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Gaming has changed my life, and I'd like to think it's been for the better.
I've always been on the shy side. It was hard to encourage me to go hang out with groups of people because I never really fit in. I loved acting, but I wasn't really that good at it. I loved to read, but reading wasn't really a group activity.
Then I met my fiancé. We'd been going together for a few months or so before he finally introduced me to his gaming group. I knew from the day we met that he role-played, but we'd never had much chance to talk about it - there were always more important things to discuss.
When I went to my first session, I started reading over the player's handbook, and instantly I knew I wanted to give it a try. What was it but acting, except without the physical interaction? It was great! Years later I realized the group had stretched things just a little bit to help ease me into the process, but I'll never forget just how wonderful it was to be in a group where my imagination wasn't going to be laughed at.
I'm a lot different than the person I was when I started gaming four years ago. I've matured a lot, and I feel I owe quite a bit of it to the interaction with other people that role-playing gave me.
I never knew what it was like to truly feel welcome to share my flights of fancy. Nobody looked at me like I was a freak because I thought of performing heroic deeds and destroy the bad guys. For once I was free to exercise my creativity.
I've gotten the usual questions about being a Satanist and that sort of thing, but I must admit the majority of questions have been asking me what role-playing is really like. I enjoy the opportunity to explain the fun it can give and what a positive experience it can be.
Like with any activities, I suppose role-playing can have its side effects. But for myself, I'm proud to say that I'm a gamer!