6 years ago, May 26th 2012, a man named Mark Fischbach joined youtube. He was a happy, very energetic, young soul. The channel began on April 4th 2012, when Mark posted part one of Amnesia : The Dark Descent under the username Markiplier, having no idea that 6 years later, he would be one of the highest ranking gamers on Youtube.
About 5-ish years ago, a young girl, 13 years old, would discover the channel while struggling with her depression, she would find Markiplier playing ‘Happy wheels | Part One | Master of Balls’. It would be the first thing that was able to make her smile, laugh even, when she was at her darkest hours.
I am 17 now and I was that girl. When I was 13 I was diagnosed with severe depression and went to see a therapist. It wouldn’t help me in the least, I still cried daily, hiding from the world so nobody could see me cry. I didn’t feel like anyone cared; however, one day, I was walking down the hallway and saw a youtube link written across a whiteboard, against my usual judgement, I looked it up, sat in the hall, and watched the video. Fearful screams, a booming laugh like music which I couldn’t help but smile at, a smile that could light up a room, and a hope that sparked a match. For the first time in a year, I laughed, I laughed so hard I think I cried, except this time, they were tears of laughter.
You’re probably thinking ‘why is she writing about a YOUTUBER?! This is about EDUCATORS!’ Well to me… Mark is an educator. He taught me about hope, friends, dreams, awareness, charity, and most importantly, staying alive, and to be myself.
Gaming youtubers are not usually known for teaching us about life lessons, even less are they known or thought of when someone says ‘Educator’. Back in 2013, I participated in my first ever Charity livestream on twitch (A streaming platform where viewers can donate money and subscribe, like youtube, except it costs some money). It was for the United Network of Organ Sharing, and the livestream raised more than 5,000 usd, all of which was donated to the charity. Mark played video games and interacted with fans through live comments. He stuck to his promise, not keeping a single cent of what they raised, and it was an overall amazing stream.
Throughout watching Mark’s videos, I have met many other fans. All of whom are now very close and personal friends whom I can confide in, what’s funny… Before I began watching Youtube, before Markiplier, I had a very hard time making friends. I was always bullied and never knew how to stand up for myself. Then, suddenly, everything changed. I was going through my daily routine, walking to school, watching a video to tune everyone else out, because usually nobody talked to me, and if they did? It was to make fun of me. My earbuds were blasting, and I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling, when suddenly there was a tap on my shoulder; I froze, expecting to turn around and face mental abuse, but instead, I turned around and was met with a curious face of a kid I had seen around, he was like me, always getting bullied and not many friends; now that I think about it I dont think he had any. I pulled out my earbud and he asked if I was watching Markiplier, my eyes lit up as I slowly nodded, shy. I sat with him at lunch that day, and we couldn’t stop talking about youtube. I had finally made a friend.
Back to when I first discovered his channel, I had been having probably the worst day of my life… I had a suicide note in my backpack, a rope, and a sharp stone... no books. I sat in the bathroom of my school, thinking about exactly what I would do, when my phone buzzed. I checked my phone, slid down the wall, and watched. The video was titled ‘Draw my life - Markiplier’, I had heard of these videos, it was where youtubers usually took a whiteboard and drew out their life, from where they were born, to where they were now. It made me cry, watching Mark’s life story, I didn’t even realize the bell had rung when it did, and there I was, curled up on a toilet, the stall locked, my backpack hung, everything was ready for me to do… I had the materials… But I never got that far. My best friend at the time, Cassie, found me. She called my mom on her phone, explained what she saw, and brought me to the health room. She stayed with me until my mom came, I was still crying, she had no idea that she wasn’t the only one who had saved my life that day. Markiplier had taught me, through one simple video, that my life was worth something, he gave me hope, a dream.
After video after video, I started realizing something: people loved this man, not for who he pretended to be, but for who he was. He told us what was wrong if he was able, he was always and is always himself in his videos. He doesn’t address hatred, okay, maybe SOMETIMES he has, but it’s always, ALWAYS in a positive way. He never let his spirit falter, and if he did, he would take the break he knew he needed to take before returning to his fans, to his family, with a happy attitude; and I get it, he’s human, he can’t be happy ALL the time, he’s gone through loss, struggles, copycats, theft… He is just an everyday person who has managed to extend his reach across the globe, something I can only dream of doing. He takes time out of his day to make others smile, to make others laugh. He is a genuine and caring person. He has feelings just like all of us. He taught me that it is okay to be yourself, to be who I genuinely want and aspire to be. He taught me to not be afraid of who I was, who I turned out to be, to not be afraid of standing up for myself, for others.
I know that to you, he’s probably just a youtuber, a GAMING youtuber at that, but to me, he is so much more, he was, and still is, a light in the dark for me. He has taught me things that not a single teacher, not my mom, not my actual teachers, could teach me. He has made such an impact in my life.