Saturday, December 28, 2013

Skyla's Story: Catharsis

When I woke up, it was already sometime in the afternoon.
I laid there for some time, assessing my situation. I had no gil, no home, no purpose... and now I had nothing tangible to remind me of my own father, who was already enough of an enigma as is. I had nothing but a bag, a blanket, and the clothes on my back.
I found myself blankly staring at my ink-stained hands for a while, when I realized something profound.
I had something left from my father. 
I had... me.

It was in that moment that I found my purpose. My father may have been taken from this world, but I was here. I was alive and well, despite being quite hungry and still a bit soaked from the rain.
I thought back to my mother's words about how I was to be a good housewife and nothing more... Like I was going to let that happen. No, my father fought for Eorzea. Somewhere deep in me I had to have some soldier's blood.
If he could be a Dragoon, so could I.

And here I was, beat-up lance in hand.
I had gone through the Seven Hells and back to get here, worked and toiled to scrape up the gil for a trip to Gridania. 
The pain, the hate, the loss, it all led up to this moment.
I let it consume me all at once.

I stabbed, I slashed, I swung my lance around like a madwoman.
With every thrust I heard my mother's voice, berating and putting me down... screaming about how worthless my father was.
No. You were WRONG.

Creature after creature fell before my polearm, like cornstalks yielding to the sickle.
All this time I hated him, when it was really YOU who deserved my ire!
As I slaughtered the pests before me, I felt a sense of power, of confidence, and strangely, relief. It was as if all that pain, all of the ills I had felt up until now and harbored inside me were set free.
I will live up to your legacy, father.

Eventually I fell to my knees, gasping for air. A smile played across my lips as I glanced around me, the corpses of ladybugs, funguars, and squirrels laying about the area.
My fears of not being ready to take on the path of the Lancer were ill-founded after all.
I can do this, I thought as I got to my feet.

And hey, the Guildmaster did say to "attack things with reckless abandon."
I think I did that pretty damn well.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Skyla's Story: Being Lost and Enduring Loss

Being lost is a feeling of the worst kind, and it was something I had felt for a while after leaving home. I knew I couldn't turn back, but I had no idea where I was or where I was going. I had nothing to my name but a few dozen gil and a bag full of memories.
I did some odd-jobs around the towns I came across as I wandered. In one town I helped gather fairy apples for an old Roegadyn man who no longer could do so himself, and was able to stay at an inn for a week with the pay. In another town I hollered at passersby to come and check out the wares of shifty-looking Hyur woman, but in return I got a cluster of crystals that I later sold to a carpenter.

When I wasn't doing mundane work just to scrape by, I was reading the contents of the box and parcel. It turned out that my father was a Dragoon by the name of Reilig Leitero. I cried myself to sleep the night when I read the first letter, because it was basically an apology to my mother for having to leave her behind to care for me, their unborn child. He wrote that he wanted to give me a better future by protecting our homeland from the Empire. It hurt so badly to reflect on all the times that I had cursed his name, all because my mother had fed me lies about his departure.
Over the years he wrote small letters along with the coin he earned as a soldier, which became ever increasingly desperate as he received nothing in return. It seems that my mother stopped sending letters back shortly after I was born. In her delusions, she really hated him for leaving, and cutting off correspondence was perhaps the biggest punishment she could dole out against him. He told of his training and begged for a response, but always ended each letter saying he loved us both and hoped he could return to see us. His last letter mentioned that he had joined up with The Order of the Twin Adders in Gridania, a city unlike anything he had ever seen.
The parcel surprisingly didn't contain anything but a severely water-stained leather pouch and a tattered book. It was a musty old tome, but I knew its importance the moment I opened it. The book was a bestiary of many animals and monsters found in Eorzea, and had notes penned in the margins by my father. Some were funny, like on the page for the eft: "nasty slimy bugger, tastes like rubber." Others were frightening, like the tonberry: "met a hyur whose entire party was slashed down by a single one of these. AVOID" I tried to learn as much as I could from them.

I had read the letters over and over, often daydreaming of my father training with the lance. What did he look like? Did he know what color hair I had? Had my mother told him?
Somehow my thoughts always returned to my mother, and I'd feel the anger boiling in my chest again. I did my best to shake it off, but it was difficult sometimes.

Eventually living the life of a wanderer caught up to me in the worst way. I didn't have any idea how much time had passed since I had left home; honestly, I had stopped counting. My whole world was just doing silly errands in random towns, brooding over the past, and trying to just scrape by. At some point I was walking and trying to find another town to stay at, when I was forced to stop and make camp in an abandoned hut. I had lost the road and tried to find it again, but just got myself even more lost. After walking for hours, it had begun to get dark. The roof and some of the walls of the small building had collapsed long ago, and I shuffled into one of the remaining corners, exhausted. I pulled blanket out of my bag and over my head and tried to camouflage myself the best I could by covering my entire self. I fell asleep swiftly.
The next thing I knew, I was awake and soaked to the bone. In my exhaustion, I had failed to wake up from the rain. My bag wasn't spared.

That was my lowest point since leaving home, without a doubt.
My tears mixed with the rain as I knelt in the rubble, holding wet letters with blurred ink in both fists. I don't know how long I sat there, mourning the loss of the last remnants of my father. I tried to remember what they said, yet kept drawing a blank. The whole situation was too upsetting.
When the cold finally crept into my bones, I set off in the middle of the night leaving the letters behind. There was no point in bringing them with me. The box, at least, was salvageable.
It was when I at last reached some semblance of civilization that I checked to see what had happened to the book. Under the light of a lantern in a Chocobo stable, (I had no gil for a stay at the inn) I tried to peel the pages apart. Ruined. The dye and glue from the book binding and my father's notes had blended into an awful sticky, runny mess.

I threw it across the room, causing a nearby Chocobo to seemingly grunt in his slumber, and passed out in a pile of hay, hopeless.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Skyla's Story: Father Pt. 2

I didn't know for sure, but I knew in my heart that he couldn't have been the scum she said he was. No piece of "scum" dies in battle for Eorzea.

I defiantly crackled the door open and peered into the foyer, watching as my mother accepted a parcel from the man and shut the door.
She didn't spare a moment to even think of what had transpired, and instead rushed into her own room. I crept from my bedroom, anger and curiosity welling up inside me. She was in her room for just a moment, and soon emerged holding three things: a parcel under one arm, a wooden box that I had never seen under the other, and a lit candle in her hand.
It didn't take a scholar to put two and two together; she was going to dispose of every last trace of my father. My blood began to boil with a mix of betrayal and panic.
I scrambled back into my room and watched as she barreled through the back door like a woman possessed. She didn't even notice me in the doorway.
As I followed her to the door and peered outside, I saw her lay the items in the middle of the yard and hold the candle aloft...

The rage in me had boiled over and I tackled my mother to the ground. The candle fizzled out in the wet dewy grass, and I leaped over her fallen body to scoop the discarded box and package into my arms.
"SKYLA! What do you think you're DOING?" she spat as she tried to pick herself off the ground and stop me. I quickly ran away from her grasp as she tried to grab my skirt, and she fell back down into the dirt. With one swift motion I opened the box, and my heart nearly stopped.
There were letters inside, dated within the last year... addressed to US.

I turned to face her, tears streaming down my face.
"You LIED! You said he was SCUM! That you had no idea where he went! SO WHAT ARE THESE?!?" I screamed as I grabbed a handful of letters in my fist. My fingers clenched around something hard, and I let go in surprise. Reaching into one of the envelopes, I pulled out a 1,000 gil coin. Aghast, I looked up at my mother.
My mother was silent. I threw the coin to the ground, put the letters back inside, and slammed the lid of the box shut.
"You KNEW where he was all this time! You got PAID FOR HIS SERVICE! Why didn't you TELL ME?" I screamed.
"...he LEFT US, Skyla. You don't understand!" I had never seen my mother look so defeated. I almost felt bad for her, until she continued. "He wanted to 'save the world'... but I needed him," she spat. "WE needed him! He left us when we needed him most! What man leaves his family?!?"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "You LIED to me. All these years, I had no idea where he was, I hated him... all this just because he left to become a soldier for Eorzea? He wasn't scum, he was honorable."
My mother had burst into tears at this point. "No, no, no," she wailed, "he left me alone! He left me! He left us! Why don't you understand, Skyla? I needed him!"

I looked her straight in the eyes. It was like staring into the eyes of a scared animal. Deep inside, I knew there was no turning back. Her selfishness couldn't be forgiven.
I turned to walk back towards the house when I heard her speak.
"Skyla... where are you going?"
"I'm leaving," I said softly, unable to yell any longer. There was no point. She was insane.
"Wh-what," she squeaked, "NO! You can't leave me! You can't leave me alone!"
I didn't respond. I just kept walking, set on retrieving my bag from my room and leaving this place forever.
"SKYLA! Skyla, you get back here!" she screeched, her voice shrill with anger as I walked through the door. I grabbed my leather bag, stuffed the box and parcel inside along with a paring knife and an extra pair of shoes, and walked out the front door. I could still hear my mother screaming my name, anger turning to desperation.

I could have bet that even as I walked outside the village limits, getting stares from neighbors outside their homes, she was still sitting behind her house screaming in the same spot I had left her.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Skyla's Story: Father Pt. 1

As I walked through the gate and into the Shroud, I found myself filled with a sorrow that I hadn't felt for a long while.
I thought I had been over this, but I guess the pain was just lingering under the surface, a festering wound under a clean bandage.

I had never known my father.
That in itself was endurable. There were many others without fathers, and their lives were normal, or at least close to it...
No, I had spent a large portion of my life not only having an absent father, but also hating him with every ounce of my being.

I had been born in a small village, though a melting pot of other races. As long as I had remembered, I had only a mother... If you could even call her that.
I was nothing more than live-in maid, that just happened to also be her daughter. Cooking, cleaning, weeding the garden... that was my entire life, besides occasionally having a spare moment to myself to sit outside, wondering if this was truly what life was meant to be.
My mother barely did anything except for keeping up appearances around town, eating, reading trashy romance novels penned by some love-crazed Lalafell, and making sure I was doing what I was supposed to do. Whenever I would inquire why she couldn't take care of things, she would tell me that I needed the training, for a woman needs to be a good housekeeper. A part of me always thought she was just lazy, though I didn't dare speak my mind for fear of lashings.

Besides the fact that "a woman should keep house," one thing she drilled into me was that my father was scum of the lowest kind... That he had left us before I was even born, too lazy to be a man and support his family.
I believed her. Why else would she be so bitter and hateful? Why else would she treat me so poorly? Obviously I was the spawn of someone she despised, a constant reminder of someone who betrayed her trust.
And then everything changed.

The Calamity came, and though we were spared the destruction, everything I knew was turned upside down.
It all began with a man showing up on our doorstep, which was definitely odd. My mother had shooed me into my bedroom, and though eavesdropping would surely result in lashings, my curiosity was peaked. My mother had always expressed contempt or indifference towards the men in the village, so it was clear that she wasn't looking to attract any suitors. So who was this man?
With my ear pressed against the door, I had listened closely... Though I couldn't hear all of it, I could make out a few things.
"...regret to inform you... husband has passed... killed in action in Carteneau... belongings..."
My blood ran cold as ice as my mind raced. I knew the man was speaking of my father, but something wasn't right.
Why was my father killed in battle?
My whole life I had been told my father was a deadbeat who left us all those years ago, and hadn't been heard from since. No "worthless scum" would risk their life in battle to save Eorzea from the Empire's clutches.
It was in that moment that I had realized that my mother must have been wrong.

Friday, December 6, 2013

lols in LoL, screencaps and funny names from League of Legends

Over the past couple of months I've been spending a lot of time playing League of Legends since I couldn't really do anything that involved actual brainpower.
(Thinking hurts when pretty much everything else in your head hurts as well.)

Since I've probably depressed you all with my post yesterday, I thought I'd post some screenshots from awesome games I've had, and share some of the funniest usernames I've encountered on the game.

This was probably my happiest moment in the game thus-far. A near-perfect game of Summoner's Rift after a string of downright horrible games.

With a name like that, can you honestly blame me for being curious?

This was my first experience with having someone absolutely roll a game of Summoner's Rift. It was absolutely terrifying, though it would have been even more so if they weren't on my team.

I did freakishly well my first time playing Ziggs. Sadly the games that followed weren't as jaw-droppingly amazing.

And the trend somehow continued the next week when Fiora was free-to-play. Did unusually good as a first time Fiora.

These are some of the funniest, strange, or gross names I've encountered in the game.
(Yes, I do write them all down in a little notebook beside my laptop!)
  • dilldoughs
  • CommanderFlexTit
  • TheRolingScones 
  • Shes18Officer
  • CuddlyPoop
  • IWearCROCSDood
  • InTheRear
  • boob grab
  • Foot doc of DOOM
  • Ball Sac Hair 
  • Rabid Hemroid
  • Bodacious Tatas
  • ALotOfNastySTDs
  • SoiledUnderwear
  • HoboJoeLikesSnow
  • AnHorsesDick 
  • NotAtAllAsian
  • ButtSmaxer
  • Anashole 
  • Unkempt Alpaca
  • Fiery Poop
  • satanoctopussy
  • NurpsOfThaPurps
  • Prince Corn
  • Badonkadonkdink
  • DaddyFattySack
  • Coleslaw26
  • Dippndot
  • CommaMamma
  • TacosMightEatUs
  • ImTheCoupon
  • time2poo
  • tastethefeet
  • ThePoorMinions
  • Want2FackQueue
  • HugeThirdLeg
  • man eating soup
  • DroppedBaby
  • Playwithmychod
  • IceyMooseKnuckel
  • 99midgetfarts
  • kiss dis d1ck
  • MoonFanny
  • TheEvilTurnip
  • 5hitkicker
Hope you got a kick out of these.

Life's Little Hardships

It's sometimes difficult to admit that you're not happy with how your life is going, and that you're certainly not meeting even a fraction of your potential. I find myself mulling this over almost every night that I forget to take my medicine on time. 
Whether it's just chemical withdrawal, the depression the medicine controls, or actual discontent, it gnaws its way to the forefront of my thoughts.

I'm sure I'm not alone.
Being 20-something and living with your parents seems to be more common than usual in my generation. So is being 20-something and still working on your college degree. Being unemployed is probably even more common.
Being all three is just depressing.

I do have excuses. I know they're credible and hold water. I've had a myriad of problems that have kept me from following the footsteps of my former classmates and graduating on time.
I've had major depressive disorder for 6 years. Add 1 year to high school.
I developed iron-deficient anemia in my sophomore year of college and had to drop out. I lost my $16,000 scholarship as a result. A whole year spent out of school as a result. 4 months of feeling sorry for myself, 1 month of having a terrible first job experience, and 7 months of working a fairly pleasant but grueling job washing dogs.
I became anemic again this summer. Had to withdraw from a 4 credit class.
A month later I started experiencing somatic symptoms of anxiety that mimicked cardiac issues. It was an extremely stressful time for my family and I was starting an English class, which has bad memories for me. Had to withdraw from a 3 credit class.
This semester I had one class, Sculpture. I developed freakish allergies and once again... Had to withdraw from a 3 credit class.

So here I sit, at home every day.
I can't hold a job with these allergies. I don't respond to over-the-counter pills or even the prescription nasal spray I was given. I'm currently taking sublingual immunization drops to raise my immunity.
It could take up to 9 months before I see results.
I can't go to school with these allergies either.
I can't do just about anything.
I am so unhappy.

I want to move forward more than anything in the world. I cannot express it enough. ...Yet I can't.
I have had a taste of an independent life though, and I am ravenous for more.
This week it has been just me and Jon here in the house. While he works, I sleep and try to rest enough to be energized for when he comes home.
I wake, I wash, I tend to home matters... Washing the dog, scrubbing the dishes, moving the laundry, watering the plants, things that are so mundane that we often ignore. 
I enjoy every moment of it.
When he is on the way home, I lay out the ingredients for our meal. I microwave and fry and boil. I make something to the best of my ability, which is far from impressive.
Then he arrives, I finish the cooking, and we feast.
It is beautiful.

I want this. I want this life.
I want a beautiful, simple, mundane life that I can call my own, in a place that is my own.
I want to own a dog.
I want to decorate for the holidays.
I want to have a corner of a room that I can call my studio.
I want to cook dinner for a smiling and tired man.

It can't happen and won't happen as long as I don't have a job. I cannot get a job without a degree. I cannot get a degree without my health.
...and so it stays the same.
None of this matters to the glaring eyes of society.
We're expected to move out at 18, get a job, hang the degree you earned above your desk. It's just not always that simple.
It's disheartening though. It's even tougher having to explain yourself to others, or even trying to.

Until I get better, I just have to keep doing what makes me happy. It's getting harder and harder though as my definition of "happy" changes.
Does watching TV or playing video games truly make me happy? Or do I just enjoy the fact that time has passed, and I'm one little bit closer to the next day coming around? I no longer know sometimes. 
I feel like most things I do are just to fill in the void of having nothing to do. 
An idle mind leads to idle thinking.
Idle thinking leads to pondering about life.

...and then I write long blog posts, just like this.