I was a guest on Sunday on the Girls gone Wow podcast. Girls Gone WoW
They were all so lovely- Sil, EJay, Raven & Rob – but I was so so nervous. My stress levels about the show had been building up for weeks & I think it’s fair to say I pretty much wrote off the weekend worrying about it – terrified that I’d forget how to speak and babble incoherently. And gratz to me – I pretty much did all of that! Who knew saying altholic could be so hard or that I would start rambling so quickly – on question one I think. In the end I even mispronounced Bravetank! Class act. But I got through it despite being so nervous and I’m happy about that. And thanks again to the team for having me on & making me feel so welcome – even though I did criticise Tauren females, rogues & pandas. WWF have marked my card.
Other news – did some raiding last week – the first with the guild in DS (final Deathwing fight – unfortunately we were not successful. I think my dps was half to blame – Deathwing at one point rolled on his back and begged me to tickle him some more) and the next day in LFR after deciding to be a conscientious guildee and do some work on my gear. Everything is currently 397 apart from robes (384), leggings (378), one ring at 378, one trinket at 390 & a staff at 390. So I do indeed have some work to do.
LFR was as you’d expect. No scratch that. Something really weird happened. When we landed to fight the coloured blobs I landed right on top of a blob and died instantly. Everyone seemed to do the same – apart from the tank who initially seemed to be ok, then went afk and was then slowly battered to death by one insistent blob. Only those who waited until we’d wiped before flying down were ok. Once we were all ressed the tank came back & said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again”. I couldn’t believe it. I had landed on a blob & died immediately. Others did the same. It couldn’t have been my fault could it? I said as much in raid chat & the tank said “ofc ;)” . I didn’t say anything after that. I was too busy fretting that I had indeed landed wrong somehow – although I have no idea how you can. However, the tank was a nightmare so maybe he/she was just trying to stir things up & randomly selected me as the fall guy? He was criticised for not have righteous fury on, he didn’t tank some blobs properly etc. but he just kept lolling and criticising the healers. Great fun as you can imagine. And then he left- mid fight. So at least my critic had no real credibility- but still I worried.
And that gets on to my main point today. Why did I care what those 24 people thought about me? I froze when he said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again’. I felt so exposed & singled out, and the injustice of it all made it worse somehow. I just wanted everyone to know it wasn’t me (unless you think it was…in which case please let me know how so I never do it again!)
As anyone who has read this for awhile knows – I live in fear of criticism. I had my first session with a coach yesterday to start work on some of this as I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I am scared of the opinion of 24 people I don’t know from Adam (and terrified of what Adam thinks!). I am scared of criticism in work. I read every single comment on my blog with my heart in my mouth in case it’s negative. And I won’t even listen to the interview I recorded on Sunday. Someone once told me that I have a certain vulnerability – I think it was being said as a positive, but it’s only positive to the person saying it when they see themselves as the great protector. It then makes them feel good about themselves. For awhile. Which is nice for them but what about me- the vulnerable one – the one picked up, played with and then thrown back down. I feel like the woman in Hellraiser with all her tendons & nerves on the outside of her body – I need to stuff them back in (they’re causing a mess on the couch for one thing). But my coach says I can’t even start doing that until I acknowledge how it makes me feel. Until I feel the feelings. He said I translate my feeling into thoughts (& here into words I guess) instead of really feeling them, acknowledging them & then perhaps letting them go. But how do you do that- how do you feel without thinking? I really don’t know if I ever have.
My coach also said I need to start exploring who I am and own my “I”. He said I have to start talking about what I feel, what I think, what I want to do and say. I found that very powerful because I know I live my life through the eyes of the Other. When I look at my face I see myself with the eyes of people I think would judge me harshly. When I hear myself speak I listen to myself with the ears of those who, I think, regard me with disdain. My mental audience is a negative one – they really don’t like how I look, what I do or what I say. Not dinner guests I’d really want, but it seems they’re already in the house & won’t leave. And they define me.
And I have no ownership of my I on WoW either. There all the power is in the groups or the raid – everyone that knows more than me. So I think I’ll study more & learn more (about the tactics for e.g.) to become stronger. And in work I vow to work harder than everyone else, to become more knowledgeable than everyone else, and get my power that way. And after looking in the mirror I rub on the creams and go to the gym to do the exercises in order to fend off the critical eye that’s always watching and judging my appearance. Nothing wrong with any of that if I was doing it for my I, but I’m not – I’m doing these things in the absence of an I and in the presence of an over powering critical Other. I have given all my power to those that I think define, measure and judge me & find me wanting. I’m doing these things to please the them. That’s the story of my life.
How do you escape this? If you take on the fear and do the thing that risks the criticism and find it does indeed come (as they say just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean everyone’s not out to get me) what then? How do own my I in my response to it? Is it by knowing that ultimately I cannot be touched by anything anyone says or thinks? My I is mine – maybe the only thing in this world that’s truly my own. But that’s a thought in words again, not a feeling. I need to feel it – and I don’t know how.
My coach said this journey will be hard and challenging but I have promised him and myself that I will commit to it 100%. And I will. Because I don’t like feeling sick with fear. I don’t like my little band of critical strangers (some wear the faces of people I once thought of as friends) mentally following me everywhere. And I don’t like thinking so little off myself that a sarcastic word from a stranger can throw me in a tailspin. And WoW of course is full of these sarcastic words and critical strangers. For some people they see themselves as performing a public service by being this way – shaming you into being a better tank, dps or healer, or failing that forcing you to give up the game for good. And I know some people have given up and walked away. But why should we give them that power? What on earth have they done to earn it? Maybe I should think of WoW as my exposure therapy- I write because of it & so expose myself to feedback; I’ve now been interviewed because of it & found the courage somehow to let my voice be heard; and of course in game I often find myself playing with the mean kids. Sticks and stones and all that. Maybe this game can change me. Certainly slowly my voice is being heard. Literally last Sunday. Now if only I could learn to pronounce altholic correctly!