I had a friend imply I was bad at League of Legends a few weeks ago. They’d just reached 1800 elo and thought they were really good, total pro-gamer status, and in the mood to put someone else down to celebrate their victory.
I haven’t had a good game since.
Almost two years ago, I had a magazine editor contact me to write for her magazine. It was flattering–she said I was truly gifted and my articles were awesome. She accepted two of my pitches. I began to write them, I poured my heart into one of them.
She tore my article to shreds. After rewrite and rewrite–a process that took about a month and countless hours–she told me I wasn’t going to work out and withdrew the article. My style just didn’t fit her magazine, she explained, even though she’d approached me in the first place.
I haven’t written about video games since.
When I was younger, failure really empowered me. I was a tall kid and tall kids can’t typically do gymnastics, but when I was told I couldn’t do the rings or twirl on the bars, I’d try over a thousand times until I finally could. I had something to prove and so I proved it.
And when people said a female couldn’t play Counter-Strike seriously, I 1v1’d on that game until my eyes bled. Until I could do that perfect headshot from around a corner. Until I could carry my weight.
But as I got older, the more people said I couldn’t, the more it’s damaged me and made me unsure. I used to play League of Legends at a pretty high level. My CS was decent, my calls were good, and I rarely missed skillshots like Ahri’s charm or Kog’s ultimate.
Now I’m lucky if I land a single charm all game.
I don’t know what to do about it. I want to succeed. I talk to myself and tell myself to snap out of it as I play poorly, but nothing comes of it. I don’t want to be like this–I mean, I’d love to get back into the game and to play at a high level. I’d love to write again, too. But I crumble under pressure nowadays. Insults from strangers or anonymous figures in the dark don’t matter, but insults from people I respect or personally know do.
When someone I care about says I can’t, I can’t.
And no matter how much someone else says I can, that one person lingers in my head.
How do you get over a psychological break like that? How do you stop one person’s actions from ruining the rest of everyone’s positive energy? How do you not hear them every time you fuck up?
I don’t know.