Thursday, March 17, 2016

Anxiety


Not that I don't have enough things to occupy my mind right now, but one of the things I really loathe about my brain is the lovely "trip into work" anxiety that happens on a regular basis. I'm really not sure what the exact trigger is, but as I start thinking about the day or the week or the whatever, even if it's stuff I'm looking forward to or that I've done before, I find that become a deep-breathing, heart fluttering mess. I have to manage my feelings and my blood pressure to keep from obsessing over... nothing in particular. It's really dumb. Anything I pick, as soon as I figure out how to handle it, the anxiety then moves to settle on something else. It's free-floating; it's just me, there's not really anything in particular to be anxious about. 
I'm not the only one who has this, and I am on medication for it (it used to be much worse and constant, although I didn't realize it at the time). It's just such a pain. It's like I'm constantly worried that I'm actually going to discover that up is really down, or right is really left, and I won't be able to compensate for it. I will come home and find that I live in a topsy-turvy world, like above, and everyone will realize that I wasn't expecting it and things will not be okay anymore. 

And yet. 

Once I get through my class, and get food, and get settled for the day, it goes away. It's not a constant. And I'm grateful for that, because I know other people have it so much worse than I do. But that doesn't mean it's not an incredibly annoying way to start my day. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

"Apolitical" gaming

So this is related to the kerfluffle regarding Emerald City Tabletop Coalition, OrcaCon & GeekGirlCon, and Chance Daniels. I'll start by saying I am connected to some of these people online via friends of friends, but don't know them personally. You can get caught up on the origin of the story here: http://jessicalprice.tumblr.com/

FYI, I don't know Jessica personally, though I think we've met at a con once? I follow her on twitter and such because we're in the same community and I hear good things about her work.

Reportedly, for the tl;dr version, ECTC removed mentions of OrcaCon from their feed because they viewed it as a "3-day political event that also had some gaming," and Chance stated that they/he viewed GeekGirlCon the same way. OrcaCon, fyi, is a new gaming con held in Everett, WA in January that has an inclusive focus; the theme for 2017, according to their website, isn't dragons or robots or superheroes, but rather "Race and Accessibility in Tabletop Games." OrcaCon wants everyone to be welcome to gaming, even those who historically might not have been -- especially those people, frankly. It is emphatically not a party con, or a fandom con. It is a gaming and panel con, where everyone plays a lot of games and talks about those games and talks about what games do and why they're cool (and sometimes why they aren't, and how to fix that). GeekGirlCon, also held in the greater Seattle metro, is about girls and geeky stuff and gaming. It's a female-friendly space, run largely by women for women (and those who identify as or are even just friendly to women and people in general).

A lot of my friends have been commenting on social media today about how their presence in gaming is, according to this, political, and will continue to be so until gaming and society change. I think according to the definition being applied by ECTC, that's true. If existing outside a very small norm runs the risk of rocking the boat, then bringing questions of race, gender, age, orientation, and culture will always be "political." When those questions automatically come with you; when you are "other" in some way, even in the spaces in which we're all just having fun; when you have to have questions about the status quo because it was never designed with you in mind, in a space where design is an inherent part of the experience -- these are the ways in which the "political" is inevitable.

I am political. My presence is gaming should not be political. I have a right to be comfortable in a game-oriented space, and if a few accommodations can ensure that without trespassing on anyone else's experience of gaming, then that should be common sense, not a political statement. I have been a gamer for over twenty years, and worked in this industry for over fifteen. I am not a newcomer; my presence and that of others like me isn't news. My pedigree, such as it is, has helped to pave the way for new people who may or may not resemble me, but who have as much right to be here as anyone else -- and that is truth. If you want to call it political, fine, but ask yourself who's making it that way, because it's not me.