Throughout most of my transition, online games were a safehaven. Not always (I’ve been harassed and doxxed) but overall they were more positive than negative.
At a time when my life was utterly devoid of meaning and connection, the friends that I made and played/raided with in lotro (and more recently gw2) helped me through some extremely tough times.
One thing that I’ve always struggled with is the sense of developing stronger feelings/connections to my online friends than they do with me. It hurt to have someone out me to other players. It hurt when those players then trolled me and doxxed me. It hurt when my female friends were so lusted after by other players (which is honestly gross and creepy) not because of the attention, but because of the divide it reinforced between me and other women. I’m trans, they aren’t. They deserve attention and affection, I don’t.
It still hurts.
It may not seem like this relates to the point I want to make, but it does. The point is that online friendships can be real, and cause real joy, and real pain/hurt.
I’ve been struggling with that again lately. I spent most of the summer raiding with a guild in GW2, and while I was always a bit of the shy outcast (they don’t know I’m trans, I’m much more cautious about that these days) there was something to look forward to and enjoy for a few hours each week.
Unfortunately, when the semester started, I had no choice but to take night classes 4 days a week (two classes I needed were only offered one section each, both night classes.) No big deal right, 4 days isn’t every day, there are still three days to raid/play with my friends.
Except they don’t want to. They don’t care to make time to help me now that I can’t fit my schedule to theirs. Worse, the ‘leader’ has been outright hostile about it when I plead for connection and friendship, just telling me to find a new raid group.
Again, that hurts.
It hurts because it means that once again I let myself feel more for these people than they felt for me.
And when I see them raid without me now, it causes very real feelings of rejection and loss.