Baelnorn Didn’t Record?!

I went to Amtgard and didn’t record a single video and I’m glad I didn’t! Why is that?. I fought and for me, I fought a lot and I loved it.

If you watch my YouTube channel you probably noticed I like to focus on foam fighting , like a lot. It’s not all the channel has to offer, but the majority of the videos are recordings of people foam fighting, but me, actually playing, no. It’s been a long time and very in frequently on top of that, at least these past several years.

I’m a self confessed stick jock, but you wouldn’t know it if saw me at LARP. I’m usually recording, taking pictures, volunteering or sitting on the side lines. That’s not always been the case. I joined LARP not for the RP but for the foam fighting.

My Start

My story is a fairly common one. Before I found a LARP organization I was hitting my friends in the yard with pvc pipes covered in insulation. Boy did I have some gnarly knuckle bruises!

Once I found Amtgard and got to fight more than my friends I was hooked like nothing before. I got a lot to say about my time in the game, but that isn’t this type of blog.

If you are interested in hearing more about my history I am working on some videos that covers more about who I am and what I’ve done in LARP. Being in the community for over 20 years I’ve worn many hats! Most of them weren’t even gnome hats!

So, why did I ever stop fighting? Well, simple answer, depression. I’ve struggled with it throughout my life. It’s caused me to stop doing a lot of things I loved, but lately things have been getting better.

Things Are Always Changing

The last several weeks things have been noticeably better when it comes to my mental health. Luckily extrinsic factors have changed over the last few months which I hope will allow me to capitalize on this change and let me ride it out as long as I can.

As of last fall, after two years, I was finally able to close my mother’s estate. That helped me find some closure after her passing. It also helped stabilize my financial situation. Then on top of all that I finally have stable housing for the first time in several years. Not having to worry if you’ll be homeless every month is pretty nice. It might be hard to realize how much of an affect that worry can have on you unless you’ve been in that position yourself.

Those three factors weighed huge on my mind and even when I might be feeling a little better, they would quickly drag me back into a state of constant worry and nihilism.

Then there is my physical health. I am of overweight and last year, at 315 pounds, I was at the heaviest I’ve ever been. On top of that I have Type 2 Diabetes and it was pretty out of control. But that too is changing

During the last half of last year I finally found the energy to work on dealing with my diabetes. I started Ozempic. I had some violent side affects when it came to nausea, but I stuck with it and the affects on my blood sugar was self-evident. After a few months the nausea wasn’t so bad and as of last week my A1C has dropped 3 whole points and I’m nearing pre-diabetic levels.

Additionally my weight has been dropping. Due to how the Ozempic has affected my digestive system I’m now down to 280 and it’s still dropping. By next month, I will be under 280 for the first time in I don’t even know how many years, probably at least ten.

Then last month I was able to do something that I attribute to this new mental and physical state that I now find myself in.

The Shake Up

I live an absurdly sedentary life style. For years I would find myself not leaving the apartment for days at a time. I did no physical activity. Bad health is self perpetuating. The more I did nothing the more I wanted to do nothing and my mental health and life stressors gave me no hope that anything would motivate me to do better.

As I mentioned, many things had been getting better, both my health and extrinsic factors. Still, while things were impvoving I was still mostly home bound and I did no physical activity. At that point it was the idea of the physical drain of just walking that kept me from going out.

Then in February I was lucky enough to have the chance to take a trip to London with my brother and good friend Dale. I no longer had the choice of driving to get to where I wanted to go. I had to walk. I went from no steps to 14,000 steps a day.

The first several days of the trip were a sort of mild living hell. It wasn’t just the physical pain and exhaustion of actually using my leg muscles, but also the mental push to keep going when I desperately wanted to stop, But by the end of the first week things started to change.

My muscles started to get used to the effort and I even started to see more definition in my calves. I became less concerned with the distances we walked and my mind was no longer telling me I was to exhausted to continue. Don’t get me wrong, my muscles were sore the whole trip, but they became less so and my mental perception of walking changed the more I did it.

The Effect

When I got home things felt different. The idea of walking to the coffee shop didn’t seem like an epic journey filled with pain and suffering. It was just quick jaunt. If I could walk across a whole borough of London, a few blocks were nothing.

The trip had not only been a physical jump start, giving me more leg strength and endurance, It also changed my perspective of what I was still capable of doing. It was an eye opener.

That change, with the addition of the extrinsic factors and my physical health improving was enough that when my depression lessened I was able to capitalize on it.

Why I Started Fighting Again

So, with every thing I stated you’d probably think that I started fighting again because I was inspired to have some fun you’d be wrong. I fought because of my anxiety.

The place I’ve found myself in did inspire me to go to our local fighter practice. Well, I say local, but for me it’s a 25 mile drive. I hadn’t been for years and Critias had managed to snag our group an actual dojo for us to use and for free too! I needed to check that out.

The specific moment I decided to go was when Louie suggested I try recording fights at the fighter practice. I said fuck it, I’ll make the extra drive and so I did, but when I got there, equipment in hand, the dojo was still being used by the previous group. I felt to apprehensive about setting up my equipment while there were non-LARPers there, plus it was a new situation and place. I felt very out of place.

So, when people started fighting, I chose to wait to record and I picked up my short sword. Then when the other people left, which I hadn’t even noticed, I didn’t put down my sword and I kept fighting. A few hours later I was out of breath and all sweaty

All my life I had heard about the runners high, the state where you do so much exercise you get a high from the endorphins surging through you. I had only ever felt that once, back when I was in University and I was doing Aikido and going to the gym on a regular basis. One time while running on the track, I finally felt it, the runners high. It was pretty cool.

I didn’t feel it at fighter practice but I did have a lot of fun and I walked away wanting to do it more.

Going Forward

So, where does this leave me? It leaves me cautiously optimistic. I don’t truly believe in the idea when everything is going well it’s inevitable that something bad is around the corner but it’s still hard to shake that feeling.

I’ve been here before and I’ve pushed my self to fast, overcommitting on things, then having a mental dive and having to put up with my commitments, furthering my mental slide and dragging me into a state of despair. Which, if you were not aware, sucks.

I’ve decided that I will continue to go to fighter practice, at least once a month. While there I will fight and additionally I intend to stream it. I don’t know how well that will work or if I’ll do it on Facebook or on YouTube but next time I go I’ll give it a try.

On Saturdays, the main day for our Amtgard park, I won’t be committing myself to any fighting, I still need to be able to have time to record things and those will be the main days I do so. Still, you might find me fighting on the sidelines or joining in the occasional ditch when time allows.

You can see my Tier 2 (Rock Gnomes) and 3 (Tinker Gnomes) supporters on my Patreon Supporters page as well as find out how to become a Patron yourself.

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