Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beyond the Spiral: "Got a Bartleby?"

Back when I was just a Master Thaumaturge, at some level beyond 45, but not yet 50, I was told of a place by a stranger where gold was sure to be bountiful:  "the Coven."  Masking my ignorance, I began walking through the Commons asking if anyone wanted to join for "the best farming instance."  Honestly, I had absolutely no idea where the Coven was, or even what they looked like.  In fact, I was hoping to meet a more experienced player who would show me the way when we grouped.

Instead, I met Scarlet Deathblood, who was around the same level, wearing optimal Bazaar armor (Lv 40) like I was; she was the first to chime in with a Tell-back.  Luckily for our group, she had access to the instance, so while I didn't learn where to find the birds (instead, we all teleported to her), I got to see their crooked, old beaks in person.  After a couple of runs, we got to replace our current gear with the drops, and from that day forth, we became inseparable friends.

I later learned that "Missy" was her name, and I revealed that mine was consistent with Battleblood's.  We quested together, finished missions at the same time, beat Malistaire, and achieved our first Briskbreeze success together, in a 3-man.  The most memorable and significant activity, which reflects the strength of our bond, was farming for each other's 100-damage class swords.  The farms lasted from 2 to 4 hours daily, until we got our corresponding weapon.  Neither of us gave up on each other, or felt hesitant to continue pursuing the other person's item.  You can pretty much call Missy and me "siblings."

The friendship grew to a point where one of us could say anything to or about the other person, and we would not feel offended.  For example, Missy has a close relative who is constantly suffering, whether or not they are receiving treatment.  On the night that I found out about this, I asked her, "So why are they still around?"  I know, this sounds like a cold question, especially when that person is someone she loves.  But, without hesitation or negative reaction, she answered me sincerely, "I don't know.  I don't want him to go, but it hurts to see him like this.  I really don't know why he wants to do this, either."  Our insight and comments to and about one another do not feel like slaps in the face, but rather they are window openings, giving us the opportunity to visit a new perspective, or escape from annoyance or grief.  We challenge each other intellectually and emotionally.

When the depth and complexity of our conversations flourished, each of us revealed a dark secret to one another.  We both initially feared that our skeletons in the closet would compromise the friendship, but we had more than enough faith in the bond, and trusted one another.

Missy's secret definitely topped fact, I couldn't even imagine that I'd meet such a person in Wizard101, let alone with that personality of hers!  Don't worry, it wasn't anything horrifically serious, nor did she harm anyone, but it would definitely stir a stranger's outlook on her.  My mind began questioning about the friendship, whether we should still be in one another's company or separate ways. 

Usually when humans are presented with situations or cases so unusual or extreme, we can't help but stereotype or draw upon cliches to find a personal solution or answer.  A general example is like my experience: finding out that Missy did something that the majority of us would look down on.  Those quickest to judge would already associate her with a negative essence, based on the proposed idea that she had done something unacceptable to most.  Already, extreme cases flood the minds of some.  "She did A.  Or B.  Or X.  She cannot be trusted."

How did I react?  At first, I was a bit thrown off, and certainly questions about trust ran through my head, but I did not conclude that we could no longer be friends, nor did I hold any conditions against her, such as, "I'll play with you, but let's never bring the subject up again," or "Give me time to think about it."  I didn't know the whole story at the time, but I didn't have to.

As humans, we have that gift of learning from experiences and developing insight on those events.  The consequences, results, and effects of our actions play the major role in who we become in the future, not the acts themselves.  Certainly, what we did is part of our past and our identity (i.e. "a former ____"), but whoever we are in the present has branched off from the subsequent timeline of our life, rather than from a single point.  We become influenced, either through enlightenment/realization or passion/indulgence.  How we act upon and after that is what really matters.

I never thought about this before, but it solidifies the point:  I always felt it odd that an animal was euthanized when it unknowingly violated a human's basic right to life, which is something impossible for it to comprehend.  Instead of receiving "life" in a cage, it's put to sleep, without the justification that it acted on instinct.  It becomes forever categorized as "dangerous," and "unfit" to live among us.  I wonder if it's the mindset of "once a killer, always a killer" that brings that judgment.  Or, if we assume the animal doesn't have the capacity to learn or recognize "right" vs. "wrong," it is then exempt from second chances.

Thus, those around us should be treated as humans, and not quickly condemned for something that happened long ago.  We all have the capability to mature or better ourselves, unlike animals.  Treat them as the friend you know them as, regardless of what you discover about them, because that's the person you became friends with; not the mistaken or misguided individual they used to be.  Your friendship could also provide for them a support system they lacked in the past.  Or, the friendship was possible between you both due to some proactive, positive and healthy decisions made by that person; they grew into being that person you now like.  Going back to the "intro" post, the man may have lost someone truly special, due to negatively associating them with their history.  Perhaps his partner has changed her way of life and agrees with his views's a shame he never found out.

Missy, to me, is pretty much the personification of the Bartleby (Rebirth) spell.  She did a complete 180 on her life, and I'm proud and honored to get to know her, let alone meet her.  Cheryl and Ronan have expressed more than once that they also feel the same.

True, there are some extremities where certain actions cannot be forgiven or disregarded.  In the case when someone wasn't hurt in the short or long run, however, we should think twice before giving up on a connection.

What do you guys think?  Have you ever had a situation like this, and if so, what did you do?


  1. Wow, very long post :). I have a really good in-game friend who I can chat with anything about, a lot like Missy. Anyways, what was the
    situation? The post was kinda long and complicated so I didn't get that part too much...

  2. It doesn't really matter what the "past or before" situation was. If you were meant to know that person then, you would have been introduced or been there to help them during their time of need or turmoil.

    Call it Karma, Fate, Destiny, whatever, it is 'the now, the present' that brought you together. It is the person who they are "in this time" that you fell into step with either through love, friendship, or however you met them.

    All you can do is trust that everyone has skeletons in their closets. Some people would rather they stay buried and others are comfortable facing them either alone or with the help of someone who can offer support without condemnation. Either way you have to give that person to come to the terms on their own.

    So I say good for you, Kevin, for sticking by Missy when she needed you most!

  3. Agreed with Arlen that was a rather long post. I have a few friends in-game who I could discuss some issues with.

    Your a good guy Kevin, you stayed with Missy she's been going through a lot. That YouTube Video that you did for her was great!

    Pirates: A Toast to your Friendship!

  4. Well when I was working on my last play, my mates had an interesting conversation about drug use. I'm totally a "hugs not drugs" kind of a gal, so this to me was a bit shocking. But they were kind polite people that I felt safe with. So I think you just have to judge things person to person.

    I think it's good to re-think, and to be critical about the morals our society has taught us. It doesn't focus on the individual, and we must try to if we want to make the world a better place to be.

    Well that's my opinion anyway.

    (Kevin, if this is to risqué for the young 'uns, feel free to edit/delete it. :) )

  5. I love this post cause it resonates with me and my own Skeletons I had and have. I was in a similar way like your friend Missy I was in my early teens into drugs and being an overall bad apple breaking into houses and such. I decided to turn my own life around and while it's been successful for the most part it my skeletons where coming back to haunt me and bring me back into darkness but I found two wonderful women who keep me here you know who they are too I have told them so heavy stuff about me and my past and instead of judging me and breaking the friendship it strengthened our bonds I haven't told them everything yet but I'm comfortable at doing so when the time comes.

  6. People should be judged on their "present", not their past, certainly not things that they had no control over, and if it's their belief system or something like that, then it should be respected as such. We're all diverse, we've all made mistakes, we have diffent beliefs, and that doesn't make people "bad" or "good". How they treat you now and how they live their life now are what really matters.
    I'm glad you're such a good friend! =)

  7. Such a great post man. I know how you feel and might know how she does(maybe)!


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