Hello, friends, and welcome to the sixth Character Profile of the Gaming Inspirations series! “Gaming Inspirations” is a series of blog posts that puts into words how gaming has inspired me to shed my anxiety and its negative effects on my life. Final Fantasy IX has provided incredible amounts of inspiration (probably because it’s the greatest game of all time), so I’m creating a profile for each of the main characters. Each profile will examine their unique qualities and I will detail how, through physical action, I’m going to help myself lead the life I want to lead by incorporating those qualities.
Today, I give some love to the character who I believe is the most underrated in the series: Quina Quen.
(Quick note: I use the “S/he” pronoun because that’s what they use in the game, and Quina doesn’t seem to mind. Sorry if it offends anyone, I swear I didn’t mean to hurt ya <3)
Hello, friends, and welcome to the fifth Character Profile of the Gaming Inspirations series! “Gaming Inspirations” is a series of blog posts that puts into words how gaming has inspired me to shed my anxiety and its negative effects on my life. Final Fantasy IX has provided incredible amounts of inspiration (probably because it’s the greatest game of all time), so I’m creating a profile for each of the main characters. Each profile will examine their unique qualities and I will detail how, through physical action, I’m going to help myself lead the life I want to lead by incorporating those qualities.
Today we’re going to talk about the sweetest little kid-summoner in the whole wide world (of Gaia), Eiko Carol!
Eiko Carol is the lone survivor of a Summoner tribe in the village of Madain Sari (OR IS SHE?!?!?! Spoiler: she’s not). She lives with a bunch of moogles (the cutest darn things on the planet) and apparently cooks horrendous food.
Her life gets turned on its head when she meets up with Zidane and the rest of the gang, joining them in their adventures and learning what it’s like to interact with others like her for the first time since she was very young. At the end of the game, after suffering the crippling loneliness of being the last of her kind, she finally feels at home once again. Yay!
At first, writing up a Character Profile for Eiko seemed near-impossible: her demographic (6 years old, a lady, plays the flute, horn on her head, magical) seemed so distant from mine (25, dude, utter lack of horns, magic, and musical talent) that I thought there wouldn’t be much to talk about.
Boy, was I wrong.
Throughout Final Fantasy IX, Eiko brings up a major human conflict, one that all of us struggle with: loneliness.
I’m not talking about your average, garden-variety, “All-my-friends-are-gone-for-the-summer-what-am-I-to-do” loneliness, either: I’m talking about isolation. Sure, she’s got a lot of moogles to talk to, and this is no slight on them, but… she’s different from the moogles. No matter how nice or comforting they try to be, their core difference from Eiko prevent them from fully filling the void caused by lack of real empathy from someone who knows your struggle.
I’d be willing to bet pretty much everyone has felt this “but they don’t understand what I’m going through! They haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced! How could they possibly understand how I’m feeling?” loneliness before. Hell, I know I have. A lot. My experience is different, unique from anyone else’s; it seems natural to assume that, since they haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced, it’d be impossible to understand the depth or intricacies of how I’m feeling.
The “They Don’t Understand” feeling is amplified when the situations or events are completely out of your control, and when is your life more out of your control than when you’re a kid? Eiko didn’t choose to be born in Madain Sari. She didn’t choose for her family to be slaughtered. Hell, she couldn’t even choose who she wanted to hang out with! When these sorts of things are chosen for you and you’re powerless to change them, it’s easier to slip into a lonely, fatalistic sort of despair.
Let me tell you why this idea is irrelevant and should be discarded.
HOW TO INCORPORATE (or, in this case, dis-incorporate (is that a word? I don’t think that’s a word. Whatever)) THESE QUALITIES
This “They Don’t Understand” delusion doesn’t do anyone any good: it’s isolating for the person feeling it, and it makes the people trying to help feel powerless. But, in the moment when you’re feeling it, it’s very difficult to avoid: how could they possibly understand? How are you supposed to trick yourself into thinking that they do?
There’s only one thing you can do. There’s one phrase you have to integrate into your vocabulary, the only thing that will help when you’re feeling lonely and misunderstood:
Control what you can control.
There are going to be events in your life that make you feel like poop and are totally beyond your control. It happens to everyone, and it sucks no small amount of ass.
Wait. Did you read that?
“It happens to everyone”.
This is hard to remember when you’re in the throes of despair, but you need to realize that, when your friends are doing what they can to help you, it’s because they have felt pain, too. No, it’s not the exact same pain. No, it’s not the exact same situation. But in the immortal words of Westley from The Princess Bride: “Life is pain, princess. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something”. Everyone knows pain, and friends are those who help (or try, at least) to take the pain away.
In these situations, when you’re at your worst, looking at what you can control and taking control of them is a must. One major thing that you control (when you’re an adult, at least) is who you choose to spend your time with. Spend time with people who make you happy, and trust that those people will empathize with you and help you in any way they can. Whether they’ve felt exactly how you feel is irrelevant; what’s important is that they are willing to try and shoulder some of that burden with you.
When Eiko meets Zidane and the gang, she sees that she doesn’t need to be alone anymore.
You don’t, either.
All it takes is a little trust, concentrating on what you can control, and getting by with a little help from your friends.
A huge thanks to chitobein for letting me post this badass picture! You can check out more of their stuff at chitobein.deviantart.com!
Hello, friends, and welcome to the fourth Character Profile of the Gaming Inspirations series! “Gaming Inspirations” is a series of blog posts that puts into words how gaming has inspired me to shed my anxiety and its negative effects on my life. Final Fantasy IX has provided incredible amounts of inspiration (probably because it’s the greatest game of all time), so I’m creating a profile for each of the main characters. Each profile will examine their unique qualities and I will detail how, through physical action, I’m going to help myself lead the life I want to lead by incorporating those qualities.
Today we’re going to talk about the Princess of Alexandria herself, Garnet til Alexandros XVII.
Here’s the breakdown: Garnet is a classic “damsel in distress” character… for about the first ten minutes. She’s beautiful, sad, and there are evil thieves trying to kidnap her. But, when the thieves come to whisk her away… She asks to be kidnapped?
Throughout her adventures and experiences in Final Fantasy IX, she grows from a nerdy member of the royalty who doesn’t know how to interact with common folk to a compassionate, fearless leader of her kingdom.
In the game, Garnet has a personal tutor who is known as one of the smartest people in the kingdom (correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe he’s the only person to have the title of “Doctor” in the entire game).
Under his tutelage (combined with her love of learning), Garnet becomes… pretty damn smart. At one point, she mentions how she’s read all of Lord Avon’s plays, which seems like a pretty impressive accomplishment for someone to do before they turn 16.
Sure, she was raised in a castle and is a super-smart beautiful princess-lady, but you learn pretty darn quick that her royal mannerisms and demeanor are… kind of hard to hide: for example… well, just watch literally any FFIX Let’s Play when the party is in Dali for the first time. It’s an express train to Cringeville.
Being sheltered her entire life, she never learned how to interact with the common folk, much less blend in with them. This is a huge challenge in the first disc, though she gets better with time.
HOW TO INCORPORATE THESE QUALITIESINTO YOUR LIFE
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the smartypants…es(?) in my life, it’s that their smartypants…iness didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen without a good amount of work.
There are two things in the smartypants toolbox, however, that I’ve found make the process a whole lot easier: notes and patience.
Out of everything I’ve learned throughout these posts, one of the biggest has been the importance of note-taking. I’ve been budgeting my money (because damn, student loans are expensive and I need to plan for them) using an app, You Need A Budget, for about a year now, so I’ve had some experience with “note taking”, in a sense, but now I’m starting to apply it to another part of my life: my diet. Before I started counting calories, I’d say to myself, “oh, well, you had that venti Pumpkin Spice Latte, so now you can’t eat breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or anything for the next week”.
Eventually, I’d get sick of this whole not-eating thing, eat an entire goddamn pizza to my face, and be right back where I was. I used to think there was something magical about the 209-pound mark that I simply couldn’t pass; I’d struggle to get there, and as soon as I did, I’d slingshot myself back 10 or 15 pounds with a few “cheat nights”. Now, I’m taking notes: I know what my “budget” of calories is for the day, and it helps me to better inform my decision-making and pace myself when eating throughout the day. It’s working: when I started the Gaming Inspirations posts, I weighed 218.8 pounds. This morning, I weighed myself, and I’m 208.1. Not bad, man. Even rudimentary calorie-counting has taken me from floundering in the darkness of “hurr durr I can’t lose weight” to slow, steady progress towards my goal weight. Garnet didn’t just fall into Doctor Tot’s lap a damn book-learned genius: she had to take notes, study those notes, and adjust future actions based on what she learned.
The second thing that Garnet taught me, patience, is a lot harder. Anyone can take two seconds to write shit down (not to shit-talk note-taking; it’s an integral part of the self-improvement process), but patience is much more of a practiced skill. A skill that I’m pretty bad at. But hey, I’m not gonna get better without practice, so practice I shall.
Garnet, when she had to go incognito as Dagger to avoid recognition, sucked at being a “normal Alexandrian”. She didn’t speak the way they did. She didn’t act the way they did. But when Zidane said “hey, Dagger, you probably oughta stop acting so weird and naive and princess-y for a sec”, she listened. It’s hard as hell to change behavior, no matter who you are, and she underwent a drastic change to achieve her goal of not getting caught. Sometimes, changes can make you feel… strange. Uncomfortable. Not like yourself. I feel this way a lot when I’m trying to implement the changes I write about in these posts. Am I someone who counts calories? Am I someone who stays positive, who speaks up in a group, who is unafraid to try new things?
I’m not yet. But I’m trying to be.
This is how Dagger, raised in a castle removed from the society she was to rule, learned her compassion for the common folk. She may have known about the life of the commoner before she ran away, but being forced to live as one, as awkward a transition as it was, gave her a perspective she never would have had as secluded royalty.
I used to let the fear of failure deter me, but now, I know that I’m going to fail, and I’m okay with it. The only reason Garnet succeeded in escaping from Alexandria Castle is because she was patient and strove to understand those different from herself. When she failed, she noted it, she learned from it, and it helped her be better in the future. Change isn’t instant; it’s a slow grind to get from where you are to where you want to be, but you’re not going to get anywhere if you’re not willing to change, to get a little uncomfortable, to fail once in a while. Princess Garnet helped show me that it’s worth it to work hard, be patient, and strive for what you really want.