Posted on February 4, 2019
I Don’t Know How to be “Me” Anymore
If you’re not a fan of melancholic meanderings, maybe don’t read this. I don’t think it’s really written for you anyways? “Why post it on the internet, then??” to which I will reply to you with that dumb mocking Spongebob meme. I do what I want, thanks. Which is purely antithetical to what’s to come here.
Last year, I decided I wanted to start streaming. I have been a passionate gamer since 1998 when I first got my grubby little hands on a Nintendo 64 and copy of Ocarina of Time. I played around with the thoughts of YouTube years ago, and then through the boom in twitch and some really fun experiences as a viewer, decided to give that a go.
But like most of my passions these days (and since ever), my efforts have fizzled out and died in a pathetic crumple. I think I streamed consistently for about three months? And then the spaces between the streams grew fewer and farther. I got married, then my husband and I both lost our jobs. We cried, we found new jobs, we moved. I found growth and support in discord communities, decided to start my own to help others, and then let that fall by the wayside, too.
My various social media bios claim “streamer, gamer, artist, writer”, etc. but it feels like a farce to parade myself as any of these things when most nights I can barely put together a meal and watch some television before bed.
I guess this is where I find myself struggling to remember how to be “me”. The me at 14 and 16 wrote whole novels with delighted fervor. The me at 17 painted murals and did photography. The me at 23 dove into digital illustration and started really developing a style I enjoyed.
The me at 25 is tired.
I can write a chapter or two before the self loathing comes and claims another year. I can scribble a face in a notebook before the internal rage at my inability to practice and improve consumes me. I can tweet once or twice with ideas, and post in discord with empty promises for a small community, and literally not take a single step towards following through. I can speak aloud of ideas to start a YouTube channel, and the words fade to echos as more months go by in the “thinking” phase instead of the “doing” phase. The list of things I want to do and the list of things I’m not doing push at each other like magnets growing ever farther apart.
I want to write my science fiction novel that I finally started. I want to stream regularly on twitch. I want to provide worth to my discord community. I want to start posting videos to YouTube. I want to get back into painting. And this is where it happens, where I have forgotten how to be me, how to have passions, how to have hobbies. Because what I hear is
No one will want to read it. No one will come to watch. No one will be interested in what you have to offer. No one will care.
And this, THIS is the most infuriating part of it, where I really am truly no longer me, because we live in a world where our passions aren’t passions unless they’re monetized and profitable. Because I’ve fallen for the trap of social media, forever comparing myself to the accomplishments of those who are DOING when I am only ever THINKING. Where I can say I stream for me, but the lack of progress kills me. Where I can say I write for me, but the fear it will never be published pushes me back. Where I can say my discord is chill and no pressure, but every moment that passes and I haven’t provided anything to them at all to make it worth their while just piles on the guilt.
So when did I stop being me? And why? Why can I know my passions are for me, but still let myself be consumed by the desperate need to be liked and noticed and helpful, even though that has LITERALLY never been something I value? Why can’t I just muster the effort to pursue these things I love? And what of the things I don’t seem to love? Why is there so much guilt and fear to be had when I consider quitting some things so I can focus on others?
I don’t know if I’ll keep streaming. It feels like I never even truly started, despite jumping into so many components of it at once. Seeing others go live, or track progress, or build community claws holes in my stomach. I feel like a failure every time I see a tweet of gratitude (which is 100% on me, and not a comment on anyone else). The answer is so very clearly just to try, but what if I don’t want to try? What if I want to give up already? Is that wrong of me?
The guilt always spirals, from thoughts of dollars spent on equipment to thoughts of community promises that never come to fruition. I feel guilt even now, saying these are things I want to do, because I don’t have faith in me to actually do them. More words just seem like more empty intentions.
I don’t have any solutions or answers for how I’ll move forward. When I don’t do things, I feel like a let down. And when I do things, I feel like I’m failing. The decisions I make will be inconsequential to anyone else, and yet I still fear how this will all come across.
I may quit twitch. I may even delete the whole account and wipe it away into nothingness. Or I may edit my profile a bit and redirect traffic if I can ever get started on YouTube.
I may start YouTube. This is something I wanted to do in tandem with twitch, but energy-wise I think I can only do the one thing. YouTube is more appealing at the moment because I can take a few hours of recorded content and turn it into 5 – 10 video uploads a month. It works better for my schedule and my energy levels.
I will write. The book I’m working on is the most excited I’ve been to write in over a decade. I will be prioritizing this over all my other passions. So those other things may never even happen.
I may delete most of my social media. I may delete just twitter. I may just uninstall these apps and leave the accounts to die. I may change nothing at all.
I want to provide support to my discord community. I don’t know how. My inability to be “me” frustrates me and drives me away from even trying. The appeal that the numerous other discord communities have makes me feel useless. The number of people even in it right now who make an effort to stop by and hang out feels like an undeserved kindness. Even if all I do is write and make this community worthwhile, I think I will be happy.
I want to enjoy my time on social media again. Back when I posted what I wanted just because it felt fun, and not because I was trying to network, or say something worthy or relatable, or pretend my presence is larger than it really is. It’s also unbelievable comical to pretend like my internet presence has any actual meaning. How egotistical does this whole thing sound coming from just another number in twitter’s user-base, am I right?
(Note: I do not want to be told my internet presence has meaning. It does not, and that is perfectly okay. I need to remember how to do things that mean something to me, and not because I want to mean something.)
At the end of all this, I still have no solutions. I don’t know what may or may not happen. What things I may finally commit to. Or what things I will outright quit. This isn’t like me to make such dramatic proclamations when I don’t really owe anyone anything anyways (but I’ve also forgotten how to be me, if you remember).
And you may also remember, this isn’t for you. It might be, if you’ve found yourself feeling similarly. But mostly, this is for me. So I can remember how to be accountable to ME again. So I can say all these things out loud and actually own my bullshit for once. When it’s out there in the world, there are no excuses left.
In the meantime, I’m going to play some video games. Or eat a lot of ice cream. That, I can promise.
(Another note: if reading this does resonate with you, but you are still being you in spite of it all, you rock. If you are grinding away for your passions because they are still bringing you joy, I admire you. Keep that passion. Keep being you. And if you’re struggling like me, hey, I always have extra ice cream and spoons for sharing.)