Opal is twelve years old today.
There are no physical or virtual manifestations of changes due to her age, besides the continual updates in technology (her avatar is almost entirely in mesh now) and a meaningful shift in her coloring (which has nothing to do with her age).
In 2006, I started with fair skin and red hair. On my first day, I shaped her face into the one that I had been drawing since I learned to draw as a child. And I gave her fiery hair because I used to imagine that I was a feisty Irish woman in a previous life.
I tried different skin and hair colors through the years, especially during my virtual fashion model phase. I had tan skin and black hair at one point, then I realized too many models had that look, and I wanted to look different, so I kept the red hair.
Soon after the Charlottesville incident in August 2017, I went back to tan skin and black hair, which is my real-life coloring. It was a quiet political statement. I am a Filipina-American.
However, I kept the same eyes with blue and green colors, like Australian opals, because, after all, she is Opal.
|Opal in first land 2006 and 2018|
Maybe the most significant change in my virtual life is my relationship with Wolfgang.
I met him in March 2012. I was finishing up my book which I published in May the same year. I thought he would be just another "dim sum." We broke up in January 2015. By then, he was the longest relationship I've had — almost three times longer than the second longest. The next year, we were back together. I don't even know precisely when that happened. We were supposed to be just friends the second time around.
We're still together.
Neither of us planned for a long-term relationship. Neither of us specifically wished for one. We are both polyamorous.
During our first three years, we argued a lot and, each time we did, splitting up was always an option on the table. Nowadays, the option is still on the table, but neither of us seriously consider it anymore.
Some days when I feel very insecure about our relationship, I still wish to give up and end it. Then Wolfgang would send me a funny email, and I'd realize that we're okay.
The odd thing is that the longer the relationship goes, the more insecure I become. My old abandonment fears, I know. So, we consider everything we do to make sure that we don't trigger my abandonment issues and my insecurities.
We're more patient with each other. He understands why I distrust him about certain things. So I'm more open about how I come to my own conclusions, which usually make me insecure, and he's more open to explaining why my assumptions are wrong.
Virtual-world relationships are no easier than real-world relationships.
Twelve years. I'm still here. Cheers.