“I hate charrs,” a poor, short human grumbled after failing the jumping puzzle for the umpteenth time.
“That’s all right,” Catsin replied with a smirk. “The charrs hate you too.”
I still remember the first time I found out that Guild Wars 2 was going to feature playable non-human races. Buzzing with excitement, I knew exactly what race I was going to play: a charr warrior. I had my heart set on a white tiger-striped female charr, and that was 100% the character I was going to play when GW2 came out. Sure enough, when I signed up for the first beta event a few years later, the very first character I made was a white tiger-striped female charr warrior named Catsin.
She was perfect, I decided. After all, there was such unmatchable beauty in her slim frame, her pale silvery-white fur, her golden eyes, her graceful stripes, and her minimalist horns. She was sleek and elegant and an excellent fighter, and that was absolutely perfect.
Until, just a few days later, I got tired of looking at the same, plain white cat and decided I needed to add something to spice her up. So I made her bulkier, put a touch more silver in her fur, gave her a bushy auburn mane, and enlarged her horns to fit in more with the typical charr image. Still, though, I didn’t want to lose the beauty and elegance that I had pictured for my feline fighter, so I didn’t go overboard with the embellishments.
You might already know where I’m going with this.
A few days later, I got tired of seeing this new Catsin, so I scrapped her and just reverted back to the original. I found both of the designs to be boring, but I didn’t like the way Catsin looked after I’d added the mane and the horns and the extra muscle. It felt less beautiful and more awkward and was ruining my image of the perfect, most beautiful charr.
But still–I wasn’t about to settle for boring.
So it was time for change–radical change. I had to forget my notions about beauty and grace and accept Catsin for what she was–a rough, burly, less-than-beautiful charr. That’s when her third, and final, design was born.
She has bigger muscles and the longest, sharpest horns I could give her. She’s no longer striped, but spotted, and her fur is a mixture of tan, white, and brown. She has a spiked brown mane, and her eyes aren’t gold anymore–they’re a pale, icy blue. Is she beautiful? I think so.
She’s also the furthest from what I ever imagined my charr warrior would look like, but I love her so much more because of it.
Catsin has a deep, rich voice and the type of personality that believes that violence can solve most problems. She’s a member of the Blood Legion, a group of trained fighters renowned for their battle skills, and can kick your butt from here to the middle of next week. She was raised in a world powered by fire, steam, and iron, built in the ruins of a once-beautiful human city, and was taught to pay more attention to reality and practicality than emotion and beauty. She’s a rough, rough character, but she is, after all, a charr.
And she’s a charr who doesn’t hate the humans. She’s a loyal member of the Pact–a union of members from all races teamed up against the destructive dragons–and refrains from kicking around the knee-high asura… most of the time. She rather enjoys the company of ogres, too, and finds that they’re often more honourable than the average nobleman.
And, believe it or not, her favourite pastime isn’t using her sharp claws to tear apart an enemy. It’s finding somewhere quiet and peaceful where she can relax and be alone.
The thing is, I wouldn’t have considered myself to be of the “perfect beauty” variety either. I’m short, I’ve got freckles, and I have a boyish face–three things I would’ve gladly changed about my appearance a few years ago. But a few years ago, I was in the “white tiger-striped female charr” state of mind. I had a specific image of what beauty was supposed to look like. Now that’s changed. Now, I’m making my own decisions about how I should look–and one of those decisions was to stop shaving my legs. As a North American woman in the 21st century, I more or less stand alone in that decision. Some people support me, some people don’t, but my mind’s been made up. I was fed up with doing something that didn’t make me feel more beautiful and so I chose to go against society’s concept of beauty to do what I felt was right for me. It hasn’t been easy–every time I put on a skirt or a dress, I’m faced with a touch of self-conscious doubt–but I’ve learned to accept it.
Just like with Catsin, I learned to abandon my previous notions of what was perfect and beautiful. I learned to love her for who she was–a rough, burly charr–rather than what she “should have been”. And I realized that, if I could come to love the way Catsin looked, then I could come to love the way I looked too.
And I do. I don’t love my appearance because it’s flawlessly gorgeous. I love it because the shortness, the freckles, the boyish face–and yeah, even the hairy legs–all represent who I am a heck of a lot better than any other appearance ever could.
Catsin taught me to love that which is not perceived as perfect, and for that, she is my ultimate hero.
So this hero project comes to an end today. Both PewPew and Mental Gaming participated with posts about their own heroes, so if you didn’t check them out before, you should do so now! Huge thanks to both of you for helping out and sharing your heroes. I really appreciate it :D
This whole project has really made me look at how my heroes have directly and soulfully influenced my life, and I think it took me a few posts to really get the hang of it. But I’m rather happy with my last three posts and can call the project a success, at any rate. Maybe I’ll do something like this again, but for now, I’m handing over the torch to the villains who get their chance to shine this month.
I hope you enjoyed the hero project and have fun with the villain one coming up!
May you never be without a hero in your life, to guide you and to give you courage.
PS: The conversation at the start of the post happened in a Wintersday jumping puzzle in Guild Wars 2. A human character was complaining that he couldn’t see because my charr was so big, but I was just laughing. It’s great to be the biggest in the pack.