For the most part, I feel like I lack purpose in life. I’m an adventurer without an adventure. And I think that fact plays a big part in my depression. I don’t feel like I’m going anywhere in life, but I also don’t feel like I have anywhere to go. So, my adventuring gear collects dust in the corner while I help Gerdur run her mill in Riverwood.
I had the discussion recently with Tyler about this. He suggested that I should, until I find my own purpose, be the kind of person that my Vannah would look up to. It was a valid point and one that I am currently trying to work towards.
Vannah’s picture hangs in a plastic sleeve at my work desk. And beneath that is a picture of my siblings with their children and my dad. The only picture missing from that ensemble is my mom. But all of those eyes watch me all day long. They watch each and every decision I make at work. They’ve seen my frustration and fear, my joy and laughter. They’ve seen my tears. They know I am emotional no matter where I am.
But I think about what an older Vannah would think about my current choices. And I think about what kind of image I am currently putting forward for her. Because at the end of the day, I don’t want her adventuring gear to grow rusty. I don’t want her to think Riverwood is all there is to Tamriel.
I have to ask myself what I want for Vannah. And immediately, I can list a dozen things. I want her to be healthy. I want her to have a strong backbone that supports her in her decisions and her opinions. I want her to be strong-willed so she can choose what she believes and be able to defend that stance with logic and certainty. I want her to have a warm and caring heart that doesn’t get taken advantage of. I want her to love fiercely and for her happy memories to outweigh the bad. I want her to brush the dust off when she falls and insist on getting back up. I want her to be true to herself and for her to never let anyone dull her shine.
Now, in order to inspire her to be that person, I feel I have to embody those traits. Because the alternative to that is to show her what not to be. And I don’t want to go through that kind of misery.
So that leaves me with one option: become the kind of person I want her to be. That means firstly that I need to look after my health: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
On Ostara, I took an oath during sumble that I was going to be more genuine to myself. I explained to Vannah what it meant to take an oath during sumble; in essence, I make a vow to myself and everyone at the table. I call on my honor that I will uphold this oath and I call on the honor of everyone else there to assist me in keeping the oath. It is a heavier than a promise.
In being genuine to myself, I have to start thinking for myself again and choosing what is best for me and my goals. I want to make sure that Savannah understands that she can champion her goals and still be considerate of other people. So when she sees me pursuing my goal of being genuine to myself, she will see me making my decisions based off my needs and the needs of those I am responsible to.
I want to show Vannah that the best way to get your point across is to be logical. I know it is something I currently struggle with and I know that logic fails me frequently when I am passionate about something. And try as I might, I am aware that some things cannot be forced into a logical box.
I do not believe that the easy way is necessarily the right way. I believe that dreaming big is just as important as bringing our dreams to life. I believe that every failure is a lesson. I believe that anything is possible with enough determination, hard work, and a deep rooted (read: stubborn)conviction to never give up. I have been told a time or two that just because I want something, doesn’t mean I can make it happen. And should Vannah ever hear that phrase, I want her to spit in the face of such negativity. I want that phrase to make her work harder to prove such pessimism wrong.
Love hurts. Caring for people hurts. Taking on responsibilities for others and becoming invested in their lives is draining. Ask anyone in a care giving profession. Ask an EMT, a doctor in the ER, counselors for mental health. Ask an empath. Ask someone who day in and day out puts someone else’s needs above their own. As draining and exhausting as it is, they will also tell you how rewarding it is. And I want Savannah to know that, to live that. We don’t grow as a community, a family, a nation by shutting out the suffering of others. We florish when we work together. And I hope someday, Savannah knows the compassion of others and that it inspires her to be compassionate to others. I hope she never hesitates to volunteer at soup kitchens all year long. I hope she learns the value of a kind word and a kind action.
I can hope for the best future for my niece. I can pray to the Old Gods that she is a good person. But I can hear the deities telling me that I need to do my part. I need to be a person worthy of being looked up to. I need to lead by example.
Until next time, may the Gods find you in good health. May you never hesitate to help those in need. May we swallow our pride without choking. May our hearth fires be bright and warm.