Violet was of the new generation, a generation in which I had basically no interest, but he was still a progamer and still apart of something to which I had given all of my free time during my teenage years. Korea, Starcraft, Progaming, all of it formed a warm crevice in the black jelly of my mind. A crevice which I would massage with the tips of my fingers anytime I was feeling depressed, lonely, or scared. I dreamed of being a progamer in Korea, seeing my face in a VOD, living in a team house, practicing 14 hours a day ... it was a life which I didn't have, but it made my actual life a little easier to navigate. It was my little plan, my little secret, my little fantasy. No one else knew that I was even interested in video games, much less that I wanted to devote my life to a goal which was centered entirely around a video game. No one knew that if I had the chance to go to Korea, taste the air, smell the asphalt, hear the language, and just feel my particles rubbing against those in this country which held all of my greatest desires ... no one knew.
No one knew.
My older sister was always my closest friend. Reading around my posts and blogs here on the forum, you wouldn't get that impression because I repeatedly call her a cunt, but it's all in jest. She had the biggest influence on me as a kid and I wanted to be just like her. After she graduated high school and moved out on her own to the big city of Austin, Texas I felt a strident change in my social life ... mostly because I didn't really have one. I didn't have friends my own age because I was always with my sister and her friends (who were all 5 years older than myself) so that made me feel like I had a social circle even though I really didn't. My sister was really popular, too. No one in my school believed me when I told them she was my sister because we were so different: she was loud and jocular and I was quiet and timid. But it was true, she was my sister, she was my closest friend, she was the one who held my status above "little brother" when I was with her and her friends ... she was what held it all together for me. When she left, all of that was gone. After a few years, I decided to go and stay with her in Austin for a summer before I started 10th grade.
I still remember that I was on 56k dial-up back home and she had broadband and so that was where I spent most of my time: using her internet to read about SC/progaming things. My favorite site was Splashimage, a Korean fan site which had original content like pictures and music videos.
It was those music videos which sparked this secret fantasy ... I remember it like it was yesterday: 3 in the morning and I was still awake watching every music video on Splashimage and fantasizing about being one of those few ... those elite few ... those progamers. But I noticed one big difference: I didn't look like them.
Of course, they were ethnic Asians and I was an ethnic nothing. As in, I'm so white, it's actually illegal for me to claim an ethnicity. But that wasn't the difference. The difference was they were all thin and handsome and I was a dumpy fat slob. After watching all of the music videos, I turned around and faced the full-length mirror in the room and just stared at myself. Something was lit inside of me in that moment.
I decided to become one of them.
My dream would now be a reality. That humid August morning in Austin, Texas in 2004, I decided to change everything about myself and become a progamer. When I left Austin, I also left behind the life I used to know with my sister ... I had waved my last goodbye to her and went back home with a resolve to achieve a dream. The results came almost immediately. I lost weight, took care of my appearance and became thin and handsome just like my Starcraft idols. I spent every single day practicing my build-orders and watching first person VODs. I started studying Korean, learning the language, learning the alphabet, and even tried my hand at Korean calligraphy. My diet had changed to the closest approximation of Korean food that I could produce. If I was going to be one of them, I was going to look like one of them. I was going to speak like one of them. and I was even going to eat like one of them. I used to write notes and stick them on the headboard of my bed. They were there to ward off any temptation which would ruin my dream. They were simple notes like "What do you REALLY want?" and "Tomorrow, you'll be even closer." and they really did help in keeping myself composed. I even carried one with me to school and kept it in my pockets at all times. Standing there alone in that awful bathroom stall in high school, I would read my note and fantasize about the life I was going to have in Korea. It was what got me through the day.
I'd leave the restroom and just look around ... all of this was temporary. I wasn't like these other people in this town, the other kids in this school ... I was different. I was different because I had a different kind of goal in life. And no one knew. No one had any idea. My sister wasn't here anymore, she left and her friends left with her. I didn't have any close friends of my own. I was on my own. I was alone. And that was fine because, as I thought, this was all temporary. I'd imagine the looks on all the kids' faces when rumors would spread that I had left school to go to Korea to become a progamer. The looks on their faces when they learn that I'm rich and famous and adored in Korea. The looks on their faces when they learned that I had devoted my entire life to that one very goal ... those looks were what I cherished. Those faces were coming ... they were on their way ...
And no one knew.
No one knew.
There was an unexpected consequence to this entire dream of mine, one which I could not foresee: I wasn't fat anymore, I lost a ton of weight, I took care of my hair and teeth and dressed differently. The discipline it took to change my body and practice Starcraft every waking hour of the day had produced something ... attention. People were actually paying attention to me. We all like to think of ourselves as good, decent people who don't judge others based on their appearance, but we do. We just do. Fat kids just learn to accept it and usually become bitter, angry assholes just like I was, but when you lose weight and all that shit starts going in the other direction, it's really fucking incredible. It's literally like you were born again. I was being invited to parties, girls were flirting with me, people were treating me like a real, actual human being for the first time in my life. And the questions ... oh, the questions ... "So, what do you do in your free time?" or "Why did you lose all that weight?" were my favorites because I absolutely could not answer them honestly. "Oh, my free time is devoted to Starcraft because I'm going to be a professional player." and "Oh, I lost weight so that I could look good on TV in a far-away Asian land while I'm being filmed playing a computer game." ... it was ALMOST surreal. I had been going to school with this kids my entire life and NONE of them knew anything about me. For the first time in my life, I had friends which weren't my sister's friends. These were MY friends. My first friends. My first fucking friends! I was excited and I wanted to catch up on all those things I missed out on during my fat years.
This is where the story takes a complete turn. As I indulged in the social life, I lost my desire to be a progamer. I'll never forget when one of the first girls I ever had ANY kind of relationship with would ask "Why do you always take so long to text me back?" and it was because I wasn't used to texting because WHO was I going to text? I had no one in my life for so long that I never needed to learn how to text. But goddamn it, I could split my four SCVs individually like you wouldn't believe. Fast forward a year: now I'm a blazing fast texter, but I can't split my SCVs for shit anymore. Why? Because I lost sight of my dream. I was growing up and living a "normal" young person's life for once and it satisfied me enough to stop progressing in my secret little plan to become a progamer in Korea. But dreams don't die that easily, I still wanted to make it happen somehow. I remember a recurring dream I had was being on stage at the Starleague finals and looking at my girlfriend sitting in the front row. Yeah, that was my recurring dream I had every night. Seriously. As more time passed, I graduated high school, went to community college and just slid off of the side of my Starcraft dream more and more ... it was too hard now ... my discipline was gone. All the drinking and smoking drowned my discipline in a tub, never to be heard from again. But fuck it, right? I have girlfriends now. They'll fulfill me. Fuck Starcraft, fuck Korea, fuck progaming, go to school and enjoy the females.
I did enjoy them, their company, their affections, their everything. However, all the girls in the world cannot fill the void that a dead dream leaves in your soul. Hailey, Hillary, Allie, Breanne, all of them brought me to levels of happiness and sadness which I had never experienced before in my entire life. Moments of my life that I will remember until I die were created with them. They'll always have a special place in my heart and I don't think I'll ever stop loving any one of them.
But none of them knew. None of them knew that I was only with them because I wasn't where I really wanted to be: in Korea, playing Starcraft as a progamer. No one knew.
No one knew.
More and more time progressed and I resigned to the status of "spectator" and stopped trying to compete. I joined TeamLiquid, wrote some editorials, and just sat on the side-lines. I experienced Starcraft as an entertainment, not as a lifestyle. At this point in my life, I'm not even a spectator anymore. Starcraft has left my life entirely ... and I'm fucking miserable. I'm almost 24 years old and I spend all of my time looking back to my teenage years when I was chasing a dream, when I had the discipline to keep going forward, and when I was .... happy ... and no one knows. No one knows what makes me feel regretful and disappointed in myself. No one knows that I had a dream once and how fulfilled it made me and how awful I feel about myself for slowly abandoning it. Would I have achieved my dream? I don't know. I don't even feel that it's important anymore. It was everything I did to achieve that dream that made my life fulfilled. And now it's all gone. Today, when I read that Violet died, I fell apart. Everything about my relationship with this game, this profession, this community spurted back out from my heart. My history, my youth, my love ... my fucking innocent, undying love for this game came flowing out in the form of tears.
And no one knows.
No one knows why I'm sitting here crying right now.