Labbed to Perfection: A Pet's Struggle to Confidence
Xirroer is your average Neopet, spending much of his days swimming off the coast of Mystery Island, and enjoys cooking for his family in the evenings. He was adopted into my family in late December before I got the lab ray, intended to be a "lab rat", mostly due to his lovely name. He was very shy, and took a while to grow comfortable with the entire family. His feelings towards the lab ray were strange to all of us, mostly because he actually wanted to be zapped.
"It's strange, but I didn't have a problem with it," Xirroer mused during an interview. "I really wanted to be the 'lab rat', because I didn't like who I was. I was a yellow Ogrin, and really believed that's why I was abandoned in the first place. I think all of the other Ogrins are gorgeous, I have nothing against them, but it really wasn't who I was."
Xirroer began his lab ray regimen in mid January upon completion of the map that led us to the lab ray. The color changes and stat increases would slowly help him in the months to come. Whether it would be increasing his strength and speed for his favorite game, Gormball, or getting a great defense for the dangers of the Battledome, they would help him slowly gain confidence in his everyday life.
"I was very nervous during the entire process. I often shook a lot before the ray fired at me, afraid I would turn into something ugly or monstrous. But fear wasn't the only thing I felt," he says. "I also felt overwhelming excitement, that I could turn into something fantastic and beautiful as well, and that's when I began to feel differently about myself. I could do more and feel more successful in everything I accomplished."
When he started to gain excitement about his lab ray changes, something changed in that pet. He began to stop feeling so self-conscious about his looks, and began to customise himself to match his favorite styles, often helped by his sister, Agoilu. He began to tell us stories with his new intelligence, showing his creative side, and took up cooking. He often volunteers at the Soup Faerie's and loves to work with the island chef, helping him gather ingredients for recipes and often taking notes on each dish he helps prepare. He hopes to one day work at Kelp as a chef, and often tries to replicate the dishes on their menu once a week. Without the lab ray, who knows what he would be doing with his time.
"He is and will always be a great brother," said OxoDonivicoxO, a baby Lupe. "He was always helpful with all of us, and even taught me how to cook too! He really changed when he started to get labbed, but in a good way! He was always saying before that he was too weak to be a good Battledomer or that he was too this or too that to be a pretty pet. I didn't see anything wrong with him, but he wouldn't listen. I guess he just needed to see it in himself, on his own. I love my brother, but sometimes he can be very hardheaded..."
"Xirroer made me feel at home when I first came here," Agoilu, a young red Draik was quoted as saying. "I can't believe he used to be so self-conscious; it seems so out of character for who he is now! We often talked about how we wanted to be different colors or whatever, but he always wanted to be a different species. He loved to talk about the many colors he could be, now that he had access to the lab ray. I often joked that he would become a snot pet, which he didn't like!"
Xirroer temporarily stopped being labbed when he became a Maraquan Poogle, hoping that it would give him full confidence in himself, but he felt it wasn't right.
"It just wasn't me yet," Xirroer laughed as he spoke. "I knew I was close, but I kept feeling that I was right there, right at the edge of what I wanted to look like. By this time, though, I had begun working so much and felt strong. I felt wonderful, and didn't know if I really needed another zap for the ray. But I did it, and I couldn't be any happier."
On his final zap, Xirroer knew it was what he had been waiting for, even before the smoke from the ray had cleared. He had changed many colors and become many species, but he could have never imagined what he had become once the smoke cleared. When the mirror was pulled up to him, he began to cry tears of joy.
"I know it was silly, but I was truly happy. I felt perfect, and I didn't feel like I would get abandoned, or that I would have to change myself anymore. I mean, I was a Lutari! A Lutari!" Xirroer's voice began to crack, and small tears welled up in his eyes. "I felt like I was worth something on the outside now, the skills gained from the ray helped my day to day life, but I also felt like I could really take on the world! I owe so much to the lab ray for making me feel great about myself."
Xirroer is just one of the many stories of pets who gain confidence after the lab ray, but his story still teaches us that we need to show our pets their inner beauty first. We should not have pets that are so down on themselves that they feel that they need to change, though in some pets, the damage is done and all we can do is move forward and show them how much we love them and how much they are worth to all of us, no matter how big or small. Xirroer would like it to be known that he highly recommends the lab ray, but wants it to be known that the ray can still be dangerous, weakening a pet to level 1, or deforming them into twisted mutant forms, so please, always take the time to think carefully before you zap!