Daily Prompt 1/19/2016 | Can’t Stand Me

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 1/19/2016 | Can’t Stand Me

“What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?”

Some of you may know this, some of you may not, but I have been on the internet for a long, long time. I used to blog regularly on sites like Open Diary and Teen Open Diary back in midle school/early high school, and then moved on to Blogger, and eventually to Tumblr and WordPress. I dabbled in blogging, short stories, and online role-playing blogs (mostly Harry Potter), before moving onto a new platform: YouTube.

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In 2009, armed with nothing more than a crappy webcam and my trusty headset, I uploaded my first video ever, which was a video response (remember those things?) to a video that Red Shirt Guy uploaded after facing criticism and ridicule for his Asperger’s Syndrome, which was brought into light during a BlizzCon panel, when he stunned the crowds, as well as the developers, by pointing out a story line flaw between the Warcraft novels and World of Warcraft game content. After my video response received over 10k views, and several hundred comments, I was inspired to make videos regularly. I began recording myself daily, talking about my day-to-day life, including fun rants about working in retail, trying new foods, talking about gaming, books, and movies, and also submitting entries for my friends Amanda’s monthly The Scrawl posts. While I had a lot of fun doing it, and built up a fan base of… well, 5 or 6 nice people, it was draining.

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I’ve never had the highest self-esteem, and putting my face out there for all the trolls of the internet to pick apart, certainly did not help. While the majority of the comments I received from viewers were quite positive, there were definitely some not-so-positive ones, and after a while, that got to me. I went to a dark place, for a really long time, and I still haven’t recovered from it.

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There’s something about putting yourself out there that makes you vulnerable. There are people stronger than me who probably could have handled it better and kept going, but I had a hard time. I eventually started moderating the comments, so that they needed approval before being posted. If people weren’t insulting my appearance, they were saying other vulgar things. You can see a few examples above.

After a while, I stopped posting videos regularly. And after a few years of this, I gave up entirely, and stopped posting videos. This was all during a time in my life where I was struggling with having moved to a new town, where I knew nobody, had no friends, had a hard time finding a job, and was in an unhealthy, controlling relationship. I felt completely alone. Before I gave up on YouTube entirely, I started dabbling in audio, specifically, podcasting. After receiving a lot of positive feedback, and realizing that it was something I enjoyed and was good at, I decided to give up on YouTube, and dove into the cold, unfamiliar waters of podcasting.

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I uploaded my first episode of Something Suggestive in February of 2012. Early on, I filled my show with World of Warcraft news, movie reviews, and a random Q&A segment. It was really awkward, and felt totally different than recording videos for YouTube. There was no camera to talk to, and I found myself needing to edit out a lot of awkward pauses and stumbles. But I eventually got the hang of it. I gained a pretty decent following on Twitter, and the outpouring of friendship and support was incredible. For the first time in a long time, I felt accepted. Like I mattered.

My show started getting bigger, and the pride that I felt whenever I checked my weekly stats was amazing. I made so many friends in the podcasting community, and was even invited to be on several other podcasts as a guest host. Some of you may not know this, but I believe that I was also the first WoW podcaster to interview a WoWHead staff member (Perculia), which was pretty amazing to me at the time. I overhauled the content of my show, made it more WoW-oriented, and introduced two amazing segments, featuring my dear friends, Rho and Marconin. Life was good.

That all ended in March of 2013, when my ex and I broke up after 4 years together, and he kicked me out of our apartment. He took back the computer that he had given me for Christmas, and I was forced to leave my old life, and most of my belongings, behind. Rho was nice enough to take over my final episode of Something Suggestive for me, which aired on April 1st, and that was that.

It has been a little under 3 years since the last episode of Something Suggestive, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it. Podcasting was one of the only things in my life that I felt like I was good at. It helped me break out of my shell, and helped me form some amazing friendships. It also helped me deal with trolls and haters better (and believe me, there were quite a few), because I knew that I was good at what I was doing, and they were just jerks. Unfortunately, I no longer play World of Warcraft, so returning to the podcasting community seems impossible. I’ve lost contact with many of the people I once considered to be great friends. I recently picked up blogging again, which has given me a nice outlet for my creativity, as well as my frustrations, and it has made me feel a little bit better about the direction my life is going in. Kind of…

I guess, to answer the original question, I find watching old videos of myself more unbearable, mostly because I was so awkward. I had no idea what I was doing. I sometimes wish that I had stuck with it a little longer, because who knows where I would be right now! I had fun doing it, but looking back at it, I don’t think I was nearly as successful at vlogging as I was at podcasting. I have the face for radio, haha. I actually wouldn’t mind getting into radio, or some other kind of podcasting, in the future!

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Dream Journal 1/11/16

Present day.

I’m hiking up a long, mountainous trail in the a heavily wooded forest, accompanied by a group of three other individuals, all around my age. The woman in front of me is wearing a large backpack, with large camera equipment sticking out, and is walking with a large stick. She has dark auburn hair, which is pulled into a messy braid. There is a man to my left, who looks a bit nerdy with his black hipster glasses and his nose in a journal. The man at the rear of the group looks to be the oldest. He is handsome and muscular, with tan skin and sandy blond hair. He also has a large backpack on his back, filled with various equipment.

We get to a clearing to the side of the trail, where the ground is rock, and is surrounded by rock walls on 3 sides. We decide to set up camp. I help the other woman set up a large tent, and the men put up the other. We also build a large fire, and set up some of the equipment, which includes several large cameras, a fold-out table, two laptops, and some other machines. Not really sure how it all fit in two back packs.

The sun is setting, and we retreat to our respective tents after hooking up and turning on several machines, each with a different job, and go to sleep. In the middle of the night, the other woman in my tent and I are awoken by a loud scream, a man screaming, and run from our tent. The hipster  nerd is standing by the fire, staring off into the distance, blood splatter covering his shirt and face. The other woman runs to him, shaking his shoulders, asking him what happened, and where blond guys. Blond guy’s name is Charlie. He doesn’t know, he just keeps staring into the distance.

The sun comes up, and we make a plan to go find Charlie. Hipster nerd is in new clothes, but he still has blood in his hair. I don’t think he has spoken yet. We leave the camp and follow a blood trail further up the mountain trail, which is covered in scattered patches of fog. The trees have turned into large rock formations, and we can see caves in the distances to either side of the trail. It is spooky.

There are strange screeches and movements all around us. We come to a large, open area near the top of the mountain, and at the other end, built into the mountain, is a large pyramid. We hear screaming in the distance, and look up just in time to see the large pyramid doors close shut. We run  across the field, but the door will not open back up. There is a balcony near the top of the pyramid, and we can see an opening in the stone where we can get inside.

There are two sides to the pyramid that we can climb, both with different obstacles, and we decide to split to split up. I go off on my own, leaving the other two to take the opposite wall together.

My wall has trickling water, and brightly colored plants sticking out of it. I have hipster nerd’s journal, and flip to a page with a bright purple flower drawn on it. The flower is poisonous, and when I look up at it, there are puffs of purple dust coming out of it. I start climbing, trying to avoid as many types of fauna as I can. I can hear the other two shouting from the other side, but can’t make out their words, or their tones. I continue climbing. Suddenly, a rope falls down beside me, and hipster nerd and the redhead are at the top, yelling that there are Orcs coming, and we need to move. They pull me up the rope and we duck into the pyramid. Inside the pyramid are mountains of gold coins, shaped like ramps against the walls. At the bottom are thousands of snakes, writhing and slithering on top of each other.

The other two are looking through another one of hipster nerd’s books, trying to find anything about the pyramid, when I spy a lever on the wall. Without hesitation, I pull it, and the floor drops, sending all of the gold, and the snakes, plunging into darkness. As the floor drops, vines fall from the ceiling, creating a way to get across to a ledge at the other end, which I hadn’t noticed before. I look back outside the pyramid and see an army of something, dressed in black armor, wielding spears and axes, approaching the pyramid. Hipster nerd starts talking about the history of local Orc clans, and the walls are starting to shake, causing pieces of debris from the pyramid to fall into the open chasm.

Hipster nerd and the redhead are arguing over who will cross first, when I volunteer, and leap to the first vine, grabbing it with ease. I swing to the next one, and hear the redhead jump behind me. I am almost to the other end…

And then I woke up.