I love incense. I drink Moroccan mint tea from a legit porcelain Gaiwan teacup. Together with the Impressionist and Pre-Raphaelite paintings, African masks, East Asian and Indian figurines, Egyptian textiles, and Persian-style carpets, my apartment looks like a 1920s Orientalist threw up on it. These are all useful in my meditation practice. Sometimes I will sit in silence for a while or spend time writing in my journal. However you do it, it's beneficial to your well being. I've heard people say they don't like this because it makes them think. I can't really understand what that means. I suppose some people are uncomfortable with being a philosopher for awhile. One can become anxious sitting in silence and that's why meditation takes practice.
I remember when my sister was helping me paint my apartment when I lived in Illinois and I had ambient music on after we listened to her more pumped up music. After about 20 minutes the two of us were working in complete silence. I was used to this, but after a couple hours she finally broke the silence and said she liked the music because it made her go inside her head and think about stuff which ended up being calming. She's someone who gets anxious rather easily, so this was good.
Anyway...I've written all that for a reason. I was just meditating not too long ago, updating my journal which I hadn't written in since May. And while listening to the Myst soundtracks and wandering around in my head, a few things came to my mind that I thought I would share, if for no other reason than to think about them "out loud" so to speak.
There are two tattoos I've been planning to get for a couple years now, but financially they always have been on the bottom of the priorities list. The first is the feather symbol of the goddess Ma'at, because what Ma'at represents not only aligned with concepts I'd been thinking about since I was 13, but also because the first time I learned about Ma'at is what made me go into Egyptology. Thus, a very simple, albeit powerful symbol.
Second, the Moiety dagger! In a simple form, nothing with shading or anything like that. I told a friend who had a lot of tattoos that are special to her about my choices. And surprisingly enough she attempted to discourage me from getting the Moiety dagger. She believed that since it was from a computer game that somehow in my old age I'd come to regret it. I was shocked because this was coming from someone who has a lot of bizarre tattoos that, though they don't make sense to me, they have significance to her. She did not care to know what the dagger meant to me, only that it meant nothing to her. In fact she hates every time I bring up Myst. Only recently did I discover that she had tried to play Myst but didn't understand what the objective was since it doesn't tell you and so she didn't continue it. Maybe there's resentment there or something, I don't know.
So I'd like to explain! You've often read that I first played Riven in the summer of 1998, after my brother got it for my sisters and me for Christmas. You have read that the screenshot of the Riven village (which is one of poster prints Cyan was selling) is particularly special to me because it's the first image I saw when I walked into the office to see what my sister was playing, and it was a marvel to me. Hell, I still remember the excitement of inserting the all magical Disc 5. I was enamoured of this game. It's an icon of my youth! And the icon of Riven, of course, is the Moiety dagger, a symbol of resistance against despotism--something I think Americans are coming to understand today... It's a symbol of empowerment!
To go on, Riven led to me finding a niche--yes, I was that awkward 13 year old who didn't know how to use the Internet. Ha! Good times. I sure was a moron sometimes. Not much has changed, though, hardy har har! I met new people, learned all kinds of stuff, and had fun in a positive way. I eventually found all the novels and games and started a collection--we all need something to be invested in and passionate about outside of daily life, right?
And then Uru came out. I refer now to the Uru of 2007.
Let's go on another tangent, since I'm good at that. Apparently I am a good conversationalist. I learned this through being forced to converse with strangers who for some reason decide they want to tell me their life story. On a flight home from Ireland I had an 8-hour conversation with a woman from Pennsylvania. Eight hours! I've had complete strangers walk with me across Central Park--tourists who decided to make me their tour guide. Recently a woman from France had me sit with her on our long subway ride so I could make sure she got off at the right stop, and we chatted the whole way. On a flight from Sohag to Cairo, a Coptic priest originally from Heliopolis and then California chatted with me for that whole hour. My fellow team members didn't have chatty neighbors, and at that time I wasn't happy about having one myself because we'd just finished a long brutal season in 115 degree weather. Those are just a few incidents. So you'd think I'd be able to jump into conversations easily online, especially in a Myst game, but you'd be wrong!
Freaking Ahnonay forced me to talk to someone and get help, and I was in no way pleased with it. Still when I go into Ae'gura I'm standoffish because I'm just so awkward!!! (Meeting Rand Miller was proof enough of that haha!)
In 2007 I was having enormous problems with basically every person in my life, facing a great deal of disrespect in my home, a fall out with a friend who took the whole girl crew with her, and a lack of friends in college. Basically I had no one to talk to. The home situation was the worst. When I was there and not doing homework I would go on MOUL. At first I was pissed about having to talk to someone to complete Ahnonay, but in the end I was grateful beyond words.
The guy who helped me, "Loshem", ended up being so cool and we would talk for HOURS, until 3:00am sometimes, and about everything you could imagine! He is so smart and I found this so admirable. Shit, he was teaching me about Physics and the 10th dimension! We talked in MySpace (remember MySpace???!!! Hahahahahahahaha!). We're still friends on Facebook almost 10 years later. And there was a lady I met also, "Echo", with whom I also talked for hours. We had a particularly long discussion in Teledahn's office at the top of the mushroom. Damn, I still love Teledahn! She and I even exchanged phone numbers and talked on the phone--this is a BIG deal for me, as I utterly despise talking in the phone. We also gossiped about this crazy lady who would follow certain people around and make up wild stories about scandalous things in the game. I will withhold her name. And I spent lots of time in the Guild of Greeters neighborhood dancing on top of the waterfall.
At a time when I had no one, I had Myst.
And for me, the Moiety dagger symbolizes all of that. It reminds me of finding strength in friendship and unity, and that even at your worst times you can find someone or something that will leave an indelible mark, and in the most unexpected places, under the most unexpected circumstances. And that is why I want this inscribed on my body, to see it every day and think about these positive ideas. In this world today, I think we can all stand to find something positive to believe in.
To tie up loose ends... I was also thinking, on a less emotional level, of getting a tat of my name written in D'ni, because why would anyone NOT do that?
Second, to comment upon the strangers who choose me to talk to among a crowd of many worthy candidates, I actually enjoy it. They probably needed somebody at that moment. I hope I helped. And what kind of conversation do I have? I always ask them questions about themselves. People like to talk about themselves, and this is a good thing--within measure.
Would I regret a Moiety dagger tattoo in my old age? I can say with certainty I won't.