tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

One of the things in mah brainmeats

Because I'm like that, I've been trying to get to the bottom of this malaise I'm feeling. Someone yesterday suggested there may be a physical cause to it but I'm struggling to accept that because I eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. If anything, I should be healthier than ever based on my lifestyle choices. However I can buy that I might have been overdoing it - particularly with having two circus classes this term, one day after the other. I guess after this term is over I should make a decision which way I want to go - partner acro, or handbalancing.

What I really want to do is adagio, which is neither of the above - but they don't have those sort of classes at the circus hub and the two I'm doing both provide the type of skills I'd need in a different way. The acro that Mark teaches is cheerleading-based which isn't really my cup of tea, but it's been a challenge and is fun, so.. hmm. Dunno.

I don't get sick.

Of course, this isn't entirely true. Everyone gets sick - but traditionally, I only get sick in the body when I'm sick in the head. People telling me I look unwell only happens when I'm unhappy. And when I'm not happy I can't hide it because it pervades my entire existence and my body betrays me. So if there's something going on with my body, barring accidents and exposure to ebola, you can guarantee that the root cause of it is in my head.

So what's in my head at the moment? Lots of stuff.

One of the things I've written about here a bit is my current obsession with Dragon Age. I have a complex relationship with this, and I'm about to try and untangle it so if this sort of navel-gazing bores you, stop reading here.

OK. So it's been established that I'm a gamer from way back. I gave two years of my life to WoW, which is a small amount compared with some folks, but in that time I was pretty dedicated. I was also single. You see, historically I hadn't been allowed to play video games.

"Allowed? ALLOWED?!? WTF Tats since when does anyone ALLOW you do do anything?"

Heh. Yeah. Well, let's just say that I didn't used to be the same person I am now. I used to give a lot more of a crap about approval, and as some of you are aware that led me into some not-so-savoury relationship situations. One of those was being with controlling people. Dave saw computers and the internet, and especially games, as a threat. When I was doing them I was not giving my attention to him. My first interactions with the internet caused me to see it primarily as a communication tool and so I would have conversations in chat rooms (remember them?) with people in other countries and find out about their lives and it was awesome IMO. In his O, I was somehow 'cheating', and also wasting my time doing things that weren't real when I could be out saving the planet or kayaking or any one of a number of things that he thought would be better use of my time than what I was actually doing.

He would berate me about this, and also sulk and withdraw emotionally. Emotional withdrawal of my loved ones makes me shrivel up inside, it's the worst punishment you can inflict on me, and he knew this. It was effective. So I tried to not be a gamer, not use the internet, to be constantly present for him, and spend my free time doing worthy things. But I'm not that person, I'm me, and I like talking to people on the internet and playing games that involve disappearing into fantasy worlds for hours at a time. So I'd do it when he wasn't around, and I'd always feel guilty about it and make sure that when he was there, I was not indulging myself at his expense. It felt a lot more like cheating once I had to hide it, and not being able to do it whenever I wanted made me want to do it a lot more when I could.

So gaming turned into something I felt guilty about. Particularly, spending time gaming when my partner was around, because if I really loved him I'd want to be with him doing things, right? Right? Choosing a game over my partner for Things To Do In My Free Time was a clear demonstration that I wasn't committed to the relationship - what did these virtual people have to offer that he didn't? Etc. Needless to say, that relationship was doomed, but in the end it wasn't me who left - he left me because I'd stifled myself so much trying to be what he wanted that I wasn't the person he wanted any more. Yeah, that was fun.

Imagine my relief and amazement when I finally met people who understood that gaming is just another hobby and not a Sign Of Something! Imagine how awesome it is to have a partner who's as into gaming as I am, and supports my choice to spend a significant amount of my free time doing it without feeling threatened. It really really is awesome. *hugs dr wheel*

Sadly, my lizard-brain still thinks I should feel bad about it.To which I say "Shut up, lizard-brain, U No Can Make Me." And it can't. But I still have that vague sense that I'm doing something a bit wrong when I spend a lot of time gaming. I should be doing Productive Things! Playing games doesn't achieve anything! Etc.

Meanwhile, I also feel guilty about my obsessive nature. Normally I manage to squash it, or it peters out eventually if I indulge it. And I have no doubt that this obsession will peter out eventually as well - at least until the third game comes out, right? But meanwhile, I seem to have gone a bit deeper into this one than usual.

Normally I try to hide my obsessions because I think they are a defect in my personality, or relabel them as something else, or rework them into something worthy and productive. But this one, I have no show of doing that. And I don't want to hide it either because that makes me feel guilty, as if I'm doing something bad and being dishonest. I think I have found a fandom. I feel strange about that because I've always had a certain amount of contempt for the fandoms I see on the internet. I was introduced to the concept of fanfiction through the Harry Potter fandom, which doesn't resonate with me at all and because my intro was slash, I was just.. put off. I don't understand shipping at all - at least if it's not canon. Canon shipping I get, and it's through this that I've come to understand that there is fanfiction I like - I think it's called gen.

I like it when people take concepts that are introduced in canon but not fully explored, and write 'what if' type expositions that fill in gaps in the main story. So *braces self for admission* right now I'm reading fanfiction about Anders' life in the Circle Tower prior to the events of Awakening, and various takes on what it might be like to live with [Not for you, Happy]a Spirit of Justice in your head. I'm not interested in porn, unless it fits the story. The one I just finished was 300 pages with no sex. Go figure.

So yeah, reading fanfiction for the first time ever at 42, swallowing my derisive words uttered previously about fanfiction, feeling vaguely guilty and also kind of immature about it, but compelled to carry on because I like it. And in the interests of full disclosure, also watching fan videos, and bought a franchise book because someone told me it would fill me in on some lore that I want to know about.

I have it bad, and I'm struggling to assimilate this into my identity because a part of me still thinks there is something wrong with being so into something that adds nothing to the world, and is based entirely in fiction. I could be Creating! Building! Making! Instead I'm reading stories that explore ideas presented as fantasy, and finding that more fulfilling than living in the real world right now.

This is the third thing that bothers me about this - that I'm doing it. Escapist fantasy is exactly that - escapist. Why am I trying to escape? Well, I've had it up to the eyeballs with study, my job is alternately pushing shit uphill with a teaspoon and tediously boring with nothing to do, it's the middle of winter and I'm mostly just keeping on trucking out of a sense of duty rather than a desire to do so. I know this will all pass but right now, life is dull and uninspiring. So escapist fantasy lures me with its shiny escapism.

Thing is, I know that the way to make my life better is to tackle it head-on rather than run away from it into magical worlds, but.. I don't want to. I want to finish my degree, have a rest, go through the motions, and Just Not Put Effort In. At least for a while. And I feel guilty about that too. Surely if I berate myself enough I will drag my sorry arse out of this hidey-hole and do something. And if I fake it for long enough, it'll become the default and I'll get back to trucking, right? That's apparently what the English do best - we endure. And if we don't, we're weak, and weak is bad.

Welcome to my head, you don't have to be Catholic to feel guilt. In fact, I believe it's the Protestants who invented the idea that being productive is the only worthy activity for humans.

The protestants can kiss my arse, just saying.

There are other things, but this is a big one. Thank you, internet, for showing me that I'm not the only one that does this.

Today, this is making me happy:

Tags: guilt, obsession, questioning beliefs
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