Welcome to the landing page for my 2019 GDC talk, “Dream Daddy & Fearful Fathers: How Indies Can Cope with Being Terminally Online.” Welcoming people to a page like this feels extremely 2002-era Geocities but whatever. Here you’ll find the sources I used to write this talk, some practical self-care resources, and further reading/watching!
SOURCES + FURTHER READING
Double Standards and Diverse Media (video essay)
Bad Media Criticism (video essay)
Intro to parasocial relationships (video essay)
PRACTICAL SELF CARE
Hi, what’s up! As mentioned in the talk, here are some practical self care tips that helped me get through my nervous breakdown and still help me with my Mental Shit to this day. I’m listing the ones that are less obvious but that are very comforting to me, so here we go:
[extremely david lynch voice] TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION
Don’t pay thousands of dollars to learn how to do it, just read this and give it a try! You can really do any type of meditation, but after trying some different methods, I like TM the best— focusing on just your breath can be super difficult, so having a mantra to focus on instead really helps me get in the zone.
an 80’s as hell scientific explanation of why it works here
Listen I know it sounds hippie and basic as hell but your brain genuinely needs stillness and silence at least once a day. You can start small, 5-10 minutes every morning, and work your way up. Figure out how much time you spend on Twitter every day— just try allocating a few of those minutes for stillness and getting in touch with yourself! It has helped me so much and it’s a comfort to know that you can always get in touch with the quiet within you when things are getting wild.
Basically, buy a journal and longhand write 3 pages of stream of consciousness material every morning— it can be creative, it can be about your feelings, it can be about setting a positive intention for your day. Whatever comes to mind. I recommend journalling in general, because it helps you learn about yourself and sort complicated feelings out— plus you’ll be super glad you did it later on because then Future You gets to read all of your fun angst in excruciating detail! Juicy!
If you pair this with a quick meditation sesh in the morning, you’re off to a really good start. Since we’re talking about mornings, make sure you’re eating breakfast and drinking a large glass of water within an hour of waking up. I know lying in bed until noon is appealing, but idk about you, it makes me feel awful about myself and it’s a bad way to start the day.
Mornings are hard. Mornings are harder when your body doesn’t have anything to give you energy other than sugar and caffeine. Listen, I’m trying really hard to not sound like your mom here, but you need it, it helps your mood, gives you energy, and breakfast and a granola bar that you shove into your face during traffic is not gonna cut it. Find food you genuinely like to eat and like to cook— for me, this is often some cheesy scrambley eggs and toast with jam. Takes 10 minutes, tastes good, makes ya feel like a productive adult. Maybe for you it’s some yogurt with berries and honey, or a bagel with cream cheese and a banana.
get hobbies that AREN’T WORK RELATED
I realized that trying to draw or write to help myself feel better actually makes me feel worse, because a bad drawing/story makes me feel like I’m a bad artist/writer and won’t get work, and I’m not trying to make my hobby “hating myself" (even though that happens sometimes).
If you feel the need to do something with your hands, try building model kits (gundams are fun as hell), getting into needlepoint, knitting, baking, playing with polymer clay, making slime, painting abstract things with colors that make you happy, just go for walks and leave your phone at home, volunteer with animals, any sort of physical activity… the list is endless. But if all you do is immerse yourself in work and work-related hobbies, you’re gonna burn out real fuckin quick. And that’s the last thing we need in this industry!
Recruit a buddy to do any of the above. Baking with friends rules, gundams with friends is one of my favorite things to do. You can hold each other accountable and listen to cool music or podcasts together. It’s nice!
if you’re into over-intellectualizing your feelings like I am, read some books on it:
Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents— extremely short, accessible, and like, required reading for being a person?
The Satanic Bible— I am genuinely not trying to be an edgelord here, it rules. It covers all the stuff other self help books do, but like, there’s devils and hexes and stuff. Hail yourselves.
The Fantasy Bond— Extremely inaccessible because it’s a dense as hell psychology textbook, but it’s very rewarding. Also this is the book I hurl at people when they ask me for writing advice because boy howdy does it crack how to write characters wide open.
Self-Compassion— Very important book on being nicer to yourself!
Conquer Your Critical Inner Voice— See above.
The Body Keeps the Score— literally the best book on trauma out there!
Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, The Tao of Fully Feeling— hey, did you also have a rough childhood? Read this shit. Like, yesterday. Two of my favorite books. Pete Walker has a lot of other useful resources for dealing with trauma on his website and a lot of it deals with “shrinking the inner and outer critics.”