No posts since November! You can really tell my attention has all been over at Kabalor.com and its associated Patreon. Many many hours of game design and quite a few spent on getting better at terrain and mini painting. Also a lot of personal growth, physical recovery and restoration after my flattening experience of Prednisone for a couple years, and continued Discardia reflecting my changing interests.
I’m feeling more myself than I’ve ever been and more connected to favorite parts of my past selves. My child and teen self would approve highly of the central place that games and play have in my life now. 🙂
One big change is having even more focused time to myself; that is, time which I am in charge of and during which I’m focused on what I want and need rather than the expectations of others (or what I think will please them). That’s improving my creative work and making it easier to trim away the old stuff.
With meds that have prevented me from drinking (except very low proof and then only rarely), cocktails have dropped off my list of hobbies and writing interests. I am still deeply Discardian in nature, but realized I don’t want to be a self-help guru and so, for now at least, updating my book Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff has dropped off my projects list.
Becoming a person with a chronic health condition has sharpened my focus. It’s probable that I will not live as long as my grandmother and her father (something which in the past I’d strongly hoped for) and so I’m looking at fewer than 40 more years, possibly substantially less, but maybe not. Suppose it was half that? What would I want to have spent that time doing? Synthesizing my lifetime of learning and play into an original roleplaying game feels like something which is deeply enjoyable, emotionally satisfying, and a gift to the world (or at least my friends). If life is going to be harder and shorter than I expected, then I will choose to spend it on more fun and kindness and laughter and love.
This focus, this commitment to bring myself joy and share it with others, is making it easier to look at past things and say, “Awww, yes. That was nice.” and then put them away, perhaps to look at later again and perhaps not. I continue to sort through my oldest papers and souvenirs and to process them. That usually results in them physically leaving my life, though often I’ll keep photos where they bring up part of my story or just make me laugh.
As my terrain and minis hobby grows, my present bumps up against my stored past and the stored turns to story only, freeing space for me now and my future.
So, too, with my online presence. I am not as precious about my posterity as I once was. For my own offboard memory, I keep old things in digital form, but it doesn’t all need to live on the web in the same way. Archiving my past out of public view keeps it from overwhelming who I am now in the online world.
Here’s a picture of me as a toddler. Hair in a long ponytail with bangs over my forehead. Sitting on a sofa somewhere—not the house I grew up in—wearing a yellow sundress and barefoot. One hand is out across the arm of the couch, against which my back rests, the other has fingers splayed as I inspect it intently. Looking at something on my forearm? Exploring how the muscles work when I stretch my fingers? It is tiny Dinah focusing on herself, discovering herself.
A few months later I received immunization shots: polio, diptheria, tetanus, pertussis. Thankful on behalf of my healthy child self. Thankful in the present for all who are getting vaccinated. We all do better when we each do better.
A picture with badly aged color, from when the house I grew up in was little modified by my parents. Still a plain, light color. No decks, no ponds or streams. And here’s toddler-chubby-cheeked little me in a red turtleneck and white and blue plaid pants. They look like a pattern reserved for pajama bottoms today, but that was a different era. There I am in my childhood domain, that great adventure space of our backyard. I smile now and I turn the page.
My earliest known song/poem, written down by mother as I was singing to myself:
I thought I planned
A magic wand,
A wand, a wand, a magic wand
But what I wanted was a dawn
But they cannot know when
Because they’re not my friends.
The little ones run from side to side
Lie down here, lie down there,
And where, where, where.
Then it is the end.
Then I said I’ll go to bed.
Glad to have this. I tuck it away.
Pictures of a child self on a path I chose not to take, in white tights and a short white dress, modeling for the camera. Posing. Being pleasing. I view her with empathetic concern. “Girl, you don’t have to do that. Be you. Be how you want to be. Be free.” And there the path I chose—and to the credit of many of the adults around me was encouraged to be on—becomes visible as I horse around trying to carry our enormous cat, Bliful. Little me, hauling up the drooping tights, annoying things. Dresses are so impractical for DOING things. I leave the poses in the past.
Next a picture of little me with a book in lap, Curious George perhaps, wearing a practical little dress my mother made in a plaid fabric and with some wild paisley pattern behind me (a giant pillow? a wall hanging? a draping over a sofa?). I have long hair, bangs, bright and intelligent eyes, and a closed-mouth expression encompassing happiness, imagination, and determination. This picture, this, is one of the past Dinah’s still present. This can stay public.