I was pondering this over on twitter, so here it is a bit more cleaned up and edited. Originally started from this tweet.
I want to talk about the hustle, how folks got where they are now.
Also why it’s counterproductive for folks to see a measure of success & think it’s easy, or folks were lucky rather than worked hard. Take me for instance; I’ve always been average. Looks, money, success, relationships, at life really. It took me 12 years to finish my undergrad degree (that I’m not using by the way) and I’m in massive debt for it.
I’ve never had a job that made me happy or that I liked to be perfectly honest. But that’s not unique to me, bills gotta get paid right?All I’ve ever had as a skill is writing & even then I’ve never thought I was great at it. Good maybe? Great, nah. Fast forward to October 2014 &
#INeedDiverseGames going viral & the convo continuing. A community sprung up and grew from that.
It was right thing at the right time mostly, along with some coverage. Thanks Arthur Chu for being one of the first folks to interview me about it. But things shifted, I was putting in work to make sure this little community didn’t die off because there was a need. Soon it was a second job in addition to a very demanding day gig. An unpaid one, that often cost me money & wasn’t bringing anything in. There was more press, more travel & doing conventions.
Then I started getting to write for pubs, for pay thankfully but all that went back into I Need Diverse Games & my free time as well. It was draining as fuck y’all. There were a lot of long nights, early mornings along with the day job, until Dec 2015 and well, y’all know that story. So I had all this time and a job of my own making right there, but it wasn’t paying the bills. Still cost me more than I brought in. Which was just unemployment for all of six months. No more unemployment extensions, but Patreon was filling the gap. I’m still struggling though.
So I Need Diverse Games began the process to become a non-profit but I fucked that up too & we’re still needing to re-class as a charity. One ticky box too far and we’re listed as a Foundation. Still can take donations & such but harder to work with company giving programs. But that’s done, I get more opportunities to speak, do diversity consulting, etc. Seems like a rockstar life right? Except a lot of you may not realise the struggles it took to get to this point. Some folks just see where you are & not the rocky ass path from where you started to where you are.
They don’t see the many falls and stumbles on the way up. All they see is X person is known and/or hypervisible; all they know is that I wanna be there; where that person is, hell maybe take their place while I’m at it. That’s cool but unless you got a trust fund, unlimited free time & lots of connections it won’t be easy. It’s also not great once there, wherever “there” is for you and how you measure success.
Look at the ways your faves are targeted for just existing. How folks will dig up years old shit to try and disprove their worth. Or, how one Fuck up after someone has “made it” means they never get a chance to recover and are forever and ever known as that problematic so-and-so. Or that person who gets mentioned and folks come out from under rocks, hills and crevices to talk about how “ain’t shit” they are knew it all along.
It’s not easy especially now with twitter stay on alert for someone to Fuck up. It’s like a damn gladiator match. But we all fuck up, some of us worse than others but once you’re known? There is zero margin for error. None. Be perfect or else. That’s the post-hustle bit no one tells you about. How we see people leap at any chance to tear you down once they decide you ain’t shit. Or that you don’t “deserve” to be where you are. Because all they saw was the ascent, not the hard, dirty climb that took years.
So think about the work someone must have done before you write off their success as “luck” or unearned fame for doing nothing. Cause we know who has that said about them right? Any known/hypervisible POC on here, but especially black women who succeed. So think before you tweet out that hot take on someone’s fave or someone you’re hating on cause they’re on the come up and you’re not.
If you like what I do, and can spare a buck or three; I’m still struggling so a cup of ko-fi would be appreciated. Never required though.
Or if you can spare a bit on a monthly basis, I’m also on Patreon