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Face your fears in this new community project. . .

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It may come across as incredibly odd, but I have a fascination with death.

I've actually studied it since I was fairly young (age 5 or 6), unbeknownst to me until recently when I thought about it. It began with my fascination with ancient Egypt and the mummification process. I found my young mind fascinated by the care taken to embalm the bodies, how the heart was weighed against a feather to judge the purity of the soul.

Fascination continued to snake its way up through my childhood, taking the form forensic science classes in the summer months from the time I was eight to the time I was twelve. I learned the seriousness of death and fragility of life, not to mention all the ways that someone could die, and how important forensics were in solving the cases.

When I was seventeen, Rachel's Challenge came to my school, and I learned, then, the horrors of mass murder. I spent many afternoons poring over the evidence collected from Columbine High School, trying to make sense of how or why two teenage boys could commit such a horrendous act. This, in turn, brought me into the realm of psychology and sociology as it pertained to death and dying. And, oddly enough, this was how I got my start with Doom. I read about the killers' fascination with the game, and all the media backlash it received when that fact hit the airwaves. I wanted to know how or why a game could cause such violent tendencies in a person.

The short answer is, for me, it did not. I've been playing this game now for six years and all it's brought me is joy- not in a "scratching a violence itch" way, but in a "I've discovered gaming and an amazing community" way.

In my early adult life, I've become interested in the art style of memento mori, an art style that places emphasis on the fact that we must remember that we will each die someday, and so we must live now as fully as we can. The art often consists of skeletons and skulls arranged carefully with flowers and other precious and beautiful objects. I myself have made such an object- a styrofoam skull with black roses and other flowers rising from its top.

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Not only the art style- the saying as well holds deep meaning for me. I've come to accept death as an inevitable part of life. Three years ago, it seemed it was all around me- my dog, my grandmother, even my boyfriend's family had deaths. It was such a surreal thing to stand under a tent in a graveyard in the rain and pass my grandmother's coffin. And eight years ago, my father nearly died from diverticulitis. He had looked death in the eye and survived, miraculously, though it meant many months in the hospital. He had spent a lot of time in the ICU, and it was such a shock to see my father in that state. I had studied the process of dying from a distance for so long that I had forgotten that it would happen to my parents and me one day. But I don't fear death anymore. Even if I am still young when I die, I will accept it, knowing that I had done my best in life to do what I could to make others happy, and to hopefully leave good memories for others to look back on one day.

So, I told you that really long life story of mine to give some context to this community project. It was my experiences with death and dying that brought me to Doom, and now I hope that others can express their thoughts and experiences through Doom as well. It is not an easy concept to map- I have found this out for myself and many have told me so. But, I know that it can be done. I hope that I can help others to come to an understanding with themselves about what they feel about death, and in the process, we can make some kick-ass maps.

So, are you afraid? Do you accept death as a part of life? What about what happens after? If you are willing or able to join this project, I'd love for you to come along. I will warn you- it will not be easy. It will take some digging into your emotions and psyche to be able to complete this project. If you join, and then feel you cannot continue, I will not stop you from leaving. But I hope you stay and see this to its end.

Here's a link to the Doomworld post, which contains a link to the project's Discord server should you wish to join.

Thank you for reading. I hope to see you soon.

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