Two Years Later
Two years ago I hit start broadcast and I had no idea what I was doing. Batman: Arkham Knight had just released and I decided to give this Twitch thing a shot. I mean it was easy enough with Twitch being built right into the Xbox One so what was there to lose? Going live was easy but it was a weird feeling. There was nobody there, I didn't have a camera or a microphone and it was just pure gameplay. I don't think I streamed for longer than five minutes but in those five minutes I watched the viewer count briefly tick from 0 to 1 and in that moment I was instantly sold. Suddenly playing a game went from being a passive experience to an active experience and I was dead set on pushing myself to be as entertaining as I possibly could.
I think I've gone back and forth on this second paragraph about eight times now. It's currently 11:38 P.M. and I'm waiting on a video to export so that I can go to bed. I'm a few hours away from starting my first ever 24 hour stream and it's as intimidating as it is exciting. I'm getting away from the point. I think if I had to sum up the biggest thing I've learned in these two years of streaming, it would be being comfortable with the unknown. The very idea of the unknown is something I've struggled with my entire life. At the core of who I am I continually grasp at futile attempts to rationalize unknowable outcomes until I get caught thinking in circles. However with streaming I've had to force myself to be okay with this. Streaming is an exercise with the unknown. When I hit 'go live,' I don't know what I'm going to say. I don't know what I'm going to joke about. I don't know if the stream is going to be stable the entire time. Hell, I don't always know who will be there. There are too many variables to know anything when I start a stream, but I've gotten to the point where I know I'm going to be okay. It's taken two years but I can say with confidence that I've found my voice as a streamer. That's something I've been given the space to develop largely due to the wonderful cast of friends, family, and community members who have given me the support to help figure this out as I go.
I'm still in awe when I think about how far this community has come. The early days are filled with memories of sparse chats and shorter streams but one by one you all started to fill in. I'm still surprised everytime I see names start to appear and chat slowly starts to populate with questions about each other's day and well being. If you were to pull back and look at what I'm doing on a weekly basis, I'm just a man in a room speaking out loud alone, but it never feels that way. The fact that I get to be a part of your day, that you all choose to let me in little by little is an honor I do not take lightly. There is warmth in seeing the amount of growth people have shown from the time they first appeared up to now. I value the opportunity to grow along side you and to have a space we can all lean on along the way.
I've talked about it before but the reason I fell in love with the show Community (I know Insinity) was because I found it at a very low point in my life. I connected with that show in a way that honestly felt like the creators were reaching through the tv and reassuring me that everything was okay. Finding a way to give a tenth of that back with our community is the fuel that continues to drive me every week. The Tap is a place to tune in and forget about the external problems, if only for a moment. A chance to hit pause and laugh a little, or just shoot the shit with each other. For every one person that's ever taken the time to let me know that this stream has helped them, changed them, or made them feel better (humble brag) I want them to know that it has done so equally for me. There have been plenty of times where this community has put a smile on my face on the toughest of days and I couldn't thank you enough.
Two years ago I didn't know what I was doing when I hit start stream for the first time. Today, I still don't know what I'm doing but I have the confidence to know it's going to be okay. The encouragement from family and friends to keep striving to be better. The kindness from this community to support us. I've made peace with the idea that if tomorrow was the last time I ever hit 'go live,' and this was the height of all there was to accomplish, then I couldn't be prouder of what we've done together. The people I've met and had the chance to include in my life has changed me significantly. Wherever this road takes us, I'm happy we're going together.
Thank You <3
Streamer, writer, creator. One day I woke up painfully aware of my existence and I've been apologizing for it ever since.