Fifty-five months ago, I wrote a story titled ‘What My Time Away From KSI Has Taught Me.” It’s linked below so you can read it. I hope you do, because it’s a great preface for the story I’m about to tell.
This story isn’t going to be the easiest journey for either you or me but I feel like I should tell it. So, bear with me and make it through. Not all stories are so cut and dry – so clean and orderly. It’s a cluster of matter that eventually becomes something greater, even if you can’t see where it’s going.
To walk you through what I’m thinking right now, I’m going to borrow quotes and lines from that story. Some of those thoughts predicted the future. Some of them were just funny. But above all, those thought have stayed with me for the last 1,600 days.
And pardon my French, but shit. What the fuck happened?
Ranking Without Rank
“I remember coming up through the ranks and moving faster than those around me. I relished the opportunity to recruit, train, host game nights and above all, gain prestige. My focus could best be characterized by the term ‘tunnel vision’. I wanted to go as high as I could as fast as I could.”
I don’t know what I planned to do when I came back. All I knew what that I needed to come back. I needed to be in KSI.
I came back to help with Spirit Week 2014 and the News Team coverage KSI needed. KSI had moved to a new News website and I knew how to work it. I needed KSI – and in a weird, distant way – KSI needed me.
If you thought that first story was going to mend burnt bridges, you were wrong. Three of my former Board allies – Cero, Fuzzy and Ace – kept in any contact with me. The rest remembered how things ended and they weren’t in a rush to forgive or forget.
But that was fine. I needed to be in KSI, even if I was completely alone. So I wrote. And I wrote. And within two months, I went from a News Writer to News Department Head.
And I stayed there. And team members came. And team members went. And I stayed. For nearly two years. Because rank wasn’t important. Finding a comfortable place where I was content was so much more important. And I loved it. But things on the outside came back around and knocked on the door on Thanksgiving Day 2015.
Finding The Bottom
“I didn’t want to approach those around and above me to say, “I can’t do this.” Instead, I tried my best to hide my struggles.
I tried the best to hide my struggles again, but this time was different. This was work-induced stress. This was a recursive pattern of crippling depressive episodes and coping with alcohol. This was laying on the bathroom floor fading in-and-out of consciousness. It was the lowest I’ve ever been and it could have easily been the end of this story.
But it wasn’t.
And I reached out to a close friend of mine in KSI – Doctor 7 – and shared way too much about my life. I shared my struggle and my demons. And I did what I had to do.
I left KSI again.
But this time it wasn’t on bad terms. It wasn’t irreconcilable. This was for my own health and my own progress. So I quit alcohol and I worked on finding happiness in any place I could. The gym, work, nature, weather, friends and eventually KSI.
I came back in February 2016. I missed nearly four months again and I didn’t communicate to a single soul in KSI. People actually thought I was dead. (It was a joke from the Board but some people believed it.)
I came back as News Department Head. I needed an outlet to avoid the depression. I needed a constructive focus to find and maintain happiness.
KSI, Take 3
“… when you see that KSI will continue with or without you, it’s pretty hard to look back at the time you spent here, the connections you made, the good and bad times…it’s hard not to want to shut up, swallow your pride, admit you’re wrong and come back to help make this community even better.”
By March 2016, I was Lead Department Head. I was a leader among my Department peers and things were rolling. By Spirit Week 2016, I was promoted to Chief Department Manager.
I didn’t even want the promotion. I wasn’t doing it for the rank like I was in Take 1. But unlike Take 2, I was fully embracing the journey and relishing every moment, every connection. After a year-and-a-half, I was promoted to KSI’s Chief Operating Officer to shadow KSI’s Chairman and CEO, FuzzyMeep. I embraced every challenge and did what I could to immerse myself in every project and improvement for KSI.
And that gave me worth. At my lowest, it lifted me up. At my highest, it gave me satisfaction. And in the middle, it made me stay. And even though the rank hasn’t been the goal, at Spirit Week 2018, I was promoted to CEO, and at our 2018 Awards Show on January 13, 2019, I was promoted to Chairman as well.
And to borrow the refrain from above, excuse my French but, what the fuck happened?
“Let me assure you. I am 21 years old. I am a recent college graduate. But I was not better than that 16-year-old kid who leaves and whines and threatens to hack everyone in the community. I reacted in a quick, irrational way and made a situation worse.”
Let me assure you. I am now 26 years old. And I am better than I was five years ago. I’ve learned from my mistakes, handled situations with more calmness and understanding and reflected inwardly to be a better person.
I’ve grown from all the stuff I’ve been through the last 55 months. I made more progress since I returned in June 2014 than I did between joining KSI in June 2011 and leaving in April 2014. And I’m proud of the improvements I’ve made. But I have more to do. I have to strive to be the best I can be because now, that’s all I know how to do.
And I have to be the best I can be to do my best for this community.
Just remember, your journey is not yet completed, but change and growth makes life worth living. And KSI can be the vessel to make that happen. As my last story ended. KSI is a gaming community – but the definition of a “community” hits on so many more notes than you might think.
That’s why I’m happy to say that I’m here – where I belong – with all of you.
KSI ImPyyy 7
Chairman and CEO of KSI