Gaming Friends, a letter to you.

I use to game a whole lot as a lot of you know.  I loved when I would stream and have the company of people all over the nation and sometimes world.  It’s fun having that company while gaming and it also helped my social skills.  When I’m not anxious, I am able to just talk to people, even if it’s just a little bit.  Gaming became an obsession.  Come home, hop on the computer and start playing something.  I spent HOURS on games like Smite, Minecraft, various platformers, Star Trek online, and the list goes on.  I also really enjoyed having a collection of retro games and collecting more systems, games, etc.  Was a part of a fun podcast where we talked about games, the gaming industry, shared opinions and just generally had fun with our passion.

Lots of things have changed.  Am I still a gamer, but I haven’t played them very much lately.  Most of you already know why.  But I do miss the community I had helped build.  I am very much still a part of it in some ways, but I feel like I’m being left further and further behind as far as game experiences go.  I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing though.  The obsession I had, for me personally, was not healthy or maintainable.  I spent most of my time gaming and much less on doing anything else.  I was letting life pass me by as I mined endlessly for diamonds or spent hours in online arena battles.  And when not doing that, I was watching stream after stream after stream while doing those other things.  It’s just not maintainable for me anymore.

I love to stream and share experiences with friends.  I love to watch streams and spend time with online friends where we wouldn’t get to hang out otherwise.  I loved making and creating and entertaining when I could.  I loved the jokes, the laughs, the research, the sharing of ideas, all of the social aspects of gaming.  That is what I miss most.  The games are really just a means to an end.  I am a very social gamer.  I want to play with others, not just by myself.  It’s depressing to game alone.  I want to have that fun social interaction with the passions we share.

It’s just not possible to do that anymore.  I am in love with someone very special to me and want to experience more things with her.  I have so many other things going on in “RL” as we all say.  I am getting some of the same social experiences I was getting before without gaming.  I don’t think I will ever stream again.  I try to catch a stream when I can.  I still enjoy the company and conversations I have on occasion with my gaming friends.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss you all.  I am still here and love you all the same as before.  I wish I had more time to spend with you all like before.  But life has changed so much.  I am a much happier person after making some major life changes.  I would not trade it for anything.  But I have not forgotten about you all.  I hope that you have not forgotten about me.

Anniversary Post

I can’t believe it’s been a year already and I am still writing here. Since then lots of things have changed. I am still living at the same place, but the home is much different. Lost a wife, stopped having a youtube channel, stopped streaming on twitch, watched a great podcast go to the wayside. I love myself and have fixed so many issues in my life.

I don’t miss my ex anymore. I realized that I was settling for less than I deserve. I still think about her and worry about her, but its a fleeting thought. All she is to me now are memories and lessons learned.

I stopped having a youtube and twitch channel. I just don’t have the time or energy for it. I do miss it from time to time. My focus now is on the wonderful person in my life and sharing in the experiences we have. I still love video games, but I no longer feel compelled to stream them. I do however miss my online friends and sharing time with them in that way.

Being tired is now a normal thing. I am always tired, but I am happy. I get a lot of sleep when I am not staying up all night talking or having fun time with my girlfriend. I still need to work on my career goals and get my certifications, but I no longer have to change jobs. I am accepted up here, well, at least in my own department. I am the first transgender woman to come out at my place of work and its not been a big deal. I do wish that others in this place were more accepting. Other departments are not as nice, but I remember to stand my ground and remember they can’t make me less of a woman by their words.

It is dangerous to live here. Sometimes I forget that because I can pass as female most of the time. That’s not a luxury that my other trans friends have. A friend recently was on tv and talked about the bathroom bills and what not. The hateful comments from the idiots who live here makes me feel unsafe. My girlfriend worries for me, but unlike before, is willing to protect me and help other trans people. She has a huge heart.

Hard to believe a year has passed already. The journey has been easier in spots and hard in others. I am happy that I have the support of most of my friends and family. And I have made new friends along the way. It has been amazing so far. I am no longer depressed, anxiety doesn’t control me. I look in the mirror and see Sara, not that other person from before. I no longer have to live a lie. I am me, no one can change that.

Reflection

As I was cleaning up my desk today, I found something I had wrote on several months ago: 

I feel alone, I feel I am an irritation to others, I want to cry, I don’t want to work on anything, My throat hurts, my head hurts, I want to go home, lock the door and hide from the world.  

A few months ago I was not okay.  I was hurt, felt abandoned, felt like I had no place to turn to and I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.  Those feelings seem distant and fleeting.  I still get depressed from time to time, but no where near what it use to be.  I have an abundance of love around me from friends, family and extended family.

Love lost meaning to me for a long time.  Before my first marriage, I had dated and gone out with several girls, but nothing that lasted.  I wanted to find that kind of love from someone.  The kind that is unconditional, the kind you get from someone special.  I thought I had found that.  For the first few years of the relationship I though I understood what love was.  Eventually that faded and the I love you’s became habit and lost all meaning.  Despite that I was still willing to try.  To try and make things better, to deepen the feelings and make them meaningful.  I am not perfect, but I sacrificed a big part of myself to try and make that work.

I realized that its hard to love someone when you do not love yourself.  I started trying to change that.  I started trying to accept who I really am.  Apparently this was too much for the person I was with.  She did not love me despite my flaws.  I was “too much” or “she could not handle someone like me”.  It made me realize that the love she said she had for me was not really there.  I was destroyed for a long time.  Lost and didn’t know what to do.  I wanted to just be alone and suffer.

Luckily I could not let things stay that way.  I went out, tried to meet people at social groups.  Sure it was a BDSM group, but I had to explore the other parts of me that I had hidden away to please someone else.  I started talking to some people.  One person saw I needed help and decided to do something.  So far she has helped me to redefine what love is.  This may or may not have been her intention, but that was the result.  Her family and friends, her unconditional love and affection have helped me realize that I haven’t really known love for a long time.  It’s helped me in my other relationships and helped in building others.  Talking to other people seems easier now with a bit of the self love I’ve gained.

I still have self doubt and some depression.  I know I am not out of the woods yet.  But instead of stumbling in the dark, I have tools to see through and a person to help guide me on to brighter pastures.

Shaping

I’ve thought a lot about this lately and have many questions running around my head.  Did I ever really grow up?  What does being an adult really mean other than having added responsibilities?

Experience.

Not easily trusting others, remembering the past so that you don’t repeat the same mistakes (or remembering after the fact), knowing generally what to expect from common situations, knowing what is expected.  Its experiences we have had coupled with how we learned to deal with them (for better or worse).  Our childhood experiences shape how we are as adults.  Especially our quirks.  I wonder to myself what did I experience to want, need or act a certain way.

We are all born with genetic personality traits.  How that is developed as we grow up, determines what kind of personality we have.  You can have a outgoing personality genetically, but if you were abused mentally or physically, the personality traits will be vastly different as opposed to not being abused.

Experience shapes and continues to shape who we are.  The good thing about experience is that it can change.  We are constantly remolded by experience.  Our past scars can be healed through better experiences.  Bad memories can stay as they are, memories.  New experiences replace or overlap the bad ones and can help shape you.

Its often hard to see the forest for the trees.  But when you realize that your experiences are not helping you, its best to find new things to experience.  Those bad memories don’t have to haunt you forever.  They will never leave you, but they don’t have to be the only thing that determines who you are.

Not going anywhere

When I think back on the past 6 months, I think wow…I went through a lot of shit in a short time.  I survived.  I get aftershocks of all the things that have happened and some things I will not mention here.  I am still affected by them.  But I continue to be here and breathe.  I have accepted that I am a person who some people will not accept, and that is ok.  I don’t need to change who I am or be someone I am not to please others.  I just need to be genuine to myself and just be.

It’s an odd feeling to have confidence.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not oozing with self empowerment.  But I have confidence where none existed before.  Even the little I have gained is a strange feeling.  I love this feeling, I can feel it in the way I carry myself.  I can really tell when I am not feeling very confident instead of it all being a blur.  I know who I am.  I know what I like and what I hate.  I am not ashamed of it.  Although, I do hide some of it because others might not be able to handle it or may get offended.  If they find out so be it.  I am not going to hide it.  Hell if someone asks I will tell them.  But I am not just going to give that.  People get uncomfortable with things they do not understand.  I am not here for others comfort.  I love my friends and family, but I can’t change who I am.  All I can do is just not bring it up unless it’s important.

I have went through and continue to go through lots of trials.  I am happy I survived and continue to keep on going forward.  I am still dumbfounded by the difference from being one thing most of my life, and now not hiding anymore.

Trapped

I tend to be inside my own head a lot.  Thinking about things, assessing things, playing a song in my head, thinking about lunch, etc.  Often I am so far entrenched that I barely notice others around me.  I have learned to do this over the years.  To constantly ignore the outside world to protect myself.  I am hyper-aware of my surroundings, but often put effort into ignoring it to protect myself.

I have a very vivid imagination.  Often I will put myself in a situation or place where I am constantly/silently playing.  My mind stays occupied so much that sometimes small things can surprise me.  When I do not do this, I feel as if every person who passes me by is staring at me, perhaps judging me.  I feel the stares of others, it’s hard not to.  I tend to hide my face, look the other way, or put my head down so I don’t have to meet their gaze.

Hyper-awareness is a blessing and a curse.  I typically have to turn it off or down some so that the anxiety does not invade and make me feel awful.

This is the typical norm that I default to.  It’s learned behavior that is hard to break.  I know that I don’t have to do this.  It’s unnecessary but it is VERY hard to break the cycle.  It is not for lack of trying.  I use to drink to turn it completely off, but that’s hardly a solution and pretty dangerous at that.  Especially since I am diabetic.  I shouldn’t be drinking much if at all.  I tried using someone else talking for me to open up conversation.  That’s not a solution either as it causes other complications and sometimes resentment.  I tried just talking myself and I trip over my own words or don’t know what to say.  I often don’t know what I could add to a conversation.  Especially if it’s about stuff I know nothing about.

I have been blamed for being clingy.  I tend to stay close to those I trust with my feelings and words.  I am open with those I trust and will talk with them openly, but when around strangers, I clam up.  I just can’t get words out.  And when I do, it’s one or two things and the conversation moves on as if I said nothing.  Or if I do say something more than a few sentences, I lose track of what I’m talking about and get overly anxious.

The place inside my head is safe.  It doesn’t challenge me to try to be social.  I have done it for too long and have never really learned how to interact with people I feel.  At least not in person.  I am sure I will be told with practice that I will be better able to communicate.  I just don’t know where to start.  I am impatient and lazy.  I know there is no easy answer to this.  The work needs to be done and I can not imagine it away.  I need to talk to people.  I need to be more social.  Or I will continue to be a prisoner inside my head.

Social Digging

Yes, I said I may not write for a while.  Sometimes things change and you just have to get something out.

Social situations are often an awkward affair.  Usually why I tend to sit back and be an observer instead of a participant.  Eventually, if you listen and observe long enough, you see issues between people for what they are.  Sometimes it hits you like a ton of bricks.  Sometimes you have an idea of how to start fixing it, sometimes you do not.

Lack of sleep tends to bring about emotional clarity.  At least, that’s how I feel it works for me.  The situation I am referring to above will be explained in an analogy.  Bare with me if you will.

You start getting interested in what some of your friends are doing.  You see them shoveling a shiny pile of stuff from one pile to another.  You wonder “how can I have my own pile of shiny stuff to shovel?”.  You ask your friend, they explain what they are doing and give you some pointers to how you can start this yourself.  You find out this thing they are doing is called Shiny Shovelin.  It’s a practice well known and something that really interests you.  So you start collecting your shiny pile to shovel and start shovelin!  You keep talking to this person and other people, asking questions about shovelin.  You start to learn a lot.  Eventually your friend wants to share in a common interest you both have, invites you to watch them shovel.  Eventually they would like you to shovel with them.  How exciting!  You go along and watch them.  You go to more shovelin meetings, your starting to understand things, the motivations for who, what and why.  You like the closeness the team seems to have.  But there are cracks.  They don’t always agree on how to do the shovelin.  Person in charge says “Can we please start shovelin?”.  Others hear it, but it seems like an option instead of a request.  You see and hear the mis-communication.  You want to say something, but can’t because the pile is not yours.  You can not say how, when or where they should shovel.  But you see the problems with mis-communication, mis-interpretation, insecurities of other shovel-ers, and lack of trust.  You wonder why you would want to shovel with them.

Any group with a goal in mind needs good leadership, but also needs good inner communication.  Trust is a hard thing to gain, but in a social group setting, is essential.  Compassion for when things don’t go your way or others way is a key factor as well.  Sometimes we don’t have time to shovel that pile.  We have other piles we have to shovel that no one is helping us with.  Those piles are our responsibility.  The group pile, the one you have a passion for, should not turn into a chore.  But it takes some sacrifice from everyone.  Everyone has to trust one another, everyone needs to be clear on their intent, everyone needs to clearly communicate what they want, and finally everyone needs to be compassionate for each other.  All groups have a certain level of intimacy that they build depending on the dynamic, needs of the group, and the bonds that are formed.  The things mentioned before are so important to have and build for the group to grow.  Otherwise, the pile never gets any lower, someone feels like they do all the work, people feel left out, etc.

I hope that this helps someone, as silly as it may sound.  Analogies are funny like that.  But I think this can be applied to most, if not all groups of friends, people, or work environments.  Now lets dig that pile!