My World of Warcraft life!

So I have a secret……. well its not TOTALLY a secret, but it is definitely not something I blab to everyone about.

I am a professional person.   I served in the Navy for 20 Years, I have worked for a local dermatologist for 12 years, I worked for a local church, a  substitute teacher, and a network marketing professional.  In all of these capacities I have had to mind my P&Q’s, be professional, and carry myself with a certain amount of modesty and decorum.
That being said, I don’t blab about my secret life……

the life of a gamer….

an online gamer…..

You may be asking yourself, “What the heck is she talking about?”  So I guess a little background is needed.

One day about 10 years ago, my friend S says to me, “Hey, I have been playing this online game, it is really cool, and you should check it out.”  I was thinking “yeah right…”, but I just turned up my nose and said, “No thanks, that doesn’t really interest me.”  She said, “Okay, but it is really fun.”  I was like, “no way…I would never play an online game….that is sooooo not me.”

Fast forward a few months, and I am at the Gamestop, buying the game she recommended, and even paying a monthly “trial” subscription fee to “check it out”……  okay, ZOOM forward 10 years and now I have:

My level 90 super Epic kick ass Orc Hunter

and

Level 90 Mage. She is fun to play! Not as kick ass as Delinda, but getting her there!

and

Level 88 Druid. Almost to 90!

and last but not least:

My newest character, a Panda.

Yes people…..I am a World of Warcraft junkie……. “Hello, my name is Carol and I play World of Warcraft.”

Now before you think anything judgemental, (not that you would, but I have to nip that in the butt), I am one of over 400,000 women (according to a UK Sunday Times article in Feb 2010) who play World of Warcraft, (also knows as WOW).

So I started a little over five years ago with the character (toon) in the first picture.  She is an Orc (yes Orc) hunter.  She is level 90, (which is the highest level you can be in the game), and is pretty sought after for the damage she does.  (for you non gamers, that is how much she can kill, and how quickly….)
So, my friend S did get me hooked, even though I didn’t think I would like it….HA…what a laugh.

Now, before you get all,  “Oh she is one of those people who sit around playing games all the time”,  you need to know that I am a casual gamer.  I usually play at night, after 9 pm, when my children have gone to bed. However, in the summer when I am not working as much, or taking college classes I do tend to play more frequently. 


However, I really can’t play as much as I would like, because my kids play also……ALL 3 of them.  And since two of my kids are on the same account as I am, we have to take turns playing……..sigh……

Bluebell has an account also.  We actually started playing the game together, but I started getting ahead of her, and ONE time….(TRULY it was only ONE time), got a little frustrated in a group situation (hell, we were dying over and over and over……frustration was running high……), and I (hanging my head in shame) yelled across the room at her, (we were on different computers in the same room), “What the hell are you doing?  You need to shoot the guys in FRONT of you!!!   Needless to say, she immediately logged off, and even though I begged her forgiveness, she has never played in a group setting with me again. (She will play on her own though).

I hate to admit that I did that, but it is true….


So, yes, I play WOW.  It has become a family event for me.  I have people I have met on WOW who have become real life friends, and I have real life friends who I play with on WOW.  I also play with my nephews, and we can chat with each other using headsets while we play, so we can catch up on what is going on in our lives.  Even though we are thousands of miles apart.

I have three toons I play regularly: (Delinda,above is my first toon and my favorite)

Lianara, a level 90 Blood Elf Mage.  She does pretty good damage, and is LOTS of fun to play!

Persephoni, level 88 Tauren Druid.  I am working on getting her to 90.  She is DPS (damage player), and I really like playing her also.

I also have a level 85 Undead Priest named Morticcia, (get it..undead…Morticcia….you have to be over 35 to get that one)……that I can’t show you because it is on Bluebelle’s account and apparently she changed the password, and forgot to tell me….(on purpose?????).  Maybe she isn’t over the yelling incident??…….. I better buy some flowers….

I play with a bunch of WOW friends in a group called a Guild.  Our guild name is Go Horde or Go Home.  We play on the Uldum server.  So if you play WOW and have a Horde toon on the Uldum realm, (sorry if I have lost you non gamers), look me up.  I play almost every night, and love to make new friends!!!

If you still wonder about WOW players, this should help some:

and

Good Cop, Bad Cop, how our two mom family works.

My partner Karol and I have been together for 10 years.  We have lived apart and we have lived together.  When we first decided to take the plunge and be a couple she was about to move to Pennsylvania and I was staying here in Virginia.  We knew it was going to be difficult, especially since we were a new couple, but we knew we could do it.  And we did!  Looking back, I actually think it made our relationship better to be apart the first two years.  We were careful not to fight, because we couldn’t see each other much.  However, we did manage to see each other at least once every month.  She would bring her kids down to Virginia to see their father who lived in a town near me, and then we would spend the weekend together.

Bluebell and I at a party.

This separation went on for two years, and then she received orders to move back to Virginia. Thank God!! We purchased a house and then began the daunting task of “blending” our families. Bluebell has two kids and I have two kids.  They already knew each other as we visited with them and had vacationed with them over the two year period that we lived apart.  However, it was still a worrisome thing to move in together.  Would they get along well?  Would our one girl be okay living with three boys?  How would we handle discipline, etc?  As much as we tried to make sure we had a plan for each of these things, as you can imagine, we couldn’t plan for everything.

Karol and I had very different child rearing styles.  Mine was/is tough love, and loving firmness.  Hers was a laid back, “let them be kids” attitude. Well friends, those different styles made for some rocky times initially.  However, I loosened up , and Bluebell toughened up, and we soon settled into a sort of routine.  It was like a “Good Cop, Bad Cop” thing.

Brandon…our oldest boy

It has always been very important to me that we treat the kids equally.  Especially since we are a step family it has always been a priority to me that no kid feels like things are not “fair”.  This is not always possible, and at any given point (especially in the beginning) we heard many comments of “Why does _____ get to do/go/have ____ that I don’t to do/go/have?”  Our answer varied depending ion the specific incident.  With 4 kids of varying ages it is not always possible to be totally fair, but we have always done our best. We don’t hear the “unfair” statements anymore.

Joe Cool….the middle son

Interestingly, as we stepped into our “Good Cop, Bad Cop” schtick, we never played the same character all the time.  Sometimes I was the meanie, sometimes it was Karol.  And we didn’t even plan it.  It just sort of evolved.  We tried all kinds of things.

One of our most interesting ideas was what we referred to as “Kid Court”.  We put the “accused” on trial of a jury of  their peers.  Bluebell and I served as the judges.  We told the jury the crime committed by the accused and they would discuss the punishment to Be given to the accused.  Of course as the judges we would decide if the punishment fit the crime.  When we first started this, the kids would come up with very harsh punishments…  (Absolute power corrupts absolutely), but we would gently remind the jury that it could be them in the “hot seat”, so be cautious about the severity of the punishment.  That usually gave them pause and they would adjust their punishment.  To be fair, the accused was always given an opportunity to explain why they chose to make the decision and ask for leniency.  This actually worked for about a year.  Then Karol’s daughter Katarina decided she wanted to go live with her dad, and we didn’t have enough kids left to be an adequate jury, so we had to change tactics.

The Genius…the youngest son

Over the years, our parenting styles have adapted as our kids have gotten older, and their “crimes” have evolved from tween things like not doing chores or fibbing to teen things like missing curfew, computer impropriety (another post for another day), and being downright sneaky.  However, we still fall back into our familiar Good Cop Bad Cop roles with ease, and it seems to work well for us.
We are NOT perfect parents, but we continue to do our best to raise our boys to be responsible, effective, reasonable, thoughtful adults.  So far, they are coming along nicely.

Coming out…over and over and over

I had a fairly normal life.  I grew up with two brothers, a mother and a father.  We moved around some when I was little (born in Phoenix, spent three years in Colorado, 5 years in Southern California, and finally landed in Connecticut).  My family was a bit dysfunctional, but we were okay for the most part.  We went on family trips.  My brothers and I fought.  My mother was ALWAYS on a diet, my dad went to work in the city and came home to the ‘burbs.  A typical 70’s family.
I was a typical teenaged girl also.  I talked on the phone incessantly.  I had a diary.  Had lots of boyfriends, and struggled with high school cliques and popularity contests.  I had a part time job, and hung out with my friend and shopped.  Normal teenaged girl.

                                                    My Junior year in high school 198??

When I graduated high school I moved out of my parents house because they were just too strict and I “NEEDED MY FREEDOM”. I actually shouted that at my parents when I moved out.  What a fucking turd I was.  Really, was it so bad that my parents wanted to charge me $50.00 a month for rent?  My mother even offered to pay me $5.00 an hour to do ironing for her, thereby giving me an opportunity to “earn” my rent.  Nope, no good for my sorry teenaged ass. I “needed” my freedom. So I traded my parents house in a safe middle class neighborhood and their cheap rent to move in with a girl I worked with at the grocery store.  I went from my parents house to an apartment on the second floor in a not so safe neighborhood in Bridgeport Ct.  I went from food and heat and security, to very little food, limited money for gas, and struggling enough that I had to get a second job so I could choose to either put gas in my car, or eat.  STUPID!!

However, when I moved out something even more dramatic changed for me.  It was after I moved in with Pam (I think her name was) that I met Kathleen.  Now when you read her name, you need to imagine her name being said with music playing it and a pretty face with long black hair floating in one of those conversation bubbles with shimmering stars behind her face.  THAT would be how it was back then. Kathleen was pretty, funny, and  (said with a whisper) ………   a lesbian……   She was not looking for a relationship, but apparently a fresh faced pretty 18 year old girl with a curiosity about her was too much for her to resist, and our little friendship blossomed into MUCH more…….

Suffice it to say that Kathleen was the first woman I ever kissed in an other than “you’re my best friend” way.  She was also the first woman to break my heart.  We had a great time together, however, when I went to boot camp a few months after we started dating, my mail went from cards every day, to letters once a week, to the dreaded “Dear Jane” letter, then it was over.  I cried. I moved on.
Since that time I have been in relationships with both men and women.  (No not at the same time you twisted people)…  and although I enjoyed being with both men and women, I always enjoyed my relationships with women more.  Somehow for me the relationship had a depth that was missing in my relationships with men.

I have been in a wonderful relationship with my partner Karol for 8 years.  We are very happy.  We love each other very much.  We share our lives.  We argue, we laugh, we raise our kids, and we are truly happy with each other.
By now you are probably wondering where I am going with this?  I was wondering that too, but don’t fret I actually DO have a point.

My point is that recently I learned about National Coming Out Day. (NCOD) I did some research and found out that National Coming out Day has been going on since 1988.  I didn’t know that. Did you?

                                                  National Coming Out Day

Well, I think it is wonderful that there is a day set aside for people to rejoice in themselves and announce their identity to the world.  For many it is truly a celebration.  A day where they finally let friends and family know who they are, and whom they love.  It can be wonderful, joyous, liberating experience.  It can also be filled with anxiety, concern, and plain stark terror.  What if they reject me?  What if they don’t like me anymore?  What if my parents, brothers, sisters, friends will no longer associate with me?  You might be able to guess, or hope or predict what others will think, but until that moment of declaration happens you won’t truly know.

I am a glass half full kind of girl.  The kind who always tries to see things through rose colored glasses and find the positive in EVERY situation.  Karol tends to be a bit of a Negative Nelly, seeing the negative side of things.  That is why we are such a great match.  We balance each other.  And even though I try to always look at the positive side of things, I am also a realist and so for that reason I want to tell anyone who is going to come out someday, or might come out someday, or is thinking about it:  IT WILL NEVER BE OVER!!!!

Now, don’t get your knickers in a knot.  I am not saying that coming out is bad!!  I like being open about who I am and whom I love, but it is not a one time deal.  I come out over and over and over again and again and again and again.  When you start a new job and someone asks about your significant other you can chose to come out or not.  When/if you have kids you can choose to come out to the teachers and administration or not.  When you meet new people you can choose to come out or not.  Can you see where I am going with this?  It is often a weekly, if not daily decision.

I am a skin care specialist for a leading dermatologist.  I have new clients on a regular basis.  If it is someone I see regularly and frequently, (most of my clients see me every two weeks, or at least monthly), at some point they will ask me about my family.  I always talk about my kids, but usually leave my marital situation out of the conversation.  However, at some point it inevitably comes up…..sigh….

Truthfully, there are some GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered) who are very open about who they are in their dress, mannerisms and speech, however, there are many of us who you wouldn’t “know” just by looking at us.  I am a feminine woman, I am a “girly girl”, and no one ever “suspects” that I am gay.  So very often someone will innocently ask about my husband (I am a middle aged woman with kids, so that is fairly common).  Right then I have a choice to make….do I tell them about Bluebell? do I fib?  should I be evasive?     ??????   Most of the time I am honest.  And once the words are out, “No, I don’t have a husband, I have a partner”, I cringe a little inside.  Most times there is a small pause while the person thinks about what I have just said.  I have to be honest and say that 98% of the time after that quick pause the person says, “Oh.”, and then goes on to tell me how it is okay that I am gay  and relates a story about someone they know who is gay.  Their hair dresser, friend, family member, neighbor, etc.  They almost always say something like, “It doesn’t bother me.  It is okay that you are gay.”  I knew it was okay already, but I appreciate their letting me know it doesn’t bother them.  Then we move on to other topics. However, now that I think about it, I realize that I don’t usually “come out” to anyone until I know them for awhile.  I guess my philosophy is:

1) If they like me before I tell them and then they don’t like me afterwards, that tells me more about them than about me.

2) People don’t generally start a new acquaintance with giving lots of personal information about themselves, unless it is your physician……

I suppose the point to my rambling today is that I am happy there is a “National Coming Out Day” to celebrate and give voice to so many people who can open themselves up on that day.  However, we should be honest, and say that every day has the potential to be a “Coming Out Day” for anyone who is “other than” heterosexual.  So it really should be “National Coming Out Day …….Over and Over and Over” .