A Brief History of Interests

One of the main things I’ve always been struggling with is with the interests I’ve taken in my own life. It may sound weird, but I’ve always had a hard time figuring out if I like something or not, and if I do like it, just how much I like it.

It doesn’t apply to everything, there are some certain things that I immediately fell in love with on first sight. I’m kind of glad that as I’m getting older, I’m starting to have a much less hard time grasping at what the hell my own likes and dislikes are.

Even in terms of my own education, I don’t really see much of a connection between what I used to do and like and who I am now. I often feel like a large part of the “me that used to be” is this creature created by peer pressure. Allowed to exist because others willed his presence.

Early on in school, because of my natural affinity with computers, and my love for video games, the teachers all agreed that I should be studying IT. So they helped me plan the steps that I’d soon follow.

They helped me along through a work experience job at a computer company. A weird kind of private study in an empty classroom where I could learn more about basic computing, ASCII, alt codes, values of file sizes, how different encodings work and what they do. In that time I learned most of what I now know about computers.

Then after some time of that, they gave me the keys to further planning ahead. Setting me up with an IT course that’d go much further in-depth at a different school.

That’s the same school where later on I’d get kicked out for various reasons. Couldn’t afford the books, not being allowed to enter most classes because I didn’t have the books, kicked out because of a much too low class attendance. I can continue to bitch and moan on this subject if I felt like it, but I honestly don’t. This isn’t that post.

Thing is, I actually wasn’t all that interested in IT.

At that time, I thought I was. I downright believed that if I stuck to that educational path that was laid out in front of me, things would just turn out all fine and dandy, colorful and fantastic.

In one sense, I was lucky. I already knew everything that was being taught by the previous work experience place. Not to mention the additional things I learned through the self-studying I did, both by myself in an empty classroom with a book and a computer, and online through websites detailing how to code things in basic HTML and the likes. In terms of grades, I managed to get by just by what I knew already, so the lack of books wasn’t as severe a handicap as one would think.

After it sank, so did my interest in the wonderful world of IT. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and I like being able to understand how to use it. But for me that’s just all there is in my connection to it. I don’t want to make it my life. It didn’t even occur to me to just keep studying it by myself after that time. Mostly because it really just didn’t interest me. It was something I was doing because I felt I had to, not because I wanted to.

As a kid, I used to read a lot. I loved reading. I’ve always loved reading. I’m pretty sure I always loved writing too, but I can’t say for sure. The idea of putting down words and having other people read them always felt like this exotic and amazing adventure to me. My teachers were quick to take that one away.

At pretty much every level of schooling I’ve had in my life, we’d have to write stories sooner or later in Dutch class. The teacher would give us a topic, or an assignment based on whatever the teacher would feel like making us write at the moment. Then after we were done, he’d read a few selected ones out loud in front of the class. Mine rarely got chosen to be read out loud. In fact, mine would always get incredibly low scores, and lots and lots of notes. Especially from one of the more hellish teachers I’ve had.

We’re going to swiftly transition to a few experiences I’ve had with him now, so don’t be alarmed at the sudden turn of direction.

To this day, I’m still convinced this teacher hated me on a personal level and made sure that he did everything in his power to make me feel his scorn in class. I’m pretty sure that the rest of the kids picked up on this and then decided I was an easy target for bullying because the teacher wouldn’t give a damn if it was me. They were right too, since I spent most of the time with him in class outside of the class. As soon as I’d say or do anything, I’d get sent to the hall. There was another kid who got the same treatment from him. I’m still not sure how a school could ever allow a teacher to downright ban a kid from class completely for a month, but it happened. More than once.

Whenever it was time for class to pen together a story, he would grade the work based on the grammar and spelling. The narrative itself wasn’t all that important, it was just a basic way of testing how well the class understood the language and all.

Except with my work. I’d always get several red little notes scribbled over my paper about the narrative, and it would always end up with my score being marked down because of it. It’d always be incredibly stupid and small things. And more often than not, he’d also put in an additional note in red at the end for me to read, often a stab at my words, or my personality, or anything.

The other kids would often enjoy reading my stories, and one or two girls always requested to read my stories after I finished them. They enjoyed them. Then the teacher would come along and shatter the enjoyment I got out of it.

After the classes with him, it took years, almost a decade, before I finally started writing things again. I always had that urge to write. It never died down, but I was just too afraid to put the words down. For some reason, I always assumed nobody would ever want to read a single word I’d put down. That the next time I write anything, it’d lead to the same reaction again.

He did the same thing with my joy of drawing. Although at least with drawing I had more positive experiences prior to his berating. He was a lot more severe in his approach in that field though. He’d always use my drawings as a clear example of how not to draw. Telling the rest of the class to avoid all these techniques and ideas completely.

Luckily, I had won a drawing competition at my previous school already, and nearly had a drawing of mine on the front page of the school newspaper. If those two things hadn’t happened, I’d likely never had the guts to draw anything ever again.

Another thing that I had lost for several years, and this one isn’t through the efforts of a deranged teacher, was reading. Hold on, we’re making another transition here, this will only take a minute.

I’m not sure why I stopped reading all of a sudden. I pretty much always loved reading. Yet for some reason after I was about 17 or 18, I just stopped. It’s like I completely forgot reading was even a thing. A couple of years later a friend let me borrow a Discworld book of his. I read bits and pieces of it, but had some problems following it. It had been a while since I sat down and read anything. Plus to make matters worse, my English wasn’t what it used to be. I never got to finish the book, and ended up returning to him. Making a mental note to give Discworld another shot in the future.

Some time in the future, right before a trip to Switzerland, I ended up buying the first Discworld book, The Colour of Magic. I took that and a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy omnibus with me on the trip. I was traveling by train, and getting there would take almost an entire day. I had more than enough time to read up on whatever during that time.

When I came back from the trip, I had finished three of the Hitchhiker’s Guide books, and The Colour of Magic. It didn’t take long for me to invest in The Light Fantastic and a couple of other books. Before I knew it, I had a decent library and decided that reading was an important part of my life. It didn’t take long before I decided that maybe that whole writing thing was something I wanted to start doing again.

Shortly after that decision, I set up a blog and started writing. No, it’s not this blog. That blog was over on Blogspot, now Blogger, and it wasn’t half as cool as this current WordPress one.

After a while I decided to call it quits. It just felt like the blog itself was a failure somehow. I couldn’t commit to it. Never had any idea on what to write about. Couldn’t get any focus whatsoever.

Then ages and ages later, when the world started to talk about hope, Obama, and Dexter had just explosively ended with its fourth season, I decided to open up a Tumblr to blog again. The Tumblr never ended up feeling satisfying, and my posts never really turned into much more than something that could’ve been a forum reply on a moderately interesting thread. After a while, I decided to turn my Tumblr into a place of images and silly things.

My Tumblr page still sort of is just that right now.

After a while of messing around with Tumblr I basically just realized it doesn’t work that well for longer text posts. It’s just not wired that way. Doesn’t have the right kind of audience either.

I was messing around with the idea of making an actual blog again. A proper one.

It wasn’t until I had a lovely conversation with this old lady at a bar where she told me that if I wanted to write, I should try to do it openly somewhere where people can see it. Like a personalized blog. I’d go further into how this kind of advice would come from a kind old lady at a bar with an experimental jazz band playing in the background, but that’s perhaps a story for another time. There was no romance or sex involved in this story, and no intention of it either, so don’t worry about awkward romance subplots here. The truth of the matter is that this was just the right advice, at just the right time. It was also just before that summer vacation in England, the one that shook me up and changed my whole life in one swift blow.

Following her advice, I made this blog. I started writing here. And I think I can safely say that I’ve come a long way in terms of writing since.

Despite that, I still have no idea how to end a post to this very day. So you’re just going to have to do with this for a conclusion.

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