Openly Fluffy June 2021

June 29, 2021

Openly Fluffy June 2021

Hey everyone! Wow, time really flies between these Openly Fluffy letters.

I think at this point many folks have noticed that this has been a bit of an unusually tiresome year for me so far with never-ending issues and more frequent canceled streams, and so I wanted to write this to be more open about what's been going on lately and update you on what I've been doing and what changes I've been making for myself and working towards to try to address each thing, and to reassure you that I am actively trying to tackle these things and that it's just taking some time! Things are okay and improving and thank you for being so patient with me in the meantime and sticking around in the Comfy Corner. It means a lot!

I probably should have written this post much earlier to share with everyone but it finally took me a week of recharge and reflection to fully understand and put into perspective what's even going on for me personally, so I hope that it doesn't come across as a sudden pile of complaints or something. They are just things that I've been navigating through this year little by little and then could see on a bigger map to process internally this past week.

I started this new year with the idea of resetting and having things be easier and smoother than the crazy year that was 2020 for everyone, but looking back, I may have jinxed it XD. For this update, what I'll do is tell you about some of biggest issues or events, the main problems I've narrowed down to, and my current solutions or plans. It's all a bit of a work in progress and my approaches might not be the best or ones you agree with but I figure it's just one step, one day at a time!

The List of Things

  • Work Overload: You might already know this but I'm not a full-time streamer and outside of stream, do various contract work + write articles while working on PixelPlush & StreamPuppy. Over the past year, my writing work has taken more and more time due to tougher assignments for bigger clients and even though I love the challenges and learning aspect of it, it has been hard to balance it between everything else.
  • Family Things & Funerals: The year before covid, my family moved in with me in Seattle and my sister joined last year during covid from NYC as she could work remotely. My family is wonderful and I love them so much, but going from being fully independent and living alone to a sudden full house has been a big transition that I still haven't quite adjusted to. And earlier this year, Dooly, my beagle buddy of almost 17 years, passed away. That was followed soon after by my grandfather who I hadn't seen in years, becoming very sick and my mother having to take an emergency trip to Korea and then he passed away soon after. Basically, things have been a little tense around here.
  • Open-Source Requests/Questions: Several times a week, I get an email or message asking questions or feature requests on a GitHub repository or one of the projects, almost always from outside our community. It's great that we have so many projects out there gaining interest but I'm learning that it's impossible to maintain all of them, and to try and respond to help requests or questions. (I want to note that I really don't mind the questions so please do ask and just keep in mind that I might not get to it or might just forget to respond and that it's not because of something personal!!)
  • Troll & Harsh Comments: By the way, thanks so much to everyone who commented in Discord when I shared one of the troll comments on YouTube to the ChatBlocks video calling it "Trash". I take it as a sign that we're growing as a community and that my projects are gaining more public visibility, and have gotten much better at ignoring these troll messages over the past several months, but going into streaming, I simply hadn't expected the sheer quantity of messages, emails, DMs, whispers about how my projects suck/how they had built the idea first/how someone else's version is better/unsolicited feedback on how to code/why javascript sucks/etc. It caught me a bit by surprise and at a pretty tough time personally, earlier this year.
  • Stolen Ideas/Credit: I'm also grateful that folks in our community see the time and effort put into the projects we build on stream and outside of stream, experimenting and refining the ideas and testing and iterating, but somewhat regularly we find streams where the person has intentionally hidden the PixelPlush website link to our Parachute Drop game (and sometimes even show it off to their viewers as if they built it), or in one case, a person built direct clones of two of our games using the same art style and gameplay and the same game names and was selling it via Patreon, then when contacted about it, justified their actions by having given bits in stream. These and above ended up discouraging and demotivating me quite a bit from working on public projects for a large part of the early part of this year.
  • Emotionally Tough/Negative Conversations: One more thing I've been figuring out how to adjust to in particular is having private conversations as a listening or comforting ear. Covid seems to have taken a big toll on all of us and it's clear that some of us are certainly down on our luck more than others right now, so I want to listen and share in your sorrows, but it's a struggle where it has been a bit heavy on my mental state at times to hear about several different hard situations in the same day and am certainly no expert at it. This is something I've been able to get some insightful advice on from some more experienced folks and am working on.
  • The Same Old Covid Things: Besides the above, I think just same pandemic and US election aftermath stresses as everyone else applies, especially for fellow extroverts. I think reduced or crumbled social circles and interactions, broken friendships/relationships, virtual-only and isolated activities, restricted and monotonous pattern-filled days, has us all a bit on edge or in a bit of soul-mourning.

What I Think Are My Top Problems

  • Burnout/Not Enough Time & Self-Care: Aside from not sleeping much throughout the week, I need to learn to set aside more just do-nothing time and prioritize my own mental and physical health more than I currently do.
  • Too Much Outside Negativity: Keeping an eye on how much external negativity I let in from day to day and how much I let it affect me is important.
  • Too Open-Source: While I love and encourage more open-source, I need to adjust how much time and effort I spend on open projects.
  • Same Old, Same Old: The past year has been too much of the same patterns and not enough new, especially with stream. I need to make time to refresh, reorganize, and refactor my current environment and even finally change the stale starting screen on stream XD

Changes I've Made or Am Making!

  • Getting Better At Dealing With Requests & Trolls: I've gotten a lot better at shrugging off troll messages and simply deleting them, and am working on being okay with responding to just the requests that I can and want to, and accepting that I simply don't have the time or energy to respond to all of them.
  • Taking More Time For Myself: Just like I did over the past week, I've just been making more recharge time, and taking time off of social media, and it has helped tremendously for my mental health.
  • Work Changes: As of Sunday, I don't have any writing-work in queue and since writing isn't my big passion or career goal but have been taking more of my time lately, I am working on making some adjustments on the work front. Don't worry, I'll still be streaming and working on PixelPlush!
  • More Community-Oriented Projects/Comfy Sponsor Projects: I've decided to focus and possibly limit future stream projects to ones that benefit PixelPlush and/or our community/sponsors directly. I'm not abandoning the past ones like ComfyJS or ChatBlocks, but for example, I think it might make sense to turn projects like ChatTranslator for now to a community or sponsors-only tool.
  • And Some Other Things!: I'm making a couple of other changes as well but am not ready to share those just yet!

So, that's the update for now! It's still in progress and this year has been a real growth and learning year for me so far but am working on it. And please keep in mind this update is simply my way of trying to be more open about things with the community and figuring out problems and solutions is what I do as my day job, so PLEASE don't feel bad for me or take this as me complaining!

I'll be back to regular schedule on Wednesday, although I didn't get around to the Streamaversary #4 Prep yet so that stream will probably be postponed to July! Hope you have been having a wonderful week and as always, thank you for being so supportive of me and our little Comfy Corner.

Stay Comfy!