My big, old-fashioned clock on the wall said 8:45 AM. The big hand was on the nine, and the little one scooching close to the nine, too. Just enough to finish Halls of Reflection with Ceniza and my esteemed guildmate, in our army of two. Ceniza is hovering close to level 80, and I went back on all my promises to myself, and I have been dungeon-diving, and not questing, like I thought I would/should.
My friend sent me a text, and it said: “Did you forget about Spring Forward?”
Yes, yes I did. We had planned to meet for coffee and catch up. I am still making her birthday present, wasn’t dressed yet, have a pile of bills and laundry to do (maybe I should pay the jeans and wash the electric bill?) and people flying in and out, circling, landing, flocking all around me. I made a promise to another friend to help her with a big project* The birthday-present friend and I rescheduled (damn, she is understanding!) and I will get it all done. I will. I will. I will.
This issue has been on my mind for a while, even before Vidyala on Manalicious posted some thoughts.
Sometimes, once in a while, I am green with viscous envy over guilds who function as fun friends/families. I am just going to use the term “tribe.”
The thing is, as far as guild groups go, my tribes have been defined by numbers. Running With Scissors had/has some friendly, fun players. And–this is a big digression–I have been drafting a post about Apple Cider Mage’s recent blog postings, how this serious issue effects my professional life, and her amazing articulation and power behind her story. It belongs to her –her power, her voice, her courage–when considering and drafting my response, the one refrain I kept thinking of time and again is (thought out of my head): “We give each other our hearts every day, every hour, every minute. We trust. We trust again. We trust. No matter which dimension we are giving our love, friendship, most intimate selves, we hand over our hearts and say, ‘take care of this, please.’ And our hearts are broken. Again. And again. Again. And that is essentially our human condition. Do we take care of each other, or do we spiral down into the shit, blood, and filth and break each other?
…so back to my reflections on RWS. I am not brave when I say this, or have any courage at all. If anything, I was a coward. I quit because of a gang of three who behaved (to me), poorly. Time and again I would hear, “Gee whiz, Matty, don’t know why they are being so mean to you!?” Really? Uh. (Excuse me while I go spit out some blood from biting my tongue.) Mean spiritedness, small-scale bullying and harassment are the tiny pin pricks of greater evils (see Apple Cider’s posts). What is one person’s friendly ribbing or teasing is another’s “cut that shit out.”
But here is the thing: for small moments, I did have what Vidyala has in her guild–I still adore and respect my old guildmaster–fun, intelligent, and patient with me even during my most derpiest moments. If I could, sometimes I wish I could put together my perfect ten-main team – he would lead it, but it would be more inclusive, easy, and no nihilistic tendencies, and a little more class would be welcome. But, it’s not my guild, it’s not up to me, and the culture it presented more often than not left me feeling left out and beat up.
So, onto Post Mortem.
We all know how that ended. Again, some very nice people, with some very nice gestures, but those little stabs of nerd rage don’t work for me.
So, I am left with an enhancment/resto shaman, a protection paladin, a holy priest, and a pvp hunter– all dressed up and no where to raid. Nobody’s fault but my own.
I work with a woman who admittedly has mental health issues. (No, it’s not snakes and tea.) I have a high tolerance for this, and if I didn’t, I wouldn’t last five minutes in my chosen profession. I have to navigate around her personality, steer clear of the sharp rocks, and engulfing sea monsters that lay in wait in her murky seas of thoughts. My point is- I would wager that most of us deal with a whole lot of issues and personalities in our waking worlds so that when we are in game, we simply do not, and cannot, deal with it. For months now, I have stopped listening to the news because I was feeling overwhelmingly helpless and ineffectual. My sense of ‘fighting back’ however is blossoming again, regrowing. I am feeling stronger in general about the things I need to do in real life, and that I have the strength and know-how to effect change.
But that’s the real world, in real time.
Keep in mind, ye captains of guild-ships and leaders of tribes, you help set the tone and culture of your guilds. Recently at a work meeting, a wonderful speaker reminded me of the obvious: those who are successful know exactly how they got there, and can retrace their steps. Those who are not tend to point to luck or other’s being at fault. Perhaps, if I really want this (and I am not sure I do), if I want that ten-man casual raid team, I’m going to have to step up, study the fights, and start one. Not sure I have time for that now, though. (Smirks to self!)
I love seeing who has visited this blog from all over the world, who’s peeked in or stayed for snakes and tea. I imagine that there are potential guildmates out there with whom I could have a great guild tribe, like Vidyala’s. And gods know there are reams of trade chat advertisements for guilds on my own server, promising mature, sociable, guilds. (I discount the ones who use “ur” in their advertisements- probably not the demographic I am seeking.) But the world of 24/7 must march to the drums of the sun and moon, we all must eat, sleep, work, etc. Perhaps, if I am patient, I will find that ten-man team again with the Battle ID and changing up guild structures. I adore my little “tribes of two” guilds, but they don’t run raids. All of us don’t have the blessings that Vidyala has, but I will say this: I am glad she does, because that gives me hope. For every moment of hurt and bruising, I see twenty** of kindness and giving, fun and sweetness.
We hold each other’s hearts, and trust me: we take care of them.
All the time.
*I am going to straight-up bitch: this project is like walking back into a fire when I have come out on the other side, and need to assist her journey. Going back feels like going in reverse over spiky tire treadles. But a promise is a promise is a promise. I can’t break this one, like I did for Ceniza leveling her way through dungeons.
**this is not scientific data, but purely anecdotal, qualitative study.