Pouring my heart out

When I am passionate about a topic that I am writing about, I pour myself into it, utterly and entirely. Often of my blog, I’ll spend a solid hour writing, and it will leave me feeling drained. If I feel like editing it before I publish it (a rare and peculiar occasion), I’ll leave it for a few days and come back to it. Then as I re-read it critically, I’ll spend almost as long making minor changes, and I’ll feel almost as drained. I seem to pour too much of myself into the things I care about. Why is speaking from the heart so exhaustive? Does anyone experience the same thing to the same degree?

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Facing Fears

All of us have things we’re scared of. And sometimes the enormity of how terrifying these things are can cause us to procrastinate, to avert our gaze so we don’t have to acknowledge their terrible existence. But avoiding problems does not cause them to resolve on their own: contrarily, they will follow you and reappear in your life over and over again (sometimes in different forms, sometimes in the recurrence of the same event). Until we sort out our shit, it will always be with us.

 

I’m no expert on facing fears. Today I was so overwhelmed by what I’m scared of that I found it impossible to relax, and tasks as simple as taking the laundry out of the washing machine seemed impossible. But I do have these small slivers of advice:

 

  • Do what scares you. Running away from it will only make you smaller and make your fear greater. If you walk along side it rather than bolt headlong from it, it will diminish over time.
  • When you do choose to face what scares you, don’t feel that you need to face it all at once, right this second. Take a manageable pile of it in your arms (or in your cupped hands, if your resilience is particularly low at that point in time) and carry it off to take care of it. Even that little bit will make all the difference in the world.
  • If you do find yourself overwhelmed, and you recognise symptoms that indicate you are not all right, be kind to yourself. You cannot lift 100kg straight off the bat, you have to work your way up to it. Acknowledge how low your resources are and go do something nourishing for your soul.
  • Have friends and allies support you. Others can often see what you, in the midst of your anguish, cannot. They can tell you when it’s okay to rest, or when you need to push through the wall and keep going. They can be your life raft in the sea of terror.
  • Find something exciting, in spite of what scares you. My brother tells me that nervousness and excitement are biologically identical, so switch your focus from anxiety to anticipation. Find something to look forward to, even if it’s as small as a delicious meal or the sight of the clouds. And the more you focus on what makes you excited to be in your situation, the fewer reasons you have to dread it.

 

That’s all for now my friends. Peace.

Thoughts on Gaming Competitions

To win a video game tournament, you need a requisite level of skill. You need a firm grasp of the controls and rules of the game, or else an inordinate amount of luck. But you also need something more than that, to give you the all important “edge” over your fellow competitors.

 

In one of the early Wai-cons, I won the Super Smash Bros Melee tournament. For some reason on that day, I entered a state of hyper-awareness. Although I wouldn’t go so far to say as everything was moving in slow motion, my reaction times increased noticeably and it increased my skill-level by a huge amount – twice as much, as one friend reported. Every time an attack was thrown I was able to evade it, and every time there was a window of opportunity to attack an opponent, I took it and more often than not succeeded. During this state, I beat opponents who were ordinarily far more skilled than me, but who were thwarted on the day by split-seconds and millimeters of distance. And, indeed, a little luck.

 

But in most cases, I venture that is takes more than skill to win a gaming tournament. Not to be melodramatic, but it takes what Sun Tzu says was the essence of war: deception. In all of the qualifying rounds before the finals, I tried not to draw attention to myself. I let everyone beat up each other, contributing just enough to the fight to blend into the background (for nothing draws a gangbashing faster than the one guy who’s hanging by himself on the edge of the stage). I quickly determined who was the most skilled player, eliminated them first (often by drawing other players towards them) and proceeded to make the game easier and easier. Of course it didn’t always work out Peachy (a nod there to the amazingly good Peach player), but as a general rule this formula often got results. And it hinged upon appearing non-threatening to the intermediate players, luring them into vulnerable positions and punishing them, while eliminating or weakening the advanced players who caught on to my ‘hidden’ level of skill.

 

Of course these tactics are not limited to gaming competitions. In the martial arts tournament I recently attended, I psyched out my opponent very early in the fight. I deliberately made myself seem relaxed, even bored. As his attacks continued to be (mostly) foiled by my defence, his morale and energy dropped noticeably over time until there was hardly any fight left in him.

 

I’m not too sure what I was trying to gain by writing about this, but… Hey, I wrote it anyway. Peace y’all.

Early morning ramblings

There is a magic about being on the internet in the early hours of the morning. I cannot seem to shake the feeling of being in a space that is somehow entirely different, like an alternate reality, like a virtual world suspended in time. A place where the dew on the Forest floor has not yet been disturbed, when all the world is sleeping but me. It is, as I said, a thing of magic.