I Share Myself

I am not good with emotions. I have a hard time processing and expressing them. The things I do feel are muted in comparison to what you feel. Even in admitting this, my stomach clenches and my heart races. My brain starts pulling away from my body, trying to forget what has made me this way. It tries to force upon me the one thing that has saved me from being merely a shell of a person. It thinks of video games.

There is a sad sentimentality attached to video games for me, especially NES games. They are what saved me from the bad things in the real world. They were my tether to sanity. They are a part of me. My mind hides in them when faced with the memory of why they are so important to me. I am transported back to a world that protected me.

I carefully guide the marble through the mazes in Marble Madness to keep from crying because of the other kids’ teasing. The boys who call me donkey because of my big teeth or giraffe because of my long neck don’t exist. The girls who make fun of my hand-me-down clothes and unkempt hair have disappeared. The only things in the world are a marble, a course, and me.

I am running through the stages of Super Mario Bros. to escape the hands that hit me. As I stomp Goombas and drop into sewer pipes, I am untouchable. Swimming through the water stage to a jaunty tune drags me from reality. I am Mario. I can save the princess. Nobody can lay a hand on me.

I now am making my way through the jungle, running from the voice that tells me I am worthless. I don’t worry that she tells me I am a whore or that she would have been something if I wasn’t born because I am saving the world in Contra. I am the only hope for mankind. Her words mean nothing here.

Entering Hyrule, I am hiding from the eyes that stare at me longingly. I no longer am the child whose innocence was stolen. I now am Link, the hero. I master the sword, becoming stronger and more confident in my battle against evil. Link keeps me safe from him.

Retro video games are my safe haven. They are the world that protected me from life. Each game I played holds a piece of me inside of it. They are the vessels in which I carry my emotions. My hopes are inside Rygar, and my love is within The Legend of Zelda. Sadness hides in Wrath of the Black Manta.

Video games are my friends. They are what keep my secrets. When I share my memories of playing these games, I am sharing my secrets with you. Every opinion of each game is attached to a significant piece of information about me. Through these games, I can share myself. You might argue that every reason I have to love and hold on to retro video games is in the past and detrimental to my emotional health. I can argue the therapeutic value of having them tied to memories of things that can no longer harm me. It’s a reminder of what I could have been had I not had video games. They are my triumph.

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Comments
5 Responses to “I Share Myself”
  1. Jurburr says:

    Beautiful.

  2. Pretty heavy stuff. Well written…I don’t know what else to say. It kind of speaks for itself.

  3. FamiComplex says:

    Lovely, and it strikes a chord with me in the same way that my “Why I Collect Old Games” post likely struck a chord with you. Our stories are fairly similar, though the faces of our pain may be different.

    Plus, well, the memories still haunt me, even though the games still empower me.

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