Hello! This is my first blog post, so as such I will throw down how this will work.
Once a week (as in some point between Sunday-Saturday) I will post three blog posts. One creatively focused, one thought/academically focused, and one personally focused.
I will begin by introducing what post it is, then I’ll cover any potentially unsettling content, and then get to the post itself. These blog posts will be read only once or twice over so expect mistakes.
Let’s get started! This post is the personal one, it will contain in depth descriptions of vocal dysphoria and mild descriptions of anxiety, and depression.
Ever since discovering the YouTube personality PewDiePie in late High School I’ve wanted to become a let’s player. I like to play video games and I like to make people happy, so it seemed perfect to me. I was inspired and began making let’s play videos with friends.
It didn’t take long to run into a variety of road blocks. Firstly, I can tell you that making let’s plays that are good quality is hard. Especially with an older system such as mine. Without good editing and recording software producing videos can be a nightmare. I managed to do it a few times as I do like the process, but that’s where another roadblock came in.
Even in the beginning stages of my let’s play “career” (I use that term super loosely). I had a lot of trouble sitting through my videos for editing. I’ve struggled with anxiety since Elementary School, and varying degrees of depression since High School (maybe even Middle School). Since I began in later High School my depression was starting to get worse and I had pretty awful self-esteem. Coupled with the fact I was a fledgling to producing let’s plays watching my own content made me uncomfortable and made the editing process a nightmare for me. If I couldn’t re-watch what I did then I couldn’t edit properly, simple as that. If I couldn’t edit properly I wasn’t comfortable putting it out. I have hours upon hours of unused and unedited footage. I feel guilty because a lot of it involves my friends, who were excited to be on YouTube.
This only got worse as my depression did. When I came out as transgender during freshman year of college there was a small window where I felt better and more confident. I toyed with the idea of retooling my channel to be trans centric, maybe inviting other transgender people to post videos as well. But I couldn’t manage a project on that scale with what was going on mentally (and I still can’t). My depression and anxiety became chains that held me back from let’s plays, writing, and drawing. But most of all my dysphoria started to affect this too.
One of my most visceral feelings of dysphoria comes from listening to my voice. I never like listening to it in general, and I have the fun experience of random intense spikes of dysphoria when I’m speaking. Those spikes are hard to put into words. Essentially there is at times a feeling of extreme dissociation and shock. This is one of the biggest reasons I don’t do let’s plays anymore, the last let’s play I produced was early 2015 and I don’t think I published it. My last published one is most likely from late 2014. My voice makes me too uncomfortable. People have told me to artificially deepen it but pitch changes often sound artificial and tinny. The most natural sounding change is when one changes the speed, but if I slow down my vocal track I need to slow the video as well and I have a feeling that might turn out awkward. Plus I didn’t know what I would do once I was properly on hormonal replacement therapy and my voice deepened naturally. Also ripping and editing the audio separate from the video, then putting the audio back is a process and a half. My computer doesn’t have the power to just record another audio only track with the video.
Now, as I mentioned a part of the reason I cringed early on was because of how new I was to it. I was new to the genre in general and only watched one person. I didn’t know what to do and my let’s plays were riddled with really awkward comments and long silences. Now I’ve watched several different people for quite some time, jacksepticeye being my favorite, followed very closely by Markiplier and PopularMMOs/GamingWithJen (a married couple who do Minecraft videos together), and I watch Cry* every now and then. All of whom bring unique personalities and styles to the genre of let’s play. I’ve practiced with my own videos and often find myself doing commentary in my head while I play. I feel a lot more comfortable with my technique, so at this point, it’s mostly my dysphoria that holds me back.
I’ll admit, I have popular content on my channel. My Rainbow Dash** plays videos do get quite a bit of attention, and I have a decent amount of subscriptions. But it’s no longer what I want to do anymore (plus my Rainbow Dash impressions are absolutely horrible).
But there is a light in the distance, a goal I’ve set for myself. I have begun HRT, and my voice will be getting deeper. Once I feel relatively comfortable I have promised myself to start making YouTube videos. I think I have it in me, I might not ever get popular but its kind of fun to talk while playing games. It’s something I really want to do, despite how much criticism I may get. I understand that this is something that will require some amount of dedication, as I covered producing those videos can be pretty tough. I feel like once I’m comfortable with my own voice I will be able to endure the process a lot better. I’ll carve a niche out for myself and hopefully have a little fun too!
*Cry is short for Cryaotic, it should be noticed that due to some legal concerns he has removed a lot of his content.
**Rainbow Dash is one of the main characters from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic