I need help, but I can’t get any

There’s a lot that I don’t know. I make no delusions about that, to myself or anyone else. So it’s pretty frequent that I come up against a task I don’t know how to complete or a project I don’t know how to tackle. I might try to muddle my way through, search the internet for guides or resources, but that only gets me so far.

Because I’m a fucking dolt.

I’ve lost count of the times where I attempted something and found I didn’t know what to do. Nothing I did brought me anywhere near the result I wanted. All my iterations and attempts were met with failure. The only alternative I have is to seek assistance from someone who actually knows how to work with whatever it is I’m futzing about with.

There’s just one little problem. I get caught in a loop and have been for better than 15 years. Hell, it probably goes back even further than that, but I only really identified this loop (albeit I wasn’t aware I had identified it at the time or maybe I wasn’t willing to acknowledge that I had at that time) about 15 years ago.

  • Step 1: attempt to try something I’ve not done before
  • Step 2: toil in frustration as I try to figure out what to do and ultimately fail regardless of my countless attempts and permutations
  • Step 3: calm down and scour the internet for guides
  • Step 4: find that online guides are utterly useless because I apparently have a god damned learning disability
  • Step 5: attempt to reach out to an actual person who can intelligently converse with me so I can ask questions to figure out what I need to figure out in order to do the thing
  • Step 6: wait for responses
  • Step 7: receive no response to my satisfaction and go back to trying on my own again
  • Step 8: remind myself that I can’t do it on my own and that I need help, but I can’t get the help I need so I grow enraged and push the project away thinking I shouldn’t be doing it if I can’t accomplish it on my own or get help.

Eventually, I start back over at step 1 some time later, and the cycle repeats.

I should mention that step 7 requires a little more explanation. I do get some responses, but they aren’t the kind that bears any fruit. The responses range through a short list. I’ll have someone responding with their condolences that I’m having trouble and how they wish they could help, which while the sentiment is a lovely thought, it in fact adds nothing to my efforts.

Then I’ll have someone respond wanting to help, asking questions. I’ll inform them of what I’m attempting to accomplish. They’ll reply saying they don’t know anything about what it is I’m working with but they try to help anyway, usually by forwarding me links to guides I’ve already tried that I couldn’t make work. Or they’ll tell me they’re going to reach out to someone they know who might be able to help but this never results in an additional contact. Whoever it is they attempt to contact never reaches out to me, or agrees to have their contact details given to me. So it might as well just be hollow words because nothing ever comes of it.

Then I’ll have someone respond to my request for help saying they can actually assist, and that they have experience with whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish. I’ll get my hopes up and start trying to detail the project to them. They say they’ll have a look and get back to me. Jump cut to a month later and there has been no communication of any kind. I reach out to them and ask about their progress. They reply with confusion, asking why I’m asking them about whatever project I’ve been waiting for their help on. I attempt to refresh their memory of the matter, but then they stop me and say they don’t have any experience with the kind of work I’m trying to do, thus utterly crushing my hopes.

Anyone who does have the experience and knowledge I need to make use of either doesn’t see my attempts to reach out for help no matter how many times I put out a call, or they are simply unwilling to help me for whatever reason.

It is unbelievably frustrating. And it spans a number of different kinds of projects.

I have a blog here (you’re reading it so I would assume you knew that already) and I want to fill out its functionality with a few things. I would like to set up static pages for individual series that I’ve published on Amazon, and perhaps later, I could do the same for material I’ve published on SoFurry as well. First off: I’m not sure what layout I’d like to use. Second: when I attempt to go with a particular layout if only to see how it looks, if I would like to use that style, it seems to lack certain features I would like to make use of in order to further customize the scheme. I’ve attempted to dive into the actual HTML code but my knowledge there is limited, resulting in modifications that do not necessarily work, mainly because the blog software is trying to keep a very tight leash on what you’re allowed to put on the page.

A lot of my problems tend to stem from the theme I’m trying to use for the blog as a whole. It puts limitations on specific details that I might like to modify and customize, only the theme doesn’t let me change but precious little. For anything more substantial than surface level modifications I have to–you guessed it–jump over the code. Only this time, it’s a mix of HTML, CSS, Javascripting, and PHP. And I know precious little about either of the last two options. I know just enough HTML and CSS to get my stupid ass in trouble.

I had once thought perhaps I could commission someone to build a custom WordPress theme for me, but I can’t find anyone who can or will do such a thing. And I know for damn sure I can’t build it myself because–as I’ve already established at the beginning of this diatribe–I’m a fucking dolt.

I’ve had three separate people absolutely leap at the chance to build a wordpress website for me–that is, set up a space on a server they own, install the software, set up all the analytics and back-end monitoring and such, even get me a domain. They were so eager that they dove into the process at far faster a pace than I was willing to move because I don’t know shit about fuck. They were more than happy to help get that set up; eager, enthusiastic, hell they were practically foaming at the mouth to do this for me. It felt kind of off-putting how hard they wanted to do it.

I’m just a simple idiot. When someone goes that damn fast into something, I get nervous, because I feel like I’m missing out some key detail that might come back to bite me in the ass later. They will dismiss that as nonsense, but it doesn’t erase my feeling. They understand the process. I don’t. And I’ve had far too many instances where someone pushed me into something and it ended up costing me to cancel out of it because they didn’t take their time to explain the terms to me. I’m looking at you, major corporations. So I’m really fucking leery about all of this.

Now, you might think this contradicts what I’ve been saying earlier about needing and getting help, but just go with me on this little ride.

All I needed someone to do was give me a spot on a server. I can install WordPress. I’ve done it dozens of times on my own machine in a test server environment. I can do that without fucking things up TOO badly. They just took the reins and ran wild the instant I said “hey, I’m -thinking- about setting up a blog.”

Beyond the initial setup, none of them could help me customize a theme, or actually build one from scratch specific to my own needs. Hell, I’m not even sure what my needs entirely are. Again, I don’t know shit about fuck. So I try out a few different free-to-use themes and find there are a few that kind of feel right, but they never quite get close enough for my satisfaction. I feel like I’m just making do with I’ve got. And I feel like my site is suffering for it. Like I’m not using the proper layout for the content I post. Or it’s hard to read and I can’t figure out how to tweak it to make that work better.

It doesn’t help that WordPress has a super-shitty preview while you’re writing a post. It’s a ‘what you see is what you get’ or wysiwyg editor that never EVER actually shows you what the post will look like once the theme is applied. So you’re just guessing at what you want it to look like. Then you have to go back and tweak and modify and change and struggle to make it look halfway close to what you’re interested in. Again, I feel like I just have to deal with it and be happy I’ve got anything at all.

Fucking hell, I had better luck getting the layout and experience I wanted back when I would write out each fucking page in HTML… MANUALLY. No editor built into the site. No media manager. No tags, searches, history, recent posts, scheduling posts, multiple users, comments and feedback… nothing. Just simple, ordinary, plain HTML. I’m not going back to that because that was INCREDIBLY labor intensive, took way too long, and frustrated me just as much as my current situation does.

And it’s not limited to just the blog. I had wanted to learn how to work with wood for years. My uncle caught wind of that and offered me all the woodworking equipment left at my late grandfather’s house in Arkansas. I thought that would be fantastic. A whole bunch of equipment that I’d get for free–sure it’s older and probably needs some maintenance before it can be used reliably but it’s free! So I went up to the house in question to meet him there. I even decided to go a day early in the hopes that I could get some one-on-one time with him so he could show me the ins and outs, maybe demonstrate the function on some of the more intimidating pieces of equipment so I’d have some idea of what I’m doing without worrying I’m gonna cut my fucking hand off.

That didn’t happen. My dad caught wind of my plan to go up a day early, and decided to follow suit. As soon as he got up there, he arranged for a trailer rental to carry all the stuff back to my place. It was very generous of him to do all of this. He didn’t demand payment from me at all. He just wanted to do it because he wanted to help. He was so gung-ho about it that I never got a chance to sit down with my uncle and learn how to use any of the equipment. I thought okay… fine… maybe I can get dad to help me. He has a lot of this same kind of equipment, surely he knows how to use it himself.

That never happened. I would ask him and he would make up some excuse to get out of doing anything about it. Usually so he could continue to sit in front of the god damned TV channel surfing. Later I learned from my mother that dad’s more of a metalworker and knows next to nothing about working with wood. So that’s just fucking marvelous. Thanks for screwing me out of the one family member who could have helped me with that, dad.

Then I turned to friends for guidance. I got a couple to come over, not at the same time mind you, but all that was done really was more a matter of checking out the equipment to see if it worked. I offered to help with household projects they might have going on so that I could get some experience with the equipment, but nothing ever came of that either. So, for close to three years, I had what was probably a couple thousand dollars worth of woodworking equipment (when you take the price of each thing and adjust for inflation) just sitting around in my garage doing nothing but gathering dust. Oh sure, occasionally a friend would ask if they could come use something for a project they were working on. I was more than happy to offer it. I was willing to be my own personal makerspace for anyone I knew to come by and use it.

I even had a friend come over in an attempt at a project he wanted to accomplish. It never went further than the second visit. I still have the materials he purchased. I have to wonder if his sudden lack of interest in continuing has anything to do with me. Maybe I put forth some sort of attitude that he found off-putting. I don’t know. Remember, I’m a fucking dolt; I don’t know shit about fuck. That includes social interaction apparently.

I’ve had numerous people over the course of my life offer to teach me various things: how to sew, how to cook a specific dish, how to fix something on my car, how to fix something in my house, how to drive a manual transmission, and several other things. Less than a tenth of the offers I’ve had actually came to pass. One friend has consistently been good to his word. He’s taught me how to hang a ceiling fan. He showed me the basics of soldering, though I haven’t done anything more on that front, mainly because of the cost, and the fact that I don’t own my own living space. I don’t want my dad coming over and bitching me out to high heaven because I made a mistake while attempting a project. This is the same friend that ultimately bought a good portion of the woodworking equipment from me.

I’m not using it. I probably will never use it since I can’t get anyone to educate me on how to use it. I’ll not be able to take it with me when I move because apartment complexes don’t care for their tenants owning and operating a table saw in one of their units. So, in advance of losing my ability to store any of it without paying for a storage unit (no thanks), I just decided to sell it all. I’ve still got some left that I need to offload on someone, but most of the biggest pieces are no longer in my possession.

I needed help. This one friend has been the only one who has persisted in his efforts. Everyone else has kind of just forgotten about me, or they were just trying to be polite in their offer, though they weren’t actually serious.

Maybe people are put off by me in general so they make the offer to stay on my good side, then hope I forget about it later. Maybe I’m just so awkward people file me under ‘that guy that isn’t -that- bad, but I don’t want to spend that much time around him’. Maybe that’s why no one is willing to help me with the major issues I want to tackle. It’s hard to tell what people actually think of me because–now say it with me–I’m a fucking dolt. I don’t know shit about fuck.

I’m just so absolutely tired of bouncing back and forth between “I’ll try this on my own” and “I need help” because I can’t get either to actually happen the way I want. I can’t do it on my own. I can’t get people who can help me to actually help me. So I’m left to wonder why I even bother in the first place. It’s that thing that people refer to as ‘the universe is trying to tell you something’. Yeah, that’s pretty spot on. The universe is telling me to give up because I’m damn sure not smart enough to figure anything out on my own and no one likes me well enough to actually give me the help I need.

It all just makes me want to shut down and disappear.