This post has been a long time coming. It's not very often I get a chance to talk about my past. It was easy for me this last year of school to get wrapped up in moment and forget my purpose, what motivates my ambitions and how far I've come in the last 3 years of my life. That being said I think I've made a lot of self reflection.
My social life in particular has blossomed since my first foray into the gaming industry two years ago with the Frag Doll Cadette Academy. It's an experience that really changed my perception of human interaction. For the first time in my life I was surrounded by people who truly understood me; not online, not the neighbors that inhabited my Animal Crossing play through, but in real life.
At the age of six I was diagnosed with ADHD, and up until my second year of college I had been heavily medicated. I won't go into too much detail, but for the majority of my life I felt betrayed by much of the people surrounding me; I relied on technology: my PC, Gamegear, Xbox 360, DS. These were the brothers and sisters I never had growing up as an only child. Despite being an easy target to land on by the crosshairs of the bullies at my school, I found a distinct love for role playing games, social media, internet, and the online communities that I became a part of in games such as Guild Wars, and using clients like Ventrilo. It was easy to feel like no one understood me in a small but affluently driven hometown in New Jersey, but I sought comfort, release, in such games and mediums. I poured my soul into my my artwork, and let out much of my aggression and anger through my soccer playing, but ultimately it was my experiences exploring the lands of RPGs, as well as the opportunities in which I could come home from a long day and serve a cold dose of headshot to those I played Day of Defeat and Gears of War with that gave me the most satisfaction. However, to say that I felt much of anything at all during this dark portion of my life would've been inaccurate. Come middle school into high school I was on a combination of six different emotional numbing medications. I was insecure about myself, unsure of my own feelings, and completely lost.
Three years ago, after almost completely failing out of college and on the cusp of giving up all together, I made the decision, on my own, against the better judgement of my therapists and psychiatrists to stop taking my medications. For the first time in my life, I truly felt alive. It was apparent to me that I had been given a second chance, both spiritually, and quite literally, after a near overdose in high school had left me with permanent circulatory system damage.
Sitting at home, paints all over the floor, with an xbox 360 controller to the left of me, I found G4TV, Spike, and other television stations that had shows devoted to the purpose of gaming entertainment. I couldn't help but feel like it was my calling. If I was going to do something with my life, it was going to be now. The next step was the most logical of all steps, I would take to the internet, and enroll back in school. It was this way that I stumbled across Twitter, the "Blog Your Way to E3" 1 Up Contest, as well as the Frag Doll Internship that change my life and introduced me to an industry: a community of people that I now consider my home. <3
Since then everything's been such a blur. There isn't a day that goes by I'm not grateful for the opportunities I've been given. This summer, working as an intern for the G4TV Show X-Play was a dream come true. I worked hard for it - I even had a series of bake sales for months so I could get to LA - but in the end it was you: the gaming community, the people who read my blog, or follow my real life questing on Twitter: you make my dreams a reality.
Working on The Indoors Kid's podcast with Kumail for Nerdist Industries this July was one of the most rewarding experiences of my adult life. I got to work with and meet some really incredible (and funny) people. It was really difficult saying goodbye to that, to Los Angeles, to having everything I've ever wanted right there in front of me. But, out of respect for myself, my parents, the future, and the idea that I will one day get to share my story with the world - and trust me when I say I will - I had to finish my last year of school.
Two months away from graduation, it has become evident to me of how completely uncertain life can be - remember that time I lost my car in that flash flood? But I know I am lucky to be here. I am thankful I was given a second chance, at life, and my education. Slowly but surely it's all beginning to make sense. I know I want to work in the gaming and entertainment industry. I know where my skills lie; journalism, social media, comedy, photography. And I know for god damn sure what I've know my whole life: video games and technology have had nothing but positive influence on me and I can't wait to spend the rest of my existence relaying that message.
/// SIGNAL INCOMING: Never give up.
xoxo Ali Baker
Relevant to your interests: @FragDolls, @G4TV, @Xplay, @IndoorKids, @Nerdist