"We're all desperate to be relevant." - Denny Crane, Boston LegalI've come to a realisation lately. Most of the decisions I've made in the last few years, and most of those I am making for the next few years, stem from a desire to be relevant and necessary to others. Job choices, career choices, plans for the future. All to fly my flag a little higher and mean just a little more to people.
Don't get me wrong, this isn't a moping session. It's a strange moment when you grasp such an intrinsic truth so suddenly. It's taken me a few days to get my head around it, to articulate even in my own inner monologue what exactly this all means. Luckily, the weather here has been wet and grey at the moment which is perfect for some introspection.
The exact reason I thought of this is lost in my mental soup of memories from last week but I know it was raid healing that sparked it. I've healed for my guild as a holy paladin for the whole of Tier 13. I volunteered, in fact, to be a healer when it became clear that we would have to recruit new raiders otherwise. I remember spending a lot of time talking about it with everyone, asking if it would be ok, asking if it was the right choice. Obscuring my actual motive, which in hindsight was becoming more important to my raid team by fulfilling a role that not everyone could/wanted to.
I like to believe that I've done a good job these last few months. Many a time my Lay on Hands has saved a tank from imminent doom, or my Hand of Protection has covered a cooldown miscalculation. I don't like to heal for the sake of numbers and I probably look worse on the meters for it, but meters aren't any measure of a healing team and when we beat that boss, all of us happy with ourselves and each other, that's enough for me.
On the other hand, the stress of healing when I'd barely gotten good at DPSing has been huge. The pressure of missing that Lay on Hands because I fumbled the mouseclick and letting a wipe happen has made me crankier than repeated wipe nights ever did as DPS. Not ever hitting the same numbers as two great, experienced healers put a dent in my confidence however much I rationalised it, and it put a dent in my mana pool on the nights that I let 'keeping up' dictate my choices.
The worst part has probably been two-healing everything. Experienced raiders amongst you may be shaking your heads right now, wondering why I didn't see that coming when I'm terrible at melee and Retribution was not a viable offspec. We'd never been good enough to run a whole raid with two healers before though, out of choice. It's been successful, but brutal. On those nights when raiding was the last thing I wanted to do - and we all have those nights, where work has been awful, you're tired, you're a bit low and all you're really up for is some low-level alting - two-healing Spine or Madness was a soul-crushing job whether we wiped or aced it.
My healing partner is a lovely and talented disc priest. We do a pretty good job, actually, when I'm on the ball and not exhausted from a mentally numbing day of emails. I feel like my lack of skill makes two-healing it even harder on her though, like she's picking up my slack. It's not a nice feeling. I ought to believe her when she tells me that's rubbish but there's a little corner of brain that is convinced it's true.
What I've realised is that this stems from my anti-privilege complex as the guild & raid leader's girlfriend. I might have been here since the start (and I'm still rocking #2 on all-time guild activity) but we're long past getting our guild to level 25. I don't like the idea that I might retain my spot in our raid team purely because of my romantic partner and more to the point I am scared that someone else might think that's the case. I've let it become a chain that stops me speaking my mind or demanding what would be right, fearful of being seen as a favourite if what I want happens.
So I went healer, so that I could contribute more. It's been a rollercoaster few months but now the ride is almost over, I think I enjoyed it less than I should have done. What's worse is that I still don't feel like I've earnt my place, even though I am being bludgeoned with the knowledge that I have by some very lovely guildmates. All I've achieved is burning myself out on raiding by trying to be something that I wasn't, something more relevant than another DPS pewpewing from 30 yards back.
All I want right now is to be that DPSer again. To be that boomkin pewpewing from 30 yards back. To be hitting respectable numbers and contributing to boss kills because goddamnit, DPS have a role to play in raids too. Without our current DPS squad, we wouldn't be clearing Dragon Soul weekly, or have done a current content heroic boss. It took giving it up for something I enjoyed less for me to see that.
We're all desperate to be relevant, but we have to make sure the cost isn't too high. For me, it's made me an insufferable partner on raid nights and a grumpy guildmate to have around. That's far too high for something that's meant to be fun, for the love of Zeus. I've learnt something though, and I'm determined to make the most of it. In Mists, I'll be raiding Tier 14 as a boomkin once again. I might have to relearn my class. I might sit bottom of the meters for weeks. I will raid in the way that makes me happy though, and I will be trying my best to ignore the little voice that says I don't deserve that spot. Ara is coming back, and ain't no-one gonna keep her down.