Asking For Help Is Not a Sign of Weakness

I was always taught that I should be able to take care of myself, that I need to be able to look out for number one because no one else would. In truth, that is not an unfair or unrealistic statement, but I realized that in my years of adulthood, I have a very difficult time asking for assistance when it comes to matters of life and the heart. This mentality somewhat ties into my Paladins write-up about not wanting to be a burden to another person or admitting that you cannot always be the strong one that others look up to.

There is a large portion of my life that is dedicated to connecting with people whether that be through professional or personal connections. I enjoy networking and I find it rewarding when I cross paths with someone who has similar interests as myself. One of the best things about meeting and e-meeting people is that you establish connections all over the world. Even better, you find that many of these people are genuinely good people.

Fun fact: I don’t like bothering people.

Time and time again, I have conversations that goes like this:

Me: Yeah, that part of my life was incredibly rough. I don’t know how I survived that.

Friend: Why didn’t you ask for help???

Me: I didn’t want to bug people with my issues.

Friend: DUDE. Ask for help! Friend help out friends. That’s what we do!

Similar conversations have happened in the past, and I can’t count how many times they’ve occurred. I would say that my reluctance to ask for help is comprised of many feelings and emotions including stubbornness, pride, and fear. The last one is a big one. I   have two fears when it comes to asking people for help. One, I’m scared of being rejected and two, I’m scared that some form of payment is expected at a later time even though this help is being offered to me under the guise of friendship/ the goodness of someone’s heart. There have been many times in my life when accepting help from someone has backfired on me later down the road. It’s essentially “well, I did this for during that time you needed me. Now you owe me.” That is a very scary statement if you think about it.

I’ve learned to shed the poisons out of my life, but a small level of paranoia stays in the back of my mind. In present day, I find myself in a pivotal moment in my life. I know what I want to do, and I know what I need to do, but I have to come to terms with the fact that I cannot do it alone. As much as I want to be the epitome of unwavering strength, I have to think about my life in realistic terms. I have to understand that yes, I am strong, but I don’t have to carry the weight of life and the world on my own every waking moment.

I asked for help. And I’m getting it. And while I’m still scared, I don’t feel nearly as alone as I did. I am reminded that I am loved, and that I have good people in my life. These people understand me, and understand the difficulties and the hardships I am experiencing. I had a good talk with a friend and she told me she believed in me. I was nearly brought to tears because I had felt so much weight lifted off of me. I could literally breathe easier. And she’s not the only one who is willing to stop moments of her life for me. That hit me so hard, and realizing that these people care that much about me made me feel like I can take anything on. How is that weak? It isn’t. It was empowering. Knowing when you need that little extra bit of help, and lowering your guard in order to initiate the request is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it’s a sign of strength. It’s, I suppose, a form of baring yourself and allowing vulnerability for a moment or two.

I am in a very odd cross section in my life, and I don’t know if what I wrote made any sense. I’ve been thrown a lot of obstacles in the past year, and I am finding out more and more about myself and how I want to live my life. Hurdles, epiphanies, heartache, disappointment, and doubt have filled my mind in recent days, but I buckled down and told myself I can push through all of it. I just need a little help.

And I’m getting it.

And I am grateful for it. Forever and always.

Always Open, produced by Rooster Teeth’s Barbara Dunkleman, Just Resonates With Me

Lightning facts:

I’ve been part of the RT community for close to 11 years now

Barbara has been part of that community for longer than that, has now worked for RT for several years, and this is the first show she has ever produced.

The pilot episode for Always Open aired 9/1/16 for FIRST members of RoosterTeeth.com

I phuqing love this show.

And that is not putting down the other shows that RT has produced over the years. I love them as well, and I will do whatever I can to support them. But Always Open speaks to me on many levels. It doesn’t even feel like a show or a podcast. It feels like a genuine conversation that friends are having. Even the camerawork feels more organic. It’s fluid, it keeps your attention, and it catches the more unnoticeable mannerisms you would only normally see if you were part of the actual conversation. I really don’t know how else to explain the technical aspects of Always Open, but there you go. Some of the reasons why this show speaks to me:

1) I like that the feel of the show isn’t “MEN SUCK” or “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR”. It’s just friends who happen to be women who are talking about whatever the hell they want to talk about. Sure there is some structure as far as answering questions and such, but you don’t feel the stress of needing to address as many questions as possible. The atmosphere is super laid back and fun. Nothing seems forced at all. This show very much reminds me of hanging out with my friends and not having a care in the world.

2) Because the first episode featured an all-female cast, it resonated with me more. That’s just a very natural reaction to have. Ladies, especially women who are good friends, really do talk about this kind of stuff with each other. The stigma that women have to be proper and appropriate all the time goes out the window. These conversations are real conversations. You want to talk about relationships? Bring it. You want to talk about farts? Let’s do it.

3) The diversity. This is so important, especially for today’s audience. Yes, the cast in the first episode is all-female, but my god, the diversity was astounding. You have four women, who are very different from each other in every way. You have a difference of ethnicity, backgrounds, sexual orientation, and walks of life. And they blend beautifully. I cannot praise this aspect of the show enough. IT IS SO GOOD TO SEE ALL OF THIS IN ONE SPOT.

4) Impact on the community and viewers. I think this is a really healthy show in general. There are so many in the community who look up to these lovely ladies, so having their own show is quite empowering. It’s no secret that many see them as role models. Seeing them all in one setting will definitely make a bigger impact and stronger influence for the better. Again, this is not a knock against men or the men of RT, but I think it’s important for young women to see these conversations and understand that they are perfectly normal. It’s okay to joke around with your friends and that it’s possible to find and establish that kind of relationship with another person where you can be yourself and you won’t be judged for it.

Just talking with community members throughout the years at RTX and through the forums, I know there are many people who shrink away from their full potential because they feel they may just not fit “the norm”. I always encourage people to embrace who they are, work to become better people than who they are in present day, and change the world for the better. I want to see people bring their best, and I want to see them grow, and I want them to never forget who they are in the process.

These ladies have done this and continue to do so. I think that’s worth supporting and backing. Cheers, ladies.

3

Paladins. I Don’t Necessarily Mean the D&D Ones.

I’ve had quite a few of these conversations lately, and that has lead to me writing about this topic. Everyone has a rock, someone they lean on for strength, support, and encouragement. We all have one or two, and in truth, it’s healthy to be able to vent to someone who is wiling to listen to you and not pass any judgement.

What isn’t healthy is if that is the only types of interactions we have with these specific people. There should be a healthy balance in any type of relationship, but once it becomes incredibly one-sided, it starts becoming toxic. People who are rocks are essentially paladins. They are altruistic, empathetic, and selfless to the point where they won’t openly admit when they themselves are crumbling because they don’t want to show the people who rely on them that they can no longer be supportive. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard “it’s nice being able to talk to someone because I’m usually the one people come to.”

Imagine being the journal, the ear, the foundation to multiple people who are struggling for various reasons. Now imagine instinctively carrying that weight in your mind and heart even though the conversation ended with “thanks for listening.” Paladins don’t shake those conversations, those worries or those burdens off.  Paladins accept these as their own because they feel it’s their way of contributing to life, to the world, and to their loved ones. It becomes part of them; that’s part of being empathetic.

And as much as paladins don’t want to admit it, even they struggle as well. They have their own share of misfortune at times just like everyone else, but they don’t like to tell others about it because they understand what that weight can do to someone. It’s a vicious one-way street for them more than it is a cycle.  They want to remain and appear strong for those who rely on them, and they will only break down behind closed doors.

Why am I writing this? I want people to have an understanding of the paladins in their lives. This isn’t to make them feel guilty about venting to their pillars of support, far from, but this is more to help them understand that those pillars are people too. Allow them to recharge. Understand that they also need time away from the crazy of the world. No matter how much they hold things together, sometimes, they need to step back and take a breather. One of their flaws is that they won’t ask for this break because they believe that they have to be helpful 24/7. I write this for those who  may find themselves all of a sudden wondering why their rock may disappear for a while. I write this for those who may even be angered when one of their friends goes dark for a bit. I write this for those who may only come to their paladins when they need them. I write this for those who may be paladins themselves. There is no one reason I’m writing down these thoughts, but the overall intention is understanding.

It is possible that some people will read this and spin negativity out of it. They may assume that I am writing this to make people who have troubles feel guilty about talking to their friends about their issues and problems. I am not. And that is an entirely different topic of discussion. I am writing this post to shed some light on a perspective that isn’t always thought about. I will throw in, however, that if you are only coming to shed troubles and leave, I won’t back down from saying that treating paladins like that isn’t healthy and it is unfair. People may assume that I speak for everyone on both sides, but I do not. As with all of my posts, I speak for myself and my own experiences. People can feel however they want with my posts, but it is no secret that my intention is to help, not damage.

Bottom line is whatever situation you may be involved in currently, if you have a paladin in your life to help you along, I’m glad for that. As I wrote earlier, it’s healthy to be able to share your troubles with trusted friends. I think you can agree that we need more people like them in the world. I am only asking that you remember that while paladins seem unbreakable, they are human.

My Twitch Community Asks: Why don’t you use a facecam while you stream?

The simple answer is I just like wearing ugly PJs while I play video games.

The complicated answer is a little more in depth than that.

Views: Having a large audience is crucial to a streamer’s success. Just to even be considered to become a partner of Twitch, you need to have a audience in the triple digits range (without assistance from being hosted) and you need to have a full time schedule of streaming 3-4 times a week with those steady numbers.  Another alternative is having a YouTube channel with more than 100K subscribers.

Depending on the game and what day I stream, my viewership can range from 10-25 people in the audience. My largest spike was about 66 while I was playing Dark Souls 3 for the first time. I will never forget that boss fight, nor will I forget the exchanges that happened in chat. I digress.  I will write more about that later. For a small time streamer, those numbers aren’t bad at all. I like testing the waters to see which games garner larger audiences and which ones bring in new viewers vs. regulars.

And I fully believe that using a facecam will help boost these numbers. More on that later.

The community: I acknowledge that I am by no means a big time streamer. And I also acknowledge that there are a crapton of streamers out there that no one else knows either. I like finding those people, and if I enjoy their streams, I try to support them as well. I also study and observe a variety of streamers who use a facecam and who do not use a facecam. I try to learn what works for them and what doesn’t. I make notes starting from the title of the stream being used to how they interact with chat to whether or not a facecam is even beneficial for them. Of course, some streamers don’t need any help at all when it comes to marketing themselves because they’ve already made such a name for their brand(s), they can just hit “broadcast” and they get a large audience. But for the smaller names, I pay extra attention to both their successes and their downfalls.

One note that is repeatedly jotted down is that female streamers will definitely benefit more by using a facecam.

How I stream: I think two of the reasons why people enjoy my stream are because I interact with the chat and I am a bit of a theatrical personality. I will occasionally acknowledge the chat at the expense of the progress I’ve made in a game. It makes for funny moments, and I would rather have those than ignore the people who ask questions or want to have conversations. I also get scared and enraged easily. Horror games are the worst for me and the best for my viewers.

When I first started streaming regularly on Twitch, I immediately decided on no facecam. It added a level of stress and paranoia that I did not want to deal with, especially since I wanted to learn about the culture of streaming first. It takes a lot of energy to focus on the game, focus on the chat, AND be entertaining for the chat. Worrying about a facecam was just a different level of multi-tasking I did not want to tackle out of the gate.

In case a reader may not understand this concept, everything I write and will write is my opinion only and my opinion is based off of what I have experienced and/or learned from what other streamers have experienced.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way…

These are the reasons why I don’t currently use a face cam:

  1. I’m not great at make up
  2. I hate having to worry about what to wear
  3. I hate having to make sure that camera angles are “just right” and “the most flattering”
  4. I do not want to deal with comments about what I look like
  5. I do not want to be compared to other streamers as far as physical appearance
  6. Honestly, it’s pretty funny when people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl. I call those people Professor Oak. The feature image makes sense now, doesn’t it?

These may seem like very trivial things, but let me break this down for you. Female streamers already get a bad rep because a lot of people seem to focus on the negativity of “cam girls”. There is already a stigma attached to female streamers regardless of the type of streamer they really are. The type of streamers people complain about are the women who wear the lowest cut shirts showing off their best and biggest physical assets, stream gameplay that is previously recorded and focus on everything else besides streaming a video game.  That is what I and many other female streamers are compared to off the bat.

In my Dark Souls 3 stream, the one where I had about 66 viewers in the chat, one viewer started off with “you mean there’s a girl gamer out there that isn’t a whore? Awesome.” That’s not a compliment. And it was even worse when he started bringing all that negative stuff of the aforementioned type of streamer into the chat even after mods asked him to tone it down. The whole debate of cam girls existing is something that is currently plaguing the community, and the fact that I stream, means that I am now automatically part of that regardless of my intention to be or not be involved with it..

Do I care about cam girls? Nope. It’s not my thing. They do what they do, and I’m going to do what I do. If people don’t like them, then my advice is to not support them. There are tons of streamers out there. People don’t have to harass each other or bully each other to make a statement. Rather than tearing people down, just use that energy to support and encourage streamers you do like.

Do I care about being compared to them? In a way, yes. Again, I’m just here to play video games and talk to people. If people avoid my channel because they assume that I am a certain type of streamer and they bolt, that’s not really the type of audience I want anyway. I want people who like what I do and genuinely enjoy my streams. If people like my stream, I’m very happy they give me a follow. If they donate to my stream, again that’s something makes me happy. Everything else beyond that is stuff I don’t care to delve into.

What does make up and clothing have to do with anything? Thanks to societal standards, a woman isn’t allowed to just be herself and in her most natural state. Most people would rather pay attention to a woman when she’s completely dolled up and dressed in the most flattering attire possible. Sure, there’s a time and place for everything, but demanding that she must be in her most perfect form for every second of the day in order for her to gain any amount of positive attention? Fuck that. Not everyone thinks this way, but enough people do where it’s an issue that should be addressed.

Can I wear make up? Yes. Do I enjoy it? Sometimes. I want to “look nice” for ME. I don’t want the reason for me looking nice to be making other people happy. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented on my appearance over the years. But I can tell you that not all of those comments were made to uplift my spirits. Some were made with the direct intention of crushing me into the ground. With the veil of anonymity on the internet, it’s that much easier for people to be cruel and mean to others. I’m a stronger person now than I was years ago, but I prefer not to deal with extra layers of stress when I just want to focus on video games. Being called an ugly bitch because I don’t wear red lipstick or wear brand name clothing isn’t grounds for a healthy conversation. Luckily, these are conversations I can now control and if I don’t want to have them, I don’t need to anymore.

Will you ever consider using a facecam? Yes. I’m actually thinking of doing a stream with a facecam when I hit 1000 followers on Twitch. Since being cam-less is the norm for  me, I figure I would do something out of the ordinary when I hit a milestone. I would also consider using a facecam when I have special guests on the stream as well. I’m not 100% against the use of a facecam. I just know that right now, I am trying to figure out who I am as a streamer, and I’m discovering what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t want to use a facecam because it’s labeled as a requirement. Like makeup, I want to do it for me and when I feel comfortable with it. It is entirely possible that I will use a facecam on a full time basis in the future. If that happens, it will be on my terms, no one else’s.

That being said, there are many streamers out there who I enjoy watching. Doesn’t matter if the streamer is a man or a woman and it doesn’t matter to me if they use a facecam or not. If they are entertaining to me, I follow them. I know what I like and I do what I can to support them and their channels. I encourage you to do the same. Find something you like? Support it. Find something you don’t like? Walk away from it.  That’s what community building is all about, is it not?

To the GFR Guild: thanks for being here. I am a lucky lady to have such a very awesome community. ❤

Shameless plugs!

https://twitch.tv/geekyfriedrice

https://youtube.com/geekyfriedrice

https://patreon.com/geekyfriedrice