I am here today to share my story as a gamer... Please read.
My name is Jonathan Tejada. Most people call me “Itoy”. It is my nickname and also my in-game name. I grew up with my mom and grandmother. I have two siblings, older sister and eldest brother. I am 19 years old (turning 20 on February 2018). I was born and raised in the Philippines then we moved here in the US on August 2012 (petitioned by my stepdad).
I started playing games since 2005. The first game I have ever played was Counter Strike 1.6. My brother and our close family friend introduced me into playing computer games. I fell in love with gaming right away. Few years later, my friend introduced me and taught me to play the game Defense of the Ancient (DOTA). I got addicted to that game. I made it to the level where I can play against professional dota players, like Mineski players, Sweetopia, etc. I’m one of the first players to play CrossFire Philippines. Living in the Philippines is hard (at least in my opinion). I always go to Computer Shops (PC BANG) to play because we couldn’t afford to own a computer.
Ever since we moved here in the US, it is hard for me to do the thing that I love the most, which is playing games. Why? Because my stepdad hates it. He doesn’t like it when he sees me playing games. I think it’s because of my past. He heard that when I was in the Philippines, I used to not go to school a lot just to play games and failed some of my classes. Yes, I admit those are wrong but I still managed to pass the school year and move up to next grade. But everything changed when I went to school here in the US. I had 4.0 GPA in Junior year then graduated High School with honors, and 3.0 GPA (not a lot but I am proud of it). I did my best to graduate from high school. I did it because I thought I would be able to play again... but I was wrong. I did my best to find a way to play without my stepdad’s knowledge.
After high school (Graduated year 2016), I started working at McDonald’s. Saved up some money, to finally have my own PC. So, I taught myself how to build a gaming computer. I did some research to understand more about building a PC. (Btw, My sister is the MVP for helping me buy the parts with some of her money and driving me to Fry’s Electronics, and thank you Youtube for showing me how).
So I already have everything I need for gaming, but the problem is I cannot play because stepdad is gonna get mad. So what I did was, every time he goes to work, I would wake up early to play. One time he was on his lunch break so he decided to come home, and he caught me playing Dota 2. (Mom allowed me to play) Later that day, He kicked me out of the house (Mom was not a fan of his decision but she didn’t try to argue with him because I told her that I would just leave. It’s her husband and I didn’t wanna ruin her relationship).
After packing everything up (except my PC), I moved in to my girl best friend’s house, her name is Dianne (14 Miles away from my job and I only had a bike). Her grandma let me stay there. She asked me how long I was going to stay there, I told her until I finally get shipped out for bootcamp. I had decided to join the US Navy because of my situation. I had nowhere to go when I got kicked out. That was the hardest time of my life. But I still managed to work it out. Then 2 months later from the date I got kicked out, my mom asked me to come back because she couldn’t have a peace in mind. She was worried about me because she doesn’t know what I was doing. So she told me to ask for my stepdad’s forgiveness and she made me to give him a promise that I will never play again, so I did it for my mom. (Fyi, my mom is very supportive, it is okay to her that I play games inside the house rather than being outside never knowing what I was doing.)
Then on March 28, I was in Delayed Entry Program or DEP. I was just waiting for my ship date to bootcamp. Everything changed, when they find out I joined the military. They were both happy and proud. My stepdad lets me do whatever I want. I can finally play CSGO! I found a team and participated in tournaments; CEVO’s Summer Shootout 2017(Online), Scythe Esports 1v1 LAN tournament in Corona,CA (I was the Champion), and then the iBUYPOWER Gamefest 2017 @OC Fair with Scythe Esports. (Shortest 2 months of actually doing what I love and the process to achieve that dream I had since childhood).
When the day got closer to my ship date, which was on September 5, I started thinking about my dream of becoming a professional gamer. I was on my way there but sadly I had to leave the team, gave up gaming and go on with my life. So, I started overthinking... I tried to talk to my mom about not continuing the Military career but they told me that if I don’t go, I had to move out. I Only had less than a month to decide. Tried looking for a place to stay but didn’t find anything. I Started to Lose my focus at the McDonald’s job, couldn’t sleep at night, overthinking then finally decided to go to my ship date because I had nowhere to go if I get kicked out again. And then Some weeks before shipping out, I met a girl at work and we started talking every night while I was playing CSGO. I liked her. We had same perspective in life. Later on I had fallen in love with her. She made me happy. Sadly I had to go, I didn’t really get a chance to say what I want in front of her. So I Facetime her while I was at the hotel that night before I ship out and told her everything I wanted to say. She said she feels the same with me and she made a promised that she will wait for me till we see each other again.
My life in bootcamp: On the First day, I was so excited and happy I made it to the RTC Great Lakes. I was doing great then suddenly, I started losing focus, not getting enough sleep, couldn’t learn anything, plus suicidal thoughts. I Got diagnosed with depression disorder then I got separated from training. 3 weeks later after separation, I finally came home... Everything feels different. My girl was dating another dude while I was away. My parents and I talked about what happened when I got home that night. We sat in the living room... Already got a bad news; Stepdad told me that I am not allowed to play games, and my mom told me not to meet up with my guy best-friend (Kim) ever again. If I do not follow these rules, they agreed to each other that they will kick me out of the house. (Kim is my schoolmate and also one of my teammates from CrossFire North America with ExecrateGT to CSGO with Scythe Esports).
I just don’t know what to do anymore so I came here to share my story and hopefully get a feedback from you guys on how should I do this. I’m trying to go back to school to get a certification to have a better job that pays the bills next year, but I’m not getting any support from my parents. They cannot afford my tuition for me. I work as a houseperson at a hotel and they pay me minimum wage in Orange County which is $10.50/hr. But paying $500 every month to live in my stepdad’s house is too much for me. i still need to save money to get my own car and pay my tuition on my own.
We only have one life to spend. It is better to spend it doing what we love and what makes us happy and as much as possible, try not to carry any regrets in life. Some of the Older people I talked to before told me that they regret something in life. They did not follow their own dreams but instead, they followed other’s.
I’ve been playing for so long and I’ve heard a lot of stuff that it is impossible to make a living from playing video games. I know lots of people will judge and make fun of this but I’m still gonna give it a try. I need your help guys. I dedicated my life to this.
(Typed all of this through phone and secretly.)
If you have a question or want to talk, you can reach me by Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow me on instagram: @itoygg Like: Facebook.com/ExecrateCSGO Facebook.com/itoygaming Snapchat: @slapitoy