Anyone who has played Battle for Azeroth is very familiar with Magni and his pleading for us heroes to heal Azeroth’s “woonz” on a daily basis. Even though we’re now into Shadowlands, some of us will probably be scarred for life by those constant requests and the fact that despite all our efforts, there’s still a huge sword sticking out of the world. While that sword remains in Azeroth, playing Warcraft has helped me remove something harmful from my life and healed some personal “woonz.”
World of Warcraft has been my escape from the real world and my source of fun after a long day of work or some trying event in my life. However, just playing the game was never really enough to fill the void in my life I’ve felt since my father died in 2009. My desires and attempts to fill that void with a man who loved me led me to some bad relationships and is a big reason why I fell in unrequited love with someone many years ago.
That love I felt and that “relationship” I had with that person helped me feel less alone and made me feel like I could be accepted as I am, so I clung to that person and the hope for something more for far too long. Thing is, that person didn’t really accept me as I am and could only handle me in small doses and I therefore felt like I was too much for anyone and had to keep my real personality in check. Then a truly wonderful thing happened this past summer, the Strawberries came into my life, and everything started to change for the better.
Although I’d interacted with a few members of the Strawberry Friends prior to the existence of the group, I viewed them more as really cool people I’d never get to hang out with but who seemed fun and nice. I attended a few gatherings hosted by the founders of the group and they were fun little social events but I still didn’t feel like I could fit in or that I could be genuinely me around them.
I have a fear that once people know the real me, they’ll run in terror because versions of that have happened a lot in my life. Plus, that person I was in love with knew me better than anyone and had spent more time with me than anyone since my divorce and even they got tired of me after a while.
Fortunately, the Warcraft group went from interacting on Twitter to becoming a Discord group to beat the Nyalotha raid and acquire the purple voidy dragon. I’ve shared tales of our adventures many times and thankfully our adventures continue to this day. Although we didn’t end up getting that dragon, as Alla from the group posted, we got something way better than a dragon. We formed friendships and built a camaraderie that has helped us all through this rather rough year.
Those friendships are with people who know the real me because it’s easier for me to be real me online, as is the case for many people. I’m chatty, perky, encouraging, lost, jumpy, confused, peculiar, and everything else that makes me Sri. I’ve managed to come back out of my shell with the Strawberries and they’ve accepted me for who I am and made me feel like I’m deserving of so much more than I’ve settled for.
I used to watch romantic comedies where women would complain to their group of friends that they didn’t have a man in their lives and I would grumble at them for not being grateful for the friends they had in their lives. Romantic relationships can come and go, but true friendships endure and are free of the entanglements of romantic love. Prior to the Strawberries, I had a small handful of close friends, but now with the Strawberries I have a whole bushel of friends and it’s absolutely wonderful!
Thanks to the new friends I’ve met in Warcraft this past year, I’m finally no longer in love with that person who I’ve known for some time will never love me back. It’s taken me many years to get here and I wasn’t sure I ever would get here, but here I am. It’s a strangely freeing feeling to be free of that love, especially considering it’s the holidays when being alone can be even harder.
But it’s a good feeling and it’s made even better by the fact that I’m not desperately seeking someone to replace that person in my life. I don’t need to replace them because I have amazing friends now who I know will be there for me if/when I need them and who I’m more than happy to help whenever and however I can! I hope that being helpful to others in even the smallest way makes a positive impact on their lives and I know that it fills my heart and gives me purpose.
If I’m meant to have romantic love in my life, it’ll happen someday, but I’m fulfilled without it. I have my daughters and family, I have a roof over my head, I have my health, and I have my friends in the Strawberries who have helped heal my “woonz” with kindness that shines brighter than Azerite ever could.