"My wife doesn't play much board games with me."
I've often uttered this phrase to friends and acquaintances many times, whether the conversation led to it or not. It was a fact I accepted readily, and one I was all too aware of on a constant basis. The words rolled out of my mouth with ease the more and more I said them, and it became an involuntary reflex.
The Traitor is Revealed
One day, recently, after chatting up potentially playing board games with a friend, the phrase manifested itself into another form as I jokingly jested, "...because I know my wife won't play with me." My wife, who was within earshot, pulled me aside and told me if I could please not keep telling people she doesn't play with me.
Only then did it dawned on me: I was the reason my wife didn't play board games with me.
How did I not see this before? All this time - EVERY time - it was me, forever the pessimist. "My wife doesn't," "my wife never," "my wife won't"...it was me, all along. I've never emotionally dropped so far so quick in a long time, and all it took was 3 seconds for the anchor to sink me to the bottom.
Before I knew it, apologies were pouring out of me like gushing water from a busted dam. I vowed to her that I would never EVER put her in a negative light again when I talk about board games. I promised to myself that I would say, should the conversation bring it up, my wife occasionally would play board games with me.
A Bluffing Game
Like dominos, the walls of my naivety fell, and suddenly I saw everything I've said about board games as the vicious self-loathing attacks they were.
"I don't have a gaming group."
"I don't play board games often enough."
"I don't have anyone to play games with."
I want to play board games with others, but I haven't. Why? Because of all this negativity I cast on myself. In a way, I was passively whining about my solitude, expecting someone from outside to swoop in and whisk me away in their awesome gaming group. I look upon others with envy and jealousy, wishing someone would notice me and ask me if I want to play.
Sure, I'd feign ignorance, blaming work or family (both of which are VERY important to me)...but in the end, it was still me. Just me, preventing myself from playing board games with anyone. I knew I had to change.
If I was to have any chance at playing board games with my wife, with anyone, I had to fundamentally change my outlook. No more "don't," "can't," 'won't"...none of this negative energy! "I've yet to form a gaming group." "I should play more board games when I can." "I'm sure I can find someone to play games with." As cheesy as it may sound, the simple optimism change really has filled me with renewed vigor. And I hope others will reflect on this when they feel there's no one to play with.
I now stand proud, knowing there will be more days where I will board game with my wife. And this time, I won't let myself stand in my way.