Learning to Die

I love the Dark Souls series, but I didn’t always. Dark Souls was introduced to me in an interesting time of my life. I had just graduated high school and was starting my four-year Bachelor of Arts degree. I had moved out of my parents’ home on my own for the first time. I didn’t see it then, but this was the time I was deciding who and what would make me uniquely myself. A friend introduced me to Dark Souls, and within the first hour I was ready to give up. It was difficult, didn’t explain much, and I was constantly failing. I had my friend Colin sit next to me and watch me play through the game just to encourage me, to keep me going through the initial grind of learning the game. The first time I kicked the ladder down, making a shortcut to the undead burg bonfire, everything changed. I found the Claymore, I beat the Gargoyles. “I can do this”, I thought. I see this as a defining point in my life because I couldn’t handle the pain of failure. I was taught from an early age that I shouldn’t expect too much of myself. I wanted to succeed at school and work, but when they told me I couldn’t, I believed them. I entered into college having acted out these beliefs about myself for years. The fear of failure crushed me beneath the weight of self doubt and robbed me of my will to even try. Oscar of Astora, the first character you speak to in Dark Souls, sends you on your way with a prophecy about the undead and some Estus Flasks, an undead favourite. Yet, when you meet him again, he will attack you, having lost...