not all that spectacular in knowing how to be this great friend, to be this relatively confident individual. I take whatever I can get, even though its not a whole lot...... and even though I cant keep what I get. And I suppose its the same with Epinions -- I take (I write all these reviews and expect people to rate, read and comment), but I dont give (I rarely do the reading, rating and commenting myself).
When I first had this idea with writing this essay, I flirted with the notion of giving up writing any more product reviews on Epinions. It was just the difficulty with all of that which got me thinking about what was really going on here. I doubt that I would really stop, though, and besides, Id have no intention of giving up on writing the other stuff - the short stories and other non-product writings -- and posting them. It is always fun to get peoples responses on those writings -- theyre much more creative than a silly movie review. Oh well, perhaps this little confessional will make me, at the very least, more aware of my Epinions-related issues. Now, if only it would help me out with everything else........
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