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.
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.
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.
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.
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.