Something new today, boys and girls – far less snark and far more sincerity. You see, I’ve come to believe in telling people how important they are while we still have the chance – both because you never know what tomorrow will bring, and because they deserve to hear it. And I thought about applying that concept to some of the more public members of the various communities that I either follow or travel in. These are men and women whose work I respect tremendously, but who have also made some kind of positive personal difference – whether they realize it or not. For my inaugural effort to that end, I have chosen IGN’s Alanah Pearce, known to her many followers as @Charalanahzard.
Alanah’s success is a story that is best told by the amazing young woman herself, which she recently did on the new and phenomenal podcast Pockets Full of Soup with Jared Petty (note: this series is truly amazing – watch them all, and go to Patreon to support it). Alanah gracefully and humbly describes her upbringing in Australia and her own inspirations in achieving all of the things that she has accomplished. It is truly a fantastic podcast, and I can’t do justice to her story more than she herself can, so I will not spoil it any further, other than to say you should listen to it right now.
What I will do is tell you that Alanah is not only an extremely talented writer and journalist at IGN, she is also a frequent and extremely entertaining YouTuber, a skilled and witty host on multiple podcasts such as Podcast Beyond and Podcast Unlocked, and an amazing DJ. And on top of all of that she is also a kind and considerate human being – and if Pockets Full of Soup didn’t convince you, I can vouch for it from a moment that was a small gesture which meant a tremendous amount to me.
Several months ago, I went through the most crushing and heartbreaking personal experience of my life. Details aside, one thing I discovered was that I could no longer listen to music – something that had helped me cope with things my entire life. Now, music simply reminded me and brought all the painful emotions flooding back. But neither could I stand the lonely silence, and so I turned to gaming podcasts to fill that void. It was then that I first discovered Alanah and her colleagues at IGN. They helped me to reconnect with people and to be able to laugh again, even though they didn’t have any idea that they were doing it, or even who I was. So, I decided to tell them. I sat down and I wrote them an email explaining to them what had happened to me and the difference that they had made in helping me to cope with it. It was the first time I had fully opened up to anyone about it, maybe because I didn’t really expect any response and so the feeling that I was just another anonymous listener made me feel like I wouldn’t be judged for my failings. But I did get a response, very shortly after I sent the email.
This incredibly busy woman, who had absolutely no idea who I was and was under no obligation to do so, not only took the time to read my email – which wasn’t exactly short – but was compassionate enough for a total stranger to reach out and let him know he wasn’t alone. It might seem like a small thing to some of you, and it may have even seemed like a small thing to her – but for someone feeling lost in depression and sadness, it meant quite a lot.
So that’s the story of how, with one Tweet, Alanah Pearce gave me back a small piece of myself when I couldn’t do it myself. I’ve said to her before, but if she happens to see this, thank you, Alanah. I am amazed by all of the positive things you have accomplished so far in your life, and I too wish you only more and more positive things to come. To anyone reading this, follow her endeavors and support her along the way – if anyone is deserving of it, it is certainly her.
I am sure I will be back to some less sentimental issues soon – but every once in a while, even Evil Wizards need to say thank you. Next time, my thoughts on my time thus far in No Man’s Sky – but for the moment, I will acknowledge a fundamental deficiency in naming ability.
Until next time, kids, remember – the only thing that stops me from believing that Donald Trump and his supporters are horrifically awful people is that I cannot reconcile them with actually being “people” at all. But I can’t call them any kind of lower life form without insulting said lower life form. The struggle is real.