Yeah, it would seem that I still have an axe to grind: given, I’ve been reserving a lot in life – as I’m sure a lot of you do, in the name of picking your battles – but the fact remains that I’m a sarcastic, bitter little asshole and I’ve really got no excuse for it. I’m a suburban white straight married male working a regular 9-5 in a city extremely well known in this country for being one of the worst to pick up a well-paying job in, doing what comes rather naturally in one of the laziest ways possible. In addition to this, I get to do something I love as a hobby and I get to share it with the world, hoping it would reach those who would appreciate it. I haven’t gotten to that point and it’s difficult but it’s not exactly hard to keep up the work ethic.
90% of the bitterness I keep inside isn’t someone else’s fault. This isn’t the result of wrongdoing in my career as a freelance gaming journalist, this isn’t the result of #GamerGate, this isn’t the result of the console wars, this isn’t the result of casual gamers, this isn’t even the fault of gaming: this is something that is rooted deeply in my personal life and it started from a very young age. It’s turned me into an extremely angry person and it’s turned me into a bitter soul itching to find someone or something I can justifiably and logically take it out on. These days, when I find something I can attach to or attack in the industry, it feels good: it feels like I relieve a little bit of the pressure that’s been building up over the years. Some of it is the result of the situation I’m commenting on and taking part in but a lot of it has nothing to do with anything that’s currently happening. I don’t seek vengeance, I don’t seek to cause pain, I don’t seek to hurt: I seek to relieve pressure, I seek to purge, I seek to find an end.
You see, things haven’t been easy to get where I want to with this little “The Laymen’s Gamer” project of mine. It’s been my baby and I’ve committed to it longer than just about anything else in my life and it is the embodiment of everything I wanted to accomplish in the video games industry: to celebrate games, to share opinions, to congregate without fear, to celebrate things in games others overlook, to be ourselves as gamers and feel comfortable where life would otherwise shun you. Things used to be like that. Gaming didn’t need people like me. It was still small, then. It wasn’t this big conglomerate that was formulaic in the way it churned out whatever ensured profits. It wasn’t like the movie industry in the way that the cheap-ass cash-ins far outweighed what was truly fun about it in the spotlight. The last seven or eight years of doing this has felt like a fight in every step of the way: from every post on social media to every comment made on forums, from every game I buy strictly to review it for others to every time I reach out to other people in the hopes that someone wants to listen… being hateful and critical is way easier and it seems that people in my line of work would much rather hold someone down than lift them up. I was cool with that, though; I was used to having to hide my feelings and struggle on. I was used to having to numb myself up and continue because life didn’t stop for me. Struggle or not, 6 billion other lives on this planet were not going to stop because I felt like I was suffering. I knew that my struggle was strictly because I put myself out there and hoped that I would get the help I need.
With recent events, things changed: you see, I was starting to step into territory I never thought I would. I was starting to put aside my ethics to succeed at any cost. I was starting to put aside who I was to get myself where I needed to be in order to accomplish what I wanted, to get the attention that I wanted and felt that I deserved. I was starting to become the person I despised, in the gaming industry. I was beginning to like it, too. It gave me a convenient antagonist to attach to, to constantly vent my bitterness against; it gave me the ability to arrogantly display my talents. It gave me justification in being as bitter as I am and it helped keep that poisonous knife of bitterness sharp. It kept me on the edge and “ready for life,” so to speak. When I was first let go, I was angry and shocked: I figured they would be angry when I took the opportunity to try and seek support for my own project but I did not expect them to go this far. Thanks to my lovely and beautiful wife, however, we talked about this at length and while we both discussed the problems and the wrongdoing about it all, it wasn’t long before we were laughing about it and now, thanks to her, I am able to look back on it and be grateful for the whole experience because it’s taught me what not to do, what not to be, and what it is to stand up for yourself and not for those who would hold you down. She helped me gain pride in who I am and helped relieve me of the poison that was that place. It’s still hard to not look back at what they did and what they continue to do to spite me without getting angrier but every single day that passes makes me realize that it’s not worth it. They’re not worth it.
I didn’t seek the wrong things, I’ve just been going about it all wrong: this time, I seek to drop it entirely; I seek to forgive. I look back on them and what they’ve brought to my life and what I’ve brought to theirs and I seek to be done with it, once and for all; to accept what it was and have it over with. This isn’t me saying that what they did was right. This isn’t me saying that I didn’t bring this on myself somehow. This isn’t me saying that there was never anything good that came of it or that the entire experience was bad. This isn’t me saying that I’m done with the feelings that they’ve brought into my life and that they will pass easily. This isn’t me saying that I don’t, sometimes, want them to hurt like they’ve hurt me. This is me saying that I have accepted things that have passed through my life and I’m moving on. It’s taught me something and I seek to learn from it. This is me saying that I forgive those who have done me wrong; not because Jesus said so or that God directs it but rather because it shows that I’m the stronger one. It shows everyone that I am the victor and that I am the one who is the better person in this.
I am not pointing fingers at a specific person, group, or situation. Like I’ve said before, the habit was that I carried guilt, hurt, and betrayal deep in my heart for a long time for a variety of things that happened to me and this is not an effort to single anyone or anything out. However, this doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten them all. This doesn’t mean that I don’t remember every word said to me in opposition to what I believed. This doesn’t mean that I won’t remember how you told me I couldn’t do something. That doesn’t mean that I’ll forget any transgressions done to me. This just means I’ll move on, accept you for who you are, and hope that some day, somehow, you learn to know better than you do now and that you overcome whatever it is that has turned you into this disrespectful person you are now.
Don’t worry, though. This isn’t something I’ve written to state that I’m going to be changing who I am because of what has happened to me in the past or that I’ve grown past it. This is something I’ve written to let everyone know that… the hurt is gone. I’ve let go of these things and if I’m meant for the position and place in the world that I wish for myself, then it will happen, in due time. I just have to keep trying, keep fighting, and one of these days, I’ll get to where I need to be, whether I do it alone or with thousands at my back.
Because it’s what I love. And what I love is supposed to make me happy. And that’s what it’s going to be. Gaming is supposed to be a good place and it will continue to be for me.