On October 25th, I received an email that I never expected to receive. I had been chosen as November's SoE Gamer of the Month.
I admit that when I first saw the email title, I almost sent it to the spam folder. Me? SoE's Gamer of the Month? It sounded like a phishing email. I knew from Aurelis' stint as Gamer of the Month that people usually submit themselves. They fill out a questionnaire, including why they should be picked as Gamer of the Month. I hadn't done anything of the sort, so how had I been picked as SoE's Gamer of the Month?
However, certain things didn't add up to this being a phishing email. For one, the email came from an actual name, not the word "Congratulations!" or something like that. For another, all of the links in the email appeared to direct me to exactly what they said they would. Third, they weren't asking for my login information. Fourth, they addressed me as "Jazabelle," not by my email address. Then I looked at the signature. The email definitely appeared to be from a legit SoE employee. My hands started to shake. I was really chosen to be the SoE Gamer of the Month?
People who have been around me for a while know that I tend to be a pretty private person. I don't like flaunting myself. I still become terrified about speaking in public before any sort of group, to the point where I swear it feels like I'm having an out-of-body experience when I actually do talk. My head goes all floaty, and I can never clearly remember exactly what I said while I was speaking. Interviews, even written ones, do the same thing to me. Aurelis interviewed me back when BiblioNorrath was a thriving website, and we bibliophiles hadn't been regulated to a small subsection of the housing community. We roleplayed out the interview in-game, and my hands shook so badly the entire time, I had to retype each answer several times before it made sense.
So being the SoE Gamer of the Month really shook me up. It made a little more sense when I replied to the email, asking for some clarifications on some of the questions. I'd been nominated by one of the Community members who has begun spending more time on the Homeshow forums. It was likely the layout editing classes that really did it.
Now, I wasn't the first to think of layout editing classes. Gracey taught classes on the Test_Copy server, and before that, I and several other people offered private lessons whenever someone needed to learn some aspect of the editor. I'd even helped Gracey teach her classes in the beginning, and stepped in a few times to "sub" when she couldn't make it. But people had been requesting classes from me for a while, and I finally decided that I might as well go through with it and teach the layout editor basics, not just aspects of the editor. I haven't started those classes yet, since I'm still putting together the picture tutorials to go along with the classes. Sometimes it's just easier to be able to see exactly what you need to do when you're trying to learn how to do something new.
Being chosen as the Gamer of the Month really made me look back on my EQ2 experience. I wanted to really do the interview right. I wanted my answers to be clear, carefully thought-out, and interesting. I decided that for once, I could be less private about myself, and share who I was and how I came to be.
I've never set out to be "someone" in the games I play. I'm uncomfortable with attention, and even more uncomfortable drawing attention to myself. I've learned why when I've praised other people in the past, they acted uncomfortable--I too am uncomfortable with the praise. It often makes me feel like a fraud. The homes I build are easy for me. They seem simple and plain, nothing special to write home about. Even the Cathedral, with its vaulted and ribbed ceiling is actually quite simple when broken down into its component parts. It's nothing like Jesdyr's chapel, with its elaborate architecture.
However, the response to the article has proven to me that no matter how much I feel like a fraud, other people don't see me as such. For the most part, the comments on the Facebook page have been positive. The tells I received in-game were positive. The messages I received in-game were also positive. And when I mentioned to Zhadowsee in bewilderment that someone had told me it was well-deserved recognition, he informed me that yes, it was. He isn't the sort to hold my hand. On the rare occasions that I start to act haughty for whatever reason, he brings me down to earth by gently mocking me about being "the Jazabelle." I never want to be the Jazabelle. I'm just Jazabelle, that crazy person who's a little bit obsessive about the alignment of the items in her home, who knows the layout editor well enough to teach it to others, and who writes the occasional picture tutorial to go along with it. So if Zhadowsee and others say it's well-deserved recognition, I suppose it must be.
Overall, I mostly feel bewildered and honored beyond belief. I'm still not really sure how this happened.
The article, for anyone wishing to read it.