Yes, you read that right. I’m live streaming. And yes, that is where I’ve been the last couple months — learning the ins and outs of it, and having a surprising amount of fun. I’ve been dying to share it with y’all, and now that I’ve got my streaming feet under me I’m finally ready to share!
This blog has always been my passion project. It’s where I go to vent out what builds in my soul. It’s where I express my ideas and perspectives, and it’s taught me relentlessly that pursuing your passions is always worth it. But the funny thing about pursuing passions? The more you pursue them the more they tend to expand. Who know mine would grow to include live streaming?
I’ll never forget the first time I ever watched a live stream. It was Katy Perry’s Witness World Wide live stream that spanned the course of five days which displayed a vast array of activities like live yoga classes, meditation sessions and dinner parties discussing big topics like race and feminism. When I first stumbled upon this stream I thought, “Who would want to watch this?”
But once I started watching I couldn’t stop. I loved feeling like I was sitting right there with Katy, as if we were two old friends hanging out. I got to see her nosh on breakfast, take naps, and go over her morning ritual of reading from a Buddhist book. When the whole extravaganza was over I felt totally at a loss. What was I supposed to do now that I had been disconnected from my friend Katy?! Who else’s dog would I watch run about the house, and who else’s chef would concoct a feast for my viewing pleasure? Whose yoga teacher would help me get into a zen place for the day and how was I supposed to start my mornings without Katy’s Buddhist book?
I realized how ridiculous and hilarious it was that I had gotten so completely hooked to watching live streaming when just days earlier I couldn’t believe it was even happening at all. Nonetheless I wanted moar!!!
For the following several months I didn’t find a good replacement. Instagram live streams seemed to be filled with giddy teens talking amongst themselves, young moms discussing the latest product for which they had become a sales rep, and famous people sitting silently with bored faces as if that was more than enough to appease their en massed fans.
Finally six months post Katy Perry’s stream, I was hanging out with my husband and his friends when I learned to my shock, one of them had been streaming himself playing video games.
“So you just play games and people watch?” I asked. “Yeah! Pretty much,” he said. I then commenced an onslaught of questions to which he happily responded (he’s a ridiculously nice guy). It sounded like it was nerve wracking but elating, fun but hard work. I was in such awe of the whole idea and so inspired by his courage. I couldn’t imagine doing anything in front of a live audience.
I perused the website on which this friend had been streaming his video gaming — it’s called Twitch — and I was feeling completely addicted to every channel I stumbled upon. So many regular people playing games in front of live audiences — it was amazing. I felt an odd a pang of desire watching these people play.
There was a time I had loved playing video games too. When I was a kid I was a regular video game addict. Nintendo 64 had just come out and at 11 years old I was ripe for its following. But once it was time to enter high school I started becoming painfully aware of the stigma video games had on my generation. Video games were apparently no longer “cool.” And so, like many teens regretfully do, I left behind my child like ways and jumped head first into that fateful pursuit of acceptance by my fellow peers.
Fast forward to my post-college days, when I was over the whole trying to be “cool” thing: My brother one night casually invited me to join him in a game of Resident Evil, and so my foray into video gaming commenced once again.
I played on and off over the next several years with my husband or brother, but still I felt like it was my dirty little secret, my guilty pleasure if you will. The women who made up my current friends had never played a video game in their entire lives and trying to explain to them why I enjoyed this hobby felt tiresome, so I just kept it to myself.
But now, watching twitch streamers, and coming straight from a year of hardship health-wise, both physically and mentally, I felt a total lack of care for how anyone would think about my video gaming now. Pain has a way of doing that to you 🙂 And it was then I had an idea: “What if I streamed myself playing video games too?” I had nothing to lose! And a little fun and a lot of stepping out of my comfort zone was just what I felt I was needing.
At the beginning of June I did my first Twitch stream playing a game called Subnautica. I was so nervous. A tornado of butterflies swirled in my torso and I fretted over being an amateur gamer in a sea of people who were definitely anything but. I imagined mean comments and hateful joking in the chat and almost wanted to bail before I had even begun. But alas I jumped in.
To my pleasant surprise a small number of friendly strangers joined and made conversation. They helped me when I got stuck in the game, laughed at my jokes and shared little tidbits of info about themselves — where they were from etc. By the time I had finished I realized something: I was officially obsessed with streaming.
Where else can you play a game while chatting with friendly strangers from all over the world? It’s like having multiple pen pals, but instead of writing long letters back and forth, you play a game and chat with them casually. What’s not to love?!
In the spirit of honesty, though, it isn’t all easy and fun. I mean you’re putting yourself out there, and chatting with people live. Of course you get the occasional rude or weird comment. And streaming as a total amateur gamer is a bit odd, even in this space. Most streamers are fairly comfortable and experienced gamers. But watching me play a video game is probably like watching a toddler attempt to waltz at an all-stars ballroom dancing competition: sad and confusing.
But I’ve learned accepting myself, loving myself and above all having fun is what makes streaming worth it. Will I keep streaming only video games? Probably not! I have plans to add more kinds of streams to my channel as time goes on, so keep an eye out! But for now, if you are feeling bored and want to sit and casually watch me stumble through a video game, you are so very welcome to. In fact that’s the vibe of my channel: all are welcome here!
And in closing, I want to say one last thing: this whole stepping out in things you want to try is very scary and very hard. So many people downplay it, but the truth is very few people actually try new things or take risks. I’m no exception: this stuff is scary as hell for me. But I want to share something with you that I tell myself daily: don’t hold yourself back, my friend. There will always be people who don’t understand or appreciate you and your personal ideas or passions. Letting that fact determine whether you pursue those ideas and passions is the biggest mistake you can make. Because you are wonderfully unique, but you aren’t alone. Don’t try to fit into other people’s expectations for you. Live your life, take risks, have fun, be bold, love yourself, be true to yourself. Life is short and hard but golly, it’s way more fun doing what you love. Cheers to being you, my friends!