A dip into the past.

January 9, 2006

A wild hair style is the first thing that is noticeable about this man. Hair only a few inches long, but that is not what stands out. The colour is a vibrant yellow and cool black. An odd mixture of colours, yet they look decent in the right amount of each colour on his hair. There is no pattern to the colours, not stripes or zigzags, just pure randomness. Swirls here, lines there, blobs there, create a painting on the man’s head. His face is firm, yet gentle. Around his eyes are the familiar colours of yellow and black, his eye colour being white. On his lips is a friendly smile, as he notices you looking at him.
His body shape is not as wild as his head, but is a good size. He’s about six feet tall with broad shoulders and thick muscles cover his body. The body is hairless, though, giving you lots of time to look over his body. Across each of his breasts are the infamous swirls of yellow and black. Covering his legs is a high-riding sarong, resting just above his knees to allow for full movement. The material has a few holes in it, but nothing revealing, just showing how active he is. His feet are bare, and in semi-rough condition. Eclipse is half seen, half hidden, not showing his entire self. It remains to be found entirely.

That’s how I described myself on a game that I played on years ago. It was a virtual world, a text world, where you could move around and talk with people, make friends/enemies/lovers/etc. Usually, people flock to them to play dungeons and dragons type games, just to kill people, power up, etc. I tended to float towards the more social games, since meeting and talking with people in person was always difficult for me. I thought I could “practice” online, to get the hang of having to respond to people’s questions more quickly, while combining the thinking side of my interactions – meaning, I didn’t have to respond *right now* and could take some time developing a response. It was actually really good practice for me and it allowed me to develop more skills – like the art of being witty, or having intelligent conversations, or seducing women (fortunately or unfortunately).

It’s hard for me to really describe these places without actually showing people how they look and feel. Basically, take the basic IM structure of MSN/AIM/etc. and take out all the graphical parts about it. There’s no pictures, no smiley faces, no webcams, etc. The message window is the kind of the same, except everything is translated into a more novelistic way of viewing things. So instead of seeing:

James: Hello everyone.

You’d see:

James says, “Hello everyone.”

So while the first sentence makes it feasible for quick exchanges, the second makes it a bit more impractical. Everyone’s favourite words lol would look just silly if it were presented as:

James says, “lol”

Or at least it does to me, but that’s because I’ve learned to really act out the reactions to things and hadn’t even heard of “lol” until I started using ICQ back in the day. Some may notice how I like to do things like *baps you on the head* Well, that comes from playing on these games, but it would look cleaner:

James baps you on the head.

Basically, these games allowed me to practice my writing skills while creating a storyline or just enjoying myself. They were quite addicting to me until I began to grow tired of them. I was more interested in getting to know -real- people, not fake characters. The more conversations I began to have, the more I started to question people about their real lives. Most grew rather irritated by my questioning because they were there to escape life, not be reminded of it. Naturally, these curiousities about life began to grow stronger, and still grow strong. No longer was it enough to interact with people online (I had switched to ICQ/MSN for my interactions over five years ago) but I needed to get to know them in person. Of course, that bothered people even more than inquiring about real life. I’m never going to win at this game of life as far as socializing goes. Can’t meet people in person, can’t convince people I’ve met online to meet me in person. But that’s not the point of this.

I wanted to focus on this sentence: Eclipse is half seen, half hidden, not showing his entire self. It remains to be found entirely. When I wrote that down, I truly believed there was a part of me that wasn’t out there. I wasn’t being completely open to the people around me in my life, that I wasn’t being myself. I was just being the quiet person, accepting the things that were being said to me, smiling at the rude comments, laughing at the poor jokes, and so on. What was really happening was the burning inside of me wanting to erupt. I wanted to react to these things and tell them, “You’re such a moron. Be more considerate. Quit wasting my time and come up with something intelligent to say for once.” I also wanted to be more violent with them. That surprised me, but the urge to punch someone was really great. I have never been in a fight though. When some guys taunted me so much that I did start walking towards them like I was going to get them, they ran away. Pity. I regret not having beaten that guy up.

Apart from that violent part (which I now release through physical activity- chopping wood, working out, running outside or on the treadmill), I started to wonder who I really was. What was my purpose in life? What is life? What was it about theatre that made me decide to go to school for it? Looking back at those days and years, I think I may have come across the right answer but didn’t know how to go about achieving it, or didn’t want to give up on what I chose at first. Or maybe the idea was in my head, I just couldn’t put it down onto paper and see it and go, “Aha!”

When I was 20, I discovered a book at the used bookstore entitled Theatre, Spaces, and Environments by Richard Schechner. Until that point, my studies in theatre had been rather traditional. If you’ve ever been to a play, you’ll know what I mean, but actors are on stage, audience in the seats with an invisible barrier between the two. This book presented theatre in different forms, where the audience didn’t have one area to sit in, interacted with the actors and influenced the performance through their responses to the action. That idea got me real excited, so then I bought a book that really focused on the idea of environmental theatre (theatre in nontraditional spaces, or unconventional ways of using traditional spaces). When an idea interests me, I tend to dive in completely, so after that book, I discovered old theatre journals in the Theatre Department’s reading room. I scanned them, read them cover to cover even if they were all academic journals. The reading was tough, but the ideas fascinated me.

For the next year or so, I read constantly. I devoured these ideas of theatre from the 1960s and 70s, questioned whether they were still relevent and tried to incorporate them into my studies whenever I could. My interests in school started to flow away from technical theatre and towards theory of theatre. I wanted to explore more about how theatre fit into people’s lives and the power behind theatre, but I never gave into it completely. I only read or talked about it with a few friends on campus. I never developed plays, or directed, or pulled together an ensemble to give them ideas. That part of me really dug deep and hid inside of me.

I avoided pursuing that side of theatre by working in technical theatre. It’s what I fought so hard with my parents about in grade 12. They didn’t want to me to get into theatre at all. They thought of it more as a hobby, not a career. And because of that struggle to get into theatre and show them that I was good at it and it could get me jobs, I didn’t want to admit to myself that it wasn’t right for me anymore. I still don’t, which is why I’m still stuck working in the technical field right now.

But I think tonight, this post is my admission that it isn’t right for me and I need to go forward onto new things in life. I need to quit hiding a part of me inside and come to terms with who I truly am. I can’t pretend anymore. I can’t continue to behave like I’m enjoying something when I’m not, and I need to let my emotions show more. Be even more honest than I’m being right now with people.

Is that even possible?

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