Welcome to my first Character Profile, part of the Gaming Inspirations series, where I claw my way out of the deep, dark pit of crippling anxiety that leads to other fun stuff like “drinking too much” and “being generally unkind to my body and mind” by writing about the stuff I love and why it inspires me. The format will consist of a summary of the character, their qualities (positive, negative, both), and how we can use these qualities to improve our lives in the physical world. I’m going to start off by writing about the FFIX main character I feel most akin to: my homie, Adelbert Steiner.
When I first played FFIX around 15 years ago, I was struck by how much of a dick Steiner was (the thought back then was probably more like “golly gee whiz, that old man’s a meanie!”. Hell, I didn’t even know what a swear word was ’til I was a teenager). For a disc and a half, he’s basically a mindless drone of the queen, doing anything he can to get Garnet back to Alexandria and to have Zidane’s head lopped off. He redeems himself later, though, and over the years has become one of my favorite characters in the game, with whom I closely relate.
When Steiner sets his mind on something, it’s really hard for him to shake it off, or for anyone else to convince him otherwise. This can be a fantastic quality: for example, when Garnet runs off in the beginning of the game, and Steiner keeps his oath to protect the princess come hell or high water (it’s hard to imagine one of his dweeby-ass subordinates to stick with her that long). It can also be… not so great, such as when it takes him a disc and a half to realize that the queen that he blindly takes orders from is batshit insane.
Submissive to Authority
This may sound like a bad quality, but it’s not always. When a good worker in a company listens to a good manager, for example, they tend to do good work that helps the company as a whole. But I’d call that more “respectful of authority”; “submissive to authority” is more like “when a good worker sacrifices any shred of critical thinking that he might be capable of doing and listens to a batshit insane manager who wants to kill her daughter and start wars with the other nations of the Mist Continent just because ‘she’s the boss'”. That’s when you run into trouble.
I have to say it one more time – “batshit insane”. I love that phrase, and Queen Brahne fits it beautifully.
Strong as Fuck/Probably Pretty Hot
Seriously, though. The guy hits like a roided-up freight train with a bad attitude. I guess wearing that rusty-ass heavy armor all day has gotta pay off somehow. Plus, he hooks up with Beatrix in the end, and she could probably choose anyone on Gaia (90% of whom would probably be too intimidated to say “no” anyway, but still), so he’s gotta be somewhat attractive, right?
Now, the trick of it – how can you incorporate these qualities into your life in a positive way?
You gotta be careful with this one – there’s a difference between being strong-willed/respecting authority, and being a stubborn prick.
I’m no psychiatrist, so I’m going to try and keep my advice to concrete actions that you can try to do to improve your life: for example, I’m trying to prove to myself that I can go to the gym before work at least four times a week. So far, it’s been great: in the past seven days, I’ve gone to the gym four times before the crack of dawn. And y’know what, I think it’s really helping create a virtuous cycle of positive effects that are helping my life.
On “gym days”, when I wake up two hours early, my body screams at me to go back to bed, that it’s not time to be awake yet, to keep pushing that snooze button, performing CPR on my laziness and squeezing every last second of close-eyedness I can out of my day.
I hear those screams. I’m tempted to go back to sleep (my bed is comfy as fuck). I then use the inspiration that Steiner has given me to tell my mind to kindly shut the fuck up, and I go get shredded. I’ve set my mind on going to the gym, and I’ll be damned if anyone’s gonna stop me from doing what I want to do.
My will is exerting authority over my temporary physical discomfort, and it’s paying dividends: first, I feel accomplished before I’m normally even awake, which is just a badass feeling; I’m proving to myself that I can wake up even when I really, really, really don’t want to, to little ill effect; and hey, I’ve lost a couple pounds in the past week (plus, alcohol looks a lot less appetizing when you woke up early as fuck to lose fat). Not bad, all told. Every day I get up early makes the following day easier, and I’m finding myself… well, not wanting to go to the gym, but at least it’s less of an ordeal, and I’m showing myself I can suffer discomfort and come out the other end better for it. Plus, losing a couple pounds will probably make me somewhat sexier. Strong-Willed + Submissive to the Authority of My Own Willpower + HOT AS FUCK = Yay!
I’ve found a few techniques that have helped a lot:
- PREPARE. Steiner doesn’t go anywhere without his armor and sword, because he knows he’ll need it. Get your shit together so you can wake up ready for battle. Fill a bag with everything you need: gym clothes, sneakers, whatever. I put a big-ass water bottle in the fridge overnight so it’s cold as shit when I need it the next morning. If you listen to music at the gym/while you’re running/etc., have that shit on hand immediately when you wake up so you can start rockin’ out. It’ll help keep you awake for those crucial first minutes.
- GO TO BED EARLY. You can’t protect the princess (or keep many knightly oaths) if you’re falling asleep standing up. Submit to the authority of your better judgment. Waking up at 5 is a lot easier when you go to bed at 10 than at midnight. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard: I’ve been tossing and turning, cuz my body isn’t used to it, but eventually, you do get to bed. Be patient with yourself. I’ve cut down significantly on my nighttime video-game-playing, which kinda sucks, but is totally worth it. (Please if you find a way around this tell me and I’ll love you forever)
- HAVE FAITH IN YOURSELF. Steiner’s confidence that he’s doing the right thing is his greatest source of strength – it’s a lot easier to fight for something when you know that you’re fighting for a good cause. Seriously, it does get easier every day. Even if you fuck up and hit that snooze button one morning, stay confident. Stay focused. You’ll get ’em next time. If you’ve got time, exercise after work. If not, hit the hay early and hit it hard tomorrow.
- REST. Related to going to bed early. Rest is good. Today was a rest day for me. Don’t burn yourself out.
If you guys have any other techniques, let me know. This is what Steiner has inspired me to do – become that strong-willed beast you can be!
See ya Sunday!
What I’m Reading: I finished As You Wish, the Princess Bride memoir written by Cary Elwes (the actor who played Westley) last week. Seriously, it’s a must-read if you like the Princess Bride. I loved it.
I’ve now picked up Felicia Day’s memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), which is surprisingly inspiring and as hilarious as she is. I went to the live podcast/book signing when it released a few weeks back. She’s a super-inspiring human being. Check out her book by clicking the image below!