Monday, January 27, 2014

Intolerable Neural Itch...

When I went to my friend's house on Saturday and to catch up with some ladies whom I shared an amazing odyssey with years ago, a few things struck me, and hard: those painful observations which shouted to me emotionally, in many ways, we have nothing in common any longer. We still share the same profession, children around the same ages, but we are varying shades of life experiences. But not a single one has ever, not once, picked up a game besides Candy Crush and understand the seduction, the allure and siren song that is Azeroth or other MMOs. The hostess of the party does know my "deep dark secret" of playing WoW, and how it's interfered with personal goals, relationships, etc. And while she gently discouraged me from bringing it up, that meant I was also discouraged from sharing any of the success I've found from writing this blog, its stories and other ramblings.

Not sure how I feel about that.

From a website appropriately titled Virtual Shackles.
I keep going back to the word "addiction." The justifications and rationalizations we tell ourselves when we get deeply involved in relationship-- alcohol, gaming, gambling, shopping, eating, and yes, love. Many used to label me a 'workaholic' years ago, but I gave that up for Azeroth. We strive for those transcendent moments, those experiences of apotheosis and connection. That's a lot to ask of a little Draenei or Blood Elf, to hold our mouse-hands and lead us to the promise land. Drama Mamas even posted a painful plea from a player whose family member is neglecting all urgent responsibilities to play WoW. We've heard these tales before. And like all addictions, the upping the ante for more endorphins always seems to climb the same trajectory. We play more to get that same sensation, the same honeymoon feeling, and then wonder why we log off more depressed than when we logged on. I fondly look back to those first few months when I started playing, when my internal dialogue between Mataoka and the Sons of Hodir felt magical, or her trying to bolster the morale of the good Alliance soldiers, the steep learning curve of simple game play. But things do change, and change constantly, and I also can't help but do a parallel comparison between my professional life, personal life, and Azerothian one. Something's got to give. Overwhelming change at times, during my optimistic clarity, feels like a worthwhile challenge, a doable task, an adventure. When I am not feeling this optimistic clarity, I panic, log on, try to do something, achieve something, so as to assuage the guilt I feel for not accomplishing real life tasks.

But how can I explain that my real love affair isn't necessarily with Azeroth, but the story stream that plays out in my mind? And when I write it down, and hit the publish button, the deep sense of 'something is done' is an endorphin boost like none other?

CD Rogue and Mataoka in domestic bliss...
CD Rogue and I fuss at each other, quite a bit. I adore him, of course, and couples fuss at one another, that's natural. But most of our fussing and minor skirmishes could be avoided, however, if I hadn't started writing regularly, playing regularly, and just paid attention to him. The fussing comes from both simple and complex miscommunication. Simple in that basically, I am not allowed to sit on my ass and tell him things from the next room, or play WoW, or read Facebook, or anything, but look at him and inform him of things. His defense is that he listens to every word I say. *eye roll* Now please don't misunderstand. He completely supports my creative endeavors, totally, and wholly. And he's right: when I am informing him of the broken garbage disposal when my sake cup accidentally fell in and got ground up to smithereens, and I inform him I got most of the pieces out, and tried to hit the reset button, and it's still jammed inside, he heard this: "garbage disposal broken." Okay. He then tells me "the thing is jammed and hitting the reset button doesn't matter and blah blah blah repeating everything I just told him as if it were new information. Me, in my delicate, sweet manner: "I JUST TOLD YOU THAT." Cue: 15 minute discussion on communication styles. Bottom line: I should have left Azeroth for five minutes, gone into the kitchen, looked him in the eye and told him my complete diagnosis (which was accurate). Now, to illustrate subtext, we're having this discussion whist he is holding the largest screwdriver we own, a screwdriver which is used solely for when sake cups dive down the disposal and shards get ground under the rotary blades. I did have the passing thought about squirrels, knives, and Christmas Eve beer runs. The only thing harmed in this tale is one Pier One sake cup. I have others.

So the course of true love never runs smoothly. I saw this article this morning and it made me think about all the relationships we have, not just our romantic ones. These are meaningful questions that strike me as not unlike chocolate, a little is going to go a long way. Too much and a tummy ache may result. But these questions provide a purity, a simplicity, of navigating emotions (and they make for some damn fine writing prompts):

From Glenn Melton, Questions That Will Save Your Relationships:
When did you feel loved today?
When did you feel lonely?
What did I do today that made you feel appreciated?
What did I say that made you feel unnoticed?
What can I do to help you right now?
Universal truths lean toward predictable, the paradox being while they are cliche, they are also seeking transcendence: we want to be loved, we want someone to love us back. Where it gets messy and expensive is when we don't love the way someone else wants, and vice versa. Simple. I think I've linked this before, because often I feel like I am "cheating" when I play [too much] WoW, or avoid responsibilities to write [right now in fact].

Perhaps another question needs to be added to the above list:
Are you being true to your inner self today?

Watching amazing films is never a waste of time, in my opinion. Enjoy.

Apotheosis from GEE / JOSHI on Vimeo.


  1. That reminds me of a recent tiff, my husband decided to clean the roomba and found it had been run without a filter and thought I'd done that, geez. It's a rogue roomba that the dogs occasionally knock into starting it on an unauthorized run. It must have been up all night and then cleverly docked itself. Really! Like I'd do that! My armed squirrel, er Chipmunk even came to see what was up.

  2. "What did I do today to make you feel appreciated?" You fixed the damn disposal.
    Your story is a cautionary tale, because just last week CD said we should get a roomba, and was upset when I quickly, without hesitation, said No Effing Way. He loves gadgets, and thinks we can save the world with those. I said it was one more g-d thing that would break, and cause more stress than it was worth. God I hate being right all the time. It's exhausting.

    1. That is so funny because my husband is the one who bought it, lol!


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