Speaking of the community, I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations in the Spoonful of Sugar channel recently, run and occupied by current CSM member Sugar Kyle and friends. You have to understand that by interesting, it doesn’t mean the other discussions aren’t. These ones are interesting to me because they affected me a little more; the standard discussions and conversations that go on in there are also extremely educational and enlightening to watch.
The first one came up a handful of days ago, when Sugar asked me whether I considered myself a ‘newbie’ of hers. My interpretation of that was that she raised me as an EVE Online baby until I was well enough to fend for myself. I answered in a strange way that didn’t really say anything I guess:
[ 2014.12.22 01:49:03 ] Revileushin Eyri > hmm
[ 2014.12.22 01:49:46 ] Revileushin Eyri > well you made this channel and started talking back to me
[ 2014.12.22 01:50:01 ] Revileushin Eyri > new players just need that response
[ 2014.12.22 01:50:22 ] Revileushin Eyri > i can ask questions everywhere but here the ones that bugged me the most i could ask and have a chance of getting them answered
[ 2014.12.22 01:50:59 ] Revileushin Eyri > if that answers anything 😉
What I said was true, but what Sugar wanted to know was whether I was a ‘pupil’ of hers, and I only brushed on that slightly. Upon further consideration, I could’ve worded it better, but I doubt I ever would have fully admitted to being 100% Sugar Kyle’s student, as cool as that would have been. My beginnings in EVE were influenced by a lot of people, and I don’t think I would ever be able to thank one without thanking them all for guiding me along a path that didn’t end (and hasn’t ended yet) with a lot of fire, pods melting, and me quitting the game.
It’s worth noting, though, that as I’m writing this, I’m writing it in a blog.
I’m not fleetingly thinking of it to myself and forgetting it, I’m not writing in a personal diary that I lock away under my bed, nor am I just chatting about it briefly to others. This blog’s existence, I can most safely say, was inspired by Sugar. It was her musings in her channel about the blog, combined with my readings of some of her posts that gave me the initial inspiration to try my hand at ‘that blogging thing’. I read a whole bunch of other blogs’ posts, but she had her own (low sec life)style, and I definitely enjoyed it enough to want to try my hand at this blog thing.
So in the end, if I could go back and change how I went about my early EVE days, I would not have changed the series of events that led to me finding her channel, getting to know her and her blog as she ran her campaign for CSM. Without that, who knows when I would’ve started this blog, if ever. And for that, I’ll be eternally grateful.
But where are the free hugs?
I’m getting there.
Next up, another conversation in SoS (quite an appropriate acronym for such a helpful channel) led me to realise just how self-critical I can be, to the point where when something seems to question my skills, context flies out the window and I only see the offending comment.
This is going to be extremely embarrassing for me but I’m going to dissect the discussion we had in the channel.
Left names in the logs because, well, I don't see anything I shouldn't share with names in them, except I wish I had a reason to remove my name. If any involved party wishes their IGN to be redacted, an EVEmail will suffice.
It all started with Sugar greeting me as usual.
[ 2014.12.26 02:24:42 ] Sugar Kyle > /emote pokes Revi a bit
[ 2014.12.26 02:25:04 ] Revileushin Eyri > as long as you dont poke the ribs
[ 2014.12.26 02:25:37 ] Viceorvirtue > what if we bbq the ribs?
[ 2014.12.26 02:26:19 ] Revileushin Eyri > D:
Nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual banter. Then three minutes later:
[ 2014.12.26 02:29:12 ] Sugar Kyle > Revi, I feel as if you are not a team player?
A joke. An innocent joke about not being compliant about letting them barbeque my ribs, as strange as it may sound to be happy for that to happen.
But I took it the wrong way… and well, I gathered my thoughts (and spent 7 minutes trying to figure out what Sugar meant by that comment), slowly disorientating myself further and further, trying to figure out how I could’ve been a bad team player, and then:
[ 2014.12.26 02:36:26 ] Revileushin Eyri > in what way?
[ 2014.12.26 03:00:53 ] Sugar Kyle > not wanting the ribs cooked
[ 2014.12.26 03:00:57 ] Sugar Kyle > just pointing that out
Sugar, in all her wisdom and powers of subtlety, tried to indicate that is was the festive season, food was a big part of it, and a joke just flew right over my head. It continued flying.
[ 2014.12.26 03:03:31 ] Revileushin Eyri > i enjoy working with teams, but if you mean i’d prefer working alone, then i guess sometimes that’s true
[ 2014.12.26 03:14:34 ] Sugar Kyle > no I mean you dont want Vov to cook you
[ 2014.12.26 03:14:36 ] Sugar Kyle > /emote shakes her head
[ 2014.12.26 03:15:10 ] Revileushin Eyri > oh lol
Thought I figured it out here? You thought wrong. I keep going.
[ 2014.12.26 03:15:34 ] Revileushin Eyri > well you managed to catch me off guard, but you didnt exploit the opening at all there
[ 2014.12.26 03:17:42 ] Sugar Kyle > the one where we get to eat Revi ribs?
Come on Revi… it’s right in front of your face…
[ 2014.12.26 03:18:47 ] Revileushin Eyri > that probably would’ve followed
[ 2014.12.26 03:18:55 ] Viceorvirtue > clearly he wants to bbq his own ribs, incredibly selfish of him
Now Vov tries to help me out. Maybe he’s feeling a little guilty since he started with the bbq ribs part. But I’m too far now.
[ 2014.12.26 03:19:21 ] Revileushin Eyri > just feel self-conscious about my interpersonal skills now that ive been doing some FCing
[ 2014.12.26 03:19:46 ] Revileushin Eyri > i mean, ill take feedback and criticisms if you have them
[ 2014.12.26 03:20:27 ] Sugar Kyle > /emote tilts her head
[ 2014.12.26 03:20:30 ] Sugar Kyle > Revi, come have hugs
Sugar comes in for her umpteenth pass at saving the tattered remnants of my pride, I dodge, much to my detriment.
[ 2014.12.26 03:20:33 ] Viceorvirtue > normally fcing doesnt result in ppl running around being unable to function socially
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:00 ] Viceorvirtue > youre probably too critical of yourself
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:14 ] Sugar Kyle > /emote is all fulla hugs to give out here
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:15 ] Revileushin Eyri > but am i not a team player? is it that obvious it shows in the blog posts? 😛
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:32 ] Viceorvirtue > i take that back
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:32 ] Sugar Kyle > Revi my love you sound like me
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:42 ] Viceorvirtue > you are DEFINITELY too critical of yourself
Around here, finally, I stop digging myself deeper. I bolded that last comment because that’s whopper. I assumed they knew how I worked in a team when all they really know of me is through the blog. As soon as I hit enter on that one, I knew I made a terrible mistake and started scrolling up furiously. I read again. It hit me. I scroll back down.
A sinking feeling. A sudden revelation. A hot flush creeps up to my cheeks.
[ 2014.12.26 03:21:47 ] Revileushin Eyri > did i just misinterpret the whole conversation
I finally got what she meant about the team player thing, almost an hour later, interspersed with many obvious hints. Incredible; and I thought I was the guy that picked up on those kind of things quickly.
We analysed what in the world went on in that situation, and I think we hit the root of the problem. I have been spending a lot of the past weeks looking at myself. I wish I could say that in a narcissistic kind of way, but unfortunately it was more of a critical-evaluation kind of way.
I’ve been asking myself what I’ve been doing for the alliance, why I’ve been doing it, who I’m doing it for, how I’m doing it, where my weaknesses are, how I can improve my strengths. These are barely a fraction of the things I ask myself. Whenever I say ‘hi’ to a member in the alliance, I wonder if they want to say hi back. Whenever I organise a roam, I wonder if people come because I ask or because they want to. Whenever I send out long alliance mails, I wonder if people read them or whether I type too much.
I am not a stand-in-the-spotlight-and-own-it kind of guy. I’m more of a… safety net, if you can imagine a person being a safety net. I’m someone who, when a cause is dying, will step up because no-one else will, because I believe in that cause. As such, when thrown into a spotlight I will turn around and look at myself and try to make myself look as best as possible. I’ll forget I’m not in the spotlight because I am who I think I should be, but because I am who I already am. Self-doubt about whether I’m doing the right thing for the alliance plagues me, causes me to seek to perform even better than myself, and makes me take the slightest critical comments too seriously.
Self-reflection is important but it’s good to have a little self-esteem too. And you can find free hugs in the SoS channel to cheer you up if you’re feeling down. Just be careful; you might find your ribcage is missing after disengaging from the hug.