"Are you another fucking Saudi?" Were the first words out of the border patrol officer's mouth as I gave her my passport. Instantly I knew that things weren't about to go so well.
As you may or may not know, my skin isn't the most porcelain white, and thus I've been exposed to a fair amount of racism (especially in the US) from casual, thinly-veiled remarks to overt verbal assaults. The worst of this happens when I travel through the US border without a token white friend.
The above event happened a couple years ago, and it was one of the scariest things that had ever happened to me. I was openly verbally assaulted and humiliated, detained, locked in a room, and threatened with jail time, all because my ancestry doesn’t fit within current government ideals. My valid work visa was thrown away, and I was given 29 days to leave the country. Permanently.
It took me years (and a couple lawyers) to get over this event, but now I'm grateful that it happened. Why? Frankly, the entire ordeal made me fearless, especially when it comes to my career.
So many of us (myself included) come from a place of fear when we think about working in the game industry. "What if I fail? What if I make no money? What if... What if... What if..."
We must remember that we chose this industry because it's fun. We want to be here. I don't think anyone's parents are saying "you must have a respectable career as a doctor, lawyer, or video game composer."
This event made me realize two things:
What we do is awesome.
Thankfully, none of our decisions will result in the loss of life or limb.
It's all too easy to get scared with decisions of what city we should live in, how we can make money or start our career, or if we should even start at all.
While you may not have been through the event above, I am sure you’ve had your share of rough times in your life. Did you come out a better person? Did the challenge teach you something that living in constant comfort couldn't have? Good. That’s all the more reason not to fear the decisions, tasks, and path before you. Again, if you’re working in the game industry, then you know that we’re here to make amazing work. We’re not here to live in anxiety or fear of the what ifs. So just do it. Dive in. Do the work and get where you deserve to be.
After all, there's nothing to fear.