Alex Parrish interview for ULT x Komboa project
I remember being at an esports event full of screaming fans and Alex was the one to rally the fans together no matter who they were there to see compete. Our experience has been enriched because of Alex's passion for gaming and the beautifully diverse esports community we share together. Hope you find the interviews and story inspiring:
Alex Parrish QA interview below:
Q. 2020 was a devastating year for so many lives. When you reflect upon the year what comes to mind?
Awareness is the thing that most comes to mind when I think of 2020. There's hardly an area in my life that I didn't become more aware of and what it means to me.
Even if I think very literally, I became more aware of my apartment in 2020, specifically my lack of decorations. So I spent about a month buying prints and frames and moving things around. Internally, I had a similar mindset towards myself, I started therapy, I became more mindful of my physical health, I looked at the nature of my closest relationships. In this year filled with so much turmoil and sadness and danger, I really felt like I just became more aware of my own life and the lives of so many others. I didn't feel as if I was a careless or thoughtless person before 2020, but with a pandemic and a very very hostilely indifferent government, 2020 showed me who shows up, who texts, who marches.
In 2020, I felt a deeper awareness of myself and my communities. There was plenty of time to sit and meditate because of covid but as the Black Lives Matter and 2020 election happened, it was as if the year was asking me, "what mattered?" What mattered enough for me to show up for, what mattered enough for me to risk my health, my job, my future, and my life for? And what kind of person did I want to continue to be or grow into.
Q. As we begin 2021 together what brings you hope amidst the challenges?
2021 is a uniquely complicated thing for me to consider. I am very happy there is a new president, specifically, I am relieved the majority of this nation voted against the old one. However, there are roots much deeper than any one president or person. So yes I am relieved but I am also still exhausted by the problems that continue and will continue until there is a vast and overwhelming desire to better ourselves as a people, a nation, a collective world. But we did show up, and there is so much hope in the activism, and art, and support that is out there. I look to my friends, I look to my communities, I look at myself and I do feel hope. I may feel exhausted at times but I don't feel defeated. I may think this world is a challenge and very resistant to change but it can be changed and it is being changed. I see so many young people describing feelings I felt and then decided that they are going to advocate, and campaign, and organize, and work at making positive and lasting changes and that gives me hope. Knowing that your pain and frustration, even if it isn't perfectly understood or shareable, is addressable gives me hope. And I think in 2021, we will continue to see a collective response to the hurt left in this world.
Q. What does the gaming community mean to you in your life?
The gaming community is largely my foe who I amaze and vanquish and teabag with my Symmetra and Moira supremacy, so it is definitely meaningful to have people to clown on. The gaming community is also great because it unites so many people from various backgrounds and walks of life. I'm in my (very early) 30s, I have friends in their 20s, friends in college, friends from outside the States, and we can all get together on twitch or discord and game or watch games together. In a world without nightlife and conventions and such, gaming is an arena where you can safely hang out and socialize with people and that aspect can't be overlooked for a way to have a self of normalcy and also connections.
Q. Do you have any advice or encouragement for others who are struggling with challenges in their own circumstances?
Find your joy and take time off. Meaning you don't have to always be producing or active or engaging. It's okay to have a quiet afternoon to yourself or even a day of just radio silence. The world and the various crises happening at once are loud and can seem overwhelming, so I have had many occasions where I set my phone to "do not disturb" and just sit in peace.
I would also advise to reach out to folks. A "good morning" text does wonders and can go so much further than you'd expect. And sometimes a great way to combat your own blues, is to do something nice for someone else.
So it may seem like a mixed message but for me, I'm both reaching out more and also taking more time to myself. I suppose another way to say it would be, you can both reach out and be a support to someone else and you should also reach inwards and be a support to yourself. Both are important.
Q. Anything you’d like to share that has been on your mind lately?
I miss Overwatch League and Fusion. As nice as it is having my weekends fully to myself, there's nothing like that buzz of watching your team play and bantering with your friends.
I'd also like to give a shout out to my communities, my black community, my queer community, to my girls, gays, and theys. I always want to uplift all minority communities and encourage us to find our joys and live authentically in this world.
2021 is already a different kind of circumstance and challenge from 2020 and we will need everyone to face and overcome them. The fight is easier together and each person has a bigger impact than they realize.
Thank you for reading this and Black Lives Matter.