I’ve always been a geek… A book-worm, book-writer, game-lover and loner. As a toddler and young nipper, my real best friend was my Daddy and we played together for hours every day – sometimes with nothing but our own extensive and vibrant imaginations. I was myself and I didn’t question myself. They were good days, and I revelled in being exactly who I was – warts and all.
But that just wasn’t OK with my childish peer-group (and in fairness, we were all children…). Since I stepped into the permanent company of others, I’ve been slowly trying to hide myself and my nature. Unfortunately, for this loner, I had to start school, and I slowly but surely disappeared, trying to turn into a ghost of nothing to avoid teasing, jeers, and out-and-out bullying… From the young students and the teachers.
In trying to fit in, get along, and “manage” in this world, I’ve made some lunatic mistakes – including attempting to take my education and career towards nursing. It took a few rather horrific incidents and one wonderful woman (as well as the support of long-suffering parents) to start me on a different path – and I somehow managed to land myself in IT. Much to my relief. The silent geek in me breathed a sigh of relief and clearly hoped that one day it would be let out of its carefully-crafted cage of silence.
Gaming was my first real foray back to that part of me, outside being overtly Goth and pagan. I realise I’ve always been a gamer – not a computer one (I had to wait for technology to catch up with my expectations) – but always I’ve loved games. If I didn’t own every board game, I certainly played them – and every parlour-type game and “pub quiz” style game was mine to be owned… I strove to win each time, even playing against adults – and often-times I did. And to be honest, I got too used to winning I was a really sore loser!
I never really kept friends if they came along – they couldn’t really keep up with my more grown-up things I liked, and tended to win easily at games, which made them not much fun to play with anyway. I stuck with preferring adult company because they were on more the same level as I was and at least challenged me somewhat.
When I was introduced to real gaming – firstly with the fabulous Eternal Darkness on the GameCube – I was suddenly blown away by what playing these games was really like. I also realised that I now suddenly didn’t need other idiots to play with. I no longer had to be bored and rely on waiting for other people to play – I could play alone and buff up the difficulty to challenge me (as opposed to trying to upgrade to whatever adults were around instead of the kids). I could indulge in my geek-side – one that loved fantasy, stories, technology, computing, and playing games. When I found RPGs I was away, and finally The Elder Scrolls and the Fable franchise gave me something useful to be obsessed over, instead of struggling with feelings of serious depression and musings of self-harming that still plagued my mind.
Somehow, playing these – like any gaming fan(atic) does, started pushing the other nonsense out of my head and I started indulging more and more in my true “geek” nature, and began to not give a hairy rat’s backside what other people thought, or whether or not I could play in the sandbox with “normal” people (non-geeks).
With this has slowly been a quiet confidence building as I get to know myself properly. I have felt so lost that I now feel I’ve been given the most awesome GPS system with a clear You-Are-Here and a big glittery breadcrumb trail (a la Fable) to where I need to be to just be me (… I can’t even really put “again” here, because I don’t think I’ve really been “me” since I first started school).
I feel like I’ve been given a vehicle to grasp onto to bring that side of me back out again, this time with more strength, confidence and the courage of my own convictions.
Most of all, it’s allowed me to realise that it’s so tiring trying to be someone else. I have a lot more buzz when I’m embracing the things that I love instead of trying hard to focus on things I genuinely really couldn’t give a hairy rat’s arse about at all. I think I’m happy now trying to just put my energy into simply being me – I’ll hazard a guess I’ll get a lot more out of that.