For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice. – TS Eliot
at the beginning of the year, i had an initiative; #beMORE. i felt like it was simple and easy to understand, and therefore easy to execute.
i was definitely wrong on that front – at least, initially. turns out, it’s hard to be and stay optimistic, positive and above bullshit without slipping a few times…but, people and being human and all that.
however, that was at the beginning of the year.
as the months progressed, so did the ease at which i was able to comfortably and confidently apply that missive in most things. (again, still human. sue me.) i still scratch my head about how fast it all went. taken day by day, 2019 has been exhausting, if we’re being honest. as a body of work…it’s been incredible, in more ways than one. definitely not always the good sense, but way more good than bad.
let’s just go through a few things that have happened this year (yes, i am jumping on the twitter trend, but here so i have more room to write and also list more things to make myself feel better about all the procrastination i also managed to get done in spades):
- went to my first pax south;
- got partnered on mixer (WOOOOO);
- got my first scheduled feature on mixer’s front page, for international women’s day;
- was asked to represent theSHED as an official stream representative to spread the good word about an amazingly close and tight-knit community of gamers, friends, and family;
- went to my first pax east (first time in boston AND partnered, to boot), where i got to go to my first couple afterparties and stream directly from the show floor with my best friend, valdamaren;
- celebrated my 2 year mixerversary in may;
- started back on the path to being creative and explored different ideas and methods;
- represented mixer at the inaugural Halo Outpost Discovery experience and spoke on panels regarding partnership and community;
- purchased and assembled my first PC afforded entirely by stream income for my 2 year streamversary;
- returned to PAX West in seattle, met and reunited with old friends;
- joined up with To Write Love on Her Arms (a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide) as a content creator to help bring awareness to the gaming and mental health space;
- created my first gifted painting for some amazingly strong people and loved every minute creating it, realizing i want to do that way damn more;
- accepted representative opportunities (affiliate and partner status!!) with twitch, xsplit, streamloots and tiltednation; and
- ended the year at nearly five times the amount of followers that i started the year with.
(holy hell that’s quite a lot of things)
looking back on the things that have accumulated into a sense of overwhelming good in 2019, i feel extremely undeserving, grateful and humbled; even more so because i know for a fact that these things are only a percentage of the good fortune i’ve had. most of the best things i’ve experienced in the past year haven’t happened on stream, and aren’t necessarily tangible or measurable. this doesn’t take value away from the perceptible or meritable accomplishments at all, instead it serves as a reminder that my personal goals and needs are being addressed and met in more ways than i had originally planned for. (and that i can’t plan for everything…which bugs me more than it should, lol.)
nothing can take away from my need to value personally important things that won’t go on plaques or in record books. there are moments, feelings, and people who will stay in my heart for a long, long time.
i spent a lot of time speaking in discord and on too many streams to count about a lot of this. it’s still something i can’t quite get used to. the support ive been shown in 2019 has been just…bonkers. i know i said it was going to be my year, but good lord it was proven over and over.
people actually care. about me.
what in the actual hell.
over the past two and a half years, people have consistently chosen to spend time with me, and a lot have gone above and beyond that to support me and my goals, passions and content. if i’m honest…it flatters, scares, bolsters and petrifies me all at once to think about it on a bigger scale than taking one sub, one tip, one retweet at a time. it is an almost anxious feeling to realize how far i’ve come with so many choosing to walk beside me. people who are excitedly looking at the future and what it could bring, and choose to continue forward boldly and confidently because they believe in me.
it’s frightening, because i don’t want to disappoint or marginalize anyone or anything, but it’s invigorating and encouraging to continue making strides forward while encountering new challenges and situations i maybe didn’t think of before as i didn’t think i would reach the places i’ve already been able to touch so soon. i’m living an extremely charmed life if the worst thing that i can do is nothing to help myself or others. that’s the limit. that’s the only real caveat.
knowing this now makes the depression and unyielding stress that hit hard and often in 2019 even more like battle scars – they hurt for a time and may have been severe, but i am capable of healing and continuing to live despite having them as a constant presence in my life. dark times and intimidating obstacles may seem insurmountable, and it may be that they are – for that day. it’s not always easy to step back, recognize things for what they truly are, and being able to deal calmly and rationally with them and the resultant feelings until all has passed or been at least quelled.
i’d say i spent the last quarter of 2019 feeling nearly completely burnt out despite all the good that was happening at the time.
what’s absolutely wild is that this is still a hard concept for many to understand.
it is absolutely possible to be depressed and miserable, and also be overjoyed and emboldened simultaneously.
(it. is. exhausting.)
the negative outweighed the good. my creative block started to creep back in, my default standby games weren’t especially kind to me, and nothing new was keeping my interest. social media, which had usually been fairly balanced in content, was teeming with negativity and tediousness just about any time i’d skim my feeds.
even my go-to places and people for something uplifting were feeling beaten, run down and just out of energy to deal. it was pretty miserable. it was a long and arduous journey that was so good when it was good, but oh god was it difficult to traverse at times.
i took days off.
i was pretty over it.
something that was thrown into stark relief for me through this time was the frighteningly easy way that “drama for the sake of drama” ruled above all. perceived platform wars, overblown assumed scandals, even worse real ones, and, perhaps worst of all, an overarching disregard for the need of cooler heads to prevail and of civil discourse to happen. the focus shifted off of content and instead focused on how much traction the latest hot takes could accrue. it’s continuing on into this year (let’s be honest, it likely will get worse before it gets any better), but instead of masking it, let’s directly address the underlying motivating factors of most of these poor decisions and take away their power:
toxicity, jealousy, pettiness, insecurity, obsession.
these became ugly associations to one’s social standing rather than continually focusing time and effort and energy back into their crafts, their works, and their communities, which is hopefully at least still the reason for them doing all of this.
after a while it became hard to see otherwise intelligent and capable creators taking the bait and becoming ensnared in anything and everything but positivity and support.
and for what?
an impossibly miserable and deceiving outlook in addition to an undesirable reputation among once-proud peers?
a slightly larger crowd for that quarter’s convention appearance?
a chance to be infamous in the name of “at least i’m still being talked about?”
i had to mute/block/remove more and more people falling into these drama-laden thirst traps. it’s at first bewildering – well, to those of us who grew up during a time when reality tv wasn’t quite the powerhouse it has been in recent years – and then frustrating because others catch on seeing the brief rise in metrics and wanting some of that validation for themselves, riding the wave as far as they can go before another new hot take that no one asked for emerges as the new thing to focus on.
it’s exhausting just watching from the sidelines and refusing to comment or lead a charge to die on a weird hill that will either be completely forgotten or memed heavily, or will just become a resurfacing topic of outcry in a few weeks/months.
i fear some people are modeling their career personas and aspirations based on dated, deliberately scripted scandals.
i am sad for many people whose potential opportunities are disregarded and whose reputations are being chipped away by their own constant need to be seen in every bold/risky tweet.
perhaps this was always a thing, but i was happier when it was something the minority cannibalized themselves with rather than it being something the majority expects.
resting on one’s laurels thinking that what is being done is enough and that there is nothing else that needs work implies a perfected approach that simply does not exist. there is what one is comfortable with doing or working toward for the sake of everyone’s betterment, and there is what one is unwilling to do without a price or benefit, despite a constant need for mentors and subject matter experts as streaming continues to grow and flourish in so many categories and setups. the second is a self-serving outlook of entitlement that is suffocating the potential for new content and new creators. it is a completely unnecessary gatekeeping of the kindness, patience, encouragement and support afforded to us when we started out. it wasn’t even that long ago, in the grand scheme of things.
streaming in its current form, compared to other forms of entertainment, is still a young industry, but we as humans are old enough and smart enough to know how to treat people as people, with the same capability of emotion as anyone else. many fondly recall a better time when negatively charged crusades weren’t constant accompaniment at the forefront of a platform’s image (that wasn’t too long ago, either) and it certainly wasn’t representative of anything that was spreading like wildfire in so many communities. once upon a time we were so excited to connect and build with each other, celebrating successes and helping to crush milestones. we have lost our focus and instead set our sights on everything but being willing to work toward including and supporting others, and wonder why problems aren’t fixed and insecurities and fears aren’t addressed.
attacking resultant symptoms will not defeat root causes.
the majority of us have been around long enough to be able to easily help those who truly don’t know better. we should be setting the tone for our peers, not looking for excuses to come for them to make ourselves look better.
(btw, if that’s what it takes to make you think you’ve succeeded, you have already lost at this.)
we should be willing to educate.
we should be willing to do better.
we should be willing to be better.
not for something in return, but from a position of truly wanting to impart useful, beneficial knowledge to elevate anyone who is willing to listen. we should be actively and continually learning, growing, and encouraging others to do the same. we should not be expecting spontaneous understanding of the culture and feel of our chosen platforms without any clues or opportunities for second chances or redemption.
if we can individually shift the focus back to quality, support, development and determination, 2020 will kick ass.
otherwise, get ready for another 12 months of the same trending topics circulating and recirculating like clean air through a clogged, filthy filter. it’s still a way to live, but should you put up with it long enough, it’ll make you sick, and you’ll have to change something for your health to improve.
in 2020, i am doubling down on my #beMORE efforts and launching a second missive: #beBetter.
let’s showcase the incredible power of people.
let’s make 2020 a year of explosive growth, knowledge, support and success.
let’s make the start of a new decade epically memorable – and not for the memes.
ps – enjoy the collection of quotes i was sorting through when strugglebussing through this post:
“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”
– Jim Rohn
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
– Neil Gaiman
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
– Paulo Coelho
“You’ve got to get up every morning with determination if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
– George Lorimer
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson