On The Subject of Comfort Levels
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 1:08PM
Isaiah T. Taylor in Gaming, News, Personal, Personal Note, Perspective

Here we see Shoko feeling comfortable enough to risk getting pinkeye from her cat's butt.


Okay, so I haven’t published a lot of my writing about games, or really anything, in recent months. The truth is, it’s really pretty rad. I’ve been able to dance and run more. I’ve been playing through my PS3/PS2 backlog. I built a gaming computer. Next month I’m hopping back into photography with a new fancy camera. Things have happened. Things are happening.


So let’s talk about comfort. What I’ve noticed over the past year of me taking a step back from writing and wanting to be hip on what the current conversations are that conversations on social media -- a ton easier. Seemingly giant arguments where I felt obligated to ‘have a take’ on, don’t even make it to my social radar. I think my social circles sussed out whom we can tolerate, you’ve probably muted/unfollowed/blocked me -- which is something I’ve encouraged. I’ve done the same, self-care is important.


Occasionally, this is to my detriment. Arguments within game spaces on twitter got so all-encompassing* on my timeline, I had to kinda take the reigns again. Mind you, I’m taking into account that I’m a soon-to-be 34 year-old man talking about how videogame arguments got to be ‘too much.’ To people who don’t know me for my games writing, I could see how silly this looks.


As far as comfort goes, it has been interesting to see how many folks have faded away from conversations that aren’t about games. I’ve done it too. I think when you’re in an environment with a lot of ideas and exchanges, you have to leave space for change and maturation. Hopefully growth, but mostly change. Also, it’s damn near impossible for me to talk about one thing for days, months, years on end. The games people I follow now, I don’t call “games people.” Apologies if I ever did, because you remaining folks are dope, multitudinous people. Thank you for putting up with me.


So the past couple of years of me focussing my timeline on black women artists, cute puppies and sports, has been a breath of fresh air. It has come at a cost. When I dip back into share someone’s crowdfunding game project, or games writing the support isn’t there like it was years back. Which, I guess is cool. People don’t come to my feed for that, or maybe I boosted a voice not en vogue with who's following me. I know I should probably care more about that stuff, but I’m usually slow to learn who is whom’s problematic faves.


This all lead to a kind of revelation outside of a social media exchange, but all inclusive. I’ve realized that I’ve innately, for a long time, cared about the comfort of others within my manner of speech and conversation. Especially within gaming circles [that aren’t fighting game centric, oddly enough]. I cared about how white people viewed my diction and grammar [years ago] because there was a chance that I might work with them, or they’d recommend me to write for an outlet. In hindsight, it became akin to my life at my 9-to-5. Always bringing up topics of social issues, but going out of my way to make sure these white male dominated spaces feel like it’s not totally their fault. Gee, I wonder where that comes from?


Lately, I’ve felt more comfortable talking about social issues [outside of the internet], without fear of it spiraling into an in-real-life version of a youtube comment section. Twitter, as of late, has actually helped a ton with this layer of comfort. This comfort of being in my own skin and not worrying about losing long time friends, because I dare remind them that I’m their “black friend.” Intersectionally, this has worked as well. Though I’m still a work in progress, it has gotten easier telling people, in person, my position on: mental health, colorism, body positivity. The rare occasion I go out on dates, it’s gotten easier to bluntly state what bigoted nonsense I’m not here for. In the past, that was difficult, because I wanted to make sure the other person’s comfort came first. Hey look, when you’re in Ohio you come across your fair amount of white people that never seen a black person until college. And even still …


I've learned from Shoko that it's okay to not be THAT comfortable.


So my comfort level in trying to ‘get out there’ as a games writer, morphed and matured over time. The realization that the support network I once had kinda faded away, along with my writing. It was pretty … telling. I get that part. A lot of people in the games writing space I grew to dislike, or find boring. And I’m very sure I’m that to some folks out there. All of which are good things -- it’s proof of some form of maturation.


I’ve gotten so comfortable with these changes that I’ve learned that I can’t be responsible for everyone’s comfort with me. Some of this has spilled over into the workplace. I may have a small reputation of reminding people, that I’m the one black guy in the department. Still not fired, so I must be doing something right!


For those interested, I’d love to publish [some] of my games writing again, but the issue I face now is -- time. I’m currently playing through my PS3 backlog** and it has been a blast. I’ve written drafts for just about everything I’ve played, but I don’t care to pitch it to any outlets. I’ll pitch interviews for my game dev friends, but I feel like my time with games has become something more special since my time is so limited these days.


Hey, like I said, “things are happening.”

*[I was thinking of words that didn’t fit like “ridiculous” and “toxic,” but I didn’t want to belittle folks who were legit hurt. My thoughts are with y’all.]


**Games played since last batch of writing:


Pretty sure I’m forgetting a handful, but these are the standouts.


Article originally appeared on (http://www.itbrog.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.