In Chapter Three, we hear from C, on life, responsibility and Tetris.
There are ups, and there are downs.
Then there are prolonged periods of near trance where manoeuvring around the simple palette of control feels effortless, with the teetering stack sitting balanced, mid-tier, and manageable.
We are of the Tetris generation. A game so globally ubiquitous that our parents know it by name rather than as ‘that dog game’ or ‘the one with the shooting’, and a game that illustrates the strife of navigating our world better than almost any other cultural touchstone.
Tetris is a game about caretaking. Blocks fall, blocks are arranged, blocks are erased and replaced. Tetris is ongoing. Every combination of squares represents a unique challenge and asks that you as a player, though more importantly as a human with all the fear, indecision and weakness that can imply, helps negotiate their safe passage.
The shapes lands, and in this temporary stasis there is a brief respite, before another appears and again requests with quiet urgency that they too are handled carefully into place.
Tetris is hard.
Life is hard.
That growing stack could represent career pressures, or peer pressures. Relationships, or familial hardships. The route to something or nothing. Neatly arranged from one side of the well to the other, one column empty, just waiting to be filled by a four-strong drop representing opportunity, order, respect or recognition.
Maybe it comes. Or maybe it’s filled awkwardly with an overhanging, gangly shape that leaves the bottom row partially empty and unfulfilled. We must learn in life that both outcomes are acceptable.
Tetris teaches resilience and the ability to think on your feet. But, knowing that we will all face dead ends as we move through life, Tetris also allows you to squeeze the buttons of the Gameboy in combination tightly, triggering a soft-reset and a second, third, fourth or fifth chance.
Keep on keeping on. I’m ok; I’m not ok. I’ll play again tomorrow.
Chris is a 30 year old Art teacher. You can learn more about his love of Animal Crossing by visiting his tumblr.
Mental health can be hugely isolating – stories have always been my safe space since childhood. I want to give that safe space to others and to do that, I need stories. Storytellers is a guest blog series that I will be including in my regular posts. Some posts will be anonymous. Others won’t. Some will be supportive. Others will simply get their story out in the world. I hope you find some comfort in the words of our storytellers.