Why I Hesitate to Play – Breaking the Silence
My sister wrote a post over on her blog that got me to thinking. (Here is that post FFRP– The Basics) Over the many long years I have been playing, I have been disrespected more times then I can even count. I have been attacked, blacklisted, bullied, slandered, maligned, back stabbed, vilified, threatened, and more. I had one give my physical address and tell me in great, graphic and gory detail how he was going to decapitate me. (I don’t like gory so this was distressing.) I have been betrayed both online and off by those claiming to be my friend. I have offered shelter to some and been betrayed for my generosity. I have had play partnerships ruined due to petty jealousy or just hate. I have been kicked under many a bus in my time but I keep crawling back out. I wouldn’t bother if I didn’t love FFRP. Not being around doesn’t mean I no longer care. I do, I am just very cautious about when and with who I play with.
On the flip side, I have some wonderful friends and family who have stuck by me through it all. Many of them also treated the same as me. We are a tight group which others seem to hate. I no longer care one way or the other how “OTHERS” feel about what I do be it my art, my stories or even my blog. I have always been a proponent for respectful play. I support being polite to others. For the most part I doubt that will change, but I will not become a floor mat for anyone again. What I am discussing here is just a small part of many things I have kept quiet about. So what is going to follow is going to be most cathartic for me. I have kept silent long enough.
I spoke about being one of those attacked by the community and I am going to be candid about the behavior. I won’t name anyone but I can discuss what they did. Mind you, the following is from my own POV. This is my blog, thus is it my opinion and if you don’t like it, feel free to leave.
In recent years I was one that had been bullied and more by a community that thrives on hate over on another site I don’t care to name. They gave my bullies a place or a platform if you will in which to perpetuate their lies. It felt like a blacklisting was happening, but I never had actual proof to support it. Only the way others treated me and my friends seemed to suggest it. None bothered to even ask me my side of the story they wove. Instead I was attacked and called a number of vicious, ugly names based on those fabrications. No evidence was ever provided for the gross and deceitful accusations spread about me and my friends, and yet I felt tried and convicted without even so much as a fair trial.
The ones spreading the multiple lies had never met me or my real life friends. They didn’t know where we lived having never been to our homes. We had never sat at a table and had coffee or any drink with them in person. I didn’t seek to meet them either. I considered them “Online Friends” which isn’t a bad thing either. I just had a certain separation about it. The reality is, my biggest mistake was to actually consider them friends in the first place. For me, being a friend be it online or off, I offer my trust. I care about them. I go to bat for them as I did with one and was viciously mauled with some rather hurtful words about my father who had only passed away three months prior. I was told to “Just GET over it.”.
Such words were cruel and painful which they were intended to be, but after I considered the source of who said this I recalled wisdom given to me when my mom passed and that helped me to move on. I was told that grieving is a very personal experience. How long one grieves is also a personal journey. Some can do it in 8 months, others never fully recover because it is a trauma of the soul. NO ONE has the right to tell anyone to just “Get over it.” in regards to a loss of that nature. I however, have not forgotten what was said to me. Doubt I ever will because such a statement was a true example a completely heartless and emotionally bereft individual. Truth be told I actually pity this person now.
Over the years I have had some attempt to steal characters from me. Names can’t be copyrighted, this I know, but if you make a name without a last name because you are to lazy to type it in, don’t be surprised if someone makes an assumption about your intentions. I was sent an IM and asked if it was mine. Here is where it gets irritating. Putting up a rather unique first name and no last name, creates that presumption. In essence it FEELS like someone is seeking to claim something that is NOT THEIRS.
When I said something I discovered this was a supposed “Friend” who had made the name and didn’t think I would mind. I did mind and wanted to know why a last name wasn’t added. The next thing I know I find myself facing a ban hammer. Good thing I do log as I was able to show this conversation to an admin of DM “upon request” (which means less then a minute they had the log in hand,) and all the things I was accused of saying was found to be false. Thank goodness for TIME STAMPS and that it was on AIM, which wasn’t mentioned in the original reporting. I was accused of demanding they change the name. Which I never did.
Note: The one that first created the name, changed one letter. However, another player involved in it all, remade the name in question and that character behaved badly enough in the room that my play partner made a note in HIS profile that his partner was NOT that one.
I had one back on AOL try to steal a character of mine, but I am going to spare mentioning to much about that as it was years ago and my Fiona is still active on the boards at the very least and hers isn’t. The player had the gall to tell me directly that she could play my character better then me. Considering my Fiona was from my own quirky imagination, I found this hilarious. (Before anyone gets all uptight, the imitator isn’t on DM as far as I know so don’t assume anything. The other Fiona’s on DM are NOT being accused of anything. Thank you.)
I also add that copycats were very common back on AOL. Often such antics were designed to create problems for the original. Many I know including myself and my sister along with several friends had been victims of it.
I have been attacked on DM for playing my characters IC. Jumped on OOC for not being nice to another character who had tried to kill mine several times in the past. No question as to why MY Character was less then thrilled to see the guy at all, instead I was sent a DEMAND to “be nice to him and HOW dare you be so mean to him!!!” Thrilling stuff really. But after a long time of this sort of garbage one gets tired. Eventually he moved on to another character and yet again, I and my sister were subjected to thought snipes and veiled insults. Mind you I just shrugged that off and went on. I never posted about it until now. Yet, that wasn’t amusing and I have seen it happen to others since. So, it’s a pattern of behavior and not a good one at that.
I am going to say something that many think but few are willing to actually state it outright. Many woman online get really STUPID OOC about real men playing in the RP areas. They seem to think they are like golden. Often one has to wonder if they have some goal for a real life romance. In light of this, they get mighty ugly and defensive for them which never fails to baffle me. They become back biting vicious harpies in general in hopes of getting a real man I guess.
Often the men (Not woman playing men here) get away with some pretty vile behavior. Some are plagiarists, others liars, some are extreme moders, or they simply have a rather nasty disposition, there is also some disrespectful sorts as well and yet, they can do no wrong. Of course when you get burned as many times as I have, I no longer have any false illusions. I admit to being very jaded now and with good reason. My personal philosophy is simple: “Once an asshat always an asshat.”. In reality, I am one of the lucky ones as I do have some really good play partnerships and have for years.
Ah, now I am up to a lovely little tribulation I have pondered posting about for some time. Just over two years ago I ended up in the hospital. The reasons for this are personal and I don’t need to discuss it. My medical issues are private. I won’t use them to guilt anyone or try and garner pity or sympathy thanks. I keep it to myself with only a selective few knowing the details. Though much of what happened to me was stress related and being genetically predisposed as well. I only mention it now because it was the reason my family, play-partners and my roomies were and are protective. (Just a warning here, attack me and you may end up dealing with others such as my friends and family. I can’t really do much about it nor will I. They do as they always have and that is pretty much what ever they want.)
Contrary to some lies by others, I really can’t force anyone to do what I want, when I want etc. Heck, if I could make them do what I want, all my loved ones would be living under one roof like some kind of weird hippy compound of creative geniuses. Yet when I suggest this idea they all look at me strangely and after a wave of a hand they blow me off and move on.
Anyway, once I was home still bruised and battered, one of my play-partners invited me to come out to play with him. I accepted only to end up having one of the worst experiences of online in recent memory, that in my long history is saying something. I have endured some pretty harsh stuff over the years, but I was so not prepared for what was to follow.
You see, I went in to play and another joined us who knew I was only home a few days from the hospital. She went about cutting my character out of the conversation. After a while feeling like I was the 5th wheel I had my character start looking about.
Well, here is where it gets interesting. Another in the room took notice of my girl and was heading in her direction. (I used to be pretty open to playing with strangers, these days though, not so much. )Anyway, I responded to the invitation to play. Next thing I know I am being attacked in whispers (IMs) by the player who had already made me feel unwelcome. She berated me, insulted me and in essence demanded that I ignore the one who had noticed my character. She seemed to be furious that he was seeking to play with my character and in such a fashion I was literally stunned. She demanded I make him play with her instead and left me feeling as if she was such a better player and HOW DARE I even think he would even want to play with me. Mind you, he had noticed Cieara not the other way around. I did try and explain that I can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want. I didn’t know this character or this player thus, it would have been extremely rude of me to ask this person to play with her instead of me. Who would do that anyway?
What really shocked me is that she not only attacked me in the whispers, (AKA On site IM) but also took into thought bubbles in the room. I was so upset I ended up in tears because I didn’t know what the hell was going on. In the assault I realized she was furious that this character had taken notice of mine, but not hers. I can only assume her jealousy had exploded…… all over me. This went on and on and felt like hours when in reality it was just under 30 minutes, give or take. Yet with every IM and room send my distress grew as she wouldn’t stop, even when my play-partner asked her to.
While I was trying to deal with this unexpected hysterical woman in IMs, I ended up missing a send from the unknown male character in the room. I did send an apology but I was so shaken and at a loss I don’t really recall how he reacted to it, though in hindsight I may have seemed abrupt and rude. I wasn’t comfortable telling a total stranger what his attention had created so I didn’t. Honestly? It wasn’t his fault, but it wasn’t mine either. I realize now that her in room behavior was pretty awful and perhaps that reflected on me even tho I did NOT participate in the same fashion. I don’t play that way, never have and never will.
It got bad enough my room mate demanded I let her on the keys. After a send which gave her name, she added “THIS ENDS NOW!” then she shut the room down and walked me away from the computer while trying to calm me down. I think now I should have let my roomie unload on the attacker, but I didn’t. Instead, I backed away from playing again. I rarely play now and when I do, I stay with only those I fully trust not to try and maul me or behave like a jealous beast over something I simply can not control.
Okay, I am going to give a small paragraph about the issue regarding a former play-partner and his cronies. All of which went on for several years ad nauseum. Now most know all about that. For all I know it may still be going on, but I removed myself from seeing any of that foolishness any further. Through all the lies and crap flung our way we survived it in a manner of speaking. After being so ill I did finally get back in touch with my sister, having stopped talking to her through the mess of things. We hadn’t spoken in over 8 months and that will not happen again. Those online machinations will fail if anyone should make another attempt. Fool me once and all that.
By the way, my family relationships are not part of any “Loop”. (This was one complaint I heard about for not sharing the information that I was speaking again with my sister.) What I do and say in regards to my relatives is no one else’s business but my own and who I care to share it with and don’t share it with is again MY RIGHT. Don’t like it? That isn’t my problem. Unlike some I don’t care to post every nitty gritty detail about my life. Simply put, it is arrogant to assume that if your not actually a blood relative or a close family friend, that you should be given ANY information. It isn’t any of your business.
Now, to the many, many haters that seem to liter the RP realms of play, I offer just a few words which are simple and easy to understand. “Karma works.” remember that the next time you lash out at someone that hasn’t done anything to you okay? Because I have been a witness and minor victim to it’s effect and it truly does work.
I had my backlash of it. I got sick, but my Karma came from having allowed all of that to happen effect me when I really shouldn’t have. I let hateful people have sway upon me emotionally. People I never really knew. As what we get online can often be a lie. I let them stress me out and should have known better because my dad had only recently passed away so my emotions were certainly a scrambled mess. I allowed those lies and false witnessing to draw blood but that will not ever happen again. While I removed myself from the online RPing world, I did wish some less then kind things upon them in return. I am human after all and from where I was standing at the time, nothing I said would make any difference. In fact anything I said I was sure would end up twisted and turned ugly so I refrained from saying anything at all about all those hungry and hateful sharks in the water.
As for me, my illness taught me that I need to speak my mind. I couldn’t keep silent forever as that was eating me alive from the inside out. I may not spew it online all that often but my friends and family frequently get an earful. So be warned now, if you come at me spoiling for a fight, I am going to tell you what I think in no uncertain terms and then ignore your lame nasty self. Got that? Forgiveness is all fine well and good and I practice it, oh yes I do, but while I may forgive some for being jackasses, that does not mean I am going to allow them close to me again. I am simply not that stupid. Burn me now, and you are gone for good. Which I add, has NOTHING to do with forgiveness. Once a scorpion always a scorpion was what my mama always said. Can’t help their nature and if they sting you once, there is nothing going to stop them from doing it again. Wise words.
So, while I haven’t named anyone here directly, I had to speak out about some of the things above. It wasn’t for anyone but my own selfish need to do such. Some days I get so tired of seeing some get away with their nasty ways daily. They climb up on that high horse of theirs and feel they can dictate to others and remain untouched while doing so. Yet if challenged they go all defensive and petulant. They seem to think they are the end all and be all of role playing but they are rather sad. Anyone that needs to be vindicated online should look to have a life outside of it. Because honestly? It’s not healthy to measure your value by the attention you get or don’t get in some fictional online world. Role-playing is a hobby folks, not a lifestyle. (Disclaimer: Role playing folks, not writing as that is a whole other kettle of fish and for many that is something they do take seriously and are fully justified in doing so.)
I have issues with some online but at least I know where I stand with a good bit of the haters. They don’t hide like some others do. They hate and they wave that banner proudly even if they never actually tell you why they hate you. It’s the ones that stand behind you with a knife at the ready that really irk my soul. I think that is actually the worst kind of person. These are the ones that take every opportunity to fling others under a bus or train. Goodness knows they are more then a few around so don’t be fooled people. Guard your back well as those claiming to be your friend, may not be as truthful as you think.
So many like to say “Haters are gonna hate”. It’s a simple yet powerful statement as it makes me aware that no matter what I do or don’t do, “Haters are gonna Hate” and I can’t do a darn thing about it. I might as well just not go there in the first place. Taking this attitude means less stress for me and for them in the long run. Do what you want do just leave me out of it. You want to come at me with hate, I am more then likely going to give you a response that will seem for me like a big ole’ rubber stamp of red ink that reads simply, “IGNORED” right across your screen and mine. Sometimes the simplest actions have the best results.