RL boredom = SL fun

So ten days ago I checked into the hospital for scheduled orthopaedic surgery. As is to be expected with any kind of surgery where they crack and re-align your bones, recovery is slow and I am stuck at home for the next five weeks and off work for three months. My recovery is going well, better than expected. I’m surprised that I’m not in too much pain. There is however lots of swelling and pins and needles sensations which is much more annoying than it is painful.

Another thing that I have a lot of is TIME. Oh boy do I have a lot of it. We don’t have cable or satellite television for lifestyle reasons, but after ten days at home, I am looking into it. I’ve read a ton of books already and now I am starting on my daughter’s adolescent fiction collection. By the way, I just finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry which is an interesting book that I enjoyed. Who cares that is meant for adolescents. Look it up. Also, I think I have already watched everything on Netflix which really kind of sucks in my current situation.

Anyway, I’m turning to Second Life to keep myself busy and hopefully doing some creative things. I can’t sit too long at my computer desk without getting that annoying pins and needles sensation, so I’m trying different sitting arrangements with my laptop that are more comfortable for me. So far, sitting on my bed feels best because I can change positions often. No one can argue with me about spending all day in my bed, ha!

This is getting long…

My news that I wanted to share is that I am opening a small gallery space for my SL photos. I just got it today and I am so excited! I have never had my own space before and I’m really looking forward to going through my photo collection and choosing which ones to display. I’m also excited about making new images.

My gallery space is nothing fancy, just three walls, but they are all mine and I get to be part of an amazing community of artists at Timamoon Arts. I love it. I will post all the details here as soon as it’s ready.

Today was a good day. After ten days of being bored stiff, I think these next several weeks of recovery at home are gonna be filled with SL fun!

A blank canvas...my gallery space at Timamoon Arts

A blank canvas…my gallery space at Timamoon Arts

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Some honest thoughts about “Second Life addiction”

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Once in awhile I will hear of a personal story about struggling to balance RL and SL. More specifically, these are usually stories about “SL addiction”. While I don’t deny anyone’s experience and there are even elements to those stories that I can relate to, I don’t buy the whole concept of being addicted to SL.

Listen, I’m not meaning to sound judgmental or self-righteous. I’ve been there myself. I get it. I really do. But, I think that at some point you have to realize that Second Life only has as much power over you as you are willing to let it have.

When I hear a story of a person “finally kicking their SL addiction for good”, I feel sympathetic for them but then I feel annoyed. I mean, we’re talking about a computer generated 3D simulator, not crack/cocaine.

Now, I don’t deny or dismiss the way anyone else experiences the virtual world, and I can’t help but contrast it to my own SL history. Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones because after four years, I still am drawn to and enjoy SL. Sure I have my ups and downs with it, but overall, I still find things to get excited about that make me look forward to sitting down at my desk in the evening to log on. And my personal life is not falling apart because of it. Maybe the dishes won’t get done sometimes or I lose track of time and stay up past my bedtime, but that’s life. There are so many wonderful possibilities in this virtual world and I wish there were more stories of how SL has enhanced and improved people’s lives rather than stories of “my SL addiction destroyed my marriage and now my life is ruined”.

I know it is a harsh thing to say but sometimes I think that addiction is a convenient excuse to not take responsibility for one’s choices and face the truth of the matter.

If it didn’t feel completely good to me, I wouldn’t bother logging on. That’s why I have to wonder why those who have such struggles with SL continue to log in, identifying themselves as Victims of their Second Live’s, and not as the Creators that they really are.

Second Life, I love you, I love you not

I had an awesome time in SL last night. I’m still grinning from ear to ear about it. It was really nothing special or out of the ordinary at all. I went to a couple of live music events with a friend and had a fab time chatting and enjoying some really great tunes.

While we were listening to Max Kleene perform, someone i.m’d me to let me know that they thought I had a lovely profile. They particularly liked my rl bio which reads “On again, off again with SL for four years and counting”. And that’s exactly true. There are many times that I feel a little inadequate in SL because I don’t create profound works of art, have my own art gallery, art shows, or other projects that keep me busy. I think maybe my lack of focus in SL is responsible for my “off again” feelings that come and go every now and then. Of course, it could also be lag, technical glitches and my aging Macbook.

/me shrugs

But when SL and I are “on again”, everything is blissful and perfect and it doesn’t matter that I don’t have any special projects or particular purpose that makes me feel important. Hanging out with dear friends and watching our avatars dance together on my screen feels like more than enough to keep me going in SL for another four years.

(And now, a pretty picture that has nothing to do with this post because I was having too much fun to remember to take a pic of dancing avatars.)

Photo taken at Roche, Second Life.

Photo taken at Roche, Second Life.

What I really wanted to say was…

Titans Hollow, Fantasy Faire 2013, Second Life

Titans Hollow, Fantasy Faire 2013, Second Life

When you’re a writer with a personal blog, sometimes you run into situations that you have words to share about, but you also have the privacy of others to respect. This can put a writer into a tough spot. How do I stay true to what I have to say and yet still protect the privacy and identities of those I care about it? This is particularly true about Second Life where everyone has vast and different levels of comfort in sharing details of their lives behind the computer screens.

Sometimes I sit down to write about a specific subject and in the process of putting words to my thoughts and feelings, I end up somewhere completely different from what I expected. Such was the case with my last blog post. I thought I was going to write in more detail about a personal experience and ended up sharing more broad thoughts on trust and online friendships. It’s all still true, but not exactly what I wanted to really say.

What I really wanted to share was that I was feeling really happy and humbled when a long time SL friend who is very private and cautious, opened up and invited me into their world outside of our virtual existence. I have contacts outside of SL with a handful of people who know my RL identity, but for this particular friendship, this was a pretty big deal.

It seems like such a small and insignificant thing, but this little gesture felt like a huge gift, and four days later I am still beaming about it.

Thoughts on time, relationships and trust in Second Life

Gulf of Lune, Second Life

Gulf of Lune, Second Life

“To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved” – George MacDonald

It’s been said many times before that time in SL travels at a faster pace than in the atomic world, and in many ways this is true. This is usually in reference to in-world relationships that seem to evolve at warp speed where one day you meet and strike up a friendship with an avatar, a couple of weeks later you’re planning the biggest SL wedding there ever was, and then the following month the entire thing has fallen apart. I have witnessed this many times and I always feel wary when I see one month old avatars in the throes of a new relationship, boldly declaring their love and devotion for each other in their profiles, floating text above their heads, and in local chat.

While I can’t say that I have ever been partnered or had a SL wedding, I have had some pretty tough lessons in placing my trust too soon in the wrong people. It hurts, I know it and there have been a couple of times when it almost made me walk away from SL completely. It has also been really hard to watch close friends of mine be deceived and have their hearts broken by people who they thought cared for them. No one deserves that.

If there is anything I have learned about online friendships/relationships from my experience in SL, it’s that it takes time. It takes a lot of time, not SL time, not internet time, and not warp speed time. It takes old-fashioned, real world time and maybe it takes even more time than that to really trust a stranger you have met on the internet. It takes as much time as you need, because let’s face it, you don’t have face to face contact, body language or social cues to go by. In SL, all you have are avatars presented to you, personalities and your gut instinct to guide you.

Four plus years into this and I have made a few close friends, have lost just as many and I’m making some new ones. I’ve learned that you can’t rush meaningful SL relationships, no matter how much you want that perfect partner or BFF to fill that partner box in your profile. Time is on your side, but only if you allow it. After having my own heart broken into a million pieces too before, believe me, a lasting friendship built on mutual trust is something worth waiting for.

Why I blog meme

Magnificat, Fantasy Faire 2013, Second Life

Magnificat, Fantasy Faire 2013, Second Life

The photo above has nothing to do with this post. I decided to do Berry’s latest blog meme, and I think every post needs a pic so there you go. On to the meme:

  • How long have you been blogging? I have been blogging about Second Life since 2009, although not at this particular url. This year, I imported all my posts from SLifeFantastic! to WordPress. I wanted a little bit of a fresh start and a new name for my blog.
  • Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because really, I have no other skills to do anything else constructive in SL. Seriously! I was reading a lot of other SL blogs back then and I figured “hey, I can write and I enjoy it” so maintaining a blog seemed much more attainable to me than learning to build intricate things.
  • How many times a week do you post an entry? I haven’t been posting very much lately. I did a 365 project before which was challenging and interesting but I don’t think I would do one again. At this moment, I just blog whenever the inspiration comes.
  • How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis? I follow hundreds of blogs, RL and SL. I say follow because I don’t always read them all, but they are all there in my blog reader. I peruse all the new updates daily and read the ones that stand out to me. I have a few favourite SL blogs that I read regularly and I get totally excited when I see a new post from those bloggers in my reader (come on! you know who you are!) Yes, I’m a blogging nerd with stalkerish tendencies.
  • Do you comment on other people’s blogs? Yes, sometimes but not as much as I would like to. Part of the reason for this is because I often read blogs while I’m on the go, sitting on public transit or at a coffee shop and reading them on my iphone. I don’t like typing longer things from my phone so I always think that I will go back to the site and comment from home but I always forget. Oh well.
  • Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? I don’t keep track of visitors. Once in awhile I will look at my stats and check referrals and search terms, but that’s hardly ever.
  • Did you ever regret a post that you wrote? Yes. I didn’t delete it, it’s still there. I figured that I’m a human being and I’m allowed to make mistakes and I’m not embarrassed by it.
  • Do you think your readers have a true sense of who you are based on your blog? I’m pretty open about myself and my life here, however, I think my blog is only one small window into who I am. I’m genuine about what I choose to share about myself in this blog and other social media, so even though it is just a little peak into who I am, it is real and it is me.
  • Do you blog under your real name? No, not on this blog. I have another non-SL blog. I don’t use my real name there but my real name is linked to that blog. Feel free to check it out. Right now, I update that blog more often. Here’s the link: http://callmeshebear.wordpress.com/
  • Are there topics that you would never blog about? I don’t know. I generally just blog stuff that I like or inspires me or when I have an opinion about something.
  • What is the theme/topic of your blog? I’ve always considered myself a personal blogger with a SL-centric blog. I also enjoy exploring and taking pictures of places to visit in SL.
  • Do you have more than one blog? If so, why? Yes. I have the non-SL blog I linked to above. I started it because I found that I enjoyed blogging so much that I wanted to write and share more about non-SL stuff. I thought another blog would be a better place for that.
  • What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? I think blogging has helped me boost my confidence in writing and now I actually feel comfortable calling myself a writer. Blogging has given me a “project” and hobby to keep myself busy and opened my world up to learning other creative things like photography. I have also become friends with some really amazing individuals who I probably never would have known if it wasn’t for blogging.
  • So, why do you continue to blog? I just like to write, create and share, so that’s why I continue to blog. It’s pretty simple. I hope to continue blogging here for as long as I am still drawn to SL, even if my posts are few and far between.