Once again, I begin a post with a confession: this is a second attempt at making a year-end retrospective. I’m doing this in November, rather than the end of December or beginning of January because I don’t think shit is going to change much in the next month and a half. I was also just generally moody and pissed off, so I decided to write a lot of shit down ahead of time. My original draft was pretty much a big list of every shitty thing that happened this year. 2021 sucked, to put it lightly, for numerous reasons. The problem is that I cleared 2,000 words before I managed to get past June, and that is way too fucking long. The thing is, I’ve been spending the last few months wallowing in negativity, which I hate. I hate being upset! I hate being angry! I hate feeling despair over shitty things! I hate being pessimistic and hopeless! Given the chance, I would much rather see the good in the world. I want to be honest about the fact that shit sucks, but try to find the good that happened this year.
Make no bones about it, I did not have a good year. Bad things happened in the world, bad things happened to my friends, and bad things happened to people I am at least empathetic towards. A community that I’m part of fractured in a pretty bad way. I’ve had a hard time making art this year, unlike last year, where I felt like a machine. Game development has been hard, barely being able to get a three-level demo out. A lack of output due a recurring instance of Bad Brain. I’ve been sick multiple times with different things. There was even a particularly nasty health scare that I’ve kept from everyone until writing it out right now. Luckily, it only turned out to be a bad reaction to a side effect from some medication I was on. Having anxiety while also having a sudden pain in your side and needing to urinate every two hours fills your head up with every worst case scenario possible.
A lot of shitheads felt emboldened for reasons that I do not care to figure out. It has felt like there’s been an even bigger trend of upholding bigotry, abuse, and assault. It has felt like talent or even being a decent human being is a hindrance. It sucks, and has caused a lot of bad mental health flare ups. Before I go into this post proper, I will simply say this: the Western Indie Game scene, whether it be as a critic at some fucking rag like Kotaku or Waypoint, or a developer enjoying that Itch.io front page, is straight up the most evil shit you can ever be a part of. My short run of covering local music events riddled with talentless jobbers with bassists in their 30’s who would openly brag about sleeping with underage fans was less soul-rending than this. More or less being blacklisted from the “Indie” scene is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, and it’s a shame that it took me this long to realize it. And it is also a shame that there are still some good people out there who are having to learn this the hard way; my heart goes out to Wren and Nathalie. Also fuck Dave Chapelle and fuck NFTs.
So yeah, I was not at my best in 2021. The most I was able to get done in any work sense was maintaining the streak of at least one blog post per week. I think to most of you, that’s good enough. In my eyes it’s not. I do apologize for not being able to get cool stuff out this year, especially to those of out there still supporting my criminally-neglected Patreon. To try and not be so hard on myself, at least I was writing consistently, even if the subject was “wow cool video game” over and over. My writing did get people thinking about stuff critically, and even convinced people to check out the stuff I was recommending. That’s awesome. Plus, at least being able to sit here and write about things I like was fun enough. I’ll try and keep the streak going throughout 2022, barring any sudden catastrophe.
Another area in my life where I felt like I was making an improvement was my fighting game prowess. Making it to level 10 in Guilty Gear Strive, with several trips to the Celestial Realm. Having who is essentially the Daigo Umehara of Vampire Savior tell me that I was one of the best players he had ever come across (despite me getting my ass kicked), was not something I simply brushed off. I haven’t been feeling super great these last few months, and being in a highly-competitive environment where everyone, even the very best, have their bad days, sometimes feels more like self-harm. Like I need to justify my brain saying all the bad, fucked up things about me. “Hey dumbass, you sure are getting your ass kicked a lot! Look at you, still falling for Millia’s mix-ups like a loser! Just like how you can’t do anything else right, and why everyone who has ever fucked with you and your friends are living their best lives, bitch!” I tried getting into Melty Blood Type Lumina while the onset of a Bad Brain Time™ was going on, and I didn’t handle myself well as a result; maybe I can try getting back into it later. But to know, and to sit back and try to be logical, that I am actually pretty fucking good, but also remember that I’m new. I’ve only been playing fighting games with any serious competitive ideas since 2020, maybe parts of 2019. Of course I’m going to have my weak spots, and I’m not suddenly going to be beating SonicFox with my eyes closed and pressing buttons with my feet.
Maybe that’s the biggest takeaway of this year: that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. Remembering that no matter how fucked the world at large might be, and how shitty things are for a lot of people I love, and that I still have a ways to go in improving myself, I still have good people in my life. There was a lot of cool shit that came out this year. I took a four hour break in the middle of writing this to watch Full Gear with a bunch of friends and had a great time. I’m not trying to be one of those toxic positivity assholes that pretend everything is cool all the time, I’m just trying to see the best in things because I don’t want to be swallowed up in that black hole of despair that I’ve seen so many others fall into. Some this year, even.
Shit sucks, and there’s not a whole lot I do about it; one person can’t change the world. I’m a chronically ill idiot with a shitty immune system who stays indoors because of a virus outside that will never be cured. I can’t fix things, but I can at least try to a better friend? Make things better for my own small group. Keep making things, whether it be a simple blog post, or actually getting some new art out finally, that people enjoy or are moved by the same way I am for others’ work. Admittedly, I’m writing all this from a place of guilt. I feel like shit about the fact that I’ve been dealing with all this negative emotion and indulging the more self-destructive side of me: talking shit, relitigating grudges, getting mad at myself way too easily and letting all those dark thoughts take over. Not that I can’t or shouldn’t be upset about things sucking ass, or that I can’t talk some shit when the time is right, but it can’t be all I feel.
I’ve managed to do a mostly good job of not spraying all my personal shit on here, instead constantly venting privately on Discord, or making the mistake of logging back onto social media, and that ain’t no fucking way to live. Hopefully, this year was a stumbling block. It’s weird, because this is a public post that (being generous here) a couple hundred people might read, but I am writing this for myself. Felt like I’ve spent this whole year suspended in thick gel, and it’s prevented me from being at my best. This is me making this shit public as a way of holding myself accountable that this shit needs to change. Striving to make 2022 a year where I get myself to the consistent level I was at in 2020, only better. Of course, having a chemical imbalance in my brain and having a lot of enemies won’t make that easy, but I have to give it a better effort than I did this year. That’s my goal. More good articles. More finished games. More sprite work. More sprite animation. More 3D modelling. More streams. More doing things that I like, with a lot less of the “oh fuck, is this good enough??????” anxiety that’s arrested me all this time.
If you’ve read this far, you didn’t have to. Also thanks, I guess.