And Yet, I Smile

Would you believe that I only recently watched all seven seasons of The Walking Dead? Yes, that’s right. I had avoided watching it for so long, and then, out of the blue, decided that I should give it a shot. I may have binge watched it all during lulls at work.

This post, however, is not about the show. It’s more about one thing that I’ve tied to learn from it. Perhaps more than one thing. There is one particular character that I absolutely felt a connection with: King Ezekiel. There were things about him that were just amazing to behold. It’s also not lost on me that he is an actor playing an actor who is playing a part that he believes, he knows, that “his people” need.

I feel like I’ve done that enough times in my life. I play the part of an emotionally and intellectually strong individual for my son, and maybe even my family and friends. I pretend that I have it all together so that no one can see me struggle, and struggle I do. It’s honestly not as bad as it used to be, but those struggles are things that will never go away 100%. If you’ve dealt with anything before, then you know what I mean. Sometimes those struggles will stay with you in a negative way, but they may also persist in a positive light. It’s all in how we perceive them. We should learn from them as best as we can, the same as our mistakes.

King Ezekiel says, and this is so very important, “And yet, I smile.” Despite everything that is going on, and perhaps even in spite of it, he carries himself around with a smile on his face. It is for his people. It is for those who considers to be family and friends, and this is a such a very important thing when times are tough, but it is by no means easy to do. It’s also not particularly healthy to do all of the time, but that is a different story.

I have always dealt with low self confidence for whatever reason. There are many things that I’ve done in my life that I’ve always tended to feel like it just wasn’t good enough. I’ve written poetry and short stories that might have been decent, but I’ve always looked at them afterward and considered them crap. I know very well that I am definitely my own worst critic, even about these blog posts. The worst part is that I really shouldn’t have that problem. The last time that I took an official IQ test (okay, it was a long time ago) I scored a 144. 144! There is no reason for me to not in confidence in what I’m doing. The most recent online IQ that I took was only a 126, but whatever.

I’ve never truly believed in myself about anything. There was even a time, and this persists today, that I didn’t believe that I could be a dad. I didn’t believe that I could be a good dad. If you’re not a parent, then you may not quite understand how hard that hits and just how depressing that can be. I feel like I’m not doing nearly enough for my son that I should be doing, but I still try. I still do whatever it is that I feel like I should be doing in order to raise him to be the best man that he can be, and then there are times that I’ve felt like I’ve completely failed him.

There are situations in which I am not comfortable at all. Talking to people ranks rather high upon that list. I’m not good with eye contact at all. There have been very few people in my life that I have ever been able to hold eye contact for more than a couple of seconds at a time.

Interacting with other humans has always been difficult for me, even now, and that makes being a streamer on Twitch difficult. Can you believe that? Well, it’s true. It’s also much easier for me to interact with other humans through mediums such as the online chats that you can find on Twitch. It’s is mind boggling insane, but there is actually a reason that might make sense. It’s the face to face interactions that do not come naturally to me, and that, in and of itself, is kind of crazy. My full-time business is a dry cleaning drop store, so I see a lot of people every single day. I find that I don’t have that much of a problem conversing with my customers, but I feel as if that is a completely different circumstance.

Those same people that I might be able to talk to when they are customers? I will probably do whatever I can to avoid having to speak with them if we come across each other anywhere else. I will venture down a different aisle to avoid them. I will make every attempt and excuse in order to get away from them if we do end up bumping into each other. It’s bloody odd is what it is. I’m socially awkward to put it mildly. Take me to a social function of some sort, and I guarantee that I will keep to myself.

And yet, there is the internet, that wondrous place where I can be me, and I can even be someone else if I really wanted to. The most miraculous part of it is that I can actually make conversation with other people. Why is that? I can’t see your face which means that I don’t have to make eye contact. That’s what I’m going to go with. I have been messing around in online chats of one sort or another since 1995. Making friends, or acquaintances, online tends to be one thousand percent easier for me than in person. That might just explain why I’m also still single, but hey, that’s another different story.

I can seriously talk up a storm if you get me going, and I can definitely write up a big ole wall of text if the urge hits me. Obviously. I’m amazed that you’ve made it this far through this mess of my conscious thoughts streaming from my mind and through my keyboard to here. Mad props, yo.

I find that I enjoy having someone in chat to talk to, especially when I don’t have someone in party chat. It gets lonely, and loneliness is something that I am all too familiar with. That one person, or two, in chat while I’m streaming is an absolutely blessing, and it keeps going. Sure, I would love to see even more than that hanging out, but I’m mostly happy where I am, and I have to say mostly.

I have sat there at my desk wondering what the hell I was doing. I have thought about things that I should be doing. I have told myself that I don’t have the personality to be successful at this Twitch thing. I have argued with myself extensively about all of this, and yet I am still doing it. Why? Because I enjoy it, and because I still hope to have more visitors just hanging out.

Networking is something that I admit that I am not good at. Hell, I don’t even really know where to start there. I’m not an excitable guy so there may be very little emotion seen from me if you happen to stop by and visit. Hell, I hardly even rage during my gaming sessions. It’s rare.

Look, I have doubts about myself. I don’t consider my self to be this skilled gamer. I’m certainly not pro. My play is likely mediocre. There are so many things that I would love to improve when it comes to my stream and my presentation, but I have no idea where to begin with those improvements.

And yet, I continue on and do the best that I can despite not believing in myself.

And yet, I push through despite not believing that I can.

And yet, I smile.

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