It’s weird how inspiration can strike at the most random moments such as 4:30am on a Saturday morning. I’m going to apologize in advance for the coherence of this blog post. It may sound jumbled and in disarray. Again this comes with the territory of being awake at 4:30am, without coffee, and sitting in an extremely cold living room courtesy of the Northeast’s recent cold snap.
Everyone has an internal battle they are fighting with, and to a degree I’m slowly starting to think it’s something we’ll be forced to endure as a life battle. For some it’s the belief of imposter syndrome, and for others it’s a question of the value of their self-worth. These are the ongoing struggles that no amount of training in a physical sport or martial art can prepare us for, and we tackle hardships challenging the real final boss… our own mind.
For myself, I’ve struggled for decades at this point with what I can only think to call an identity crisis; finding my place and significance as a small fish in a big ol’ pond we call the world. If you can recall in high school there were always “circles” and “cliques”. The jocks kept with the jocks, the drama kids had a tight knit circle, and the goth kids acknowledged the other goth kids in school with a glare and a nod, but chose to socialize only outside of school at shows or clubs to keep their mystique strong. I…. was none of those things, but somehow managed to socialize with all of them either by chance or convenience. I was a chameleon at best. I had knowledge of sports so somehow the jocks befriended me, I had a a role in a few school plays so the drama kids invited me to their parties, and the goth kid was coincidentally my neighbor. Now that goth kid has been my best friend for 23 years. It funny how life works.
“Pizza… you know high school’s over, yes?”
Yeah, yeah I do. This all sounds trivial and menial yes, but honestly? It’s plagued me. I’ve never felt as if I’ve belonged anywhere, and that feeling leads to loneliness and depression. I had hoped college would help sort these feelings out and so in those years I experimented with going to new places, making friends with all walks of life, and tried tons of different fashion styles (the Beatnik fashion never worked out for me, but I love the novel On the Road). Clothes can change the way a person may think or feel, but its temporary at best. Again… I was still a chameleon.
It’s for this reason this problem has spilled in to other avenues of my life as I’ve gotten older, even in gaming. MMOs are an amazing platform to showcase one’s identity and strengths, but you can’t show your identity if you’re constantly playing characters, deleting them, and then making new ones because nothing feels “right” or feels like it best expresses you. Altoholics, I feel you. I too am an OG. To some effect this has also affected the way I play tabletop games, like Dungeons and Dragons.
In a game like Dungeons and Dragons where you create a larger-than-life hero to slay a tribe of Sahaugin off of the coast, defeat a Barovian elite on his terms in a castle, or narrowly find a way to survive a Tomb of Annihilation the customization options to tailor this grand adventurer is only limited by the creative ideas you invest into them and their story. I feel that to some degree folks carry tons of emotional attachment to their original characters because there’s that one detail or one signature trademark that also a trait of their own. You know that Ranger who’s subclassed as a Hunter with a proficiency in animal handling and has all the squirrels? She’s a veterinarian in real life OR a die hard animal lover. By the way there’s nothing wrong with that. I love animals too.
So in true Pizza form I had a dream an hour ago where I was set with the task of creating a new character for an upcoming campaign. Typically in the D&D games I’ve played in, my DM has always been my fiance, so you could imagine my surprise when in walks Matthew Mercer from Critical Role. I was in such shock I tipped a little too far back and fell out of my chair. Smooth move, Dream Pizza. Smooth move.
Everyone was quick to get to work on their character creation, but as usual I was stumped. My pencil couldn’t touch the paper and I felt the anxiety I normally feel when having to start a character sheet. I want to make this amazing character to roleplay and dungeon dive with, but I also want to make a character that feels… relatable. Matt furrowed his brow and asked “Pizza… is everything okay?” Well shit. I can’t tell Matthew Mercer in my dream I have the hardest time at character creation, which stems from a lifetime of chameleon syndrome and never feeling as if I’ve belonged anywhere and leads to depression.
Dream Pizza has no filter though, so she just SPILLED OUR GUTS. You betrayed me Dream Pizza. That’s the last time I keep anything bottled up inside or in my subconscious. Hmph.
Okay so I’m sorry real life Matthew Mercer I’m not sure why, but he flipped his hair at this point and the room suddenly had a fan waving his hair in the breeze. Even thinking about the hair flip now I’m chuckling pretty hard. What IS important was what he said immediately following the hair flip seen only in my dream.
“The best character you can create and the one that can be most relatable to you IS you. Being the best you both in game and in real life can inspire others to take comfort in their own skin, and remind others we are all capable of silencing the mighty Tiamat or tackling a hard work day. The beauty of D&D is that we can add bits of flair and tack on some Orc tusks or Elven ears if that’s something that piques your interest. Take the frustration out of making this character by being the hero you want to be both in game and in real life.”
How…. HOW IS MATTHEW MERCER SO WISE EVEN IN DREAM FORM?
But okay… I’ll make my character sheet. I promise I’ll share it with you all soon. It’s just… it’s almost 6:00am and I’m sleepy again. I’ll update this post with a D&D character sheet of me when I’ve woken up again from second sleep.
UPDATE: I’m a woman of my word. I did want to share who I am in the D&D perspective. I chose the race and class for both a specific, yet vague reason. But background, flaws, strengths, bonds, even spells. I found something relatable. Do you think you could explain who you are in a D&D character sheet? Let me know in the comments section with either your character sheet, or with a D&D Beyond link.