On this weekly edition of the blog, I wanted to talk about where Clou and Gilad had come from. The two of them mean a lot to me, and have been with me for many years now. I wanted to share the tale of their beginning and their impact on me.
I won’t bore you with my life story, but as a child I was quite lonely. I was a nerd in a place where nerdom wasn’t really a thing. No one in my small farming town knew what I was talking about when I’d get drawn into a book or a movie. D&D was something my brother did for some years, and then grew out of. Around the age of 14, I inherited his AD&D 2nd Edition books. After looking through a magazine, I saw an ad for a D&D group looking for a new player. I contacted them and we became fast friends. A lot happened, and those wonderful goofs showed me that I wasn’t alone in the world of computers and books and dreams and heroes.
One of my characters ended up being Clou. He was very different and set in a different system than D&D, but he was a character I connected with deeply. If you’re wondering if I was like him at all, the answer is quite the opposite. I was cold and distant, unable to connect with people around me. I had very sever self-image issues. But when I was Clou… I could just dream and be someone who wasn’t afraid to feel. I lived for the times I could play as him. He let me explore notions and feelings and ideas that the real-world was too scary for me to try.
Years and many trials and tribulations later, I wanted to start a new life for myself. It had been many years since I had the opportunity to play Clou, life and growing up being what they were, but I kept him with me always. I came up with little stories about him and kept on drawing him from time to time. Whenever I was scared or alone I’d imagine he was there and smiling that goofy-dimpled smile at whatever was going wrong. He gave me strength, because I knew he was part of me. So when I was faced with moving to Canada alone, and was obviously very scared, having him there was a boon. Thinking that his greatness could somehow come from me gave me courage. I moved continents.
I wanted to make friends in this new land, and found some gaming stores and met some people. One of those people ended up helping me get adjusted to this new country, and I invited him to play with me. He agreed. The world I had in mind for him was the one Clou had helped shape, and when he created the character of Gilad, I was happy.
Through Gilad I learned a lot about this boy I was playing with. He was brave and good and while he made many decisions I would have never thought to make, his decisions and motivations fascinated me. Even though he made this small, frail-looking character, he had so much strength in him. Something with that resonated very deeply with me. We started dating, and we haven’t stopped since. This year our relationship and Gilad himself will be turning 10 years old.
So, you see, it turned out that Clou and Gilad helped change my life, teaching a closed-off, miserable girl about love and life, and helping me find the man I love. Using these characters I learned a lot about myself, and I strongly believe that understanding oneself is the key to happiness. In my case my method of self-exploration was just a game. Don’t let anyone tell you that playing games won’t help you in life. D&D and its many brother and sister systems are, in my opinion, an amazing way for people to discover themselves.
That’s the short-short of my story, and I hope you enjoyed.