It’s been a few years since Xunnie became “Xunnie” and then launched a blog, and eventually a Facebook page hoping to bring awareness and inspire compassion for chronic illness and chronic pain, especially for Fibromyalgia. So, how did a redheaded Navy wife and mom of three eventually become “Xunnie”?
2006: “Xunnie” didn’t exist yet. But a desperately unhappy thirty-something mom and wife did. My friends used to call me “Brie”, as in the redheaded, control-freak, “perfect” homemaker on Desperate Housewives. The one that could bake a perfect cake, keep an immaculate home, wrap a present perfectly, and present a seemingly impossible-to-keep-up-with home. But behind the facade, I was unhappy. I was sick, at my lowest weight almost ever, and I cried myself to sleep more nights than I didn’t. The facade was great, but I most definitely was not. I had reached the end of what I could maintain and felt like my only options were jumping off the local bridge or going a little crazy and turning my life upside down in an effort to try to survive.
I look back at pictures of me and I see desperation and unhappiness. Look at my eyes. Look at how thin I was. I was sick. I was unhappy.
I lived in chronic pain, but I didn’t understand why yet. My marriage was disintegrating and so was I. I felt like I had no way out. I picked out the spot I would jump from on the bridge. I had it all planned out. I desperately did not want my kids to grow up with out me. I didn’t want them to have to say “my mom committed suicide”, but I knew I couldn’t go on living the way I was.
A week after this picture was taken, I told my husband I was leaving him. I got a job, saved up enough money and five months later I moved 600 miles away and in with the only person that didn’t abandon me and judge me. My whole life turned upside down. Eight years of everything I had done, everyone I had made friends with, everything I knew was gone. It was the hardest year of my life.
Side note: I’ve always hung out with the geeks and freaks. The nerds and gamers, and the people that lived a life that included much more than the ordinary everyone else sees day-to-day. I played D & D (Dungeons and Dragons) in high school, I understood how much fun it was to dress up in medieval costumes, and I believed in dragons and fairies and magic. Something I learned from the geeks and gamers, especially after I started playing WoW, was that gamers often created a version of themselves in their characters, and more often than not it was the way they saw themselves, not the person in the mirror.
About this time, a new online game was taking off. World of Warcraft was still on the fringes and mostly the geeks played. Now in my new place and with some new friends, I got introduced and started rolling up characters and escaping from the pain in my “real life” into a world that included magic and dragons. After a few different types of characters, I created “Xunae”. She was a magic user and a bad ass version of me. It took some time to learn how to play the game, and to learn who Xun was and how I wanted to play her. She started out as a group member that did a lot of damage, and ended up as the healer of the group. (And if I may say so, I was the most bad ass healer on the server! 😉 )
Along the way, as I was spending my spare time role-playing and beating up monsters, my life changed dramatically. I finally found out why I was in so much pain so often and ended up having a hip replacement in November 2007. Two and a half months later I got pneumonia in both lungs and I spent the next year fighting. By January 2009, I had reconciled with my husband, moved *again*, learned how to walk again post hip replacement, and fought off pneumonia. I had some pretty scary experiences along the way, a lot of medical tests, and I had learned a lot about myself.
2007 was a hard year. I lost a lot, and it could be argued that I went a little crazy, but I learned a lot as I turned my life upside down and started living for me instead of for the facade. I started the blog in 2009 after another move (I did mention hubs was in the Navy) and a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia. I’ve been through the years when I hurt and nobody believed me or told me it was all in my head. I’ve been dismissed, had my heart broken, and called a hypochondriac and a drug seeker. That was when I decided to chronicle my journey in hopes of supporting other people. I didn’t want anyone else to be as alone as I had been through my journey.
These days I spend my time homeschooling my youngest, researching chronic pain treatments and victories to share with others, blogging (occasionally now), running my Facebook page, and playing Diablo 3 as a Crusader named Alyce. My little WoW group has broken up. Life intervened and people drifted apart, but I will always be grateful to the people that saved me when I was drowning, and taught me to live authentically for myself.
Xunnie was created out of my character in World of Warcraft. Somewhere in cyberspace a level 85 Resto Shaman named Xunae exists. Or at least the remnants of her. My group used to call me “Xunnie” as a nickname and it stuck, so now everything that I’m connected to online has the tag Xunnie or Xunae. I keep her around because she is the best version of me and the one that emerged out of the most difficult year of my life and the one that lead me to being true to myself.
So that’s the story of Xun. My blog, my Facebook, my Twitter, and my battletag are all Xun. I am her and she is me. And I am grateful to have her.