I started this blog during a staycation spring break five years ago. It was a spring break that was initially meant to take us to England. Instead, my oldest son and I romped around in the Eastern Kingdoms. Falling into Warcraft was the sober equivalent to going on a six month bender. I make no arguments that WOW was maladaptive behavior but far less destructive and dysfunctional than alcohol abuse or a classic nervous breakdown. And while blame could be laid upon the Game as the beginning of The End the truth is that The End had already come. The Game simply gave an identified hook upon which to secure cause. And if that lets some people sleep easier at night, great.
Ironic that the virtual place you fall into to be anonymous and invisible is where you finally find yourself and where….maybe….someone sees you clearly for the first time. Gone are the trappings of diploma, appearance, age, profession and even the carefully constructed “so-called life” of marriage, 2 kids, 2 cats and a mortgage. You are left with yourself to run around and be numb…..but sober. It is a meditative space. It can also be a very social space. It can be a collaborative space that peels away all the construct of adulthood and returns us to the playground and those basic rules of play nice, play fair, make friends, have fun and come back tomorrow. And for the first time in many decades, I was in a play group. I didn’t have to be the smart one. Or the leader. Or the mother. Or the doctor. I wasn’t in charge. In fact, I had absolute permission to be MYSELF, which is sassy and sarcastic and feminine and MORE THAN WILLING to let another person lead. I also could play for HOURS alone….solo…just collecting herbs and finishing quests. Grinding as we call it.Just like when I was a daydreaming little girl lying in the grass watching the clouds roll by.
In the envelope of that virtual world, saturated with sensory images and an ethereal sound track, the stress and unhappiness of life fell away and I started to hear the faint, static transmission of something with which I lost a connection long, long ago. I heard myself. And I heard that weak voice ask me, remind me, about things I had once promised to do. “Did you ever write that book?” It asked? “Did you build The House?” “Have you been to the Grand Canyon?” “Can you make croissants?” And in this virtual world the once lost voice was stronger and more inquisitive. And I had no really good answers to offer as to why I was approaching the halfway mark and so much of what I once promised had not been accomplished. Or worse, had been abandoned. It asked, “Do you not want those things anymore?” And as I searched for the answer I realized……I absolutely DID still want them. I wanted them ALL. I wanted them so badly but they all seemed so unattainable that to avoid my disappointment and grief, I simply hid from them. I buried them. And I kept MOVING. And I forced myself to accelerate to the point that the scenery was blurred and nothing was audible. And then, I literally fell into the World of Warcraft. The virtual equivalent of Thorazine.
It saved me. It would have been something. And there had been other events placed in my path that should have triggered awareness, none of them subtle. A hurricane, my family disintegrating, my sister’s aneurysm, getting sued for malpractice, my parents divorce. I ignored them all and just KEPT MOVING and kept doing what I felt was expected of me as a wife and a mother (while also being a doctor and a business owner). And LOTS of other people had their own expectations of me. But few people considered the consequence to ME, to my heart and my soul. It took me falling down the rabbit hole into Alice’s Wonderland to divest myself of the “REAL WORLD”. Only then did I hear my own voice.
I love being a mother. The absolute BEST part of my existence. Being pregnant, giving birth and having two sons has been a kick ass ride. And it is just getting started. I LOVE IT. I love being a doctor too but it has taken many years to learn to define my boundaries and not accept responsibility for the shit that is the patient’s. I am their advocate, their liaison, their resource and their guide. But it’s their disease, their illness, their fear and their journey. I am here to HELP… not carry.
And now I am on a new trek. I have climbed out of the Land of Oz. And this real world is not so bad. And now…I am going to answer some of those questions.