I will never forget those crazed blue eyes. Walking past the uncharacteristic fast food place, between the affluent shopping mall and the uptown library, this piercing creature jumped out at me. “Why are you following me? Why?!” Something snapped inside his poor mind. “I am not following you. I do not know who you are and I am not following you.” For fear of personal safety, I couldn’t break eye contact. He wouldn’t let me.
Let’s say you’re a pretty good football player. You know the sport, you’re fit, train constantly, and show up to every game. You decide to join up with a new team. You meet with the coach to talk about sports, fitness, training, and end up rambling on about dreams and hobbies. It turns out well. You hop aboard this new team. There’s just one problem. You’re a football player and they need a football player.
We’re living such fast paced lives that when we get any opportunity just to relax, it almost seems we take it too far with relaxation compensation. What would just be moments of recreation turns into hours, days, or lifetimes spent doing nothing particularly productive. Years ago, I could do “nothing” all day. Now, I’ll find something to do if I’m idle more than 15_minutes. I’ll do something physical, nap, or as I’m doing now: write.
I gained 5.7 pounds since last week. How is that even possible?! It was probably stress, decreased exercise, overeating, and general malaise over the last few days. That regresses my progress at least a month or so and probably isn’t healthy. Fortunately, the weight’s dropped off a little since yesterday, so it probably won’t last too long. Just goes to show quickly this health thing can change. At least I’ve made good progress in some areas.
“We thought he was with you!” The suave, unkempt man had seen through another magician’s tricks and narrated each step of the trick. He traveled the world, going to cool shows, and “usually, you can get cheap tickets the day of the show. I got these two for free.” After realizing what was going on, I asked the scalper: “How do you pick your marks? What traits do you look for?” He left. Here’s why:
That blue slime ball was too close for comfort! How I, retiring Detective Peaceknife, got into another para-predicament like this, with this overwhelming mind-controlling beast, was beyond me. It all started with some dame walking into my office, dropping off a case to find her missing husband, and some glasses. “You’ll need these to see them.” Well, babe, I don’t need these things to see the acidic vapors eating away the concrete at my feet.
Years ago, somewhere, I’d heard that whereas Americans will consider their occupation as a defining characteristic of their identity in introductory conversation, Europeans might only eventually bring up their occupation. That cultural difference was fascinating. I can’t find any source, so excuse that, though I have met many zealous career-oriented individuals. How about in the world of “The Story?” How much identity do Trishna (she’s briefly able to stand) and John place in their gigs?
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (background information and overall worldbuilding ideas)
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Self-confidence is built, challenged, and reinforced gradually. I’m certainly no poster child myself! I’ve just identified subtle improvements to my external-facing self-confidence over the past 10 weeks and 65 uploads. Identifying limitations was one. I thought that posting fiction on the weekends would be a cool idea, only to realize the execution required too much effort within tight timeframes on Thursdays and Fridays, so now I’m mixing up the format. Let’s dig into meatier examples, shown below:
It’s not good basing your self worth on external factors. That includes the approval of loved ones, friends, or acquaintances, and especially random strangers on social media, because all of these could change. Friends or acquaintances could drift away and current successes could be humble a year from now. Let’s ride this little wave of dopamine by exploring ideas, including mixing up the Better Zombie format in the future, with the intent of exploring popularity.
We’re not taught how to handle the crumbling of our identities. If your sense of identity is like a slab of concrete, what happens when there’s an irreparable crack? Hope for glue? Sometimes that glue is easy to find and fill. It could even match or be aesthetically celebratory. What if we just want things to go back to the way they were? There’s one catch: we forget that life before the crack wasn’t solid.