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On cliques, attitude and guilt

Started by Tahara, January 07, 2020, 10:47:08 PM

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Hey folks,

I'm sure half of you are just about done with the topic that's been, like Nakobu reminded us all, going on for the past 6 months, some are just getting started and others have absolutely no idea what's going on.

The officers equally mentioned that the venting of feelings is still very welcome, which I'm glad to know because since this entire thing started, there hasn't been much of an opportunity to do that for me.

I work full time from 9 to 6, with a break sometime around lunch, and as long as I'm working I'm forbidden from accessing my phone (not a bad rule, knowing my poor willpower). So it's been a (sadly) regular occurrence that I checked my phone after a stressful day dealing with stuck up clients, a lot of money and demanding trainers only to see pages upon pages of discussion about what I and my character have been doing wrong, insinuating that I am in some way responsible for a decline in activity, that I'm part of an inherent problem, that people feel depressed, frustrated, unwelcome - because of me.

The discussion has usually either been quelled or the officers already given warning to any that want to continue by the time I have a moment to catch up, so I've rather often had to grit my teeth, grin and bear it and make an effort to use my limited free time in-between Saturday shifts, tourist conventions and a plethora of health and stress issues to try and roleplay with the very people who have already decided my guilt.

Perhaps that gives people a rough idea that "we", this elusive, tight-knit, well established inner circle have a hard time understanding anyone feeling more unwelcome, more frustrated, more stressed and depressed than, well… "us".

In the past weeks I've watched my friends cry, suffer from stress-induced migraines, get close to quitting not just the guild but roleplay in general and in my own case suffer from panic attacks. I've watched stories and plots that people had put their heart and soul into go down the drain, because what's the point? It's "us". People are tired of “us”, anyways.

In my case, it's been especially confusing to hear about all the preferential treatment I had apparently gotten, how the entire guild listened to my wishes and whims and how my character was the constant centre of attention.

The preferential treatment is primarily an accusation of befriending long-established guild members and thus being "carried" to success and relevance. Because my own social skills, my roleplay, my creativity, the hours upon hours I put into my character, her story, her progression within the guild simply don't matter.

The guild listens to my wishes specifically, naturally. It is not because I contact officers at every turn, not because I scheduled my campaign months in advance, not because of my engagement DMing for other people's campaigns, with providing ideas and feedback on a regular basis, or that if I really want something, I talk to the officer team and I schedule whatever I need with them. It can't be any of that.

The last matter is also unquestioningly true, even though my character has not had a central role in any event since the campaign that I wrote, organized and DM'd myself (albeit with the wonderful support of the officers, which again, I explicitly asked for, on more than one occasion). My character, who has ties to two varog'gor and thusly on occasion does stand in proximity of them, must still somehow be leeching attention away from everyone else.

If I sound snide, it's because this has been my personal frustration as of late. It's not so much that my character is these days only mentioned as "that one who hates my character", the special snowflake, or in charming jokes and jabs about how she's a failure of a character and by proxy, her player is a failure too.

No, the main accusation that has pushed me into a low that almost resulted in me bursting into tears at work with a client on the phone, is that all that stuff I mentioned - the hours of work, of putting my heart and soul into not just my character but the guild, into spirit lore, into fun little emojis, into feedback, overcoming my own anxiety to DM and host and help - all of that didn't mean anything. I had everything handed to me. I just made the right friends. I'm just lucky.

The reason I've been able to deal with this at all is because of the support of officers and of friends, many of which also feel similarly undermined, drained and just so very tired - and because I very well know what it feels like to be looking in from the outside.

When I started out to RP I was a ball of anxiety. I shrunk away at the tiniest criticism, the smallest good natured joke. I felt on edge, I was frozen in place during events, unable to approach people on my own, too worried I wasn't good enough, too worried my character wasn't likeable.

It took months of trying to overcome this. Months of taking a deep breath and looking at criticism objectively. Months of rping and speaking to people, even the ones I was convinced didn't like me or my character. It took months of trying, failing and trying again until I finally felt like part of a team. Until I felt safe in my skills and my character. It wasn't 100% perfect, but more often than not I found that I was suddenly able to not just rp with people I thought I didn't like, but chat with them and have fun.

Then my guild unfortunately broke apart and suddenly I was back at square one. In fact, I felt even worse. I had gotten so used to my character being well known, to people coming to me for rp, to being a well-established, central part of a community that when I applied for a new guild, I was incredibly frustrated I wasn't immediately exactly where I wanted to be.

People didn't seem to care, didn't seem to be invested in my character like my old guild had been. My character was no longer on her way to becoming Lieutenant, but knocked back to recruit. I felt like an outsider worse than ever, looking at all these players and characters that already knew each other, already were involved with each other. The stories going on that I was not a part of. The word "clique-ish" was already firmly in my mind and I was ready to ask the officers for help. And then I didn't. And I tried again.

I contacted officers but not to dump my sorrows on them, but to offer an idea. Io and behold it took less than a day and I was suddenly involved in the next big campaign. I had material to work with. I took a few risks, approached people I usually wouldn't have. And it didn't take long before I was having fun again.

I didn't get to get as "comfy" in this mysterious other guild, but that was because I ended up having to make a choice between two characters, due to time restraints. I quit a character who has been my absolute favourite, a steady comfort for over 7 years now, because I felt there was a guild I loved even more, that I wanted to play with, to have fun with, write and create for and commit what free time I have to them fully.

So I left them and returned to ORB "full time".

I think two weeks after that the accusations got in full swing.

I hope that people can read this message and understand how it is intended, not as a guilt trip for how you feel - I get it, I truly do - but more a little insight into what's been going on in this secret, special VIP club so many of you desperately wish to be a part of.

I wouldn't mind trading my spot as of late.