One of my flaws is that I have a fairly rigid way of looking at myself. I tend to think of myself in terms of absolutes, which does not allow for any change. I’m grumpy, cynical, depressed, fat, and introverted. That’s who I am. Taiji, video games, writing, and reading. That’s what I do. More specifically, blades, Souls, mysteries, and mysteries (respectively). It’s a weird tension because when I ignore what I know about myself, it doesn’t usually go well. Some small examples–going to see Pulp Fiction with a boyfriend (many years after it was released). It was his favorite movie, and he really wanted me to see it. I warned him that I was not going to like it. I knew I wouldn’t, but he was convinced that either I would like it or he would be ok with me not liking it.
Reader, I didn’t like it, and he wasn’t ok with it. Not only did I not like it, I fucking hated it. I loathed it with every pore of my being. I thought it was shallow, grotesque, and painfully hipster. I hated everything about it. When my boyfriend asked me what I thought about it afterwards, I made the mistake of telling him. Not in the terms above, but more as what I saw about it that was problematic. After I was done, there were several seconds of silence. Then he said he couldn’t be with someone with that kind of worldview and dumped me on the spot. He wanted to be ‘just friends’*, and we saw two other movies together. Both that he loved and insisted I’d love (we are both slow learners), and I hated both.
Here’s the weird thing about me. I don’t always know what I’ll like, but I know what I don’t like. Not sure what that says about me, but there you go. When I hate something, I hate it hard. If I hate something from the start, I do not change my mind. The biggest glaring exemption to this is Dark Souls, the original. I hated it as I was playing it, and now, it’s one of my favorite games of all time. You know what? That’s not entirely correct. When I first started playing it, I was instantly hooked even though I was so bad at it. That is unusual in and of itself because I normally refuse to do things I’m not good at. For some reason, however, I kept playing Dark Souls. I nearly quit once (Bell Gargs), quit for months once (Gaping Dragon), and came thisclose to quitting for good (Biggie & Small), but I overcame all those hurdles and felt like a goddess. Then, the second half, which I hated every minute. I was sick and tired by the end, but I made it through the whole game, including DLC. I remember saying in my brain once I was done, “I never have to play this game again.” Ah, how young and naive I was back then.
I actually held to it–until Dark Souls II was announced. For whatever reason, my lizard brain said I had to play that game. In order to prepare for it, I decided to play the first game again. Why? I don’t know. That’s how my brain works. Also, I wasn’t going to buy the second game on release, so I had time to play the first game at my leisure. Considering it took me nearly 150 hours to play it the first time, I needed as much time as I could to play it again. Playing it a second time made me a complete 180 on the game, and it’s now the game to which I compare every other game. I’ve played it probably a dozen times, and I’ve played the third one twice that.
You might think this negates my statement that I don’t change my mind about something I’ve hated, but it doesn’t. I did not hate Dark Souls from the start. When I saw the trailer, I was intrigued. When I played it, I was frustrated as hell, but I was also completely engaged in playing. It wasn’t until the second half, which is universally considered the weaker half of the game, that I started actively hating the game.
Side Note: I’ve felt this way about every FromSoft game I’ve ever played, but I think it’s more user error than anything else. I tend to play one game at a time, and I play it obsessively. I gorge myself on the game until I’m satiated and then some. Even when I start to feel sick, I plow on. Then, instant elation when I beat the game, forgetting all the pains that came before. Except the first time I beat the original game. Then, I just felt tired, worn out, and so ready to be done with it.
Another example of something I’ve hated from the start that I still hate (but do) is meditation. We do it as part of taiji, and I had issues with it from the start. There was a time when I couldn’t do it at all because it triggered flashbacks and other aspects of my PTSD, but I worked through it. I can do it now, and I still hate it. I hate everything about it, and I write blog posts while we are doing meditation in class. Yeah, that’s not great, but it’s better than me freaking the fuck out by meditation. By the way, I have Googled the negative effects of meditation, and I’m not the only one. It’s a common response, and there are many practitioners who are peeved that it’s not mentioned.
i also did not like the Solo Form when I first learned it. I put up with it because I knew it was the base for everything else in taiji, and I’ve grown to…um….not like, not enjoy, maybe appreciate is the right word, mostly because my teacher started showing us the applications. Weapons, on the other hand, was a whole different kettle of fish. I resisted picking up a sword, but once my teacher pressed one into my hand, I was hooked. Now, I’m practicing the Sword Form (refining my left side when I’m not sick), learning the Sabre Form (which I did not like the first time I learned it and now love), Double Sabre drills (using escrima sticks, very cool), and the Cane Form (which is like dancing to me). I also have a fan and two karambits, but those are on hold for now.
The moral of the story is that if I HATE something from the outside, then I’ll hate it forever. If I don’t like it for some reason, there is more flexibility. I’m not saying this is a great thing about me, but it’s how I am. Life is too short to waste time on things I hate, which brings up another interesting question. In the past, I would feel if I started a book, I had to finish it. I don’t know why, but that was my mentality. Then, I read Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce for my MA program, and I instantly threw it across the room once I was done it. I HATED it, and if I hadn’t been reading it for school, I never would have finished it. That broke me of my compulsion to finish a book. There are some video games that claim you have to put a certain amount of time into the game before it really catches on. I’m game to put in an hour or two (unless I really hate it), but fifteen/twenty? Um, no. I don’t like games in general enough to do that. If I don’t think I’m going to enjoy the game on some level before going in, why bother? I’m also much more apt to jump out if I’m not enjoying the game. The Surge 2 sits in a weird place, but I’ll get to that in a separate post.
Wow. This was not at all what I wanted this post to be about, but I guess I needed to get it out. I was going to talk about my inability to accept that what is happening to me health-wise right now might just be the new norm, but now, I’m not feeling up to it. I will try to tackle the subject in the next post, which is actually a better fit topic-wise. For now, it’s more hummus and gluten-free spinach tortillas for me–then probably a nap.
*Never a good idea for me. Also known as fuck buddies. It turned out about as well as you would expect.