I am slightly amused that my anxiety is getting the best of me as I try to write this. You see, I recently jumped into a few online games during the Necropolis’ Discord Horror Nights and it was kind of a big deal. It might seem mundane to some, but this was my first time playing online and only my second time playing with people outside of my friend group. I was also completely unfamiliar with any of the games being run, which was a cherry on top of an already anxiety-riddled Sundae.
If I am lucky, I am able to meet up with my local group once every month or so to play games. This is not often enough. I have been desperate. Though my interest has been strong, my anxiety has proved far stronger. I bought a ticket to the EFCon and sat on the sidelines, reluctantly signing up for one game and breathing a sigh of relief when it was canceled. The disappointment I felt after that drove me to sign up for more online games that never happened—sigh of relief, “It’s okay, at least I tried.”
I have a deep, abiding fear that I suck as a player and just don’t know it because:
My life is filled with anxiety and worries, so why not throw my hobby on that pile.
When you play with a group of friends for a while you tend to accept, ignore, or embrace each other’s quirks and infuriating nonsense.
I wished the thought that I might be a garbage player existed only at the back of my mind, a worrying little whisper that I could tune out. But no, it is one of those full-brain asshole thoughts that digs right in.
The only way to know for sure is to get out there and play, but to get out there and play you must defeat the anxiety that is keeping you from getting out there and playing.
What goddamn mess.
If only there was some epic, internal struggle in the depths of my mind that raged on, only to see my anxieties vanquished. Nope, if anything it was more like a wrestling match and Desperation rushed in from out of nowhere with a steel chair. Anxiety lay battered on the mat and Desperation waved the chair threateningly in my direction while yelling about how much money I spend on this hobby just to not play anything.
So I signed up for everything that fit my schedule because all or nothing is a strategy that always turns out well. What could go wrong?
Dun dun du—nothing went wrong. I signed up for six games and played four because scheduling complications caused two to be rescheduled. Those four I played? I had a blast. I got to hang out with some great folks and try some new games. I will probably write about them some and leave them in my drafts folder like all my other posts since I started this.
I still don’t know if I suck as a player, but my anxiety has moved on from that particular hang-up and I don’t care as much. I will absolutely be joining more games in the future and may even end up running some. There are some games that I want to run that will not work with my friends.
Can you guess where the anxiety moved on to?
People are quick to tell you that you probably don’t suck at GM’ing as much as you think you do. People probably aren’t noticing your screw ups or judging you as harshly as you judge yourself. These people are probably correct and you should take their advice to heart.
I’m fairly sure my brain hates me, so I won’t be doing that. I will wrestle a bit harder with the anxiety that comes with the thought of GM’ing for folks I barely know though. Maybe, just maybe, Desperation will come in out of nowhere with a steel chair to save the day and demand I run Vaesen or something.