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How Gaming has Helped Me Cope with Bullying

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Be sure to join Real Women of Gaming for their 4th annual Anti-bullying fundraiser, You’re Not Alone on July 21st. The event takes place from 10am-9pm at Uncanny Comics and More in the King of Prussia Mall. You can also catch the event at mixer.com/realwomenofgaming and twitch.tv/realwomenofgaming.

I was bullied my whole childhood. We never had a lot of money for me to have the latest things, though my parents tried very hard. I was overweight, which seems to be some kind of cardinal sin to kids. I also grew up very religious which I feel stunted some of my social skills. Despite going to Catholic school very quickly it was considered “not cool” to be as religious as I was. I also didn’t get to join a lot of clubs because I was helping as a caregiver at a young age for my mother, my younger brother and later my grandmother. 

I had undiagnosed mental illness as well as learning disabilities. I could never seem to say the right thing. I was “stupid.” I was always “ugly.” I was the kid who got asked to play only to be made fun of or physically hurt. No one wanted to come to my parties except to make me feel bad which was really lame considering how hard my parents worked to have these birthday parties. I would be invited to birthday parties but it was well known that it was just because parents forced kids to do so. I was also bullied by some teachers. I hated school. I wanted to die.

I did have my family. The good thing about lots of cousins is that you have built in friends and we all loved playing games. My younger cousin Kelly was my only real friend till high school. We are still very close. I also was very close to my mom. She played a lot of games with all of us kids. The awesome nerd family made of friends that I met in high school helped me a lot and we have also always loved games. We still play a lot of games when we get together. 

me and kelly

Gaming has also led me to meet some of the rest of my made family. Crymson and Vanri have told the story of how we met many times. In short she was friends with one of my best friends and she had invited us all to come play games on New Years Eve. I didn’t want to go. I was, honestly pretty terrified that this would turn into some other trick. Or I would say the wrong thing, like I always did and no one would like me.

Thankfully I did go. I became friends with Crymson and Vanri quickly and I am so glad that we clicked. Crymson invited me to join Real Women of Gaming and my social circle grew. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons with Oresan running a small group as the Dungeon Master. Soon we were playing with a slightly larger group on Mondays. Then I was lucky enough to become a part of The L.O.S.T. A Dungeons and Dragons Tale.

Dungeons and Dragons has given me so much more confidence then I had when I started. It has given me a way to problem solve within a group that I didn’t always have growing up. It stretches my creativity and has made me a better world builder. It has forced me to look at why I am making my characters the way I am. It has challenged me to go beyond my comfort zone when I play my characters.  

Gaming gives me set scheduled interaction with others that, as a person who had such terrible experiences with people in the past, I value beyond worlds. It gives me challenges. It gives me a way to look at my own growth as a person and player. Gaming has given me friends who help me through difficult situations. They celebrate my vistories with me.

Gaming has given me some of my only fond memories of my childhood. It has given me more confidence. Gaming has given me friends and a way to connect with others. Gaming has helped me become the strong woman that I am. I am very grateful for the opportunities that I have been given by gaming to help me realize that I am so much more than what bullies tried to make me believe. I am worthwhile. I am funny. I am not stupid or worthless.

Gaming has helped me in so many ways to cope with the bullying that I experienced.

us

Always keep sparking!

Zenkaikon 2018: Bullying in Fandom Panel

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The Knights of Fandom are a Tumblr-based group that fights bullying in fandom groups online. It was started by Lady Norbert, who found that a lot of her Tumblr community was experiencing bullying. Naturally, she got mad about it and decided to do something about it.

I discovered The Knights of Fandom at Zenkaikon 2018. They gave a panel on Bullying in Fandom that I just had to attend, given our own work in anti-bullying. The panel outlined what cyberbullying looks like in fandom groups, the difference between bullying and constructive criticism, and what we as fandom members can do to prevent bullying, stop bullying, and show support to the person being bullied.

It was a short panel, but full of insightful information. Lady Norbert was funny and entertaining, touching and knowledgeable. She wanted nothing more than to unite the various fandoms of Tumblr against bullying. Her tips included:

  • Spread kindness. Reach out to those who are bullied and show them love.
  • If you’re going to criticize, make sure it’s constructive and not destructive.
  • Defend others, speak up – stick together!
  • Remove yourself from toxic online situations.
  • Make friends with other members in your fandom, especially those who are bullied.

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You can find the Knights of Fandom valiantly protecting the Tumblr fandoms here. You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Very Serious Question of Superpowers

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It should not come as a shock to anyone that we here at Real Women of Gaming love Superheroes and Supervillains. We play games, talk comics, watch television shows and even cosplay as them. They inspire us. Sometimes we even play at being heroes in our own way, like when we stand up to bullying or team up with the super force that is Extra Life Charities.

In December 2015, we gamed to raise money for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) through Extra Life and far exceeded our goals, even if it was just so we would stop reminding our viewers that it was “for the children.” We were overwhelmed by the response.

Now, on April 9th, we will be joining Firelight Studios and  Sir Turtle Gaming to raise as much money as possible for the benefit of CHOP’s Art and Music Therapy Department. This time, it will be on a much larger scale. This marathon of gaming will be for twenty four hours, with multiple streamers and in multiple locations. If you want to know more information, it will be added to the end of this article.

Speaking of Superheroes, it got me thinking about what superpower I would want. I posed this question to the rest of the Real Women of Gaming. See our answers below:

“What superpower would you want and why?”

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Anti Bullying with Frags and Beer

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Vivian James

With convention season in full swing, and our own visit to C2E2 coming up in a few weeks, I want to talk a little bit about bullying and harassment at conventions.  These events attract a lot of people.  In 2014, C2E2 alone boasted about 63,000 attendees.  It’s only natural that a few bad eggs will show up in a batch that large.  Just this year at MagFest, a cosplayer was harassed for dressing as Vivian James, a sort of mascot for The Fine Young Capitalists as well as the online consumer revolt against corrupt gaming journalists.  This is just the most recent case of problems at conventions around the world.  Taking this in perspective, conventions receive a great deal of scrutiny because they are supposed to be a place where people gather to share interests, fun, hobbies, and build a network.  In reality, it is like a small city descending on an area, sometimes no bigger than a city block, policed by staff who really aren’t police.  I’ve been going to conventions for years now, and despite the size, scope, and all the horror stories, they tend to be relatively safe, but that doesn’t mean we should take the atmosphere of a convention for granted.
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Real Women of Gaming’s “You’re Not Alone” Anti-Bullying VIDEO

Check out our video “You’re Not Alone,” the culmination of a year-long project that Real Women of Gaming started in order to raise awareness of bullying. Give it a look, and try not to cry.

You’re Not Alone Event, Live on Twitch!

Join us live on Twitch as we present our all-day anti-bullying event, You’re Not Alone, at Uncanny Comics in King of Prussia!

Click here!

+2 Comedy Podcast

plus2logoRinshi and I had the honor of being on the +2 Comedy Podcast *clears throat* severalweeksagoI’msosorry *clears throat* and had an amazing time with Noah and Will. Aside from the fact that we were both extremely nervous and awkward, good times were had by all. But that’s kind of our modus operandi so, really, it was like home. I sucked at the chosen IMDB game (I tried REALLY REALLY HARD), and a fan walked away with a pasta boat, 3 versions of love letter, a deck of steampunk playing cards and a map from the Prototype video game. We had a blast and hope to get invited back right after Will drops those stalking charges (just kidding, charges were never filed). Plus, we are excited that we will be seeing Noah again at You’re Not Alone on July 18th.

In case you haven’t heard it click below:
Rinshi and Crymson Pleasure on +2 Comedy

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