I originally wanted to write this post around Thanksgiving, when I was thinking of everything in my admittedly pretty stellar life I was grateful for. I didn’t pitch it to Paul because I either didn’t have the ovaries to get vulnerable, or I thought I’d be perceived as pandering. Maybe it’s because I’m filled with the Christmas spirit, or maybe it’s because I, like the rest of the country, have lately been trying to parse one of the most horrendous things to have ever happened in our nation, but I’m ready to lay it all out there and spread a little love around the internet, a place that can sometimes seem coldly absent of the warm fuzzies.
Someone wrote to me via my website asking why I commented so much on my own articles. They said they avoided commenting themselves, for fear of hurting my feelings by disagreeing with an article’s thesis. They suggested I leave the commenting to my fans/detractors, and remain silent once I laid out my thoughts via my pieces. They went on to compliment me on my work, and express their hopes that I would continue writing. First of all, I want to thank that anonymous person. Thank you for reading, thank you for encouraging me to “keep up the good work,” in your words. I’m sorry if writing all this publicly causes you to lose your faith in me as a voice of female gamers (another point made by the commenter). I sincerely hate to lose you, but I’m not going to stop engaging the readers of this site. Here’s why.
You Are My People
They may not be Unreality readers, but they may as well be. You are each and every one of you this epic.
This may actually be the most unabashedly dorky, most awesome thing I’ve ever seen. Ah, to be so committed to singing a video game song in a made up dragon language while cosplaying! To fight a sword fight with a violin bow! To add in HUD graphics 3/4 of the way through! TO BE SO FREE!
Look, I was bullied in school. My main adversary used to save his full milk cartons from lunch just so he could chuck them at my head while I waited for my ride home. I enjoyed learning, I was in band, and I carried around a dogeared copy of The Hobbit all through grade school. I wrote short stories about how I was an alien from another planet. I quoted Star Wars incessantly and jumped around the playground singing the theme to Indiana Jones. By myself. It wasn’t a tragic existence, I always had friends, but I knew I wasn’t cool.
Eventually I made it through high school and discovered others like myself at college; even more on the world wide web. I was part of a group! Maybe none of us were “cool,” but we could make each other laugh, think, and be there for each other when the need arose. You all are an extension of that group. I write for you because I appreciate your thoughts on video games, movies, and television. Unreality has an almost abnormal lack of trolls frequenting its comments sections, and that’s one of the many reasons I wanted to write for the site. We can disagree, and still hold a civilized conversation. And at the end of the day, we’re all here for the same thing—awesome nerdery cultivated by awesome nerds.
Like Many of You, I Read This Site Front to Back, Every Day
From The Morning Link to The Final Countdown, and every Pokebra in between, I’m in it to win it. Do I always comment? Of course not, I’m too busy trying to hide my internet activity from my employer. I was an Unreality reader for a long time, finding my way here via a gaming post of Madison‘s, and then staying to read Paul Tassi‘s thoughts on Heroes, then checking out Nattyb‘s “That Guy Actor of the Week” column. By the way, I am the queen of recognizing “that guy” actors, so major props to Nattyb for pulling them out of the woodwork for the recognition they deserve.
Later on, talented new writers were added, and I happily devoured the gaming posts from Dave Bast and Benny Bedlam (who is another girl gamer, if you haven’t got past the “Benny” yet); the film and television posts from David R, Glen Miller, Remy Carreiro, Laura Frances, Zack Ruskin, and E. Lee Zimmerman; and the crazy make-em-ups of TJ Fink. Of course, all of these authors’ works span genres, and Benny is just as likely to turn in a great piece on movies as Remy is to draw up a thoughtful list on gaming. I owe my Unreality authorship partially to Remy, in fact, since I got into a lively discussion with him via the comments section of one of his articles, then thought to myself, “if they let this clinically insane guy write for this site, why not me?” Which brings me to my final point:
I’m a Commenter Too!
I read stuff on the internet all the time. When I read something I like, I like to talk about it with other people who read it, and sometimes I like to ask the author questions. I like it even more it when the author answers them or otherwise acknowledges me in any way. So if you ask me a question, I’ll answer it. If you say you liked what I wrote, I’ll thank you. But listen, I don’t just pretend to be a well-adjusted adult person on the internet, I’m also one in real life. If you disagree with me, you aren’t going to hurt my feelings. I write about games and movies and tv shows. Not the meaning of life. I may be passionate about these things, but your differing opinion is not going to send me over the edge. I do this for free. Why? Because I like you, you’re clever, and I want to talk to you about the things that pique our collective interest. In all honesty, one of my favorite comments I’ve ever received was the simple “This article is bad and you should feel bad.” And I am not even slightly joking. Draugr made my day a couple weeks ago. They (I don’t want to assume gender) laid out their disappointment, plain as day, hiding behind no flowery prose. I respect the crap out of that.
So comment if you feel so moved! Lay into me if you’re so inclined! But don’t try to take the discussion away from me. In times like these, we need to cultivate our communities. I want to be a part of this community. I am a part of this community. And I hope to be for a long time.
Happy Holidays, everyone. Live long and prosper.