Posts tagged with "games"

whales in the bodies of tiny fish

It’s been months since I had an appoint­ment with my ther­a­pist. I’ve need­ed the time to work on myself before mak­ing fur­ther progress with him; a sign that I’m at a point where there’s a sense of direc­tion, instead of relent­less con­fu­sion and dread. Now it’s a mat­ter of absorb­ing the con­cepts I should know by now, devel­op­ing health­i­er emo­tion­al habits, and let­ting time heal what rea­son can­not. As my body recov­ers from the phys­i­cal reper­cus­sions of depres­sion, find­ing the ener­gy to do these things gets a bit eas­i­er each sea­son1.

As a result, I’ve been pick­ing up new respon­si­bil­i­ties in my pri­ma­ry rela­tion­ship, which I have to care­ful­ly bal­ance with my per­son­al goals. Maybe that’s why my wants have become such sim­ple mat­ters. Some days, I look for­ward to noth­ing more than eat­ing ice cream after din­ner, or play­ing a game until my thumbs are raw. The dis­til­la­tion of my dreams has giv­en me anoth­er child­hood, which I’m deter­mined not to squan­der.

Part of the rea­son I stopped tak­ing pic­tures is because I need­ed to believe Heather was real. To prove to myself that she would­n’t sud­den­ly dis­ap­pear and only exist as a col­lec­tion of pix­els on my screen, like oth­ers lovers of my past2. Mostly it was because every­thing was ter­ri­ble, and just being con­scious was a bur­den. Some days I was too sad to walk or eat, let alone decide what lens to put on my cam­era or how to frame a shot. The start of any rela­tion­ship tends to be a time of won­der and excite­ment for me, but I don’t remem­ber those years with par­tic­u­lar fond­ness3.

Continue read­ing “whales in the bod­ies of tiny fish”…

  1. There have been many steps back on the jour­ney for­ward, enough for the progress to be indis­cernible from a week-to-week (or even month-by-month) basis. []
  2. It’s strange to real­ize that my dri­ve to pho­to­graph things was par­tial­ly a way of deal­ing with my aban­don­ment issues. []
  3. At least I feel secure in the knowl­edge that Heather stuck by me when I was lit­er­al­ly at my worst. []

consider this place

It’s get­ting hard­er to write.

Not that the spir­it is unwill­ing, although that was the case for years, when the things I need­ed to talk about most were the exact things I need­ed dis­tance from. At this point, the flesh isn’t even that weak1, but a lack of cer­tain­ty in which to ground my per­spec­tives has become an obsta­cle. The biggest sign I’m get­ting old­er isn’t the white hair in my mous­tache, but the recog­ni­tion that I’ve shed some youth­ful arro­gance that used to feel like wis­dom.

FTL: Faster Than Light decision

Do I let fate reward my brav­ery with an extra crew mem­ber, or give it the chance to fuck me over by killing one? Or do I avoid the choice com­plete­ly?

It’s eas­i­er for me to accept a bad out­come if I remem­ber that every deci­sion is made with the best inten­tions, and the only goal is sur­vival.

HBO shows2 and games with con­se­quen­tial choic­es based on ran­dom­ized events3 have been a huge influ­ence on my think­ing. Media with mosaics of moral­i­ty, while char­ac­ters grow and evolve across sev­er­al spec­trums (along with my opin­ion of them). Where deci­sions have to be care­ful­ly made with lim­it­ed infor­ma­tion and resources, then bal­anced against com­pet­ing inter­ests from for­eign spheres of influ­ence. Situations where a per­son can make all the right moves, and still fail through cir­cum­stance.

Continue read­ing “con­sid­er this place”…

  1. Thanks to a remis­sion in col­i­tis, and con­sis­tent use of a SAD lamp. []
  2. Game of Thrones, Six Feet Under []
  3. Europa Universalis 4, FTL: Faster Than Light, Moirai []

facing eternity, or the lack thereof

Heather man­aged to snag a job at a great com­pa­ny on the oth­er side of town. She start­ed her train­ing last month, and I could­n’t be more proud of her for mak­ing the cut after months of resumes and appli­ca­tions, hope and patience.

While it makes sense for her to start work­ing, I’ve been forced to deal with an unset­tling void in the house — like the deaf­en­ing silence of a black­out, when the elec­tron­ic hums and glows cease to pro­vide their per­pet­u­al com­pa­ny. We nev­er spent more than an hour apart before this, when she might have stepped out to grab some gro­ceries or a pre­scrip­tion1; near­ly two years where we could­n’t help but be close­ly in tune with each oth­er’s needs and moods. Now, it feels like we bare­ly have a chance to get our dailies with a bit of extra con­tent before it’s time for bed.

Cadem Forest in Plains of Ashford

I always trav­el with my menagerie of cats; this month with Zuzu, Cat of Darkness at my feet (in cel­e­bra­tion of Halloween) and Brill on my back (who’s actu­al­ly a tiger cub).

Losing so much of each oth­er has been a dif­fi­cult adjust­ment. I was­n’t ready for this. It was­n’t a deci­sion I made. I’m not use to being so alone, or even tak­ing care of myself, for that mat­ter2. When she’s away, the void makes it painful­ly clear how much I sur­round­ed myself with her. I can’t even write with­out men­tion­ing her, cause there’s rarely a deci­sion I make with­out con­sid­er­ing her first, whether it’s how we’re going to spend our time or what I’m going to say next.

It’s a dif­fi­cult reminder of many years spent with­out a part­ner or par­ent to rely on. I’ve been try­ing to reclaim my inde­pen­dence by pick­ing up small respon­si­bil­i­ties. Something as sim­ple as mak­ing my space more com­fort­able, whether it’s a thor­ough clean­ing or new light­ing arrange­ment, turns into a chance to suc­ceed and feel accom­plished. Even games become lit­tle projects, ways of exer­cis­ing my cre­ativ­i­ty or keep­ing myself sharp.

I knew Heather would even­tu­al­ly be work­ing, and I’d be alone. Now the day has come, and I’m con­stant­ly won­der­ing: who am I when I’m by myself? What do I do to fill the hours that she’s away?

At least it’s giv­en me a chance to write again. The break has­n’t been entire­ly inten­tion­al. Part of it is the fact that writ­ing takes ener­gy, and I rarely have any to spare when I’m try­ing so hard just to feel okay. Another part is the fact that I haven’t need­ed this in the same way since I met her. She’s become an impor­tant out­let, one who always makes her­self avail­able to me. There has­n’t been the same long­ing to write, cause I haven’t need­ed to vent, or sort out my thoughts, or feel val­i­dat­ed.

Nevertheless, this peri­od of empti­ness has become a chap­ter in itself. A change that will be a great deal of the rest of our lives. I’m stuck here, while the days stretch out before me with end­less pos­si­bil­i­ty. The hard part is final­ly stum­bling into the life I’ve always want­ed, find­ing a part­ner who fills in my gaps in all the right ways, but not being ready for it all.

  1. Aside from a few days she spent vis­it­ing her fam­i­ly last year. It was the first sig­nif­i­cant amount of time we were away from each oth­er since we met, and I had a pan­ic attack before she was out of the city. []
  2. She still han­dles the meals, and has a sys­tem where most things are done in the slow cook­er; all I need to do is pour the con­tents of a bag into the pot and turn it on at a cer­tain time, although, some days, even this can slip my mind. []

so soft with scars

It’s hard to imag­ine what life will be like when I’m still try­ing to sur­vive from one day to the next. I’ve nev­er been more dis­con­nect­ed with real­i­ty, but dis­tance is what I need. At first it was days; now weeks have start­ed blend­ing togeth­er. Stretches of time feel short­er as they get longer. It’s been more than a month since I took a step out­side, and about as long since I’ve seen any­one but Heather. I can’t even remem­ber the last time I answered my phone or made a call.

Every day, it feels like I’m falling deep­er into a hole I can’t seem to escape as I slip fur­ther away from myself. I used to enjoy being inspired and cre­ative, but some­where along the way I stopped dream­ing. The lines in my face tell me my body has paid a price of it’s own. It’s left me unsure of who I’ll become; if only I was­n’t so fond of the per­son I used to be.

My new ther­a­pist is shock­ing­ly young com­pared to the man who retired and forced me to look for some­one new. Every few weeks, we care­ful­ly explore the thoughts I keep tucked away in the back of my mind. Heather often serves as wit­ness, to under­stand what I’ve been through and have to re-expe­ri­ence. It’s exhaust­ing to go into a past that pains me so much, but impor­tant work that I hate and need and want all at once.

girl and cat

Not quite two years ago, her stay with me began as refuge from an abu­sive part­ner. She was a frag­ile girl back then; pan­icky dur­ing heavy winds, blind to her own bur­geon­ing nubil­i­ty, uncom­fort­able around any­one else for more than a few hours at a time. Fortunately, my inse­cu­ri­ty hap­pened to man­i­fest itself as a need to take care of oth­ers, and I found both val­i­da­tion and hap­pi­ness when I had the chance with some­one so deserv­ing. It’s hard to believe how quick­ly our roles have reversed. Now I’m the depen­dent, a posi­tion I have a hard­er time accept­ing than she does1, and one I’ll like­ly have for the rest of my life.

Through my strug­gle, I’ve seen her grow into a con­fi­dent young woman who knows how to cook a steak medi­um-rare (even though she’s a veg­an), enjoys every chance to exert her sex­u­al­i­ty, and often under­stands more about my med­ica­tion than the doc­tors who pre­scribe it. I thought I knew what love was, but every day her unwa­ver­ing patience shows me how much deep­er it goes.

Guild Wars 2 character with Eternity

Totally not com­pen­sat­ing.

This is the face I wear most often as of late, while explor­ing a world large enough for me to get lost in. I can set goals at my own pace, whether they’re sim­ple ones that leave me sat­is­fied enough to sleep, or com­plex, long-term ones that help me feel accom­plished enough to do big­ger things. Every day, I’m giv­en the chance to be kind, gen­er­ous, and pos­i­tive to vir­tu­al strangers, while keep­ing a dis­tance from the real world. I even start­ed a lit­tle guild with my friends, and we recent­ly claimed the hall which we’ll call our home; even if I’m not emo­tion­al­ly avail­able to them, this is how they stop by and spend time with me.

It’s hard not to hate myself when my issues are pre­vent­ing me from being the per­son I want to be. I’m in a rush to get bet­ter, when time to heal is what I need most. Heather reminds me that the suf­fer­ing I’ve been through is the rea­son she feels under­stood and safe. I tell myself that this time is just a chap­ter in the book of my life — a stop on the way to who I am — and that there’s more left to write.

  1. I keep remind­ing myself: she knows what she wants, and what’s best for her. []

habits

July was sup­posed to be my catch-up month. The one where I con­nect­ed with a lover instead of being rushed to appre­ci­ate her at every turn; a chance to fin­ish house projects and all the clean­ing I’ve been putting off; maybe even time enough to go for a walk every day, or the patience to work on fret­ting clean­er bar­res instead of emo­tion­al doo­dling and clum­sy inter­pre­ta­tions.

chemo indica leaves

Now here I am, half way through September. Heather and I are at war with our respec­tive pasts, and wait­ing for relief. On top this comes her dad’s diag­no­sis of a metas­ta­sized can­cer of unknown ori­gin. We’re used to being strong for oth­ers, but the uncer­tain­ty of what may come makes us won­der if we’re tru­ly ready.

If only my mind was­n’t already drift­ing back to those unhealthy and all-too-famil­iar thoughts. It’s hard enough let­ting go of the sense that every­thing will fall apart at any sec­ond. The depth of my strug­gle has changed me, and I’m still get­ting used to feel­ing uncon­di­tion­al­ly loved and emo­tion­al­ly secure. Thankfully, I have a part­ner who tells me every sin­gle day that I’m a good per­son, that I’m impor­tant, and that I deserve to be hap­py. Consistent reminders are what I need, how­ev­er small, cause the recov­ery process is going to take far longer than I first thought.

Guild Wars 2

We’ve tak­en to explor­ing the mas­sive world of Tyria in Guild Wars 2 as a way of cop­ing. Even when I’m away from my com­put­er, I think of noth­ing but jour­ney­ing to new loca­tions, instead of the tiny prob­lems that seem impos­si­ble to sur­mount at even my best times. I’ve always been an obses­sive per­son, and my mind would be full of bad things right now if I was­n’t so busy find­ing the next point of inter­est, the next cham­pi­on to kill and loot.

It’s a way for me to get through the dif­fi­cult days, until they turn into a past that I can look at from afar. I know if I can turn the page on this chap­ter, I’ll have a oppor­tu­ni­ty to become the per­son I want to be every day for the rest of my life.