Last year I made a "Year in Review" type post. I've also gotten into this habit over the last few years of using my NG blog posts as a sort of record for my life. I think I started doing it because I thought other people might like to know what I'm up to, but at some point it really just became more of a thing that I'd occasionally like to look over for myself. It's like a diary, ya know? And at this point, I guess I don't much care whether anyone else wants to read it. It's a cool thing for myself. So I'm following through with that and making a yearly post for 2021, but here's the thing... This year especially, I think, would not be worth reading for anyone other than myself. It's basically going to be a whole bunch of complaining about things that simply aren't going to matter to anyone else. The only thing I'm going to write in here that you, assuming "you" here means a reader that is not my future self, might take interest in are my music yearlies, which will be at the bottom of this post. If you, for some reason, want to know what music I listened to in 2021 and what my favorite releases were, feel free to scroll to the very bottom of this post and critique my music tastes or whatever. Otherwise, I wouldn't blame you, whoever you are, for ceasing to read this post right now and going on your merry way.
Alright, that's the preface! Let's get to the whineposting!
2021, sucks bad
The Shitty Beginning, then The Fleeting Happiness
At the beginning of 2021, I was working at a local tv news station in Idaho. I hated it. I loved it some ways. But it really stressed me the hell out. A not insignificant portion of my work during 2020 was spent making graphics every single day just to show how many Idahoans died of COVID that day. The high stress, fast paced environment of a news station really ate at me, and my pay was so low that I felt super undervalued and overworked. Wasn't fun. So I told my boss way in advance that I was planning to leave. The normal is a 2 week notice, right? I gave like a 3 month notice. Eventually I did leave the news and started doing freelance podcast and video editing full-time. That was great for a while! My work-life balance got way better and I had plenty of time to work on personal projects.
The Stacker and The Spitter - made this goofy video with my good friend, and girlfriend-at-the-time's cousin, Vinny. We went out and filmed it all and then did all the goofy editing in one day/night. The whole project was a god damn blast, and I wish that I had gotten more opportunities to work with this guy.
Badmath Aftarlands - this is an album I started way back in 2016, when I was in college. Never finished it back then and it just hibernated on my hard drive for a few years. I was going back through some old files and found all this work I had done, and decided I would tidy it up and upload it. It's an instrumental concept album about post-human AI and robots fighting over resources. Kinda fun, idk. I uploaded it to NG too.
scd-id8ion self titled - I uploaded this album on the same day as Badmath Aftarlands. Mostly new stuff. It was meant to be a sort of autobiographical album covering my time in Montreal and my move back to Idaho. Kinda dumb, but what do I ever do that isn't? This one is also on NG.
I returned to NGP for the celebratory 50th episode - Can't say I really remember this to be honest. I had quit NGP a while back and they asked me to come on for the milestone of 50 episodes, so I did. I feel so awful about NGP honestly. If I were a better person, I'd have never left. I love those lads and I really wish all the best for them. Seems like they're doing pretty well from what I see on Twitter occasionally.
Around this time I also started organizing the Chocolate and Cheese collab. More on that later.
So, things were looking pretty good, right? My creative output was the highest it had been in recent memory, I was feeling pretty good in general, and I was more or less content with where my life was going. So, I decided I didn't need to go to therapy anymore. Told my therapist I was doing well and I thought we were at a natural stopping point, and he agreed. lol if only we knew what was about to happen...
Everything Falls Apart, Part 1
In the later half of May, my girlfriend of 7 years, literally my entire adult life and then some, told me she didn't feel like we were going to be compatible long term. And she was right. We wanted very different things out of life. But I had never even remotely considered that we might not be together for the rest of our lives, and lemme tell ya. I was fucking crushed. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. But like I said, she was right. And I knew she was right. So we, very amicably, decided we were going to go our separate ways. I explained most of this in my sadposting blog post, so I'm not going to go over it again in detail. I made plans to leave Idaho, and that was that. I spent the next several weeks in the lead-up to the move heavily isolating in my tiny little home office. Sleeping on the floor. Only leaving to use the bathroom and maybe occasionally eat some trail mix or something. It was definitely one of the most intense and prolonged mental health crises I've ever had, featuring lots of insomnia, crying, and ever minor hallucinations. Not fun.
A New Reality, a Short High, and Making Commitments I Wouldn't Be Able to Keep
So in June I moved to Seattle. Drove a U-Haul for 13 hours, settled into my new place, and started my life from square one. Got a retail job because I couldn't find work in video or audio like I'd hoped. Met lots of new people, struggled for weeks on end to get a job at the Goodwill processing facility, got that job and then walked out on my third day because it was an actual nightmare. And I had some really good creative output for a bit.
Never Sleep Again - made this for the first round of the summer animation jams. Got some points for it.
Sadder Day Mourning Cartoons - made this for the second round. In my classic fashion, I then lost steam on the summer animation jams and stopped participating. Very cool and good of me. I love how I never follow through on anything. That's foreshadowing.
Everything is Egg - made this game for the egg game jam. This was a blast. It ended up being super last minute, and I stayed up all night before my first day at Goodwill to finish it. It's one of my favorite things I've ever posted on Newgrounds though, not because I think it itself is a good project, but because getting and responding to the reviews has been such a blast. Check out the reviews, they're so fun. At least, I think so.
During this time period I also started work on what was to be my most ambitious music project yet, a second scd-id8ion album. I reached out to a bunch of people to be featured on it. Made a lot of big claims about it to people in my life, both irl and online. It was gonna be big. It was gonna be cool. It was gonna be noisy and obnoxious but also diverse and good. lol.
In my real life, I found myself in some of the most radically queer spaces I've ever been in. It got me thinking about the fact that, despite me not realizing it, I had actually been pretty damn closeted for the last few years. So, here's a brief story about that. When I was in high school, I was exposed through the debate team to the idea of gender nonconformity. When I was a freshman, I was a close-minded little shit. I didn't really "get it", ya know? But when I was 16 it was more thoroughly explained to me, and I had this moment where I was like "Ohhh... So that's why I've never felt like a man. 'cause I'm not." At this point, in small town Idaho, I wasn't really surrounded by many people who would be understanding and accepting of that outside of debate circles, but I did explain my identity and pronoun-preference to a few people close to me. Then, when I moved to Montreal for college, I found myself in an environment where being nonbinary was not even really that abnormal, and everyone in my real life referred to me using my pronouns (they/them) and everything was fine and dandy. Then I dropped out of college and moved back to Idaho and at that point all of my old friends were gone and nobody around me got it anymore. As a sort of defense mechanism to the dysphoria I experienced at being misgendered on the regular, I internalized this idea that I was "okay" with being referred to in a masculine sense because I just didn't like gender in general and I would be okay with any pronouns. Besides, I couldn't be visibly queer in a work place in Idaho, so boy-mode it was. For years. Moving to Seattle, people around me got it again. It took me some time to start actually presenting myself as I felt internally, and honestly this is still a work in progress. And then I noticed this disconnect. People irl where gendering me correctly, and people online were not. Because online, I had never brought it up. Not once during A Couple of Crickets. Not once during NGP. Not once online at all. The person I was online was fake. A character. Didn't exist. So I "came out" to the internet, in the form of... putting my pronouns in all my bios. Has it changed much of anything? Nah. Not really. I think very few people noticed really. I met Stepford in a discord server once, and to see a Newgrounds artist more established and successful than myself being openly genderqueer was pretty empowering to me. I've noticed 2 people in particular, really the only 2 newgrounds folks I ever talk to anymore, at least trying to gender me correctly so... that's cool. Thanks, guys. Love ya both. Alright enough of this, this paragraph wasn't supposed to be this long. Woops.
Everything Falls Apart, Part 2
So, turns out, all that stuff they say about bottling up emotions being bad is true. I was having this honeymoon period with my life in Seattle for a while, and I thought things were all fine and dandy. And I never really had time to be sad with all the new experiences I was having. But then allllll that depression I'd been putting off caught up to me. I started dropping the ball on god damn everything. All those commitments I had made were starting to fall through. I lost all my motivation to do much of anything. I fell into routines. Wake up, wait to go to work in the evening, go to work, go home, go to bed, rinse and repeat. Sometimes not even rinse. The big sad hit me real hard. Despite that, I did manage to do a few things in the period of July through November.
The Chocolate and Cheese Collab - I tried to organize a collab to recreate Ween's Chocolate and Cheese album. I did an awful job, of course, but we did eventually get it finished-ish, and uploaded. Sorry to everyone I let down with this.
cameravioli - made two videos with a friend and coworker of mine where we just got really drunk and went out and around in capitol hill and did dumb shit. Was fun. Would have done more of this, but, ya know. No motivation for anything.
c1c4d4 - made a 4 song noise pop ep, this is probably the music project i'm most proud of this year. not for everyone of course. Didn't upload to NG for that reason. Just don't feel like it's Newgrounds-appropriate. Or, idk, not good enough for NG maybe.
Having Mental Breakdowns - 6 song deconstructed noise pop ep. cringe shit as ever, look at me go. also didn't upload to NG.
My mental health started getting really bad. I stopped making plans with people. I stopped following through on plans I had made during better days. I stopped working on that big album project. I stopped doing any freelance work. I stopped caring about pretty much anything. I stopped talking to friends. I started...
[[[alright this is where shit gets bad, so like, idk, content warning? or something? i'm about to start talking about, ya know, the uh... "bad ending", of like, ya know, depression and mental illness and what not. if you're sensitive to that kind of thing definitely skip this part or whatever]]]
i started experiencing the most intense suicidal ideation of my life. i started thinking about it every day. some days all day long. i got to thinking that i hate being alive, and generally when i hate doing something i stop doing it. it seems very logical to me. if i was banging my head on a brick wall over and over again, and i didn't like doing that, i would stop. being alive feels very much the same way. i hate doing it. at this point i'm not living for myself, i'm going through the slog because i have commitments that i hold in a sense of high importance. i made a commitment to my roommate when i signed the lease. i made a commitment to my cat when i adopted her. i need to follow through on those if nothing else. but, i really can't shake the feeling. this sucidal thinking was at its worst between october and november, but honestly it's still pretty bad right now. these thoughts still come to mind several times a week. i genuinely hate who i am and what my life is and like... idk. i want to end this section with some sort of upward note. i want to use words like "battle" or "fight", ya know? i'm "battling with depression", i'm "fighting the suicidal ideation". but here's the thing... i'm not. i'm not fighting it at all. i'm rolling over. i'm okay with the fact that i don't want to live. i'm okay with the fact that i'm extremely depressed. i'm not fighting it at all. i'm okay with the fact that i'm not okay at all, and i'm really not doing anything to change it. or... am i? i might soon try to change it. more on that later.
End of the Year, What Comes Next?
So that year pretty much sucked. I didn't do much in December, but I did upload the second scd-id8ion album that I worked on from June to September, scd-id981on. I never finished it. Only one of the intended collab tracks is on there, and even that song is entirely unfinished. The thing is, I needed to put it behind me. I had wanted to finish it in 2021, and since it looked like it was never going to be finished, I figured I may as well upload the unfinished version in 2021. At the very last minute, I published it on December 31.
So, what's next? Well, open enrollment for cheap-ish health insurance plans is going on right now. I haven't had health insurance since I left my job at the news. I'm going to try to motivate myself to get a plan today. And then I'm going to try to motivate myself to see a psychiatrist. Maybe get myself on meds if I can manage and if I can afford it. Money is really tight right now. I work a near minimum wage job, rent takes more than half of my monthly income, and I have a lot of impending financial stress what with student loan payments eventually restarting. I'm scared, honestly. But maybe if I can somehow manage to get my shit together I can start doing better. We'll see. Like I said, I'm going to try. Whether or not I can even manage to take these first steps is yet to be determined. I'm gonna do my best.
I don't really have any projects planned right now. I got some new pretty cool instruments as gifts recently. So, I might do some more music soon. If I'm proud of anything in 2021 it's the fact that I made more music than in any year prior. Maybe I'll continue that trend. Idk. Speaking of music...
ALRIGHT IT'S THE FUN PART!
Here's the 100 albums I listened to the most in 2021!
It's fun looking at this because it's based on sheer quantity, and is entirely non-linear. My hyperpop kick and my break-up music period all lumped together on the top row.
My Spotify Wrapped
I knew I listened to bitbeak a lot, but was really surprised to see him at my number 3. I really love bitbeak. Both as an artist and as a person. <3
My commentated last.wave
A chronological look at my listening habits, with a few notes about what was going on in my life
How mainstream was I?
Not very, and that's silly.
THE MOMENT I'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!!!
MY FAVORITE ALBUMS RELEASED IN 2021, IN ORDER!!!
Wooooooo, yaaaayyy, and the crowd goes wild! I did a top 16 this year, narrowed down from a top 25. I usually do a top 9! So much good new music this year, and I missed a whole lot of it! Here are some honorable mentions:
bitbeak - oh blackbird
pinkpantheress - to hell with it
king gizzard and the lizard wizard - butterfly 3000
st vincent - daddy's home
Well... that's it! Happy new year everyone.