Reflecting on 2020
Many of us, well, most of us, are ready to say goodbye to the year 2020 and welcome in 2021. We are hoping for a better year moving forward, being able to get “back to normal” and have less stress and anxiety. But as I look back on 2020, I tend to reflect on what it was, and take it in as a year that I feel woke many of us up, especially myself.
Adversity can cause us to dig deep, reflecting on what is important and what is not. Many fell victim to the COVID-19 pandemic, either becoming very ill and some, losing their lives from it, including members of our you tube community. We know personal friends and maybe even family that lost their jobs and businesses, struggling to find a new path moving forward and many reinventing themselves in new and super creative ways to keep their livelihoods afloat. Quarantine became an every day word and wearing a mask and social distancing the “new normal.”
But through all of this, I feel that there is always a silver lining and even though it has been hard, good things can come through hard times. Personally, 2020 was a year of hardship, starting from the lowest of low and finding the strength deep within that I frankly, did not know existed. The desire to persevere, overcome and not give up, came out at a time that I honestly felt I could not go on. I know that many reading this felt the same way, through specific circumstances that affected your life as well. Thankfully, through faith, close friends and a stubborn resolve, I took the energy of things that were pulling me down and harnessed it into motivation, inspiration and a creative outlet.
Starting the year with the amazing opportunity of partnering with Carnival Cruise Lines and being able to not only visit incredible countries and experience cruising but to bring the Mayne Mafia along with me and being the first IRL live streamer to stream from open water, set the tone at the beginning of 2020 for me. It breathed new life into me, giving me the outlet to get away from the every day and take time to reflect on where I wanted to go and move into in this new year. Climbing up a Mayan Temple, the tallest point on the island, became rather symbolic to me, causing me to realize that we are all in charge of our own journey and destiny. It was an amazing experience both professionally and personally and literally put back the wind in my sails with new excitement into 2020.
Inspiration birthed another Disney parody song shortly after and being able to collaborate with talented and awesome friends made “Money” one of the favorites moving into the spring. However, that was very short lived as the pandemic hit hard mid March, causing places around the world to lock down as well as theme parks and frankly the country to close and the seriousness of the situation took hold.
The gift of song is a Godsend to me and moving into the quarantine and lockdown, it was a saving grace. Being able to create a parody of the quarantine and not being able to go to Walt Disney World came from a place of sadness and uncertainty, but being able to make fun of it, seemed to take away its power. Little did we know at that time we would be going through it much longer and hit harder than we ever expected.
Hosting the Community Project, the eight day, record breaking live stream benefiting essential workers and funding for COVID-19 relief most definitely may not have happened. Through the most uncertain and craziest of time, being able to talk with not only Disney celebrities and our friends from the youtube community but also essential workers from nurses working directly in the COVID units, grocery store executives and first responders was one of the most amazing things that I have ever been a part of. Having so many people tell their stories of hope and courage, perseverance and strength, along with light-hearted and funny moments, along with the Mayne Mafia’s always incredible support, we spent not only 8 days together but also raised over $11,000 for the COVID-19 relief fund.
Being able to stream from home was something that I am so grateful for, bringing the Mayne Mafia into what is now the “Mayne Mansion” and the creation of that concept may not have come if it had not been for the pandemic. Yes, Spokesmayne is many things, live streamer, singer, songwriter, musician, and yes, the most awesome Fall Guys Champion, but at the end of the day, creating is at my core and what drives me. So being able to create the ‘Mayne Mansion’ was another step that moved me upward not only in creative expression but reassuring confidence in what I can do and where my channel was going. The Mayne Mansion is something that I am extremely proud of, especially since it will always be expanding and growing and the Mayne Mafia will always be welcomed and experience it along with me.
With the opening of the theme parks and Walt Disney World in June, hope seemed to be on the horizon. Although there were (and still are) safety protocols and new “habits” that must be kept, we were excited to get back “home.” I had planned a world tour in 2020, taking all of you to the Disney parks around the globe, but that was not to be. Being able to walk up Main Street U.S.A., we would realize moving into late 2020, would be a true gift, as Disneyland in California still has not opened and Disneyland Paris and Disneyland Hong Kong where forced to close again after their re-openings. Being able to bring the parks to the audience held a special place and I am truly blessed to be able to do what I do every day.
The devastating news that Give Kids The World Village would be closing hit me very hard and I could not imagine the sadness and disappointment that those children and their families were going through. Along with the realization that Magic Streamdom would not be possible due to the pandemic in September or October, it again made me realize how precious life is and how blessed I am every day no matter what is going on.
Although live streaming from the parks is magical, I still had that unsettled feeling from planning the tour and wanted to go somewhere different and exciting. I had planned a haunted tour, since we had to re-direct our travel plans. With the announcements that their would be no Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, no Halloween Horror Nights along with other events that we really “took for granted” every year, this again motivated me to break out of that comfort zone and seek new adventures. Planning the haunted tour ran into road blocks as well due to COVID restrictions and state guidelines. So, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, I came upon the realization that we needed to go to Las Vegas!
Embarking on that trip was another step up on the creative ladder, giving me not only the confidence to go somewhere new and different, but gave me a good smack in the head and re-igniting the IRL streamer that lives deep within me. Going IRL from the Vegas strip, stepping into HyperX arena and the fun and excitement of meeting new friends and taking the Mayne Mafia on the world’s tallest observation wheel in the United States. Looking out over Las Vegas, miles of mountains and bright lights, this again reaffirmed how far we had come through 2020. Partnering with Southwest Airlines and HyperX Sports for this trip was truly another amazing gift and let me know that I was moving in the right direction.
The year was very difficult, again, many losing loved ones, going back into lockdown, losing jobs and businesses and we cannot make light of that or forget those that have gone through it. Lifting up those who struggled through 2020 in just a small way through “distraction” is what is important to me as well as many others in the community. Again, the closing of Give Kids The World Village was a harsh blow and in late October, working in coordination with Give Kids The World Village, I again embarked on bringing Magic Streamdom to a place that would make it possible and raise money and awareness for the village, something we you have helped me do now for over two years. Again, I took the inspiration and hope shown by Give Kids The World Village themselves, bringing to fruition Night Of A Million LIghts in partnership with channels like the the Dis and celebrities such as Jodi Benson, Mick Foley and many others.
With the amazing support of over 26 channels this year on extremely short notice, Magic Streamdom was made possible, even in a much different way than last year. Creative juices flowed among the channels and putting themselves out their in wacky and sometimes challenging ways, immersed us in something so joyous we hopefully forgot about the negatives and caused us to again focus on the positive things that can be accomplished when we all come together as one community. From being soaked with freezing water on Kali River Rapids, dancing at Disney Springs, cupcakes shoved up noses, sporting onesies through Galaxy Edge, cartwheels, tearful moments, Christmas from France, incredible sing alongs, churros stuffings, experiencing the DeLorean back from the future, as well as stories of inspiration, late night Habanero cookie baking, Lego building and early morning workouts, the Mayne Mafia as well as many other viewers from the community joined together as one, not only raising each other up but raising awareness and funds for Give Kids The World Village with a total after the 25 hours of over $22,000! I cannot thank those that participated in Magic Streamdom this year enough and their passion and creativeness were amazing!
So, reflecting back on 2020, through the lowest of lows to the literal highest of highs, we each have our own personal story of resilience and strength. I do look forward to 2021 and as is typical, have some very big plans on the horizon. But one thing that 2020 has taught me is to be driven, committed and passionate but also be flexible and don’t take things to serious all the time. Allow yourself space to grow and reflect, even re-invent and take time for yourself when needed. I am looking forward to 2021 as a new chapter not only in my professional life but also in my personal life, gaining more confidence in what I can produce and create but also in getting to know and spend time with someone I have grown to love and respect, not only for her outer beauty but an even greater inner beauty.
I hope that 2021 will be a better year for all of you as well. In the words of one of my favorite actors of all time….”I think the more unexpected something is, the more there is to learn from it.”~~Michael J. Fox
Happy New Year, Mayne Mafia.