[Arnhelm Alt] The Ole Gal Rides On


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The Ole Gal Rides On

By: Mary Louise McEntire
In her cozy cottage on the outskirts of Arnhelm, McEntire poured herself a cup of tea with a heavy sigh. She reached for a shoebox with "MOMENTOS" scrawled on the top, and sat out in the garden.

She pieced through her greatest hits - an old Forward Europeia! button, a McEntire/Monkey "Last First Minister" bumper sticker, some old first drafts from her Mac Facts blog. Somewhere near the bottom of the box, she found a decrepit City Council voting slip from 2010 - her first proposal, the Party Absence Trial Act. She laughed remembering how she pitched banning all political parties for a term to see the affect on the political system. A bold and misguided move! The McEntire special.

She laughed audibly to no one in particular and rubbed at her eyes and temples, cracking up thinking of herself ranting and raving at her tender age at that time - and she laughed even harder when she realized how little things had changed. Tears started to flow, and she wasn't quite sure if she was laughing or crying anymore. She wiped her tears and gathered herself, she'd have plenty of time to reflect on the journey.

McEntire taped up the momentos box and placed it with the other boxes. It was strange to see her home all boxed up, but the movers were coming in just a couple hours to put it all in storage until she figured out her next destination and sent for her things. She knew moving on was the right move for her, but that doesn't mean it was easy to do. After all, it had been nearly 15 years.

But things had started to change. The last year in Europeia had felt... dark to her. The whole experience from the MadJack affair to her coming out as trans to her court case against Kazaman (which he lost and has still never apologized for) and Presidential run with upc had been really intense. And coming to the end of the last year and the beginning of this one, not winning anything at EuroChoice despite getting nominated in multiple categories, seeing the Weighted Voting Amendment pass the Senate, and now seeing JayDee re-elected, she was just feeling out of step with the rest of the community.

She looked out into the garden at her rosebushes and thought of her last campaign, Let Europeia Bloom. It was a ramshackle and foolhardy effort, and in some ways she thought it was a last cry for help. McEntire had always been a believer in telling the truth in the plainest and most vivid way possible, and on some level she had believed that if she could just tell the region what was wrong they'd course-correct, take her warnings seriously, and have some curiosity about the issues she was raising. Of course, that hadn't panned out. And now she felt more isolated than ever.

Somewhere in that stew of feelings, it had hit her: this was a game. A recreational activity. She had continued to toil and drive the discourse and make bold proposals to try and make the region better for players who came after her, but no one had a gun to her head forcing her to do that.

Europeia had become a stressor when it was supposed to be a release. But it wasn't because anyone was keeping her down intentionally - her values had changed over time, and now she was out of step. Europeia didn't prioritize or value what she did. She could lead a horse to water, so to speak, but couldn't make it drink.

Which speaking of, her horse Coffeepot was tied up outside, ready to go. One last thing to do. She pulled out her stationery and typed up a letter, to be sent in duplicate to Palatium Manor and the Senatia.

"To Whom it May Concern,

The time has come for me to move on. Please consider this my resignation from the Europeian Senate, from citizenship in Europeia, and from any other Ministries, Commissions, and other positions.

This region and I are simply going in different directions. I hope that my departure hastens some long-overdue conversations around respect for minority viewpoints and the difficulty of being a woman-identifying player in this space. You see, it's not a coincidence that Asianatic and Paleomiz are long departed while the rest of the founding generation stay ensconced. It's not a coincidence that Mousebumples was viewed with suspicion and driven out of the perch of Supreme Chancellor. And it's not a coincidence that Icarus was undermined to the point of leaving after her term.

These experiences tell a story, if the region is willing to listen.

But I am no longer willing to try and be the storyteller. The time has come for me to depart. While I will hold some fond memories and remember a few friendships with love, on the whole this game has become an altogether negative experience for me. I have decided that I can no longer engage and spend my own valuable energy and time on Europeia.

I hope this region will grow into a kinder place, and I wish those remaining the best of luck.

Always with love,

The Rt. Hon. Mary Louise McEntire"

She finished the letter with a big waxy seal and a deep sigh, then she went out to the mailbox and dropped the letters in. As they left her fingers, she felt a sense of relief at releasing control over what happened next.

She mounted Coffeepot and set out. Right as she reached the Arnhelm city limits, she turned and tried to gather some final words. Looking back at the sun setting over the city, she reached for some clever final words to say only to herself, but then silently turned her head away from the city and rode on.

She had said enough, and it was too late to look back.
Oh no! Hate to see it end like this, but we should never let this game cause real stress. Best wishes and stay in touch.
While I don't agree with some of the characterizations about some players, having "lived" through that period and knowing why dice rolled the way they did.

I overall understand where you're coming from. It's why I ultimately stepped away for a long while from the Region and am still not really anywhere near as active as I used to be.

Ultimately, this is a game that's supposed to be fun, and sometimes we outgrow it, or our community outgrows us. I think it's worth it to take time off, put your focus on things that matter more, and come back when you're feeling like you can make space for it.

Despite our differences, I appreciate you as both a person and a player, and I hope life treats you well, and that we'll see you again.
I appreciate that we have shared many years together. I absolutely wish you the best and am grateful for your contributions and very grateful to have passed time together in a single place for so long. If we never cross paths again, I want you to know that.

I have always been one of your biggest fans in this region. Lots of people have. Whenever you returned, you frequently jumped to the top of rising star lists and found quick political success. As two contrarians, we teamed up on a lot over the years. We had some fun times — even when we disagreed. It’s difficult to read that you will remember much of that negatively.

Maybe where we disagree is that I don’t believe that Europeia is an ugly place. I believe that I would be embarrassed by the person (the kid!) I was in 2007, 2010, or even 2015. But I am proud that this is a place where I’ve learned and grown. I am proud of our community.

But there are difficult moments, to be sure. One of our last 1-on-1 interactions I actually found extremely difficult. I was in the middle of a renewed wave of public attacks from one of my serial harassers, Yuno. While trying to juggle how to respond to this, I was also trying to thoughtfully put in the work in a regional conversation on gender equity in the region. I had stayed up quite late the night before to put some thoughts on paper, and was continuing to engage despite it being this precise hard conversation that had triggered Yuno’s attacks on me.

You told me, and many others, that we should sit down and shut up. That was very difficult to hear as someone who was not only *trying* to put the work in, but was actually paying a very tangible price for the (necessary!) conversation in the form of repeated public harassment.

This is my first post in two months, so it’s safe to say that I took time to reflect (sit down and shut up, if you will). I still am not sure to what extent I should return, but I am very sorry that this is our final chapter. For what it’s worth, I do remember the good days — a lot of them — and I am 100% fucking rooting for your success IRL and wherever you spend your time next.
McEntire, ever since I first met you, I knew you were special. As an interior minister you delivered one of the best terms we had ever seen in Europeia, overseeing the Drew Boom with such positive energy and spirit, and wildly spurring success and fun in the executive where others were struggling with inspiration - this has continued in every corner of the executive wherever you stand. When I first saw your articles published they never conformed to the status quo, there was always something extra to dig into, graphs, data, or a juicy analysis. And in the senate, you have never been just a short and sweet platform writer, you're an absolute game changer.

To this day you are still all of those creative and energetic things, and I am still baffled by how well you not only communicate your ideas (whether I agree with them or not), and by your fearlessness in seeing them come to light.

As a complete optimist in spirit I will forever look on the brighter side of Europeia and what it gives us, how it changes and challenges us, and how despite how much of this is an emotional rollercoaster, we ultimately are better people for what we do here. I do hope you see the same in yourself in time.

But with that said, I truly want to say a big thank you for your public service, for your fight and tenacity, and for speaking up when others voices may not be heard or even decided on yet. If this is the end of McEntire for now, this story of her time is purely how I do and will envision her, and forever will. While a Europeia without you is a much dimmer place, I completely understand your reasoning too. Please, take care.
This is tough to read; I'm sorry you've been feeling so worn down, and we'll miss you very much. You've been a joy to work with whenever I've crossed paths with you in ministry work & more recently CAW. If you stay on NS, wherever you go next will be lucky for that energy!!! I'm wishing you every success for the future <3
Sorry to see you go. The region will be much poorer without your presence.
This is hard to hear from you McEntire but i understand!

I am sorry ypu have been feeling so worn down and feel like no one respects your ideas or hear them out and i hope we as a region can do better so that one day you return and that you feel loved and welcomed here. I always love your ideas and love to hear them even if i don't agree with or understand them.

You are a Gem McEntire, alwways know that and whatever region you call home now will be lucky to have you!

Much love and support McEntire
Good luck, McEntire. We've been through a lot together. We've disagreed a lot, especially lately, but I have always held you in high regard and hope you find success wherever you're headed.
I sincerely wish you the best, McEntire. Controversy or differences set aside, your passion and unique energy have always shined through your presence here. You will be missed.
I think this is the first time I’ve seen someone role-play through a “Fuck it, I quit” post.

Certainly, I have disagreed with many of the opinions you have taken over the years but I do respect your persistence in rabble rousing and advocating for the causes you care about. This region needs players with a bold vision who aren’t afraid to rattle the cage and will surely miss your presence.
You will certainly be missed, McEntire. I've always enjoyed your presence - be it Discord chatter or political discussions or Mac Facts - and our community is going to be losing a lot with your departure. I'm happy that you're stepping away to take care of yourself though. I may not agree with everything you said here, but that doesn't change the fact this community isn't the right fit for you anymore and may be negatively impacting you.

Please, chase what you love and that which brings you joy. And good luck with everything wherever you wind up in life. My DMs are always open if you want to say hi.
Even in parting, you enrichen us with this beautiful text. Goodbye, McEntire, and thank you for your time here. I wish you all the best!
Always been a fan of your spirit, McEntire. Thank you for the time you've spent here, it's helped the region become a better place. Wishing you the best, for whatever your future holds.
I admire the hell out of you. We certainly have not seen eye to eye on many issues, but I think that we have (usually!) managed to disagree in a way that was respectful and overall productive. And while our Presidential campaign did not pan out, I had a lot of fun working with you and will treasure those memories greatly.

I am very sad to see you go. And I am also a bit sad that your departure post is more beautifully written than anything I will ever produce for this game. But I also understand why you feel the way you do. This game should be fun, and I hope that you are able to find something that brings back that spark. Europeia has been very fortunate to have had your presence for the last 15 years, and I know that you will bring your passion, insight, and eloquence to whatever you do next.

It has been a privilege to be there as you have found your true self this past year. If you are ever inclined to reach out for a chat about literally anything, you know where to find me.

Thanks again
I didn't respond right away since I didn't know how to say this properly... which probably means you won't see this ( :( )

But I just wanted to say that ever since I joined the region (and well before that) you've been a political force not to be taken lightly. I disagreed with your positions a lot, but on the times we did agree I was always grateful to have you fighting on our "side". You inspire me to make conclusions and stick with them, and you inspire me with your bravery.

I really truly hope you come back someday, but if not I know you will be a force to be reckoned with wherever you go <3
I haven't known you as long as many here. When I joined the region, my first knowledge of McEntire as a person was the whole MadJack thing, and all the fury and antagonism that surrounded it. I ended up being a voice pretty strongly arguing against what you were doing, and left that with a very singular impression of who you were.

I was very very quickly and very happily shown though that there were other sides to you to. I found a friend and confidante, a supporter and advisor, someone I could speak really openly with without fear of it leaking, someone who could help give me context and history where I had none. And latterly, as a fellow Trans person who I was happy to see come out, and welcome to our loving community. There were, and are, so many sides to you McEntire - and I'll be honest, some of them still drive me up the wall!! But some of them, most of them, I will miss dearly. Your absence is and will continue to be very distinctly felt here.

Stay safe
Live well
Keep being you
Sad to see you go. You were a truly talented senator and you brought a lot of discussion and intrigue to the table that we needed, even if I originally disagreed with it privately. Good luck to any future endeavors!