Hey guys. It’s the morning after what’s becoming a somewhat embarrassing tradition of you guys sending Vagrant up to give me gifts (I don’t deserve) and make me tear up on stream. I feel compelled, after a long night of CaH and drinks (and sobering up, roughly, this morning) to try and put into words, the heartfelt sense of awe that you guys inspire in me.
I’m coming up on what I consider my two-year streaming anniversary. For those of you new to the Bearded Family; a brief history lesson.
I started streaming officially (as in, with the intent to create an actual, viable stream) around September of 2016. From Sept until Jan of 2017, I was getting the feel for streaming and scheming on how to create a cooking stream. I have always like food, but I didn’t really start to understand how important food (and its creation) was until my divorce in 2001. Up till that point, I had no idea how to cook…like at all. I’m embarrassed how little I knew about cooking back then. But I had had a mother and wife to cook for me up until that point and no reason to learn. Food was just fuel.
After my divorce, I had to learn how to cook and quickly fell in love with it. I was lucky then, to find local friends who also loved cooking and food and those friendships drove me to not only understand how to cook better, but WHY cooking was so important.
Cooking isn’t about food, not really. Any fool can get food and shove it in their mouth. Cooking though, is about the process of getting food to the plate and GOOD cooking is about sharing that with friends. It’s about laughter and conversation and smiles and (hopefully) good wine. Not always in that order.
I knew that’s what I wanted when I started streaming. I wanted a relatively quick show that maybe showed the total noob a few tricks about cooking, maybe answered a cooking questions or displayed some techniques, and overall created a space on the internet similar to what I’d experienced in my friends’ kitchens. I wanted a cooking party, not really a cooking show. So when I started my stream, it was always with the intent of doing something like Pappa Cooks.
So, for me, my streaming career didn’t really start “officially” until Jan 14, 2017. I’m looking at the still shot on my blog of that stream and I don’t even have an overlay. Just three camera shots. (LOL, what a noob). Back then, I don’t think I even peaked at like 7 viewers. We’ve come a long way. But the one thing that I think I’ve managed to maintain is that sense of fun and communion and sharing.
And I think; no, I know that that sense of camaraderie has spilled into all the “shows” I do and into the community we are.
I look at my stream kind of like a good neighborhood bar. It’s a place that people can (or should be able to) come to and put their troubles on the back burner for a while. A place to talk to old friends and maybe make some new ones. A place to lift each other up and (if needs be occasionally) get lifted. *Cue the theme song from “Cheers”.
Oh sure, we’ve had our share of bad apples. People that don’t understand that the best way to get help is to help others. Or folks that want the spotlight in unhealthy ways. Or people that were just straight-up rude as hell. Those folks don’t tend to last in my stream though. They either get banned outright or get bored and move on to easier hunting grounds.
I’ve always been kind of fascinated how this community seems to recognize like-minded individuals and incorporates them quickly. It’s been really interesting, especially lately, to see new folks come into the stream and become one of the “old folks” within days. I like watching you guys interact and talk and get excited about each other’s lives. I like the fact that conversations and friendships are forming and happening in the Discord without my interaction at all.
In short, I guess I’m trying to say that I really consider myself lucky to have such a wonderful and amazing chat. I don’t think…and I mean this… I don’t think a lot of streamers are PROUD of their communities. They are happy with their size maybe. Or their sub count. But not really proud of the communities that support them. (As an aside there are some streamers that are definitely community focused and proud, I try and emulate these streamers as much as possible. I’m just saying on the average, I don’t see streamers proud of their communities.) Our little Bearded Family IS getting bigger, but I don’t feel like we are sacrificing quality for quantity. We’re just finding more people to add to the awesome. When I lay my head down at night I and think on this, it is a satisfied Pappa that falls asleep quickly and soundly.
You guys have given me and my family so much.
This year I set a monthly goal for myself in terms of streaming and leather-work income. I needed a metric to gauge whether this “dream” of streaming and doing leather-work was something that I could turn into a career. I’ve never mentioned this over the year, and I won’t go into specific numbers, but I will say with a BIG THANK YOU on my heart…
Since Jan 1st of this year, I have been able to go to my wife and say, “I hit the mark” EVERY MONTH of the year. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And even though Dec is only 2 days old, you guys have already pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be able to say that again (God I hope I don’t jinx it).
I wish I could express what that truly means. As a guy who has tried his hand at A LOT of jobs (I mean, a freaking LOT OF JOBS). To have something that I am guiding and trying to make work, to have that showing measurable signs of success means SO MUCH. I hope you can understand that it’s not the money itself, it’s what it represents. Although, to be sure, that money has REALLY helped in making the bills but it’s more about seeing the overall vision achieve success.
Back on Jan 14, 2017 I had 107 follows and just over 2K views. I wasn’t affiliated. I didn’t know any of you (barring just a handful). Now, I have over 1500 follows, over 30K views, I’m affiliated, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, there’s a whole host of you that I know. I’ve had you in my kitchen (both IRL and on stream) almost every weekend for nearly two years. You’ve built a shop in the garage with me. You’ve been with me during the birth of my youngest (and YES FINAL) child. You’ve shared dreams with me and I’ve shared mine. We’ve had heartfelt talks and lots of laughs. I’ve had meetups with a lot of you and shared a drink. We’ve traded gifts (and gifs). You’ve made me cry and I hope that I’ve managed to touch you guys somehow too.
All that to say, the gifts you gave me Saturday night we’re nice. Really nice and more than any streamer ever has a right to. But I would like you to understand that the gifts you give me on a nightly, weekly, and monthly basis mean SO MUCH to this self-doubting old man, that I don’t know how to ever begin to repay you. For what might be the first time in my life, I feel like I’m kinda good at something. I’m finally doing something that people care about.
That is a gift that I cherish. That is a gift that goes beyond donations, follows, and subs.
I thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
I was thinking I’d take this part of this post to jump into a laundry list of things I am planning and plotting for the upcoming year in the hopes of make the stream a better experience for you guys. But I think I will just leave this here for now.
Thank you. So much for who you are and for hanging out with me and for being part of the Bearded Family. It means so much.