A few years back, after I’d attempted suicide and survived, a friend bought me World of Warcraft and Burning Crusade. He told me that he wanted me to start playing the game because he didn’t want me to hurt myself again. I was so tired of fighting life and of always feeling victimized or used, that I figured playing a cartoon version of what my ideal self might be like would at least offer me some sort of escape. I could cope with daily life, and all the pressure I put on myself so long as I could escape into this game for a little while. Anime was awesome, but I couldn’t interact with it. Music only worked until the earpieces came out. So I dove into this game and lo and behold, I loved it. I loved the colours, the stories, the powerfully shimmery and sparkly magical spells. It was a safe haven.
Shortly after starting the game I met Chris and we enjoyed playing on various servers, with tons of different people. Our friendship became a relationship and I brightened up a bit. Then, as the game became more casual oriented, a lot of the hardcore WoW players started to get incredibly aggressive, some showed a lot of anger. They took it out on people who didn’t deserve it, and I started seeing this everywhere I went on just about any server I went to. I’m sure it isn’t a game issue. It never is. People with anger issues hardly ever target what’s genuinely causing the core anger. Nope, they were using this as a method to vent out their frustrations in real life, because something that once made them happy had changed and instead of adapting to change, they were going to do everything possible to ruin that change for everyone else. It happens. It’s sad but it happens. I didn’t let it totally turn me off of the game, but it did make the experience less enjoyable. I’m not a hardcore gamer but I’m not really a casual either. If I get invested in a character and in my groups progress enough, I take it seriously and work hard at what I’m doing. Just as with anything in life. I just didn’t like what I saw when it came to new people being treated like the enemy simply because the vintage generation of WoW decided they weren’t worthy.
Then I met someone who thought I wasn’t worthy of Chris. And that hurt. It hurt even more when that person, who happened to be a real life friend of his, started to play with us and would sometimes lash out at me. I didn’t realize at the time that it was deeper than just annoyance about a friend being taken by a girlfriend, so since there were also days where the guy was kind and helpful, I let it slide. But then I moved here to be with Chris, and it got worse. Much worse. The guy would sit at our dining table, and say stuff like “I’m going to stab you.” and because Chris was used to this guy sometimes making aggressive off the cuff comments like that, he didn’t see it as something scarier. I did. Because I’ve been on the other side of that wall before. I’ve had that heated anger and disdain thrown at me before, so I knew it was serious this time. I slowly stopped playing WoW. I didn’t know why, but I knew I wasn’t happy in Azeroth anymore. My depression sank to all new levels because I was so far from home and at the time hadn’t made any friends. How could I? Our time was ALWAYS being taken up by this other person. This person who would come to my home, eat my food, insult me, and stay until 4am sometimes. WoW slipped away, Chris and I fought a lot. It was scary, lonely, and I felt like I was just drowning. Then I met Yazmin, who spoke Spanish too and we bonded a bit and she invited me out, where I met Teresa. Teresa who is now my best friend. After that guy finally crossed the line by telling me he wanted to strangle me, kill me, Chris saw the seriousness of it and put his foot down. That guy is no longer in our lives.
I know some people who don’t know my husband would assume that he slacked off on the department of husband/protector. The reality is that this other dude was someone he’d known since childhood, and Chris gives people the benefit of the doubt. He is kind of an oxymoron like me. We think tons of people are stupid, but we also think a lot of people have good in them, and we don’t always think that people are going to go to an extreme. I always fear it, but I pray it stays far away. Whereas with Chris, he doubts their conviction and passion enough to think that they won’t go through with stuff they say. Two sides, same coin. It took a while, but what counts is that he finally took me out of that situation, and has never put me back in there again. Still, WoW was tainted and I couldn’t touch it. I couldn’t stomach watching him play. I resented the game because it had begun to represent all of those angry and hateful people, but worse, it represented someone who emotionally abused and terrorized me for months. It was a scar that just would not heal.
After a while, Chris got kind of bored with it too and we just stopped playing. A few weeks ago, his brother sent him a Resurrection scroll and he started to play. As I watched him play, I started to feel this pull. I didn’t understand why, especially since I had so hated and dreaded the thought of getting back into that world and facing angry hateful people again. I went to lay down when it finally hit me like some lightning bolt. I was envious. I was jealous that he could enjoy the game and I felt like I wasn’t -allowed- to. Then I asked myself why I wasn’t allowed to. I realized that the guy who had been so hateful towards me wouldn’t be on every single server, and even if he were on our server he wouldn’t actively be seeking us out. So… why was I holding myself back from something that a friend had gotten me in order to heal, in the first place?
We talked about it. I was worried about wasting our money in case it did turn out that I didn’t like going back. We tried a Resurrection scroll for me but since I’d used one in the past (when I’d attempted to go back) I couldn’t use it. By then, I knew I wanted back in for sure. Being told it wouldn’t work made me sure that I at least wanted to try. So we signed me back up and I’ve been playing with Chris. Twenty minutes into our leveling new characters, I realized “Holy… I’m actually having fun. I’m running around and not associating it with anything that made me feel bad.”
And that’s where I realized that pausing things sometimes isn’t a bad idea. Sometimes, we’ve got to take a step back from something we love but have begun to hate, instead of forcing it. Then it can become fresh and new again so that we can associate it with better things instead of negative things.
It’s a game. I know. It’s a game that kinda saved me from a very dark pit in life. We all have that in some way or another, or we can if we let ourselves, anyway. More importantly, we’ve all got a pause button. So before clicking the off button on your life, if it’s that scary and desperate, try the pause button first. Maybe in a bit of time it will be a heck of a lot better than you thought it could be. What have you got to lose? It’s on pause.