Out of character, part 2. Roleplayers, this series is for you! Today we’re talking about grounding in blaseball roleplay with Connor and Pigeon.
Here are a couple resources about grounding:
Grounding techniques: https://www.healthline.com/health/grounding-techniques
Survival techniques for the highly sensitive person: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/prescriptions-life/201105/top-10-survival-tips-the-highly-sensitive-person-hsp
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Welcome to the Show by Kevin MacLeod
Breakdown by Kevin MacLeod
Angel Share by Kevin MacLeod
Organic Grunge by Kevin MacLeod
Kimberly: Hey listeners it's Kimberly with a content warning. this episode contains discussion of emotional character bleed and mental health. so if that's not something for you to listen to right now come back to it later. all right now on to the episode.
hello listeners you are listening to Take Me Out To The Blall Game the world's most three dimensional blaseball podcast. I'm your host Kimberly Dauber and I use She/her pronouns. but today again, I'm not a blaseball in the sky with a microphone. I am out of character. I am simply a podcaster and blaseball fan living in Boston, Massachusetts. and that's because today we're talking about roleplaying. this is part two of our series - Out of Character: Safe and Healthy Roleplaying. this is three parts of a conversation that I had with Connor and Pigeon about roleplaying or RP in the blaseball community. I'll let Connor and Pigeon introduce themselves one more time.
Connor: you can call me Connor, that's great. my pronouns are He/him. I run the Twitter account for former Hades Tiger player Paula Turnip, now on the Seattle Garages.
Pigeon: I am Pigeon both on and offline so that keeps things pretty short and sweet. I use They/them pronouns. I moderate the discord server that serves as a hub for people running Twitter accounts be that for players, teams as a whole, or completely original NPCs that they've created. I also run the Richmond Harrison and PolkaDot Patterson accounts on Twitter.
Kimberly: okay so in part one we talked about emotional bleed. Connor defined this for us in part one but I think it bears repeating.
Connor: bleed is anytime you are feeling the emotions of a character who you are playing.
Kimberly: so if you haven't listened to that episode I highly recommend it. you can go find it wherever you found this podcast episode. so that was last week, emotional bleed, and theb next Wednesday in part three we're going to finish up the series with an episode about canon and ownership. but today we're going to talk about one specific way to cope with emotional bleed and that's grounding. we'll get to the episode in just a moment but first a listener soul scream.
this soul scream is from Daniel who said to me: "excuse me miss floating blaseball in the sky, would you help me dedicate a soul scream to my friend Whoah? I call him Whoah because he's amazing. So Whoah, here is your soul scream.
[soul scream plays]
I just love these so much! Whoah, I hope you enjoyed your soul scream. Daniel thanks for sending it in. remember that you too can dedicate a soul scream to one of your fellow blaseball fans by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. all right thanks for listening onto the episode.
now can we talk a little bit about what do we do about this? because we're certainly not powerless in this situation. we can recognize this and name it and then we can take steps about it, so what are some of those things that we can do.
Connor: yeah absolutely. my best tactic is to step back physically and emotionally. Pigeon was talking earlier about how blaseball is on all the time and I actually kind of said it as a joke how whenever I go for a run something really big happens. but there's a reason and something useful that comes from going and leaving and being okay with missing something big, just to get as far away from your phone, from your computer, as possible for a short amount of time is something that always helps me clear my head. to get away and to re center myself in, you know, actual life offline. and then when I come back with a new perspective I tend to be able to handle events that shake up any sort of roster even more.
Pigeon: and I think drawing off of that: it's important to touch on disconnect is very important but it doesn't do much to just step away without then grounding yourself in the current moment in your current environment outside of blaseball. because otherwise you might have stepped away from the game but it's still very easy to live in that head space. so like Connor was mentioning it's often very helpful to go do some physical activity, but it can also be as simple as... there's one that I utilize quite a lot in my personal life that is generally referred to as the "54321" method where you ground yourself by identifying five things you can see, four things you can feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. I keep a little bag of hard candy with me just about all the time so I can just pop something in my mouth and that's almost become a Pavlovian response where i'm like "okay I'm here now."
Kimberly: I think this is starting to get into the second topic that we want to cover a little today and that's this idea of being grounded and disconnecting. let's get into that some, since I think it's very useful in combating some of the more negative effects of emotional bleed. can someone summarize what is grounding yourself, what the way we're talking about it?
Pigeon: grounding is the act of taking yourself out of a head space where quite often you feel very, very tethered to something be that media or a feeling. it can be an anxiety thing where you feel very caught up in something, and it's the act of performing active mindfulness to bring yourself back in a lot of ways to yourself. figure out where you stand from a more rock solid perspective, where you can calm down, you can step back, and you can look at what was causing you stress or even excitement. just any sort of escalated emotion from a position of being a little more... I guess yeah, I get objective about it.
Kimberly: mmhm mmhm I'm pretty new to mindfulness. it was always one of those things that I looked at and I was like "I don't need that". And now i'm here and I'm like "oh man, I need that." so maybe to give me, a beginner, a bit of a better idea what does being grounded feel like? what is the experience like?
Connor: I'm also someone who is fairly new to mindfulness, but I feel like when you are really mindful and being grounded it's not that you are simply just perfectly in this moment. it's that you can understand that you are where you are and when you are. and for even a second just experiencing your surroundings fully. and it's not that your mind isn't going to wander, because it will, we're always thinking. but understanding that you're thinking and being able to just pull yourself back and say "no this is where I am, I am going to be here, and I am making the choice to be here despite what my mind wants to be doing."
Kimberly: to me it sounds a little bit like one thing that I do sometimes when I'm creating art and I start to get frustrated that the thing that I'm making is not as good as I want it to be and I get stuck on that. so sometimes, I have a little post it note that says this. Sometimes what I do is i'll say "you know what, this is what my skill level is right now and this is what I am capable of creating and I'm going to meet myself where I'm at and work with what I got" and then move on from there. and just accepting that this is who I am at this moment and I can't be anything more without the work that I'm already putting in. so I'm just gonna let it go and continue. is that a little bit like what you're talking about?
Connor: yeah definitely. I really like that as well, I think that's a great strategy.
Pigeon: yeah I think meeting yourself in the moment is a very, very apt description of it.
Kimberly (intermission): Hey listeners it's Kimberly. you may recall me explaining last time that when I originally recorded this interview I thought it was just gonna be one episode, so I didn't build in breaks. but since it's three episodes now I'm just gonna jump in here and say it's time for us to take a short rest. and today we're literally going to take a rest, so hold tight we'll be right back.
Hey there listeners, for our rest today I just want you to take some deep breaths with me. it'll be nice and relaxing and it'll help us get ready for the next half of the conversation. So, here we go. we're gonna take five breaths together, for each one we're going to breathe in and hold it for a moment and then let it out. ready? good. first breath - breath in, then hold it for a moment and breathe out. okay? number two. breath in and hold, and breathe out. number three. Breathe in, hold for just a moment, and then let it out. two more. breathe in, and hold, and breathe out. you're doing great, one more. inhale, then hold for just a moment, and then let it out. great job. I hope you're feeling refreshed and now it's time for us to go back to the episode.
Kimberly: let's bring us back to blaseball. how do we apply this to our relationship with this amazing game that can sometimes be kind of all consuming.
Pigeon: I think dedicate time and space for yourself. I will get very involved in things, but I will look and say "once an hour I'm going to get up, I'm going to stretch, I'm gonna go sit on my balcony or something and not be involved within this sphere." even if it's just for a sixth of the hour, dedicating time and space away.
Connor: and some part of it is, sometimes you just can't control what your thoughts are doing. so if you're just thinking about it, try channeling that into a healthier way. write something down, get it out and don't bottle that up. because sometimes you can just go "no I'm not going to think about it" but deep down you are and you want to be. and so it's healthier to just write down something that's just for you. or draw something that's just for you. and then say "okay now I feel better. I've put that emotion or these thoughts onto paper or onto a sketchbook and now I can move on and now I can do this." and understanding that it's not bad, it doesn't make you worse if those thoughts are just kind of hanging around in your mind. you can let them be while also making the time to take a break.
Kimberly: what I'm getting is that sometimes all it takes is dedicating some time away from whatever is occupying your attention, in our case blaseball, and just putting it away. leaving it, going to your balcony, stretching, things like that. maybe like petting your cat or something. but sometimes that's not quite enough and the thing that's bothering you is not going to be fixed by just closing your laptop and in those cases one thing that you can do is get it out somehow. get out onto paper, get it out into a sketch book, get it out somehow. is that what you're saying?
Pigeon: and I think it's important to touch too on something that Connor said, where a lot of grounding is taking time to do something for you and no, that's not selfish that's self care. and that you have to take care of you before you can put anything back into the community.
Kimberly: Yeah, that's certainly something that I struggle with. because I really love making this podcast but sometimes it can be stressful because I get too invested in getting more Twitter followers, or picking the right episode that lots of people are going to appreciate, or making sure that it's going to be the kind of thing that I want to put my portfolio sometimes. and at those times I forget why I originally started doing it and I get untethered and ungrounded from what I'm really trying to do. because you know, I started this podcast as something for me to distract from the other things in my life that were causing me stress. and I think and probably this is true for a lot of blaseball fans, I think the stuff that we start as hobbies can turn into stuff that causes a stress.
Connor: Oh, absolutely.
Kimberly: because we do art for our hobbies and we do roleplaying for our hobbies and then suddenly we become like "oh no this is a thing that I can become better at." so yeah if you're having thoughts on this please feel free to comment.
Connor: Oh no, I just completely agree.
Connor: I definitely started this for fun and now, in a way I completely was not expecting, Paula's Twitter has now has almost seven hundred followers. I am like oh, okay, people like this. I would like them to keep liking it. but you know, striking the balance between what I'm doing for myself and the entertainment value.
Kimberly: even in the midst of all this we can still work on keeping ourselves grounded. sometimes I do experience this brief obsession with what people think of me. I don't necessarily have to separate from the work, I just need to make something that I've decided is for me. like I've decided that right now on this podcast I'm gonna use a little bit of it to process my feelings. and I really appreciate you two being here to experience that with me.
Connor: Yeah, that's great!
Pigeon: Yeah, of course!
Kimberly: but you know I think there's a lot of different ways to stay grounded about stuff like this. is there anything else that you'd like to talk about bleed or grounding before we go?
Connor: no, I think this is pretty good.
Pigeon: yeah I feel, pardon the pun, I think we've covered all the bases.
Kimberly (finale): all right listeners that was where I decided to cut the episode short for today. thank you all so much for listening. remember you can find Connor on Twitter at @ucbamba and as Paula Turnip at @TurnipOnBlase. Connor also has a horror podcast called Underwood that you can check out on Twitter at @PitchLibrary. you can also find Pigeon on Twitter at Angry Bookseller (EDITOR'S NOTE: @AngryLibrarian). you can also find them as PolkaDot Patterson on Twitter at @TheDotBlaseball and as Richmond Harrison at @RichmondHarris4. that's all in the show notes, where you can also find some great resources about emotional bleed and grounding. remember to subscribe to Take Me Out To The Blall Game wherever podcasts are found. follow us on Twitter at @blaseball_pod, email us at email@example.com, and if you get the chance tell a friend about the show. I bet they'll be happy you did. I am Kimberly Dauber and you have been listening to Take Me Out To The Blall Game. thank you for participating in the cultural event of blaseball.
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Transcribed by Jossar.