The Drain of Role Play

It’s become one of the ways I love to play but I never realized how much it takes out of me.

It’s not the only way I love playing but it’s a way that allows me to put on a disciplinarian hat without actually being someone’s disciplinarian (which is often a more formal position). Besides that, it’s pretty darn fun to basically play “dress up” and pretend to be anyone and anywhere you want to be. I never really gave it much thought until this past weekend but the process of winding up and then having to wind down can sap the energy and probably requires me to recharge more than other kinds of play do.

For example, if I’m playing someone’s father or some other authority figure in their life, I tend to feel the emotions that I would feel when I’m in the role. I get frustrated, angry and disappointed in the person I’m playing against because that’s what I’m supposed to feel at that moment. Obviously I don’t think that the person I’m playing against is really my daughter but without the ability to actually feel those emotions welling up inside me, I would be unable to role play convincingly at all. Because of this reason, I’m often left with residual negative feelings at the end of a session that I then have to shove back down so that I can once again feel like myself and enjoy what just happened.

It’s funny but I find that my enjoyment for role play is often after it’s all over and I stand back saying to myself, “Hey, that was pretty good”. While it’s going on, I’m very focused on the exchange between me and the other person, making sure that it feels as real as is possible. Somewhere during that time, I click into the actual emotions and from then on I’m doing what it is that a person in that position would be doing (assuming it was possible). These emotions are the role play equivalent of the Topspace that I sometimes get into when I’m playing hard — that feeling of utter control of the situation that focuses on the person I’m playing with and shuts out everything else. The wave of feelings that often come over me during role play force me to take a minute at the end and consciously tamp them down before popping back into my own personality.

One other thing about role play that is the one thing that leaves me a bit put off. The truncated nature of the end of play is sometimes what’s so jarring to me. In real life, if I were to spank my daughter or niece or whoever, I would probably send them to their room for an hour or two while I cooled down. In role play, I don’t have that luxury so even if I tell them, “Go to your room”, that usually signals the end of play with a very compressed cool down period. Going from angry to smiles and hugs can be a little odd for me at times.

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7 Responses to “The Drain of Role Play”

  1. Yeah…for sure.

    Its at the end of the session that both parties once again fully KNOW that it WAS “just” role play…all possible emotions notwithstanding. Reality can be a jarring jolt to some..and a welcome relief to others.

    When one is in a bit of subspace, it can be hard to feel as if you were figuratively “dropped on the floor” ( HOPEfully not literally! heh heh) ..after all is said and done.

    I’ve often wondered where I stand on the whole ‘phenomenon’ myself. The play is just play..but, emotions can be real. Personally, I get stoked by the anger aspect.

    The hug and smile post spanking is fairly de riguer ( or however that is spelled) but yes, in ‘real life’ there would be some residual anger, I imagine..and corner time, early bedtime, or sent to one’s room. Now..imagine if a party of playspace was set up for THAT!?
    Hmmmm..
    maybe time to expand!

  2. munchkin Says:

    Hmmm wondering if the hug at the end could be included in the roleplay? Not sure how feasible that would be and both parties would have to understand and view it as such. Kind of a “all has been forgiven” since punishment was meted out type of hug that would let the daughter/niece/whatever know they are still loved or whatever despite misbehavior? Then send her on her way to her “room” and meet up again later with the happy smiles and all (if in the weekend party situation of course). Or maybe the roleplays don’t have that kind of feel to them and y’all prefer to end on a more stern note. I dunno. I haven’t ever really done it so just throwing in my two-cents despite complete lack of experience. You’re welcome 🙂

    Anyway, I did not mean in any way to imply that you were some kind of dumbass who was going to attack me and break me in half at the states game thing at the vendor fair. I’m a retard and I get nervous and ramble stupid shit and you had just whacked someone hard a minute before, I hadn’t played at all since getting there, and I feel the need to over-explain things. As evidenced by this. I’m stopping now.

    Was great to see you and Sandy again btw.

    • radagast Says:

      Color me confused by your second paragraph.

      • munchkin Says:

        At the vendor fair when you approached me for the game thingy I started babbling things like not too hard and was rambling. You just said something like “I’m not *crazy* “

  3. Sounds like you’re a method actor, Rad.

    • radagast Says:

      Although I’ve never gone through any acting school, class or program, I understand the principles of method acting. On some level, it’s probably what I’m doing when I role play to allow myself to lend a certain authenticity to the role.

  4. authenticity = good. Esp. REAL authenticity. LOL

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