How fate allowed me to live without fear

Spring break in 2019 started with a disaster and a (sort of) run-in with the law. My sister had dropped me off at the airport with my bags packed for Greece. I was going on a community service trip with a group of people I had never met before. I felt nervous. I was the person that couldn’t eat alone in restaurants, let alone travel to a new country where I knew no one. It didn’t help that I wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. Was I wrong for choosing this over an offer to go to Morocco with a close friend? Or was it fate?

No matter what, in the end, it’ll turn out okay.

Everything was going according to plan until a man called my name and asked me to follow him, leading me away from the flight gates. I panicked. “Won’t I miss my flight?” Looking me over in my sweatpants and faded Lollapalooza shirt, he told me that due to complications with my visa I wasn’t able to board the plane. Speechless, I was escorted out of the airport.

The car ride home was gloomy. I felt disappointed in myself for not double-checking my documents. I wasn’t sure it was wise to buy another round trip ticket. This felt like a sign. “No spring break this year for me,” I thought, resigned. Plus, I had just lost a lot of money I was probably not getting back. 

I called my friend, trying to seek assurance that I wasn’t the dumbest person on the planet. She was in Morocco, already on day two of the trip I gave up. “There’s still a spot for you here,” she said. I laughed lightly, not in the mood for jokes. “I’m serious. There is a flight tomorrow. Just come.”

Sometime that night, I got some of that money back. That had to mean something. The most difficult part of making my next decision was explaining it to my bewildered mother. I caught a flight to Casablanca. That trip became one of the best travel experiences of my life thus far.

I often turn to this story when I start to doubt the trajectory of my life, when it starts to go wayward and I feel myself spiraling into regret. It’s the assurance I need that no matter what, in the end, it’ll turn out okay. Just like how seeing a familiar face at a subway platform when I swore I was hopelessly lost made me pause for a moment and think that maybe I’d find my way home after all. Or how going on a gallery visit with a class led me to meet someone that made the rest of the year fall in an unexpected way.

So, yes, I do (loosely) believe that some things are bound to happen, and mostly for the best. I grew up between parents on opposite sides of the spectrum when it came to faith. The one thing they both agree on is fate. The phrase “what happens, happens” is as common as a greeting at our house. If something bad happens, it is normal to feel bad about it, but it was meant to happen to make way for something. This sentiment has been something I internalized and accepted.

When one door closes, sometimes it means that there was no room for you there anyway.

I heard that a remarkable thing that makes us evolved humans is that we can hold two contradicting ideas to be true at the same time. I know, on one hand, that believing in a preordained fate is a coping mechanism for us to remain sane in a world of chaos. Accept that what is meant for me will be can be a slippery slope, as I can lose a sense of control over my life. Some might even think of the belief in fate as a grandiose coping mechanism, which may be true to some extent.

The important thing is balance and being self-aware. I can’t always miss a flight and jump on another right afterward. But I won’t give up believing in fate– because, at the end of the day it brings me solace to know that I may not be responsible for absolutely everything in my life that goes awry. And it keeps me humble about the things that go right.

When one door closes, sometimes it means that there was no room for you there anyway. The group I was supposedly traveling with didn’t even ask why I had dipped out of the plan. Plus, looking back at it, I wasn’t going with the intention of helping others but rather to do something bold. And to see Greece. My heart wasn’t in it and fate knew it.

There will always be a door that opens up in its place, even in the most unexpected ways. Keeping the thought that “what happens, happens” has made me braver with my decisions. The only thing I can regret is dwelling on regrets themselves because it has long kept me from stepping out of my shell and looking around for new possibilities. Accepting fate has emboldened me, to put myself out there with my writing and be vulnerable no matter what, and to apply to programs that I felt were ‘too good’ or out of my reach. Now I’m here, sharing this with you and off to study literature in the master’s program of my dreams. 

I encourage you to take the leap once in a while and trust it. Looking at your life in this way makes you recognize the silver linings even in your most embarrassing slip-ups or a more devastating turn of events. 

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Culture Family Life

A love letter to libraries

I know that I am not alone when I say that we, as humans, find a lot of solace in libraries. They are temples of knowledge, housing collections of stories and dreams alike on their shelves. Libraries are as much a part of our culture as anything else. People have relied on these spaces for warmth, insight, and marvel for centuries. In a way, they hold the key to all of our stories,

I love libraries, and I am terrified to see their eventual demise, especially as our world becomes almost entirely digital. They are gems from the past that have maintained vitality no matter the circumstances or happening outside of their walls. Not to mention they are the cornerstones of entire communities, maybe even countries, granting light and stability to people when nothing, or no one, else seemed able to. They offer more than just books; they offer entry into a space that seems more like a sanctuary run by people grounded in compassion, commitment, creativity, and resilience.

People have relied on these spaces for warmth, insight, and marvel for centuries.

I used to go to the library near my grandparents’ house every other Friday. For the most part, my mom took my brothers and me there to get a new book for school or to see what DVDs we could bring home to watch that evening. But I remember roaming around, starstruck, in between the tall shelves, wondering about the people who wrote each and every single one of those books and how long it might have taken to get them all here.

Most weeks, my mother let me get two books instead of one. I could spend hours there if it was permitted. I always liked watching my mom pick her books for the week, too. She seemed so sophisticated and gentle while scanning the shelves, yet she never knew exactly what she was looking for. If it was winter, afterward we would all pile back into the car with our hardcover books and grab a slice of pizza. If it was summer, we would walk to the Italian Ice shop down the street for some cream ice – those were the best days. 

I fear that libraries have been taken for granted, even in my own life, and am always spellbound to find them chock full of unexpected people, doing unexpected things, with unexpected passions. There is absolutely nothing that compares to the feeling, the pure excitement in my stomach, that erupts every time I am searching in a library for the perfect tale to dig into. A trip to the library seems, to me, to be enchanted. I become whimsical, enveloped by the completeness and simplicity of the entire journey.

Even the smell of a library is impossible to replicate because of its specificity and poignance. I am reminded of sandalwood, dusk, and a particular, antiquated, dampness. Its familiarity is beyond comforting. The air itself seems to be saturated in possibility and imagination. 

I feel at home while pattering around and tracing my fingers between the shelves of books. I fall in love while blowing the dust off of the covers, revealing bright colors and exquisite lines. I spend hours crinkling through the aged, already yellowing, pages of novels wondering which I will pick this time. It is never an easy decision, and I always leave with dozens underneath my arms wondering if the others will still be there when I return the next week. But, that’s the beauty of libraries, isn’t it? Every visit is entirely different from the last and there is no telling what you might stumble upon. Yet each visit is also starkly familiar. 

The air itself seems to be saturated in possibility and imagination.

Books have changed so much of my life, with plotlines, characters, and lessons that have been woven into nearly everything I do – that is every decision, every consideration, and everything that I have grown to appreciate or even pay a little bit more attention to. Books are there to remind me of what’s important, and when I’m not so sure, they’re there for me to lean on. Without libraries, though, I might have never been allowed membership into such a world of splendor. 

Music Pop Culture

What we all really need to learn from Ariana’s “thank u, next” music video

“I met someone else… her name is Ari”

These are the lyrics that 25-year-old pop star Ariana Grande broke the internet with in her music video for “thank u, next” that premiered Friday evening. For anyone who has been living under a rock, Ari’s new hit single is about thanking her ex-boyfriends for all they have offered her, but now moving on from these relationships as a proud single woman.

The five-minute video managed to break records as the most viewed Youtube Premiere video of all time. People across the globe were even throwing premiere parties with all their closest friends in order to sit at the edge of their seats and watch with beaming faces as their favorite singer graced the screen.

Fans of Ariana were ecstatic to see the pop artist replicating iconic movie characters from all of the quotable films of their youth and inserting pop culture references that shine a whole new light on the brand classically known by the world as the “chick flick”. It is commonly expressed by society to label a chick flick as less than, a cheap film by patriarchal standards that is, simply and derogatorily, “girly”. In “thank u, next”, Grande takes the derogatory term and flips it on its head. Paying homage to movies that our generation has grown up with, these empowering films include (but are not limited to) Mean Girls, Bring It On, Legally Blonde, and 13 Going On 30.

It is a video filled with community, excitement, hope, and celebration. Yet as charming as the movie references and celebrity cameos in Ariana’s video are (and they are very charming indeed), the best part about her smash hit video is watching as Ari embarks on her authentic journey to self-love in the face of pain.

Ari recreating the scene from "13 Going on 30
[Image description: Ariana Grande with her head resting on a doll house, recreating the scene from “13 Going on 30”] via Vevo

We all have to face heartbreak at some point, whether it be a breakup with a romantic partner or a falling out with a close friend. As most of us know, it’s a terrible feeling to lose someone who was once a significant part of your life. In a way, it can almost feel like you are losing a big part of yourself in the process. This can easily cause us to feel lost, and in a desperate effort to feel “found” we sometimes will search for external sources in order to make us feel complete again. If a partner breaks up with us, we immediately look for another one. “thank u, next” teaches us to find that kind of love within ourselves before scouting for validation from another person.

I remember that feeling of significant loss hovering over me after going through a terrible breakup with my first love. I would just find myself trudging through life like some kind of zombie, emotionless, feeling like I was only half of the person I used to be when I was still with that partner. Who was I without my other half? What kind of person was I to become? My whole world felt as though it had come crashing down, with my expectations of security and comfort evaporating all at once.

Yet as terrible and incomplete as I felt at first, there was still a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. I knew that because I was no longer tied down to anything, I now had the entire universe at my fingertips. I could finally take whichever path I liked, wander down whichever road, and knowing that alone was the most liberating feeling. Was I terrified to suddenly have all of this freedom? Of course. But it was a brilliant kind of terrifying, the kind that only creeps up when you’re in the process of pure growth.

In that process of growth, I was finally able to take all that love I had for my ex and manifest it into myself. The journey to self-love is a difficult one, but once you embark on it, you will feel more empowered and dignified than ever before.

In a lot of ways, I wish Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” would’ve come out sooner. Its classy message of learning to be thankful for what you’ve lost, regardless of how much of hurt you, is an important one. It teaches us to look back on our past relationships with gratitude and poise, rather than spite. It teaches us to put all of that energy we could be wasting on anger and hate into self-love and appreciation.

Ariana singing the words "I turned out amazing"
[Image description: Ariana Grande singing the words “I turned out amazing” sitting in a garden recreating the scene from Mean Girls]

If we can learn to love and appreciate what we have to offer the way Ari teaches us to, we will turn out amazing! So go ahead, embark on that journey of self-love and gratitude. As soon as you do, you’ll have the universe at your fingertips.

Gender & Identity Life

An open letter to my natural hair

While growing up, I was appalled by your nature. At the sight of you, I’d quickly plug in my straightener to iron out whichever kinks dared to show their face. Every month and a half I’d sit under my aunties fingers as she’d apply a relaxer or the “creamy crack” to my scalp. Even when it began to burn I’d push myself to sit and take it just a little longer because I knew it would be worth it. Afterward, I’d run my hands through my silky straight strands and bask in its glory. My hands would skip over the scabs and burns on my scalp and my eyes would block out my straggly, dead, split ends because my hair was shiny and straight and that’s all that mattered.

When I moved away from home to go to college and I no longer had my aunt to relax my hair I thought, “What will I do now?” I didn’t trust anyone with my “precious” locks and despite my skill in braids, twists, and ponytails, there was no way I was trusting myself with powerful chemicals. I’d seen the process done and experienced it for years of my life, but it just wasn’t something I could do. As the months went by and I viciously straightened my roots in hope for a miracle, the natural movement began to rise around me.  YouTube gurus emerged with tales of coconut oil, and my friend with the most gorgeous hair I’d ever seen kept encouraging me to go natural.

You, my beautiful hair, had been a major part of my self-confidence for as long as I can remember. I may not have been the skinniest, or the prettiest girl growing up, but I always had great hair. There was no way in hell I was just going to cut off my hair and be…bald. I’d rather be dead.

A year went by of desperate blow drying and straightening when I realized that I was transitioning. I’d wash my hair and get a glimpse of my curl pattern and you were kind of cute. I began to binge watch natural hair gurus like crazy, naptural85, journeytowaistlength, jewejewebee, naturalneiicey, and jaemajette to name a few. I’d look at their routines and copy their techniques and each month I’d chop a little more of the straight ends off. My best friend was my cheerleader. She would send me so much information and then one day she also decided to big chop, and then I had a friend to go through this journey with. My hair definitely looked crazy during this journey, but it wasn’t so bad because I lived in a white town, they barely could tell the difference.

Two years had now passed, and I began to experience another hurdle. With each new growth, I began to love you less. I noticed that your pattern was kinkier than the girls on YouTube and Instagram. You were short and hard to manage. My wash and goes didn’t go as easy as there’s seemed to and braid outs and twists out barely lasted a day before the humidity got to them. And you were costing my college pockets a fortune. But we were too far into this now, so I kept going. All the girls said patience was the key, so I decided to be patient with you and I’m so glad I did.

This has been an almost five-year journey and one of the greatest experiences of my young adult life. My beautiful natural hair, I love you more than words can describe. I no longer groan at the process of taking care of you because it is the most relaxing part of my week. You are my therapy and self-care. Each time another black girl compliments you or asks me my routine I’m filled with glee because one day she will get to feel what I do now.  You are big, defiant, and unruly, a true reflection of me. I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of being a queen, but with you, as my crown, I can think no less of myself.

Tech Now + Beyond

These 7 video games are more than just games – they hold moments of my life, too

Every gamer knows that there are a few games that make an indelible impression on you.

And normally it’s something special about the game in question. It can be anything, but it stands out. Whether it’s groundbreaking graphics, an unforgettable story or even just a fond memory, gaming in itself holds lifetimes. Through gaming, I have lived countless lives, and I intend to live more.

But there are a few games that I will never forget. They’ve helped me, in their own ways, to become the person I am today. They’ve changed me from the quiet, shy girl I used to be to the confident, adventure-seeking woman writing this article.

Each one holds a special place in my heart and without them, well, where would I be now?

1. Adventure Island

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Adventure Island was the very first game I ever played. Maybe that’s not even true, but it’s the first game I have a memory of.

Our family owned one of those third-party Nintendo Entertainment Systems, the ones that came with the cartridges of 1,000 games (most of which were just the same game copied 50 times). I would watch my older sisters play everything from Contra to Ice Climber and wish, with all my heart, that one day I would be able to play as good as them.

When that day finally came, I dug out the old plastic console from a box in my parent’s room and sat down for hours of Adventure Island. I never really understood the game and died multiple times throughout, but I had so much fun watching the cute animations and trying to advance through the levels.

Later, when I was in high school, about to transition to my first year in university, I found this game one last time and played it with my then-boyfriend now-fiancé.

This game means the world to me because it illustrates the very heart of my childhood.

2. God of War III

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Okay, I’ll be honest: I fucking hate this game.

This game is a genuine piece of shit, not because of the gameplay but because it is really misogynistic. There are scenes in it that I can’t believe my teenage mind was put through, and I was definitely affected by them. One of them, and I’m not even sure if I should mention it, shows the main character, Kratos (pictured above) having sex with two women. As the player, you are expected to press buttons to make this happen, and yes, I did that.

Do I regret it? Of course.

The reason why I am adding it to this list, though, is because it was the first game I ever played on PlayStation 3: the first official console I ever owned. It came bundled with the console, along with Dirt 2, which, in retrospect, was pretty damn fun.

I remember the first time I ever put this game into the disk drive: my heart was racing, my hands were sweating, and I kept glancing down trying to familiarize myself with the buttons. In the first boss battle against Poseidon, I died way more than I care to admit. I kept looking down at the buttons, becoming frustrated and not understanding what the instructions were saying. But after I finally got it, and defeated the first boss, I told myself that I would finish this game, and yes, I did.

Again, it’s a pretty shitty game, but us gamers know that even the crap ones can make us feel amazing.

3. Ratchet and Clank: A Crack in Time

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If any game was to win an award for wit and humor, the Ratchet and Clank series would be it. It’s packed with hilarious anecdotes and pirate radio was honestly one of my favorite parts of this game.

But the reason why I consider this game special is because it was the game that made my relationship with my fiancé. Almost every Friday I would come home from school and he would already be at my house, waiting to play Ratchet and Clank.

We would sit for hours laughing, playing, (kissing, aww), and order pizza. I got to know Ratchet and Clank, while Captain Quark tried to convince us of his heroism in the background.

A Ratchet and Clank themed wedding, anyone?

4. Journey

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Journey is the most visually stunning game I have ever played. The story is quiet and emotional and drives you forward with purpose rather than reward. I finished it in about three hours and cried for about two hours afterward.

The time in my life when I played Journey was peppered with a lot of emotional trauma. I was constantly fighting with my parents, had lost so many of my friends from high school and was just coming to terms with my bisexuality.

Playing this game, feeling the emotional and physical stress of the character I played as, but seeing them persevere through what can only ever be called a journey helped me realize that I was not as alone as I thought.

In retrospect, Journey said a lot more than just hardship and overcoming it. In many ways, it can be linked to a lot of the trauma that people of color are experiencing around the world right now. Journey is so much more than a game, it’s a story.

It’s our story.

5. Pokémon X and Y

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Unpopular opinion: Pokémon X and Y was the best Pokemon game.

Yeah, I get it, the Nintendo 3DS made a huge departure from the original games with all the additional features it added to the game. But you know what? I like petting my Chestnaught and feeding it cute little treats.

Do I think Super Training was a bit ridiculous though? I concede, yes.

But Pokémon X and Y had that level of mystery that a lot of Pokémon games lack. For example, the girl you meet only once in the tower? That was super creepy and amazing and I am obsessed.

6. The Last of Us

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The Last of Us is the last game I remember playing on the PlayStation 3, before migrating over to the PlayStation 4. Everyone who’s played this will understand why: Nothing better can come after it.

The game is beautiful and terrifying.

You’re thrust into a world of zombies unlike any we’ve ever seen before, and with a soundtrack by the incredible Gustavo Santaollala, it ravages your heart like no other. Journey destroyed me with its simple, yet emotional storytelling.

The Last of Us destroys on a different level altogether.

I have never in my life been more attached to characters like those in The Last of Us. It takes the identity of ‘misunderstood’ to a whole new level, where even you, the player with your preconceived notions, can’t fathom how the characters will grow and surprise you.

Joel’s character, which goes from “aw, shame!” to “fuck you!” is by far my favorite.

Oh yeah, and the end scene? Don’t even get me started.

7. The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

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And finally, Skyrim. I am still playing Skyrim.

There’s is no end to the pleasure that Skyrim brings. It has beautiful visuals, an amazing soundtrack and a great balance between serious gameplay and ridiculous Daedra side quests. It’s the game that keeps on giving – I restarted recently and am still finding quests I never encountered the first time around.

The same goes for the Fallout franchise. Bethesda’s ability to build open world games is truly astounding. Their ability in environmental storytelling is ridiculously brilliant, down to the tiniest of details. How many skeletons did we gaze at, wondering exactly how they ended up where they did? How many rooms did we lockpick our way into, only to find something more than a few gold coins?

Although, let’s be real – I would have put Skyrim on this list just for the Thomas the Tank Engine mod.

Love Life Stories

When I finally decided to show the world my real self, I was terrified nobody would like me

I’ve always been a pretty bubbly, positive, happy-go-lucky sort of gal – to the outside world. However, up until around a year ago, I felt like I was living in conflict with myself. I would be smiling and joking around with friends and family, but when I was alone with myself, I would become my own worst enemy.

It pretty much started when I graduated from college and moved back home. The transition was difficult for me. I missed my roommates and didn’t realize how much my happiness had depended on being surrounded by friends.

Around that time I developed this fear that if I showed my authentic self to others, I would not be accepted or loved.

I thought that if I showed my “negative” emotions, people would want to stay away from me. I created a double standard for myself; if someone opened up to me I thought they were brave, and yet if I opened up to someone else it was an act of weakness.

These irrational beliefs felt like the truth to me. I realize now that it’s actually the opposite; showing vulnerabilities is what brings me closer to my loved ones.

I began to have such high expectations of myself. In order to be the best daughter, cousin, niece, friend, employee, etc. I had to hide my true self. While my intentions were good, they were causing a lot of damage in the self-esteem department. In order to avoid displeasing the people in my life, I ended up disliking who I was.

I had some trustworthy loved ones who I felt like I could be a hot mess in front of, but at the end of the day, the person I was stuck with 24/7 was myself.

I don’t remember the exact moment, but a point came when I finally decided I would break this cycle of self-loathing- even if it meant facing the darkest and scariest emotions. I realized that you could be surrounded by all the loving family and friends in the world, but if you don’t love yourself, then nothing will feel good enough.

I began going to therapy. I reconnected with my faith and begged God to help me learn how to help myself. I journaled about my feelings and began to look at them with compassion rather than criticism.

I created a box of letters, notes, and anything positive that loved ones had given me over the years. Whenever I felt low, I would turn to the box and go through it, reminding myself that I made a difference in these people’s lives.

I went on retreats. I got involved in my community. I basically forced myself to do the things that I knew would make me feel fulfilled.

And that’s when little miracles began to take place in my life. I was nominated by a lovely author, Tami Shaikh, to be a part of a South Asian Women Leadership Retreat, where I met incredibly successful women who got deep and personal. Through this, I was able to break free from the illusion that I was alone. I also began to find life-changing books, YouTube videos, quotes, and mentors who believed in me.

It’s not considered cool to talk about your self-doubts and insecurities, but I believe that when we avoid these types of conversations, we miss out on valuable opportunities to truly connect with others.

One powerful exercise for me was something my therapist, Linda taught me. “Find a few photographs of yourself when you were a little girl,” she said.  “Then put them in some nice frames around your living space along with the wallpaper of your phone. When you’re being hard on yourself, just look at the photos and see if you still feel the same way.”

I was amazed at how this one small act led me to actually start liking myself. Every time I saw the photos, I couldn’t help but feel love and compassion towards myself, because deep down in my 24-year-old body, was an innocent little girl who simply needed to feel safe and protected.

One of the photos I used for the experiment

Now, whenever I mess up, I think of the photo of the sweet, little girl and ask myself how I would speak to her if she made the same mistake. It would be cruel to yell at a child for not being perfect, so why is it okay to beat myself up just because I’m a so-called adult? As my therapist taught me, adults are just children in grown up bodies.

Through this bump in the road, I learned that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.

Disliking yourself is natural at times, as long as you aren’t stuck in that rut. And self love is not just some cheesy phrase, it’s a key ingredient for contentment and inner peace. Now, I am more than happy to show up and be seen for who I am, and I hope that nobody has to feel like their true self is not worthy enough to be seen.

By choosing authenticity, we begin to attract the right people and situations into our lives.

It may not happen overnight, but it’s definitely worth the struggle.

Tech Now + Beyond

My cure to writer’s block isn’t what you think it would be

Writer’s block.

It’s the Achilles heel of all writers and happens to everyone. It can be because of stress, distractions or even just a lack of creativity and inspiration. But one thing is for certain when it happens, it really sucks.

As a writer, I’ve dealt with writer’s block without a cure for most of my life. Whenever I got stuck on a project or simply couldn’t think of what to write about, I would just leave whatever I was doing until it fixed itself.

This meant days, sometimes months of little to no writing whatsoever.

When I was just a kid in high school this didn’t matter much. I would instead shift focus to my school and social life, which took up most of my time anyway. But when I decided to start taking my career as a writer seriously I had to think of something that would work well to get rid of writer’s block.

And that’s when I discovered gaming.

I was already into gaming in high school, and procrastination at university meant that I spent a lot of time indoors, eight hours deep into Skyrim side quests. At some point, my life literally revolved around gaming. I would wake up early, get in a few hours before class, come home and finish off the day with more game time before even washing yesterday’s dishes.

This isn’t counting the days when I’d miss class just for a few sessions of Age of Mythology and Civilization V.

And of course, I knew this wasn’t healthy behavior for both my brain and my wallet. So many hours in front of a screen playing games around the $60 range was not exactly the best way to spend those few three years of undergrad. I eventually staged an intervention for myself and cut down my play time to one or two hours a day. I went from numbing my mind with games to invigorating it with them.

The truth is that the more I drowned myself in games, the more I felt disconnected from the world. I was unwilling to move from my computer most days and spent way too much time reading other people’s gaming articles instead of writing my own.

But when I started to moderate my game time I would see spikes in my creativity throughout the day.

The stories I found myself in were breathtaking. From visually jaw-dropping games like Journey, to emotionally challenging ones like The Last of Us, gaming can take you down both an aesthetic and storied path which can be a delightfully stimulating form of inspiration.

It combines visual art and storytelling in ways that you, the player, can control. When we think about curing writer’s block, nothing could be better than being able to take control of a constructed reality.

A constructed reality is an experience very much like real life but was modeled and narrated by a developer; very much like a writer. In this, we have the perks of real life encounters but through the extra lens of the imaginary. When you are walking through villages in Skyrim, talking to strangers and hearing about their lives, you are experiencing something that was made for you, but that you still have some level of control over. You can choose whether or not to talk to that mysterious man in the bar, or you can participate in a drinking contest with the loud drunk in the corner.

When we write, especially fiction, we are doing the same thing; guiding the reader along a story that we set out for them, but that they can draw whatever conclusion they may from.

And I get it, video gaming gets a bad reputation for keeping kids indoors and destroying productivity and creativity.

But like almost anything, when used in moderation it can end up benefiting us in both.

Nowadays, I’ve learned how to take care of my writer’s block using video games.

I use short, fun bursts of entertainment to help me craft and narrate stories that might not have appeared to me before. I no longer use games to numb myself, but rather as something that can stimulate me into pursuing my dream of being a published author.

There are many ways we can cure writer’s block. Some people read books and articles, some sip on a glass of wine and some, like me, play games. In fact, many of us change it up and do lots of different things. But for those of you who haven’t found your cure, and have the wallet for it, why not give gaming a try?