Monthly Archives: February 2013

Beautiful Enough

We all have our stories to share, our troubled paths we have walked.  I know I write about a lot of things in this blog, gaming, kids, mostly gaming lately, but every once in a while I would like to write something about me.  I figure in the end, this is my little piece of the interwebs that I can keep for myself.  I appreciate every one of you who has read my words, liked it on Facebook, or here.  Those who have commented and those who just read and move on, every single one of you I adore.  I want you to feel like when you read my blog you have come in for some conversation and maybe a cup of coffee/tea.  I have both (and Mountain Dew, I always have Mountain Dew).

I want to share things about me that you may not know.  Since we are getting to know each other as friends, (and we are friends, right?) I feel sometimes things may come up.  I have my causes that I like to support in whichever ways I can and I am going to talk about one of them today.

Eating disorders are a huge part of today’s world and they have been for a while.  It doesn’t just happen to teens, adults, girls, boys. It isn’t just people who eat a little, none at all, or everything.  It isn’t just starving or throwing up or a mixture of the two.

Mine started in middle school.  I guess if I had to go back, I could say it started before that.  I came from a family of women who were on the larger side, and when my aunts would visit my grandmother they would stand me in front of them and tell me not to get fat. They said the word like it was a disease, a disgusting thing that happened to people when they weren’t looking.  I was terrified.  How could I avoid catching fat?  What would I do if it caught me?  I would stare at myself growing up, looking for any sort of sign that I had done something wrong, my aunts would come and shake their Winston cigarettes at me while telling me I didn’t listen to them and caught it.  I became ashamed.

In middle school, at gym class, they started weighing you, in front of others.  The fear came back.  It started as a small voice, telling me the nurse was going to tell me I was ruined.  She would send me home with a note telling me I had lost all my chances at life.  I started obsessing over the numbers and I started to not eat.  That summer I remember living off of half a bowl of cereal a day.  It was also the summer I started my life long love affair with coffee.

I seemed to make it through the school years without catching it, and also balancing the dangerous act of not eating.  I had to eat enough in front of people so they wouldn’t suspect, but have days where I wouldn’t eat because internally I was freaking out from the calories the day before.

Then I had babies.  At the same time, this is when my confidence rose.  Looking at my children, I started to care less about what my inner voice said.  I told it to shut up and I marveled at the beautiful thing my body had done.

Their father started spending less time at home and more time out.  It didn’t take me long to figure out what was going on and the truth set in.  He had his own demons, different then mine, and other females to share them with.  Females that didn’t have two babies.  The voice started to come back, but I pushed it down.  I told it I was determined that I would be strong and that I was worth it.  There was nothing wrong with me.  My spirits started to get higher when I accidently met someone else.  It wasn’t intentional, but isn’t that how it always goes?

He told me I was pretty at first.  He would come to hang out with me and we would talk for hours.  All of the things that I loved alone for so long, I now had someone to share this with.  I wasn’t alone.  He told me I was pretty.  I told him my past stories, the things I was too afraid to admit.

One day, out of the blue he told me I was not good enough, that looking at me didn’t turn him on.  He told me I gained weight and threw me a bottle of diet pills.  He left the room with me standing there holding them.  It had finally happened.  I caught the fat.  I was too disgusting for anyone to look at.  I took two right away and proceeded to start my dance with anorexia.

One yogurt a day is what I ate until I started to get sick.  I would cry at night, smile during the day.  Everyone would tell me how great I looked, how I had to tell them my secret for losing weight.  My secret was shame.

I ended up in the hospital and was told I would have to lose my gallbladder.  He told me if I gained weight afterwards he would leave me.  He had done some research on what the gallbladder was and he felt it was a deal breaking body part.  If I couldn’t uphold my end of the bargain then there was no use of him allowing me the privilege of standing next to him.

I had my surgery, and I maintained my weight.  I started wearing bigger clothing to hide in.  I felt better wrapped in a blanket or two, and I would never be caught without clothes on.  He told me I was disgusting and a monster.  I wish I was making this up.  I wish I could tell you that I screamed and yelled and fought.  I wish I could tell you that I thought I was beautiful enough.

I can tell you eventually I did have enough and I did leave.  It took way longer than it should have, but it was done.  I couldn’t see that maybe this was his way of keeping me to himself, that instead of him keeping the world away from me, I was hiding on my own.

I’m still working on thinking I am beautiful enough.  I am still battling sometimes with my inner child, fearing a note home telling my aunts I misbehaved and contracted fat, but I am doing much better.

I write this because I am not alone.  People, not just girls, but people, lead this life.  Whether it is because of reasons that seem to be as old as you are, or control, people make these choices.  They don’t see what others see.  They see damaged people.  They see misshapen and ugly.  They never see beautiful.

Everyday I challenge myself to see beauty.  To see it not in just myself, but outside, in others, accidental beauty, and in things that were always just meant to be beautiful.  I don’t want this for anyone, and I want to prove that you can get through it.  You can even keep your gallbladder.  If you are reading this, and you ever had a moment similar to mine, go look in a mirror, if you don’t have a mirror then find something reflective.  Find something beautiful because it’s there in you.  Don’t hurt yourself anymore.  It doesn’t matter how many people may think you are beautiful if you can’t see it.

It isn’t going to happen overnight.  It won’t be easy, in fact, it is the hardest road I have ever travelled.  It’s so worth it though.  Walk with me.  I will hold your hand and we will talk about all things beautiful and ugly.  We aren’t alone.  I won’t leave you alone.  I think we have all been alone for far too long.  Let’s see how beautiful we are.  I am beautiful enough and I hope by reading this you can recognize your beauty, or at least commit to trying to find it.  There is no one like you, no carbon copy, and you are too important for us to lose.  I am starting to feel the same about myself.  So let’s hold hands, and let’s skip down this path in the woods.  Let’s go find others and tell them they are beautiful too.  Let’s make all the friends and drink all the coffee and show they world how lucky it is to have us in it.  We are more than beautiful enough.

I love you all.

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Times are a Changing

After our adult session of D&D Saturday I drove the hour drive home knowing that there was going to be a Sunday session going on, starting at 10.  My tricksey DM had given me her fold out table to take home so she wouldn’t have to travel with it and I knew I would have to get up very early to prepare for the day ahead.

It is a different mindset I have to get into from playing Grace, who you all know by now, is very flexible.  Ana is very different, almost a polar opposite.  Where Grace is flexible and the center of attention, Ana is rigid and prefers to stay in the background.  She is a cleric, from someplace (I don’t have a name yet) that is very reminiscent of Russia.  She has an accent as if she were from Russia(really it’s a hybrid of what I think a Russian accent sounds like).  She doesn’t like tomfoolery and much prefers to keep things in line.

She joined the duo of Dirge and Melodie after Melodie’s sister was married and could no longer travel (ie no one else was going to play heals).  She was tasked with keeping a careful eye on the young bard girl and to try to keep her out of harms way.  Anastasia had become friends with Janella’s new husband, Caro, and since she was about to set out to spread the words of her deity she was agreeable to tag along.  Oh, if she only knew.

They trio soon became 6, as they met with a pair of elves and a gnome, all who seemed to have nothing to do.  There was a request in the town to investigate a moat house, so off they went.  I can’t say Ana did smashingly well that first day.  They were approached by a yeth hound whose cry sent Ana running far, far, away.  She has a childhood fear of dogs.  Later that evening the gnome disappeared while everyone was sleeping and has never been seen since.

The now 5 group made it to the moat house and fought many things, discovered many things.  Great evil was built into the walls and a scroll was found that gave directions on how to open a portal for the Elemental Eye.  Ana could feel the evil seeping in, but what the rest of the group didn’t know was that she was not a stranger to the evil.

Just once was Ana ever asked about her background, during a share session around a camp fire.  By this time, we were joined by a human barbarian, a dwarf fighter, and a descendant of a dragon.  One of the elves has since left, wanting to be out in nature more than in a dungeon.  No one could blame him for going, being that this is not an easy life.  Ana stared at the group as they all took turns, speaking of their past experiences and dreaded when it would come to be her turn.  What would they say if they knew?  Would they trust her?  She was coming to care about those she had just had her adventure with, and didn’t want them to see her as less. They had even determined her to be a leader among them, and now she feared them seeing her for what she was and not what she has become.

She can still hear the screams at night, when everything is still.  The fire shines like a reminder of deeds done and punishment earned.  She sees the faces, the frightened faces of the children.  She sees the evil in men when they would sacrifice those weaker to save themselves.  In those moments she tries to remember the beauty of those who would put themselves first, thinking that their actions would save someone else; give them just enough time.  It never mattered in the end; her job was one that time mattered little.

She is afraid to get to close to the fire, afraid that the ghosts will find ways to obtain their retribution.  She will endure the cold without using a spell to make it subside as her penance.  One who has danced with fire should be made to sleep in cold.

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Your Wizard is in Another Castle

Bonjour mon ami!  It has been some time since I have been able to speak to you.  Last I left you I was spinning my tale of valiant deeds to be done and werewolves lurking in the night.  To those new to this fine establishment, je m’appelle Grace and behind me playing the lute is Glamorith.  We have had quite an adventure which we shall tell you; just sit and pull up a chair.  You in the back, come up more; I promise not to bite you.  I may fall in love with you, or you with me, as most do.  If you sit with me for a moment, I promise to warm your heart.

So, as I left off, we were travelling and had awoken to a wolf who had turned into a man upon defeat.  I was bitten but did not want to worry my fellow travelers.  Plus, who knows what they may have done if they sensed that I could be tainted.  Glam, do stop playing such an ominous song, let’s have something a little lighter!

I bandaged myself quickly and we packed up our camp and continued our travels. It wasn’t long before we came across a man, wearing armour and looking as if he had seen some adventure in his time.  We decided to ask him along, as there is safety in numbers, plus I had a sense about him that there was something magical about him.  He wasn’t so bad on the eyes either, and well, us girls like a little eye candy.  Conan is a little too, well, barbarian for me.  Ralph (pronounced Rafe) is part of my work team – he is dancing over in the corner, and I don’t mix business with pleasure.  Well, not all of the time.  So, he came with us and we put one foot in front of the other.  

We came across an obsidian fortress and the higher we climbed, the hotter it became.  It almost became unbearable, but then I remembered my potion of endure elements I had in my backpack.  We came to a door and tried to enter it, but it pulsated with electricity.  Valaria, our fighter and possibly Conan’s woman, and I tried getting in but we kept getting shocked by currents of electricity.  I wasn’t hurt by it, remember, I am acrobatic (and very flexible) so I was able to avoid it, but she did get slightly hurt.  After the third attempt it dawned on me that the portly Baron with chicken in his beard had given us a key!  She took it out and as soon as it touched to door it opened allowing us in.

I went first, as I have a natural ability to sense trouble, and found nothing amazing.  I beckoned the group into what once must have been a receiving room.  There was a sign in book and the last person to sign in did so 8 years prior to us.  The air was stale and warm and not really comfortable.  We searched onward for any sign of life, but there was nothing in the stone walls.

There was a beautiful room we came across.  It was almost like a metal forest and colors bounced around the room like rainbows.  I do think I could have stayed in there forever; sadly I was unable to put anything in my bag or pockets.  Upon exiting, I noticed there was a tripwire which if activated would have shot crossbows towards a closed door.  I wondered if that was to keep something out… or in?

We didn’t have to search much farther to find out.  Entering one room brought us into the company of some dwarf like creatures with fire in their beards and on their heads.  The way they started attacking us it also seemed like they were not eager for introductions!  We prepared ourselves for battle and they started to not to look so good, bending over and panting, when they called for a truce.  It’s funny when enemies always want a truce when they are at the sharper end of a sword.

I kept my bow at the ready and told them to speak, but speak true.  They told us how they were employed by the wizard of the castle, but they have not seen him for some time.  One day things, such as a bug bear, and a lizard/dragon looking lady had started attacking the band of dwarves and they were a little on edge.  We made peace with them and told them we were on a search for the wizard ourselves, so we should become allies (meaning they should use their resources to heal us and aid us on our quest – they did attack first).

Continuing further, we found nothing of value, which was sorely disappointing to me.  I do so like pretty things, and to not find anything was sad.  We came across 4 shut doors and in a very bold move opened them all at the same time, not fearing what was behind the doors.

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I’m still not sure if this was bold or stupidity…

Alas, we were disappointed to find only moldy clothing and shoes.  

In the next room, however, we found a most disgusting troll, full of rot and stench. 

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I said troll, not pony!

The attack began fast and fiercely.  This was not an easy foe for us, as we learned when our fighter became unconscious.  It started to look dim when we heard a door open and the lizard/dragon lady came out.  The magical fighter quickly brought our fighter back to her feet (see, my man senses are almost never wrong) to finish the troll and without a moment to rest we began again.  She was stronger than us, our fighter fell again, and I started to try and negotiate.  I wanted to ensure my survival, no matter the costs, but she would have none of it.  I noticed Ralph (pronounced Rafe) disappear (sneaky wizard, escaping while she was occupied with us…)

Just when things looked it’s worst, at a point where I succumbed to the idea of eternal sleep, he returned with the fire dwarves who were ready to battle.  Our hurt party members were able to step back and let them take over, and soon she was gone by our hands.

Victory was ours, friends.  We sat huddled, going through the loot and celebrating our own survival.  There are many doors in front of us, and many dangers ahead.  We will venture forward and not stop until we know what has happened to the wizard.  I was also quite sure there were valuables to be found, and I would never give up with the promise of riches to find.

The hour grows late though, my sweets, and I am tired of speaking for tonight.  I can tell Glam would also like to break for a bit.  I thank you for spending your time with us, and you in the back, I would enjoy it very much if you bought me a drink.  I am quite flexible you know…

 

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The adult group went very well last session!  We were able to welcome another player (he was always slated to play, but couldn’t make the first session).  I told him we would be besties.

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You can’t be besties without a self pic on Facebook and Instagram!

We played on Saturday and then we had the kid’s session on Sunday morning, so it was a very tiring weekend!  This weekend we will be doing both sessions on Saturday since this is the last week we are playing for a while.  I am taking a trip to New Zealand (I leave next Thursday!) so it will be about 3 weeks before we play again.  I have one piece left about the kids session to do before Saturday and I have A LOT of packing to do.  

Stay happy, friends, and always keep your D20 handy.  You never know when you’ll have to roll a check.

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Standing Proud

Hello wonderful friend!  I am glad to see you now that my snow hell is over and we can get down to doing what we do best: Pull up a chair, have a seat, grab your drink and let us banter.  I had this idea to write about how there seems to be this developing hatred of women in the geek culture (more on that in a minute) but the more I thought about it, the sadder I became when I realized it doesn’t stop there.

My tricksey (albeit wonderful) DM had something on her Facebook page that caught my eye.  It was an article on the “Fake Geek Girl” meme that has been going around.  I really should link it here, and I will at some point, but it got me pretty heated.  It painted a very not so pretty picture of how women are looked at and treated in the culture, especially in the comics fandom.  There was a lot of things that related back to it, webcomics where the boy just reads the comics and shows up in the Batman shirt and the girl who read, researched, made their cosplay, dyed their hair only to be told she isn’t a true fan and didn’t put enough work into it.  Posts from a writer, not just a fan, but a writer who pretty much called women who go to cons whores who just go to inflate their egos by having nerd boys pay attention to them.  Yes, because that is the only reason a woman would go to a con.  Thanks for pointing that out, broham. 

I read a blog post prior to that about a beautiful woman who handmade a TARDIS gown.  There were tons of comments about how the TARDIS was bigger on the outside, comments about her appearance (she truly was gorgeous). 

It saddens me that where we are now in time that women are still being treated this way.  I couldn’t understand where it came from, why we are continually looked at as objects.  Women are just as capable of enjoying the same things as men do, on the same level. We don’t have to Wikipedia everything, we may now because we read it, or we watched the show.  We can play Battlefield and Call of Duty, we can tank in WoW, we can RPG with the best of them.  We can even play Dungeons and Dragons, which by the way in the two groups that I play in women outnumber the men in one and we have equal numbers in the other.  We read the Player’s Handbook.  Ok, maybe it took me a while, but I had to play a bit to understand how it worked, but I have read what I needed to!

It got me thinking as a whole about how men could be so cruel, but then a even more horrible thought dawned on me:

We do it to ourselves.

We are taught at a young age what is considered outcast and what isn’t.  I mean in school, even elementary school, there are the cool kids and, well, the geeks.  As you get older, middle school, high school, you start hearing the rumors.  So and So slept with someone and they are branded as a whore.

Women, we are cruel, if not just as cruel as men. 

We say bad things about other women as a whole.  We scrutinize everything about them – their hair, their eyebrows, her nails, her clothes, her shoes.  Goodness forbid if something is out of place.  We make mean girl eyes at other women if they aren’t wearing what we feel are acceptable clothing choices.  We relish when another woman fails because it makes us feel better about ourselves and how we are doing.  We choose sides when it comes to stay at home moms vs. working moms.  Its funny how there isn’t anything about stay at home dads vs. working dads.  You know why, ladies?  Men simply do not give that much thought or care into things like that.

It’s time to stop.  It’s time to stop judging.  It’s time to stop measuring our self worth compared to everyone else.  If someone fails, man or woman, it doesn’t make us better.  We should be picking up and not putting down.  In doing my random acts of kindness it does make me look at things a little bit differently.  It has made me realize that everyone has different circumstances, but we are all on the same team. 

It isn’t just the men that put us down, ladies.  We do it to each other.  I had a conversation with a fellow darling geek girl and she was telling me how when she was in college there was this crazy competition that the women would have.  It wasn’t vocalized, but it existed due to the possessiveness of their place in the social circle.  These things do absolutely exist.  I have been the only female friend of a bunch of guys growing up and when other females enter the circle it can be uncomfortable.  I am guilty of it; I won’t deny that.

Let’s just stop. 

I know it’s easier said than done.  This has been engraved into our very beings.  If we can catch it one time though and think to ourselves that we did it, we stopped ourselves from doing that further damage then maybe we can heal.  I won’t fix the world for my kids; I imagine it will still be a bit broken, but I don’t need to break it further than it is now.  Maybe you can stop yourself from calling another female a whore to your friends or SO just because you heard a story about her.  That would help fix it.  Maybe you can not jump to judgmental if you see someone wearing something that is a little skimpy.  Bigger or smaller, be happy that they have that confidence to do it.  Don’t make assumptions based off of nothing; a girl can read comic books, read fantasy, play video games, watch anime, play D&D, be logical, do maths, and do it just as well as a guy can.

I want to take a moment and say no, I don’t think every guy is like what I explained above.  I am incredibly grateful to all the men in my life from then until now who have never made me feel less because of my gender.  I have never been to a con and felt like an outcast.  I am really lucky.  This is also not a bash against men or women.  This is a bash against ignorance and all who subscribe to it. 

I heard a story about one day while I wasn’t home my girl K was listening to Lana Del Rey and The Boy stated how she must be a wanton woman because of her lyrics.  K was shocked that he would think that and questioned him on how if the lyrics were sung by a male if he would think the same thing.  He said no.  It starts young.  We conversed with The Boy about how just because a woman is comfortable in her sexuality does not make her a whore.  I was saddened because I know I have never taught him that.

I am a geek, and a girl.  I like to game. I like to read all sorts of things and I also like songs with sexual lyrics.  None of this makes me a bad person.

So dear friend, I hope you will help me to just stop it.  If one person does it, and then another, if we start to raise our next generations to not do it (even if it isn’t to do it as much) then we win.  Let’s win.

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Things I need to blog about

Hello friends!  It has been some time, and I apologize.  You want to know what happened to me over the last week or so?  I will show you:

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I hope you didn’t want to come in because this is how far I was able to open my door.

Snowmageddon came to my piece of the world and it decided to bury me in.  Now, you may think that would be the perfect reason to just blog, but here is what I had to deal with:

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This was taken outside my window.  It was my car, and by car I mean mini-van.  The snow fricken buried my mini-van.

Shovelling takes it’s toll and makes me a very cranky and unsociable creature.  This is how I spent most nights:

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You can’t see my frowny face.

So yeah, there was a lot of snow to get out of and because of it I was pretty tired. I promise I have some updates to do about D&D games, women in the geek community, and of course my excitement about my upcoming trip to New Zealand to see FFAC.  So until then, keep your hearth warm and your ale cold!

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You’re Playing a Dustbuster?

Hello, dear friend!  Sorry I have been a bit slack with posting, but I have been really under the weather since Sunday.  I am starting to get back bits of energy here and there, so I am going to try and post quickly before I run out.  Again.

As I am sure you have guessed, last Saturday was our bi-weekly family D&D session.  It was going to be hopefully our last day in the dungeon we have been in for 3 months (though game time it has only been 2 days).  We had stared down a young dragon, met some evil clerics with some wonderful fashion senses (ochre colored robes?  Awesome!), and found some evil rooms and a tentacle monster.  Dirge, our young dashing rogue, was battling the evil within, Melodie was having a hard time connecting with others, our elvish companions, Ithril and Fuyo were keeping fairly quiet (probably trying to figure out what to do with Dirge) and Ana was just taking them all in and watching.  We had found our way to the bottom of the hole and there was an evil cleric to battle!  After finishing that up (Dirge had suggested hitting the cleric first, we all said, no the adds.  Come to find out Dirge was right and it should have always been the adds first.  We didn’t let him rub it in our faces, but he totally should have).  We searched the rest of the rooms and the squishies wanted to throw a rock at a wall where a huge second tentacle monster came out of the wall.  There was a pillar in the room and we climbed up and was transported to another place where we had a voice speak to us.  A fruit appeared in our hands and we had to choose whether to eat it or not.  Eat we did, and we got a +1 to one of our base stats.  We were out.  Finally out!

Now to the other parts of the session.  We camped for a night and upon waking up, we had a dwarf in our midst.  Mairna Orcbreaker was looking for us after wandering into the town and hearing about the 5 people who went off to the moathouse.  Mairna is played by K, who after the last session wanted to join into this one as well.  Next time, my brother Billy will also be joining us so we will have a group of 7.  Bless my tricksey DM.

My sister also has an interest in playing, so this has inspired me to pick up the DM guide as well as a Monster Manual.  I am thinking of maybe running a Wednesday night group which would be my brother, my sister, maybe her beau (the word beau needs to make a comeback), Girl 1 and Boy, and K.  It could easily be a 6 person group, so I will have to really start paying attention to how my DM handles the large crowd.  I am still rather new at playing; it hasn’t been a year yet, but my heart warms at the interest people are showing at playing, and how once introduced, to see it take hold.  It truly is a lot of fun, and not just an excuse to eat onion dip.  It is so vast, and you really can do what you want in the world.I adore the social aspect of it as well, how the game will show you how to work together and problem solve.

I have always wanted to play, but growing up there was no one I knew that did play.  It isn’t a game you can play by yourself or even with just one other person.  It really does excite me to see everyone wanting to play and having fun with it!  Our group has doubled + some in less than a year of playing, which goes to show that even with the best graphics available you still can’t beat just sitting around a table and spending time together.

So what’s that got to do with a dustbuster?  Boy decided to level up when he hit level 5 as a duskblade.  When he told people, K came out with, “You are going to play as a Dustbuster?”  Yes, people, Dustbuster is now a playable class.

Until next time, dearest friends, always remember to leave space at your table for one or two more.

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Guess What

Tomorrow is?!?!

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