Sunday, October 16, 2011

Three Short Chapters in the Life of A Week

Who I wish I was....
Gaming with Ladies!

Last Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet with a fellow lady-gamer (who would probably be offended by the term, "lady-gamer") and talk about about all things gaming! It was heavenly, as this competent typist loves nothing more than a good turn at a dungeon raid while playing a flighty Night-Elf Druid. But alas, I have no female-type people in my life to share my great joy of gaming with, and so it is often a lonely existence of crushing my pixelated enemies with only the menfolk to stand behind me and shout, "Mana-management!! Heals on the mage! Watch the aggro on the Flame Demons!"

So, I was really excited to hear from one of my old, long-time RP buddies from World of Warcraft that she was going to be in town for Geek Girl Con and was hoping to meet up! And meet we did, and great conversation, (if a mediocre meal), ensued! It was awesome to meet someone who actually knew about "Syberia"--one of my all-time favorite games--and could hold court about Queen Anora, our mutual hero from "Dragon Age." It was an altogether awesome night, and so much fun to talk freely about this somewhat secretive passion of mine with a sharp, incisive, intelligent woman who could like, totally relate.  

The Outsider Participates! And Kind of Likes It. 

I'm not what one would ever describe as a "participator." I eschew anything to do with large crowds, "movements", or involving myself in general society in more than a cursory way. Not because I feel that I am better than general society, but because I feel like an outsider, and in many ways, I am an outsider. I never get much out of trying to court the favor of normal culture, as it becomes clear very quickly that I am not part of it, and this embarrasses the normal-culture people and makes things awkward for all of us. But, on Saturday, I did participate in the Heart Walk in downtown Seattle. If I had realized ahead of time the sheer size of the crowd I was going to have to contend with, I would have broken my own ankle to avoid it, but, I showed up and there were people and suddenly we were walking and there was nothing I could do about it but try to embrace the experience. 

And then this weird thing happened: I started to have fun and actually enjoy the crowds. I was looking at the back of people's shirts, where they wrote the names of family members or loved ones they had lost to heart disease. It was very touching to see so many people come out to honor their loved ones; the people in their lives they cared about. There were dogs and kids and everyone was happy and energized and in a good mood. There were thousands of people there. I...I...was actually a part of a something, and I felt proud about it. I felt like I was adding to some measure of good in the world, and that I did, for a moment, actually belong. 

Who I actually am.

Wherein I Share with You All of my Embarrassing Neurotic Fears for Your Gawking Enjoyment:

It's not good to talk to me about making decisions when I am exhausted and stressed out, but Mr. Typist doesn't have much of an instinct for those subtleties. He recently tried to convince me it would be a great idea to fly to Canton, OH for the weekend to attend the launch party for my new book. However, I had a hell of a week and I was tired and anxious and sweaty and nervous and unable to overcome myself. All week long, here is what I used to argue with my husband about going:

But what if I get lost in O'Hare and miss my connection?
But what if there's a chemical leak in the motel and I get brain damage?
But what if I go and nobody there likes me? 
But what about all of the work I have to get done?
But what if I'm allergic to something in Canton and sneeze uncontrollably during my reading?
But what just after we spend the money for the tickets we find out we've both lost our jobs and that you need expensive life-saving surgery?
But what if some cold, shadowy figure appears at my bedside in the dead of night and you aren't there to protect me?
But what if my boarding pass won't download on my i-Phone?
What if the only thing on the motel TV is re-runs of  "The Wheel of Fortune"?

and of course, the classic...

But I seriously have nothing to wear!

At the time, these seemed like overwhelming difficulties that I could never surmount. However, after Mr. Typist's constant, irrefutable and exhaustingly logical rebuttals, a good night's sleep and some aspirin for my throbbing knee pain (see Heart Walk), I woke up at the hard-driving hour of 10:30 in the a.m. feeling clean, refreshed and ready to bust a move. I finally booked the tickets this morning, and although I'm still slightly worried about getting lost in O'Hare, I'm mostly just excited about the opportunity for a new, really fun experience. 

I don't know what I was so panicked about, but there is definitely a lesson here about the healing properties of a good night's rest, the power of a perspective shift, and how the real stress lies not in coping with the decision you make, but in not making the decision. 

--Kristen McHenry

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