Thursday, September 25, 2014

I am a leech in a Pokemon cap

I used to get really down on myself when I'd leave a project or experience behind. I considered it a failure to quit something, or else I thought I lacked focus. People often ask me about things I used to do on the Internet, but have since stopped doing. And I've never had a good answer for them. I typically say I got busy and, while I am usually busy, I don't think that's ever really been the main reason I've quit some of those things (although it is part of the reason in some cases, like this past summer when I couldn't make videos because of work).

Something that's always struck me as odd is when people tell you, "Don't ever change!" That phrase litters the pages of my old school yearbooks, and I've seen it several times in YouTube comments, too. It's weird because the person saying the phrase is ultimately wishing for you to cease growing and learning. They seemingly want your personality and thoughts to come to a halt. Tbh, I'm really glad my personality didn't halt in high school when all those kids were writing that in my yearbook. I was a fucking wreck in high school. I'm still a wreck. It would've made me feel tons better if people had written something like, "Wow, you really need to fuckin' change." And then maybe drawn some hearts around it to let me know they still loved me anyway.

But I think that phrase, along with being reminded of some of the things I used to do online, have sort of played with my mind. I've felt like a failure for having moved on from so many things, to the point where I've been scared to try something new. I guess what initially prompted this reflection was an email from a viewer I received a few months ago when I was in San Francisco. In the email, the person basically listed everything I've done for the past 5+ years online--from Barbara Robertson to the old podcast to the gaming channel to those essay videos I briefly did to videos with Brinty (my Furby) to even how I used to style my hair--and then proceeded to ask why I don't do any of them anymore. It was a very sweet email, and I was glad the person had been following me for so long, but it was also a bit overwhelming and I didn't know what to say.

So I decided to take inventory, and I made a list: I've done web comics, music, raps, podcasts, had about a dozen different blogs. Things I've continued doing long-term have changed as well, like videos. I've done sketch videos, serious videos, essays videos, gaming videos, vlogs. I've worn a wig and glasses and made videos as a middle-aged woman from Minnesota. I got to host a radio show, live in Philly, be a fashion intern in NYC, intern at a TV station, play in tennis tournaments, work in a writing center, be a secretary, host a couple different web shows, work on a show in San Francisco. I've gone out and partied, lived quietly, lived in a house with lots of people, lived alone. I've had brown hair, blonde hair, pink hair, red hair, curly hair, straight hair, and no hair. I even change my eye color on a daily basis with contact lenses.

Some of those experiences have clearly gone better than others. I wasn't a very good secretary, and I never did win many tennis matches. A lot of my videos have been painfully awkward in retrospect. I'm also lucky there isn't any video evidence of me with pink hair, or that any pics from my junior high afro days are floating around. But seeing all of it written down in front of me I thought, Damn, I've done a lot of cool shit. And, for the first time, I felt happy for those experiences, recognized the successes and growth, and was able to see that moving on isn't the same thing as failing. I'm just an experiencer. I experience things until I'm satisfied, and then I move on. Like a big ol' ugly leech on life with a Pokemon cap.

So I guess now I have an answer to that question. Why don't I do some of things I used to do? Because I don't want to. That was me then, and this is me right now, and I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow feeling completely different.

Anyway, for the past month or so I've been thinking about what I'd like my next experience to be, particularly in regards to my videos. If you caught the podcast episode today, you'll have heard me talking with Sam about how I'm planning on doing daily videos, Monday-Friday, starting sometime in early October and lasting until Halloween. And then maybe longer, who knows? I just know it was time to reboot and experience something else. So please keep your eyes open for that (I plan on uploading a video next week explaining the whole thing a bit more) and I really do hope you'll enjoy a new experience with me.

-joe