Monthly Archives: August 2011

Breaking Free Of Your Limits

Once upon a time, that was a scared little boy who played things by the rules because he didn’t want to get into trouble. Be it with school, parents or society. This boy as such led a very safe life but it was also very very boring. This boy would watch while others would brush some of the rules aside and have fun while he sat alone wondering why he was playing things by the book so much that it was now making him miserable – This was his make up call and over time, he began to let it go – to give himself permission to be like everyone else – That it is OK to break the rules sometimes, that is where the most memorable experiences come from.

As you can probably guess, that boy was me. I really limited myself when I was younger for no real good reason – Well, if you count ‘ not wanting to cause trouble ‘ as a reason than you are right. I mean, I followed the rules and expectations set to me by peers to me to the tee. Truth be told, I saw people all the time flaunting them and getting away with it whatever I followed rules to the point of insanity.

The kick up the ass I needed to break free of this came in 2004. It was when I in Lourdes as a youth helper. There was a whole load of rules that one had to follow as a youth helper as I was representing my secondary school amongst other things such as no congregating in other groups hotels ( they had groups split in different hotels depending on sex ) , no drinking, stuff like that.

As you can imagine, those rules went right out of the window by everyone…. except me. I was to stubborn for my own good. However, my hotel room overlooked a roof where another group of the opposite sex was staying – I basically saw everyone going out down every night. This caused me gods knows how much internal grief and began to eat at my internal stubbornness and resistance.

It really upset me actually as I actually wanted to join them but I had a mental block that I couldn’t overcome about sticking to the rules and not wanting to get caught and get into trouble. I guess I was imagining the worst case scenario of being sent home early over breaking the rules when in reality, the worst I’d likely gotten was a proverbial slap on the wrist.

But anyway, the point is while Lourdes was still an experience I’ll never forget, I still missed out on a lot because of my unwillingness to bend the rules. The whole thing had shaken my belief system to the point I was now seriously questioning why the fuck I was following the rules so much when it was shoved literally in front of me people getting ahead by bending the rules the little.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about wanting to behave like a politician here ( we all know they are generally the least likely of anyone to follow any rules to begin with! ) or committing serious crimes, I mean the well intentioned rules laid down on us by our family, school and society in general. You know the sort of stuff I’m on about: ‘ Don’t speak without permission! ‘ ‘ Stay behind the yellow line in the playground or else you’ll get 50 lines! ‘ ‘ Don’t drink until your 18! ‘ ‘ Get a job, a car, a house ‘ etc, etc.

You have to wonder, who the hell made these rules in the first place? Was it some pretentious wanker at the start of the Industrial Revolution who wanted to use schooling as a means to produce ‘ Good Citizen’s of the World? ‘ ( When I say that, I’m referring to people who are thick as shit and don’t ask questions! ) Or is it the corporations who want to people to hive minded so they they’ll obey and pay all the useless junk the media tells them to?

Why do we follow all the rules laid down to us? Are we afraid of getting into trouble with the man? Are afraid of what others will think of us if we didn’t? WHY should we follow all the rules, even the more pointless ones? Why not try breaking free instead?

This is something I have worked since that fateful trip to Lourdes in 2004, I have some serious slips along the way, like having to leave go of the notion that just because you don’t have the money, doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. Its still a work in progress but I am getting there, slowly getting more and free as the days pass.

One day, I’ll get there but for now, I’m enjoying the Journey.

The Evo World Championships, The Irish Fighting Game Community and How A Sense of Belonging to Benefit You Greatly.

Well, the last weekend was insane and no, it wasn’t because I was drinking, it was because I was watching the EVO World Championship series, which took place in Las Vegas during said weekend and most of my time was taken up either watching, talking about or following the event, which culminated with me travelling up to Dublin with 2 of my fellow fighting game members to an all nighter in a gaming café to watch the finals.


‘ Woah, slow down Adrian! What the hell is the EVO World Championship thing all about!? ‘


OK, I guess I should elaborate more then. EVO is a video games tournament, specially a fighting games tournament, think of Street Fighter and that sort of games that are played. As I mentioned, it takes place one a year in Las Vegas and attracts players from not just America but from all over the world, including Japan, Korea, Australia, England, even Ireland had people playing there to name a few. The event is also streamed, though given the time differences, it wrecked complete havoc on sleep patterns as the good matches only started happening at 4am Irish time on the Friday night / Saturday morning!


As I mentioned, I travelled up to Dublin on Sunday for an all night gaming session in a gaming cafe with other members of the Irish Fighting Game community so that I could also watch the finals at the same time with a group of like minded people. It was Hype! ( Hype = Extremely exciting ) My voice went hoarse from shouting at the stream so much and I was jumping around like an idiot cheering at some of the matches ( video proof is here – I’m the guy in the white t-shirt sitting behind the guy with the beard to the right. )


I’ve being a part of this community for over a year now, truth be told, fighting games were always something I had a passing interest in but with the advent of Xbox Live and Street Fighter 4 – I was able to find and connect with other Irish players which is how I got involved myself. Well, actually to make a bit of a story out of it, it stemed from pretty much an impulse buy of a version of Street Fighter 4 and an xbox live card to get online again, the rest was history.


Unlike other online communities in the past, this was one where it was actually possible for me to meet up with the people I talk to online in person – This was unheard of from me with other communities I was part of in the past. Going to my first tournement where I made my first public appearance in the community was a nerve-racking experince but after that, it became so much eaiser and I’ve gone to enough events and tournaments now that I’m not phased about it at all.


The main thing I’ve gotten out of all, apart from getting really good at Street Fighter, is the community aspect. I mentioned in my last post, I’m an introvert who doesn’t really have many friends who I had something in commom with. Before I joined this community, I can tell you there was a lot of anger within me. Anger at the world, authority, my family, my peers. Basically, I felt I had nothing in commom with anyone I knew and if I did, it was typically online and those people were too far away from me to ever meet up with them.


This made me upset and there was times I wanted to lash at those who caused me so much grief, trying to change me into of what they thought I should be and not seeing examples of people thriving being similar to me, it was a miserable experince. While I had overcome the feeling of there being something wrong with me many moons before, I still had no feeling of belonging to anything.


In short, things fucking sucked. Then I join this community and over the course of a few months, I noticed the anger I had felt had begun to fade. I think going to that first tournament was the turning point for me. The community was no longer just a online group – they were real people right next to me, playing me and quite frankly kicking my ass ( as they would do to all first timers in general. ) That was the sucky bit, losing badly those first few times but over time, I’ve gotten a lot better but that is beside the point.


The fact that my anger was fading had huge effects in other areas of my life, I began to open up more to people, got closer to my class group in college and began to feel that anything was possible for me. I’ve become more bold and less likely to look for permission to do something – I’ll just do it anyway. I’ll do things not for popularity or attention or a piece of tail but more because I want to. Basically, I’ve become more open that I ever have being.


If you told me 2 years ago that I was to find my sense of belonging in group of Street Fighter players, I would have looked at you strangely because of all the lecturing I had gotten in the past from peers about how playing video games was bad and that I needed to ‘ man up ‘ and all that crap that I believed BUT as I learned, the universe has a way of being ironic – The thing that gave me a new lease of life is the same thing that others had told me would ruin me!


The lesson is simple: We all strive to belong to something. If you feel you can’t find what you truly belong to, you will be more likely to be a shut out to the world and less open to the goodness that is in everyone. All you need to do is find that one that makes feel alive when you do it, it could be anything, be it something commom like sports or something off the beaten track ( Of course, I don’t recommend criminality or other illegal activites. )


Once you find it and it may take some time, it will make feel alive inside and then all other areas of your life will light up. It is really that simple.


P.S. One of the items of my Infinity List is ‘ Go to Evo. ‘ This is the tournament I was referring to. I am now seriously considering going to Evo 2012.