Saturday, January 12, 2008

Child's Play

This post is more unique to my personal situation, and so many other transsexuals might not relate to it. In fact it doesn't really only apply to trans people.

I recently got into a fight with my mother about my habit of constant computer games. Childish? Sure. Boyish? Not in my opinion. The fact of the matter is, right now life being so hard to deal with and waiting for some answer as to where I'll be in the next month, I have nothing else to do.

As I've explained before the Internet provides me with a chance to be a girl, despite the ravages of nature on my male body. I can demand whatever pronouns I prefer, having no image of me to tie me down to my male identity.

But it goes a little beyond that too. It gives me a chance to get away, to escape into some fantasy land with my long distance partner. To be an elf or a magician, to be some kind of magical entity. To be the heroine that saved some town from some plague, or saved some child from some monster, or wicked person. Gives me a chance to feel special.

My mother got sick of my constant escapism, which at this part of my life I feel is even more necessary than it has been in the past. We got into the typical fight, and she yelled threats at me, (I am heavily dependant on her at this time, still living with her and having no working vehicle) and she decided to throw some insults my way about my fixation with "Faeries and Swords and Knights" She said I need to stop playing these games because they are destroying me, making a comparison to how she was younger and used to drink to feel confident and popular. (Frankly I found it audacious of her to think she even comes close to knowing what I'm going through... popular? I just want to be a girl, she had that right at birth).

She left me with the following ultimatum: No video games while living in this household, if you can't live with that go move into the shelter...

perhaps it was my "childish" anger... I opted for the shelter.
I doubt I'll have much time for games there, but having been insulted over who I am, not just in terms of being a girl, but in what kind of girl I happen to be... I was, and still am infuriated with her.

But here I am coming to the first point of this off-topic post: I admit that I am addicted to video games. I'm confident enough in who I am that I can say I don't think that makes me any less of a girl, despite the stereotypes. I can't stop escaping into a mystic fantasy world where being a girl is only the beginning, I'm a beautiful heroine who saves lives and performs superhuman deeds. I go on adventures and face untold perils, how exiting! Its so much better than being a bitter, pathetic, dependant, hairy, untreated transsexual, as I am in real life.

I've read all the arguments about video game addiction, but I believe for me it is a unique problem... where is balance? I know and admit I have an addiction and in no way do I want to spend my whole life doing nothing but playing video games... But I've no desire to give them up either. I do not know how drugs or alcohol or smoking feels, I've never tried any of them, but for me video games are also a passion. Its been my dream to be a game designer, one I've recently had to give up on for now... but not for life.

I believe these games, while obviously a heavily commercial industry, if given the opportunity, can be an art form. Don't get me wrong, I'm a girl, and personally I'm not into blowing off heads with shotguns and seeing how much better I can be than someone else. (I suppose some girls ARE into that but I'm not one of them.) For me it is entering another world, with enchanted forests, where rumors of hauntings just might actually prove true. Its infinite oceans with islands that have yet to be discovered. Worlds of breathtaking beauty and unspeakable horror become possible.

I yearn for the day I can invite people into worlds of my own creation, to wander enchanted glades of my own dreams. To discover adventures in my own faerie world. But my transition and my identity as a woman come first. So my transitioning has put this dream on hold for now, but not forever.

My question is... Is my mom right? Is my passion killing me? Is it impossible for there to be a happy medium where I can be Claudia in real life, and still explore and create in the world of video games? I do not know if drinking or smoking can be a passion like this, but In my opinion there is a serious difference. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe giving up drinking means giving up something that for some people has a lot of meaning and impact.

Or maybe because this is something that has such meaning to me and something where I'd like to place my creativity, there has to be a different answer. Maybe addiction or not, it's not the same as getting drunk or stoned. Maybe it does have meaning for some people and, it's not just me trying to get another fix.

I would like comments especially on this post. Are video games like drugs? Am I just giving meaning to a meaningless thing because I am an addict or is there something to my words?

Shamefully honest~ Claudia


Samantha Shanti said...

I read, and take journey's in my mind to places where everything is better. I'm a fan of Stargate, and because I'm also a creative type, was once a gamer, and am also a hypnotherapist I have access to a greater level of escapism than most. P4C-427 is a world that is simple, clean, utterly lovely, untouched by the Goa'uld and mine.

Litterly my home away from home. I've got a great house overlooking the ocean, with lovely double doors leading to the balcony where I sit eating this great fruit that's like a cross between pineapple and watermellon. Anytime I'm there I'm completely, utterly, and totally me, and I do what I want and need to relax.

I'm a woman of power, beauty, incredible sex appealm and spend most of my time there utterly naked and free. I'm also what they call in Firefly a registered companion. Yup, I'm a working girl, and well paid for it too. There it is therapy, healing, relaxing, and utterly respected. Plenty of powerful, intense, passion and hunger with empathy and compassion in the balance.

I enjoy what I do, and I do it to get away from HERE...

My sister came from the factory with an OEM vagina. She's also a serious gamer. I mean own's every version of Final Fantasy that is worth having. She bought a DS just to be able to b=play this one version of Final Fantasy. She's not a freak or loser because of it and neither are you, or I.

Addicted? In don't know if it's addiction as much as self defense. I've learned, all by myself, to read amazingly fast. Today for example I read a Star Trek novel titled Q&A in just a couple of hours. Yup, hundred of pages, zipped through them, because I was there, not here.

Transition is pretty much behind me. There are people in my life who never knew I was ever anyone but me, and the few I told didn't believe me. My gender issues are behind me, part of my past. My life however still has parts that are less than perfect, so it's nice to be able to get away from it all.

Yeah, there is something to your words, no question in my mind. Madprops for standing by what's important to you, I know going to a shelter isn't easy, but with luck your mom will get her head out of her bum and grow up.

You can tell her I said she should grow up too if you think that will help. Ask her, "So, what? You want I should get into drugs and drink to give me some peace? Sure Mom, when they find me dead from an overdose you can thank the woman in the mirror for pushing her little girl to death."

It has meaning, to you, to me, to most of the rest of the same world. Nothing wrong with being creative. I'm an artist myself, and I love being creative. Nothing wrong with that, or holding onto the goal of working in the gaming field. They WANT female coders, designers, creative types who can address gaming from a female perspective. Why? So that they can sell more games to us of course! Gaming isn't just for guys anymore, not hardly!

Hang in there Claudia.

P.S. I've put a link on my blog so that you can send me private e-mail if you want.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to any activity, such as video games, the question in my mind is whether it's taking one away from what one ought to be doing instead. If one is taking care of RL, whatever "taking care of" means for that person, then I see nothing wrong and indeed a lot right with participating in fantasy worlds.

When I joined Second Life and created a female character, that provided an amazing opportunity for me. I loved being that character so much, loved being treated as female, that for a while I think I was addicted. I let RL go. SL became much too important to me. It started to become more real to me than RL.

Then I started to deal more with my own life, with my trans-ness, and as I worked more things out in RL, I needed SL less and less. When reality got better, I had less need for fantasy.

I still love it though. I think living in a fantasy world has a lot of positive aspects. I have learned so much about myself thanks to SL. But I did have to find a balance. I was definitely out of balance for several months.

You have to figure out for yourself whether fantasy worlds are helping you or taking you away from things you need to do in RL. I realize your RL is very difficult at this point, and I don't blame you for needing some escape. You're also much younger than me -- you were brought up with video games, and I wasn't. Video games are pretty much a normal part of life for young people now.

I think your ambition to create your own fantasy worlds, to do work in the gaming industry, is great. It can also be rewarding in many different ways. I hope you are able to realize that.

I'm sorry things are so bad with your mother, hon. I'm sorry life is so difficult for you right now. I hope you can find a way through this and get back on the track I know you want to be on.

Sara said...

The answer to your question is yes, it was interrupting my real life, but the question I am asking is, if it is a passion of mine... is there a happy medium or must I give up this passion? I was skipping showers and leaving menial chores undone for starters. I believe that transitioning will make fantasy life less necessary without obliterating it completely, but I wanted other peoples input and I thank you for that. That goes to both Samantha and Justine for your support.

Anonymous said...

Hi Claudia, it's me ^_-
I wouldn't say that keeping you from doing your chores is sympthom of an addiction... i usually look for any excuse to skip chores and shower :P (i am lazy like that lol), whether it is game (which doesn't really work as an excuse :D), reading, work, etc.
What marks the addiction is if it keeps you from doing things you used to like, or fulfilling your duties (not home duties... for the people who still live at the parents' home, house chores are something that brings us back to childish attitudes, namely trying to skip them; when i talk about duties, i mean your job, your studies, etc...), then yes, it's an addiction. And it requires help.

Addictions are often triggered by other problems the addict my have, and if they reach the level of addiction, they won't disappear even if the other problems go away.

Personally, i don't think you are addicted, if you accepted going to a shelter as an act of self-affirmation, where you obviously won't have chance to play games. But in any case, be careful, ok? ^_^

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with video games or alcohol as long as it's moderate and dont take too much space over your real life and what's important.

All you need is a little inner voice to tell you what must be done when it have to be done. It's important to have control over your addictions, to be able to stop when you want to, when you have to. You should be able to tell youself "i can stop in 10 minutes" and actually stop.
Also, know that a job could help you forget your problems too, it worked for me. You forget about reality because you're focusing on something (the game), but it also work with a job.

For the hair problem well, pluck them? i do it, personnally, once every week. It will make you feel much better.

For your problems with your parents, i'm quite shocked a mom could do that to her own child. Such extreme. When your child go through tough times, you offer your help.

Don't lose hope, and keep your resolve.
be strong, you will get what you want with a bit of patience.

Unknown said...

I know how you feel.

I spent months on Ragnarok, or drawing, or on gaiaonline, ignoring myself and my problems. I had at one point, forgotten to eat for an entire month, simply talking in a chat room and drawing. I loathe reality. I'm the only person I know of who sleeps 10+ hours a day, hoping that while I'm asleep I can escape into dreams.

But I grow older, and the dreams come less frequently.

I understand the need to escape. I read comics to get away. Almost to the point of spending my entire paycheck on them sometimes.

I don't think it's quite obsession, but I can understand your mother's feelings to a certain respect. If you are letting chores fall to the wayside, and personal hygiene deteriorate...then it's getting a little troublesome.

Also, it can't be good for your eyes, hehe...

But honey, you know the doors of my house are open for you. So just say the word, and you can come in. the risk of sounding cheesy...We love you, so do what you feel is best for yourself. And we'll try our best to help. ♥