Lost My Voice

Today I found an old blog that I wrote just out of college (I won’t link it because I foolishly used real first names back then). The goal was to use it to find my voice as a writer. In some ways, I think I was closer then than I am now. 

Most of the blogging that I’ve done in the last few years has been pulled in several directions: in some ways I want my writing to reflect me as a Serious Academic, but I also want it to be human and relatable. I want it to be honest, but honesty is scary. If future employers see this work, what will they think?

My writing has reflected this ambivalence, and it has been extremely hard for me to find my voice online, even all of these years later. Only in the last few days have I realized it’s because I’m over-thinking it.

The pieces I’ve written in which the writing feels most real, most authentic, are the ones in which I didn’t over-analyze as I wrote. I didn’t self-censor. I didn’t worry about audience. I didn’t focus on voice. I just let go and wrote. Voice was something I never struggled with until I started thinking about it.

The worry over professional colleagues reading my work has to stop. It’s making me scared to be vulnerable, which is only a small step away from scared to speak. I don’t need to be afraid that I won’t always sound like a Serious Academic; I hate posts written in elevated Academese anyway. I don’t need to be scared of activism if don’t want to work at a place that gags me online.

I will not be scared to speak.

So why be so scared write honestly?

We live in a world of personas. Each of us performs different personas for different aspects of our lives. I’m a different person with my family than I am with my boss, and as I’ve built a web presence, I’ve felt an increasing need to be a different person online than I am in real life. For a long time, I’ve worried that my voice had to be “intelligent” or “vulnerable” or “fun” in order for people to care about my work. In the process, I’ve felt split into many selves, each one banished into a different aspect of my life, and I worried that none of them are truly me. Or maybe they are all truly me.

The broken mirror of selves is an illusion, one that my generation has been taught to vigilantly protect. I am a person with complex thoughts and emotions that change based on context, and whether or not all of these selves are wholly “me,” I want them to be honest, even if that means being emotional, and even if “emotional” is really just a synonym for “female.” Emotional and intelligent can coexist.

So what does this mean for Cerebral Arcade?

The voice and tone of my writing here is going to change. The subject matter may also change. I want to focus more on my personal experiences with games. So far many of the pieces I’ve written for this site have felt awkward because I’ve been writing from behind emotional walls. That’s going to change. I also want to bring in other voices, which may take the form of guest blog posts or regular contributors.

And I’m going to be busier. Too much of my time over the last two years has gone into secretive creation from within a black box, cutting out the “distractions” from the world around me rather than looking around and engaging in conversations that could have benefitted my work. I’ll be looking around a lot more, especially to fields outside of games. I’m lucky enough to live in a place with a vibrant games community, but I’m also only a short drive from Silicon Valley and the incredible San Francisco art scene.  My goal for 2015 is to take more time to engage with those communities, and to talk about it more here.

Thanks for sticking with me, dear readers, as I awkwardly return these fractured personas to a single self. With luck, this site will drastically improve as a result.