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Bought Level Up Your Life the other day. I never actually got around to posting a hello or an intro so here's my origin story - and also my 20SoC for the day, because this much honesty on the internet associated with any part of my real name is vaguely terrifying. I'll be posting in 3 or 4 parts - not quite sure how far this is going to go, but I'm posting part 1 before I edit it into a blank document.

 

Childhood

Chiara was a plain child and maybe a little on the fat side. Growing up she was more interested in reading than making friends. She was more likely to be in the backyard reading than playing. She also spent a lot of time overseas. While in some this might have developed into an appealing exotic edge, in this little girl it just added another alienating layer between her and her peers. Her family valued mental cleverness over physical fitness, so while she tried every sport available in her little town, she rarely stayed with it past the season. Years passed, and as her teammates honed their skills and specializations, she knew that they were swiftly moving into a league she could not contribute to.

 

So she retreated into her books – even entertained the idea of becoming an author for several years. Her parents noted this withdrawal, and while her mother was concerned her father was affectionate. “Just like me.” He said, “Don’t worry, she’ll grow out of it.” He did concede that the little bookworm shouldn’t become completely isolated outside of school, and once a week, dutifully drove her to a Girl Guides meeting.

 

The first time our protagonist’s life changes is at age 12, when Chiara looked around a Girl Guides encampment and decided this was “too girly” for who and what she was. Her parents agreed that she could quit, as long as she found some other acitivity to do, or group to join. Flipping through the local newspaper later that week, she found her answer.

 

That September, she joined the local cadet corps. For the next six years, cadets would become one of three things which defined her.

 

At 13, she moved from elementary to high school. She had heard some of the senior cadets discussing high school clubs the year before and those respected individuals all seemed to be members of something called the tech crew. While too shy to seek them out herself, by luck she was seated next to the younger sister of a member. Happy to be recruited, being a member of the high school volunteer tech crew quickly became another identifier.

 

These two parts of her identity influence her so much that the person this child becomes pursues a career in theatre, and later the military. But we'll come back to that.

 

The third part of our protagonist’s identity sneaks into her life at age 14. She is now a respected member of the cadet corps and the tech crew. She works well with her limited group of peers, and though she doesn’t know it she’s on the cusp of becoming a leader in both groups. An offhand comment about a rather famous game leads her into one of the greatest joys – and greatest traps – of her short life.

 

The game? Dungeons & Dragons.

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Quote

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star ...

you'll still get beaten out by people who spent their time working hard and learning things

-The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

 

NF Dossier 39151 adventurer 14, epic 5

#4WeekChallenge First Gate Round 2 Fight! OTHER LEFT! Hufflepuff SystemRecalibration

 

In the Beginning is the End - An Origin Story

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Welcome. Nice origin story.Similar to a lot of other nerds here. 

Wisdom 15.5   Dexterity 11   Charisma 12   Strength 14  Constitution-11

Elastigirl:Just Living Life , Part II - Current Challenge: February 14 to March 20 - Nerd Fitness Rebellion

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song, above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world" J.R.R.Tolkien

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For the next 15 years, table top role playing games dominate Chiara’s life.

 

Adolesence

Having been introduced to collaborative story-telling, she experiences a new freedom. For a few fleeting hours she no longer has to conform to modern expectations – or even human ones. A character can do whatever ‘the character’ feels like doing in the moment – 'appropriate' or not.

 

Through gaming friends, she is introduced to the Society for Creative Anachronisms – the SCA, or the medieval society. It is here the for first time she dons the persona of a boy. The next year, she will generate a male character. While this is a limited test run, the thought it planted. At the time, they settle for thinking they will grow out of it.

 

For the early teenage years, they drift along in a pattern of school-gaming-tech-cadets. At 15, this is upset by a promotion to the highest-ranking cadet position at their cadet corps. At first, it seems like an honour. At 16, they are selected to be the head technician of the tech crew. This is exactly the honour it seems to be. They don’t take to teaching but leading by example is a role they shrug on easily.

 

Like many others, Chiara deals with typical teenage fickleness from peers (and demonstrates some of their own in return), and expectations from adults. Some friends lend support; others are there only for a time; still others reveal that they were never really friends to begin with. It is a time of learning – how to speak, how to stand, how to make a plan, how to pursue ambitions, how to compromise, how to live up to expectations, how to hold responsibilities, and how to theoretically toss that all out the window in times of need.

 

With the end of high school comes the end of an era. In their final year of high school, Chiara quits cadets. Having been both burned and supported by the adults of the organization, they leave their corps in the hands of their second in command - the only other of the original group to last six years with them.

 

They have been accepted into the theatre department of a university, and so with the end of summer, they move to a bigger city. They have a plan, and for the first few years, it all goes accordingly.

Quote

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star ...

you'll still get beaten out by people who spent their time working hard and learning things

-The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

 

NF Dossier 39151 adventurer 14, epic 5

#4WeekChallenge First Gate Round 2 Fight! OTHER LEFT! Hufflepuff SystemRecalibration

 

In the Beginning is the End - An Origin Story

Link to post

@Elastigirl Hello! And thanks for your comment. It's actually one of the reasons I convinced myself to actually post it - Knowing that I'm part of a group that is all on a similar journey from beginning to (theoretical) end.

Quote

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star ...

you'll still get beaten out by people who spent their time working hard and learning things

-The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

 

NF Dossier 39151 adventurer 14, epic 5

#4WeekChallenge First Gate Round 2 Fight! OTHER LEFT! Hufflepuff SystemRecalibration

 

In the Beginning is the End - An Origin Story

Link to post

Adulthood

The first year alone in the wider world is difficult – they struggle with being at the bottom of the totem pole once again. They struggle to connect because (never gregarious to begin with) they had never had to approach others. In elementary and high school, they were introduced to their friends by mutual friends. At university, there was no one there to lend that hand, no one there to guide them into a social circle. They join the anime club with a dorm mate but soon school work and the odd hours of theatre students cuts off any efforts to become more involved. For their first year, they are effectively a ghost.


In second year, everything changes with one simple conversation. It is clubs and activities days, and all the various student groups have tables and are looking to recruit. Someone from first year dorms had mentioned the day being particularly useful in getting invitations to events of mutual interest (i.e. the gaming convention) and so Chiara decides to check it out. At the games club table, one of the members offhandedly mentions that there is a group that he is a part of that is not represented on their poster, and yet is always looking for new blood. 
That Sunday, they gain a new nerd credential and join the on-campus LARP. For the next eight years, the group that they introduce themselves to that night becomes the central pillar of their life. This is the group they game with, party with, go to the beach with, go hiking with, do anything that is not school-related with.


It is with an evolution of this group that they discuss sexuality, gender, freedom, and non-conformity with over the years. And it is with this group where – through observation and supporting others – they finalize the process that began in their teenage years. There is no coming-out announcement; no sudden moment of enlightenment. There is simply a realization that an acceptance of what is has been reached. And that the details of labels matter more to others – so let them have them. By fourth year, the group has changed, as school-based groups do. Some have graduated and left – even more have graduated and stayed. And it is in this year that a fellow LARPer asks them out.

 

It takes only a few months for the relationship to become their new normal. They and their partner will settle into a pattern of living-together-studying-and-gaming, then working-and-gaming, then working-studying-and-gaming. For almost half a decade, nothing will change.
 

Quote

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star ...

you'll still get beaten out by people who spent their time working hard and learning things

-The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

 

NF Dossier 39151 adventurer 14, epic 5

#4WeekChallenge First Gate Round 2 Fight! OTHER LEFT! Hufflepuff SystemRecalibration

 

In the Beginning is the End - An Origin Story

Link to post

*sheepishly returns from the darkness of non-internet lands* definitely meant to finish this last month. Oops.

Call to Action

 

“I don’t believe in heroes.”

 

It’s been nine years since they left that idyllic little town, and Chiara spits these words at their partner of five years in the middle of a crowded mall in a foreign country. This is their first international trip together, and it is becoming increasingly clear that this relationship is over.

 

When these words are said, Chiara cannot express what it is about their partner’s admiration for comic book heroes that drives them mad. Their ability to articulate thoughts is lost in the miasma of grief (they are there for a funeral), responsibility (they live in North America, but they are still the eldest of their generation in an Asian family), frustration (what they had hoped would be a bonding experience has resulted in what feels like dragging around a recalcitrant child), and denial (they are starting to glimpse exactly how over this relationship already is).

 

Upon returning to North America, it is mere days before their partner breaks up with them. In some ways, his timing is excellent – they have just started a new job after eight long months unemployed, as well as rehearsals for a show. Going from working no hours at all to ten and twelve hours days leaves little time to dwell on an officially failed relationship. But some things are inevitable, and like every other breakup in the world, Chiara spends time blaming themselves. They spend time dwelling on all the whats, and wheres, and most importantly, the whys. Over the next several months they come to realize that their now-ex was correct in initiating the breakup – neither of them were happy in the relationship anymore; not only were they not happy, they were no longer supporting each other, and in some respects were actively holding each other back. This realization is their second call to action.

 

I will always love gaming but here's something I should never forget: 

Chatting with a friend and realizing that in the last week we have only had conversations about what our characters did.

Not a single time had we talked about what we did.

Because we hadn't done anything besides game. Hello, wake-up call. Hello, paradigm shift.

 

They had already accepted a contract out of town as a theatre technician – returning to their roots both in location and profession.

 

So they left and did not look back. Even a year later, when the contract that had promised to be potentially indefinite came to a definite end. Even when, for a few short months, it looked like they might be at a dead end. Instead, they took the chance to live a dream and got a job literally on the seas. This is the beginning of living a dream – incidentally, it was also the death of the same dream.

 

People grow and change, and while the moment of death was almost instant, the beginning of the end happened some years earlier. The impetus of change – the first call to action – happened some years earlier, with the exposure to a group called NerdFitness. NF right from the top challenges students of the academy to determine and write down their Big Why – the core reason they want to better themselves. And in the middle of a black box cabin, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the ocean, Chiara stared at a loading screen on their computer and realized that this dream just wasn’t enough anymore.

 

And so, they began again. Reset their intentions, and began searching for the next way to improve their life – not just in the here-and-now, but for the future.

Quote

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star ...

you'll still get beaten out by people who spent their time working hard and learning things

-The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

 

NF Dossier 39151 adventurer 14, epic 5

#4WeekChallenge First Gate Round 2 Fight! OTHER LEFT! Hufflepuff SystemRecalibration

 

In the Beginning is the End - An Origin Story

Link to post

Alter Ego

To the outside world, they still proudly wear the name their parents gave them. They allow others to look and see what they want to. Male, Female, young, old – these opinions no longer matter to them.

 

Because they are also someone else. In the wake of a paradigm shift, they have re-named themselves after the Roman god of beginnings and ending, of gates, transitions, and time, of doorways, passages, and journeys. They are Janus Echo, because if there is any concept or idea worth repeating over and over again, ceaselessly, it is that of new beginnings, of rebirth, and starting something new with every breath.

Here’s a quote you all might recognize: you have no obligation to be who you were five minutes ago.

 

Every minute, we are changed by our experiences and here’s the thing: I still don’t believe in heroes. Because calling some people heroes is to call them ‘other’. I prefer to specify that some people are heroic because that’s all heroes are; they are people who had heroic moments. And we are all capable of being heroes.

Here’s a sobering thought: It takes only one moment for a hero to become a coward

(Here’s another: it takes only one moment for a coward to become a hero).

 

So no, I don’t believe in heroes. I don’t believe that some ‘other’ will come by and save us. Because people are unique, but not special. Everyone is capable of heroics. And that makes everyone capable of being a hero. There is no ‘other’. There is only ‘us’.

 

In conclusion I leave you with this:

 

Once upon a time, by my own choice, I became mentally and physically stagnant. I gave up dreams for someone else’s reasons. Plain and ordinary me was stuck spinning wheels and – worst of all – I didn’t even realize it. But then someone kicked my ass to the curb (metaphorically) and sitting there I realized that –

YOUR LIFE GETS BETTER BY CHANGE, NOT CHANCE

 

So here we are, once again at a beginning. I’ve lived one dream, and now it’s time to dream another. With every beginning, I anticipate not just the journey, and not just the end, but all of it together as a whole picture.

 

In the beginning is the end. For every end, a beginning.

 

Big Why

Never again settle for the status quo.

Know what I want, and go for it.

 

Gain strength, endurance, and mental focus.

Increase self-awareness.

Practice appreciation.

Broaden cultural horizons.

Expand spiritual experiences.

Quote

If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star ...

you'll still get beaten out by people who spent their time working hard and learning things

-The Wee Free Men, Terry Pratchett

 

NF Dossier 39151 adventurer 14, epic 5

#4WeekChallenge First Gate Round 2 Fight! OTHER LEFT! Hufflepuff SystemRecalibration

 

In the Beginning is the End - An Origin Story

Link to post

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