I wasn’t really sure where to put it but since this applies to… Well, everything, I figured part of the development blog would be fitting. CW: severe depression, racism, as well as mention of abuse and suicide.
I have not gotten a podcast out all month. Obviously. I have streamed very intermittently here and there. To be entirely honest, most of March has been spent in bed. There are a lot of things that have led to this.
Realistically, this started around Blizzcon. Now, nothing bad happened with blizzcon itself. In fact, a couple friends of mine were featured in the opening ceremonies! Which was amazing and fantastic!
That does not mean it was all sunshine and rainbows. At least not for me.
It hit me real hard. I can’t share this with two people who are no longer here. I can never share this with them again. And that’s not all that hit me. I haven’t been to a convention since 2018.
And thanks to the panorama, I also haven’t had a hug in a year, because I’ve been playing it very very safe. But it still really sucks.
The week following this really should have been uneventful. I agreed to teach some friends many of the Shadowlands dungeons, since they had never really gotten to experience them. I decided to do this as a tank, and we had a group of four, so by necessity our fifth was a pug. Not all in all bad… Until it was.
Now this might not seem like a big deal at first. And it really isn’t. Until it escalated. In one dungeon, our pug decided to keep pulling ahead of me. We asked multiple times, as a group, hey, we’re doing a thing, can you let the tank do tank things? Which of course went ignored. So we ended up kicking.
This is where the escalation happens. I had also been streaming this. I am typically someone who will calmly explain dungeon and raid mechanics because we all started somewhere. But I lose all possibly empathy after a certain point. As soon as we kicked this person who ignored our request, they decided it was a great time to tell me I’m toxic and I should kill myself. Needless to say I reported them. They also flamed another friend in the group.
Over the weekend was another thing in game. Timewalking raid. I don’t typically do these. They’re a lot of work and I usually have to find groups. Which means that I have a lot of luck getting assholes in groups, which becomes apparent when someone says “cringe” when pronouns come up.
That particular day should have actually been a great day. I had applied to be part of a Twitch stream team, and I was accepted! But the day was sullied because apparently it’s hard to be respectful to people.
Finally we get to Monday. Over the weekend this new team was being put together, and most were announcing that they were on the team, but the official team announcement was Monday.
I have talked to some people about this whole thing. Some of which I will not say publicly. Some of which I will. I had actually been interviewed in regards to this as well, which nothing ever came from it. This is part of why I’m writing this. There are some things I feel need to be public from my perspective. I hope the reasons for this are clear. I am also not naming any names in any of this, at least publicly, but I need at least my feelings out.
Immediately, there was backlash for this team. Full disclosure, I am absolutely still a part of this team, and I’m going to get into why as part of this whole thing. Now, a lot of this backlash for this team was “there are no BIPOC people.”
Now, I’m going to admit I was not part of the selection process, I did not see the applications, I am not privy to all of that, and the team staff had a lot of work. What I do know is that there were originally going to be 10 team members. Which grew to 25 when applications were around 175 by the end of the week. That’s a lot. I will also say, as far as most of us on the team, many of us don’t know many BIPOC streamers, or are unsure because many of those streamers don’t use cameras or use anime/art avatars. All of which is totally fine, and I’m not going to knock any of that, and there are plenty of other people doing the work to point out all the issues many of us face in this space.
I’m going to specifically point out “many of us” in that last sentence.
In the two announcement videos that were put out there was a little blurb about each of us, along with a picture, usually a selfie, that we chose.
Now, I’m going to backtrack a tiny bit here. Back in September for the Manitoba Podcast Festival, we had another Indigenous podcaster as a guest. This is someone I look up to since he is white-presenting as well as male, and I specifically asked about being Indigenous in a very white space. After his answer, I made a very important decision. For me, being Indigenous is something I can’t change, nor would I ever, but I sometimes forget how important that is at times. So I decided that I would bring that badge to all of my online presence, not only to be representative of an Indigenous person in very predominantly white spaces, but also as a reminder for me to not forget this.
This acted as a challenge for myself, too. I’ve talked about my memory being pretty bad over the last few years, so having this reminder for myself is extremely important. But I also hope to be that face that some kid looks at and goes “they’re doing this work in this white space, and they kinda look like me, so maybe I can too.”
It also became part of every piece of online presence I have. Within the first 5-10 words of any bio, my Indigenous heritage is labeled proudly. Well, almost. There’s a facebook page that I don’t really use because I don’t like facebook. It was also included in my intro blurb for this stream team.
I’m also not the only person on the initial team announcement who isn’t white but I won’t speak for the others. If they want to speak out publicly, that is their right.
Why is this important?
This is not exactly an easy thing to answer. Because I do see where this is coming from. There were no Black streamers originally on this team, so many of us understood this as “there are no Black streamers represented.” Which was not the case. The people presenting the problem fully meant that there were zero BIPOC streamers represented at all. Which, just from me being there shows this is just untrue. There weren’t many in the beginning, and the team has already begun to grow and change within the first few days of all of this.
I fully stand with this team, and I want to make that very very clear. But I also felt really shitty seeing this argument that there were none of us there. Because, some of us were.
It felt invalidating.
I felt invisible.
It felt like anyone who said this did zero homework, likely jumping on a bandwagon, but I can’t be sure.
It felt like anyone who did any homework looked at all our pictures, and went “oh look, another white girl.”
It was incredibly disheartening. It took any little bits of energy I had left over from previous weeks and drained it all. And even as it was pointed out “uh hi, I’m here, I’m Indigenous” it was met with “oh I was not aware.”
I cannot express how incredibly invisible I felt.
That lack of awareness showed exactly what I felt: that those who claimed to be fighting for us, for me and others like me, and other BIPOC people didn’t even look, and jumped to conclusions.
Now, behind the scenes, those of us on the team came together. I have felt absolutely nothing but love and support from everyone else involved. I felt seen by them, and they could see that I was really hurting because of a lot of this.
I did get one last blow, however. One particular person did leave the team. Which is fine. Except that this person had given what felt like lip service to making the team better, only to jump on this bandwagon and chase any possible clout they could. This hurt a lot. Because they had seen the hurt caused by this before they jumped ship. And to be entirely honest, I’m still pretty angry about it. And I don’t know that I ever won’t be.
This ended up getting so bad I screamed at my podcast co-host about this whole thing because of just how much raw hurt there was. We ended up not recording that night, and I have since apologized profusely, though, he could tell I needed it. Except clearly I needed more of it, because all that had done was put a hole in the dam.
I was thankfully able to get into a somewhat emergency appointment with my therapist. that helped. A little. I also had a follow up with my doctor about new meds I had started, which I told him very frankly, they could be working, but this shit happened and now I have no clue. So he upped my dose.
Since then, not a lot has happened. Because I’ve mostly been in bed. Either too exhausted to move, or not feeling safe enough in my own hands. I even made a joke early on about how quickly I’d get through DS9 this time. It has been pretty quick. The last few weeks, the only focus has been just continuing. To breath. To live.
It has been incredibly exhausting. And will likely continue to be for a little while yet. But I am getting some of my energy back again. Very slowly.