At the risk of double posting, and getting a bit into the Real Talk TM, I guess I felt the desire to expand a little on this, especially after some news today.
For those whom don't know me from Imperian and are aware, I've been in the hospital for a considerable time now (a few months). I've been having heart problems to which the doctors haven't been able to find a solution to and so I've been laid up as they engage in what seem to be increasingly futile attempts to try to fix the shambles that is Me. (is? are?)
I basically just had a long talk with a nurse about how the prognosis isn't good, which is to say - there's no pain medication they can give me further that this one isn't working - I've already been on several, and there isn't another one they can change me to, to help manage the chronic pain that I live with., and the circulation hasn't improved despite three procedures to remove large clots, even when it should have, given the size of the clots. That on top of having to have an amputation not that long ago now, and the "IRL" me has been basically having to make her peace with the fact that I probably will be lucky if I get another half-decade out of things.
That isn't really the "I heart" part, but it provides context for it.
MUDing has, since I was very young, provided me with an escape. In real life I've always been chronically ill to some degree, though of course as the years went on the condition has deepened. Over these years, I've played all of the IRE muds to some extent, even quite enjoying a stint on Midkemia Online, and of course, most recently Imperian. I still play my character there occasionally - but the playerbase is pretty strangled, hence me ending up back here, I suppose.
It's been a decade and a half - more than that, I suppose, now - that Iron Realms has given me someone I can be who is better than the reality of the things. Someone I can be comfortable with being and someone who can be the many things and do the many things I cannot in real life. I don't really have words for that, but it is a tremendous thing for me, and from the @Galleus of old to the @Tiur of today, or Elokia and Jeremy on Imperian, or the countless other volunteers who make that possible, I am tremendously grateful. I am likewise grateful for the many people I've shared this game with and the many people I've RPed with, or PKed with or against. It might not seem like as big a thing to you guys, but having that escape available to me is basically the only way I have these days, to cope with all this, and it is something that means so much to me.
As an example of the kind of thing I'm hoping for, here's some art I recently got done of my Imperianite. Paid pretty well for it but I was very happy with the result. Unfortunately that artist seems unavailable right now