Tamagotchi Log 04/13/2016
Well I slept all day and I've been up all night, working on a variety of things. I have through the night been thinking about writing. I have constantly felt bad about not writing here.
There are some very good reasons I have not written here in a while. Most importantly I do not like writing when I am depressed and I had a long stretch of that recently. No one needs to hear those thoughts, not even me. I can tell you that March was a bad month... I have had this continuous chain of bad luck and it just keeps getting worse. I hope that good things start happening soon before I lose my sanity.
So today I am finally going to write about something I keep not mentioning, but I need to mention. Someone wrote something about my Tamagotchi on the facebook page and it really pushed me to the need to just get to writing this.
You'll have to forgive me a bit on this one, but having not written here for years feels to me like I need to do a lot of catching up kinda stories and logs. Not all of those stories are happy though, but better stories are coming. :-)
Some people already know a tiny bit about this stuff, but now I shall finally talk about it with more context. This one might be long.
A warning here. I am feeling a bit unfocused today so I might take many detours and scenic routes in this story.. but I will find the ending.. eventually. ;-)
I guess we should go back to the beginning.. say 20 years shortly before and during the birth of this website.
When I turned 18, my family moved out of the childhood home I grew up in. I was not too upset about that move because that house holds many awful memories and reminders of things I would rather not think about.
I was happy to move away from those memories. Though at the time, since it was my first move, I was very stressed and had high anxiety. I was trying to find a way to be okay with this sudden new living situation. Change is difficult. My mom also had married a guy she'd been with for a while and I had to get used to another person in the house.
I may have written about him before.. his name is Everett. I was very skeptical of him for a very long time because my trust for people was not good based on past experiences. However, I have him to thank for me getting on the Internet as early as I did.. we got it almost as soon as we moved. This was back in the days when most people had no idea what the word internet meant and most big companies weren't even online so it was mostly made up of websites by normal every day people. I was there for the birth of the first major search engines (of which there was a new 'best' every few months to use), paypal, amazon, ebay, google, social media, and all of that which is now so a common part of every day life for most people. This was before aol and common isp's. It was a whole other internet in that time, a whole other world that not very many people knew about. The content was mostly personal websites, so it was only natural I became one of them too. My first online chat experience was through Telnet connecting to IRC. I later got mIRC and pIRCh both of which were huge improvements. I learned how to code on IRC when they first introduced HTML to chatrooms. Then I moved onto a webpage to practice and learn coding on my own. And life went on from there...
Don't that all make me feel old! ;-)
I think I was addicted back then, but the thing is.. I have pretty much lived on the internet since that first time I logged in, so is it an addiction or just a way of life? Shrug. These days most everyone is connected all the time so I don't think my time online is so different anymore than the average person. It would be accurate to say I have not disconnected since 1995 though.
That is already more story than needed here eh.
The important thing was that I had access to this whole other world that I never had access to in the first 18 years of my life. And I had a job with very few bills. So I spent a lot of time on newsgroups and IRC finding and making deals with other people to buy up all of the childhood toys I never got to enjoy but always wanted. This was before ebay.. but it was the foundational idea that ebay was based on initially. All transactions were private, sent by check through the mail, all conversations were in email or newsgroups threads. It was kinda like a world wide access craigslist now that I think about it, life is funny like that. There was a lot of trust required for this back in the day. People online then were different though.. most weren't out to scam you and most everyone I encountered was extremely nice.
I purchased up all the 1980's toys I could find because that is when I grew up.. Thundercats, Voltron, He-Man, Transformers, action figures from all sorts of TV shows.. anything I loved that I could find something to buy of, I scooped up.
I became a toy collector without planning to do so. My room (which I rarely spent time in since the computer was not in there) was a shrine of action figures and toys from the 1980's. Every flat surface was covered in toys. At some point I stopped taking them out of the boxes when I ran out of room to display them. The introduction of ebay only furthered my desire to buy more toys.
Later of course I found Tamagotchi and well I went kind of overboard as I always seem to when I feel passion for something. And then of course Furby. And power rangers. And star trek. I loved toys, they made me happy, especially the ones I always wanted but never could have but also especially new robot toys and toys with some kind of AI.
I was young, didn't have much thought about the future, was happy in my job and was happy collecting my things. I was a big kid. I never purchased my toys with the idea in mind of selling them someday. I was not like that.. I purchased them because I enjoyed them for their own individual reasons and the meanings they held to me.
When I moved to California I brought with me all I could and left the rest here with the intention of returning for it all again someday. I could write a whole other log about what happened with that plan, but that is not for today.
So here I am, more than 20 years later, and life sure has changed.
When I got divorced my life was overturned entirely. During these years I have done a lot of healing, but suffered in other ways. The lawyer cost a lot.. a ridiculous amount really, the bills piled up, my medical bills made it even worse because I had no insurance. My credit cards took the burden of much of these things but as a result they are now all near the limit. I owe a lot of money and I am not so sure how I will ever manage to pay off that debt in my lifetime so I will always have these credit card bills that will make life extremely hard to pay regular bills like rent and food when life shifts to the next phase. Things in general just have bore down on me.
It could always be worse though, I know my story isn't unique or special, everyone has problems. For a long time I have been in a constant battle trying not to let worse happen.
I live in a town that now has changed since I knew it. It has a bad economy, police corruption, is known for heroine usage, has increased violence and has a large chunk of homeless people. I am ever fearful of becoming one of them. Places I used to go and feel safe do not feel safe anymore. It is far from bad when compared to other places, but when compared to itself 20 years ago it is vastly different. I've been hurt too much, my ability to trust is low. Being out in the world is difficult even more than it ever was.
Getting hired here has been nothing short of a nightmare. It is hilarious that to get hired you must already be employed - what a backwards messed up system that is. People feel if you are already working that someone else hired you so you must be worth hiring. If you are out of work.. there must be something wrong with you so you aren't worth their time. How messed up is this world that a person who wants to work will get shoved aside so they can hire someone who is already working? I somewhat understand the logic of the whole wanting someone who is already employed thing.. but it really has been a painful road because of that attitude.
Sick of all of the handshakes, fake smiles, pretending that every place I'm applying to would be a dream come true.. I decided last year it was time to stop begging for some employer to hire me... instead I decided I would hire myself.
Out of the desire to not file bankruptcy, I decided I had to make a very important decision. I had to find a way to pay my bills and it had to be in whatever way was possible. My savings was not empty, but time was ticking and things were only getting worse. I was not ready to give up.
I searched online for ideas.. and eventually I came upon the realization I had the answer right here. If I could just not be emotional about it, it was really so simple.
So in April of 2015 I made my first trip to my storage shed that I had made since I first moved here. With a deep sigh I opened the sliding metal door and looked upon the sea of boxes that contained what remained of my life history. The black hole as I call it.. due to the amount of disorganization it is in. I am normally a very organized person and have had to move several times without issue. I was in a bit of panic when I moved last time though.. so it is my Black Hole of Stuff now.
You see I realized if I filed for bankruptcy I would lose everything. I would also lose a chance at getting a house, apartment, or any other important money related topic for much of the rest of my life. I would destroy what credit I have. I would be essentially not only destroying the present situation but also my future situations. Bankruptcy follows a person for the rest of their lives.
Filing bankruptcy would have cost me more money than I even had in savings (ironic they make you pay to file for a situation to declare you have no money else you'd not need to file). After filing, the state would take anything I had left in my possession to pay off the debt I owe. My credit cards would be frozen, my bills would not be paid. If the state didn't get to it first.. in my inability to pay for the storage shed, the owners of the shed I rent it from would sell it off in a blind auction to anyone interested. One way or another all of my stuff would be gone.
So I decided if anyone was going to sell my stuff.. it would be me.
That day I piled into the car as many boxes as I could fit. That evening I sorted through things and got them all organized. I opened a fresh new excel file.. and logged into ebay and paypal. And that is where it all began.
A simple solution to a difficult problem right?
I have plenty of things.. of which most are over 10-20 years old and are now wanted by collectors online. The answer seemed so obvious even though I had never for a moment considered it until that day.
Never in my life did I think I would someday be going through all of the things I love and cherish and selling them off to the highest bidder. I never considered it in all these years. These are my memories of a time in my life that I can describe as some of the best years of my life... those years between graduation and moving to California.. the years I created this website.
I can tell you that it has been an incredibly heartbreaking situation for me. I would like to tell you someday it is worth doing this. Right now.. I am not there, and I presently believe that someday I will look back with much regret in having to do this. I also feel I have no choice.. when you are backed into a corner, you gotta find a way to get out. This has been my only answer so far. When someone hires me in a full time job, things will change.
I can tell you the stress and emotional upset has been enormous. When I began all of this I got very sick from stress. There was a month last summer I was throwing up nearly every other day. At one point I went to the doctor.. stress was the only explanation. I went to the emergency room when it get even worse thinking it was something deeper. Nope.. just stress. I wasn't dehydrated, nothing to really worry about. They sent me home. Nothing they could do.
Funny enough my sister and I were having the same kinds of sickness. I had heavy nausea and always vomited in the mornings and during the night. Since she was pregnant, she had morning sickness and nausea as well. Everyone kept asking me if I was pregnant because of the similarities. The nausea stayed with me for months after the I got the vomiting under control. My sister has had good advice and gave me some of her preggie pops and they have amazingly helped me get through the nausea on many days.
Over the first few months of 2016 the nausea and sickness eased, but over the past week it has returned in full force with no obvious reason at all. So I'm back to this routine again.
Anyway, in selling on ebay I didn't know the situation I was going into emotionally or otherwise. My desire was one thing.. to make enough money to pay for my bills. That is it, that was the entire aim in this decision. I have long ago cut out every single thing in my life that is not a need. I do not waste a dime of anything. I don't go out, see movies or buy anything extra. I have always been a good saver but this has challenged my ability to get even better at making money stretch.
When I started selling it took me a while to learn all that I needed to know. The beginning was slow, I made mistakes here and there, but I have come rather far over this past year. It was slow in the beginning but I started into it full time in around August 2015.
Selling on ebay requires money to pay for expenses. You gotta have money to make money. Packing materials, tape, paper, printer ink, boxes, supplies and lots more stuffs... well all of this stuff I had to buy on credit and have to buy periodically now when I run out. I never thought I'd have 700 feet of bubble wrap mailed to me! I must say those are very large rolls of bubble wrap and I have had to restrain myself from wanting to pop them all.. ;-)
So in having all of this stuff I've had to buy to make this all work out.. humorously enough I am in far more debt now than I was when I first started. Life is funny like that eh.
What I learned some months later after I started selling is that actually what I am doing is running a business. When I started making enough money to pay these bills, I was considered to be self employed. I don't even make minimum wage, I make just enough to pay for the bills. But even with that I was no longer considered just someone selling stuff on ebay to get by. As such I have had to identify myself as self employed and all the situations that come with that. I only continue to do this work because it's the only choice I have right now.
Humorously in filing taxes I am taxed a self employment tax.. even though I didn't make hardly anything after all my deductions, I owed the IRS a lot of money. Every dime of that income was going to my bills, I didn't get to keep any of it, but I had to pay the IRS that 15.3% tax. Of course since I didn't have that money.. they let me split the bill across different credit cards to pay it. If I didn't pay of course they'd come after me worse than any credit card company, so I had no choice.
So here I come to what I have not said so far in these logs. I have had to sell off things that mean the most to me because of their value and of which that includes some of my Tamagotchi. Little did I know that after all these years the price and demand of some of them went up drastically. In the face of bankruptcy I had to swallow my tears and just do it. I've really not wanted to talk about it, and I have been holding onto this log for a while editing it several times because I simply wish this weren't my reality.
I do not know how many Tamagotchi I have sold. It could be close to half of them now. I honestly don't wish to know the number at this point.
As I was selling Tama's I would set aside some and say those were mine to keep. But I have found myself painfully going through that pile and selling many of the ones I wanted to keep. There are still some I have held onto in the "never sell" pile.. but that pile will soon not exist. One of them from that pile is sitting in the box next to me.. the clear green P1 with blue buttons.. it is waiting to go on ebay for a new owner. I have procrastinated doing so for a while now, but the time is nearing.
Through this past year many things changed in all of this. I have sold hundreds of my toys. I ship out more than 50 packages a month. I recently started selling my Furbys. The first ones went up a couple of weeks ago, already a bunch of them are gone. Furby isn't worth much these days, so I am stuck selling them for at times half the value I paid for them. I have no other choice though. I sold a whole lot of Tama stuff last year. I don't have a lot of it up right now but I put some up slowly, one or two at a time.. they usually get bought up pretty fast.
I have learned a whole lot about this business. I have grown as a person because of it in my professional life. I have added valuable skills without even realizing it or planning for it. Since I am the only one working on this all, I do everything from start to finish on each thing I sell. I don't have any automated systems or anything like that.. just like my websites all those years ago.. I do everything personally by hand.
Much of my toy collection has been scattered throughout the world. I have shipped to many different countries. Each item has it's own memories attached. Some more than others. Sometimes I price something too high simply because I don't want to let go of it. Selling away parts of my history is deeply personal to me, and extremely emotional at times. I'm a very emotional person so perhaps I am overly sensitive about it all.
I regret most selling the Tamagotchi. Especially the ones I never got to even try once.
It is now April of 2016. It's been a year since I started this little adventure. I have sent in my taxes. I had to file as a business, which is not something I've ever had to go through. I have always had to file self employment because Mimitchi.com does make a tiny bit of money on the ads (enough to pay for itself most years except last year). However now I have inventory, fees, and a bunch of stuff I have to declare to show what I'm doing here. More complicated than I expected. I am an organized person, but I think next year I will be far more organized and prepared for this. I am not trained to do this stuff, but I just teach myself thanks to the internet as I go through all of these situations. How lucky am I to live in a time where information is so freely at my fingertips.
The one thing I have to take the time and mention is an aspect I completely did not expect to happen at all. I have made friends through ebay. Ebay has a simple process, you don't have to talk to the buyer or seller, it is all automated and easy like buying from amazon or anywhere else.
However people can send offers and ask questions. I had no idea at first but being an ebay seller is heavily based around customer service.
One thing about having this communication is that I have had the luck of knowing that some of my most cherished Tamagotchi are actually going to collectors who appreciate them. I know that doesn't matter when it comes to paying the bills, but for me it's important. That is why I'll never be rich.. everything has meaning for me and greed is not on my list of topics that have meaning or importance to me. Money is just a tool used to live life, it has never been the center of my focus.
So I have sold a lot of my more rare Tama's to actual nice collectors and people I have seen in the Tamagotchi groups on facebook. That feels good to me to know they got a good home. I am profoundly sad at seeing them go.. so it takes the edge off to know they are in good hands.
I have sold several to my very supportive and kind friend Dennis up in Canada so I know those are with someone who truly loves them as I do. That means a lot to me. Dennis is one of those rare friends that is truly one of a kind. I have my flaws and I have always felt like an outcast for many reasons.. but Dennis doesn't judge me, he in fact encourages me and understands me and accepts me as I am. I haven't found all of those qualities in the same person too many times in my life.
Which leads me to the next unexpected thing.. I have also met and sold to people who know who I am, which is surprising because ebay is a big place and my website is not a big deal especially now that it's outdated. People have said very kind things about the website though.
There is a guy in Australia named Sam. He wanted to buy my Ocean that was still new in the package. It took him several days to make that decision and he eventually said he could not afford to buy it. But then shortly later that same day I got notification he made the purchase. He followed up with an email saying he ultimately made the choice to buy it because of my website and the history there. The mail he sent me made me cry. This kind of experience is just one of those things I never expected when I started selling on ebay.
There have been a handful of others who have said many kind things and if you are one of those just know I have saved and printed out your email. I am an emotional person, I think more so since I had my breakdown some years ago. When people say such kind things it just touches my heart. <3
So now you know what has been eating up all of my time. I am not lazy or trying to avoid things nor do I dislike the website and don't want to do things with it, I just simply have been desperately trying to make things hold together in another part of my life.
I sit in a small room all day long just working on my laptop and taking photos. In the evenings I pack and print postage and mail out in the mornings. My contact with the outside world is less than it ever has been. I guess I am okay with that. I am a bit agoraphobic so working on my own is fine with me. I have online friends to fill in the gaps. Still, somedays it gets lonely.
Since I haven't lived all these years up here everyone I used to know is gone, I just have some family and relatives here now. What friends I had before are gone. LeAnne, whom I have mentioned a lot in the past here, is also no longer a part of my life either. That is a whole other much longer story.
So now you know some of what has been happening with my life as of lately. I am hoping now that I am approaching 9 months of doing this full time, that someone will see my potential and hire me. If they do so I will likely keep selling on ebay.. but only things I really feel no need to keep so I can try and chip away at some of this debt. I will stop selling those things in which I love and do not want to sell.. like the Tamagotchi. And one day I want to buy up all the things I love and have lost. I hope that day comes extremely soon.
If this log bored you rest assured it is the only log I intend to write on the subject of my business and financial situation. Unless of course I have very good news! Otherwise I don't intend to mention it much more. But I feel like I needed to tell you why I am not around so much. Why I am forever busy and stressed. I work constantly on this stuff.. when I am not working, I am sleeping because I am just so tired all the time now.
Lately I find myself working nights and sleeping most of the day.. it seems to be my internal clocks natural schedule somehow. But that seems to change from month to month.
I cannot wait to be hired so I can work less hours and get paid more - which is a funny statement even though it's absolutely true!
After writing all of that you might expect me to link to my ebay store, sell to you and try to be an advertising salesperson. The thing is.. I write here to share things with you because it has been the one place I feel welcome in sharing my life. I am not writing all of this stuff to sell things to you. There are only ads on this page to pay the website bill... and I still hate that I have to have ads on here at all. I don't like advertising one single bit, so I hope this log isn't seen as a sales pitch. I promise that's not the intention.
I just wanted to finally share what I have been doing. For a long time I have kept things so private. I had forgotten what it's like to just write what's on my mind and be free to do so without worry. I feel these days I can speak without people from the past hurting me.
So, since I am on 8 pages typed, that's it for this time. Next time onto happier topics! Next time I also have more things to say about Tamagotchi.
Thanks for reading and always ever for your kindness.
Long ago when I first was making logs I always included the midi music of songs I really liked. I decided to keep that tradition going by linking youtube videos. Music expresses for me what I cannot put into words at times. Sometimes the song has profound meaning and sometimes it is just something special that I enjoy.
This is Muki's "I don't want to know". It is quite relevant to this log as it is to my life right now..