Sunday, November 05, 2017

Demon defeated by D&D

I had to drive across the ACT and back and in doing so had an anger attack about childhood. When I got home I announced I was rubbery in a quavery voice, went to the shed and cried.

Then my son came in and asked if I wanted to play D&D. I've been running him through solo adventures starting at level one. He was midway to a ruin to explore it when we last we left it having critical killed with a scorching ray a dire badger before it even got out of its den mouth. 

I said no initially, that I was too rubbery. But as my wife pointed out I needed to do something to get me out of the anger grief cycle I was spinning in.

So I changed it to a yes and we spent a couple of hours outside under the patio as he took on a skeleton infested tower as a lone dwarven wizard and we ended the session with him having been tracked by a ghoul then dashing its skull in with his club when it climbed up the tree after him. 

My parents mostly gave me grief for being a pen and paper gamer. My mum supported it—even got me gaming products as presents—but my dad disapproved and made it clear with his snooty derision that a proper boy should be playing cricket, rugby and doing nightly exercises as per that Canadian Air Force manual for fitness he gave me that displayed perfect men doing physical movements that I either could not do or could only do with pain and distress.

I had a body that did not work where I got bullied when I walked out the door to school and bullied when I came in at home from a pair of over bearing people whose egos got in the way of normative parenting. My only place of safety was inside my head and AD&D, which I then played, was a tool of safety and welcome; respite from a reality that judged me warped and weak. 

It was more than delicious that I broke away from having relived the memory of my father chasing me through the house with the intent of ripping my arms off and re-experienced that trauma to be in a state of acute tear-filled anger to then go play a game that gave me wellness to escape an environment that was toxic to my identity and mental wellbeing. Within minutes the terror-rage had abated and I was in GM (or DM) mode running theboy through his game. 

We make our own lives but we live with damage, damage, damage done to us through scorn or seeming love. The trick is not inflicting that damage on others—to break that cycle—and use the things that give and gave you joy to bond with a child that loves you back.

The best revenge is doing well and I got to play D&D with my son.

Suck shit, horror childhood and the monsters that lurk there still, I win again.

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