I spent my whole high school years depressed. My teenage years were like living in a world where your dentist was constantly filling cavities with that annoying drill sound endlessly playing in your skull. My pain was ever-present; a constant dull buzzing that never left through the minutes, the hours, the days, and the weeks.
I haven’t thought about the buzzing until tonight. It’s been a long time since I’ve been depressed. But Kate ended her life last night with a shotgun to her face and it made me think of the buzzing. It made me think of my suicide attempt when I was seventeen.
For a moment, it made me go back to the ocean of my teenage years and sink beneath the waves.
Humans have this desire to sensationalize everything and show up for every big event while being mysteriously absent for the minor events prior. It makes things like celebrity deaths intolerable on social media; your timeline becomes instantly spammed about people’s favorite movies from the now dead star, rest in peace messages, emoji meant to convey some deep shock, and sometimes ugly jokes meant to awkwardly make brevity of the situation.
It’s always hard to watch a culture mourn someone they didn’t know, even when it’s a celeb. We didn’t know Robin Williams, but his death became ours and the gossip websites drank from it for days. We appropriated his family’s misery. Millions took to their favorite social media to talk about how harrowing it was. I watch my friend Kate be picked up by the community at large—same thing, smaller scale. She was transgender, she was a former Rioter, and both communities are sharing her death with tears and well-meaning words and sentiments.
She was an amazing advocate for change, someone says. Someone else read her red posts once and they made her smile. She makes a few news round ups.
I know I shouldn’t get mad at the strangers in mourning; after all, they mean well, and I desperately want her to be remembered. They say you die twice: the first is your actual death, the second the last time someone thinks of you. If this is true, I want people to think of her forever. They’re genuinely sad about her passing and everyone has a right to feel anything they want to feel then express it however they want. But it makes me uncomfortable. Still, I am not the gestapo and I am not the thought police. Who am I to control this? And why would I even want to? I have no answer. Maybe it’s because it makes it all so real. After a few seconds, I decide I’m going to stop looking at them, but not before someone else tells me they’re sorry for my loss.
I hold back a laugh. It’s a dark laugh, not one of my usual contagious ones.
My loss? No. Try the world’s loss.
We don’t talk about suicide until it’s too late most of the time. Even then we’re rarely candid about it.
So let’s change that.
My one and only suicide attempt took place when I was a teenager in high school. It goes something like this: I grab a knife out of the kitchen drawer. This is unique, in that it’s really going to happen; it’s the first and only time I will attempt it in my life. There were hundreds of nights before and hundreds of nights after that I would fall to sleep thinking of what it would feel like to rot in a box underneath the ground, but this was the final escalation. Some nights it was the only way I got to sleep. It comforted me–the idea of numbness, a place better than this constant pain, the peace of finality.
I don’t call anyone. I certainly don’t plan on leaving a letter. My miserable seventeen year old self has only known two things: she never should have been born and she will never be okay. These are the only two facts she knows, but like most teenagers, she actually knows nothing. Unfortunately, like most teenagers, she doesn’t know that yet either.
My best friend calls me that night; she’s asking me about AP Biology, asking about some assignment we have due that we’re both supposed to pull an all-nighter for. She asks how I am and it catches me off-guard. She knows I’m not doing well and I have blood dripping down my arms when she asks because I cut my wrist already. I tell her I’m fine, offer a nervous laugh, then start to say goodnight. She interrupts and says she’s coming over to catch up. We’re like sisters, she just knows what I’m doing without me saying a word, and I don’t want to cause a panic so I walk numbly downstairs at 2AM wearing a black hoodie. I open the door quietly so as not to wake my mom who is asleep. Yes, I was going to exit this world while my mom slept like a coward. I am the worst daughter. I am a failure.
And I am so ugly in the moment—a husk, a dead person living, empty, nonexistent.
My friend hugs me when I come outside. My blood gets on her shirt, but she’s completely unfazed. She loves me and it’s one of those real loves and I feel it, kind of, vaguely, there but not. The problem isn’t that I can’t tell she loves me, it’s that the feeling is so light compared to the buzzing and the pain which has escalated to a sharp stab.
In the moonlight we walk to the park. We sit on the swings. She holds my hands and wraps her sweatshirt around the wound.
“I love you,” she says.
And I know she does. But I can’t be reached. I am an island. There is no saving me. I am a ghost and I am haunting the world, the only solution is to exorcise me from the physical realm.
“When he killed himself, I only lived because you were there for me,” she says. She’s referring to our mutual friend who offed himself the year prior. He hung himself in his basement. We had no warning then, either.
I nod numbly. I am deeply jealous in that moment of him; I remember his blue Mohawk, his combat boots, his laugh. I think about him rotting in a coffin somewhere in a cemetery.
“You don’t get to die,” she says. “You don’t get to leave me.”
I nod numbly again. I am still deeply jealous in the moment of him.
I can feel my courage start to fade as we swing in the dark, illuminated by the cityscape surrounding us. After a few minutes pass, I know I won’t kill myself anymore, and I also know I would have if she hadn’t called me.
I feel sad I lost my window of opportunity. Or at least I would feel sad, if I could feel anything.
The pain is a little less the next day, but it stays there my entire senior year. In college, it comes back harder than ever. It doesn’t leave despite anxiety medications and therapyh until I get a job in the video game industry. When it finally leaves, it’s sudden. One day it’s there, the next it’s gone, and I’m no longer feeling hollow. I feel like a different person, someone completely in control. Little by little, I change; I become nicer, less rough around the edges, less angry, and more stable.
Years later, I don’t recognize that seventeen year old. I can barely remember the pain, I’ve all but blotted it out from my emotional reservoir of memories.
But Kate wasn’t seventeen. Her pain never went away. The world wasn’t kind to her.
And Kate’s dead now.
There is no point to this post except to say I’ve been there, I guess. I’ve been there and I survived and so many don’t. In some ways, I have this survivor’s guilt almost even though it’s been nearly a decade. I also feel helpless. Suicide isn’t weak, depression is horrifying, and I can’t do anything for people except be there.
If anything, maybe, the point of the post is to say I’m sorry to Kate. I didn’t know her that well, but we talked and we followed each other on Twitter and I knew she wasn’t happy and I wish I could have done something even though there was probably nothing to be done. She was my friend. She was not a bad person. She was brilliant.
One of her last tweets is a tweet to me about Worlds. She talks about the game we both watched, commenting on my tweet analyzing the game.
I won’t be able to watch the rest of Worlds the same.
Bye Kate. You will be missed by so many of us. I wish one of us could have helped you more.
This morning, in LolKing’s feedback inbox, there was a request to remove a profile. People ask this all the time. But this time it wasn’t about wanting to hide their particularly bad ranked statistics or keep their profile secret from their employer. This time it was a nineteen-year-old woman murdered by a boyfriend she dumped this past week; her close friend was wondering if we could nuke the profile from oblivion because she duoed almost exclusively with him, our match history thus forever associating her with the person who took her life.
For some reason, this hit me incredibly hard.
I spent the past fifteen minutes looking through her Tumblr and I fell in love with her briefly. Despite living in an ultra conservative area she was in support of the protesters in Ferguson, advocated for transgender rights, and loved reptiles. She kept multiple rare reptiles, doting on them in vlogs. She played a lot of Riven on Summoner’s Rift, always rushing Hydra. Her boyfriend was a ragequitter who built wrong and played Miss Fortune. She was nineteen and held more conviction than I ever held at that age. She took AP classes in high school, she strummed her guitar in several videos, and she lived–until she was murdered, anyway.
One of her last Tumblr posts writes about dumping her boyfriend this past week and how hard it was; how alone she felt, how he was “semi-abusive,” and how she wanted to go back. Apparently after that post he killed her that night, strangling the life out of her, and destroying something beautiful.
I’m so sorry. You could have done so much with your intelligence, life, and drive. No one will ever know your story beyond a news round up talking about a faceless victim in a domestic violence case. No one will ever know how cool you were and just how dedicated to zoology, League of Legends, and activism you were. Anyway, since I don’t feel I have a right to make her information public, this is the memorial you’ll never get from the League of Legends community. You were a badass. And you could have done anything. And I’m sorry such an ugly person took you from the world.
I’m not a stranger to depression; my teenage years were riddled with angst, I left my father in September 2001 shortly after 9/11 and there were detectives involved. I spent a long time trying to get over what happened and I was actually diagnosed with PTSD at fourteen. So like I said, I get the darkness and I get what it feels like to have nothing, even if it’s not currently a driving force in my life.
That said, someone close to me is experiencing something and they won’t let me in. I’ve tried contacting them through all traditional means for several days now and I wasn’t going to write about it because it’s personal. So I won’t talk about the person and how much I value them on so many meaningful levels because that’s something they have heard many times and something depression probably makes them think doesn’t matter.
What I will say, however, is that depression really sucks and this has reminded me of it tenfold. It’s a complete liar; it tells people they’re fine when they’re not, it excuses sometimes abusive behavior, and it encourages isolation. Depression wants you alone under the guise that this alone time will make you better–by being alone and withdrawing, depression coos in your ear, you’ll feel less pressure. It’s a lie of course because once depression gets you alone, it changes the narrative. Suddenly depression is totally OK with telling you that the people in your life didn’t really care. It tells you that you can push them away as well or that you don’t deserve them. It tells you that you’re alone now and no one cares.
It’s bullshit. I can’t pretend to care about everyone on a deep level (one can only invest so much energy into others), so I’m not trying to say that I can be here for everyone, but I do want to help those I can. And I can start by telling you being alone won’t help you. So to the people I know, even the people I only spend even a few minutes interacting with each month: I care and I’m here. The more time I spend with you, the more I care. If I dated you, if I was your friend, if I ever loved you: I care so much I’d jump in front of a train for you. I’d take a bullet for you.
I don’t think this person will read this. I don’t think I can do anything. I am filled with an immense sadness that I cannot help them through this because for the past several weeks all I’ve wanted to do is listen to them. No judgment, no advice–just love. I want to sit in the dark with them listening to The National, but I don’t think they want anyone to do that with. I think they want to be alone and I’m trying to let them be while still giving them the option to come back to me at any point they need someone. So I am here, writing this, to let people know that depression lies and depression is bullshit and you are not alone. Even if you feel alone, you’re not alone, and there is likely someone who wants to help you out there.
And it might just be me.
And you can’t drag me down, even if depression tells you it can. I’ll willingly go sit down in the dark with you, I’ll rot with you, and I’ll be there until you’re ready to be OK again. I’m the good man in the storm. So let me be one if you need someone.
Just please: don’t go through this alone. Go find someone. Anyone.
I’ve been really busy with work and real life, which has been pretty intense the past few weeks for a lot of random reasons.
That said, here’s everything I feel about the Zoe Quinn situation in a brief post so my followers know where I stand. I truly don’t want to get heavily involved because as I mentioned, I’m busy and preoccupied, but I also feel that I have no choice because what’s happening is utterly asinine and to remain silent is a disservice to gaming as a whole.
So here’s the thing: Zoe Quinn would probably be a bad girlfriend if what I’ve read online from her incredibly bitter ex-boyfriend is actually true.
However, that doesn’t mean she’s a bad developer. It doesn’t mean she should be slut shamed, ostracized, trolled, or chased out of the gaming industry. It doesn’t mean Depression Quest doesn’t have merits as a Steam title. It doesn’t mean her personal life was ever anyone’s business in the first place, mine included.
That also doesn’t mean that the story of her cheating on her boyfriend with a games journalist should have ever been shared, taken seriously, or reported on.
What happened was a jilted lover decided to pull a modern day Scarlet Letter and some people who really dislike women latched onto it as a campaign. From there, it started to branch into a discourse on journalism ethics and women in gaming as a whole. It was a disgusting initial act and it was a disgusting finishing act and the entire thing vile. A non-story blew up into a sensationalist hate campaign targeting every woman in gaming.
It doesn’t make me hate gaming. It doesn’t make me love gaming any less either. I’m always gonna love video games and I’m always gonna work in this industry.
But what it really does is it just makes me disappointed. I’m disappointed in anyone who trolled under the guise of improving gaming. I’m disappointed in anyone who really thinks Depression Quest got an unfair advantage due to a woman knowing some journalists on apparently intimate levels–it’s a free game with a relative message to today’s society, of course it got covered. I’m disappointed there are men out there who actually believe women aren’t naturally gamers in addition to other sexist garbage. I’m extremely disappointed in people who helped propagate the centuries old message that women are only good at using their bodies to get ahead in any field and any situation.
Most of all, though, I’m actually just disappointed at her ex-boyfriend. He helped create a hate campaign against women and he helped make thousands of gamers feel marginalized just because he thought describing everything that ever happened between their sheets would make him feel better. Like honestly dude, if she really hurt you and if even half of what you said was true, get some therapy and go through it and find a healthier relationship. Any professional will tell you that dragging her and by proxy yourself through the mud just makes it all worse.
And unfortunately, as a woman in video games, you made my life worse too. You made a lot of our lives worse. So thanks, man. You really helped gaming out, didn’t you?
I don’t want to know you–a person unable to know beauty and ugliness intimately, a shell of a soul, forever drifting without a purpose. My enemy is the person who doesn’t see beauty in everything, who is stuck on appearing human and fitting in and saying the right things. My enemy is you.
There are things I want to tell you but you are too deaf to listen. There are things I want to show you but you are too blind to see. There are a thousand clichés I could tell you but you would never get it. You wouldn’t want to get it. You are stubborn in the worst of ways and it is so prohibitive it chokes me.
Your existence I cannot fathom. Afraid to take a step but quick to judge those who do; a pathetic man shouting at the clouds about how God doesn’t exist; a person without a vision of anything not already seen by someone else. How boring. How bland. How meaningless. Flicker and fade, you never became anything and you never will be.
No, you’ll never be anything.
A life lived on the shore cannot compare to a life that has touched the sea even for a brief moment.
In League of Legends, there’s a ranked ladder. You rise and you fall based not only on your own merit, but your teammates’ skill and your team composition. As someone who is a diamond player who happens to also work on a prolific fan site as her day job, I get a lot people asking for advice on how to improve. Although I don’t think I’m particularly amazing, if people ask for my advice, I give it freely. I critique their masteries, I explain match-ups, and I tell them to always look to themselves for improvement first rather than blame their teammates.
I’ve found that there are two types of people who ask questions about how to improve: those who take my advice and those who don’t. However, there’s also a subset of the latter type. Now, let me tell you, I hate this subset. They don’t take my advice, but worse, it feels like they never had any intention of ever taking my advice. They question it extensively from the start. They begin to argue with it. They begin to tell me I’m not very good. They begin to berate me. It’s almost as if they asked for advice solely to reject it and get upset from.
I can always tell their story. 99% of the time, it plays out exactly as I anticipate: I’ll be Diamond II, they’ll be Silver II, but they will tell me that my Kayle build is bad even though our skill levels are completely different. They’ll tell me that they can’t believe I won’t add Gunblade as an suggested item. They won’t shut up if I reply at all, so I rarely do, because it’s exhausting.
In many ways, they are just like the people who tweet me asking why I want to play as a woman character in a game. The people who ask me why I’m being such a feminist. The people who tell me to focus on the gameplay rather than fluff.
I want to set a few things straight before tweets get convoluted and no one gets me.
I love video games. I’ve always played them. I could list dozens upon dozens of titles I’ve played that formed my utter adoration. Here’s some of my favorites who impacted my life immensely: Silent Hill, Parasite Eve, Borderlands, Diablo II, Final Fantasy VIII, Ghost Trick, Left 4 Dead, League of Legends, BioShock, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, StarCraft, Resident Evil 2, Mass Effect 2, Mario 64, Sim Copter, World of Warcraft, Street Fighter II.
You get the point, right?
Well, in case you don’t: the point is I love video games. This point should have also been apparent by how I’ve dedicated my work and free time to them, how I helped make LolKing what it is today and how I work on Wowhead. How I’ve spent almost 7 years in the gaming industry now and how I’m here to stay. Like, I pay my rent through my passion for League of Legends. I have health insurance due to that passion as well. That’s pretty rad.
But the oddest thing happens every single time I have a remotely feminist thought. That all goes out the window. My accomplishments, my personality, my status as someone who really fucking loves games—these qualities these people certainly initially followed me for—are gone.
I can just joke about how Hyrule Warriors has a really ridiculous amount of women characters and how I wish Ubisoft took note and find myself faced with half a dozen people explaining how this isn’t really an issue worth my time and how I’m overreacting.
I can tweet about how cool Lara Croft was and find myself told that she was actually a liability for Square-Enix and how they barely broke profit margins thanks to a female lead.
I can make a remark about how I hope the next GTA has a woman who isn’t shallow, like maybe a bad chick who deals drugs and kills some people—and, you guessed it, I can find myself being told I’m a feminazi.
Just like that. That is how easy it is to discredit someone as dedicated to gaming as me. It doesn’t matter that I 100%’d Grand Theft Auto IV or actually dig the series (well, prior to GTA V anyway)—I now am told I hate Grand Theft Auto and that I’m not a real gamer to them. It suddenly doesn’t matter that I’m diamond in League of Legends or got world firsts in World of Warcraft, either; they’ll tell me I don’t understand how gameplay is more important to games due to my casual nature, even though I’ve illustrated a dozen ways about how seriously I take gameplay. (Seriously though, gameplay matters to me more than story or art or presentation.)
I somehow become this stereotypical fake geek girl gamer to them, someone who plays to get boys worked up and who is somewhat of an airhead.
All because I wanted to see a bit more of myself in the pixelated worlds I spend so much time in.
Is that really a crime?
The answer is, apparently, yes.
This is a personal blog post. I don’t really think this will get a thousand billion hits. This is for people who follow me or want to or know me, so they can understand why I don’t think too highly of Rockstar* or Ubisoft right now and why I like to play as a female avatar when I can. Here’s the breakdown:
I love games. No, really.
I’m a little too into them. I’m competitive. Can’t help it.
I value mechanics and gameplay more than story in any video game.
That said, I love playing as a woman character when I can. I played as Lilith, I made a FemShep, and you better believe my favorite League of Legends champions are mostly women too. Why? If we’re being super honest, one of the biggest reasons is because I like hearing a woman’s voice when I’m playing as a character. It keeps the immersion for me since, you know, my voice is also a woman’s voice. Another reason is I just dig ladies I can look up to. When I see Aya Brea kick ass and I’m controlling her, I’m not gonna lie, I feel pretty badass for .1 seconds. Just like how you might feel like a total manly stud if you picked up Braum and owned in bot lane in League of Legends.
I’m not really that mad. Ever. So I resent (and ironically get mad) when people say I am being uptight or furious or [insert negative emotion here] for making a joke or randomly asking GTA V why it had no solid women characters. Because seriously. All I’m doing is asking, usually without any emotion, why. I’m not raging… and let’s be real here, you probably rage harder about falling out of a division in League of Legends. You know what rage really is and it’s nothing like what I’m doing now. I’m just explaining.
I do, however, hate that I had to make this post. But I had to because I lost another 20 followers and had four different guys actually tell me they do not consider gender an issue in the world. One person even said they liked following me, but felt I overreact too much about sexism. REALLY? C’MON BROS. DO BETTER. BE BETTER.
When I get that subset of person asking me League of Legend questions, the reason I anticipate that they will be lower ranked than me by several tiers is because of their anger. While they want to get better, they also have an emotional blocker that doesn’t let them take advice thanks to their inflated ego. They want easy answers, not hard advice on what they suck at, and they’ll be upset when the answer is to improve themselves. It’s their anger that’s holding them back from being my ranking, among other things.
It makes sense then that these men who question my gaming skills or my dedication as a gamer are so closely linked in my head to these people asking for tips on how to climb the ladder in a MOBA. Their anger is also palpable. Their inability to listen is also tangible. And they really don’t want to know that the answer is to improve themselves because that’s not what they want to hear. They want a quick fix to make me be quiet and for them to be right.
A quick fix that doesn’t exist.
Whatever. Maybe one day they’ll get up to diamond in humanity. For now, though, I’m done replying to them. It’s utterly exhausting.
Trying to do my monthly update before the holidays get wild. I am really bad at blogging–you know this, I know this, but let’s pretend I’m great at it anyway. Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in a while, where everything professional and personal went perfectly. I mean, how couldn’t it? A day that starts by watching the sun rise because you didn’t sleep and stayed up to watch OGN to quickly write an analysis about it before heading to your local Starbucks for Chai tea is always a day that’s going to be good. It ended up really great though, with a lot of wonderful work projects coming to a head and some innovation being tapped in totally random sources.
We’re doing some really cool holiday stuff at LolKing and I hope it pans out. If I could share you guys the screen caps of the stuff I’m working on, you’d be so excited. Alas, have to be quiet and stuff.
Anyway, speaking of OGN, I wanted to round up all my work at OnGamers so far:
I try to write one post a week, sometimes two if I have free time. A few posts never made it; I was going to do an awesome analysis of Hearthstone at BlizzCon, but I honestly ran out of time–got it halfway written, never finished it. It turns out sometimes time is an issue when you have a day job.
Overall, writing regularly is really good for my creativity. It is hard to balance a full-time job, like I said, but I have found sometimes in the evenings words just come to me. I hope people who follow me are following my work there, be sure to sign up and let me know how you feel with a comment or two sometime!
I started playing Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead 2 more. I ‘beat’ Long Live the Queen and I’m nearly done with the latest Phoenix Wright. Tonight I’m starting the new Zelda game, Link Between Worlds, and I’m disgustingly excited.
In general, I can get extremely narrow focus with games sometimes so I have been working on that. If I complete more than five new games a year, you know that year was a wild and crazy year for Rhea Monique. So I’m dedicating November and December to gaming, trying to play at least ten different games in conjunction with League of Legends. TF2 and L4D2 were great reminders that I love all kinds of games.
So this year, I linked my Amazon wishlist on Twitter–I usually share it with family a week before the event, but I decided to share it in case anyone had wanted to get me something for November 19th.
The response was really overwhelming. People got me everything from nail polish to badass pink keyboard. It was also humbling and awkward for me. I’m a pretty private person. I would never post for donations, even if I gave services that merited them or super duper needed them (I don’t). It’s just the kind of person I am; I don’t look down on those who do whatsoever, I just feel too self-conscious to do so.
Anyway, since some people remained anonymous, I figured this blog post was the best way to say thank you. Seriously, thank you–to anyone who got me something, wanted to, or is planning to. I got a bunch of packages in the mail today and it was so exciting, I had no idea it’d make me this happy.
Honestly, my birthday is usually a quiet event. I plan surprise parties for friends, I go out of my way to get the perfect present for boyfriends, and I even organize weird surprise Twitter cupcakes for acquaintances. But when the tables are turned, I dodge my birthday. I often don’t tell anyone when it’s my birthday, even my closest friends don’t get any warning because I don’t want to burden people. I haven’t had a party for it in years.
Suffice to say it meant and it means a lot. It was also an important life lesson that I have little to lose and a lot to gain by letting people be nice to me.
But what I really wanted to be was a writer. I wanted to know words intimately and wield them with grace. It took me all of high school and most of college to realize this. And unlike most things, writing was never easy for me and my perfectionism ate me alive. Each word was painful, each memory haunting, and my segues were never perfect. The imagery would be off and sometimes the storyline too predictable. My words fueled me, but they also stagnated me; reliving the past a thousand ways to see its tragic beauty is ultimately still reliving the past far too many times to be healthy.
So I don’t really write now, fiction or non-fiction. I guess I don’t think it’s healthy and maybe that’s a shame. Once in a while I do and I genuinely love it–it’s like a drug, intoxicating words flowing together perfectly. I would be injected with it daily if I knew how to tap into it. But my body is resistant and knows the cost of writing, the emotions and judgment from within myself, so it only lets it out in small burst. This post, a Hellmode post earlier, and sometimes a deep email or two fired off into the abyss.
Words come and words go. Lately they’ve been gone.
The thing is, and what no one really tells you until you can feel their distinct apathy and indifference hitting you, is that no one gives a fuck if you can write. No one really cares. No one admires it and no one envies it. You’re just someone who is decent with words. They code applications that can literally write news posts for you and you can form an impacting sentence. To them it’s nothing. You’re nothing. To you it’s everything. You’re everything.
Words come and words go. Lately they’ve been gone.
You have no idea the value of any words. I want to say this so badly, but I don’t. Your words are clumsy, mine are beautiful. Another thing I want to say so badly, but I don’t.
Because no one really cares regardless.
Because I’m just someone who is decent with words.
Someone just asked people what the best moment of their life was.
I figured writing my top five would probably be really healthy.
Halloween, circa 1997. I was probably a knight; I left my princess phase by age five, quickly becoming enamoured by femme fatales and Jean D’Arcs. My mom got me awesome armor, stage prop dragons to put on my shoulder, and swords and so that Halloween I went as a woman king, a lady knight: tiara on my head, sword in hand, dragon on shoulder. We grew up in apartments and we weren’t rich, but my mom made sure to go to mansion neighborhoods and take me through amazing streets where we got king sized candy bars. The air felt alive, it hurt to inhale from the crisp breeze, and we would run down the streets.
February, circa 2003. First kisses and first makeout sessions are always kind of cool. You feel really grown up. It’s so hard to relate to this version of Rhea, but I remember being on a high all week, reliving the moment in my head and wanting to tell the world.
Resident Evil 4, circa 2005. I had really good friends growing up. We did everything together. But Resident Evil 4, eating guacamole dip and tiramisu, was probably the best gaming experience I’d ever had. We mowed through the game, sitting cross legged on the floor with a couple of us on the couch. It was Spring Break, we didn’t have a worry in the world, and in a moment we weren’t angst ridden teenagers dealing with sex, growing up, high school: we were Leon Kennedy and we were gonna save the goddamn world. College admissions and upcoming AP exams be damned.
Alki Beach, circa 2008. My grandfather died, and that sucked. But the beach was gorgeous and I brought my camera and my text books. I walked for four hours, then I walked more, and I even went downtown on top of it. Eating fish and chips, watching the tide turn, miles and miles away from home–armed with my camera and a lot of heartache. I got some nice photos, too.
Acceptance offer from Wowhead, circa 2011. I lost my job on Christmas and it nearly killed me. Then I interviewed everywhere. For a good month, I feared for everything: rent, career, life. What if I made a mistake? What if the game industry was not my industry? Then I got a job offer from Wowhead, and it felt amazing. The relief made me giddy, the job itself still is amazing to this day. I am fortunate every day for this moment, it was truly incredible. I had never wanted something so badly before.