Saturday, March 29, 2008

Not Myself

I was at a part Friday night that, overall, was a goodtime. However, there was a period in the middle that wasn't so fun and a learned a couple of things about myself. Maybe not so much learned as clarified or even re-learned.

Anyway, I let someone else's drama affect me in a way I haven't in quite some time. As a result, the evil passive-aggressive twin came out for a time until I was able to regain some balance. I didn't like it and it still bothers me to the point where I felt I had to write about it at yet another get together so I can put it to rest.

The two things I learned were:

1) I don't like playing board games
2) No matter how much better I am staying balanced in myself and just going with what happens, sometimes I still let something in too close that knocks me off balance.

It's like aspects of my personality that were much more relavent in my past come back (the evil twin, as I call it) and then whatever the original thing that knocked me out of kilter gets magnified by my reaction to all of that old shit.

There is something else floating around in there I can't put my finger on...oh right. So I became all cynical, not the funny cynical but the asshole cynical, and I just tried to keep my mouth shut and not say anything because I knew it would be cutting and ugly. Eventually, someone pulled my into a more politcal conversation one-on-one and that more comfortable ground helped me center again so all was good.

I'd like to toss out an apology to anyone that was there that may have been offended. It was my own shit that I was mostly reacting to and you saw a side of me that doesn't show up too often.

Live and learn.


Kirsten said...

Not offended at all, just worried about what put you in such a foul mood for a bit ;-) But good to know that a) No board games for Ryan and b) when in foul mood - discuss politics to cheer you up! ;-)

Definitely still want to see the rest of Team America btw!

Clyde said...

No worries...and no offense taken. You really didn't seem evil or passive-aggressive, just plain ole miserable; ergo I agree with Kirsten, no more board games for you.

Hey...and I'm still waiting to hear that epiphany.

SuperMel said...

Glad you were able to work out of it. I usually regress to Cartman and flee. I didn't experience Evil Twin, just noticed you were unhappy and was concerned. But there's nothing that says we have to be in good moods 24/7. Thanks for explaining it. Good Ryan info.

Becky said...

You have an evil twin side? Dude, come over & play'll make ya feel all better:)

James said...

Definitely seen that side of you in the past, but I think the key is that you are a very self-aware person and can exert some level of control over the side of yourself you don't want to come out.

Also, I really have board games too. And a fair number of card games. The only exception is something we just discovered and is apparently quite popular: Settlers of Catan. Have you played it?

Ryan said...

Thanks for the feedback!

I pretty much clamped down and didn't say anything to keep evil me from being a total ass. :)

James there is one of my older friends and knew me 'back in the day' I as referring to in the original post. I have not heard of that particular game, howver?

Becky, I didn't know you all got the WII! We must coordinate when to get together. I have Team America now, too. Fuck yea.

James said...

Geez, I meant to say that I hate board games, not that I have them. :-) I'll tolerate them if I have to but generally avoid them. Settlers of Catan appeals to me because it's a little more on the strategic side and I think is very well designed. I've heard it described as "Risk" without the battling. To me a more useful yet similar analogy would be that it's like some of the old school RTS games without the battling, like Warcraft (non-WoW) and Starcraft. It mostly involves resource management (

So, yeah, I think the "clamping down" was probably a good move. I think it's nearly impossible for people to change the way they internally react to something...the sort of natural, visceral reaction...that's a very human thing. But, what you can change, and what you did here it looks like, is the external reaction, like how do you let it affect your behavior. Here is a great quote you might find useful. I first heard it on the audio version of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" but it comes from a quasi-famous psychologist/holocaust survivor:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

(makes me sing the DMB song in my head)

CMS said...

Can I ask without seeming totally unsensiitve here, what is this general dislike of board games all about? Is it one of the 20 compatibility ratings on eHarmony? ( only sort of kidding)

The book "7 habits of highly effective people" _is_ a good book. Basic ideology that sounds very simple, yet can be quite the opposite.

Thanks for sharing your trauma. It's cool to know you even thought of it after the fact.

Whatever has happened or will happen , as Aladdin's genie says "Beeeeee yourself" :-)

darin said...

Dude.. there must be something about board games.. an ex girlfriend of mine was infamous in her circle of friends to have thrown a coffee mug at somebody in a "loosing a board-game" induced rage.

Supposedly the mug still had coffee in it and board games were rarely played in that house again.

Good luck brother, glad you recognized what was going on.

James said...

Here are the key reasons why I don't like board games:

1. Playing with over-competitive people, sore losers, etc. This is probably the biggest turn-off for me.

2. Games where I'm so bored I'd rather watch paint dry. This usually happens in games that are overly simplistic (roll the dice, move 5 spaces, wait for your next turn...) and/or games where you have to wait a long time between turns.

3. Games that take hours and hours to finish one game.

4. Games that are based almost entirely on luck and involve no strategy whatsoever. Similar to this are games like Mario Party, where you're plugging along and then it has some sort of dumb "randomizer" function that throws you back a bunch of steps just because you were ahead.

5. Games that require you to be mean to other people. This is anything that has a Draw x card of a Skip card or anything like that. I have plenty of enough opportunities to be an ass in my life...I don't need stupid cards in a game to give me more reasons.

So, that's why I've been enjoying Settlers of Catan. It's games are short enough, there's sufficient strategy involved, it doesn't allow you to be too mean to other players, and the pace is pretty good. One thing that it can't solve is #1, playing with annoying people. So on that you just have to be careful who you agree to play the game with, I guess.

Ryan said...

I don't know why I don't like board games, I just never have. Card games are in there too. I'll play them from time-to-time, and even enjoy them, but I normally just avoid them. I was trying to figure out why and the best I can figure it is that when playing a board game the chance for any worthwhile conversation kinda goes out the window.

As far as not being able to internally change your reactions to things, I think the entire goal of therapy and growth is to do just that. It isn't easy by any means, but it happens...both naturally and with work.

CMS said...

Thanks for answering the board game question. Never knew people felt like that. I dig them, but under some of the circumstances you folks list, I could see how they could loose some appeal. Over- competitiveness to the extreme of cruelty I find unattractive regardless of medium, but that can definitely cramp a game of Scrabble or heaven forbid, Monopoly. As for the being an ass idea, eh...... in a game you have to claim it, whatever the design of your cruelty - spite, survival, jerkiness. I like the forthrightness of that, but sort of get the other side. Don't you try to kill people in other sorts of games though? :-) ( not trying to light an argument there)

I personally love games like Pictionary or Guesstures... Taboo, where people can be forced/ let themselves make a total fool of themselves for fun. I mean, really, when someone in Pictionary nonintentionally makes everything look can that not be funny??... as long as the person drawing doesn't get bent over that fact. Perhaps they're not the purest representations of "board game" though. Trivial Pursuit on the other hand.... definitely crowd dependent.

Those intense players though...... what do you do?

The conversation piece is a good argument, but I don't think they were designed to facilitate that, just as video games weren't either. I am willing to be wrong there.

Good things to know though..... thanks

Ryan said...

Who would have thought one comment about board games would have generated such a discussion! :)

I was going to mention the parallel between board games and video games not being a conversational starter, but didn't for some reason. However, I will say this. Those video games can be the subject on endless conversations later, so in some ways they can lead to some interesting conversations in ways I'm not sure board games can? Just a thought.