LJ as therapy, I should have done this a while ago.
Most of you who read this know by now that I am in the middle of a depression/mid life crisis. :
I know how I got to this point and what is causing it and I will do my best to explain here the main reason for the feelings of despair I have felt for a while now(It is improving).
Anyways, here goes:
On the 21th of May in 1971 about a hundred kilometers north of Tourist Paradise Antalya in a very poor rural community a boy was born. The sixth child of eleven.
Little Fishie was the last to be born in Turkey, two of the earlier born(both sisters) passed away during a Typhoid epidemic before I came to this world.
In 1974 my dad with the help of relatives who had done so before him sold what little we had to enter Europe(the continent of milk and honey) illegaly in the hopes of finding a job and provide for a better future. He found work at a construction company and brought us over, economy was strong and there were plenty of shitty jobs waiting to be filled by immigrants so we quickly received legal status in Belgium.
Unlike our peers who ended up in the city concentrated around the same few streets(ghetto forming) my family and I ended up in an old 1 bedroom(you read that right)house in another small farmers community this time in another continent.
Growing up was hard and racism against Turks those days was real bad and sadly I was on the receiving end a couple of times, oh look some Turk shot the pope lets beat Ali up. Money too was tight and send to relatives in Turkey and saved up for travel to the homeland. Dad was abused at his job as was the case in those days by having to work hard for 12 hour shifts with no overtime paid and suffered an epileptic attack at the job, was fired on the spot and didnt know anything about his rights. Some friends who knew about those sorts of things got him in contact with the labour union and they took it to court. While that was going on our financial situation became real bad and we survived by the generosity of others and social services, eventually second half of the 80s the company settled and my dad received a lump sum, things started to slowly improve.
I wasnt one of the things improving, I had noticed that by becoming the class joker and becoming more aggresive in my behaviour that my classmates didnt go after me for being different. This resulted in bad grades(not that I ever studied, I was years ahead in everything compared to my peers) for things that were not directly related to intelligence and knoledge. Eventually at age 17 I left school completely demotivated and without a diploma of any sort to do what I was predestined.
Go work at shitty factory jobs, I had a few of those between 89 and 95, mostly night shifts becouse I can be quite nocturnal. Had to hand most of the money to my dad but it is during this time that I started collecting games.
Then 1995 came along and I started a games store with a friend of mine, sold my shares to him in 1999 around the time my dad passed away and focused on writing about games.
Couldnt make a fulltime living out of that so from time to time I did temp jobs, mostly retail or logistics. things I had a lot of experience at.
At this point some of you might think: OK You are depressed we get it but you have written a wall of text here and we are still none the wiser as to WHY you are depressed.
Well, its the games innit.
One of my earliest memories about videogames is at a mobile arcade during a local fancy fair stealing change from my moms purse to go play on the pinball machines and the two lone videogames they had. Standing on top of a wooden box so I could reach the controls to play Atari Pinball and Space Invaders. Another memory like that is with Pong. Making friends for me usually involved them having a TV and an Atari 2600, the few friends I had was mostly just for that. If they were not available I went to the library to read up on all sorts of subjects.
Like I mentioned earlier, we were poor so poor that personal hygiene was a luxury I could not aford. We didnt have a flush toilet until I was 15(a plank with a hole in it in the old one bedroom house we lived at), at age 15 we moved to a TWO bedroom house and that one did have a flush toilet). I didnt have a shower until I was 20 years old when one was installed to the house my dad had bought together with my brother while things started improving. I didnt have a bath(and I love taking baths) until 4 and a half years ago when I moved up here to live on my own. We didnt have a telephone until 1996 when I got one becouse I wanted to be able to get on the internet at home as well instead of just at my store. Its why my teeth amongst others are in such bad state.
And troughout this the games were always there for me, help me deal with the poverty and racism I was facing, making sure I did not go insane doing the nightshift at an asbestos processing plant, beating out my frustrations to some choice yuzo Koshiro tunes, they were and are my escape from all the things that were eating away at me.
In 1992 the owner of a video rental outlet I frequented said he had heard about my game collection and said hey you can only play one game at a time. I know nothing about games but you do so we know you will buy the right ones. Play em and put em here and we will split the income. It was a pretty nice way to earn some extra money, that money then was used to buy more games. In my life I never had money so once I finally had some I spend it, never having learned to actively manage it.
Mid nineties then with a small loan(about 1250$ no joke) and our own games in tow as well me and my friend Youssef opened our store, expanded it and became wholesalers and handled import/export as well. Business was good and people even traveled from other countries to our little store but there were a few fundamental differences between how he wanted to evolve the store and how I wanted to evolve. He was dreaming of a huge store at a prime location while I figured that was suicide. We were in a side street right next to the prime marketplace location he wanted, surrounded by 3 schools. We paid less then 500$ in rent and made big money, he wanted to move into a space costing close to 5k. Told him I would buy him out, he said he couldnt live without the store and instead asked me if he could buy me out. He did, store went bankrupt within 18 months.
While I was still part of it though we made great money(lot of it untaxed becouse the arcade machines we had there we only declared the minimum, those things were cash cows) and I continued to expand my collection of games for all sorts of systems, added a few arcade boards and full cabinets to it etcetera.
I had money in the bank for the first time in my life so while he was ruining the business which was basically built by me, I decided to give commercial writing a whirl again.
It wasnt my first time, Fanzines from my hand exist and are out there in the wild somewhere and during the time at the store I wrote for a local lifestyle magazine, they in exchange gave us free advertisement space. One could say that it was my first paid work.
The contacts I had built during my years at the store paid of big time, scored interviews no one else was getting, unearthed info that did not become public till years after(Have in my possesion for instance internal IBM emails from 2k3 talking about their deals with Sony/MS/Nintendo and how it has to stay hush hush and how they will use infro gleaned from CELL to benefit the XCPU) and generally put my deep rooted love and passion for this industry to use.
The last few years though thanks to the economic crisis its been harder and harder to make a living even while doing temp jobs at a US medical suplies company or doing quality control(eating choclat) at a local choclat factory.
All my reserves have been spend, my precious collections of videogames have been reduced to the bare essentials sold off hoping for better economic times. They never came, I have almost nothing left but the realisation that it looks like my direct relationship with that which has been the single biggest force in my life is pretty much over.
Like a chef at a three star Michelin restaurant who lives for his passion and gets up, eats, lives, sleeps, dreams with his cooking in mind I have been with regards to the games industry.
Loved all aspects I have ever been involved in, retail, wholesale, journalist.
And now I have lost my chefs knives.
There are other things at play of course that have been factors in my depression but this is the biggest one.
Considering this is a public entry however, its best I talk about some of those things with people who might have questions personally.
People feel free to contact me in any way you can, post here, do whatever you can if you have questions or need clarifications from me. It will be healing for me to answer questions.
PS I wrote this as my feelings came to me and have not gone over it before posting. Hope its comprehensible.