One of the interesting (ahahahahahahahaha.. haha… ha…) parts of recovering from trauma is the way you can quickly slip between old modes of thought and new ones. It happened to me just the other day (the day before this went up) in the middle of a conversation with a friend who was checking up on me. I was increasingly dour as she tried to be supportive, sinking down ever faster as she tried to drag me back to the neutral mind frame I’ve been trying to cultivate lately.
I have been feeling very directionless lately, which is difficult for me because I am all about direction. My main coping mechanism is to work hard and I’m struggling to find good balance between my desire to put aside all concerns in order to simply work and recognizing that I need to take it easy on myself during what is probably one of the most difficult situations of my life.
The small words
Lost in a paragraph
As you’re told your feelings
Are as valid and real
As your experiences.
A theme repeated
From one mouth to the next
While all you can manage
Is a simple “thank you”
When you are lost in a sea
Of inescapable emotion
You can do nothing about
Until the waves pass.
I’ve spent a lot of time with myself, lately. Despite working pretty hard to make sure I talk to people outside my household every day, messaging people constantly, and spending more time bothering my coworkers during my work-weeks than is strictly necessary, there are more hours in the day than I can fill with other people. I don’t know if you’ve ever picked up on the theme in my many blog posts, but I don’t really like spending time with myself most days. I’ve got a lot of baggage, spend a lot of time dwelling on negativity, have a tendency to get caught up in my own feelings, and am really not very nice to myself. I’m not exactly the best person to keep myself company.
I used to sleep with the window open.
The washed out yellow street light
Standing sentinel at the corner next to my driveway
Throws wild shadows on my shelves and walls
That are occasionally stretched into thin waving lines
As the bright pale blue light of the patrolling cop’s
Fluorescent headlights roll past my yard.
The silent murmur of the woods holds sway
Broken by a passing car on a distant highway,
The echoing sirens of a police car needed somewhere quick,
Or the mournful blare of a train lost somewhere in the hills.
Despite all of my preparations, last week was both a great week and a terrible week. I had a schedule, a to-do list, plenty of projects to work on, books all lined up for reading, some new games to play, and a new exercise regimen that would allow me to get a close to full workout in at home. Yet I made it through only two days before I started to fall apart.
On my worst days I am a point
Like every fevered dream
Of being too small to move
Nightmarishly trapped in place
As the world grows large around me
I am dimensionless and still
Present in space
But concerned only with the space I occupy
And the work of continuing to be
When it comes time to make a skill check, every DM faces an eternal conundrum: do you let the players roll it or do you roll it? Is it better to allow the players to make every roll for every check, save, or attack or is it better to keep some of them to yourself so they don’t influence the way your players choose to act in the moment? Sure, there are roleplayers out there who won’t flinch at a botched stealth roll or who can resist summoning dreadful images in their head if they roll single-digits on a saving throw, but most people aren’t that good at separating what they know from what their character knows or can infer.
In the recent years of my life, I’ve grown to appreciate the run’n’gun style of games. I suppose you could say that it began with Halo back in the day, but I don’t think I really appreciate the genre/style until I started playing DOOM (2016). DOOM’s simple mechanics, fast-paced combat, and loose approach to storytelling made it a very fun game to sit back and play when I was too stressed or tired to invest in a game. Most of the story was told through codex updates and the occasional speech you couldn’t walk away from, which means it was mostly there for you to find if you wanted to look for it while it stayed out of the way the rest of the time. Doom Guy even leans into it, punching screens and breaking things rather than listening to exposition or operating instructions.
Roger wasn’t much for animals. They didn’t like him and he didn’t like them. Every dog he’d ever tried to pet had either run or bit him. Cats clawed him and even birds pecked him.
Which is how he knew something was wrong when he woke up with a mouse sitting on his nightstand.
“Go away” he said. It didn’t move.
“Scram.” Roger sat up and waved at it. It washed its whiskers.
Roger eyed the clock and then looked out the window. It was past eight but still dark out. Odd. Roger watched the mouse carefully as he stayed outside arm’s reach of the mouse while getting up.
He grabbed his things and headed to the shower without taking his eyes off the creature until he left his bedroom. Stayed facing him the entire time.
When he came back, it was still there. He combed his hair in silence, still watching the mouse that moved only to rub its whiskers.
When he couldn’t take it any longer, Roger stepped forward, grabbing a book off his shelf. “Get out of here now or I’m going to smash you!”
The mouse paused for a moment, and then resumed rubbing its little face.
Roger moved to the bed, put the book down, and picked up a pen. When he poked the mouse, it squeaked and then continued washing its whiskers.
Roger bent over to look at it and whispered half to himself. “What the hell are you doing, little guy?”
“Distracting you” said a small voice behind him. By the time he started to spin around, the horde of mice was crashing over him.
The last thing he heard as darkness swallowed him was a small voice saying “At last, the prophesied hero has fallen. Soon, so will all the other Humans.”