Thursday, April 20, 2017

Gamer Girl

I am a gamer, video and tabletop, you name it I have probably played it. I’ve played every platform and every game genre, even cooking gamesMostly, I have always been a D&D player, in all its incarnations, starting with its direct ancestor , “Chainmail”. Being a girl, hidden behind the mask of a boy, I found the idea of role-playing an excellent way to be me without being judged. I didn’t always play females, which would have invited too much attention. But I was able to play them often enough to where it was my emotional outlet. Conversely, I found that my practice at role-playing helped me develop my mask, as the “guy”. I wish I had never perfected that aspect.

 

I was introduced to role-playing, specifically Chainmail by a friend. I had never heard of role-play and it captured my imagination. I had read fantasy books, I had been reading since I was 2 years old. It hadn’t taken me long to read all the books which held my interest in our little town library. Fantasy books were my favorite, and I was always begging my Mom to take me to the closest mall, which was over an hour away so we could go to WaldenBooks. There I would beg for books piled upon books. I didn’t just grab anything, I studied the forewords and the jackets, I knew how to pick a good book. My poor Mother and later my poor wallet always suffered from these trips. But role-playing was like being inside the book, like writing my own story. My friend asked me if I would like to join a campaign he was starting, based on the Dragonlance books. A few days later on the weekend, I played my first game and met a group of his friends who also had just started. My first character was Tanis Half-Elven, I was not happy about having a male character, but since we had a couple of girls in the group I couldn’t find a way to play the very few player characters that were female. We played every weekend without fail, rotating where we played each time, until we happened upon a house that had been for sale for a very long time. We basically squatted in that house to game, where others probably used it for drugs or to get laid, we used it as our place to game without being told to hold the noise level down. I know, we were weird, this isn’t lost on me.

 

My first female character was also my first player-made character, which is to say I rolled up the stats and came up with her background instead of a pre-generated character being supplied to me. Her name was Lisbetha Veretas, a play on my favorite name (Elizabeth), a human mage. I was never really interested in playing different races, though I did on occasion. I was more interested in playing a human female and a mage, my two recurrent themesFemale, for obvious reasons, I got to take the mask off for a few hours, well at least let the mask slip a bitMage, because I like the idea of magic, I like the thought that though there is a price, you can do almost anything with enough will and study. I played her for almost a year and I loved it. I even had a romance in the game with an NPC, who happened to be male. A few friends made fun of me for this until I explained that I take my “role-playing” very seriously. I was having a rough time in school, dealing with my sexuality as well as my gender issues. I was getting into fights trying to maintain my manly persona, and I didn’t fight well, mostly bluster hoping they would back out of the fight. Sometimes it was fighting a guy that I kept thinking if I were a normal girl he would be trying to have sex with me, not punch me in the face. This makes for a very confusing fight. Gaming made my life a little easier, gave me an outlet. 

 

Over the years, there would be dry periods where I could find no one who wanted to role-play. But those times didn’t last too long and suddenly I would be in a very tight group of people dedicated to playing every weekend. They are the best memories I have of my life, friends sitting around a table or on the floor in a living room, playing D&D or DC Heroes or Cyberpunk, etc. Some groups were better than others, and though eventually they all would fade over time I look upon them all fondly. Of the groups, my last group, was the absolute best, they became my best friends, so much so that I consider them family. They are such good friends that I felt I could tell them the deepest secret I possess. I told my brothers (they all happened to be male) that I was their sister. We are all separated by distance and life now, but I love these men dearly and miss gaming and just hanging out  with them so very much.

 

prefer role-playing, and I prefer it with a group of friends sitting around a table. But times change and having the ability to sit around a table became limited to non-existent. So, I moved towards MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), like Dark Age of Camelot, WOW, and many, many others. For a while we had a group of people from work who all played. I mostly played female characters then as well. When asked why, I would say something male-driven like, “If I am going to look at this characters backside for hours, I want it to be a girl’s backside”. That would quash most questions. Even those male characters I started with, so as not to throw suspicion on myself, I had those changed to female if possible.

 

I still play MMO’s and stand-alone series like Fallout, Dragon Age or Mass Effect with female characters, I feel more comfortable and I am able to immerse myself in the storylines. I get to be bad-ass version of me in these games, like reading a book of a female protagonist that I identify with. In WOW, which I had gone back to, for lack of better MMO’s that actually RP (role-play). I have found that actual RP doesn’t really happen anymore. No one makes a character with a background or develops a persona. They just kill things and level, no more do they sit in a tavern or talk in the square about things going on in the game. They chat in trade chat about RL (real life) politics or religion, trolling each other. I tried to find a transgender guild but was unable to find anyone who could point me to one; rather I got a lot of messages about being a guy. So, the appeal of MMO’s faded and though I still play, I do it solo and don’t join guilds.

 

Gaming didn’t make me who I am; it helped me survive who I pretended to be until I could stop pretending. It helped me by always having a few friends to lean on, it helped me by bringing a group of the greatest friends a girl could ever have, together. I love my friends and miss them dearly. This is what gaming is really about.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Of Friends and Family

I have spoken of my friends, those that know about me are accepting and really didn’t display any surprise at all. I don’t know if there were any issues after the initial shock, but they haven’t spoken to me about it. I think that it probably helps that most of them are out of state, so they don’t see me dressed how I usually dress at home. I think that my presenting as female, might cause them some issues, perhaps not, no idea. I am horrible at reading people.

My usual mode at home is t-shirt and jeans, which my friends have seen many times. Of course now I am able to wear the t-shirts and jeans I prefer, which is a mix. T-shirts are to me just t-shirts, some men’s and some women’s are more comfortable so I wear what I like, I prefer women’s jeans so I wear them. The clothes don’t change who I am, they can only make me feel more or less comfortable. I will always be a woman no matter what I am wearing. The funny thing is, it’s more problematic now that they know I’m transgender, as they perhaps expect me to be dressed in, well skirts and heels, both of which I like, but that is not my normal clothing. Normally at home I don’t put on a wig or breast prosthetics; those are to make others feel more comfortable. I don’t mow the yard wearing a hot wing and C cup false breasts that shift and get in the way. I would prefer my own hair if I could grow it out and have it look nice, I would prefer my own breasts but I’m not on HRT until I lose some weight. Like most women, both of those things make me feel more feminine and more acceptable among others, but not more personally comfortable. In the presence of my friends, I’m not sure how comfortable they would be. I do have a couple of friends who live in the area, but I don’t see them often. They have not seen me in my “girl mode” with wig, breasts and obviously female clothing. As I continue to transition, these things will be more obvious and I want my friends to remain my friends. I would prefer to not lose the very few and close friends I have. I don’t make friends easily and I invest a lot of my heart in these people. They are for all intents and purposes, my family.

Speaking of family, I have two brothers and my stepfather. They will be told last, mostly because I don’t want to burden them so close to our mother’s death, and because I think they will have the hardest time with it. Though, for my brothers, they could look back and see that the game of “truth or dare” was kind of a setup for me to wear our stepmother’s clothes as a “dare”. What can I say, she wore Cato’s and I actually liked some of the Cato’s clothing. Then there is my wife’s family, her mother and stepfather and two sisters. Her mother and father, they were told by her youngest sister who was told by our son when they were hanging out with mutual friends, alcohol was involved. So, my wife went on damage control, telling them that our son was just drunk, but I am pretty sure they didn’t buy that at all. So my first inclination is to tell them, despite the fact that they are conservative, Trump supporters. I think they will be ok, I hope they will. I believe that my wife has issues with them knowing only because her and the middle sister don’t get along and somehow this would be something that her sister could use against her. I think it’s still embarrassing for Michelle, on some level she deals with it, but not in a public way. I plan on telling everyone that is family and friends. My plans were thrown off because of my Mothers cancer and then death, not because of her but because of me. I already deal with depression linked to just being who I am, then dealing with my mom being gone. It hasn’t been easy; it’s been hard. But I am trying to get out of this hole that seems to be surrounding me. My mom would want me to be happy, she would want me to go forward and not dwell. In the end, whether they are able to handle the information I give them or not, this is happening.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Once Upon a Monday

I was out sick on Monday. I had gotten a cold and needed some time to get over it, but I had to come in to work Tuesday because I had contractors coming in to do some work that I needed to oversee and to help set up the services on our server. While I am the IT manager, I also oversee the Logistics side of the operations, really just keeping up with the personnel hours and making upper level decisions.

 

I tell you this so that you will understand that I am pretty crucial to the company. And I need you to understand that once I come out, once they know who I am, it won’t matter one single bit and I will be fired or they will find grounds to fire me or they will make me quit by making it unbearable to be here. I was reminded of this fact by one of the logistics crew who told me a story on Tuesday.

 

It’s not a long story, but it is one of those times I wish I had been at work, sick or not. This person who works for me, I will call him Albert, was excited to see me and to relate what had happened on Monday. Apparently, as he puts it, one of the truck drivers was a lady/man. It was a guy dressed as a woman, as he continued to explain. The story wasn’t about how he had to reload the truck because the driver knew exactly how it should be arranged and Albert had done it wrong. It wasn’t about how this driver was really good at her job and that she was doing it in a male-dominated industry.

 

The fact that the truck driver was transgender was the story. He told me how he told others in the office so they could come into the warehouse and see the “guy dressed like a lady”.  I was mad as hell. I couldn’t say what I wanted to say. However, I let him know that I support transgender, that I have family members who are transgender. I let him know that “SHE” is the correct pronoun. I let him know that if I had witnessed this, he would have been written up. I let him know that if he ever sees a transgender person he better treat them with respect. That they (we) are people just like anyone else, deserving of the same respect you give to a fellow human being. He quickly saw that his exciting story wasn’t going the way he had planned. I found out that he never said a cross word to her, that he did what she asked and only was rude behind her back. I wanted him to understand that I don’t want him being rude or tell the office people or anything else behind her or anyone else’s backs.

 

I had to play ally, instead of what I wanted to be right then. I wanted to tell him that I was also transgender and if you disrespect her, I can expect you will disrespect me as well. I know what I face in my company; I know that currently in NC I can expect to not be treated equally in public. I know we all face uphill battles. I wish I had been there so I could have stood beside her at the very least as an ally.

 

The fact that she was transgender overshadowed everything else. This keeps running through my mind.