Roleplaying is defined as changing one’s behavior to assume a role, either unconsciously to fill a social role or consciously to act out an adopted role. (Wikipedia)
It’s time for a true confession. I started roleplaying by accident in 2008 after seeing a fan account for the Twilight Series. As cheesy as this sounds, I loved those movies. Well, not the sparkling vampire, but the idea of a human falling in love with a creature of the night. Ever since I was a child, I loved the lure of being bitten while sleeping. Some kids fear the dark. I fell in love with it.
I was never a writer back then, but I made the page a challenge to myself. Most loved Bella, but she was too quirky for me. I needed something darker. Victoria pulled me in with her violence and sarcasm. She was the one I knew that if I were a creature of the night, I would want to portray. Myspace was a huge roleplay site back in the day, and the community of people walking in the shoes of famous stars and movie characters was mind-blowing. I was so fan-struck, I still giggle over some of my favorite stars talking to me. Okay, I know they were not the real person, but the mind can hope once in a while.
When I think about myself as a writer back then, I can’t believe how bad I was. I could barely write 3 – 4 sentences, and I thought I was so good. Because I am a hoarder of writing, I have gone back and reread some of my work. I swear a two-year-old could write better than I did when I first started. Now, I have a book out, a successful blog, and I get paid to ghost-write. I was so hard-headed that I never used spell check or a program like Grammarly. Who needs those when you have all this talent. You can insert sarcasm in there.
I learned so much from roleplay and the roleplay community. The main thing is that I learned to write and write well. I am a very visual learner. Someone can read me something, and I will never understand it, but to read, that is where I excel. It wasn’t all roses, though. Roleplayers are much like mean twelve-year-olds and live for the drama.
Pro’s: One of the main pros of becoming an active roleplayer is advancing my writing skills. Three or four sentences are now two or three thousand words at a time. I worked as a ghost-writer for a publishing company for a couple of months. That was an eye-opener. I never knew that writers made pennies for their hard work, but that never stopped me. The bug of writing hit me hard, and there is no turning back now.
Another pro is the ability to socialize with others, and yet, they never really know who you are in the real world. Some prefer to socialize behind a computer screen’s protection as a generation of living online and depending on technology. After years of suffering from debilitating anxiety, I moved into the world of make-believe and share stories with those afflicted by the same condition that I do. I’ve learned a lot from these people—more than I could have ever imagined.
Now, a few cons. Yes, those are there as well. For anyone who feels that online bullying is only prevalent with children is dead wrong. I have met fifty-year-old men who threaten, degrade, and bully those half their age. I know people who shared their phone numbers only to trace their address and actual name share. Roleplay is not a place for children, and many times I have thought it should come with a mental health exam before proceeding.
Imagine a world where you can be anything you want: a man, a woman, or some even living their lives as pets. Imagine people who already suffer from sickness bringing it into what some use as a safe getaway. I have often seen child predators lurking around this community, and though you can report them, they will come back under another face and name. It’s one of the downfalls of entering a world where nothing is real or sacred.
A tip I would give anyone looking to roleplay is to be careful who you allow in your circle of writers. Not everyone is a good person just because they write well. I’ve learned that the hard way.
When I conclude this all, my best advice to anyone venturing into the roleplay world is to enjoy it, but always remember, this is a fantasy. Alice might have fallen into the land of make-believe, but remember to chase that rabbit back out. There is a real-world out there waiting for you to come live in it.