It’s okay to not be okay.
As a broadcaster, livestreamer, content creator… whatever you want to call us, there’s this unwritten expectation from a majority of both viewers and industry peers alike that we always have to be “on” — that we aren’t allowed to take days off, to show human emotions, to… “always be the best version of you that you can be” and while I agree that it’s important to almost pretend like nothing is ever wrong and that we are living the dream of being a broadcaster…
That’s not the case.
That’s never the case.
I was told a couple years back that my actions on social media — what I talk about, display on my feeds, RT to my followers — all of that is a reflection of who I am and what I believe in.
But then I was told this:
You have to pretend like you’re invincible — that nothing ever gets you down. Your personal life is exactly that: personal. The outside world never has to know what’s going on inside.
At the time, I believed it. I started hiding most of my emotions from social media and started to only discuss my issues, my problems, and my emotions privately: close friends, broadcasting peers… people that I genuinely trusted.
But my problem with that mentality is this:
You are hiding who you are from the people that know you the best: your community. If you want to be “just a broadcaster” or “just a personality” then sure, pretend that nothing is ever wrong.
But that doesn’t work for me — that’ll never work for me.
I’m not here to argue the pros and cons of being open with your community — because I definitely understand the blurring of those lines (and the dangers that lie within that). I’m here to share what’s been going on with me and why it’s okay… to not be okay.
At the start of June, I posted this image and pinned it for the entire month to my Twitter profile so I could see it every single day. I knew June was going to be a tough month for me physically (w/ E3 + Anime Expo), mentally (as we began prep for PAX West and TwitchCon activations), and emotionally… Because at the end of the month, on top of everything else, I was going to be closing a personal chapter of my life and could finally start looking towards the future.
I initially thought closing that chapter of my life would be clean cut — that I would be able to shut the door, move on, and not look back. It’s only been 3 weeks since the closing of that chapter, but not a single day has gone by without me shedding numerous tears over that decision.
That one chapter of my life shaped who I have become in this industry. I wouldn’t be the director of Main Menu without it, I would have turned down Tiltify’s Community Manager position, and, quite honestly, I would have quit streaming by now and moved on with my life as a teacher.
I owe that chapter of my life everything.
But I also understood that it was a chapter of my life that NEEDED to end.
This chapter of my life was holding me back, making me wish I did things differently… making me want to go back to my teaching roots and to leave this world of content creation behind… It was a temptation that I never wanted to admit was a desire of mine, but there would be days, weeks, and even months where I wish I could have my simple life back.
This is why my mind has been conflicted and my heart hasn’t been in my streams as of late. I started to develop a sense of doubt in my own abilities… that I don’t belong where I am today.
It’s because of this that I had to step away, but I didn’t want to go on hiatus — tagging yourself as going “on hiatus” from your broadcast is almost worse than straight-up quitting. Taking short breaks, a day or two off to refocus… all of those things are SO much better than saying “hiatus” because hiatus suggests an extended pause, rather than a step away to breathe.
So I used the excuse of Anime Expo as a way of taking a week off — and my best friend visiting for a week to limit my time online.
But I also knew that something else was standing in my way — something much more than just this chapter of my life.
And I finally came face to face with it this week.
This picture won’t mean anything to 99.9% of you.
This was the last place where I felt “okay” in my life — 11 years ago. While I won’t get into the meaning because… well… there’s no reason to, I will mention that this place — this hill — means… meant everything to me.
And just the other day, I was finally able to say goodbye.
For 11 years, I held on to something that I struggled to comprehend since I was a teenager — a piece of my life that I refused to let go of. But it wasn’t until this year — this month — this week — that I finally understood why it was so important and why I needed to finally let it go.
Yes, I had an emotional attachment to a hill.
It was on this day — July 12th, 2017 — that, with the help of my best friend, I was finally able to let go of my safe place… so I could finally create new memories, feel new emotions, and, most importantly, stop being so emotionally attached to an inanimate object.
It was also on this day, where I felt free again.
Free to feel and express my emotions — to feel that same passion for streaming that I hadn’t felt in SO long… to focus on what’s important to me and to easily let go of everything that’s not. This freedom was liberating — but also scary… because without my safe place to retreat to, I can only continue to move forward.
Yes, my life is still chaotic — I have Quest for the Cause, GameStop Expo, PAX West, XPO Game Festival, TwitchCon, BlizzCon, and the Viewboat Cruise over the next 5 months. My personal life is also fairly shitty, but I’m working on it — and without my past holding me back, I think I can finally move forward with that as well.
But at least now, I can focus on what’s important:
My friends, my stream, my cat, and my life.
My doubt still exists — which is why it’s okay to not be okay: it reminds us that we’re human; that nothing is perfect… that I will never be perfect.
But I never want to be perfect.
I just want to be me.