This post is (11/31) of the Blaugust 2019 event! You can find out more about Blaugust over at Belghast’s blog. I (Chestnut) created a Twitter list of all participants. UltrViolet created an OPML file of all the bloggers to import into your feed reader.
Getting to Know All About You
This past week was “Get to Know You” week for Blaugust. Bel’s description proposed,
“Tell us about you and your preferences as a gamer or whatever it is you happen to like doing. This is the time to dip into the well of stories and tell us something interesting that has either happened to you or something about your specific footing in your real or digital life.”
I’m a fairly open book both here on the blog and even moreso on Twitter. So it’s been difficult (not including the depression) to suss out a topic to write for the week. I don’t mind questionnaires, and I know I have another one I’m tagged in by Bel that I have yet to answer, but that didn’t feel fully “right” as a way to talk about myself.
Honestly, I didn’t think I’d have a post for the theme until I was logging off FFXIV and crawling into bed last night. And then it hit me: talk about healing through, well, healing.
A Short History
CW: This section includes brief mention of abuse.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter for a while (even from before I moved Twitter accounts), or have stumbled upon old blog posts, you probably know that I was married, and divorced. I moved down to Georgia in my early 20s for grad school (I’m looking at you, Great Recession) because I couldn’t find a job teaching. In my first year here I ended up meeting a guy, and falling for him.
I’m not going to get into the nitty gritty details. It follows a somewhat predictable story. After three and a half years of dating, we got married. And about three and a half years later, we separated at my request. Seven months later it was an official divorce. That’s the part most folks know. The part they don’t is that he was abusive.
It’s not easy to see in the moment when you’re being abused. It’s definitely something that you deny, and make excuses for. It’s something that people don’t believe because the abuser is so charming. I was lucky that I was able to recognize and rationalize what was happening to me when he was away on a work trip. I was lucky that I was able to get out the first time I said I was going to leave.
Healing Through Healing
There’s little things people take for granted doing with a partner—watching movies together, going to events together, hanging out with mutual friends together, gaming together—you get the idea. The one that’s hit me the hardest is the number of hours we gamed together.
I still can’t bring myself to log into my old WoW main, for instance, for more than a half hour tops. Enough to do whatever the current event tokens are if I qualify at level. Spending more time on her causes panic attacks because of the memories attached to her that are still so strong.
Final Fantasy XIV was another one. We spent many hours together leveling on our characters on Cactuar. I would tank, he would heal, and two of our mutual friends would dps.
When I decided I wanted to go back to FFXIV to give it another try back in April, I waffled about rolling a new character or going back to the one I’d spent so much time on with him. At the time, I decided to roll a new character. But in the two months I had an active subscription, I didn’t play her much. I had difficulty getting into her, and starting over when my main was sitting there.
I tried logging in once to my main and couldn’t do it. A panic attack ensued and I decided to cancel my subscription, writing it off to, “just not into it right now!”. But as I’ve been playing more ESO, I’ve felt the call for more fantasy gaming, and meandered back to FFXIV, again. I decided to just bite the bullet and play my old main, come July. I only logged in once or twice. Enough to decide on playing CNJ/WHM as my new main class (until I can get Dancer, of course), and get her gear set up.
It wasn’t until the past two weeks that I really dove in head first. It started with feeling bored with any game I opened. So I opened FFXIV. And all I did was one dungeon roulette. But it felt… okay. I couldn’t manage more than that. I could feel a panic attack coming on. But I’d had so much fun in that fifteen minutes I spent in that dungeon. So I logged in again the next night. And the night after that. Playing a bit more every time. Five minutes extra here. Five more there.
And I realized, last night, after I spent almost two hours in game after only, “logging on for a little bit”, that spending the time healing in roulettes was a way of confronting a lot of my fears and triggers and pushing through them… whether that makes sense to anybody but me is another story.
There’s still a lot more healing I need to do for myself. And some might argue some wounds will never fully heal, but bit by bit, reclaiming my character and having her heal her way through leveling has given me a chance to heal IRL a little bit as well.