I got mad online tonight. It was over something dumb, and not really a hill worth dying on probably. But it wasn’t really about that, though. It was something that’s been brewing for a while now. Just a lot of things I’ve had bottled up for literally years now. Some people blowing up about a dumb tweet was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I should probably maybe get those bad feels out here now.
Here’s what’s up: I’ve pretty much thrown myself head-first into other people’s problems for the last few years, not taking a break, or really letting myself chill out. I haven’t been living for myself, but rather, taking on others’ shit out of some bull-headed sense of privilege; that I can walk away from abuse and harassment, but they can’t, so I shouldn’t either. And I realize now that that’s kind of stupid, but that’s how I felt at the time.
And I never got involved in things like this, yelling about Gamergate and MRA’s and shit, because I was expecting some kind of a reward, or using it as an opportunity to build my “brand” or whatever the fuck. I did it because I don’t want anyone, especially people I like, dying because of video games. Nobody should ever have to die for their art. Even if 99% of their targets turned out to be total assholes and TERF-y as fuck, I certainly don’t regret standing up for what’s right.
But I have to say, and I hate to say it, because I sound like an ungrateful ass, but it also doesn’t feel like it was worth it. Yeah, I met a lot of great people, and even more not so great people, but it begs the question: would I have made all these friends anyway through my work and common interests? Probably. I made a “name” for myself on Tumblr by posting screenshots of a King’s Field playthrough I was doing, after all.
Not to say that standing up to bigotry and shit was bad, mind you. It’s just that I have to look at where I was before I dove into this whole business, and where I’m at after, and I don’t like it. Before all this, I was spending my Friday evenings fucked up on a single Vicodin, eating cheap ramen, watching wrestling, and playing through the entirety of the PC Engine’s catalog. I was having fun online with my friends.
Now? I’m this bitter fuckhead who spent all of 2016 in a continuous state of panic, hoping that today wouldn’t be the day that my friend Aeryn followed through on her plans of suicide because some games people got wound up over whatever the fuck petty cis people get mad about. I’m full of rage and fear, surrounded by people who seemingly enjoy starting fights at the drop of a hat. Doesn’t matter with who; it could be Ian Miles Cheong, it could be an obvious 4chan sockpuppet with ten followers (two of which are real), or it can be an actual decent human being who either did something problematic, or something disagreeable, and now the fire needs to be brought down on their heads.
Believe it or not, I hate fighting! I hate being mad! I get embarrassed whenever I do, because I’m ashamed that I let negative, destructive emotions take control of me, as opposed to something positive and productive. I’m tired of all of this constant conflict. Tired of fighting. Tired of The Discourse.
I put my neck out on the line, and I got the doxxing and stalking treatment too. The support that I got did not even come close to what I gave; some people who label themselves as progressives literally laughed about it, wrote entire articles that online harassment was “over” and that if I, or anyone else, became a target, it was our own fault for “kicking the hornet’s nest.” And I’ll admit that, yeah, I am a little pissed that I wasn’t considered good enough, that a lot of the fear and other shitty emotions, locking everything down in a panic, apologizing to everyone I had any kind of public relationship with just in case anything happened to them too, did not matter. That it was “over” because too many people were transing it up in some game person’s menchies one day. And like I said, I don’t need or want any “reward.” I don’t need a book, or a panel appearance, or a thinkpiece, or even an obnoxiously long manthread on Twitter. I just wanted someone to publicly say, hey, this is fucked up and unacceptable. Just as I had done.
You know, I pretend to be aloof and in this social bubble, but I’m fully aware that I have a reputation, and I know that it isn’t a good one. Being a part of “Anti-Gamergate” and all that. I know that a lot of people, in games, in art, in tech, other trans queers, all think that I’m some sort of rape-loving white nationalist prowling the mean streets of Seattle, looking for a child or WoC with which to satisfy my appetite for assault. When I complain about shared blocklists on places like Twitter, or even the new hot social media site, Mastodon, it’s not that I’m mad that I can’t talk to people, or to be part of a scene that inspired the creation of Hot Allostatic Load. I can live with people not liking me. I can’t live with this shit hanging over my head. To be “99% MRA, Gamergater, or Neo-Nazi” or to be a “cis white male looking to hold down women of color in games.” To try and put my name out there as an artist or writer or designer or whatever, and have people who I never even heard of rattle out this fiction of every imaginary crime I have committed, and my close associations with problematic individuals I barely know, and then I’m cut out of yet another space for the marginalized, of which there are not many to begin with. And these are the people who are supposed to be on my side. I can’t enjoy things anymore. I have to do research before I can consume anyone’s content; to make sure this isn’t someone who will call me a pedophile for being trans, or because of an online interaction I had with someone once, or some other shit.
It’s too much. I’m more or less damaged goods at this point. This problematic creature not deserving of your pity or patronage, only your fury. And I hate it. And I’m done. I want to jump into a time machine to 2013, and go back to a time where I wasn’t dealing with this shit. 2013 wasn’t even that great a year! It might have been worth it at one point, but that point has long since passed. I’m worn out and beaten down always worrying about something. Tired of waking up in a panic, hoping that everyone else is okay, without checking to see if I’m okay, first.
I can’t do this anymore. I want to go back to way things were, when I wasn’t Literally Rapist Hitler that people too lame for 4chan want to stab to death. It’s too late for that, I know. All I can do is try and make a new tomorrow instead. Try and rehabilitate my image if possible.