GEN『E』SEO: The Myriad of Navigating Geneseo’s Binaries [5]

The turtle, dwarf,  an amorphous blob, a teenage boy, and a dopey-looking corgi scurry up the cliff. The turtle was sweating as he carried the corgi, the dwarf followed by stoically, the blob was somehow swimming its way up, the teen had a look of terror, and the dog looked about as happy as any dog would be when they saw new people. 

The crew heard scuffling and splashing water below. The hobgoblins below were trying to get across the strong river and its currents which the team had previously managed to get across. However, as one hobgoblin tried to get onto the hill, the current below pulled them back in. The teen let out a sigh of relief as he made it the top of the cliff.

When the teen made it up, he spotted a dead pine tree; it was about 25 feet. However, its roots were dead and right on the very edge of the cliff. The teen runs over to the tree and starts pushing it; the other team members caught on and pushed with him. The corgi barks, the turtle and dwarf push with their backs, and the blob idly watches. Just as, the enemy had gotten on the cliff, the tree toppled down and onto the enemy. The setting quiets down but as the crew begins to relax, the teen spots a huge gray cloud coming north. They had gotten themselves into more trouble.

(Artwork by:  Cristina Daura)

In fact, the trouble with this is that I and my friends from GAGG (Geneseo Area Gaming Group) only meet once to play Dungeon and Dragons.  This does not include the time a fat cat rid a witch’s broom or the archangel who had to fight in a coliseum. Each process has a way of carrying me away from SUNY Geneseo and into more imaginative and creative spaces.

These spaces can be more than GAGG, they could be with my AOP friends or my friends within ACE (Alliance for Community Enrichment). Regardless, these spaces, are different than from the general spaces that Geneseo provides because that sense of loneliness and division does not exist there as strongly. At times, I am in limbo, having to choose between my friend groups or other times, I actively choose to combine them. For example, during my birthday I planned a birthday party and invited all of my friends for food. This space, regardless of who was there, countered the otherwise oppressive and lonely environment that Geneseo provided.

As I have stated before, Geneseo is a product of greater social issues within our country. From the recent blackface incident to issues with faculty concerning amorous relationships, these stories can be especially draining alongside making me feel lonely. In particular, this intersects with other issues because students of color are much more likely not to access mental health care needs. Furthermore, Geneseo staff and faculty, particularly those at Lauderdale do not always have the cultural competency to deal with a wide variety of students, particularly those who are in are minoritized groups. If these needs are not being met then it will be more difficult to cater to patients or students who need these resources. As a result, people will find alternative ways to cope. For example, Steve Prince does exactly that

The answer cycles back to what Steve Prince is constantly in the process of doing. Steve Prince is putting his “soul” into his work. As Prince said, “There’s a lot we haven’t dealt with in our soul, so I like to deal with it in my artwork.” Steve Prince embodies his own experiences, history, and legacy and transports all of that into his artwork. For example, in Steve Prince’s Kitchen Talk on April 4, Prince explains his artwork to people. That requires a tremendous amount of vulnerability and courage because his artwork is an embodiment of everything he defines for himself and the identities he was prescribed.

To cope with the world then, I must do the same. I do this by playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. If I want to be a heroic paladin so that I can feel more confident about myself, that is okay. If I want to go to a game and pour my “soul” out into a death scene, I can do that. Or if I simply want to see my friends, then we have something we can bond over. Dungeons and Dragons is, for me, one of the ways I show a more creative and compassionate version of myself; it is one way I share my “soul”.

Gaming culture and specifically Dungeons and Dragons allows me to step back and relax. While gaming culture can and is certainly problematic, it is part of how I cope and deal with the loneliness of Geneseo. It is through my interaction with others and the bonds that I am continuing with people that allow me to counter that loneliness. Thus with every sword swing, lighting bolt, and D20 roll, I’m bridging a part of myself to others. This brings about another question that will follow the future discussion.
What keeps me attached to Geneseo?

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