Blog Posted July 22, 2023

2023 was quick to rub failure in my face.

Picture taken after working tirelessly to finish my demo for a festival deadline.

I never got the videographer job at the warehouse I was previously working at. The company in question used the position as an occasion to posit themselves as some kind of drill sergeant, demanding that their prospects dazzle them with their brilliance and promising to give it to them only if they prove they were worth the investment. You would think that after a global pandemic these companies out there would be a little more understanding. But "normal people" apparently don't get COVID-19. They don't get dehydrated in hundred-degree environments. The laws of physics never apply, even if they're using faulty equipment. And their bodies clearly don't break down and develop complications from constantly straining to meet lofty quotas. So if this is you, then congratulations... you are this mythical creature they are looking for, and one that I can't even begin to understand.

Anyway, I ended up leaving and dedicated a couple months to develop my video game as much as I could. There was a point when I was up for three whole nights just trying to make the deadline to submit my extended playable demo to an arts festival. Unfortunately, it was never accepted as one of the finalists. In fact, I never received any feedback at all. As far as I know, nobody else has downloaded it or played it... even with me posting on Facebook, Discord, Reddit, and so on. I even tried showing it off at a tavern, only to have the place all but empty by the time I had finished playing. It was crushing to see all my hard work and spent energy being for naught.

Then there was graduating in ministry. As I walked across the stage, the founders of the C&MA LEAD program looked at me right in the eye and said I was ready to make disciple-making disciples and advance the leadership at my church. But I never had the heart to tell them I was no longer going anywhere. I never had the heart to tell them that the leadership at my previous place was so set in their ways that they often discouraged, if not outright prevented, everyone else from being doers of the Word. I never had the heart to tell them that I had ultimately failed. I've previously went into detail about this debacle and this whole experience has left me with a lot more questions than answers.

After multiple setbacks within a short amount of time, I became so scared to move forward with my life that I ended up going to a crisis center. My counselor said a few things, namely that my experiences weren't failures but chances to grow and to try again. I was initially offended by their rather syrupy statement… because I’m approaching the latter half of my 30's and I've grown incredibly weary of waiting and having to try again. But I eventually saw that I was in good company. My counselor had also changed their career multiple times. J.K. Rowling was rejected by a dozen publishers before Harry Potter became a global phenomenon. One of our greatest U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln, experienced defeat dozens of times beforehand. And Vincent Van Gogh made hundreds of paintings that never made him any money during his lifetime but are worth millions of dollars today.

Then again, this was never really about fame and fortune. Successes and accomplishments shouldn’t be based on the approval of this world. They also shouldn’t be compared to that of other people. Instead, they should be appreciated on their own merits. The aforementioned people were ultimately successful because they refused to compromise on their dreams. They refused to become somebody they were never supposed to. So what if I'm not making a six-figure salary? I believe I've been doing a darn good job keeping a roof over my family with just my income during the slowest season for any given pizza restaurant. So what if I don't have some fancy Christian-ese title, being an ennui-ridden office drone under some flickering florescent lights? I've had the availability to help out several other churches, especially with their audiovisual and streaming setups. And so what if my game never gets any attention? The fact of the matter is that I have finally created something despite having my creativity beaten out of me time and time again.

And nothing can ever take that away.

📺 "Be just what you is, not what you is not."