I have been thinking a lot lately about the "Lizard Brain", a term used to describe the conditioning against fighting we received growing up as girls when it interferes with our fighting today. (see Duchess Elina's article and her book, The Armored Rose). There were several of us fighting the "Lizard Brain" when I was new to the game, though we didn't know what it was or what weapons to use against it. We wanted to fight, and yet we kept encountering these invisible obstacles; it was very frustrating. Thinking back, I realize we found a weapon that was effective for us quite by an accident of the game. The best description I have heard is "the Moogie in my head" (by Moogie of course), but I won't embarass her by revealing the sordid details of the Moogie in her head. Instead, I'll put my neck on the line and reveal the silly truth behind the "Squeak! in my head". It's turned out to be a good friend of mine and a handy thing to have around.
When I first started Amtgard, I was 5"1' and weighed less than 100 pounds; I was really small. I had done some sports as a kid, but was just getting over an extended illness, and was pretty weak. When it came time to pick a persona, I made my version of the "Moogie in my head". I was Tall, and Buff, and Kicked Ass. I was a Fighter. I've grown a little since then, but so has the "Squeak! in my head". Moogie did the same (but didn't grow *grin*). Her persona was a Burly barbarian whose motto was "Bash Kill". We had a lot of fun playing make-believe with our personas and they enriched our experience in the game, but I believe we got more out of them that we bargained for.
Our personas embodied the good things we wanted to be. We wanted to be bold and daring, brave and victorious, and of course "Menacing". If I had walked out on the field as "Helene Brashear, high school sophomore, band weenie, computer team and math team", I never would have done well in the game, and probably would have quit. When I walked out as "Squeak! the Amazon fighter" (Amazon being the only version of the warrior woman that I knew at the time) I was tougher, I was bigger, I was ready for battle. I still sucked at fighting, but I felt way better about it. Most of all, it gave me courage: the courage to try things and not be embarrassed, the courage to learn, the courage to stand on the field and say "Come Get Some!".
I've changed a lot in the past 8 1/2 years, and a lot of that I credit to Amtgard. I wanted to be that persona, and eventually, I embraced many of its personality traits. I got over much of my shyness and fear. I learned a lot, just by not being afraid to look silly. The weekly transformation from high school student to warrior gave me courage, and I learned. Today I am a much better fighter than I was initially. I am bigger and stronger, and have more knowledge of the game. I still fight the Lizard Brain. It's out there lurking in the shadows, but I'm not afraid of it, because I know that the "Squeak! in my head" will kick its ass!
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