This is going to be a little different than my usual posts about gaming advice, but I think that from time to time, a bit of personal reflection is a good thing- especially as it pertains to this blog and what it's all about.
The reason this blog exists is I got laid off from my tech job. Blessed with free time, I wrote a bunch of articles about the therapeutic adjacent gaming work I did and posted them here. I also rebranded myself on twitter as @rollforkindness, (and took on a new persona from my previous one, g3rmb0y, a very goofy hacker sounding name and personality to boot.) I cultivated more followers, I became a voice in the applied RPG scene, and I did well. I even got a chance to speak at two PAX panels, fulfilling a bucket list item for me.
This was always a dream of mine. And now I have it. So then, the question remains, where do I go from here? I would like to continue writing about my experiences running these types of groups, but I'm also looking at what the future holds as I start looking for work.
I had an interview yesterday for a community mental health agency. I think I nailed the interview, and I hope I get it. If I do, I should be able to continue running the social skills groups, as that's just a Friday evening, but it will also open a lot more doors for me to do this type of work in different settings.
It also opens me up to doing some serious mental health work. For the longest time, I felt like a lot of the people in the mental health scene didn't take me seriously as a mental health expert- much of this was imposter syndrome, but I was also told as much in softer terms. (This is fair, as I don't have the same level of specialized education, but it was still hard when you are still figuring out who you are.) This will be a chance for me to get my hands dirty again, and prove that I am capable in a social work capacity. Furthermore, I've been able to do really fantastic stuff with my social skills group that nobody else is doing, so far as I know- the different game modes, the application of lesson planning models, the complete departure from traditional fantasy tropes, the inclusion of actual bureaucratic paperwork, etc. This creative boldness paired with kids coming from a community mental health setting should highlight some really exciting new avenues.
So I'm excited about the future. I'm excited about continuing my social skills groups, but also doing them in different settings. I'm excited to get to do a lot of good for my day job, even if it's hard. I know the meat grinder I'm getting back into, and I welcome the hardship, as it means I'll be able to be doing help at ground zero, which has always been a passion of mine.
I'm scared, too. I'm not the strongest person. I don't have my life together as much as I'd like. I feel tired often, and my ADD sometimes makes the simplest things impossible. I struggle with SAD and anxiety and a sense of despair about the future of the planet that keeps me up at night. I have tried to go to therapists, but the sad reality is that each time I've done an attempt at theapy, I've left with hundreds of dollars less after a few months, but no significant improvement, instead a sense that there's no real help for me.
I'm also struggling with the fact that I don't think I'm a good person. I'm not a bad person, but I have bad parts of me. I spend my late teens and early 20s on 4chan, being radicalized into an angry white boy who thought racist and sexist jokes were funny. I then got out of that, got a girlfriend, and realized how toxic all that crap was. There's still a part of me that takes delight in others suffering and discord, a part of me that enjoys being vindictive, a part of me that is just awful. And I have to remind myself whenever I have a thought like that- "Isn't that a shitty thing to think? Why would you think that way?" And I deconstruct it, and realize it is toxic, but it's always there, and it's something I have to fight on a daily basis. But- I think I'm winning. And I think that's part of the idea of rolling for kindness. I have to keep making rolls. Sometimes I roll low and I let that shitty part of me come out, but most days, I'm really good at not rolling 1s. I've bumped up my bonuses by practicing being kind every day, and trying to genuinely listen and be deeper in my kindness than any superficial platitudes, but actually trying to advocate for social justice and good. It's just a reminder that kindness and goodness, for some people, isn't a default trait. It's a skill that they have to work at daily. And I'm genuinely proud of myself for not becoming a shitty MRA type. And I'm thankful to all my friends who guided me with a patient, loving hand away from that garbage. It's been a constant effort to try to be good.
And I think that's why I'm excited for a job doing community mental health. I believe that a good alignment is achieved not through thoughts, but doing good in the world, and this is my chance to do good. And hopefully, I'll get opportunities to take this gaming work to those settings, and do some really exciting stuff in the future.
Thanks for reading thus far, I'm excited for what the future holds.