All throughout my teen years I was completely fascinated and absorbed in role-playing and strategy gaming. A normal geek interested in these pastimes is one thing, but for an adoptee I felt as if I was breathing life into alter egos.
Understand that adoptees grow up learning to be social chameleons, and in doing so, ply their skills to become acceptable. Unbeknownst to the child, they were set upon this path because of their base root in reality as a disenfranchised soul set upon the world to wander for those most similar to them.
Being asked to embrace the novelty of role-playing allows the adoptee to embrace a persona on a level they are not entirely familiar with; that of an individual who knows where they have come from. To them, this practice is not alien, but rather sought out. I did not understand why I was so deeply involved with the story of these personas and how far I could take them. In my mind they fulfilled both my deep desire to know where I came from, and something concrete that I could easily build my story upon.
Years after I stopped playing these games, did it finally come full circle with an acute awareness missing before. In fact one such game I had played about a decade earlier had promised to come out with a newer version on kickstarter.com from the original designer. I invested in the crowd-funding program a year before my search for family began. From the moment I started my search to the conclusion my interest in these games has utterly vanished. In its place was this philanthropy to help other adoptees.
Understand that a dedicated gamer has a circle of friends they embrace and can almost become like a second family over the years. As you virtually experience several personified lifetimes with them. You’ve virtually been through life and death experiences over and over again. Anyone who plays these games on a semi-serious level will be able to identify with these feelings and devotion. Given an outlet to thrive in a fake life, to many, is better than not thriving in a real one. Call it a delusion, but to the many who imbibe nothing else can take its place.
Massive multiplayer games online replaced my addiction with small games with friends around a table of my teen years. Still, the need to satiate this thirst went beyond a need to have a fulfilling real life. To me, it became a way to tap into any part of my personality that wanted an outlet for expression. From the outsider watching individual gamers enjoy these pastimes were nothing shy of weird to witness. To the novice these folks just appear as drama practitioners acting out their odd roles to one another. Many simply do not understand how people can devote so much effort into the imaginary.
For the time I spent, it was a clique of comrades at arms, and rivalry that became a delight to sink the imagination into. After a while people tended to become a certain type of persona others expected them to appear as; the rogue, the brute, the magician, or any number of other roles. However, as time went on I always came back to a role I thrived in as the healer. I flourished on keeping my team sustained long enough to go beyond their normal means to survive. Never did I once consider it a massive effort to actually focus on healing myself or exploring my darkest thoughts that must have been troubling me all those years.
Now I embrace the paths others must take to find themselves, and in doing so I continue to play the persona I have always wanted to be; their healer. There are just as many challenges here as there are in an abstract game. One must think multiple moves ahead and consider each decision that could work with or against us. Yet none of those games ended with a life-changing event, as one feels when an adoptee finds their birth family. While real feelings can certainly be hurt here, when we lose in this game, we just have to learn to brush off the pain and anxiety, pickup the pieces of our life and give it all a try again. There are plenty of strategies to be worked on through genetic genealogy, and just as many encounters to prepare for along our way.