I am always on the outside looking in. Even when I’m participating in a conversation, I feel outside of it–with very few rare exceptions. I’m gauging the other person(s) and calibrating my own responses. That’s not terrible in general, but taken to the extreme, it can be debilitating.
I’m a weirdo and a freak. I’ve discussed this with my taiji teacher because she is, too. The plus side to being an outsider is that it’s much easier to do things that others might consider odd because I’ve been doing that all my life. It’s always amusing to me when people get hung up on a certain band, TV show, movie, or whatever, insisting that you must like it as much as they do. Try saying you don’t like the Beatles on Twitter and see what happens. Or Breaking Bad. Or Titanic. The pushback is strong, and there are people who literally cannot fathom someone not liking __________. Well, not the last. There are plenty of people who agree with me that Titanic is shite*.
It’s the funniest when people tell me that my taste is horrible, especially in music, because I’ll cheerfully agree. It flummoxes them, and that’s when I know their intent is to put me down rather than have an actual conversation. I like to say I have no guilty pleasures, only pleasures because I don’t feel guilty about what I like (99% of the time). It’s weird because I feel guilty about almost everything else in my life, but not the pop culture I consume or not.
The downside, however, is that I just assume no one will want to hear about what I’m interested in unless there are plenty of indicators to the otherwise. When I think about dating, for example, I have a difficult time envisioning someone who will have the patience to put up with my oddities. Taiwanese American, bisexual, fat, agnostic, child-free (and do. not. want. children or steps), not interested in most mainstream popular stuff, and just plain weird. Add in video games as an old person and taiji, and the fact that I don’t want a traditional relationship, and, yeah. Prospects are dim.
The problem is that I’m so inclined to discount that anything I have to say is of any interest to anyone because I’m used to being ignored and invisible.
Side note: It’s fucking 2019. There is no excuse not to have more PoC and queer folks (and other minorities) in popular media. If I see a trailer for a show that is all white people, I immediately tune out. There was a stretch where all the trailers for new TV shows fell into the category I called, “White guys doing white guys things”. I have no interest in that bullshit, and I never gave any of them more than a second of attention.
The centering around white straight dudes in media has definitely affected how I see myself in general. Add to that a hobby (video games) that is all about white straight dudes, and my negative self-esteem is reinforced on a daily basis. I’ve mentioned before how I can get into some aspects of gaming, but I never feel truly accepted. It’s as if I’m tolerated as long as I don’t make a fuss or stand out in any negative (in their eyes) way. It’s gender, but it’s also age and race. I’m too old to be a gamer, and it stops me from fully participating in the community in general. It’s not hard to see that 95% of the visible gaming journalists/YouTubers/Twitchers fall into this category. Maybe it’s not quite that high, but it certainly seems like it. I’ve searched out women, but they are few and far between.
The women I have found mostly fall into the same category of trying to out-bro the men, and it’s really disheartening to watch. They have to be pleasing to the eye as well as put down other women AND put up with sexism, and it’s just disheartening. I’ve speculated before whether three women doing what the RKG (nee Prepare to Try) boys are doing get half the support. The answer is no, they would not, and it makes me sad.
Speaking of RKG, they released the trailer for their new series, DS II (I hope they do the SotFS edition). They manage to secure the VO actor, Pik Sen Lim, for their trailer, which is quite the coup. She did the VO for both Dark Souls and Dark Souls III, and to many Souls fans, she is the voice of the series. To hear her inimitable voice for their trailer (which is hilarious, yet mimics the somber tone of the intros for Dark Souls and DS III AND has a done on Powers at the very end) made me shiver.
It made me inordinately happy to hear her voice while watching the boys’ act up, and the fact that they thought to secure her for their first series was a stroke of genius.
I’ve been thinking about their leap from being video games journalists to full-time Let’s Players, and what can I learn from it. First, be born a British dude. Damn. Failed that one. Second, be in your 20s/early 30s. Shit. Strike two. Third, do what you love and do it well, and you might be able to make a go of it. Ok! I can get on board with that one. For me, that’s writing, and I’ve been doing it all my life. Well, to reiterate, acting is my first love, but I had that drummed out of me pretty thoroughly by the time I graduated college. Not completely as I went on to do regional theater and one-woman shows throughout my early twenties, but it was daunting enough to put me off my feed.
I miss it, though. I can still remember the unmatched high of receiving an enthusiastic round of applause after performing brilliantly, and while I’ve convinced myself that I didn’t need it in order to survive, I miss it like hell.
Which is why even though I recoil at going down the video road, it could actually satisfy my need to perform. It might not, however, as the best part about theater is the immediate reaction. And not someone at the keyboard pounding on the keyboard, “YOU SUCK GIT GUD N00B!!!!” I still remember a particular one-woman performance I did in which I stripped down to my panties in front of an all-female audience (or mostly. I can’t quite remember) and received a thunderous round of applause after a few seconds of silence. I had pushed myself beyond my limits for that performance, and I was satisfactorily rewarded for it. I can still recall how it felt to be standing on the stage in front of hundreds of women, standing in my panties with my heart pounding, feeling exhilarated.
I would love to get back into acting, but I don’t have it in me right now. That’s another reason I think doing video might be good for me. I could find a way to highlight both of my passions.
I’m worried, though, because of all the negatives I possess in relation to the YouTube world. I said earlier that being a weirdo is a good thing because that means I don’t care what people think about my passions, but that algorithm changes when I think about putting myself out there to be judged. I don’t care one-on-one what people think, though I’ve had people express their opinion in a really rude way that hurt my feelings. I could brush it off, however, because I was cognizant that it was them and not me.
It changes, however, when we’re talking about online. As most people know, most women who put themselves out there online have to deal with a lot of ugly shit. The trolls feel safe behind their anonymity to say the cruelest of things without any practical consequence. I remember reading a Reddit thread by a woman who found out her husband was one of those trolls. When she confronted him, he said that it was just a way to release steam and that it didn’t mean anything. There’s something about not seeing the person on the other end of the ethernet that makes it easy to dehumanize them or even forget they’re an actual human being.
Living in a state known for its ‘niceness’, I see this happen on the roads all the time. People become more aggressive and rude because they’re safely encased in their big tin cans and don’t have the possibility of pushback. It’s even worse online because you don’t even have to worry about road rage, and women (and other minorities**) are especially easy targets online.
I don’t know if I have skin thick enough to deal with trolls, harassers, and stalkers. There was a person on Twitter who took it into his head to harass me and a bunch of other people from a certain political website for two years or so. He harassed one woman every day, and he harassed the rest of us every few weeks. My stomach would tighten up every time I read one of his tweets, and my face would flush in shame and embarrassment, especially if he tagged other people in the tweet thread. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but it still triggered all the negative thoughts about myself in my head. I never answered him, but he did not stop until he was stopped (eventually, after much agitas) by Twitter. He only bothered me once every few weeks or so, and it was only one to three tweets per time, and it still bothered me for days after. I can’t imagine how I’d deal with it every day with many nasty remarks per day.
I’m getting ahead of myself, of course, but it’s something I need to settle within me before I actually do this thing. I really want to try video; I just have to make myself do it.
*I like shite much better than shit, so it’s been permanently added to my lexicon.
**Minority in terms of power, not numbers.