Dealing Through the Darkness

Some outtakes from my conversation with Kristin. What follows are some of the mental struggles I've faced that have kept my creative endeavors suppressed for so many years...Time to pick up my sword and deal through the darkness.

"I guess if only one person reads my story it will make a difference..."

"Maybe I shouldn't bother..."

"No one will ever be interested..."

"I don't know why it even matters to do any of this...I'm seriously going through the heaviest doubts of my career...like...Why did God make me desire so badly to write these stories? To make these games? I don't understand..."

"I just feel like no one will care. That I'll get to the end of my life and they'll just be another book on the discount bin, ya know? There are billions of stories out there. What makes mine so special? Nothing..."

"But so many other people write and for what? Why do I struggle with this mentality? UGH! I don't get it!"

"I guess if nothing else it can be an outlet...or something else. I'm so resistant to positivity and stuff...I despise compliments...I can't take positive talk about my creative projects...why? 

"Sorry...Dealing with the defeatist mentality...raised myself that way."

"I practically raised myself...sucky. No one was ever there...mom died...dad left me at 2 years old...grandma died...I've been feeling attacked by Satan a lot lately about all of that...About how I've been alone. About how I've had no one to help me navigate this life."

"I don't know why I've been consumed with those thoughts lately...I just don't know."

"I really need to start creating this world and these stories. They mean a whole lot to me for some reason...I think they're like the journal I never created. The battles inside of my heart and mind and spirit expressed outwardly...Through these characters. It's my way of telling you and the world what you've been wanting to know. Why I'm hurting. About the duality of myself and God...Battling back and forth since I was a child. Why I'm Faithdrawn even through the darkness... or trying to be. It's hard. I'm simultaneously terrified to speak and worried that I won't say it right. So I'm crippled by fear and don't know anything because it's easier to stand still. Does that make sense?"

"I think also I've been keeping my inner self out of the stories for fear of people seeing me the way I am...That's why they've been so formless on paper and in my head until now. Yeah...that's why. That's in addition to the fact that I'm still searching for answers...Still struggling through much of it."

"I feel as though I can't write or create what I haven't solved yet."

"I feel like I have to solve it first...On my own...But maybe I should write the dark stories that show people I'm still stuck in it so they can relate...I just don't want to write a story without God being the redeeming light at the end...But he's still dealing with me and at the end of some of those tunnels I still don't see him at all."

"I just want to find a way to be honest through my work..."

-------

Perhaps this is worth one more go...I just need someone by my side. Maybe I have someone. I guess I'll just take it one day at a time.

Through a Looking Glass

For a long while, I have been debating whether or not I should take this blog down. The raw honesty of it has terrified me. I guess I've been afraid that it will contradict the message I'm trying to put forward in the Faithdrawn Studios brand. I’ve felt like the point of putting it up in the first place was to keep from holding back... but now that it's up, I haven’t wanted to post anything too personal, thus defeating the purpose of it. Then, I’ve felt like taking it down would also defeat the purpose as well.

However, a wise philosopher named Emily Adams recently told me that “If the message you are putting forward in your brand can’t stand up to a bit of raw honesty then it isn’t a very strong message,” so here I am, writing this post.

Faithdrawn Studios has been experiencing an identity crisis. My heart and mind and spirit have all been in turmoil for this reason for many years. I’ve feared that I’ve missed my calling from the Lord and that He took my blessing away and gave my mission to someone else because I haven’t been creating anything of worth...or anything at all as I’ve ‘slacked off’. It’s been seven years since I’ve felt worthy of this calling!

Everything boils down to the fact that I’ve felt like quitting more than ever for the past two years. The only thing that’s stopped me from doing so has been meeting all of the amazing folks at the Christian Game Developers Conference last year, but that spark has since grown faint. Even while I was there I removed myself from the excitement and sat outside in tears because I felt everyone had their crap together except for me. There were amazing demos, stories, and fully fleshed out characters, and lots of exciting buzz in the air while the Fayestory Universe remained locked in the deepest parts of my mind and soul, never seen my anyone but myself aside from the handful of crappy drawings I brought which had zero impact on telling that story inside of me.

Where words have failed to help me express the heart and soul of this universe and of the deepest part of me, art and storytelling have always stepped in. Now, even that is gone. I have this incredible world in my head, and no amount of banging it against the wall will make it come out, figuratively speaking, of course.

It’s been a decade of mental hell with no escape. My perfectionism and desire to output high quality work has kept me from sharing the journey and the small things that matter. The things that Faithdrawn was built on.

Fun fact. Faithdrawn Studios used to be called Fatedrawn Studios! Yes, that’s right. Looks strange, doesn’t it? I lived in my head all these years. I didn’t socialize with anyone. I believed in Fate. The concept that states that our outcome is in the hands of chance or something external, not in the sovereign control of God. I’m thinking this has been a byproduct of my upbringing. Always being told I’m worthless. Always being told I will never become anything except my father. A cracked out, washed up nothing. I’ve been led to believe that by many people. Worst of all, I’ve subconsciously told myself this for years.

I’ve been learning to transform how I see the Lord. Understanding his personality and what He wants for me. This has been the only peace I’ve felt in years. However, this, for some reason, has not cascaded into my creative endeavours. Something is blocking me there. I believe something, yet still act as though I don’t.

Diving deep into my psyche, perhaps I’ve been held back for so long that I’ve wanted people to feel sorry for me. But then what would I gain from that? An easy route? An excuse for not reaching my full potential? But why wouldn’t I want to? Fear of failure? Or even worse...fear of success? The weight that it brings? The weight of outliving my parent's failures into a greater calling? That's something I've never been able to claim I'm able or allowed to do, perhaps. I think that I've always believed I would never achieve anything above what they did, which was never much. No car, no steady job...no house. For much of my time with them we were homeless and I was the dumpster diving toddler, pulling beer cans out to exchange them for pennies.

But I’ve already surpassed those things. So then what? Perhaps I'm not taking credit for doing so  because I don't think I deserve to accredit success to myself, so I keep putting myself down, because that’s what I was taught? Growing up in foster care, that’s certainly what was always done to me.

Also...I think because I keep raising the bar, it's never met. Because of this, I never celebrate. Only frown at the fact that it's always just a bit higher than my fingertips and I feel like less than the rest as I see everyone else reaching it. But maybe that's because their bar is lower? Maybe they lower it to feel a sense of false happiness and success, but is there a happy, healthy medium that I can bask in?

I think I'm clinging to the old vision of what I wanted to be, trying to fit into that old mold, when in fact I'm not nearly the same person anymore. I'm afraid to start over. Afraid to give up what I've built. It sucks. Major. Because it's all I've ever accomplished. So, I cling to a dead carcass of an old version of me, swearing it's still what I look like in the mirror.

I guess it's because I've been in such an internal conflict with my old self and my new self that I’ve been at a standstill. I’ve been swallowing quick sand.

I was afraid that I was just lazy and procrastinate. Instead, I’ve realized that all of this means so much to me that I’m terrified to move. Terrified to create as I’m wanting it to meet a specific standard and help me express myself so well that I refuse to create it at all.

I’ve been living in fear, but I no longer believe that we have ONE calling from God and that we can miss out on enjoying a fantastic life of living and loving those around us, impacting others and changing our reality. Fatedrawn Studios was changed to Faithdrawn Studios for this purpose. I came to believe that despite all of the crap I’ve been through in my life, I’ve always been drawn back to God by Faith. I was Faithdrawn, and I still am.

The characters and stories that I’m creating reflect my faith journey. They reflect yours. They allow for a level of introspection not seen in games thus far, and I believe that if I can pour them out into the world they can help people draw back to Faith and Trust in God despite what they’ve been through. I’m a living testimony of this. I’ve been beaten, mistreated, belittled and more since I was born, but that’s not who I am. Everything seems so backwards, like a looking glass...or in modern terminology, a mirror. I should be condemned for my actions in the past. The sin I was born into, the divorce I initiated a few years ago, the person I still struggle to kill within me when I mistreat others. Instead, I am flourishing with a community of people who care for me, I have a son and a girlfriend whom love me. God loves and accepts me. I should be dead many times over, but here I am.

Once again, like so many millions of times in my past, I’m drawn back to the Creator. Logic aside, I’m all in.

Anyways, I’m speaking about a legal entity/brand that exists, but truly has done nothing of note to warrant its existence, or this post for that matter, yet it still burns within me like an everlasting flame. The desire to turn it into something that changes lives is ever awake and screaming. Perhaps it’s my folly. Perhaps it’s something special. Perhaps I’m just crazy. I suppose we’ll see in time. Until then, I’m just going to focus on telling my Story. The story of how I feel inside. The Story of why I’m Faithdrawn. The Story of how you can be Faithdrawn too, despite your past. Despite your present. Despite your uncertain future. We Are Faithdrawn...Now, I guess the only thing left to do is to figure out on the daily what the hell that actually means.

Anyone want to explore that with me?

 

...Let’s do this.











 

Welcome to the Stony Place

The Stony Place is directly taken from the parable of the Sower, as told by Jesus. I've found that my heart has always been caught in this state, and I've seldom had a guide to help me navigate it. 


Perhaps your entire life has you residing in such a place and now, only now you're searching for answers. In this "Journal", if you will, I've documented my experiences of pure joy, and of being on the brink of self-destruction, and everything in between so that you may avoid some of the heartache and difficulties that I've experienced, and navigate through what it means to live in this crazy world, or perhaps just have someone to relate to.

These letters will be my internal reelection on life and creativity, and some will also be addressed to the Lord.

They will be unfiltered, and honest.

I will not hold back information to please anyone because well, life doesn't hold back.

End of Me

Ripped and stricken, torn at the seams

Coming undone, nothing is as it seems.
Destroyed inside, without a doubt
This life I'm living will gut me out.

A dead end road, or so it seems.
A roadblock in my heart, my spirit screams!
My flesh cries out, without a doubt
I hate this life that will gut me out.

I wish to explode, from my name, my skin.

Where do I end...Where does God Begin?

Will I die lonely, hated, abandoned?
Without a wife, brother, or friend?

Late Night Hour: Clocks

One clock, Two clocks, Three clocks four
I simply can't stand the ticking anymore.
The hour is late yet the clocks are awake
more so than I, and they've yet to take a break.

I cover my ears in hopes of fading
into a deep tickless sleep which I've been belating.
Debating whether or not it should be allowed
by the clocks that tick so loud and so proud.

I try with my all and I try with my might
but the clock on the wall is not too bright
it will not compromise with my droopy dark eyes
that plead it to stop ticking, it ignores my cries.

So I turn to the clock on the night table beside
the bed where I lay and I try to reside
for the hour is late and the clocks are still awake
yet they show no mercy, it's more than I can take.

I drown out the sound as think I am sick
because I think that  the clocks only tick just for kicks
they sleep during the day but only at night
do they jump to a start and blare at my blight.

So I've come to a conclusion that I should have reached long ago
I've disposed of the clocks, they're buried in the snow
For the hour is late and the clocks are buried deep
Without thinking twice I drift off to sleep.


 

The Runaway Train Ballad

Everyday I wait for you, standing in the rain
soon enough your train should come, with it should come you.
My coat is drenched, my face is wiped, expressionless and plain.
Now I see, the day is done, oh what am I to do?

Waiting for your train to arrive, maybe it's just late
Every time I stop to think, just how long will I wait?

Day for day I wait again, so many days have come
Thoughts of how you said goodbye, start to flood my mind.
dropping on me like the rain, renders my heart numb.
These fleeting thoughts that drown my mind, how could I be so blind?

Waiting for your train to arrive, maybe it's just late
Every time I stop to think, just how long will I wait?

So here I stand on my own, outside I remain
So solemnly I shake my head, thinking in disdain-
All the lies you fed to me, there's no need to explain-
There are people that can love, but others that just feign.

No longer waiting for your train, I doubt that you are late,
I don't think that you will come, so I'll no longer wait.

Now I walk myself downtown, day is getting old
Never will I listen again, to the things you say.
Drag myself into my house, hiding from the cold
Drop myself into my bed, this is where I stay.

No longer waiting for your train, I know it wasn't late.
I know now you'll never come, so I'll no longer wait.......

Extremeties

I drill my fist through the Earth’s core. My tears can fill
the ocean. My sorrow can make a crowd step off of a building like a
herd of sheep. My happiness will make you explode as your flesh
cannot contain its sunshine. My fatigue can make you drop in the middle of your activities, but my energy will make you think you’re on drugs. My guilt can make you wish you were dead, though my past will make you glad you aren’t. My future will leave you wondering, but I know my God has already written it, and if I can survive, so can you.

Ink Stains on my Destiny

Ink Stains On My Destiny

I've been stained...

It's a permanent stain that can not be washed out.
A stain on my soul, my being, my destiny...

The ink flows from the tip of my pen like a smooth stream of silk from a spider, only, I don't allow it to dangle, but rather I build my fortress on this piece of paper that I call home. My hands are blotched with permanent vivid details, and similes and metaphors line my palms. My fingers are wrapped around my weapon of choice as my wrist plays across my territory creating life and breath with every stroke. It takes not but a second for a character to escape my grasp and stick itself to the land on which I command it, bold and steadfast, fully equipped with a purpose and a history. I was born to give birth, to the very things that will change the course of life.

The alphabet flows across my college rule arranging itself in such a manner that I can not deny the truth that it speaks to me. With such a powerful blow, it is no wonder that words have held such significance throughout history, never fading, and never dissipating from mankind. I am the source, yet I am the instrument all at once. I am humbly a pen to The Author of Perfection who has written the greatest Love story of all. Just as He writes through me I release these truths to the world as my stationary no longer seems to be stationary.

I am stained...

My Soul, my being, my destiny....
It's a stain I don't intend to wash out if ever possible.

I'm stained for a reason...and it's permanent.
 

Don the Wrecking Ball

Don the wrecking ball of reason.
Telling the difference between my logic and treason.
Knowing the truth of what can't be,
My mind continues reeling.

Take from me these thoughts
Take from me these ways.
Truth traverses through me till the end of my days.

Don the gallows and don the stake.
Selling the difference between my heart and my break.
Showing the truth of what I've done,
My chest continues to ache.

Tear from me these thoughts
Steal from me these ways
I no longer wish to live this way.

So Don the I.V. and don the chair
Though Compelling is the difference you cannot care
It will never matter anyways
So explain it I shan't dare.

Rip from me these thoughts
Gut from me these days
Perfectly proving poverty I'm stricken with my ways.

So don the cross, and don the nails.
Sacrifice my pride and flesh.
Knowing the truth of what Christ's done
I'm taking my last breath.
 

Fireflies

November 15, 2015

Satisfy my longing soul, O Lord.
Into the blackened and soot filled night.
As ravenous fireflies eat away my faithfulness,
And the fires of trials burn bright. 

My plight...

Burning brighter than the consolation you once gave me. Emanating and radiating from my core where you lay in me begging PLEASE!!! come away from all this...

And just when I thought nothing could call out louder than my suffering you swoop in and rescue me, as if it took nothing... But I know better. Strung up like some puppet, you took the nails that were set to drive through my heart and drove them into hell where they impaled death and it's kingdom, teaching it that YOU. ARE. KING. And IT. IS. DONE.

you see, in my youth I used to believe that you couldn't set me free... That you were some mystical genie that withheld wishes from me because I was simply not good enough to deserve them, as they dangled before me like a carrot on a stick and you called me out like a mule to pursue them. 

But as I grew with age I realized that was just a page in the beautiful life you had planned out before me. Asking me with each day to see what you say about us and how you adore me. This is the part where I fall down... The part where I take off my crown and cast it at your feet, and though I've been beaten, battered, and bruised I rest in knowing that you were raw meat by the time they were through with you. 

THANK YOU...

So Satisfy my longing soul, O Lord.
Into the blackened and soot filled night.
Despite these ashes burning my eyes
I take the next step into the light... With delight.



 

Misperception

My father was once Superman. Now, he is an old, frail failure with regret and shame in his eyes.

I only pray the Aiden doesn't one day see me this same way! But alas, he will, right? What determines a person's worth in another's eyes? Is it their physicality? Is it their wisdom? Is it a combination of the two, and perhaps more?

I wager that it's based upon a perceived notion about one's strengths and weaknesses (both for better and worse) and the shattering of that perception upon actually meeting them. Maybe we're all creating heroes in our mind where there are only flawed humans trying to fit the bill. Perhaps it's our fault. Perhaps it's the fault of our broken fathers and mothers, friends and acquaintances. The broken promises of grandeur that they leave in our wake, or our foolishness to feed into those promises only to be left broken… Again.

Maybe, just maybe we all wear painted masks in agreement. What if we're all working together to create something of a Sistine Chapel out of this life's experiences, in fact, they're actually more of a Picasso. It may lack the form we do desperately desire for it to take, but it still has form and meaning nonetheless. Form indeed, although form we must learn to interpret and decipher as we travel along this life's monorails.

Away From It All

I need to escape it all...to vacate this world and stand on the edge of the atmosphere is to regain understanding of oneself and of creativity. 

I yearn for a reset. To find myself again. To understand this gift of creativity. To rest assured that I am using it and not neglecting it. 

...Life calls me back into the fray. So long, my beautiful moment of soundless solitude.

The Necessary Pursuit

Storytelling… The pursuit of capturing that which cannot be captured, in order to express that which cannot be expressed. How dare I attempt to bottle the essence of emotion like those whom before me could not? Yet, still I try. Rather, I believe expression is a matter of survival, not competition. To refrain would be death in every capacity of the word.

 

Death is the lack of storytelling. The lack of expression.

 

Why have words failed us so terribly that we yearn for other avenues to speak? And why do those avenues fail us still? Is there nothing within a man to aide him in the truest and deepest communication of his Soul?

 

To live is to struggle to express oneself. To die is to stop, and I'd have it no other way.