i am admitting aloud to all who would care to read, that i am free-falling through cyclical stages of the grief process.
denial. anger. depression. bargaining. acceptance.
this is embarrasingly open, direct and frank. for some, it may seem overblown. this is not for you. chances are your goals and intent were not mine, and i wouldn’t expect or ask you to understand.
this is, however, for those who are willing to know or may be searching for something that mirrors their own emotional state. if so, please read on.
dizzyingly these feelings are flying through me and it’s near impossible to hold onto anything for long. it’s odd to look down at my hands and not see cuts and bruises from emotional attempts to cling to something.
i don’t even know if i want to continue on this path.
none of this is through any fault of my own; however, i can’t stop myself from feeling this way. like a failure, like this is punishment. like a consequence for wanting what was outside the norm.
no, i did not close eyes and ears to platform issues, i did not make the decision to close doors, and i did not relegate thousands to the ether. but when experiencing something out of your control that causes the loss of something truly close to your heart, it can feel like you’ve had to have done something to cause it.
for the last almost 3 years, i have embarked on a journey that started out innocently enough as a way to make friends while exploring the childhood nostalgia felt by sharing the gaming experience with friends. it quickly evolved into something that became much more than myself – as i joined communities and learned the ropes, it was clear this would be something i could truly thrive in. was it terrifying not knowing what was in store? absolutely.
did i try anyway? absolutely.
do i regret it? absolutely not.
because of this one place that reintroduced me into the modernization of a world i left behind in my childhood, i have experienced acceptance, true friendship, empathy, kindness, support, confidence, a call to leadership through responsibility, and a brief opportunity to become a voice of my own.
this story of mine, developed from a growing and exploratory passion, has been damaged, stunted, questioned, dented, scratched, burnt, smothered, and torn, but it has still been mine. it was made possible by a platform that dared to be different. it gave people i consider to be lifelong family a hand up to be beacons in the community. people worked hard to champion them because they saw their passion and determination. it brought me such elation to see them excel.
but something began to change. advancement, earnest fairness, and ambition distorted, and many of us rolled with the punches, trying to make the best of a worsening situation until its breaking point.
then, the vehicle i and countless others have bled thousands of hours of tears, frustration, strife, joy, laughter, celebration and growth was snatched away, and suffocated hastily.
i am bereft, unsure, and terrified. i am despairing, conflicted, and joyless.
with these swirling within me, it makes it nearly impossible to envision continuing onward. overwhelming defeat and betrayal alternately keep my face firmly in mud and i struggle to push back.
i have shouldered and withstood senseless sexism, racism, harassment, betrayal, desertion and undue stress just by being myself and wanting to be someone with a semblance of a voice in this space. most started when i initially started streaming. i honestly don’t know if i can face starting again elsewhere knowing what i know of the capabilities of faceless, careless keyboard warriors and of crass ugliness from those once considered acquaintances, colleagues, and friends. i know will have support from friends wherever i go, for sure, but abuse and harassment are also everywhere, and mental health is so fragile to begin with. compound that with empty, hollow corporate words from platforms promising to do better with no follow-through and clear indication that talk is cheap if the offenders have substantial influence and affect the bottom line enough. there was no absence of that where i was, but it was on a level i could conceivably handle. the terrors of hate raids and doxxing are something i’m not sure i am ready and willing to put my people through just because they choose to support me. when i began to curate a community, it was something i wanted to share but also protect. it has been my job as a creator to curate content that i support and believe mirrors my ideals and what i want to share with like-minded friends. i believe that it’s also my responsibility to protect what has been built from ugliness and despair as best i can, but i currently don’t know that i can confidently say that it’s possible if i continue affiliateship or start completely over elsewhere.
let me be clear: i am not stopping the fire that has ignited these past few weeks. i will keep using what voice i have to bring attention to imperative issues and topics. my only concern is with the chaos happening that people who are hurting and people who are uncomfortable and dismissive alike will forget all that has been said and done due to the culture and nature of the selfish immediacy and quickly fleeting importance type mindset of social media. black lives still matter. trans rights are still human rights. lgbtqia+ lives are to be celebrated with pride. victims should be heard and predators persecuted in the name of justice.
i just don’t know if anything else is warranted or needed from me at this time.
i don’t want to fail people who put their trust and faith in me. i can’t bear being the reason why people are hurt, just because i wanted to hurry to jump on another platform.
that being said, i have options at this crucial crossroads.
i could finally start a podcast with ideas i’ve been sitting on for years, or appear on others’ for needed discussion.
i could begin artwork commissions in earnest and tell truths and journeys through my work.
i could lend my voice to causes and attempt to secure positions and opportunities in gaming.
i am choosing to keep my affiliateship with twitch for the time being, but possibly exploring youtube as well. for now, as my 16th and last month as a partner on a platform whose light is fading, whose breath is shallowing, whose heartbeat grows weaker, i will at least have a few more streams this week and give the opportunity for closure as i continue to think about where to go from here.
the platform on which we stream does not define us as creators or people, i know and accept and acknowledge that. but. the promise, the trust and the encouragement that put the wind in many a sail has been betrayed and tainted. it has broken something fundamentally within me and others. i can’t trust again so easily. many are transitioning quickly because they have no other choice to. still others aren’t as invested and find it more of a no-brainer to hop into the next site, and it’s well within their right to do so.
as someone who works full-time outside this world, it affords me time to dwell longer, should i choose; however, make no mistake – many are rightfully hurting but can’t afford to express outwardly for fear of losing hard-fought momentum. their livelihood depends on their personality being unflinching, unbothered, upbeat and enduring through the worst of times. entertainment demands it. please be kind, please be understanding, and above all please remember they are human and trying continually to bring levity and light to you. if you haven’t shown them appreciation, make sure to do so, and often.
continue to be more, to do better, and to be better.