This domain has sat alone and unused for two years. I have always had the best intentions for it, but like I have started to notice in my life, those intentions never make it very far.
I am 35 years old and I have come to realize that I, much like this blog, have sat unused and gathering dust for quite some time.
There was a time in my life where I was passionate about everything, and that time was my pre and early teens. I was an avid writer, comic book collector, reader and video game player. I spent hours outside in the woods around my house pretending to be wizards, adventurers, comic book characters. I made up fantasy worlds, wrote short stories, drew maps and created character sheets. I read books and collected D&D manuals and begged my dad to take me into distant towns to find the nearest comic books stores. I was fierce in my love of imagination because I had no outlet other than myself.
I was a shy kid. I don’t remember when it happened but somewhere around 3rd grade I had stopped making friends and closed myself off. My mom moved us a lot around the Bay area, I remember having 3 different schools by second grade, and maybe I decided that making friends just wouldn’t be worth it. In the middle of 3rd grade we moved and remained stable for the rest of my time in California. From 3rd to 6th grade I think I can only count 1 person as my best friend and then I promptly moved again, this time by my own choice.
I had grown dark and brooding in a time before Goth was a thing, I had turned on myself and did things that today would have set off all sorts of alarms, things I am not proud of but have moved past. I had decided that I would live with my father and once I had moved to Washington almost everything changed. My personality was better, I felt happy(ish) and my creativity blossomed, I did however remain horribly shy. I made a few friends from 13 to 18, but none ever shared the exact same passions. When I wanted to share my love of roleplaying or comics I was looked at as weird, so I kept them close to my chest.
In High School I did my best to be as invisible as I could. A lifetime of 80’s movies had filled me with fear and dread of being labeled and tossed in a garbage can or locked in a locker, regretfully none of which I ever saw happen. I secretly harbored a love of the drama department and imagined myself up there acting and pretending, but my fear kept me grounded, and embarrassment kept me chained. I attempted to put the feelings that I had inside down on paper as short stories and creative fiction. I remember feeling like I would burst if I did not get all of the thoughts out on the page. Secretly I was optimistic but I was also made of glass. The only negative criticism came from my father, at the time the opinion that really mattered, and it broke me so completely that I remember destroying tons of work. I had learned my mistake once again, never let anyone know your passion, never share, keep it secret, keep it safe.
As I look back now 1998 to 2004 is a blur. I attempted College, but instead met a girl and quickly lost priorities. I trudged through a life of retail at big box stores and slowly wasted away. The only saviors at the time being video games. I would drown myself in the worlds of Final Fantasy, Legend of Dragoon, and Zelda. I found Everquest and made anonymous friends that I had more in common with the real people in my life and I felt more alive wandering Norrath as a wizard than I did in my own life. My head was bursting with creative ideas and wants and dreams but I kept them to myself.
It was around 2004 that the epiphany I am having today first took root. I had reached 25 years on this planet and had put myself through and emotional wringer for most of it. The dam had finally had enough. I moved to Hawaii went back to school for a Geology degree.
Hawaii changed my life. I knew no one, I was 2500 miles away from the nearest contiguous land and I had a chance to start over. I am not sure if I consciously made the choice, or it just happened but something inside of me changed. I was confident, I was charming and my humor had returned. The next four years gave me some of the best friends I would ever make, I was around nerdy people and I shared my nerdy philosophies. I ended up spending almost 8 years on that island. When I returned to the continent I was a different person.
I came home with a degree in Geology and a love of science and everything nerdy, and it felt like I was on the edge of something. I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong with me. I made my attempts to enter the adult world, granted a little behind the curve. I was already in my 30’s but for once in my life I thought I knew what exactly I wanted, or at least I was close to understanding. Geology would end up not panning out, I had a few close calls and almost a job here or there but I knew one thing for certain, I did not want to spend more money on education, and to get anywhere I would need more. Then the best friend I ever made in Hawaii and life decided to get married.
I came down to Pasadena 2 years ago this week to attend the wedding of my dearest friend. I ended up filling in for him at his IT job while he was on Honeymoon. Fast forward to August and he quits his job, I apply and end up getting it and boom I am packing up and moving from the Pacific Northwest to Southern California, a place I said I would never ever live. I instantly found myself in an adult job, making adult money. I was no longer constantly broke, I could afford extra things each paycheck. I had an apartment to myself, no more roommates (except for my dog) great neighbors and I was happy. My job is good I enjoy it but I don’t see myself here forever besides something was still nagging at me.
This month I decided to start to do things that scare me. It’s easy now because I literally live in a city that scares me. L.A and its surrounding area is quite possibly the epicenter of everything I hold dear. There are conventions, comedy shows, famous people, acting and video games and comics being made or developed or presented all around me. So I have started to engage.
I first chose social media, I would engage strangers, comment on things and people I didn’t know. I knew that it wouldn’t mean anything and most people wouldn’t see but it made me uncomfortable. I am a guy who tries to go unnoticed to not bother anyone, to remain status quo. So far it hasn’t been that bad. Then enter Twitch. I found twitch a year ago and started watching people never interacting. Then I started interacting. People can be so awesome. I came to know some really nice people who shared things I was interested in. I remember thinking that I wish this had been around years ago, I felt at home. These interactions did something to me, my short time in a job I liked and surrounded by more friends than I ever had sparked something. Being around like-minded individuals filled an empty spot in my soul. Something inside me was stirring. Then I stumbled quite literally into a little show called Critical Role.
Everything came together like a flash of lightning. The wave had crested and my 35 years on this planet came into crystal like clarity. What was it about these people, these random strangers playing pretend on the internet that stirred me so? I cannot say for certain what it was exactly, but what I took away from it was this. They were not afraid. I am fighting back a lot of emotions after typing that sentence. To me it’s a powerful revelation.
Do. Not. Be. Afraid.
I have lived my entire life afraid of creating afraid of putting myself out there afraid of never being anything meaningful. It seems stupid now, it all seems like a waste. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I have a finite amount of time here on this planet and I should be able to enjoy it. The act of creating is all there needs to be, do not be afraid of it. Live your live create the things you love, share it with people, put yourself out there and learn who you are through the act. Discover through the process and live a life.
With that revelation, one gained from watching people who love each other play a pretend game online, I have decided to live my life the way I want and to not let fear stand in my way. It probably won’t be easy, but I guess that’s the point.
The internet is a weird thing, you find people who move you to the core, stir some emotion inside of you so thoroughly that you don’t know what to do with those emotions. They are strangers to you most of the time, but you feel these things and can’t stop feeling them, you are filled with the overwhelming need to share with these people, these strangers. You want to show them how they helped you figure out something about yourself or at the very least how they made you happy, because of what they did. That is what I am doing here. Telling a group of strangers who do not know me, that they have taught me, or at least opened up something inside myself that has helped me discover who I am and who I really want to be.
For that I am eternally grateful.