the best years

Childhood is often referred to as the leading candidate for Best Years of One’s Life, though a significant amount of us have different experiences. For better or worse, there are many things a person may get to explore as a kid that will not be accessible once adulthood is reached.

Perhaps the reverse is also true.

In adulthood, I feel that I have slightly more autonomy, even if there are still feelings of helplessness. Peeling off the layers of adulthood has been a challenging experience, and in my early thirties, and I am only just starting to suspect that I might have the hang of it.

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June 2016, the day before graduation. Seattle.

I have not updated this blog in over a year. In that year plus, the following events have occurred:

  • [Summer 2015] I worked two full-time jobs, and took on an independent study at my college.
  • [Fall 2015] The mobile game studio I’d been employed with for 4 years closed. After 9 years in the industry, I decided that would be my last job in games. I took the first part-time job I could find, with the goal of finishing college in mind.
  • [Winter 2015/16] I am granted early admission to my first choice university.
  • [Spring 2016] I graduate college.
  • [Summer 2016] I scramble like mad to ensure my place at the university.

During this time, I pushed myself to a great number of limits. A lot of them made me cry from a combination of exhaustion, frustration, and depression, but I managed to make it through. Full-time studies can be incredibly isolating, especially when living near the centre of a larger city.

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March 2016. Montreal. Photo by Marisa Parisella.

I have had to ask myself a few times why I pushed so hard. I came to a couple of conclusions:

  • I did not think I would live beyond age 30. When I turned 31 last summer, I arrived at what one might call an ‘oh shit’ moment. ‘Oh shit, I’m not dead after all. What do I do?’ I made some plans, and pledged to revisit my progress every so often, so long as I wasn’t dead.
  • I gained a bit more faith in myself and my abilities. I doubt this would have been possible without the support system I have in place, composed of chosen family and friends.

I turn 32 tomorrow. I tend to think about how things are going in life the most around birthdays, and each new year.

I am a late bloomer in several ways, so perhaps it makes sense that my thirty-first year felt like one of the best years of my life.

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July 2016. San Diego.

I learned incredible lessons on and off campus. Some days were hellish and unforgiving, but others were filled with laughter and gratitude. Overall, I found methods to keep myself motivated, and outlets in which to kvetch. It is my belief that in this life, both are very important.

If there’s any gift I could think to give to the childhood version of myself, it’s to keep working hard to make things better for the version of myself that remains, and for those I love, for as long as I can.

I’ve dwelled on it long enough, and I can finally say that it’s OK that I didn’t have a particularly fantastic childhood. The best years aren’t always on time.

actually, it’s about ethics in games

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This was a half-hour freewrite concerning the seemingly leaderless movement affecting women in games negatively today. I was outside waiting for a friend for drinks, needing to let some frustrating feelings out, and I just so happened to be reading some tweets about The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air at the time. Thus, the freewrite is a different take on that theme, which you can check out here.

After some observation, I don’t believe this movement is solely about ethics in games. There’s a wealth of pain supporting the idea of this being a way to shut women up, and I cannot get behind that.

I wish people didn’t feel these harmful comments and exposures of one’s personal life necessary, if their main goal is to force journalists, developers &c to operate with a bit more integrity. Fear tactics are being employed.

As usual, respect to those who feel the need to leave the games environment for their own safety / well-being. Respect to those who stay, even in the face of abuse.

 

this is a story
developing now;
games culture went
pearshaped somehow

I’d like to take a minute
to reflect on that;
how criticism puts
you in danger in zero time flat

in southern California
with guys and dames
PlayStation is where I played
most of my games

chillin’ out, maxin’,
relaxin’ all cool,
playin’ Parappa badly;
can’t pass driving school

years later there were guys
who were up to no good
starting with misogyny
and bein’ rude

I got just one little dox
as would be my fate
for criticizing video games
and opposing GamerGate

I called on some support
and when it came near
the women, they got doxxed
creating a culture of fear

if anything I could say
it’s sad times for dames
but they say, ‘nah, forget it;
it’s about ethics in games!’

we go on months like this
and I’m gettin’ irate
at the Anita hate
I yell, ‘leave, GamerGater!’

I looked at my kingdom,
looked at Vivian James,
how quickly I forgot
it’s about ethics in games

 

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Silly SJWs, right?

the end of games

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I wrote this with the past few weeks in games culture where women are concerned in mind. I suppose thinking about the last couple of days attending [convention name omitted], the culture and events surrounding it, and 4 hours of sleep likely helped this become a thing.

Respect to those who feel the need to leave the games environment for their own safety / well-being. Respect to those who stay, even in the face of abuse.

 

women in games,
y’know they have it rough
loving their work
seems never enough

you’ve got to get up, stand up
for their right to exist
making impact with your words
as your fist

knowing full well standing up may be
risking losing some credibility

but what is worth more in this industry
bonus points, or visibility?

we’ve got talent up to our nose
and as we highlight,
our community grows

if we can’t stand
being critical here
perhaps the end
is actually near

 

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From Portlandia. (Not my favourite show, but some lines ring true.)