In this post, I would like to talk about some of the hurdles I’ve come across during our streaming sessions. For those that don’t yet know, we (my husband and I) actually started streaming our gaming evenings on Twitch some time ago.
The Public Space
I think most of us know that being in a public space is very different from being in the safety of your own home. So what happens when you bring that space into your home? Well, mostly things are fine, but occasionally you may forget that you are indeed under the eyes of the world (so to speak), and revert back to your home-self. Not to say that your home-self would be terribly bad but let’s face it, sometimes (most of the time in my case) it doesn’t quite have the suave of the public-self.
I am still in the learning process of keeping in mind that the microphone is no joke. It is on and stays on for most of the time we stream. This means I need to be careful with my sounds, wordings, any blurt-outs I may feel inclined to give out, and so on. Now, for a typical person this is a no-brainer, I think. But for a borderline such as myself… well things get complicated when you forget to actively put the filter on and keep it in place!
The filter works in tandem with my perception and with my expectations. I learned immediately to be more mindful after I gerfunkled an interaction with a viewer and was left to hope they did not feel unwelcome!
You see, we had a case of spammers in the chat, the occasional bot or person advertising on how to get followers and more, the whole nine yards. And so, when this poor person came in to say hello and tried to help us with our in-game economy, I first said “Welcome!” like a normal person, and immediately after I saw anything related to buying I went “Not welcome!”, and in the few seconds that it took me to speak out I had read further and pretty much facepalmed into the keyboard thinking what an idiot I am and trying to fix the situation in chaotic incohesive mumbling retracting of the “not welcome”.
Please read the chat properly before reacting to it, that’s my lesson learned!
Other than that, I usually try to do my best to answer people’s questions and welcome them to the stream. My husband thankfully is the more social of us, more in tune with the gaming and technicalities as well so our viewers get to have an amazing time talking builds and more with him. I mostly stay silent, as I am incredibly awkward around strangers and people in general.
One such moment of awkwardness came when my husband ran to the store in the middle of the stream, and we figured it would be fun to show me fiddling with my then-current pixel art project. Things were fine, I had no worries, I had the amazing audience’s support and yet I still went down as a nervous wreck, not knowing what to do and fumbling all over the place like a giraffe on drugs trying to find the nearest pond to flop in. That being said, we managed to come up with a color scheme for the bit alert and I actually finished it about two days afterward. Sometimes I just need to take a chill pill, so to speak. Things are rarely as bad as I perceive them to be!
Taking the hits
Of course, it is not just sunshine and rainbows. Stuff happens, I get slapped in some way, and get into my defensive shell. Trouble is, it is still a public space.
I’ve had moments of deep depression as I keep losing our matches (yes, I take all the responsibility for the losses upon myself), making mistakes, and being called out for them. Although I must say most of our viewers are amazing and magically sort of give me more slack than my husband, who has this incredible confidence about him. He can take the hits and talk them out, brush them off even… Unfortunately, I don’t possess the same superpower.
I’ve even snapped at people in the stream, trying to disguise it as a sort of brat-like behavior, making cringy fun about it, trying to camouflage the bitterness behind it. I struggle with criticism, even perceived one, and so getting it affects my mental state immediately.
It doesn’t help that I’m the healer of our little duo, and as such, I have a lot of responsibility and say in what happens in the fight (we battle against other duos, and the healers are the ones giving their partners the chance to get in there and wreak some havoc). My borderline enjoys thoroughly the moments when I start feeling good for nothing like I should be replaced or like my spot is threatened by all the incredible good players that we seem to be gathering around us. My borderline mind makes me disposable, even when my husband would never just toss me to the side – he plays because he can play with me. It’s been one of his dreams, or so he tells me.
Remembering the point
These are the moments when I really need to try and remember why we are here, to begin with. It is not because we want to be internet-famous. It is not because we are trying to build a community, or because we want to take over the world. It is not even because there is a possibility of gold in it.
We stream because it is an adventure for us. We share our date nights, our game nights, with our viewers, because we think it might be something people would like to see. I mean c’mon now, I’ve not seen one legit married couple playing together as we do! And even more than that, we met in a game. It’s like the ultimate romance story for gamers. And for me personally, if I can let people know that with courage magnificent things can happen… all the better! Sometimes you’ve just got to fight the odds.
And then there is the whole other situation where we have done some content with our viewers. These people are amazing, helpful, and know a lot about the game that we don’t and graciously offer their help… Yet, I struggle.
They are kind, yet I am drained in their presence. Borderline rules dictate that I must stay positive, quiet, pleasant, and on a borderline level. Not on the usual human decency level, but on a borderline level.
I also must remember that my husband comes first. He is my one and only after all. And to my regret, I learned in the past to be on the side of flirty rather than common courtesy to avoid abandonment and being left out, and so I now need to strain myself to try my absolute best not to do that with the people we play with. It is one of the conflicting coping mechanisms I’ve developed, and now need to break apart. Being pleasant is amazing and a lovely thing, being overly so can hurt my loved ones!
While streaming has come with many hard lessons and conflicts, it is also teaching me with each ripple in the water to become stronger and better. It is teaching me to be more mindful when I communicate, to relax when I’m not actually in danger, and to just enjoy the moments I get to have with my husband as we share our relationship and game nights. I hope we keep up with it, as I have a feeling something amazing can come out of this (not that something amazing didn’t already happen)!