I’ve joined a new guild! So far it’s been a positive experience. I’ve done a few mythic dungeons with folks from <Templars of the Rose> in the past month or so, so it’s not like everyone is a stranger. My girlfriend’s former roommate is the one who prompted me to join, and they’ve been really great about easing my anxiety about stepping into an existing social group and the inevitable awkwardness that follow. I have yet to roleplay with anyone in the guild, that should really be the next step. Part of the problem is my aforementioned anxiety about existing social circles and trying to penetrate the barrier and make a place for myself and my characters among them. Another part is a simple matter of time.
The holidays are upon us, as they say. Gift-giving (and by extension, gift-buying) is a thing that happens. I’ve reached that point in the month where I begin panicking because I have only purchased one gift of all the ones I need. Add this to the financial strain I’m already under (and significant hardship on the part of my family) and it makes it hard to look past the stress and enjoy myself during this time of year. I’m fortunate, really, because I do love my family. They’re not awful people, they’ve been accepting of my identity and some poor life choices I’ve made along the way. Even when we disagree on things, it’s not the sort of situation that results in feuds where we don’t speak to one another for years. I’ve got upwards of thirty close relatives on either side of my family, and I see and speak to most of them at least once or twice over the course of a year – more if there are weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc. So my stress doesn’t come from the fact that I’m dreading family celebrations. I rather enjoy being surrounded by my boisterous and rowdy relations. No, my anxiety is almost completely tied up in the gift-giving and -receiving that accompanies Christmas. I worry that I won’t be able to find an appropriate gift for everyone, that the gift I do find will be insulting or something they already own or have no interest in. I worry that I’ll spend too much and be pinching pennies until my next paycheck comes in. I worry that I’ll get a gift that I don’t like and won’t be able to adequately conceal that from the giver. It’s a complicated stew that only another person with Generalized Anxiety Disorder could understand.
So there’s good and bad. On top of the worries and the excitement, it’s really cold right now and I’ve never been a fan of winter. Despite living in the near-Chicago suburbs for 96% of my life, I have never actually enjoyed our Midwestern winters. I tolerate the cold, grump about it and bury my bed in spare blankets so that I can hibernate until the thaw in late March (if we’re lucky). I know there are places colder than Chicago. There are also places warmer. I’ve lived in some of them, and the fact is that I will never love being warm more than I love being within an hour or two’s drive from my entire support network. So I shall continue to complain to anyone who will listen about how dry the winter is, how my lips are all chapped and my hair is frizzy and I wake up every morning with a nosebleed, but don’t be fooled. I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world.