Man, if the first half of 2021 kicked my ass, then the 2nd one punched me in the nuts…

The past six months were one hell of a marathon where I wasn’t able to catch a breath at all. It was a pretty polarized year all in all, and although it had so much bad stuff going on it did leave me some good things and invaluable lessons to balance it up, as well as with some tools that will be of great help for our eventual escape from this country and for my upcoming plans.

In many ways, my brother’s 26th birthday in July was a good day. What better way to start the second half of the year than with pizza and cake with our younger cousins. The 9th of July and its brief moment of joy was a much needed respite after a stressful first week of that month — that joy, however, was offset by the untimely death of my old graphics card, which I had been using since 2012.

To make matters worse, I got hit with serious stomach woes. My desire to give my brother a Nesquik treat (one of his childhood favorites, which he hadn’t had in years) and a milk that my body didn’t seem to be able to digest properly knocked me down for days. Furthermore, his AC unit malfunctioned shortly afterwards.

I eventually got better and was able to get my brother’s AC repaired by purchasing spare parts from someone who had the majority of their AC unit ransacked by thieves for more valuable parts — once again, a reminder of Venezuela’s reality. Thanks to an absolute King that donated me a used GPU from all the way up in the US, I was able to return to form during August, so to speak.

My ADSL internet, which had been failing for more than a year, finally gave out on me in November. Not my proudest moment, but I had to pay behind the table to get reconnected. It was either that or remain without internet connectivity for the foreseeable future because the government’s obsolete ISP is the only thing available on this street. On the plus side, it’s back to how it was from 2013 to mid 2020 (4Mbps down / 0.75Mbps up), and substantially far more stable (but not perfect). To say that I’m limited by this obsolete line is a gross understatement, but it’s what I have, and I have to make do with it, even if there’s so much that I cannot do because of it.

All of these health, hardware, and connectivity problems did affect my ability to create content, whether it was memes, written posts, or what have you. This was just another stream of setbacks that overall, made me feel like I was playing catchup throughout the entirety of 2021 instead of dictating my own pace. Yet, even with all that solved or patched up, the biggest burden on my mind remained, my longest quest and struggle that I’m yet to win at: obtaining a US visa.

This is where I got the worst defeat during these past six months, as all the hope I had been riding on crumbled down in a matter of minutes one November afternoon during my second online meeting with an immigration attorney. The 15th of November marked a before and after in this quest, and on a personal level, it marked a before and for my psyche, as I just still feel utterly defeated, months of work and hope for naught.

With COVID slowing down visa processing to absurdly long wait times (~700 days in the case of visitor visas), my options are now reduced to very specific ones, which I’m still trying to materialize — but time is running out for me. Seven months, or to be more specific, July 25, 2022. That’s all the time I have left before this becomes even harder due to the remaining time on my passport’s final extension. If it comes to that, I’d have to spend $400 and try my luck at obtaining one of the Venezuelan govt’s new 10-year duration passports.

It is a bit frustrating to have everything you need for travel these days, except the visa to actually enter the country. This crucial fact of my reality does continue to bring me down harder than gravity itself does. I’m trying my best to remain optimistic, but the prospects aren’t good.

All that remains for me is to keep trying during these next months, and to not lose my grip on hope. I need to stop letting myself be entrapped by despair and asphyxiated by it. This is one of my longest fights, as depression is something I’ve been wrestling with ever since I was a teenager and only professionally addressed during a few months in 2009. Sometimes I win some battles against it, sometimes I lose them, but this has been a long war within that hasn’t ended.

I also had my first big ‘single parent’ health related complication with my brother and his fractured molar during these past days. This was, by far, the thing that I was focused on the most during this past month of December. It was a rough and expensive dentist treatment, and every time I saw my brother being unable to eat filled me with anguish, anguish that I had somehow failed the first pillar of the promise I made to my mother on her deathbed: to keep him safe.

My life, being atypical as it’s always been, did present me with the means to cover for all of his expenses through an atypical manner befitting the uniqueness of my reality. A few months ago I upset a lot of people with a quite provocative meme. I was suggested to add insult to injury by making that meme into an NFT, which then was promptly sold. Those proceeds were going into our escape funds but now they’ve been mostly spent on saving my brother’s fractured molar.

A few dentist appointments later, and he’s finally healing and pain-free, as of the 29th of December he’s finally able to eat solids once more. I can’t even begin to express how relieved I am that he’s smiling again and most importantly, able to eat and sleep well.

Once again, thanks to everyone who got offended back then, and to the absolute madlad that bought the joke NFT. Everything happens for a reason and lo and behold, that misplaced and terminally online anger ended up being transmuted into an act of good, it’s how my brother’s molar was saved.

In spite of all the bad that happened to me in 2021, I am grateful to God and to everyone who continues to support me for all the blessings I’ve received. I’m grateful that I was able to help others with a multitude of things.

I’m grateful that I was able to make others smile and laugh, because being able to make others smile, even if it’s just for a brief moment, brings succor to my soul and allows me to keep going. The handful of messages I’ve received telling me that I’m somehow able to inspire them to keep going and begin working on their dreams is something that I never thought I was capable of, because I never amounted to much in the past, but here I am. To reference one of my favorite songs, these things are part of my Black Celebration.

Yeah, my visa plans haven’t gone in my favor, and I’m a complete mess still, but even so, I’m grateful that I’ve been able to feed and take care of my brother. I’ve said it before, not a day goes by when I don’t pray and be thankful for having food every day, because, in a country where nearly 95% of the country lives in poverty, you have to count your blessings. Because of it, there’s always a lingering survivor’s guilt every time I eat or treat myself to something, even if I’m yet to be able to leave the country.

On the matter of dreams, I did have to put work on Sword and the entirety of the Vaifen Saga on hold as I worked out all the bs that happened during the past months + trying to work out a solution for a visa (which ended up crumbling down).

I have already begun to refocus on Sword, and it’s finally getting edited and ready for publishing. I also have obtained the first set of paperwork that I need to be able to publish on Amazon from here should it come to that. I don’t have an exact date but it’s going to be next year for sure. As for Sins, I am planning to start writing it close to or after my birthday, which is only days away.

This upcoming fiction novel series is one of my longest dreams, and I’m ever closer to finally materializing it. Who knows, if all else fails, this might very well be how I get out of the country and into the United States — I did meme’d my way to a blue checkmark on Twitter just recently, so I may very well end up memeing my way out of the country instead of trying to do things the right way, which hasn’t worked for me so far.

Today is the last day of this year, and I feel tired, as if I had all of 2021’s exhaustion weighing down upon my shoulders. No matter how much I rest it just won’t go away, proper sleep still eludes most of the time, and almost every night my dreams play cruel jokes on me. Sometimes I dream my mom’s alive and well, sometimes I dream I’m finally leaving Venezuela, sometimes I’m already out of here — only to wake up to the crushing realization that I’m still on my old bed, laid on that worn out mattress that I sleep on.

One of my goals for 2021 was to stop being my own worst enemy, and I dropped the ball hard with this goal. The moments of self-doubt intensified towards the end of the year. I will try my best to improve in this regard, and to focus more on my health and have more self-confidence.

I’ll start to walk more and exercise more starting in January 2022 because I can’t keep going, being so grossly out of shape. I also need peace of mind and to stop worrying so much about the uncertainties of the future, which is easier said than done. If I’m the

My life continues to be reduced to its minimum because leaving Venezuela remains my first objective. It’s been years of abstaining myself from getting things that I can’t bring with me, such as books, furniture, or hardware, and I gotta say that it hasn’t been a good thing to do.

Time worked exceptionally well against me, and I barely had any time for myself all throughout 2021. There’s many things I wanna do and learn, so many books I want to read, and yes, media that I want to consoom. I just didn’t have the time nor the peace of mind in 2021 to do so, and I’m bummed about it.

I don’t know what 2022 will bring, but I hope it’s full of good things for all of us. I am certainly burnt out, and in dire need of a vacation (last one took place in 1999), but I’m not throwing in the towel. I will keep fighting, I will keep praying, and I will keep working towards building a good future, one where I can be a force of good and help others, as I have a debt with life itself. I will find a way to pay forward all the good things and help I’ve received since 2017.

The world continues to be a mess, and the powers that be do seem to be intent on bringing everyone down, but let’s go beyond despair and grasp hope. Let’s make 2022 the best year it can be for all of us, even if it’s one small bit at a time.

Happy New Year everyone, we’re all going to make it sooner or later.

Love you all,