What Would You Do To Be Famous?

My dad said to me the other day “you wouldn’t want to be famous though, would you?” after I made a joke about what I’d do if I were famous. He outrightly believes that I would not want fame and the hassle that comes with it.

His thinking behind this is pretty sound; I’ve got depression and social/general anxiety. The social anxiety means I struggle in large groups of people and that I have trouble in social situations and so I tend to avoid them. General anxiety also gives me huge fears of simple things like finding a parking space or ordering a drink at a bar. Simple things that send my mind into a vortex and just basically have me saying “I’d rather stay home and do nothing than actually go out and do what I want.” I don’t have a lot of control over it, it’s what my mind does.

However, that’s just sort of the shell that I give off. It’s easier than admitting that perhaps I’m a little fame-obsessed. But here I shall lay out the truth for you. I have a problem with social situations, unless I am the centre of attention. If I am the centre of attention then I love the idea of all eyes being on me and the feeling it gives me. I don’t get it very often, although it is one of the reasons I love Karaoke despite not being a good singer. This is very often misunderstood though and people can very easily convince me that something “isn’t my thing” because it’s so difficult to explain this concept to somebody. My parents don’t believe I’d want to be an actor and so I don’t even entertain the notion, mainly because it’s easier to say “you’re right” when they say “you don’t want to be an actor, do you?” than it is to try and explain the workings going on inside my head.

But please don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fame-whore. I wouldn’t do ANYTHING to get famous. I want to be famous for something I’m good at, or something I enjoy doing, and currently I’m trying to establish myself for my writing (check some of it out over on The Creative Write Blog), but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sell out and compromise all my morals just to be well-known. Do I want more Twitter followers? Yeah. More views on YouTube videos? Yeah. More comments on my Tweets? Yeah. But would I do something debased and debauched just in the hopes of becoming viral and being an overnight sensation? No. This is the difference between fame-hungry (the desire to succeed to fame) and fame-whore (the desire for fame no matter who or what it costs).

But I do want to be famous/well-known. I’ve written before in a blog titled Chasing The Likes that my self-esteem is routed in how other people perceive me and so having a large following wouldn’t affect me negatively. I want to be one of those people who is invited to poetry readings rather than having to trudge through thousands of webpages to find an open mic night that is within distance and at a time when I’m not working. I want to be one of those people that people WANT to talk to.

And something that is grinding my gears recently is people who question the fame and celebrity they receive, even though they go out of their way to gain it. Shane Dawson spends $1000 on a pizza and has over 10 Million subscribers, yet he complains that Hollywood looks down on him and other YouTubers. Yogscast Hannah, who plays games for a living, frequently utters the phrase “What am I doing with my life?” Just a figure of speech but difficult to stomach when, as a viewer, you actually wonder if anybody cares you’re alive and whether life is worth living.



(I hope nobody takes this personally because it isn’t their fault. It’s my mindset that warps this perception of seemingly innocent statements into something a lot more sinister and evil. Also I’m a huge fan of both Shane Dawson and Yogscast Hannah and would hate to do anything to have them think otherwise).



A Message To My Bullies

Congratulations. Today was another day where I woke up in a horrible sweat, mind racing ten-to-the-dozen and too scared to go back to sleep.

I had to write this as soon as I woke up, before I take the tablets that help me get through the day and not end my life. I want to be a nice person and say you’re not responsible for the way I’m feeling but I can’t say that. The state I’m in currently I can’t even pretend that’s a truth. The way I am, regardless of how big the factor, is down to your input.

This message doesn’t go out to everybody who has bullied me. It goes out to a specific two people who ruined my school life and have left me reeling from the effects still twelve years down the line. I’m still undecided as to whether to name names or leave it anonymous.

I woke up today because I was alone. I had that feeling once again of having lost my so-called friends and not having anything or anyone else to turn to. I woke up because in my dream I turned to the school for help and they did nothing, just like in real life. I woke up because it was too uncomfortable for me to continue sleeping through.

You ruined my life. You took a boy that actually enjoyed learning, actually enjoyed life, and twisted so many knives into him that he has to take a handful of pills just to make it through a day. You made a boy second guess everybody that might ever try and be his friend because he finds it almost impossible to trust anybody anymore. You poisoned my relationship with my family because I spent all of my time trying to hide my loneliness and hatred in the world of video games and they became suspicious. But I couldn’t tell them what was going on, how do you tell anybody that two people have made you want to end your life?

You made me scared to get up in the mornings. I was scared whenever the bell rang because I wasn’t sure whether I was getting my friends or my bullies. You made me loathe break-times because it meant I had to socialise and socialising meant being bullied. Since that day I still don’t know how to treat people because you fucked up my mind long ago.

I keep my distance from people, even those I really care about, because you taught me how quickly people can go from being your friend to being your enemy. And you taught me the extent of people and how quickly they resort to violence when they don’t get their own way, or when they’re just bored of the current situation.

You have me sublimating my rage through television shows, through crime and police shows, where the bad-guy always gets what he deserves. It becomes worrying though when the bad-guy does what he does because he’s been bullied and I see nothing wrong with what he’s doing. It becomes scary when the bad-guy isn’t the bad-guy but it’s just me in a world with no medication and less gun-control.

The worst thing about all of this? I have no closure. I can’t close the book on that chapter of my life because, for me, it’s still going on. It didn’t end, we just stopped talking. But Facebook brings all of these things back up again. I have one of you on my Facebook “friends” list because I wanted to forget the way you made me feel. I couldn’t and I couldn’t attend your wedding because of how much you ruined my life. The other one I know still holds some personal feelings because you won’t even add me onto your Facebook, probably too scared of the feelings you have when you know you ruined a life.

I can’t bring myself to end this because I never feel like I’ve said enough about how badly you treated me and the after-effects of the bullying. I feel like I can continue on for several thousand more words, maybe write an entire academic paper on the treatment, but I feel I have to end it here. Like my school-days this won’t be a fulfilling ending because there’s no closure, nothing changes from it, and I just have to live day-by-day trying to get through without being consumed by anger or fear.

Online Gaming and Bullying?

First I should preface this entire thing with the saying that “I am not a professional gamer”. I do not play games to earn money or win tournaments or anything like that. I am a gamer that plays for fun. Win or lose I don’t particularly mind, as long as the game is fun to play. With that being said I think I should begin.

I grew up with games and gaming. It was my release from a world that felt didn’t understand me and to interact with people (albeit we only had local multiplayer back then) who I had something in common with. I was lucky enough to be around for the widespread birth of internet gaming, an idea that 8 or 9 year old me would love. A chance to interact with people all over the world who share the same love and passion for games that I do. I very quickly learned that this was not the case.

Early instances of online multiplayer, with games such as Smackdown and Tekken, offered no penalty for quitting a game halfway through. This meant that as soon as you started losing you could quit and it would protect your “reputation”. This is an annoying act in itself as the idea of leaving anything unfinished and unresolved aggravates a lot of people. We were lucky though because it didn’t take long for companies to pick up on this and install certain penalties if you left halfway through a game. However, this didn’t come without problems.

At school  you have to face bullies because you are kept in a place with them, maybe it’s a classroom or a playground, until the teacher dismisses you. This is what has now happened with gaming. Should you not want to quit a game halfway through then you can be subjected to bullying by the rest of the people playing the game.

This happened to me recently. I took a foray into online gaming with a fantastic game called Overwatch that I had heard a lot about. I was so excited about this game because it was genuinely a really good game.

(This wasn’t my first Blizzard game though, I had put a lot of hours into Hearthstone and was always excited to load it up. I wanted the same experience from Overwatch.)

But I do fear my experience with Overwatch has been tainted by the recent bullying I have experienced. I admit I am not great at the game. I’m playing to have fun remember, not necessarily to be the best at the game. However other people feel it fine to tell me through the chat feature to uninstall my game because I’m so bad at it. They also feel the need to tell me which characters I get to play as and then moan about it to the team if I don’t follow their orders. I thought this would go down badly on Overwatch but I found that people AGREED. My team were shouting expletives through the chat at me just because I hadn’t devoted my entire life to being the best at Overwatch. It really put me out when one of my team suggested that the entire team “report me” for reasons unspecified (I believe reporting should only be used for bullying and/or threatening/disruptive behaviour). What really shocked me was that my team agreed! They knew I wasn’t as good as them, your level is clearly displayed, but to gang up and agree a group report based on nothing more than my ability at the game is sickening. This isn’t even “good-natured fun between friends”, I don’t know these people and what they’re saying is not “good-natured fun”, it’s vindictive and horrible bullying.

I don’t write this for me. Personally I’ve given up caring what people think about me when I’m playing games. I don’t play games to help you win, I play whatever is fun for me. I write this for the people who have a hard enough time in their everyday lives and who want to escape into a game only to find themselves vilified and bullied because they don’t practice every waking hour. It equates to bullying. You see people picking on somebody in a school playground you would do something, why do we accept it in gaming circles? Gamers, as people, have a history of being marginalised and so why do we try and do it to each other. Why can’t we offer out an olive branch of perhaps asking somebody if they need help or tips with certain characters? Offering better play strategies? Suggesting easier characters to play as (but if they don’t want to that’s their choice). It’s not a difficult thing to do, it’s actually just being a nice human being.

I understand this boils down to bullying and why people bully. These people have their domain where they are the Alpha Male – tough guys have the playground and gamers have online games – and that they are essentially trying to assert their dominance by bullying others. But bullying, any form it comes in, is disgusting. Games are not a place where gamers should be scared to go, games should be a safe-haven for those having a tough time, those who find it hard to make friends in the outside world, a place where you can escape your “ordinary” life for a while.

Please, let’s not let this get out of hand. You don’t know the mental stability of the person you are playing against. You can’t judged someone’s mental health on how they play and you can’t guarantee that your words aren’t going to be taken personally.

Thank you. As always, if you know somebody who is going through a hard time similar to this then please direct them to this blog and let them know that they aren’t alone and how they’re feeling isn’t something to be ashamed of or to hide away.

Follow me on Twitter – @JoshuaJace121