From playing Atari at my cousin’s house to getting my first NES when I was 7 years old, I’ve kept every console and game (all in working order) that I've ever owned well into adulthood. My generation and younger values video games much differently than the past- it’s not simply Space Invaders or Mortal Kombat anymore. Amazing writing, design, and imagination combined with Panama Canal-sized teams of developers have created a viable medium to tell stories in a way which humans have never been able to experience. Emerging into fantastic environments, time periods, galaxies, and controlling the protagonist to discover your own story is a field-shifting concept. When simply compared to the ability of storytelling, the video game is a much greater achievement than the motion picture. Or at least it could be.
It’s often hard to articulate the thoughts and emotions that consumed me the first time I listened to Bikini Kill. Awestruck. Captivated. Confused. Moved. Inferior. To me, the band was the beginning of an awakening or rather a tangible example of something I already knew to be true- they just personified it.
I wasn’t aware of sexism until later in childhood, roughly when girls started to develop and I didn’t. Even then, I didn’t really understand it. I understood that men were physically stronger than women, but I kind of thought that’s were the conversation ended. I figured my natural weaknesses were women’s natural strengths and vice versa, the whole thing ultimately balancing out. I honestly lived my childhood believing that because nature made me stronger that meant that women were naturally smarter. My mom is smarter than my dad, girls in my classes always seemed to get better grades than the boys. I was the one with the inferiority complex because I had little use for physical strength- I never wanted to beat anyone up. As a little boy, I didn’t consume myself with sociology or world history, all I knew was what I saw. Girls were beautiful and tender while boys were rough and mischievous.
As I’ve become older, out of my twenties for a couple of years, I’ve found myself settling into a pattern of reveling in solitude.
When I was younger, I had to be plugged in. There was a driving force behind finding someone, anyone, to meet up with for a movie or drinks. It didn’t matter who it was with or what we were doing, as long as I had a story to share the next day. Inside I felt like I was “loser” if I didn’t go out. Somehow I had failed if I didn’t have plans. I’m not sure if it was out fear of being alone- being forgotten. If I didn’t go out, I’d slip from everyone’s circle in a weird “out of sight, out of mind” scenario or I was just desperate for approval.
I was finally able to extract a bunch of data from an old hard drive. I was sure it contained old writings, school projects and music but what I forgot about were endless amounts of photos. It was basically a 10 year old time capsule of every shenanigan from early college on through the days at Sony and Warped Tour. Lesson learned- I’ve already made several backups of the data.
It was truly wild looking back at so many things that I had forgotten. My mind is always focused ahead, or not even on reality at all- backwards is a direction I rarely travel.
When I first started going through the photos I was really excited, like I had found personal, priceless buried treasure. I couldn’t believe the different parties, travels, special occasions and absurd shit that we were able to get away with. It became compulsive to see what was next, my afternoon ruined until I reached the end of all 7,000+ pictures.
I attended a panel at Salt Lake Comic Con’s FanX15 that stuck with me and spurred a bit of deeper thought and reflection- Equality In Fiction. First off, props on that- I love when something inspires and pushes boundaries- socially, politically or personally. I love a variety of experience and perspective, I believe that leads to greater understanding of “us” and attributes meaning that allows for empathy.
Natalie Whipple, Cindy Grigg, Aaron Lee Yeager, and Mette Ivie Harrison were bid with the difficult task of paneling the topic. Using the word “difficult” is an understatement due to the inherent complexity of the subject matter. For one, it’s completely opinion and perspective based which opens oneself up to considerable vulnerability. To speak freely and honesty on anything as controversial as race, gender, sexuality, theology, disability, creed, origin- any identifiable trait that makes us unique to the masses is potential career suicide given our hyper-sensitivity as a culture to these issues… Which, in itself, is not equality. No one is going to solve the issue in a 50 minute panel at Comic Con, so to consciously open yourself up to the criticism and put yourself in a situation where one mis-spoken word or unconventional idea can have significant consequences is commendable.