It’s been a while since I’ve rambled on. Considering it’s the end of a … shall we say interesting year, I thought now would be a better time than any to share a few thoughts and maybe delve further into my brain matter for a few minutes. I blame some new friends for this if things get awkward, but here goes…

Flashback, 2014. I was sitting by myself in a hotel room wondering ‘shit, I don’t know if I can do this’. By nerves were shot, my mind flipping around like a kid playing with a skateboard for the first time. It’s messy, and I’m about to head into PAX Australia for the first day of the brand new event. I had a lot planned, a lot of things I wanted to do, but as the day gradually wore on I found myself questioning every plan. Sure, I talked to a few people, a few even recognised me, but something in the back of my head kept screaming at me. It pulled at my thoughts until I couldn’t ignore it any longer.

YOU DON’T BELONG HERE.

Harsh, I know, but that’s followed me around for a long while now. Every event it’s the same thing, the same confused, stressed mess that has me skipping potential meet-ups and chats and squandering whatever possibilities the days had ahead of them. There are moments of light at the end of the tunnel, be they sitting on stage in front of a large crowd or finally walking up to a developer and saying ‘hi’, but they are few and far between. Awkward, at best.

This is what happens when you let fear and doubt control you. It hurts, it becomes you, and there’s only so many things you can do to prevent it from happening over and over again. Which is why I’m writing this, to clear a little of the muck from out of my head in the hope that 2017, whatever it may bring, can be a more rewarding experience. I’m not saying everything I’ve done up until this point was a waste or not good enough, far from it. What I’m saying, as best as I can at 9.30 on a Friday morning, is that I’ve let this fear consume me for too long and it’s held me back from what potential I may have around that corner. A corner I’m afraid to walk around.

That PAX was an eye opener, in many ways. Every event I’ve been to since has been of a similar experience too. But with everything cool that comes my way, that little devil sits on my shoulder and reminds me that I’m not in control. It’s arguably the reason why I didn’t achieve what I could at Game Informer, it’s arguably the reason why I let so many other opportunities pass me by. The fear of failure is one thing, but the fear of not allowing myself to even try is another, and that’s what I need to come to terms with. It’s the reason why so many projects still wait to be completed after all these years.

Let me take you back a little further. I may have told this story once before, but it’s worth remembering. You see, I used to live in Sydney, and back then I was trying to find myself within a sea of creative and like minded individuals. Unfortunately for me, it didn’t work out the way the move was intended. I let myself slip into an unprepared state, I let debt add up and my writing came to a quick and full stop. I was in a bad way, to the point where my own Mother flew over from Perth to bring me home. That’s still a moment I find embarrassing, to know that I couldn’t look after myself or complete the tasks I had set. To this day I regret it ever happening, though now I understand why.

I’ve been trying to piece myself back together ever since. Little bits at a time, whether it was my confidence or my ability to write at all, I slowly regained what I had. I went back to University and studied Creative Writing, I built up contacts and started writing for various websites like Press Start and the previously mentioned Game Informer. Though they didn’t all go according to plan, I allowed myself to at least try, to the point where I now call PN2 my true home.

“This is where I belong”, I thought to myself when I started this up way back in January, “In complete control of my own writing and what I can do.”

It’s been an entertaining ride so far, though again many of the plans I had have fallen by the wayside. PN2 has become something I’m greatly proud of, don’t get me wrong, but there’s still that piece missing. Which brings me back to that devil on the shoulder, who’s been hounding me ever since I came back from Sydney. He doubts what I can do, doubts that I can achieve my goals, and stupid me I’m still listening to him. It hurt that I couldn’t attend all the events I planned for this year, that in itself didn’t help my cause, but the critter kept placing that seed of doubt in my mind. After all these years of trying to push it away, he doesn’t want to leave after all.

//

I did warn you I was going to ramble. Anyway, what’s my point on all this? Honesty, for one. I want everyone to know where I stand. It’s not for a lack of trying that I didn’t achieve all the goals that I set in 2016. I did start this website, and I brought in some fantastic writers in the process. But perhaps I should be thinking about things differently when it comes to setting goals for 2017. If I’m ever going to get anywhere close to what I want to be, I need to start from the beginning, and that means getting this rather large monkey off my back once and for all.

How do I do this? By pushing past the self doubt and constant criticism of my own work and laying myself out there for all to see. Whether my writing is up to scratch or not, it’s about time I set my fears aside and let it be. I realise I’ve probably said this before in the past, and it would be stupid of me to say ‘but this different’, but I can’t carry on anymore with this weight on my shoulders. It hurts too much, my heart can’t take much more of it.

So in 2017, I’m setting myself one simple, honest goal. Be me. Let the world in, let people see me for who I am, faults and all. I’ll need all of you to help me, though. I don’t want to go on this journey alone, so I hope you can be there to push me on and remind me that I’m doing the right thing. I’ll visit, I’ll record videos, I’ll meet you all and maybe take a hold of some other goals along the way, even write what I can no matter what it is … and I’ll do because I enjoy doing it, not because I need to or I have to. There’s no want or need in having fun, it’s just … fun. So I promise that’s what I’ll do. Warts and all, I’m ready to belong within this space I’ve made myself, the space you’ve created for me.

Ready or not, future, here I come.

– Mark (@Mark_D_Isaacson)

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