My hairstylist thinks that I do a podcast. It was a tiny misconception that I never corrected and let build for the last four years. Social anxiety and ineptitude for common conversation left me adrift in search of a hairstylist for a long time, so when I found one that I was comfortable with, letting them believe that I run a podcast instead of a stream seemed like a decent trade-off. We have three different topics we can easily drift in and out of. Movies, travel, and my podcast. I know I’m not the hero in this situation, but there’s an appropriate level of karmic retribution when a few weeks ago my stylist once again asked, ‘How’s the podcast going,’ and the only thing I could say was, ‘it’s going good.’ I didn’t want to get into it right then in the chair, one because I didn’t know how I would handle it emotionally, and two because I had a lot of retroactive explaining to do. Instead, we shifted back to movies.
It’s been about a month since the last time that I streamed, without a doubt marking the longest I’ve ever gone without going live since the start. Questions of what’s next and post stream life are pretty common and honestly, my answer has been pretty consistently boring. Sleep. Most nights I would stream until about 10:30 sometimes 11, and by the time I fell asleep, it was closer to midnight if I was lucky. I’d sleep for five hours and then get up to go to work. Come home and repeat the process all over again. Now I’ve been trying to make it a point to be in bed by 8 so that I can read a book and be asleep by 9. So despite how boring the answer is, getting better sleep has been my first step in the after. I know it’s the right answer, but eventually, there has to be more.
It feels like I’ve spent the last four years screaming at the top of my lungs and I’ve made a very conscious decision to step back and be more directed with my online presence. Waiting until I have something to say before just throwing stuff out there. If you’ve ever streamed then you’re all too familiar with the post stream come down. The moment in between letting the channel you hosted know you’re gonna lurk and actually getting up to do whatever it is you need to attend to. It’s quiet and reflective. I feel that on a macro level, and it’s like coming to terms with an existential exhaustion you’ve carried but kept in a corner until you were ready. Maybe just not talk to your hairstylist kind of ready. There is a tinge of guilt that boils up whenever I start to think about what’s next, mainly because I don’t have an answer yet, but I know it’s only been a month so I’m trying to keep my guilt in check. In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying the ability to observe more. I made it a goal this year to watch more of the videos and movies that get suggested to me. Low stakes resolutions, sure, but attainable goals, yo. I’ve been enjoying the ability to spend time with streams I rarely got the chance to pop in and getting to know people’s communities more. I’ve also been going out and spending time with local friends, something I’ve shamefully let go by the wayside. It’s still too early to tell, but it feels as though I’ve shifted from one end of the spectrum to the other.
So much of my life was spent with streaming being the priority, and now that it’s on the back burner, I’m going back to just being Trey again. I told a friend that I felt like streaming shouldn’t be the only interesting thing about me. He said, ‘fuck you,’ and insisted that that perception was wrong. Maybe, but I know that somewhere in the middle of the spectrum is where I want to be. It’s a muscle I need to break, but not forget. It’s a phantom limb that I miss but not ready to use again. Back in early October, I took a trip to Austin before starting the last stretch of streams. Due to various reasons, I never actually got to meet the host of the BnB I was staying at until it was time to check out. As I was loading bags into my car, the host spotted me from her garden and stopped what she was doing to address me. She had a large sun hat and dress on and had been pruning dead leaves off all her plants. She looked at me and through a smile prophetically said, “You know you gotta get rid of the old stuff if you want things to grow. It’s the perfect time to do that.’ I smiled back and laughed along. That moment has stuck with me and it was more emblematic than she’ll ever know.
All right, enough waxing poetically. It always feels guilty, there’s that word again, to open up about this stuff because I never want it to come across as an invitation for pity. I expressed that same sentiment leading up to writing the last blog post and a friend of mine said that even if it feels weird, it’s good to put those thoughts out there because you never know who’s going through the same thing. She’s right, so I’m doing my best to push through and share where I’m at with others. It’s another one of my goals to write a blog post per month so it’s with that spirit that I share this first entry. So as a wrap-up, here’s a quick rundown of what January’s been like. I think easily the biggest thing was getting to attend Pax South and reconnect with old friends and meet people I haven’t had the chance to meet yet. It’s funny, leading up to the event I never had an answer for what I was excited to see the most at Pax South, mainly because the biggest draw was just the people. Pax was just the background. In fact, I think a lot of the major highlights from the weekend stems from outside events. Bar chill outs at Ernie’s, The Variety Pack dinner, the Brunch Squad, and finally trying cheesecake with Nej, Leech, Hroth, and CrackingRex. Yes. I’ve made it 29 years without ever eating cheesecake and every bite was a monument to my stupidity. I would have two pieces more by the time the trip was over. Getting to meet face to face with people you’ve become close with online never ceases to be amazing. It’s another goal this year to continue this trend of traveling to meet up with people, whether it be at cons or picking a place to go. I’ll be sure to detail where I’m going to ensure I get to meet as many people as I can. So yeah, that’s gonna do it for now. Like I said at the top, I’m definitely making a conscious decision to be more reserved but I’m still around in the Discord and reading social media religiously. I’m never too far if you need me. Until then, hope you all have a highlight worthy month.
There have been so many different versions of this blog post. Some angsty, some super sugary with the thank yous, and some just unable to come to a coherent point. The central problem is that I don’t know how you put something to rest that you’ve done for four years. I originally started writing this all the way back in October and would constantly try and chip away at it but it never felt right. So instead of decided to chunk everything and start fresh. Shortly after announcing that I was ending things I had a streaming friend reach out to me and ask, ‘How did you make peace with it?’ The only answer I could give them was that ‘I’d let them know when I did.’ I think there’s a part of me that was hoping that in the time between announcing it and now I would have it figured out. That I’d be able to walk away at peace with it, but I’d be lying if I said it’s not something I’m still struggling with. It feels weird to come to the decision that you need to move on even though you’re good at something. I’ll go even deeper and say there are intrusive thoughts echoing sentiments of failure. Feeling like I gave up.
Now before that raises any alarms or swift feelings of needing to reassure, know that I’m okay. There’s a valley of difference between what we know and what we feel and bridging that gap of insecurity has been what has continuously been the answer all along. It’s you all. How could I look back on anything we’ve done in the last four years and call it a failure? That central nugget is what’s helping me come to peace. Before, I was going about it from the wrong perspective. I was acting like a toddler that was being told it’s time for bed. I was too focused on myself when the obvious answer was that this was never about me. It was about us. Flipping that switched helped me realize that the way you put this to rest is by honoring the people who made this place special. The people who gave a damn, not just about the stream, but about each other. It starts down to the central question, ‘What’s been the highlight of your day?’ Time and time again I asked that simple question and you all answered. You all searched for the brightest spot of your days and chose to share them. Some days were good, some days were harder than others, but regardless of the day, we shared them together. You made that happen. When I look back on all of this, the biggest sense of pride I’ll have is to be able to trace back the friendships and connections made through this corner of the Internet. That’s what it’s about. What it’s always been about.
What’s been the highlight of your day? I need to know. That last part is something we’ve made jokes about throughout the years, but I think there’s something more subconscious to it than even I realized until recently. Before all this streaming stuff happened, I was an incredibly cynical person. I had fallen deep into the ‘people are the worst. I’d rather be alone,’ mantra. I was slowly cutting myself off from social connections and at the risk of sounding melodramatic, I stopped caring in general. I could spend a million years looking back on it and never find the answer, but for some reason streaming called out to me. It didn’t make sense. I was incredibly shy, I never put myself anywhere near the spotlight, and I couldn’t hold a conversation but I still went live. I barely streamed for five minutes and the nerves were still there, but something compelled me to do it again. So I went live again the next week. Then the next, and so on. You know the story from there. It’s so funny to me to hear other people describe me as a positive and caring person, because when this started that certainly wasn’t the case. You all changed me over time. So every time I asked, ‘What’s been the highlight of your day? I need to know,’ I needed to know because it reminded me not to slip back into cynicism. I needed to know because it held me accountable to the truth I discovered along the way. That even in the hardest days there’s always something good to look back on, no matter how small.
After making the decision to end things, I had a local friend ask me what I’d say to someone who was just getting into the streaming space. ‘Disregard the doubts but trust your limits,’ was my answer. I think there will be those that wonder if this was the result of burn out or believing I wasn’t good enough, but that couldn’t be further from the case. Sadly, it was the result of losing faith in the idea of doing this full time and that’s a fire that isn’t easy to reignite, but I would be ashamed if people took the wrong lesson from this. One of the earliest lessons I learned in regards to the actual practice of streaming is that you are your only constant. There are an unquantifiable amount of variables that go into streaming, but if you know who you are, what you want, and why you do it, then embracing the unknown is a lot easier. The greatest advice I’ve ever been given came from Freddie Wong in a keynote at RTX. ‘With the Internet, the question isn’t is there an audience, but where is the audience?’ There’s power in realizing that when you’re true to yourself and what makes you happy it’ll draw people in. Streaming has always been a slippery slope because for the first time in a lot of our lives we have quantifiable data about how people feel about us. It’s so easy to let numbers dictate that narrative but the truth is that the numbers aren’t a representation of who we are but a representation of our strategy. Strategies can and should always be reevaluated, but letting the numbers question your worth is a constant battle. One I urge you to fight through the doubts with. You are more than your numbers, but should the day come that you’ve hit your limit, that’s okay too. We’re fed this idea that you have to constantly, ‘keep grinding,’ or ‘be patient,’ but that’s just the song of Pied Pipers who’ve made it. The reality is ‘making it,’ is subjective and we all have different paths. Only you know what works for you.
There have been countless times I’ve spoken with streaming peers and issued out, ‘I think to stay sane in the streaming space you have to make peace with realizing that if things ended tomorrow and you’ve reached the height of what you could do, that it would be enough.’ As I’m writing this things do end tomorrow, and I’m having to put into practice my own words. I’ve looked up to the Internet and online creators for as long as I can remember. It was a dream to be able to get up there and do what they do. I watched in awe as people like Phillip Defranco, Rooster Teeth, and Harmontown created these environments where people felt like they belonged. It was my dream. We’re never promised that the dream will last, but I see now that for four years I lived my dream. I will never be able to convey just how much this meant to me. To have the chance to make things that people were genuinely excited for. On my hard days, I turned to the Internet to help get me through and to have been able to turn around and give a percentage of that back has brought me fulfillment. I’m heading into this new year moving on from streaming and there’s a part of me that is scared, but I’m comforted by the notion that as improbable as whatever it is I do next is, streaming was just as improbable and it still happened. I have a poster that hangs to the right of me filled with incredibly kind words from you all that helps remind me that this crazy experiment happened. (Thank you, Bubbz) I have clips that highlight all our incredibly chaotic and hilarious moments together. I have music and art that represent this community in ways that I’ll never forget. Time may erode the structures of what we built, but this community turned into a family, and I’ll have that forever.
One final advice. If you’re looking to build a community one of the easiest things you can do is to give the community a simple rule. One that is easy to follow but not the end of the world if it’s broken. It gives people a chance to teach others if the rule is broken. It gives people a sense of purpose that the place they’re hanging out in is more than just another forum. It gives people a chance to care. If I had to boil it down that’s what these last four years have taught me most of all. When given the chance, people do care. That’s why we kept #thetaplounge free of links and images.
Thank you for everything. You mean more to me than you’ll ever know. I know this isn’t the end, but until next time, See ya later, Internet.
I’m moving back to Twitch. It’s been an incredible year plus journey over on Mixer and I’m unbelievably thankful for the people that I’ve met along the way. I’m also incredibly thankful for the opportunity I was given to work with and be a part of the Variety Pack team. That team has grown in ways I never expected. There’s this perception that there’s not enough variety over on Mixer but that team has been a resounding rebuttal stating, ‘Variety is most definitely here.’ I can’t tell you how cool that is. Between the team and the Mixer community, I’ve met people who I genuinely consider friends and I know they have significantly impacted my life. My time on Mixer was meant to be a three-month experiment, but it ended up being a much longer stay. It taught me to be more resourceful and reevaluate my entire streaming process. I’m really proud of the things I’ve done this year, and a large part of it has to do with the growth I’ve seen with my time on Mixer and learning from the people in that community. I found a family.
There’s a part of me that fears moving back to Twitch will be seen as a disapproval of Mixer. I still very much believe in the platform and believe in the people there, but my overall goals with streaming have changed. I’m moving back to Twitch to finish out the year and then I’ll be hanging up streaming for a while. It’s been an incredible four years chasing this pursuit of full-time streaming, but I can’t help but feel it’s time to put a bow on this. I’m proud of everything I’ve been able to experience these last four years, but when I look at the next four years I’m not sure holding on to this idea of full time streaming and treating it like a job is what I should be doing. It was always a long shot, and I think I’ve reached a point where I can say that I gave it my all. I’ve never put as much energy into something as I have streaming. I love it with all my heart. But, I think it’s time to see what’s next. What better way to bring this to a close then to go back to where I started?
I could never give up streaming entirely, but I know that I’m very much an all or nothing kind of person. I’m gonna need an extended break from streaming before I introduce casual streaming again, otherwise, I know I’ll slowly creep my way back up to putting as much time in it as I have these last few years. So here’s the general roadmap for how this is going to play out. I’m gonna finish September on Mixer. I’ll be taking an IRL vacation through the first week of October, but when I get back I’ll resume streaming on Twitch. We’ll finish out the year with the same schedule that we’ve been doing through December 28th. We’ll have our annual 24-hour stream on December 28th and sunset this together.
I’ve gone back and forth on whether it’s the right call to announce that I’m hanging things up for a while. Seems overly dramatic, but hey you all know me well enough by now. I mean the biggest tip-off is that I refer to the stream in seasons, right? Ultimately, letting you all know where I’m at and what I’m planning feels like the right move. I let out a series of tweets where I hinted this was on my mind. I said that I’m the kind of cheesy that would use a GIF of Captain America saying, ‘I can do this all day,’ to pump myself up, but sooner or later the day eventually ends. I really don’t want it to end without saying goodnight. This way we get to say goodnight together.
If you have any questions, you know how to reach me. I’ll have more to say later on in the year as we get closer to the 24-hour stream. You know I tend to write novels, so buckle up for the next post. Until then, as always, thank you for your time. <3
So keeping up with a weekly blog didn't turn out to be so weekly after all. That's okay. You're here now and while I have you I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you. Depending on when you read this, today is my three year anniversary. I know. I'm surprised too. My history has like a 2 year commitment max, but this little Tap experience just turned 3. We're officially in 'setting the bar,' territory and let me tell you that that's equal parts cool and scary. Things have changed since the last time I wrote so I'm gonna do my best to fill you in and thank you for this year. This blog post comes in bulk.
Of all years, season 3 of TheTapStream has been the most humbling. I took the most amount of time off than any previous year. I hit a lot of walls mentally and even questioned whether or not I wanted to keep at this or hang it up. (Told you it was a 2 year max level of commitment for me.) In many ways I felt that I regressed as an entertainer. I kept wrestling with this question, 'How do I know the difference between quitting and knowing when to move on from something that's not working?" That question haunted me on so many sleepless nights this year. We've covered imposter syndrome in previous blogs so I won't go down that road again, but you get the idea of where I've been at my lows this year. So yeah, consider this guy humbled. Luckily, all stories need their protagonists to be humbled otherwise Woody never sets aside his differences to become friends with Buzz. Marlin never learns to trust Dory even when he's afraid of letting go. Peter Parker never learns that his strength is more than the gadgets in his suit.
Spoilers for those movies by the way. The main takeaway is that I know I'll look back on this year as a turning point for me. I really had to dig in and reflect on who I am as a streamer and what my ultimate goal is. I want to be a content creator. I want this to be my job. Plain and simple. When I say humbled it's more than just taking gut punches, it's also about recognizing the time scale that I'm working with. I've spent the last three years learning how to be a great streamer. I've only spent one of those years really pushing to make sure that content is being put in front of eyeballs. I've only spent a fraction of that time learning external skills such as video editing, photoshopping, and social media management to accompany what I'm making. I haven't even begun to tackle the business strategies that I've internally referred to as 'we'll cross that bridge when we get there.' Yeah. I've got a lot to learn. 3 years is a long time, but in the grand scheme of things I'm just getting started. Even more so now that I've made the move to Mixer. Oh yeah. That's one of the 'things have changed,' tidbits from the first paragraph.
Moving to Mixer was the hardest thing I've done this year. Streaming and Twitch were synonymous to me when I got started. When I envisioned what success meant, it meant becoming a Twitch partner and rising through the ranks on Twitch. It was all I knew given how limited my scope of success was. Listening to established full time streamers put me on a different path. Specifically, ProfessorBroman was the one who shouted from the rooftops that anyone seeking full time status should be seriously starting on Mixer, citing "Mixer is where Twitch was when they got started." Making the move to Mixer would have been easier if it all it meant was redefining my idea of success. What made it so hard to move was that this project isn't just me anymore. We're a community. You reading this. We're apart of this weird thing called TheTapStream. Making that decision meant seriously disrupting the ecosystem we created together. Whenever I describe what streaming means to me I'm quick to mention that it's an honor that you, the community members, have allowed me to become a daily routine in your life. That's what this means to me and asking you to change that was, is, and always will be more than I should and could ask of you. But I did anyway.
Time is the only way we'll find out if Mixer is the right move for me. What I did learn? How fucking fortunate I am to be surrounded by the people in this community. There's no sentence I can write that will adequately convey just how much it means to me every time I see a familiar face hop into the stream now that we've made this move. Even if only for a moment. Kiko can't even view the stream without going into audio only mode and they're still there just about every stream. (<3) That's not even beginning to touch on joining the Mixer community and finding new faces that I admire and respect. Streamers who have helped inspire and reevaluate my process. New community members who help shape the culture and what we're doing. We've all coalesced into this group of people who genuinely care about each other and that above else is special. When I searched for a stream channel name I called it TheTapStream because it was always supposed to be bigger than myself. 3 years later TheTapStream is all of you. Everyone of you that tunes into share your highlights. Everyone of you that tunes in even when you don't have a highlight but lean on the community to get you through days that aren't as easy. Everyone of you that lift me up on days where mental walls seem insurmountable or gut punches feel swifter than before. You all are good people. Simply good people. I'm surrounded by good people and I have nothing to fear as long as you are around.
So yeah, I'm extremely fortunate and it's not an understatement when I refer to my community as family. I'm often asked why I made the jump to Mixer and I'm always quick to list the reasons why growing with a platform is better than trying to push through the saturation on a more popular one. I'll say, "I'm not streaming on Mixer for what it is today, but for what it could be tomorrow." I'm taking my shot in hoping that Mixer will have a better tomorrow, but for now you, yes you, are making it a better today every day. So thank you.
Season three of TheTapStream is without a doubt the hardest one I've been through. I hit low lows and wrestled with the question "How do I know the difference between giving up and moving on from something that's not working?" I'm looking towards season four with a renewed sense of purpose. A new understanding that I'm going to have to take risks and gamble on things that may or may not work. A new understanding that the difference between giving up and moving on is not being afraid to try. Thank you for giving me that courage. Thank you for the year. Thank you making this home.
2015. After waiting in line for about half an hour, we started slowly ushering into the auditorium where we would watch Star Wars The Force Awakens. One by one the usher tore our tickets allowing each person in. Eventually, I make my way to the front of the line, and as I'm handing my ticket over someone rushes into the front lobby, yells a major spoiler for the film, and then rushes out. The usher hands me my ticket back and I walk into the auditorium angry but with nothing really to do.
Dramatic? Yeah, but I gotta write something to lure people into wanting to read right? That's a true story though, and one that coincided with a declaration that I wouldn't let spoilers control me that much. Leading up to that event I had gotten to the point where I would wear headphones into the theater, so as not to be spoiled by the people walking out. I would take extended breaks from the Internet so that I wouldn't accidentally come across an angry commenter out to ruin other people's fun. I did everything in my power to minimize the spoilers, and it was becoming exhausting. I got to the point where I decided that I was going to stop. All these steps I was taking was just building up a pressure valve of disappointment that spoiler folks were seeking to burst. Reactions. That's all they want out of you, reactions. What better way to combat their meaningless antics than with the flippancy of teenage apathy.
The Star Wars spoiler was enough to rile me up but I held onto the attitude that I shouldn't give these people the satisfaction they wanted. That mentality helped me forge the same resolve for streaming. I've come to the realization that as the streamer I'm going to get spoiled for stuff. It's going to happen. Whether it be a digital equivalent of Star Wars lobby boy running in with a drive-by shout, or a well-meaning person looking to discuss whatever big event is happening. It's gonna happen. Yet, the paranoia found new life in wanting to shield my community from these people. Or at least that's the trojan horse it used to enter my mindspace again. If you haven't guessed by now, this is leading towards Infinity War.
I texted a cousin of mine about a week before the early movie premiere that he should consider staying away from the stream until he saw the movie. I explained to him that random spoilers had been a pretty annual thing with whatever huge release was coming and I knew how much Infinity War meant to him. I even made posts about it in our discord, reminding people to take extra caution and be wary about the places they visited online. As the movie's release got closer though my mind kept fixating on ways to help prevent issues, so I got to work. Any hint of spoilers I would immediately private message the person to clarify what they meant, (Sorry Kelamin). I went into my banned words list on Twitch and added every MCU Superhero I could think of to discourage random spoils. I turned on follower only mode so that you had to be following for at least a certain amount of time before you could even chat. I removed all follow alerts so that cleverly named usernames wouldn't pop up on stream. I created a brand new discord server specifically for Avengers talk so that I could redirect conversation there. Finally, I didn't stream to any game directories so that it would be harder for newcomers to even find the stream. Yeah, I might have reached Iron Man 3 level of paranoia.
As you can tell, I found myself right back to the same mentality I had prior to Star Wars The Force Awakens. I was letting spoilers control me and once again it was exhausting. Ultimately, it's a movie, it doesn't matter but at the same time, I find joy in experiencing it as fresh as possible. Something like Infinity War is the culmination of 10 years of groundwork, something that will most likely not happen again in my lifetime. It's easy to get wrapped up in the moment. I don't regret any of the steps I took to prevent knowing more about the film than I wanted, but I'm still finding myself coming back to why it's something we even have to do in the first place. I don't have any answers. Honestly, the only reason I'm writing this is to get off my chest. Even though I remained spoiler free there's still this feeling of being left with egg on my face for how strict I handled all this. Maybe I'm being hyper-aware of the grand scheme silliness. Maybe this was one long text-based exhale of two weeks of careful Internet browsing. Maybe I'm not proud of how easily obsessive I become. (thetapLurk anyone?) There's still truth to the idea that at a certain point I have to let go of how much spoilers matter to me. When you give in and react it only incentives people to keep finding ways to get a rise. It's a chicken-egg situation that may never have a solution.
I can say this though, thank you. I'm fortunate that I have a community that worked to keep our chat as spoiler free as possible. I'm fortunate that I have a mod team that is willing to listen and bounce ideas off on how to combat this for me and the community. Manny, Becca, Kiko, Aero_Ken, Dav, and Tate are all wonderful people who helped reign in as much of the talks as we could. I couldn't do this without them. So thank you.
I'm actually out with some friends right now. I didn't know if I'd be back in time to write a full length blog post but I didn't want to leave it blank. So instead here is a video that I put together after realizing that I don't lead an active enough life to own a go pro. Buyer's remorse? 100%
I gotta be honest. After last week's blog I've been struggling on where I wanted to go this week. There seems to be a trend that I'm only ever really writing when I'm super stressed or worried, otherwise it just becomes a laundry list of what I'm doing at TheTapStream. So, I figured fuck it. Have the video of me being attacked by a duck. I've talked about it enough on stream before why not show it?
Are you done laughing? No? I'll wait.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, last week's blog was a bit on the stressed side. However, despite the fact that I asked you not to, people still reached out for which I thank you. Doubt is fear that's made it's mind up. Everyone of you that commented, messaged, or tweeted me helped realise that there is very little to fear. Except I guess following orders. I'm kidding. Seriously Trey, you've got to learn to accept compliments.
God of War dropped this week and I think that might be the highlight of my week. I'm a newcomer to the series but there seems to be enough distance between it and its predecessors that I don't feel lost. This newest entry is showing maturity and pensiveness of which I never saw in the originals. Again, never played them, but from an outside perspective there always seemed to be this caricature of blood, sex, and violence that was continuously on display. However, this latest entry is tackling themes of loss, and unhealthy emotional coping. Gameplay wise it's an absolute delight. There's heft behind every attack, and the ability to throw your axe and summon it back to you at any time is so incredibly satisfying. I couldn't help but scream, "I'm THOR," the first time I used it and the imagery has stayed in my head since. I'm still on this side of the halfway point but God of War is already shaping up to be one of my favorite games of 2018, a spot previously held by Celeste. Now to figure out how I'm going to juggle finishing Kingdom Hearts and God of War this week. monkaS. (For the non twitch people that's an emote. It's a thing. Don't ask.)
Another pretty big highlight of the week is that my podcast, Nobody Knows What We're Doing is now on iTunes, Pocket Casts, Anchor, and Overcast. I've been wanting to do a podcast since 2008 and the fact that I'm in a position to do so is exciting. The latest episode features an interview with a designer from the Aroma.io app team and it was so fun to get to sit down with them. Speaking candidly? I was ready to let the podcast die. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, not good promoting skills on my part right? I had done the two episodes with Skini Mini and Carelessrex and I enjoyed them, but there was doubt that I would be able to continue it in a consistent fashion. (There's that doubt again.) But like most of my endeavors these days, I was inspired by the ProfessorBroman podcast to keep trying. He said perfectionism is the enemy of good. We get so fixated on trying to make things so perfect that we rarely finish the things we set out to do. There's this emotional pressure that we let build up on this idea that things have to be perfect or its not worth releasing. And as we agonize over minute details we lose the spark that set this creativity in motion in the first place. I was so dead set on trying to find a way to make Nobody Knows What We're Doing a weekly podcast until I realized, fuck it. I'm striving for monthly, and if I hit it, I hit it. But in time I'll get better. I'll find ways to optimize the time it takes record, edit, and publish one. I'll get better. Seeing my podcast up on iTunes and Pocket Casts, and soon Spotify and Stitcher was the spark I needed to continue. Vanity has its uses I suppose.
I start Keto tomorrow. I don't have much to say other than dieting has always been hard for me and my track record with diets is worse than my track record of Sharknado movie nights with the community. However, I've been on the plus side of weight gain these last few months and I'm not ready to let the hard work of last year go to waste. I got down to 250, I'm back up to 269. I want to hit 200 by the end of the year so Keto it is. Plus, if I can get in shape and hit my ideal weight I'm buying a Captain America costume. A good one. So, there's my motivation. Hold me to it.
PS This time next week I will have seen Infinity War and BOY. BOYYYY.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
It finally happened, I finally missed a blog post entry last week. Faced with the choice of getting sleep and staying up to write another post I ended up going with more sleep. For those who don't know, I'm in the lawn service business and that means that this time of year is my busiest time of year. Energy levels have been on the lower end of things, which really hasn't helped my 'Be Everywhere,' motto, but I'm working on better time management. I've already made the decision to end streams and hour earlier than usual until I can catch up with more sleep. Tonight doesn't count though.
Introductions aside, I actually had a really productive day today. Finished up and packaged the Tap Shirts for the Charity stream incentives and will have those out tomorrow, which only leaves the Alien Isolation videos to make. I've been getting confirmation from others that the postcards I sent earlier this week have finally made their way to some people so that's a sense of relief too. I once told a friend that everyone I know and care about is within driving distance so I never really had to mail out stuff before. A lot has changed since being introduced to streaming and it's been so nice being able to send stuff to people.
I feel like my streams have been all over the place lately with unexpected schedule changes and unhealthy fixations on beating games that are just within reach of my skill level (glares of CupHead). I don't think I've addressed it fully in the blog, but CarelessRex and I have made the decision to permanently move our Multi-Monday streams to Mixer. The co-streaming feature over there allows us to have our videos side by side and synced so that people don't have to rely on third party websites to do it for them. Our viewer count and chat is combined as well so there's no longer too much juggling between us and we can manage it all in one spot. Mixer seriously is the best place to do multi-streaming. Back on the Twitch side of things I've still been chipping away at Kingdom Hearts. We're actually really close to the end of the game and I'm fairly certain I'll be able to wrap it up by Wednesday. Which leaves us perfectly ready to tackle the new God of War on Friday. For the record, the God of War stream will be held on Twitch. Fridays have been reserved for our Mixer streams as of late but due to the inconsistencies of my schedule I'm still trying to service the Twitch side of things for the time being. Mixed signals much? Maybe. I wish I had more time.
If I were to pin down the highlight of my week I honestly think it would be the Matt and Kim concert I went to on Friday. I've seen them before and the easily became one of my all time favorite live acts, and this last experience only further cemented that fact. The energy that they bring to their live shows is unbelievable, and their ability to cover and sample rap songs in between their songs is masterful. I went with four of my cousins, one of which is FrankieFastHandz from the stream. I saw him let loose in a way I've never seen him before, and as he emerged from the mosh pit wide eyed and with an exclamation of, "THAT WAS AMAZING," I knew that this weekend was special. I think this makes three years in a row that I've been to a live show with my cousins? I want to keep that trend up. Oh, by the way I totally embedded a song by TwinKids called Jigoku Tengoku. They were the opening act for Matt and Kim and I honestly can not stop listening to this song. I highly recommend it.
Still wondering why the blog post started with the definition of Imposter Syndrome? It's something I wanted to be open about in this post, but I felt important to lessen the blow by waiting to talk about it until the end. I think the thing that's hard about this is that the initial reaction to people going through this is to assure them that the opposite is true. I promise I'm not fishing for that. My goal for 2018 has simply been to be everywhere. In doing so I'm finding myself surrounded by more and more creative people and it's one of the most rewarding feelings. The thing that fuels me creatively is being in the presence of other creative people and being able to champion their passions of creativity. However, there looms this mental darkness that keeps chipping away at the confidence that I belong. Stop it, I'm not fishing. Honestly, the best way to describe this comes from Toy Story 3. You know how the movie opens up with the action being matter of fact only to be abruptly revealed as the imagination of Andy? There's this disconnect between Andy's imagination and reality and when it cuts to the real world, it's a hard cut. That's the fear. That's the imposter syndrome. How much is the work I'm doing here Andy's imagination, and how much is being boxed up and shipped off to daycare? Still not fishing, stop it. I know it's not true, you here reading it is living proof that it's not true. The people that take time out of their day to engage with the things I'm making is proof. The friendships I have made is proof. But, that's what makes imposter syndrome a bitch. It only worsens the more I add to my work flow. Another avenue for doubt to come strolling through. I've done my best to downplay it these last few weeks for reasons stated above but I feel comfortable being more open about it here. The people reading this blog are the most entrenched in the shenanigans going on here so I'm trusting that I'm painting an adequate enough picture to recognize that I'm okay. In fact, I'm hoping that it's enough reassurance for others who may be feeling the same to be like, "yeah okay, me too." I think 'never going to be enough," is just a weight that a lot creative people carry. It works the muscle that pushes people to constantly keep improving, to constantly keep changing, to constantly be working. However, sometimes that muscle is sore as fuck. I guess right now I'm just really sore. It'll pass, but I'm sore.
On February 6th I received a discord message from LaceyaFinley detailing a project to raise money for Child's Play. She invited me to guest stream along with the other talented members of EPIC Streamers and I said yes. The next several weeks went into preparing for this weekend, and the fruits of their labors were on full display. EPIC Streamers set a goal of raising $4,000 dollars and they have doubled it as I'm writing this. You ask me what the highlight of my week was? Watching our communities come together for such an amazing cause.
The charity marathon started this past Friday and by the end of the day, they had already hit half their goal. Stream after stream, I popped in and watched as generous people from all over donated and hyped up the cause. Streamers kept the event going with so many amazing incentives. Singing, dancing, drawing, exercising, eating, storytelling, the list goes on. Admins and moderators handled chat and giveaways while also keeping the chat lively. The weekend was a blast. My personal stream slot was at 11:00 PM CDT March 31st and I gotta be honest, I was a nervous wreck. I was pacing up and down the house only stopping to bend over because I had never done something like this before. I was going through test after test to make sure everything I had set up was ready. Self-doubt was starting to creep in. I don't write this to fish for anything, but to emphasize how much it means to me to see my corner of the Internet come together and rally along with me.
Within moments of going live, I was reassured of the incredible group of people I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by. Video games are what united us and the fact that we can take our passion for what was once seen as a childish act and turn it into a force for good? I'm humbled. Perpetually humbled. So thank you. Thank you Laceya for inviting me on. Thank You Epic Streamers for the organization, talent, and hard work you put towards this. And thank you to my community. Almost 24 hours later and I'm still processing this. Sometimes I'm still confused on how it happened, but I am fortunate to have met every one of you. You continually brighten my day and I am a better person because of you.
(WE START BY DIPPING THEM IN WARM MILK CHOCOLATE, AND ALLOWING TO REST FOR 15 MINUTES. THE COOKIES ARE THEN SERVED WITH A GLASS OF COLD MILK)