The entire week before Christmas here in west Tennessee was gray. Gray like the background of this website. No sign of sun, that is until Christmas Eve right before sunset when the sky broke open over the horizon and let a bit of light through sending spokes of beaming colors upwards and out in a giant V. I thought that the display in the sky over the houses across the street had to mean something. I believe everything happens for a reason.
Mentors are few and far between these days. From leaders in the game to should be/would be/could be leaders who go unrecognized, there are people who have a little something to share all the time despite doing so to huge audiences, lift us up when we are down, and even tell us that we are worth something when we feel otherwise. Role models show us how we want to be, mentors show us how to accomplish that. Pixxel is both role model and mentor wise beyond her years.
At least when it came to gaming. It is just a game. I don’t lose sleep over it. I don’t get swallowed up in petty chat groups or team drama. Yep, I thought I knew how to handle myself. But, I didn’t. By May of this year, I’d taken an unintentional turn down a very dark path filled with hatred and real life threats. I thought having a website with upwards of 50,000 weekly gamers was a positive that would keep me in my quiet little haven, but I was so wrong. As so many others in our world, I found out that just a little fame can gain you a great amount of likes but some genuine haters.
Out of hundreds of thousands of fans, one can just have a handful of die hard haters, and is enough to bring a person down. Look at people like John Lennon and JFK, gunned down young in life by insane nut jobs, for what, for trying to give to the world? Still, this was new to me; I was being threatened, hounded, jeopardizing my real life sanity and livelihood. Not knowing where to turn, I went to Pixxel. I told her my stories. She took the time out of her insanely busy days to listen and guide me out of the black hole I’d fallen into. Calmly, she coached me. Starting to sense she had been through the same as me in the past, I held onto every advice and instruction she gave me.
To some people, leaving chat groups would be like the end of the world, but it wasn’t for me nor do I miss them. Deleting the Line app was like one of my happiest moments in 2017. There were more mature places to find and share knowledge. There are places with moderators and rules to protect people. Facebook was one of them, believe it or not for me as I truly hated Facebook for a long time. This year I started hating on it a lot less. Unlike Line and some kiddie apps as I call them, you can govern a lot of your interaction on Facebook and Twitter which makes for a much more peaceful and governable social media marketing existence. Besides, if someone from the game threatens you on Facebook, and their account is linked to their PG account, PG can actually investigate. So I blocked, reported, removed myself from ungovernable apps, and after a few weeks peace returned for me. At least if I am getting hate messages on the old apps, I do not see them nor do I worry about them. As Pixxel said, the haters will move on, and I think they did.
2017 was a big year for helping people. Seemed like every other turn I made, I found another person asking me “How do I get into the Creators Faction?” My answer was, well, do something creative, be unique. From that we added some truly great features (and Creators) to my website: The Museum, The Academy, The Twitch channel of Coach, and more. The Team Pages really took off (I think we have upwards of 200 teams with free pages on the website right now). I came up with Player Blogs where players could get their own website within my website where they could blog about anything game related.
People get their feeling of redemption in many ways, but for some like my and the Creators members who help with my website and have carved their own niches there have really found ways to get personally rewarded every day. Recently, I was asked why I don’t have web pages for all the Creators Faction members. Although I thought the answer was obvious, I’ve featured members in a section of my website about Creators who contribute to and aggressively support and promote the website. That is completely separate than a who’s who of the Creators Faction. While I’d liked the idea since I made the site in July of 2016, most Creators did not jump at it, so it fell by the wayside. Besides, there is turnover in the Creators Faction. People are removed for inactivity or inappropriate activities that violate their agreement with PG. And some quit. So, I’m sticking to my current process of featuring “contributors” from the Creators Faction to WarDragons.info in that one little section of the site under "Home" in the menu. What’s wrong with that?
Among other anxieties of the year were an abundance of disappointments in other people. The ones I will share have to do with “ingratitude.” I don’t know how to better describe the feeling than this: watching someone exit a public bathroom without washing their hands. Gross people, greedy people, thieves of society robbing our health. Speaking words that mean nothing to you (like hearing someone you know isn’t a Christian wishing everyone “Merry Christmas.”). I wish they were a Christian, that is part of being a Christian, but why are they wishing people something they don’t celebrate themselves (unless the word “Christmas” now mostly signifies a commercial holiday and not a religious event). Even so, I thought the retailers do a better job than some people I’ve met this year about saying things that are relevant to all. “Happy holidays!” I’m not going to wish a pagan a Merry Christmas. Maybe I’m bad for that. Hopefully if I need correcting, I’ll get to have some of that first hand in Heaven, should I make it there.
It is kind of also like my new pet peeve of the year about giving thanks, rather “thank you’s.” Taking the time to type out or say “thank you.” As a former teacher, I was taught to make the students say “I am sorry,” not just “Sorry” or “I’m sorry” and to say what they are sorry for. Seems a little more painful, but we should be clear in our communications, if we really care. However, so that I’m not a hypocrite, if I ever tell you “thanks” in the future, you probably are not on my current happy list, just saying.
Bugging people when you have been told they are out of office. Why?! Are you just so important that they should drop everything on their day off or holiday to answer you? What is the next event? What does it really matter? Is it going to affect how you treat your family? Your kids? Your friends? How you budget your money this week? If yes, that is so sad. Rarely do I ever hear someone thank the people who give us things. If I do, it is usually a “thanks” that I hear.
I also remember when I regularly had anxiety attacks at a company I used to work for. I’d received a new manager who was something of a Cruella de Vil. Seriously, I think she eats puppies for fun. Going to work every day made me physically ill. The thought of hearing her scold me again on the phone even though she was stationed in another state… the thought of hearing how I didn’t do this how she would have done it… repeat, repeat. Anyway, I was at a two week training session for managers. We were not there voluntarily. The corporate trainers were quite good, though, and I learned a lot, some things I still use in my life, and I’ll share one as I end this blog post.
My teacher mentor took me aside one day for a mandatory 1:1 chat session. I emptied my soul to him about my new boss and how I didn’t want to leave the company but felt like I soon would because I literally could take no more from her. He sat me down and told me to always remember one thing. “Kristina, all you have to do is Breathe.” Just breathe. If you think about it, he is completely right. What is the last function you must have before your heart will stop? Breathing. All you have to do is breathe. The concept has likely spawned many religious and other practices over the years, but it is so simple. Just breathe, and let everything else wash over you.
Be well and blessed in 2018. Remember to always thank your mentors properly, and never just say “thanks.”