There was recently a thread on central that got my brain spinning - and admittedly, my heart hurting. The thread itself was innocuous enough, about about people's egos and alter-egos, but it got me thinking about a path I've seen countless people on. Notice I don't say countless wizards. I'm not talking about wizards. Wizards are nothing but a bunch of pixels that a person controls, and it's the people behind the screen - the hearts, the minds, the souls of those people - that is on my mind today.
Compared to many of you, I've been in this game a short time - barely over a year. In this relatively short period of time, I have seen a lot of things. I have seen people start this game as shy, quiet, humble players and turn into loudmouth PvP bullies. In the real world, I have known happily married couples that are loving, moral, salt-of-the-earth type people where one person gets sucked into a game, withdraws from their real life, and even starts up a 'second family' including a 'spouse' in game. Even worse, they feel no remorse or see no problem with it. I have seen people on game boards - smart people, adults with marriage and children and very real lives - let their lives be torn apart by games and their egos within it. I've heard someone say (a few phrases combined together here, but this was actually wording taken right from the horse's mouth), "I am the greatest player this game has ever seen. The fact that you would think rules that apply to other people should apply to me is absolutely absurb to me."
At some point, you can invest too much of yourself into your alter ego within a game. It's important for EVERY gamer, Wizard101 or not, PvPer or not, well known or not, to have a strong sense of who you REALLY are outside of those pixels. If you don't have that sense of your real world self, you start to lose track of everything that matters.
I am not Katherine Light. Katherine Light is a set of pixels I control sometimes, for fun. I am SO much more than that. Pick any member of this community and the same should be true for them. If that line is blurry for anyone - if you are muddying the space between your real world self and a character on a screen - it's time to take a step back.
I think a lot of problems in the arena and the game in general are caused by that. People lose track of who they really are (or are unhappy with who they really are), and rather than work on those issues they start to think that their value as a person is tied up with how their character does in a game. We as people are worth infinitely more than that, and it's sad to see people give up a part of who they really are in favour of having a character on a screen with a big ego.
You are a person, not a character. You are worthy of being valued. Your pixels are just pixels. Never, ever forget what you, the person behind the screen, truly value and who you really are.