Orbit Waves Podcast: Women Who Game
Welcome to Space Nation Orbit Waves, a space lifestyle podcast about unlocking human potential so you can win at life on Earth.
In episode one we will hear from Emily Foreman, a professional gamer, and coincidentally, a woman!
Emily: Hi my name is Emily Foreman, but I go by Lyric of Wisdom or Lyric for short. I am a 21 year old college student just finishing up my last semester of school. I am now pursuing my (hopeful) life in gaming because it has always been a passion of mine, and it has always been a dream to be able to live off of passion, rather than get a job in something that I hate, and hate waking up every day doing what I do.
CanCan: its so inspiring, no matter what, if its gaming or interior design, or whatever your passion is, to see people who want to make their passion their lively hood, rather than putting in work to make money to pursue your passion. I listen to all sorts of inspirational audio books and podcasts about that, so that’s where I am.
BUT I want to know, what inspires you? When was the moment that you realized, hey, this is a thing! This doesn’t just have to be my hobby, it could be my “jobby”!
Emily: What moment? When, back about 4, 5 years ago, nerds and geeks were not cool people, and I was never the cool person. I didn’t have role models growing up, I kind of had to find that in myself. And most of the time, my role models were men who were professional gamers, and I looked up to them because they were cool! And a lot of those men who I looked up to are now my friends.
But I think the moment was when…you know a lot of people tell you “live your life, life’s too short,” and you kind of take it and go on.
CanCan: Yeah its nothing new.
Emily: I started traveling for events and I was lucky enough to be accepted to a program overseas in Japan to study pop culture. And you know when I came back I was like, “Wow this is amazing! I got to go to Japan to study what I love!”
And, that kind of started a ripple effect. I was already traveling to events and having the time of my life. And you know, you start seeing a shift in yourself. You start wanting THINGS less. My birthday gifts for the past 4-5 years have not been things, but money to help me travel to events and help me compete.
I was in school one day. I had just come back from an event. I was in my class after getting off a 6am flight, with my suitcase, and I hadn’t slept. And my professor looked me dead in the eye and she said “You don’t want to be here.”
And, to be confronted with that, its interesting because, my parents are very traditional: you go to college, you get a degree, you get a job. I felt like this idea of what I had known my whole life was being challenged. And that conversation sparked something in me, like, “No! I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Gaming has been there my whole life. I have met some of my best friends through gaming. Gaming has given me the experiences that I needed to grow up and become a more mature person. And that feeling I get whenever I go to an event or when I come home is something I want to experience every day of my life.
“Life’s too short” now means so much more to me than “life is too short to worry about things”. Life’s too short to hate your job.
CanCan: Why do you think the idea of a female gamer is hard for some people?
Emily: I think it goes back to advertising. Women were never advertised this type of stuff. This goes all the way back to common gender roles back in the 1950’s. Women had dolls and washed dishes and that was that. Men have video games and violence and sports. And that was that. I think when you are the only female in a room there is a lot of instant judgements, “She’s just someone’s girlfriend, she doesn’t like the game.” But I think the more you play and the more you get to know people, the more seriously they will take you, because I’ve had times when I felt like I had to prove myself to people. Through just my pure passion for the game, you do that. Just by existing in a room with somebody who shares the same love as you, that can change someone’s perspective completely. But I believe female gamers are coming up really strong now, like they said in the panel: We’re now visible.
I believe that advertising made us invisible, but now advertising is going to make us more visible.
CanCan: Buffalo Wild Wings (sponsor) stood out to me as well. I would like them to sponsor my life and I would wear the logo everywhere, because I’m down with the boneless.
Even though your story is specific to you, I feel like there are elements that can inspire other people in their passions.
You are at the cusp. You know what you want. What do you do when you have fears and doubts about reaching your goal?
Emily: As a streamer, as a growing streamer, you stream for fun and for your community. When you want to make it a job, this is just fact, you have to grow. And there are some nights when I’m at 60 viewers, which is great for a Twitch partnership, but then there are nights when that number drops, to 13….to 10…to 7…
There have been times that I instantly shut down because I don’t think I am doing anything. Part of the reason why now my role as a woman in gaming is so important is because I didn’t have those role models. People started telling me that I am their role model, so I”m doing it for them, and I want to succeed to inspire other people. So when I have these nights, what they said on the panel about having a support system is so necessary. You want a support system who is going to understand you and support you and also be real with you. You want them to say “this in your stream is wrong, this could be improved,” you want someone that’s going to bring you up by actual substance, not by fluff.
In competitive gaming, have there been times I wanted to quit? Oh yeah. People are people. Not everybody is going to like you. That is something I had to learn from the start, that not everybody is going to like me. And sometimes people will hear me and think that I’m annoying and I think what I have struggled with is that I wanted to be liked. I want people to like me and enjoy my presence, and it hurts me when people think I am annoying because I don’t mean any harm to anybody, I just want to get to know everybody in the room. I just want to be friends and make memories with everybody because that is just who I am. I didn’t have that in high school. I was the out cast, like a lot of girl gamers are, they feel like they don’t belong anywhere. I try really hard to get to know everybody in the room, so when people aren’t about it, I have had to step back, recalibrate, and go forward.
I feel like that is important being a woman in this field. Sometimes people aren’t going to like you just because you are a woman, or because you look a certain way. You have to have the inner strength to pull yourself back and say, ok, they don’t like me, but there are tons of people who do. There is a community behind you that does, and that is where you have to shift your focus. Recalibrate and go forward.
CanCan: Someone not liking you is not a reflection on you. I think its hard not to take that personally. And also, you have to care about your goals more than being liked sometimes. Not in a jerk way.
Emily: Right. The scariest moments of my life are when I doubt myself to the point that I tell myself, maybe I should go get my master’s just in case. Maybe I should do something I don’t want to do.
CanCan: I do have a masters and I can’t say that it has brought more money into my life.
Emily: Its a matter of looking at it like, do I want to spend all of this money and time and years of debt on something I don’t want to do? But I think now that I have done this event and I can get my voice out there, I think the people who pushed me to get a master’s might retract a little and just allow me to “be Lyric”.
A lot of my college papers have been written about video games. I had to write a paper on trauma so I wrote about Princess Zelda’s trauma in the latest Zelda game. Little things like that just remind you to always be who you are, and always chase it, because if you stop, the world is going to go ahead, and leave you behind.
CanCan: And university is always going to be there. You can always go get your master’s, there isn’t an expiration date. I don’t have any insight into the gamer world but I feel like we connected!
Emily: Yeah. We are real people.
CanCan: Because you guys have like cool names and cool avatars. You are like an invisible gang.
Emily: I feel like people look at gamers they see lazy, fat, sitting inside all day, but its like a door that opens, and magical rainbows come out. Gaming has given me so much more than social work has. Me going to events and meeting real developers and games has given me much more than sitting at my internship.
CanCan: Thanks for sharing that, do you have a website or anything?