Nice to meet you, I’m terrified and awkward

This all just seems like a terrible idea that’s about to implode on itself.

Sometimes I wonder how I got here. I’ve lead creative campaigns for a video game that has more than 100,000,000 players. Wow. I’m leading a new team for that same game, but for features that are a part of the game itself. I can’t believe they let me touch that stuff. Did I mention they let me manage real dollar bills? What is this world I live in? I barely have my own life sorted out. This all just seems like a terrible idea that’s about to implode on itself.

This past year I found myself in more awkward moments than I thought possible. I met new people, pretended to be an art director, and gave someone feedback that probably crushed me more than them. Nothing I did seemed like it was going to work, every question I asked seemed ridiculous and every conversation seemed to go on forever. Sometimes I’d end a conversation by just slowly backing away hoping everything would just start fading out. End scene. I was terrified.

When things are simple, it’s so easy to outdo yourself.

I started to wonder why I was always terrified. Why do I assume everyone else knows better than me? I remember my first days at this up and coming video game company. I was fearless with an endless source of optimism. When things are simple, it’s so easy to outdo yourself. We started with a rock and now we have a clean rock! A polished rock! A rock in different shapes! But then we started discovering entirely new classifications of rocks. How do you know when this new style of rock is actually better than the last? Maybe it’s just different… and now you’re looking back through your collection of rocks wondering what you’ve been doing with your life and what value any of this has or if you’re just getting lost in a pile of rocks and haven’t actually discovered a gem.

Challenges got more difficult, and started morphing into completely new challenges. Ones where my usual tactics wouldn’t work, and if I wanted to truly solve a problem, I wasn’t going to be able to art my way out of any of it. I needed to learn how to use my words. Beyond that, now my words carried the weight of an entire team. I started as an artist — fearless, because I had little to lose. Literally, three months worth of rent and a car on it’s last leg. Now several people’s happiness built on the expectation that I can hold myself together for eight hours, five days a week. It’s a responsibility that has created some of my greatest moments of pride, and yet casts a shadow that seems to have no end in sight.

…I believe fear is the result of living in uncertainty.

I have yet to overcome this moment in my life. In general, I believe fear is the result of living in uncertainty. There are so many things I don’t know and a myriad of things I thought I knew that I actually couldn’t be more wrong about. As I plunge into the depths of awkward uncertainty, my pupils dilated and my mind wide-open, I look forward to this new year. Once I cast a light into this darkness, there will be a new pit of terror building in my stomach. A viscous cycle that for some reason leaves me empty and bored when it’s not there.

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