Yes, they should.

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“We are still paying all the salaries I’m sure.”

This was a family member’s first reaction upon hearing last week that public libraries were closing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frankly, I hope we are still paying the library employees’ salaries. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin recently stated that unemployment rates could reach 20% if the government does not act on a proposed Coronavirus rescue package. According to the Marist Poll, 18% of American households have reported a job loss or reduced hours as a result of businesses closing in the wake of the pandemic.

I’m one of those people. My income vanished practically overnight as gaming events, where I work as a host and interviewer, began cancelling. But this post isn’t about me. It’s about the crucial library staff whose jobs are now in danger, as well as the country-wide ramifications we’d experience should the unemployment rate actually hit 20%. …

Let’s do what we can to make gaming more accessible to all.

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Photo by marianne bos on Unsplash

As a profession, I host gaming and esports events. Over the weekend my agent had booked me for a gig at PAX East, a video game convention in Boston, where I was emceeing at the AORUS booth. As part of my hosting duties, I was there to hype up the crowd, give away swag, and run games and promotions to boost audience engagement and entertain attendees.

One of the giveaways I ran was a trivia game; I was instructed to invite 10 people from the audience up on to the stage and ask them a series of trivia questions, eliminating those who gave incorrect answers and giving prizes to those who answered correctly. …

“Impressive” is not something I strive to be in a relationship.

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Photo by Tony Pham on Unsplash

I should have left the relationship when he called me a bitch in front of his closest friends and they all acted like it was no big deal.

First off, their utter non-reaction to this incident revealed their complete lack of moral fiber; and second, it showed that he routinely treated people like this to the point that nobody batted an eye when he did it to the person he said he loved.

We’d been in a long-distance relationship for a few months, and had finally gotten to spend a few weeks together on one of my visits to his city. We went out to see a movie, and I recanted what I thought was a charming and humorous anecdote he’d told me about his younger years and a superstition he’d once held. …

I’ve received nothing but kindness and good advice here.

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Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

I’ve been on the internet a long time. I remember the days of dial-up, when you had to choose whether you wanted to check your email OR place a phone call. I remember in middle school when my parents installed a Net Nanny to try to limit the amount of time I spent on the internet, and trying everything to get around it and spend more time online.

I remember learning HTML and creating Sailor Moon websites, discovering

It took me two years after the breakup to realize.

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Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

“You’ll never find someone who will be as patient with you as I’ve been.”

My partner flung these words at me just before we broke up, while he was clearly running out of patience. At the time, I heard it as a warning to be heeded. Now I see that it was a threat; there were four unspoken but implied words that actually came before that statement. He really meant to say:

You can’t leave because you’ll never find someone who will be as patient with you as I’ve been.”

And of course I believed him. How could I not, when he was constantly telling me that I was an alcoholic, anti-social, friendless loser who had destroyed everything in her life but her career, and who knew how long it would take to destroy that too? …

My life didn’t fall apart just because I had the flu.

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Last Tuesday I woke up with a to-do list a mile long and a can-do attitude — but 24 hours later I was knocked on my ass, unable to get out of bed except to hobble to the kitchen to heat up soup. When you have a full-time job, calling in sick is usually no big deal; that’s what sick days were invented for. But when you’re self-employed like me, getting nothing done means your paychecks come to a grinding halt.

In my weakened state, I couldn’t record and edit the fitness videos I post on YouTube, I couldn’t perform my nightly Twitch broadcast and fulfill sponsor obligations, and I couldn’t even write here on Medium through the enormous head fog I was feeling. I was left to drift in and out of consciousness with Inspector Gadget streaming on Disney+ to keep me company while I attempted to put together a halfway decent presentation for the guest lecture I was giving the following day at Shawnee State University. …

Well, one of my toxic traits, anyway.

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Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

“I am trying to get my shit together!”

I uttered the above phrase to my boyfriend this past weekend, as I realized with shocking discomfort something that I’ve known subconsciously for a while now: I don’t have my shit together.

I’m pretty open about my struggles with anxiety and depression; I talk or make jokes about it nearly every day while I’m broadcasting on Twitch, and I eagerly throw my dirty laundry into the pile when someone else broaches the topic. …

She’s doing great, by the way.

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Credit: Getty Images

She’s a graphic designer with a cool haircut and a passing resemblance to Morena Baccarin, and it seems like she’s doing well. I hope she is. Her LinkedIn profile portrays a confident, talented young woman. She’s been at the same job for four years, which is far longer than I’ve had any job — or relationship, for that matter.

But a decade and a half ago, she was my number one enemy. She was the person who drove a wedge between my boyfriend and me, and sent me a nasty Facebook message calling me awful names when I tried to key her in to the fact that we were, to her surprise as well as mine, dating the same man. …

Thank God I didn’t.

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Me in 2012, at a pit stop on my cross-country move to California

The first time I almost gave up, I was 24 years old.

I had moved from Columbus, Ohio to San Diego to be the on-camera host and video producer for a small startup company covering a specific genre of video games. I was beyond thrilled to have landed what I thought was my dream job: working in the gaming industry, and hosting videos full-time!

Unfortunately, it ended up being a nightmarish experience due to the awful boss I was working under, so I ended up leaving after only three months. I still had 9 months left on my lease, but I was at the point where living off my savings, hustling, and eating instant ramen for the better part of a year sounded far preferable to working one more day under that miserable scumbag. …

After enough online harassment, it’s hard to tell real people apart from trolls.

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Photo by Fredrick Tendong on Unsplash

“Are you 18?”

“Um…I’m older than 18.”

“Eww, hard pass. If you change your in-game name to OldTitties we’ll squad up with you.”

The above is a conversation (if you can call it that) that I had just last week in the popular online game Apex Legends. I think you can surmise which set of quotes is mine and which came straight from the young man with whom I was randomly matched up in-game.

I play a lot of video games, many of which require a high degree of teamwork and thus utilize in-game voice chat features. And while I know I’m not alone in being harassed in online video games, I’ve started to think that maybe I just don’t have as thick a skin as some other people, because after a while the verbal abuse has started to take its toll on me. …


Jess Brohard

Esports event host, gym rat, recovering alcoholic. I write about self-improvement, video games, recovery, and fitness

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