This is Not the Ark Post You were Looking For

I have so many questions and thoughts swirling around in my mind that I don’t even know where to begin, and I often feel like I am repeating myself, especially in this blog. I mean, how many times can you stand to read about how much I struggle day to day? How many times do you want to hear about my grief, my pain, my confusion, or my brokenness?

I guess the real issue is I can’t seem to make sense of myself anymore. I know something inside me is broken….way deep down inside…..where I can’t even find it. I just know it.

I try and try and try to articulate it, but it remains unattainable….unfixable…..elusive.

A piece of me is missing…broken…mangled….destroyed….stolen….and I don’t think it will ever be truly mended.

But I’m not in the throws of active grief anymore (at least I don’t think I am?). Some days I even feel “normal.” I look to the future. I hope for better things. I hope for love. But some days I feel miserable. I despair of the future. I can’t imagine better things. I fear love will never come back.

I am confused. I am hurt. I am broken.

I have questions in the back of my mind that I can’t explain. I wrestle with feelings, thoughts, and beliefs I once thought were solid but now seem like quicksand, and I’m not even sure why.

Have you ever had the sensation that you can’t quite understand something? It’s like looking at blurry photo. No matter how hard you try, you can’t quite make out what the image is. I used to get this sensation when I was in high school math class and the teacher was explaining a new concept. I remember sitting there, listening intently. Often, I even felt like I was following. I thought, yeah…I can do this, but the second class was over, I couldn’t remember how to work the problems. Or back when Dan was sick, I sometimes had that same sensation while listening to a doctor explain MRI results. I thought the whole time, ok….I understand, but as soon as we walked out the door, I couldn’t make anymore sense of that MRI report than before the doctor’s explanation.

My life feels like that same intellectual crisis moment all the time, but instead of it being just one piece of information, it’s my entire mental and emotional state. And I fear, unlike those moments after math class or a doctor’s appointment when understanding would finally come, this fog won’t lift. I won’t have that epiphany moment when everything just clicks into place and I understand. Life circumstances just don’t work that way.

So you see, I keep repeating myself because I am stuck in a quagmire of confusion that hovers just at the edges of my mind, and I find myself once again telling you that this post was not the one I had intended to write. I actually wanted to continue with my Ark talks, but I got caught up in the intro where I was going to explain why I like Ark so much. Ark is a place where I can forget all this confusion. Ark has set parameters. When you go there, you basically know what to expect. Yeah (as you will see when I finally get around to relating my adventures there), it has it’s pitfalls and disasters, but nothing there is unrecoverable. Nothing is un-mendable. The entire experience is what I want it to be, and even the “unexpected” is not really unexpected. It is the perfect escape for a control freak like me.

Maybe next time I will continue with Ark, but thank you all for listening to me rattle on (again) about all my woes. It does make me feel better to at least try to articulate my inner most thoughts, and who knows, maybe someone else out there feels the same way?


Surviving the Ark: Day 1

Jeff and I have been playing Ark: Survival Evolved since before the game was officially released. I stumbled across it one day when he and I were between games. He said he had looked at the game but never played, so we decided to give a try.

Our original foray into the Ark world was on a game hosted by Jeff, so we basically had the whole island to ourselves….just the two of us. It was a great way to get to know each other. I even jokingly told him once that engaged couples really ought to play ark for a few weeks as part of their pre-marital counseling because it’s kind of like real life, requiring you to work together as you make epic decisions like where should we build our house, who’s going to farm and who’s going to hunt, and who is responsible for feeding the animals once they are tamed. Plus you get to have great conversations like, “hey! what happened to the hatchet I just put in this box?!” or “I um…didn’t pick up that stuff you dropped for me and….umm….it seems to have all disappeared….sorry….could you make me some more weapons….please…?”

Eventually, the beta version of Ark started to give us some issues, and Jeff wasn’t able to host our world anymore, so we stopped playing Ark for a while. Recently, however, the full game was released, so I suggested we give it a try again. Jeff tried to set up a private world, but, again, the game wouldn’t cooperate. We decided to just try one of the less crowded official servers.

Spawning into Ark for the first time is always treacherous. There are many dangers, and your character is very vulnerable, but it gets even more complicated when you are trying to find your partner. You can’t control where your character will spawn in other than picking the general zone.

We decided to spawn in the easiest zone, the south zone, but, of course, we didn’t end up spawning at the same spawn point (it’s like the game knows we want to play together, so it makes the experience as difficult as possible). Our most of our first session looked like this:

“Where are you?”
“I don’t know. I’m like on the beach with a big rock. The green obelisk is on my right.”
“The green one or the red one?”
Ummm… looks green to me…”
“Look at your map. What’s you longitude and latitude?”
“Oh. Ok. Uhhhhh… 83 lat by 57 long?”
“Huh…ok…well, I’m at 73 by 83. Just stay there. I’ll come find you.”
“Ok……Uh oh…..Oh!…..NO!
“Never mind. I just died.”

Eventually, we did find each other, and Jeff created our tribe. We picked a spot on the beach (which veteran pvp players scoff at, but this is pve so who cares) and built a little shelter. By the time we got to this point, it was getting late, and we had to call it a night before we managed to gather enough resources to create a bed which serves as the tribe’s permanent spawn point. This means, that the next time we logged in, if our characters had died for some reason, we would spawn at a random location all over again. (Yes….your character can be killed while you are logged out. This is an online game that never ends. It’s one of the coolest things about this game.)

After our first game, Jeff’s schedule got crazy busy, and he wasn’t able to play very much over the next couple of months, so growing and maintaining our homestead became my responsibility. I ended up spending a couple of my next gaming sessions dying and respawning all over the south map. Eventually, I wised up and started creating little base camps at spawn points so that when I died, I would have some basic equipment near by to get me jump started. Nothing too fancy, just a small thatch structure, a campfire, and a storage box with clothes and basic supplies. Arguably, the most difficult part of Ark is getting started, and that trick really helped. I finally got our little tribe up and running.


P.S. Don’t get all weird about this being titled “Day 1.” I’m not going to chronicle each individual day! 🙄 It just felt like a fitting title.