The Wife and I are avid gamers. We’ve been playing online games for just about our entire relationship. When we play, she does the damage and I do the healing. I play the support role.

I’m good at the support role. I’m better at it than anything else I do, in game and out. I’m the friend people call when they’re hurting. I’m the one who offers to do the extra bit at work. I bare my soul so people who need it know they aren’t alone. I send the texts. I run the errands, I make sure All The Life Things are taken care of. I patch the boo-boos. Each night, when I fall into bed, I know that I have done what I can for those around me.

Those around me.

I am comically terrible at taking care of myself. I’ve gotten better about taking care of my body. I’m walking more. Drinking more water and less soda. Aiming for sleep, even when it flitters away. I’m trying. But my soul, that poor damaged, tattered core of me, remains fragmented. Not broken. That is a word I have practically banned from my home, so it would be unfair of me to use it. But definitely bumped up.

I keep trying to find outside sources to fix it. Medicine of the social kind. If enough people like what I write, maybe I’ll heal. If a person I find fascinating thinks I have value, maybe I’ll heal. If I can contribute something, anything, maybe… just maybe… I’ll heal.

It doesn’t work that way. Friends can help, of course. Who knows that better than the support role? Friends get you through the rough patches, up and over the rocks. No one else can do the real work, though. The hard stuff that requires you find value not through another’s eyes but through your own.

I’ll never play the role of damage-dealer. I am the cleric. The chanter. The captain. (Points if you can name the games those go with.) I will always lift up those who need it. But I can no longer support everyone but me. I have to figure this out. Posting here is… accountability. If I say it to the world, I am beholden to my own words. If nobody reads this, it doesn’t matter. If nobody finds value here, it doesn’t matter. If I fail myself… that matters.

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