February 17th, 2011: Xiuide Shan

February 17, 2011

I’m not a blog writer. I’m not a writer at all, in fact.

What I am however, is a guy that always means the best, but never seems to get there. This blog is meant to be a day-to-day account of the many lives that make up SL, and the people that they are on the outside. My problem is my day wasn’t exciting, it wasn’t blog worthy. I woke up well into the middle of the day (as usual). I got on Skype with my partner (whom I love for putting up with me for 2 years, I’d like to add) we talked, laughed, and generally had a good time. I got ready for my no-where retail job; got called incompetent because I actually followed the store return policy, then came home.

Yesterday, however, my day was filled with a feeling I haven’t felt in a long, long time. I got to help someone in need. I don’t mean giving someone directions, I don’t mean carrying something. My elderly neighbor (97 years of age) had fallen down his front step, and severely broken his leg (the position it was in would have made you cringe). I happened to procrastinate in going food shopping, and because of that, I was able to be there and hear his cries for help. I truly got to help someone in need. That is a feeling you don’t get very often. After that, I was able to hold my head up high (and am still doing so). Then I got to see something even better. You see, my partner wrote yesterday’s blog entry here. Reading what she wrote, and what I have helped her realize about herself, it doubled the feelings I had.

Today was pretty mundane, but yesterday, yesterday has probably influenced me for the rest of my life.

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Xiuide Shan is a jack of all trades on SL, good at everything but great at nothing (so he says), but he will always do what he can for friends and family.

 

February 16th, 2011: Terrie Dreadlow – Cont’d

February 16, 2011

When I signed up to do this first time, I spent days being nervous about it. I had no idea what I was going to write about, or if I would really even be able to go through with it. I waited until the last minute and just wrote whatever, hit return and didn‘t look at it again for a few weeks.  I felt like what I wrote was lame, turns out it wasn’t so bad. A couple of good things came from what I wrote, things that let me know it wasn’t so lame after all.

This is something I’ve learned from SL. When I open up and reach out just a little bit, I get so much back. I have spent my entire life trying to look like the normal girl, with the normal life and normal family. I’ve been ashamed of, and embarrassed by things I had absolutely no control over.  This has changed, because of friends I have made in SL.  I let them in and they know things about me that I‘ve never told lifelong RL friends.  And…they still love me.  My partner has heard me at my very worst, but after almost 2 yeas he is still around.  No matter what I throw at him. I can count on him and three other people like I would family. It’s all pretty amazing when I think back to the day I first made an SL account. I thought I would be logging on just the one time, have a laugh and never return again.

Thank you my love, my friends, my family.  Thank you for being there for me, and putting up with my crazy.  Most of all thank you for showing me that I’m okay, and that I’m worth loving unconditionally. I know I don’t say it often, if at all….but I love you guys and appreciate you so much more then I could ever express. And yes, you just got a giant display of public mush from me.

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Terrie Dreadlow says,Since the first post on 10/21/10, nothing much has changed on the outside. It’s the inside that’s different now.”

February 15th, 2011: Gabrielle Riel

February 15, 2011

It’s gorgeous outside. The sky is clear blue and it’s 20 F (-7 C). There’s still snow on the ground, but the bright sun makes it sparkle. I turn 42 in 6 days.

I drove my son to school this morning, which is not our usual routine. He enjoyed the special ride. My son is 6 and in Kindergarten. He is also on the Autism Spectrum.

I lived for 11 years with my husband, prior to having my son, quite happily, unaware that Autism was a huge component of my life. It’s crystal clear now that my husband is on the spectrum. So many weird things that I always wrote off make sense now. We were the “perfect couple”. The couple everyone envied because we were so happy and so much in love with each other.

When you are part of a couple, and expecting a child, you hear a lot about how your partnership will change. What I did not expect was my entire life to fall apart. I never realized that I had provided support in my husband’s life in a way that was beyond what most couples have. I did not know that Autism had secretly and silently molded our life.

An infant takes all of your focus. In my case, that infant became a Special Needs Child. I had nothing left to give.

Most couples adjust, sometimes with difficulty, after the birth of a child. Autism made it impossible for my husband to learn a new way of life. Add in my father’s death, severe pre and post partum depression for me, and you have the recipe for the destruction of your life and marriage.

I try not to feel guilty, but I do. I feel like I was not strong enough to handle it all, and I should have been. There is one thing of which I am proud: I am a good mom to my son. He is a happy kid. He is going to have chances, and the ability to make his way through life, that my husband never had.

My son and I are moving forward together, and we are both going to be OK. I promise.

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Gabrielle Riel is the General Director of Radio Riel (http://radioriel.org), the internet public radio station that she launched from inside of Second Life in June 2007. Radio Riel has been one of her full time jobs (albeit non paying) since 2009. Radio Riel now ranks in the top third of numbers of listeners out of all internet radio stations in the world and has the only 24/7 Steampunk radio station programmed by human beings.

Her other full time job (also non paying) is the Estate of New Toulouse in Second Life, a lively, 4 -sim Estate based on the city of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries (1890 – 1920). Prior to being sucked in the virtual world, she was an Instructional Designer and Trainer in the corporate world, primarily for software companies, for 15 years.

 

 

February 14th, 2011: Opal Lei

February 14, 2011

Message on the chocolate heart says "mahal kita" in the Tagalog language using Baybayin glyphs. Literally translated, it means "love I-you."

Several years ago, a married acquaintance called this day “Singles Awareness Day.”  Yeah, it’s sad (pun intended), but true (I wanted to smack him anyway).  So I chose to write for this day, because it is not just a day for couples.

Valentine’s Day 1999 was the most heart-wrenching day of my life,  when my then-husband admitted he had fallen in love with my youngest sister.  (She did not feel the same way about him.)  As if I needed a consolation prize, he added that he still loved me, but “not that way anymore.”  So I filed for divorce.  A week after our 14th anniversary, it was final.

V-Day would have been unbearable since, had I not found a way to cope.  It didn’t matter that I was unattached; I could still participate in the festivities.  I joined a singing Valentines quartet and crooned love songs with all my heart.  In the short messages that came with the songs, I bore witness to enduring love, to newfound love, to unrequited love.  Simply being around so much love is heartwarming in itself.

Love isn’t what I came for in Second Life, yet it found me on Day One in Orientation Island.  And, as each affair came and went, I realized that the greater love is not the single thread between two people, but the web among all of humanity.  The ultimate goal is the metamorphosis of the selfish binding romantic love into the generous boundless spiritual love.  I do not have to call someone my own to love him.  Nor be with him.  Nor act on it.  I simply have to feel that connection deeply; that is enough.

Falling in love, if it is true love, is just a recognition of a soul we already love for eternity.  We are simply revisiting them in this lifetime.  So, on this day, I remember the many loves that I have revisited even if they are no longer with me, I hold close the ones I now revisit, and I look forward to those yet to come.  And if I do that every day of the year, how could I possibly feel unloved?  My heart will always be overflowing.

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Opal Lei is the creator of the Mer Betta™ mermaid tails and the Ms.O.Lei-ny™ “Etched in Stone” jewelry sets.  A self-proclaimed “full-time resident” of Second Life for 4.5 years, she has explored a wide range of activities and creative expression in-world, that it requires a website (www.opallei.com) to list them all.  And that’s just with one alt.

In real life, Opal is a Filipina living in the US Pacific Northwest.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Master’s in Business Administration, and worked in the software industry as a techie for almost a decade and a half.  Upon discovering SL, she found the perfect medium for her creativity and decided to be an artist and micro-entrepreneur.

Her book about short-term virtual relationships “Love, Like Dim Sum” (www.LoveLikeDimSum.com) will be released later this year.

 

 

February 10th, 2011: Felicity Blumenthal – Cont’d

February 12, 2011

My last entry was July 17th, 2010.  Wow, that was last year; it seems like a moment and a lifetime ago all at once.  I am now a year old, no, really….today is my birthday.  Officially 33, shesh!!  While I am reflecting, where has the last 10 years gone?  Lets see, I have; Gotten engaged, bought a home, had a child, quit my job, sold a home, moved thousands of miles away to a foreign country (okay, so maybe it was just to the south, but it might as well be a foreign country), and had another child.  When I think about it that way, it doesn’t seem like it has flown by, I’ve had so much change.

Somewhere in that 10 year span, I joined Second Life, I think it was mid July 2006.  I can’t quite imagine what my life would be like without it now, while I was busy going through all of my real life changes, Second Life was an active part. There is a handful or so of you, that have crossed over into my real life, in ways that have helped change and mold me, from the experiences we’ve shared.

This brings me back to today, my 33rd birthday.  I woke up this morning, and while listening to my daughter whisper to my husband in the kitchen as she drew inside my birthday card.  I lay quietly in bed with my droid, and scanned my e-mails, texts, and plurk (of course).  They were all messages from my loved ones, all over the world wishing me a happy birthday.  It is incredibly nice to have so many people in so many places take a few moments and let you know they are thinking of you.

I am lucky, I don’t say it enough, but I am.  And.. I love you, you know who you are, I don’t tell you enough, but I do.

____________________

Felicity Blumenthal is the Editor of Second Style Magazine, Brand Manager for Belleza skins and blogger at My Second Closet.  Originally from New York, and now living in North Carolina, Felicity is the 33 year old mother of an almost 6 year old diva and 1 year old boy. She is now a part-time student, though *still* not quite sure what she wants to be when she grows up.

*Photo by the always amazing Kallisto Destiny

February 7th, 2011: Ganymede Galaxy

February 8, 2011

February 7th 2011 was a rather ordinary. Even though I said goodbye to my family and flew thousands of kilometres away from home for university, it still felt ordinary. I don’t know what factors attributed to the emptiness but I just felt complete indifference. Throughout the day my mind has been racing, dreaming up scenarios of my future:  of failure and stability, yet my brain sweeps them away. I just want to be at the finish, I am tired of not knowing where I will end up. SL has been a support for me over the past year and a bit. It has provided me with a distraction from the negatives that once invaded my RL. Now I am living away from all that, semi-independent and free to do what I want within reason, which begs the question of whether I really even need to be in SL anymore.  Sure I have friends and family, a business and a good time when I am on my computer. However, I am one of these people who have seemed to lost interest in this aspect of my life once my RL situations have changed. I could not tell you where I believe I will end up because I can’t possibly fathom as to where I will be in 3 years’ time once I have completed my second degree.  I could be dead, homeless, Partnered, stable, mental- So many possibilities. I just don’t know if SL is preventing me from reaching my full potential or helping me get there. So much to think about, yet all seems futile.So for now I will remain here, in my small, stuffy dorm room for the rest of the day and ponder where my life may take me. All because I can’t choose my destination but I can choose my direction.

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Ganymede Galaxy was born in California and moved to Australia at age 7. When not studying or working in RL he designs makeup, clothes and Accessories for his “femboy” store Love-In-Idleness. Once a dreamer, he is now famous amongst his friends for doing interpretive dance when drunk.

February 5th, 2011: Oscar Page

February 5, 2011

When I first decided I wanted to do this I knew I was going to talk about my last birthday in the 20s. Yes, I can faintly hear Hell’s Bells, but I don’t mind it. I’ve had a lot of fun today so far. My day started with watching the second half of Arsenal/Newcastle, and it was the only time a team (Arsenal) has given up a 4 goal lead in the history of the EPL. Let’s just say my brother was not a happy camper when I talked to him about it. After the game finished up, I hopped in the shower because my parents and I were headed off to Stir Crazy for lunch. I had some fantastic Korean BBQ beef tacos. They even had this little holder for the tacos, so they wouldn’t marinate in the juices. With amazing tacos in my stomach, I took a drive to the south side and played some laser tag with friends from my kickball team. My team did some work. I don’t know my official K:D ratio, but I’m sure it was up there. As I put on my coat to leave the laser tag arena, I felt my phone buzzing from a text I had gotten while laser tagging. Apparently, my best buddy from work got a big promotion. I’m really excited for him because he 100% deserves it. Oh, and I found out about my big promotion on Monday. Yay! I move from hourly to salary and get a shiny, new title of Producer. I felt like I had earned a lot of respect and this is a big step in my career and life as a whole. Now, I’m home post-laser tag and I’m in SL, but only idly chatting with friends. I cleared some note cards, notices, and the 60+ emails from people posting on my Facebook wall about my birthday. My SL activity has slowed down and will get slower with the new job. I’m looking forward to dinner with a turtle ice cream cake as dessert. My mouth is watering and in the words of my jam by Ice Cube, “I gotta say it was a good day.”

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Oscar Page is now a 29-year-old Producer from the great cheese state of Wisconsin and really hoping that the Green Bay Packers pull it out tomorrow for a belated birthday present. In terms of SL, he has been a fashion blogger since 2008 and was a Tringo hustler prior to that. In terms of RL, he’s a big time adult kickball player and competent soccer player who loves to let his brother know when his fantasy EPL team score is higher than his brother’s.

 

 

February 4th, 2011: Arianna Earst

February 4, 2011

You never know what the day will bring you even if you think you have it planned out because life is truly unpredictable. Something happened today that elicited thoughts about relationships in Second Life.

The sim was initially quiet and empty before she popped in. This would be an individual who would take my day and unconsciously flip it around almost one hundred and eighty degrees. The rest of the day was a blur of various intense emotions. She distinctly reminded me a friend who left our friendship a couple months ago. Could it be her in another form? Time passed and even though my imagination desperately wanted it to be true, I realized that her tone and demeanor was significantly different than the friend I once knew.

This experience reminded me one again that people and relationships quickly pass as fast they appear in this virtual world. In the spark of this memory revolving around friendships, I realized that in our physical world, it is not that much different. Things can also change just as fast, but it is usually through the midst of the flurry of our day.

Change is something I still struggle with on a daily basis. Even though I get bored fast and welcome change, it is the kind that I can control that brings me a feeling of easiness. The other kind is full of uncertainty, fear and the unknown. I am still trying to learn how to take uncontrollable shifts in time and transform them into positive learning experiences. Second Life is helping me through this process.

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Arianna Earst occupies the space of a 25 year old woman who lives on the beautiful pacific coast in Oregon. She has been in Second Life for the past two years and has recently begun dabbling in fashion blogging and tries to write in her personal blog. She is also a recent college graduate who has way too much time on her hands while searching for employment. She has decided that spending time with her little nephews and trying to capture as many moments in time with her camera is the way she is going to live her life right now.

 

February 2nd, 2011: Douleur LeSuere

February 2, 2011

We had been under severe weather advisory all night. The weather channels had proclaimed we’d get about 9 to 16 inches by noon today, and the most being dumped on us while we all slept. The school districts in and around my city canceled classes left and right, and as I sat there – curled up on my couch, hot tea in hand, I wondered how severe it would be. State of Emergency? If that was the case, I would get a snow day from work, and the thought of it would allow me to just huddle down and log into SL no care but to dally the day away.

Of course, while watching the weather channel, I would be in world, talking to people up and down the coast that were all running around to hunker down from the onslaught of winter weather. One would be running out to cover his car, another getting home later than normal due to traffic. We all felt the same thing. Winter was finally here.

I even role-play the season. Because of the nature of where I am in my SL, going from an apoc world to a realism sim, everyday life is placed from my RL into my SL. Just as I get up, dress, coffee in hand, my avatar does the same. Since its winter, she’s dressed in boots, jeans, a jacket – not the skimpy and slightly revealing outfits of my before life in another sim. She looks like me on any giving day. They always talk about separating your RL from your SL in role-play. It’s kind of hard to do when you put so much into your character, and the seasons – even though it’s just weather, still plays a part. Its winter and we’re both just cold.

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Douleur LeSuere lives in a bubble called Lake Effect. She’s an avid role-player, amateur photographer, newbie blogger (http://secondofmylife.wordpress.com/) and has been around Second Life for a little over four years. Although stuck in the cold of winter, she does still find time to lie around on an island and use the many bathing suits in her inventory while her typist sits back jealous in a sweatshirt and blankets.

 

February 1st, 2011: Kaz Nayar – Cont’d

February 1, 2011

After months of denial and “non-dates”… Today, one year ago, I finally worked up the courage to ask Katey Coppola to be my Second Life partner. The last year has been amazing. I’ve gotten closer to Katey than I ever thought I would with anyone in Second Life.  While our relationship is strictly SL, she has definitely impacted my life on a very real level. It’s rare to find someone who truly wants exactly what you want. She is my best friend, she makes me laugh, she pisses me off (for five minutes) and she puts up with my Dr. Phil moments even when I’m talking out of my ass. Our relationship my seem odd to some, but it works well for us. I feel like the luckiest man alive to have such wonderful people by my side, namely Katey.  Second Life before Katey is all a blur.. and I can’t imagine what it would be without her.

Katey-
No matter where our lives take us (second or real), you will always be very important to me. Thank you for being there for me, supporting me, putting up with me and making me feel like my opinion matters.  I look forward to having you around for many more anniversaries.
On another note – I guess it’s time to come clean.. I lied to you.. when I agreed to “no gifties”. Since you aren’t going to be home today, I scheduled the delivery for tomorrow (with the help of your mami). Hopefully it will brighten up your space like you’ve brightened up the last year of my life.

Lots of love,

-Kaz

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Kaz Nayar is a 26 year old guy from Texas.  He has an amazing second life partner/kids/ family/friends  and never seems to finish anything he starts.  He is the owner of Nayar and has recently taken on creating poses under the Glitterati brand.  If he ever finishes anything you can find it here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaznayar.