Underneath my yellow skin

Looking for love in all the wrong places

I love Elden Ring, but it doesn’t love me back. Story of my life, really. I always want what/who I cannot have for reasons as long as my arm. Back when I was dating, I was attracted to gay men, straight women, and anyone who was attached in a monogamous way. Even if someone fit into the category of who I was attracted to and theoretically available, they had no interest in me. The people I did manage to date ended up being not good for me in many ways. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Part of this is because I’m contrary. I could sugarcoat it by saying I point out things other people don’t see (which, true), but the practical outcome is that I am usually the minority voice. This can be a strong point, but it can also be fucking annoying. I fully acknowledge the latter point.

Because of this, I rarely take things at face value. There is always an underlying reason for everything. Again, while this may be true, it doesn’t exactly make me the most popular person when I voice these opinions. I’ve learned how to keep these things to myself when the other person shows they don’t understand what I’m talking about or aren’t interested in my perspective.

Side Note: One of the most insightful things my last therapist said to me was that people literally could not understand what I was saying. Not that they were misunderstanding, but they could not comprehend the concepts I was spitting at them. “Minna,” she said. “They are at a level 2 and you are speaking at a level 5. It’s like Maslow’s hierarchy. They are focused on food and shelter while you’re up to self-actualization.” Something about what she said flipped a switch in my head. Along with her pointing out the lesser-known results of the Dunning-Kruger study; that people who are good at something seriously underestimate the gap between them and other people in that area. Because you can’t get an outside perspective on yourself, what you can do is normal to you.

I see this in FromSoft games all the time, by the way. People who are good at the games can’t grasp that their experiences are not the norm. And it’s circular because those who are good at it are the ones who play the games, making them better at the games, thus making it easier for them to forget the difficulty in the beginning. I adore Aoife Wilson from Eurogamer, but she is especially guilty of this. She firmly believes anyone can play the games and that you just have to learn the moves. She calls Sekiro a rhythm game and says once you click with the system, it’s so easy!

Except, some of us do not click with the system. I did not. But Minna, says other people. I thought you could not beat the game if you did not click with the combat! Oh, you can. But you’re not going to have fun and it’s going to be very grueling. Because instead of the posture-breaking at the core of the game, you have to whittle away at the health in agonizing slowness until the boss finally dies. I remember fighting the Boss of Hatred and just hating everything about my life. It’s a three health pip boss and it took me hours to beat him. I have talked about how transcendent it was to beat Isshin, the Sword Saint, but was it worth it? I have to say no. That game just made me feel like a total failure DESPITE me beating it.

Someone in the RKG group mentioned platting the game in 60 hours. He did the save-scumming for the endings thing, but that’s still incredible. It’s a third to a fourth of the time it took me to finish one playthrough. Granted, you only need to do the main story bosses plus a few big optional bosses and a few other things for the plat, but still. I knew I was bad at the game, but not that bad. It’s humbling and frustrating because I’m used to being the one who’s good at whatever I’m doing. In fact, normally if I’m not immediately good at something, I quit. The fact that I’ve stuck it out with FromSoft games for this long is, frankly, astonishing. I get frustrated easily and don’t tend to stick out the hard things.

Something about Dark Souls sank its teeth into me, though. I raged at it and I cussed it out. I even rage-quit once and stopped playing for a year. I have not gotten anything for free in any of the games, including Elden Ring. I have accepted that I am shit at the games and that it will take me three times as long as other people to finish the games.

When I was in college, I had an easy time with most classes. I hated multiple choice tests, but if I was allowed to answer essay questions or write papers, I was golden. I didn’t study much for tests and my M.O. was to cram in seven or so hours of studying the night before. As for papers, I’m an excellent writer. Give me a topic and I can write a good paper on it in a few hours (not including research time). I remember two incidents specifically. One was in a class about China. I wrote a paper in a few hours and got an A- on it. A friend of mine took weeks to write his and got a C on it. He was so upset because ha had put so much time and effort into it, only to get a C.

The other time is something I’ve mentioned several times. Is it a humblebrag? Yeah, it is. But it’s also true. I was in a Neuropsych class and we had an essay test in a few weeks. A classmate of mine took to firing off questions at me as she saw me on campus during those two weeks. I always shrugged and said I didn’t know. She asked to study together the night before around seven. I went without having studied yet and she started firing off questions again. I kept saying I didn’t know and went back to my dorm after fifteen minutes or so. Yes, I was being passive-aggressive because I didn’t know how to turn down her offer to study together. I don’t study well with other people because I have a very specific way to study. I do it the night before, cramming everything possible into my brain. Then, I take the test and forget it promptly after.

I took that test. I thought I did poorly because there was a question I didn’t really understand. I did my best, though, and filed it in the done category. When we got the tests back, the professor did a little monologue first, saying that someone had gotten a hundred. She went on to say that she normally didn’t give out 100s, but this person had earned it. The person I had studied with immediately came over and started speculating who got the hundred. She got 79 or something in that range. I was noncommittal as she guessed one classmate after another. Of course, I was the hundred, which never crossed her mind. I didn’t really deserve the hundred, but I took it, of course.

Me being terrible at the games I adore is justice, I guess, but it doesn’t feel very good.


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