Tag Archives: Ophelie

That’s A Wrap

16 Jun

This afternoon I had a conversation with Ophelie that led to her admitting that she no is longer interested in recording our show, the Double O Podcast together.  It has nothing to do with me as a person.  It’s not that we do not get along or anything on a personal level.  There is no drama to be had or anything like that.  She has just lost a lot of interest in World of Warcraft and hasn’t been participating in the community like she used to (e.g. her blog, Twitter), so I kind of had a feeling that this was something that was going to start affecting the show and it has.

This leaves me with three options:

1)  I can try to find a new co-host – an honorary “O,” if you will, since it’s highly unlikely that I would meet someone whose name happens to start with “O” and that I mesh well with.  Preferably this person would have some knowledge or desire to learn how to handle the editing or the behind the scenes aspects of the podcast, whereas I would continue handling the more social aspects of the show (e.g. promotion, finding guests, coming up with topics).

2)  I can move on from the Double O Podcast and perhaps join another existing podcast that is looking for a guest host.  I really do enjoy podcasting and I admit that there are so many sides to it that I still have yet to see or to understand.  I think podcasting is a great way to get people talking and to expand your audience in a way that blogging can’t.

3)  I can stop podcasting altogether and focus on my blog and other community efforts (e.g. spend more time posting on forums like Elitist Jerks, MMO-Champion, or the official boards).

Without sounding too dramatic, I feel like my walls are caving in.  I have already been dealing with uncertainties regarding what I want to do in Mists of Pandaria, then this comes along, and now this.  I keep wondering who is next.  It seems like everyday someone else I know, someone I admire, or that I respect, or someone that I have some genuine history with decides to call it a day and stops playing World of Warcraft.  It’s like a demented game of Guess Who and I’m the one in front of the board just flipping faces down, one by one.  There aren’t many faces still standing anymore and that’s mighty depressing to me.

Am I next?

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Oestrus’ Top 4 Tips For The Newbie Blogger Initiative

17 May

I signed up to be a Sponsor as part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative earlier this month and I admit that I got sort of sidetracked between World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Magic the Gathering, and some pretty fun times in my personal life.  With that said, I did want to write some sort of post, in which I give some advice to either up and coming bloggers or bloggers who might be returning to the scene after a hiatus.  While I have covered this topic once before with Ophelie on an episode of the Double O Podcast, it still feels good to get all of this out in writing, for my own peace of mind and for those who didn’t get a chance to listen to the episode in question that we talked about most of these things on.

So without further ado, here are my top 4 tips or pieces of advice for bloggers of all stripes.

Find your niche

One of the first things I always tell people who are considering starting a new blog is to make sure that they carve out a niche for themselves or that there is something about them that sets their blog apart from the rest of the pack.  For example, let’s say you want to start a new blog and you’re a resto druid.  Well, she’s a resto druid.  So is he.  And so is she.  You have to bring something more to the table than just that, otherwise you are most likely going to get skimmed over in favor of others who have been doing this much longer than you have.  If you look a little closer at the three people I just mentioned, you can find very subtle differences in their writing style, their personalities, or other topics that they choose to write about which sets them apart.  While they are all resto druids, one of them likes to roleplay and writes stories in character, the other sometimes covers personal topics and tends to skew more towards the hardcore side of raiding, while the other is usually at the forefront regarding changes to druids and spends a lot of time interacting directly with the druid community in various ways.

Finding a niche or something that makes you unique will not only help define you in a sea of other bloggers, but it will also give you something else to write about when you can’t think of anything else regarding your primary topic or subject of expertise.  There will be times when there is nothing to report or when things are just sort of trucking along.  You want to make sure that you don’t spend too much time away from your blog, if this is the case, and having a secondary topic to write about can help you stay active and keep people interested in your blog during those slow periods.

Saturate the market

Do you ever notice that when an actor or actress is about to break out in Hollywood that you see them everywhere you go?  They are doing handfuls of movies a year.  They are on the covers of magazines all over newsstands.  They are doing interviews on any TV or radio show that will have them.  Then once they become a bit more famous or established they start to scale it back a bit.  They do one movie a year, maybe even one movie every two years.  I tend to look at blogging the same way.

When you’re just starting out in the business of blogging, like show business, nobody knows who you are.  You are but one blogger in a sea of other bloggers, all clamoring for Retweets and comments and space on other people’s blogrolls.  You have to make people see you, make them see what you are all about and exactly what you are up to.  Once you have established yourself as a presence in the community, you can start to scale it back a bit.  Post once a week.  Maybe once every two weeks.  People with established audiences can afford to take a break from time to time because they have such loyalty from their readers that they know people will wait for them to post something again.  When you are a new blogger, you don’t have that luxury.  You have to keep people’s attention on you and posting frequently is one way to do that.

Dare to be different

One of the things that attract me most to a fledgling blogger is when they take a stance on something that is different than what others feel about something.  It can be very tempting for you to want to fit in or to crave acceptance from others by falling in line with what they want you to feel or what they think you should write about.  At the end of the day, you are the one that has to be comfortable with what you choose to do with yourself and your blog.  Write about what you want to write about.  Make your blog look the way that you want it to look.  Put whomever you want to on your blogroll.  Moderate your comments as you see fit.  I think the blogosphere would be an incredibly boring place if everyone felt the same way and nobody dared to feel otherwise.  It’s important to give people some variety, in case they don’t agree with the status quo.  Who knows?  That opinion or that perspective that you feel puts you in the minority could suddenly turn into the new majority.  You never know unless you speak up or speak out.

Ignore the numbers

The hardest mental road block for any blogger, new or old to overcome is most often the one involving the numbers.  It is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in the number of page views that you accumulate, the number of subscribers that you have, the number of Followers that you have on Twitter, etc.  Ignore all of it.

The number one reason that I see up and coming bloggers give up on their blogs and on themselves is because they buy into the numbers.  If you are getting into blogging simply because you want lots of Followers and readers then you are blogging for the wrong reason.  Let’s get that out of the way right here and now.  There are bloggers with 65 Followers whose posts I live and breathe for and then there are those with a thousand Followers that I find to be the tritest personalities in the entire world.  These numbers have no bearing on the work that you do, the quality of your writing, your worth as a human being – none of it.  They are the last thing you should be looking at, in terms of viewing yourself or your blog as a success or something that is worth doing.

Another reason why it doesn’t pay to worry about your numbers is because there is no sure fire way to keep track of them all.  If you use WordPress, the site counter is going to tell you that the number of page views or referrals that you have received is different than what something like Google Analytics would tell you.  Different feed readers will give you conflicting information, in terms of how many subscribers that you have and Twitter has been known to randomly Unfollow people, through no fault of your own.  You would spend more time trying to get all the numbers to line up than you would trying to focus on churning out new and exciting content and it’s just not worth it.  Do not fall into that trap.

To this day, I still don’t know how many subscribers that I have and I choose not to know.  I don’t obsess over how many Followers that I have on Twitter.  I don’t sweat my page views like I used to.  And to be honest, I think I’m better off for not knowing or not caring.  I write what I want to write and it is great if people choose to tag along and come along for the ride with me.  But I think taking away the emphasis on other people and their validation helps me focus on why I blog and what really matters to me.  It is a very liberating feeling.

A Lifetime Of O’s – Then And Now

13 Mar

Have you ever had one of those moments where you take a second to look around and you think to yourself  “How did I get here?”  I have those moments more often than most people do, but I felt compelled to answer the question a bit more seriously after some other bloggers started a trend of writing posts detailing where their characters came from compared to where they are now. 

I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted to tackle this one.  The character that I play now is not the one I started out with, so I wasn’t sure if I should talk about the history that I have with my current main, or my previous one, or even the one before that.  This post could be as long or as short as I wanted to make it.  In the end, I decided that I wanted to go all the way back – back to the beginning.  How did I get here?  Let me show you.

It all started on a little realm called Thunderhorn, which is actually still around, and is considered to be one of the oldest realms in the game.  I was an Alliance healing priest named “Kemintiri,” in a guild called “Chosen of Valhalla,” which was run by Shoryl.  I was so green.  I didn’t know how guild politics worked.  I didn’t know anything about what it meant to be a raider and how to handle yourself as such.  I knew nothing. 

Thunderhorn was grossly overpopulated – so much so that before Burning Crusade was released Blizzard was thinking of either splitting the realm in two (so there would be a Thunderhorn 1 and a Thunderhorn 2), or they were going to offer free realm transfers to lower population realms.  The guild that I was in was part of an alliance of guilds and they all agreed that the free realm transfer was the better option, rather than staying on Thunderhorn and leaving fate to decide which half of the server we ended up on.  As it turns out, the split never took place, so we really had nothing to worry about.

Shortly after we arrived on Zangarmarsh, I was kicked out of the guild.  I was pretty distraught over what happened and what I perceived to be a betrayal from people that I thought I could trust or who I thought were my friends.  I really wanted nothing to do with the Alliance anymore at that point.  I decided to create a Horde character, but I couldn’t come up with a really good name for my character.  Codi was my roommate at the time and she had an encyclopedia of gods and goddesses that I used to borrow from her frequently. 

I remember browsing through the pages and the name “Ouranos” jumped out at me.  It was unlike anything I had ever heard of before.  Since I was thinking of making a Tauren druid anyway, the name seemed kind of appropriate.  Codi loved the idea and told me I should name my character that, so I did.  I had an issue with how the Tauren females looked, so I opted to make a Tauren male instead.  I thought it would be kind of neat to have such a masculine looking character and be someone seemingly so girly behind the screen.  I really got a kick out of that dichotomy. 

So I leveled Ouranos as a balance druid with some friends of mine and we even created our own little guild to call our own.  Once we hit level 70, the urge to raid came back strong.  We took the guild apart and joined a guild called “Resilience,” which was run by a rogue named Ricen.  Little did I know that the real person running the show was a warlock named “Raaziel,” who paid for the website, the Vent server, managed the DKP, ran the raids, etc.  I also didn’t know that Raaziel and I would eventually end up dating and that I would be part of the reason the guild fell apart.

Raaziel really didn’t want to be running the show.  I grew tired of hearing him complain about things that he really didn’t want to do and so I politely suggested that maybe he should do something that does make him happy for a change or maybe even take a break.  He went one step further – he quit the game completely.  Without having him on board to run the show, the guild slowly descended into chaos.  Raaziel and I broke up a short time later and the guild eventually split into two – half the guild chose to stay with “Resilience” to try and make the best of it and the other half formed a guild called “Ens Entium.”

One night, while partying in Halaa with some friends, I ran into a boisterious warlock named Joecmel, who was the de facto raid leader for a guild called “Big Tymers.”  Joe and I hit it off right away and he was amazed that I was guildless and not doing more with myself and my character.  Within days I had joined the ranks of “Big Tymers” as a raiding moonkin and he and I started to get to know one another.  Before we knew it we were dating and even making plans to move in together.  This of course didn’t sit too well with the guild.

I was constantly fighting off accusations that I was being carried or that I was using  Joe for status, or gold, or a raid spot.  He was coming off winning the Gladiator title during the first ever Arena season, so everyone on the realm and even some people outside of our realm knew who he was.  He was this sort of celebrity and I was a total nobody.  We became affectionately known as “O and Joe,” and before we knew it everybody seemed to be involved in our business.  It got worse when I actually did move out of state to be with him.

We decided to leave “Big Tymers” together and threw our lot in with a guild called “Scurvy Dogs,” a pirate themed raiding guild, where you would literally get greeted with a “Yarr” every time you logged in.  This is where I got my first real taste of serious raiding and I loved every minute of it, with the exception of one little thing.  It was a labor of love to be a moonkin back then and you either played one because you truly loved to do it or because you were a masochist.  

I felt like I had taken being a moonkin as far as I could go, or like I was starting to plateau in that role.  We had just started to break into Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep when a couple of resto druids on our roster had decided to take an indefinite break from the game.  This left a huge gap in our healing line up that was going to need to be filled.  I felt like I needed a challenge, so I offered to respec and try out resto, to see if I could potentially fill that void.  My guild master, who was also named Void, took me on a Karazhan run to sort of test my mettle.  I two healed it with a holy paladin and I had never been more scared in my entire life.  Did I forget to mention that Void was wearing a wedding dress the entire time?  Petrified.

From that point on I was a raiding resto druid and things continued to progress nicely until Joe and I fell apart.  I used to say that we were the Ben and J-Lo of our realm and everyone wanted to know what happened and had started to choose sides.  I was miserable – crying on Void’s shoulder on Vent because I had nobody else to talk to and it all got to be too much.  I decided that Joe could have custody of the guild, while I went looking for more elsewhere.  Shortly before Wrath of the Lich King came out, I joined a guild called “Invalid Target” back on Thunderhorn.

Things with “Invalid Target” started out well enough.  I was able to finally clear Zul’aman (which was a very difficult 10m back then) and get an Amani War Bear.  I was able to see progression fights at a steady pace.  I was happy.  At least until Ulduar came out and the controversy over who was going to be awarded the legendary healing mace began.  There had been a lot of talk on our forums about who was going to get Val’anyr and the officers still hadn’t made a decision by the time we pulled Flame Leviathan for the first time.  I guess they thought that the odds of getting a fragment our first night on the first boss on Normal mode were rather slim.  They were wrong.

The officers were frantically trying to figure out what to do, and so they just decided to have all of the healers roll on it.  I rolled a 98 and was to become the first recipient of Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings.  Needless to say the other healers were not pleased at this and things only got worse from there.  One healer, in particular, felt very slighted and it didn’t help that she was friends in real life with most of the guild.  Things got ugly fast.  People were making comics about me on the boards.  I was being goaded into fights in guild chat.  It was not pleasant.

I decided to leave and joined the top guild on our server (Horde side, at least), a guild called “Lobster Brood.”  This guild had a great reputation and they really believed in me as a healer and as a person and I was very excited to be a part of their ranks.  It wasn’t until after I joined that I got to see the inner workings of the guild and I didn’t really like what I saw. 

The guild had an unusually high turnover rate and I felt like we were in this endless cycle of gearing up people, losing them, and then having to recruit more people that we would have to gear and train.  We could have gone a lot further, progression wise if we weren’t constantly losing people and then replacing them.  I started to resent having to repeatedly sit for new people again and again, just because we either couldn’t keep people on board, or because of a string of bad luck with recruitment. 

After that, I moved the now female “Oestrus” (who had her name and gender changed shortly after Naxxramas was released) to Khaz Modan, and joined a guild called “Retribution.”  The guild was serious about progression, but still home to a likeable cast of characters, including an openly gay GM, and a fantastic resto shaman named Natoro.  Seeing as how Natoro was also our healing lead, he was the one that I had the most contact with during my trial period, and he and I hit it off right away.  He began to court me and the feelings became mutual.  Before I knew it we were dating and he was flying in to see me over Labor Day weekend of that year.

Natoro and I didn’t make it much past that weekend, and so I left “Retribution” for a brief stint on the Hydraxis realm, only to return to Zangarmarsh.  Joecmel and I had long since made amends after our relationship ended and he was now running a guild called “Cause for Concern.”  Although the 25m raids weren’t very successful, he had his own 10m group and asked if I wouldn’t mind being a part of it.  I got most of my Heroic experience in Icecrown Citadel with these folks and it was a very enjoyable experience for me.  I had started to take on some recruitment duties for the main raid and I was happy.  Or at least I thought I was.

The truth is that I missed a certain standard of raiding that just doesn’t exist on Zangarmarsh.  It never has and it probably never will.  Zangarmarsh tends to exist in a bubble and what they consider raiding is very different from what I consider it to be.  I had tried to take more of a hands on approach to replace the bad players by handling the recruitment myself and it just wasn’t working.  I started to really resent the people I was raiding with who weren’t trying as hard to do well and I also started to resent the officers and Joe, who seemed to stand by and let it all happen.  The guild had literally become a cause for concern. 

I left “Cause for Concern” for a guild called “Scientific Method” on Maelstrom.  With their help, I was able to finally complete my Val’anyr and clear up to Heroic LK 25.  I didn’t really have much in common with them on a personal level, but I certainly enjoyed them on a professional level.  They got shit done.  That’s all I really wanted at the time.  Around this time I had gotten my hands on a Beta key for Cataclysm and I was very unhappy with the direction that Blizzard seemed to be taking resto druids.  I was pretty sure that I wanted to re-roll for the next expansion, but I wasn’t sure if “Scientific Method” would have room for me as the class that I wanted to play next.

I had begun to get to know Kurnmogh through my early adventures in the blogosphere and she was attempting to breathe new life into her former guild, called “Apotheosis.”  This guild sounded like a dream come true to me.  I really wanted to be in a guild that would allow me to see progression, but with people that I could genuinely like, and not just have to stomach in order to get what I want.  I moved my former alt priest (now my new main, Obscene) to Eldre’thalas, turned her into a Dwarf female, and spent the rest of Wrath and my time in the Cataclysm Beta trying to master my new class. 

I enjoyed being in “Apotheosis” immensely – from the leveling process, to the process of gearing up through Heroics, and then our first raids together.  Where I started to take issue with certain things was on a social or administrative level.  I felt like there were certain situations that I was bringing to people’s attention or that others were creating for themselves that could have been handled proactively and wouldn’t have turned into the firestorms that they had become.  They were molehills that were allowed to become mountains, so to speak.  There were situations that I felt I had to handle myself, because Kurn or the other officers weren’t doing anything about them.  This ended up being my downfall.

Eventually I had gone too far and I had received word that the officers basically didn’t know what to do with me, that they didn’t know if I really wanted to even be in the guild anymore (based on my behavior), and that they would need to sort of deliberate on what to do next.  I felt like I had been backed into a corner and I didn’t like the prospect of waiting for other people to decide my fate.  I felt like I needed to take the power back and that if I was going to be made to leave a guild that I was going to do it on my terms.  Before the officers could make their decision, I told Kurn that I was going to leave. 

I definitely could have handled that situation better.  I don’t know what the officers would have decided, had I stuck around to see the final outcome.  What I do know is that I still consider “Apotheosis” to be the guild equivalent of “the one that got away.”  I was never happier than when I was raiding with my two best friends, Dahrla and Hestiah.  I enjoyed Kurn’s long winded and yet necessary explanations and posts on the forums.  Those things became a distant second to the burnout that I was starting to feel, which would lead to my most dramatic outburst ever.

I had been in “Occasional Excellence” on Quel’dorei (now the home of both Dahrla and Ophelie) for about two months when we came up against the wall known as Heroic Nefarian.  I was tired of caring more about the fight than other people did.  I was tired of wiping due to human error – not even due to Nefarian himself.  I felt like there was a lot of fuckery going on in the raid and like that focus should have been put into our performance, not on Heavy Leather Balls and the like.  A couple people thought they were being funny and amusing and I wasn’t having it.  So I left the raid. 

I was given the opportunity to stay in the guild, if I would offer up some form of apology, and I refused to do such a thing.  I felt like I was owed an apology for the poor performances of others and that this was again a situation where people saw something like this coming and they did nothing to prevent it.  I made it clear that I was annoyed, that I didn’t enjoy the Leather Balls, and people still kept throwing them.  I told them they would be sorry and I wanted to make very sure that I stuck to my guns on that.  Was it the right thing to do?  Of course not.  Would I do it again?  No.  At the time I wasn’t thinking about all of that.

Somehow my priest (now known as “Oenomel”) made her way into “Serious Casual” on Mal’ganis, which marked my return to the Horde side of things.  Firelands had just been released and things were not looking good for holy priests.  I was very clear during the application process about the fact that I was predominantly holy and I assumed that the raid knew what they were in for.  I remember being told my first night there to “Go disc or go home.”  Eventually I was given an ultimatum by the healing lead at the time that if I didn’t go discipline when asked that I could be benched – possibly even permanently.  To me this was the final straw.

It was never being discipline, in and of itself that I had an issue with.  I took issue with the fact that I wasn’t given a say in when I got to go discipline.  I was never trusted to make that call for myself.  It was basically “You’re going to do this and you’re going to like it,” and I wanted no part of it.  After certain people in the raid found out that I had blogged about this there was a heap of drama and it all became too much to bear.  I was pretty sure that I was done with World of Warcraft for good and threw my lot in with some friends who were playing Rift.  This lasted for about four months, or until shortly after BlizzCon.

BlizzCon made me realize how much I missed the community and how much I missed having people with a similar interest to discuss said interest with.  I met a few folks from “Big Crits” there and was encouraged to apply for their more casual run, known as the “Da Crew” run.  I was told that they already had 2 10m runs under the “Da Crew” banner and that they were looking to recruit for a third one.  This sounded like a good fit to me.  I had been gone long enough where I didn’t have the history or experience to get back in with a more serious group and I wasn’t even sure I wanted something that serious to begin with.  I figured this would give me an opportunity to sort of get my feet wet again and to figure out where I wanted to go from here.

“Big Crits” ended up being nothing like I imagined.  If I had to describe my time in “Big Crits,” I would probably compare it to sitting at the dinner table with a really dysfunctional family.  You know – one of those families where everything looks perfect, but dad’s really an alcoholic, and mom’s having an affair with the tennis instructor, the daughter is secretly a lesbian, and the son is a pyromaniac.  But nobody talks about it – and as long as you don’t talk about certain things, and you don’t acknowledge that they’re actually happening you will get along just fine.  So there were a lot of issues that kept coming up that nobody wanted to deal with and because I did (although maybe not in the best way possible) I got a lot of flak for it. 

There were other issues, with regards to personality conflicts and such, but it all led to the same conclusion.  It just didn’t work out.  I took about two weeks off from raiding after I left “Big Crits” and had a one week stint in a guild that a friend recommended, which then led me to my current guild.  I enjoy the people I raid with now.  I enjoy the progression that I’m seeing.  I like that they trust me to make my own decisions, with regards to my character and my class.  I feel good.  I can’t say that I’ll be here forever, but I also can’t say that I’m looking to leave them anytime soon.  I’m just taking it one day at a time.

I have certainly come a long way and I have learned a lot in the five years or so that I have been playing this game.  There are things that I would do differently, if I could, and there are things that I would probably have never done – if I knew then what I know now.  It’s been a wild ride and I am proud to say that I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. 

I really do believe that you can’t know where you are going until you have known where you have been, and so I encourage anyone reading this to really take a good look at what brought you to where you are now.  Relive the highs and the lows.  Remember the friends (and the enemies) that you have made along the way.  They helped make everything you are today possible.  Don’t ever forget that.  I know I sure won’t.

Queen

1 Nov

I stayed up way later than I should have, the night that the nominations for the Stopies awards were announced.  Secretly, I was hoping that my podcast, the one that I co-host and that I enjoy making with Ophelie would somehow have attracted enough attention to warrant being nominated for one of the many awards being given away by the crew of the Stopcast.  I got there just in time to hear who was all nominated and to hear which award I, personally, was being nominated for:  “Biggest Drama Queen.”

At first, it started out being something that I was proud of.  I even came on the show after the nominations were announced and talked a little bit about how happy I was to be nominated and how I couldn’t wait to beat out the other nominees for the grand prize.  I woke up the next morning and immediately spammed my Twitter feed with requests for people to vote for me as the “Biggest Drama Queen” and it was all fun and fancy free – at least for a little while.

The next day, I got into a scuffle with some people that I went to high school with, over on the Facebook page for our 10 year high school reunion.  There were a couple of women I went to school with who were upset about the fact that they couldn’t bring their children to the festivities, which would be taking place on a Saturday night at a swanky hotel in the city.  I made a comment that I couldn’t imagine why any parent would want to bring their child to such an event and that it isn’t the job of the organizers or us to entertain their children or to change things around so that the accommodations could be more to their liking.

Needless to say, this led to strings of trolling and some pretty nasty remarks about my lifestyle or my character.  I left the group, when I sensed things were taking a turn for the worse and only re-joined a few days later, at the request of the woman who was moderating the page and who was basically organizing the event.  Afterwards, people were reflecting on the sad state of some of our former classmates and I felt the need to apologize for my part in how things went down.  At that point, one of the guys I went to high school with chimed in with, “You haven’t changed since high school.  You’re still just a confrontational drama queen.”

There were those words again:  “drama queen.”  You are a drama queen.  Not even that I am a drama queen, but that I have always been a drama queen.  This implies that nothing has changed and that I have been something potentially negative all this time.  From then on, it stopped being funny.  It stopped being something to be proud of.  Instead, it became something that I began to obsess over.  I immediately texted my best friend, who I have known and loved since junior high.  I asked her, “Was I a confrontational drama queen in high school?”  She replied, “Um, kinda.”  Clearly, she was not my target audience. I didn’t really want to hear anything even remotely biased or subjective, so I took myself to the only factual and honest resource that I could think of:  Wikipedia.

Entering the words “drama queen” into their search engine brings up various forms of entertainment and interestingly enough, Histrionic Personality Disorder, or HPD.  The definition reads a little something like this:

Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention-seeking, including an excessive need for approval and inappropriately seductive behavior, usually beginning in early adulthood. These individuals are lively, dramatic, vivacious, enthusiastic, and flirtatious.

Well, this isn’t looking good for me.

Like any sane person who tries to self-diagnose via the Internet, I immediately began to get sucked into the various definitions of a histrionic personality and finding ways that this disorder seemed to be a perfect explanation for the way that I am.  Before I knew it, I had at least a dozen tabs open, full of home remedies, acronyms for how to describe people with this disorder, examples of histrionic personalities throughout history, differential diagnoses – you name it.  I was going into histrionics just reading about the possibility that I could be histrionic.  I had to take a step back for a moment and then it hit me.  I started to view things from an entirely different angle.

When you’re a woman, you’re not allowed to just “be.”  If you’re emotional, you’re hysterical.  If you’re assertive, you’re a bitch.  If you enjoy sex, you’re a whore.  If you swear, you’re uncouth.  If you get ahead in life, someone helped you get there.  Being a woman means being forced to operate in extremes.  You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.  It’s very hard to find a middle ground in anything, as a woman.  To me, phrases like “drama queen” or “slut” are really easy for people to turn to, when they can’t find other ways to label you or judge you.  How many times have you met someone who has described their most recent ex-boyfriend or girlfriend as simply being “crazy?”  What does that mean exactly?  Were they boiling your house pets in water on the stove?  Were they throwing pebbles at your window in the middle of the night, in a misguided attempt to wake you up and read you poetry?  Crazy could mean any number of things, but when you hear the word “crazy” your mind usually goes in one direction and it’s usually not in a positive one.

I asked my shrink about this today, if she thought that I was a drama queen and she helped me elaborate a bit more on the subject.  Drama queens do what they do for the attention, for the rush.  I have been in conflicts where I have felt that adrenaline rush and let me tell you that I did not enjoy it.  I did not enjoy the way that my hands shook violently and that I was so cold from anxiety that I couldn’t stop shivering, no matter how high I turned the heat on in my apartment or how many blankets I wrapped around myself.  I did not enjoy the feeling of my stomach being wrapped around and around like a wet towel, so tightly that I could not even sit because of how uncomfortable it made me feel.  I have experienced that surge of adrenaline, that feeling of fight or flight and it has never been something that I have wished or willed upon myself.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not avoid conflict.  To me, there is no such thing as avoiding conflict.  There is such a thing as avoiding resolution and that’s what avoiding conflict is, to me.  I don’t shy away from an opportunity to defend myself or to stand up for someone else.  I don’t let people walk all over me.  I say what’s on my mind and I try to do the right thing.  It may not always go down like that, but that’s typically my intention.  I didn’t do that nearly enough in high school and I regret it, to this day.  I was the doormat.  I was the wallflower.  I took it – all the jokes, all the bullying, all the judgment, and I didn’t say or do anything to defend myself.  As I got older, I realized that I could have done something all along and so that’s why I am as outspoken as I am today.  I know how it feels, to feel like you don’t exist because you do not have a voice and you cannot bring yourself to use it.  So, if being silent means I don’t exist, then I will be as loud as I can to prove to myself and to anyone else that I do.

If standing up for myself, laughing as loudly as I can at a hilarious joke, or knowing what I want in life and not letting anyone get in the way of that and not settling for less makes me a drama queen, then I will be your drama queen.  I don’t feel these are qualities that anyone, much less a woman should be ashamed of.  We have become so afraid of rocking the boat and breaking the mold that we have to slap a label on someone who would dare to do otherwise.  It’s easier for people to digest that way.  It’s easier for people to understand, for them to figure you out and possibly dismiss you if they can throw a tag like that on you, as if to explain why are you the way you are in two or three little words.  Well, I for one am not having it.

If I were truly a drama queen, I would have had so many opportunities with which to indulge in this kind of behavior that I have completely missed out on.  I could have stormed up to people I don’t care for at the WoWInsider party and gave them a piece of my mind.  I could have called a meeting with Beru to berate her for her alleged cattiness and how she spent so much time misunderstanding me.  I could have thrown a shit fit when I woke up to a handful of strange men in my hotel room, courtesy of Ophelie.  Were I a true drama queen, those would have been prime opportunities to lose my damn mind and to soak up as much attention as I possibly could have.  Did I do that?  No, I did not.  Instead, I stayed with the people I came with at the pool party and networked with those that I truly wanted to be around.  Beru and I had a lovely conversation in the lobby at the Hilton and I feel like we started on the path towards making amends.  I had a hearty laugh at the strange men in our hotel room, a situation which Ophelie seemed to be more distraught or embarassed over than I was.

We can choose to take the labels that we are given at face value, or we can choose to adapt them to ourselves, to make them fit us.  I may not have gone into this situation with that mindset, but it is where I am right now.  And I can’t think of any other place, mentally or emotionally that I would rather be.

Outpouring

26 Sep

Wow.  I don’t even know where to begin!

This past week has been an absolute blur, but a positive and enjoyable one.  I had a couple of posts that were ready to be published, but my coming out post had attracted so much attention that I felt I should ride that out before I start posting regularly again.  I didn’t want it to seem like I was capitalizing on all of the attention that I was receiving and I also wasn’t quite sure what to follow something like that up with.

I come away from this experience feeling extremely grateful and fortunate to have had things turn out the way that they did and to have received so much support from people I respect and associate with and even those that I don’t.

First off, I would like to say a huge “Thank you” to anyone who read my post and took the time to leave a comment on it.  “Thank you” to anyone who took the time to Tweet about it or Retweet it to their Followers.  “Thank you” to those of you who stood by me and encouraged me to do this, when I was the last person that thought I could or that I should.  “Thank you” to anyone that reached out to me personally, either through Facebook or through e-mail.  Last, but not least, “Thank you” to those of you who were gracious enough to keep me on your blogrolls and your Twitter feeds and for those of you who continue to put out the welcome mat for me to appear on your podcasts and your blogs.  You have no idea what that much acceptance feels like, for someone like me.

And now, back to business!

Episode 9 of the Double O Podcast has been live, for a little over a week now.  This was our first ever roundtable and we decided to make tanking the subject.  You can check that out here:

http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/09/17/episode-9-tanknspank/

All 4 of our guests turned out to be incredible personalities, who each brought something unique and notable to the table.  While Ophelie and I did cover a few class specific topics, we mostly tried to focus on tanking in general, so that our conversation could really apply to any tank who was listening and looking for some good advice or tips on how to deal with the task at hand.

Ophelie and I recorded our healing roundtable last night, so keep your ears open for that.  As always, if you have any suggestions on topics for future shows, or if you have a podcast or blog of your own and would like to be a guest host or provide us with some audio bumpers to plug your offerings, please let us know!  We are open to any and all possibilities.

Other than that, new posts should be coming out, as soon as tomorrow.  Take care!

New Double O Podcast – Episode Eight!

8 Sep

All that and a bag of Baked Lays, it’s Episode Eight of the Double O Podcast!

http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/09/02/episode-8-parental-guidance-strongly-suggested/

We packed this unbelievable episode with four, count them FOUR guests, Ceraphus, Christine, Fannon, & Hydra, all of whom are parents that you may or may not know from the blogosphere or the community at large.  They took time out of their day to join us on the show and discuss what it’s really like to be a parent who raids and juggles other responsibilities at the same time.

Nothing was off limits here.  We talk about how to negotiate playing time with your significant other, dealing with your identity as a parent in the game, the perks of being in a family friendly guild, and whether or not they would want their children picking up a game like World of Warcraft in the not so distant future.

Ophelie and I also include a big announcement about some future shows that we have coming up very soon.

In other news, Ophelie and I were asked to make a guest appearance on a recent episode of the Stopcast this week.  The episode, called “Double Ohhhh” can be found here:

http://www.stopcast.net/?p=episode&name=2011-09-06_episode58.mp3

We got pretty rowdy with these guys and had a great time talking about ourselves, our friendship, what we’re both up to in our respective games, how the Double O Podcast got started, and a number of other salacious things that can’t really be explained here.

If you’re in the mood for a few laughs and a slew of dirty talk, then check out that episode and have some laughs along with us.

Thanks for stopping by!

Bang

10 Aug

“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”

– T.S. Eliot, “The Hollow Men.”

I woke up the other day to find this post in the Breakfast Topics section over at WoWInsider and it got me thinking.  I related a lot to what the author had to say.

I always imagined that when the time came for me to quit World of Warcraft that I would go out in a blaze of glory.  I fantasized about going out like Jack Berger and randomly shouting “Fuck you and fuck you!” before casually walking off and going about my business like such a random outburst never happened.

Or maybe I would go out in the most passive-aggressive way possible.  I would tell people I was quitting the game, leave a huge goodbye post on various forums and check back often to see who would miss me or who would try to convince me to stay.

Instead, it just kind of happened.  I received an e-mail from Blizzard, telling me that my subscription could not be renewed because the credit card linked to my account was no longer valid.  This is because I had to cancel my debit card a few weeks ago, due to some unauthorized charges that were made to my checking account.  Normally, I would have been all over that.  I would have been tapping my fingers impatiently on my desk while staring at the login screen, waiting for my payment to go through so I could keep playing.

This time, I took a good, long look at the e-mail and deleted it.  Just like that, I had decided that I would not be renewing my subscription to World of Warcraft and that I was ready to finally move on with my life and with my gaming experience.  No string of expletives.  No emotional forum posts.  No one last thing before I go.

I have been spending a lot more time playing Rift and I’m really enjoying it.  I belong to a great guild that is home to some familiar faces in the blogosphere who I can see myself doing big things with.  With that said, I have decided to begin posting regularly about topics pertaining to Rift, specifically healing and the calling that I play.  I feel inspired in ways that I haven’t experienced in a long time and I’m eager to pour out my thoughts and feelings here.

Because Rift is a new game, they don’t have the resources that World of Warcraft does.  There isn’t an Elitist Jerks or a Blog Azeroth or a WoWInsider just yet.  There aren’t many personal blogs out there that talk about things from a player’s perspective.  There is a huge niche out there that could be filled and I would like to be one of the first to fill it.  It’s a huge opportunity and I look forward to giving it a shot and seeing what becomes of it.  I plan on giving my blog a face lift,  too, to reflect that I’m going in a new direction.

I have no intention of deleting World of Warcraft from my computer.  I have nothing bad to say about the game or those who continue to play it.  I still plan on going to BlizzCon in a couple of months and continuing to support those who I regularly follow and enjoy reading.  The Double O Podcast is still going strong and you can count on Ophelie and I to continue bringing you the best episodes we possibly can and to keep talking about the things that you all want to hear about.

They say that lightning never strikes twice.

We’ll see about that!