How I Got Here

 

Two things.

One: what I’m about to write is probably a little heavy for a first blog post.

Two: there is no better subject for a first blog post than telling the story of how I got here.

I was a Twitch streamer for about three years, starting late 2015. Twitch was my remedy during a time when I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted out of life. I’d lost sight of who I was as a person and so one day after hearing about streaming from a friend who streamed herself, I decided that playing video games with complete strangers on the internet sounded like a good way to figure who I was.

Well, it turns out the internet has a ton of nice strangers who are totally cool with hanging out with you no matter how lost you feel, and connecting with others is a great way to make you feel better. I learned that being a complete dork and making fun of yourself for sucking at games is entertaining for both yourself and your viewers, and that completing games and having meaningful experiences with those same viewers is pretty fucking cathartic.

Nearly overnight Twitch became the thing I did with my spare time instead of wallowing in my own disappointment and diminishing self-esteem. And over those three years I met some of the nicest and coolest people -- some through the extended community and some who just wandered into my channel one day -- who helped build the friendliest and most accepting community I’ve ever been a part of.

Those connections I made allowed me to connect with myself again. I’d gone into streaming feeling displaced from everything I used to enjoy, like art, creating things, and stories. Over time I rediscovered a lot of those things again. I doodled on stream and created art for my channel. I crocheted little stuffed acorns while hanging out with my viewers. I got excited for and inspired by the stories in games. Bit by bit, my creativity bled back into my life.

It all kind of blew up, and enamel pins came into the picture when I received an iPad as a gift. I’d seen an article about a woman who designed enamel pins on her phone and thought I could absolutely do that on an iPad.

Turns out I could, and I loved it.

Designing enamel pins has proven to be a learning experience like anything else in life, but so rewarding. After years of working on huge illustrations and ambitious art projects it was satisfying to finish a pin design in one or two evenings. And then to hold your pin in your hands — holy shit, is that cool.

Nowadays I’m feeling more like me again. I don’t stream as often, but I’ve grown as a person everywhere else in my life because I’ve recognized what’s true to me.

Now this is what I want to do. I don’t exactly know what “this” is going to be, other than creating cool shit, but that’s what I want. This site, these blogs, my art — this is me, and I want to be me. So thanks for taking a peek. I hope you like what you see and I hope you’re being true to yourself in your own life, or working towards it. Speaking as someone who got really freaking lost and had to take a (fun) 3-year detour, I can tell you that you can do it, and it’s worth it.

<3 A.B.

4 comments

  • Inspiring. I have so many ideas in my head, it’s crazy. Who is your manufacturer?

    Mariah
  • As someone who has spent the last 6 years fighting cancer, and the last 2 years trying to figure out “what I want to do when I growup” (no idea yet), I totally get losing yourself. I’m finding my way INTO streaming now and will hopefully be able to do more of it soon. But this being on disability for years things has left me utterly lost in life, so I understand.

    I won’t lie – miss your face and your streams. But I ALWAYS support creatives and if this is what makes you happy, you do you. <3 Hopefully I can support you officially at some point and buy a pin!! :-)

    Werelock
  • Lovely post. How did you get started with enamel pins? Tell me everything you can about how you decide what to draw/make as a pin and how to present to manufactures. – I’m always trying to find myself and where my designs are taking me but I never seem to get any closer to the truth.

    Again, lovely post.
    Best wishes,
    Jess

    Jessica
  • I feel this on so many levels. I love your face.

    Funky

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