Real Neat Blog Award Tag

Thank you to Angie for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award! The idea of this award is to help spread the word on engaging, talented content creators and to get to know us all a little bit better, not just as phantoms hidden behind a wall of our own content but as people!

The rules are simple! If you’re nominated, put the award logo on your blog, answer the 7 questions asked by the person who nominated you, thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog, then nominate 7 more bloggers and ask them 7 new questions! (None of this is mandatory; just a bit of fun!)

My Answers

Here are the questions I was asked and my answers to each of them.

What is the origin of your most long-term geeky interest?

I have two interests that I would consider truly geeky, and I can’t pick or choose between them, so I will talk about both!

Firstly, Formula One. I know how a lot of people feel about it as a sport, but I love it to bits, and that’s because I’ve been watching it all of my life. Even before I can remember, my dad and grandad sat me down to watch the racing with them, and my dad has a video that he was very proud to show off, at least before I started my transition, of me reciting the events of the Hungarian Grand Prix of 1997 blow-for-blow, when I was just 5 years old. Being born in Germany, and proud of being born in Germany, I grew up an avid fan of Michael Schumacher, and therefore Ferrari, which has stuck with me over the years, even as they’ve become less and less likely to win another championship. Still, I like the sport for it’s speed, precision, technological drive and the athleticism of the drivers to be able to take a corner at 180 mph and 5 times the force of gravity. I wanted to be an F1 driver until I was 14 years old, and no matter how boring it might seem to others it will always be something I can geek out about myself.

Then, the biggy: Storytelling. It doesn’t really matter which form; books, TV, film, game, music, theatre, I love them all, and it all originates from my parents’ love of Star Trek: The Next Generation. They watched it, and then Voyager and DS-9, avidly when I was growing up, and I watched it with them. When I was in only my second year of school, then 4 years old, my teacher asked me to write a story, and so inspired was I by the little I understood about Star Trek, I wrote an adventure story about a scientific mission to Jupiter. If you’ve read my blog’s introductory post, then you know how this story ends. If not: I was too young to be able to spell Jupiter, so it was about a scientific mission to Gupter instead. Still, since then, storytelling has become the single biggest influence on my entire life and my greatest passion. I’ll stop there before I really do get into it, otherwise I will just not stop writing.

What is the meaning behind or origin of your typical username for gaming or forums?

So, this is reasonably recent for me, because I changed my online handle when I started my transition from male to female. Before, it was SonOfToastie, simply because my dad was nicknamed Toastie while he was in the Royal Air Force (this is because of a love letter he wrote to my mum in Farsi, the language spoken in Iran.) Obviously, when I realised I actually wanted to present myself as female, having “SonOf…” anything just wasn’t going to work, so when I had decided my name was going to be Lorraine, I started looking at plays on that. When I saw the origins of the name, things fell into place pretty quickly: It’s a region of France that, in Latin, is called Regnum Lothari (Kingdom of Lothar). I saw Lothari and thought, “…yeah, that works.” I did have some worries though. At the time, I was breaking into the tournament Hearthstone scene, where a prominant personality called himself Lothar. I was a little worried that the two names might get confusing if I made it, but thankfully I never did.

If you were going to live forever on an isolated island and could only have access to three types of food, what would you choose?

Pizza, for sure. It is my lifeblood and I cannot survive without it. After that the choice gets a little more difficult. I think it would have to be apples, they are my favourite fruit and even if I have to live forever I would want at least to keep up the pretence of healthiness. I think the last one would have to be Haribo Cola Bottles. I have a horrible sweet tooth, and I think if I go too long without some kind of sweets, I literally figuratively explode. Cola Bottles are my favourite, so that seems like the logical choice.

You know when your brain sometimes replays embarrassing memories against your will? What’s one of yours that always comes up?

One day I was getting changed in the locker room at school after a P.E. lesson, and while I was sorting myself out, the two substitute teachers who had been teaching the class were having what they thought was a private conversation. I wasn’t deliberately eavesdropping, but it was one of those cases where I was minding my own business and absent-mindedly caught one very particular part of the sentence. In this case, the crux of what I heard at the time was “Cheese string”. I don’t know whether it’s a global thing, but in the UK, that is a processed food snack, fake cheese that you can peel and eat on the go. Minding my own business as I was, I absent-mindedly said, “I don’t like cheese strings.” One of the teachers gave me a curious look and asked me, “Why’s that then?” I shrugged and said, “I don’t know really. I just don’t.” He shook his head and the two of them walked away, leaving me to finish changing back into my school uniform.

This memory sticks with me, but for more than one reason. Years later, and I do mean years, it finally clicked that what the teacher had actually said was “G string”, and he most certainly was not talking about the one on a guitar. This embarrasses the hell out of me, because not only was that the one part of the conversation I picked up on, but also the part of the conversation I interrupted with my own thoughts, and I have no idea whether the teacher understood my response as, “I don’t like cheese strings” or “I don’t like G strings”. It’s embarrassment in hindsight, but it’s still embarrassment.

More than that though, my own embarrassment is overshadowed by the fact that, looking back at it, these two substitute teachers were completely fine having that particular conversation in front of a boy who couldn’t have been any older than 13. More than embarrassment, I feel slightly haunted by how inappropriate that actually is.

What is your favourite blog post you’ve written and why?

I guess it counts as a blog post, even if it was before I technically started my own. Since September of last year I’ve been working as a content creator for the Gwent community (a collectable card game based in the universe of CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher franchise). My second article was about my experience in competitive gaming as someone who suffers from a mental health condition, and how that condition both helped and hindered my progress as a competitive gamer. It was in the pipeline to be published by Team Aretuza, before I started working for them, but at the last minute they pulled out because it didn’t quite fit their brand image. I tried to publish it on my own, but that didn’t really go according to plan either, and although I released it, I don’t know whether anyone really paid any attention to it and it kind of just got forgotten. Still, it’s my personal favourite of all the pieces I’ve done before and since, as it allowed me to vent about a lot of frustrations I’d been keeping to myself up until that point in a constructive way, and allowed me some way of dealing with my own mental health. It’s really difficult to describe how important that kind of step is when you are trying to “get better”, but I really did make a big step forward in sharing my experiences.

How have you personally grown over the past several years?

Soooooooo many ways. It comes with the territory of discovering you’re not comfortable with your gender or sexual identity. Unfortunately because I am still on that journey, I can’t fully answer the question, but I’ll try. The key change for me is that when I started looking at my future through a female lens, instead of a male one, it made substantially more sense. I can’t explain that in and of itself, but it does, and because it makes more sense, I am more confident in my future. I don’t know what exactly I’ll end up doing, but I know I’ll be more comfortable doing it as Lorraine Wilson than I ever would have been as Michael Wilson.

I’ve grown outside of the scope of my transition too, though it’s taken some difficulty to get there. Last year I saw someone struggle with something that I struggled with much earlier in my life, which completely changed my perspective on how I had dealt with it. I realised that I hadn’t really dealt with it at all, and that has caused me some real pain at points over the last year, but it’s also allowed me to start dealing with it properly, and stop punishing myself for childish mistakes I made nearly 14 years ago. In deciding to leave my job at Egosoft, I’ve also discovered I really regret choosing not to pursue a career in some kind of writing when I left school. I thought I was making a smart decision at the time, but looking back I see that I really didn’t make the most of what is very obviously my greatest personal strength, and that’s a real shame.

There are probably countless other things I could list off, but it’s difficult to put it all into words when the picture that is my life is still shifting and shaping, and not likely to stop before I die.

What’s something your readers wouldn’t be able to guess about you?

I used to be a dancer. When I was in primary school (aged 4-11), in order to stay healthy, my sisters and I were part of something called KFA, Keep Fit Association. We were basically an interpretive dance group, telling stories (OF COURSE) through dance to all kinds of different songs. Three stand out. We did a performance of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds, which made me fall in love with it forever. Then, inspired by Children in Need one year, I organised a performance to Coldplay’s The Scientist. But, topping it all off, our group performed a dance to celebrate the turning of the 21st Century to a nearly full house at the Royal Albert Hall, one of the most famous concert halls in the UK. Being a part of that group also meant that when my school won the Silver Arts Mark Award, I went to pick it up in Nottingham with the head teacher, the head of the Arts department and a girl in the school choir, who happened to be my fiercest rival at the time. Even then, we had a really good day together, and that is one of my fondest memories.

My Nominations

My first set of nominations for the Real Neat Blog Award are: Andrew Young from Reel Time, Alyssa from Nerd Side of Life, Bar Harukiya, Naithin from Time to Loot, Michi from Michi’s World, the Well-Red Mage and Emily from Monsterlady’s Diary!

And here are the questions I would like you to answer:

  1. What is the best thing since sliced bread?
  2. Who wins – pirates or ninjas?
  3. If you had the chance to go back and talk to yourself ten years ago, what would you NOT tell you?
  4. What language, real or fictional, would you most like to learn?
  5. Who is your favourite character from any book, film, game or TV show?
  6. What is your biggest content creation dream?
  7. You’re locked in a room with a pencil, some paper and no idea what will happen next. What do you write?

Thanks again, Angie, for the nomination! I hope you’ve all enjoyed getting to know me a little bit better, and hope you’ll stop by all of these bloggers’ sites at least once to see the awesome work they do!

Until next time!

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