I’ve had this entry written up for months. I wondered if I would ever feel comfortable enough to share it, and while I’m still not 100% comfortable sharing. I feel like it’s time.
One thing I heard a lot in high school/college: “You’re not a girl. You’re a Cassadi”, and while I got what they were meaning I always felt like a part of me was being ignored by people I considered to be friends. I wore baggy clothes to make my friends more comfortable around The Cassadi that was growing breasts. Thankfully they were still small enough this was possible. I never wore makeup or did anything to my hair. I wanted to belong to this group. I wanted to be “one of the guys”. The question is why?
Well, back then (I say back then like it was a million years ago) it was basically impossible to be a girl with gaming or technology hobbies without being ridiculed. I say back then knowing full well it’s still not particularly easy, but it is easier. I loved video games, Magic the Gathering, tabletop games (mostly White Wolf, I didn’t play a lot of D&D then), and I especially loved my computer classes. Also, so you get a full view of who I was in high school, I was in band and loved it. Let us not forget the insane amount of reading I did. I didn’t fit in with the other girls I went to school with, except for one, and though we don’t stay in touch I still think of her. I didn’t really feel like I belonged anywhere. I was always somewhere on the outside of everything. Even in the middle of a game with 3-4 other people I always felt like I didn’t belong.
I’m saying all of this now because even though we’re still struggling with diversity in gaming and how people that aren’t white or male are treated I feel better being who I am than I ever did then. I no longer feel like a piece of me is missing. I’m a whole person. I’m a lady (well, a woman, I’m not exceptionally lady like), I’m a gamer, I’m a reader, I’m a podcaster, I’m a technologist in the broadest sense of the term, I’m a mother. I am a girl. I am a Cassadi, and all of the things I’ve seen, felt, and done have added up to make me, well, me.