JackSepticEye’s Tour Changed My Life

On November 4th, 2018, I saw JackSepticEye’s How Did We Get Here? liveshow at the Edinburgh Playhouse.  And it changed my life.

For those of you who don’t know, JackSepticEye, A.K.A. Sean McLoughlin, is an Irish YouTube personality who primarily does let’s plays of video games.  I’ve been watching his content for roughly four years, after he did a gaming collab with another YouTuber I’m subscribed to, Markiplier.  (I also saw Markiplier and his friends in Glasgow when they did their liveshow over here, check out my post about it!)  Jack’s darling accent and cheerful demeanour captured my heart instantly, and here I am writing this blog post four years later, the day after seeing him perform live on stage.  How far we have come.

Without going into too much detail about the contents of said liveshow, it aims to answer its own question – how did we get here? – and can be roughly described as one-third stand-up comedy, one-third audience participation, and one-third inspirational messages as Jack takes us through his life, from his childhood in a small town in Ireland, up to his present status as a well-known YouTuber with several million subscribers.  This is achieved through comedic anecdotes and metaphors using on-stage gameplay, and is rounded off with one of Jack’s trademark PMA (positive mental attitude!)-inspired sincere speeches at the end that left me feeling warm and fuzzy.

But why did it change my life?

Well, technically, it didn’t.  My life is still the same as it was yesterday.  I’m still unemployed, battling anxiety and stress on a daily basis, and struggling to get people to notice anything I write.  So I suppose it’s more accurate to say it changed how I view my life.

I have some things in common with Jack.  We’re both British.  We both grew up in small communities.  We both have a love of video games.  We both had bad experiences with higher education.  Like most of his fans, I’ve heard the stories he’s told in his videos about living in a cabin in the woods, or dropping out of college, etc.  But to hear them told in much greater detail, with extra information I had no idea about, really made our similarities hit home, particularly when he talked about feeling lost and isolated after leaving college.

I dropped out of university in 2012.  I had been struggling with the workload on a course I had no interest in, and had only gone to university in the first place because it was expected of me.  I cried almost daily, and was in a very bad place mentally.  Since then I have only had a couple of low-skilled jobs, and now in my mid-twenties I still have no ambition, no goals, no career or life aspirations.
So to hear Jack, JackSepticEye, one of my idols, almost word-for-word mirror my experiences in his own stories about how he felt stupid among his peers at college and how he had no clear direction in life until he discovered YouTube, was eye-opening.  Here was this amazing person who inspires me every day telling me he’d gone through exactly what I had, and come out the other end fighting and making it his goal to spread a wonderful message about hope and positivity!  It completely changed my outlook on life in the space of a couple of hours.

While I’m under no illusions that everything will suddenly be perfect – Jack even says in his show that even with help, things still take hard work and dedication – I left the venue feeling inspired and hopeful for the future, for the first time in…well, ever, I think!  And while I know every day won’t be good, and there will be tough times and dark hours where the little pessimism-demon who lives in my head starts to take over my brain again, I will keep trying.  Because Jack kept trying.  I will not give up.  Because Jack didn’t give up.  I will not settle.  Because Jack never settled.


Thank you, Jack.

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And then there were two.

The loss of a loved one, especially one you had lived with for twenty-five years, is an odd thing.
“Odd” may not be the right word, or at least not the socially-acceptable one.  Sad, tragic, heartbreaking, difficult – it’s all of those, too.  But “odd” feels the most fitting, somehow.

There is an empty space.  And not just physically, although that’s true too: there is no third person to manoeuvre around, no body sitting on the chair in the corner, no figure in the unoccupied bed – the emptiness I mean is an absence of being, a lack of sound and substance and personality, a strangely deep loneliness although I am not alone.
There’s a missing set of footsteps shuffling around.  There’s no blaring TV in the middle of the night, pumping out Chris Tarrant’s voice via endless re-runs of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”  There isn’t the gentle, consistent scraping of pen over paper and humming made-up tunes.  The house is quiet.

It’s like limbo, I suppose; or what I imagine limbo to be like.  There’s a lot of waiting.  Waiting for the things to be processed and organised that must be processed and organised, yes, but also, I think, waiting futilely for some semblance of what used to be “normal” to return.  But that “normal” is gone, and so begins a process of grasping and shaping a new “normal,” but I think that process hasn’t begun for me yet.  I spend a lot of time looking out of windows, letting my mind become a faux-comfort of white noise.

There is a sense of guilt, too.  Relief is the guiltiest feeling of them all.  It’s over, thank goodness, we can move on – but should we?
How dare I laugh?  How dare I make plans?  How dare these belongings be given – or thrown – away?  How dare a house of three become a house of two?  How dare any of this happen?
But it dares anyway.

And then there are the reminders.  The cushion in the car boot.  The special shampoo tucked among the rest in the bathroom.  The collection of scented candles.  The pink and white cardigan.  The photos.
Sometimes, remembering is nice.

I’m looking out of the window, again, as I take a small break from writing this.  It’s getting dark, and the clouds are moving, and the cars drive past, and the Earth turns, and life goes on.
For some of us.  For two of us.

Fiction, Original Fiction

Fictober/Writober/OC-tober Day 11

Prompts from here.

#11: “But I will never forget!”

Warnings for violence.

Hi there.  Welcome back.

Who am I?  It doesn’t matter.  You don’t know me, but I know everything about you.

I know your name.  I know your age, your date of birth, where you live, what your mother’s name is, your three best friends from high school, your ex-wife’s name, your favourite bar, what you order there, and how many you can have before you start making eyes at the barmaid.

I have my connections—just kidding; I’ve been following you for weeks, you moron.  I’ve been staking out your whole street.  Your neighbours were very forthcoming once I told them what you are. Continue reading

Fiction, Original Fiction

Fictober/Writober/OC-tober Day 10

Prompts from here.

#10: “You think this troubles me?”

Happy National Coming Out Day!  I already had this idea for this prompt, but it just so happens I’m behind enough that I’m posting it on a very fitting day!
Also, Lottie has been in a piece of fiction I’ve posted on here before.  Any idea which one it was?  The mention of the name “Zale” may give it away…

“Why are you telling me this?  Do you think this troubles me?  Do you think you’ll be—be thrown out of the academy or some nonsense?  Because I assure you, not only would I not do that to my own flesh and blood, but I do not have the kind of power you must think I do, if you assume I can—”

“That’s not it, Lottie.” Continue reading