Twelve years

When I was twelve years old in real life, my body started that biological monthly "ritual" that differentiated a child from a young woman. I had already started wearing a bra several months before that.

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.

Comfort dance

Relationships are difficult. Memories are comforting.

Today, I indulged in a memory. Because I needed comfort. Because I needed to remember someone who thought that it was impossible to stop anyone from falling in love with me. He was wrong, of course, but, once a year, I pretend he's right.

Till next year.

Birthday doppelganger

"Aha !" was how he titled his email.
Your bday gift is got !
You'll have to tell me when you'll wish to receive it ;)

 And I initially thought, Hmmm, he bought another sex furniture?!

At the designated time on Oct 1, my birthday gift said hello.

I knew she was my gift because her username was very close to my real name. And that felt weird.

Flashback to the Captain

Many years ago, I was going to create an alt for the Captain to use in a BDSM roleplay with him. He said that doms typically named their subs. And when I asked him what he wanted me to name my new alt, he said my real name. I declined. I reasoned that it could make me lose my anonymity. He eventually gave me a different name but still related to my real name.

So, when I realized that Wolfgang named my gift after me, I had mixed emotions. But there's more....

(By the way, during the first week of October, the Captain logged in after a long absence. And so did Rocky, also after a very long absence. I wondered if long lost lovers returning to SL was going to be a trend, but it was just the two of them.  :)  )


When my gift teleported to where we were (we = one of our paired alts), I saw an avie who was dark-skinned and short. And I wondered,
Is this his interpretation of what I look like irl?
Why is he trying to recreate my RL self in SL?
What does it mean?

Her face is his style, however. Big eyes. Full lips.

We chose to give her a different display name, so I don't feel too uncomfortable referring to someone else with my almost-RL-name.

But he still felt I was distant from her.

Voluntary alt births

He used to be very resistant to creating private alts. I won't go through his reasons here. But last August, he created one without any prompting from me. That alt would be exclusive to me, to our group. And he created her to be a companion to one of my unpaired alts in our group.

I was very honored by that gift, but I considered the core (and most important aspect) of the gift to be the gesture, not the alt.

However, because we didn't discuss the creation of his new alt, I felt as though he was trying to curtail the freedom of my alt that he created that alt for. He assured me he wasn't, but he just wanted my alt to be more included in our "family."

I had always said that the pairs we have are like the big bolts that hold our relationship together. On the other hand, he prefers to mix up our alts in different ways to avoid too much familiarity (which breeds contempt) and for more sexiness.

So pinning down my free alt was probably one way for him to solidify our relationship. So I didn't mind so much that my alt's freedom feels curtailed. I see only him mostly anyway, so I didn't really need that freedom, but it's just the principle of it, the feeling of being free.

The creation of my birthday gift was a logical thing for him to do. He was trying to pin down another of my free alts, who was the third wheel in one of the pairs. But he had another motive.... He also wanted a different kind of sexual relationship that I wasn't comfortable with.

The past few days, we discussed the birthday gift's role in our family. We had to redefine who she and her partner should be to make things more comfortable for me. We finally settled on it today.

Wolf love

He is changing. Our relationship is changing. But the more I learn about him, the more I admire him and adore him.

Maybe he is this way only with me. He did say that he does certain things only for me. And, in addition, he listens to me more and he pays attention. And he tries to do things to please me.

He never said he loved me. But, if this isn't love, what is?

When second place is a good thing ...

I got notecards from Inara Pey yesterday and today. They had announced the winners for the "Filling the Cauldron" contests!

Long story short:

  • In the garden contest, I am "joint runner-up" with Oscelot Haalan.
  • In the photography contest, I am in second place.
From the blog, a quote from Elicio said, "... And the Dragon Skull one has a very neat and orderly layout. It’s beautiful.”  :D

An artist complimenting your artwork carries greater weight because they know what they're talking about. The same goes with any other type of work, like musicians complimenting music, programmers complimenting code, writers complimenting an essay. So, Elicio's compliment is a really big deal. :D Well, to me at least.

I talked about my garden contest entry here, but I didn't really mention my photography entry because I just randomly took it after I finished my shopping spree at Elicio's store to use in my blog post. I didn't even decide to enter it into the photography contest until much later.

I also wanted to bid on Elicio's RL paintings. From the website, I noticed one that was extremely well-done, where his technical skill was very apparent. It was a painting of a structure with mountains in the back. The title on the website said "Lugares Sagradas" ("Sacred Places"). It pulled me in the same way that Elicio's inworld work pulled me.

This one was done in acrylic on canvas. The rest of the artwork in the auction were watercolors on paper. I love love love watercolors. But next to the "Lugares Sagradas", they felt too whimsical, too light, too superficial. I still picked my favorite out of the watercolors anyway — the blue forest scene. On auction day (Sunday), I decided that maybe I should go for the blue forest watercolor because it seemed more appropriate as a memento or representative of Second Life. The "Lugares Sagradas" felt too "heavy".

I had set my limit to $100 before the auction started. When the auction started, I realized that my limit was too small to be competitive, so I doubled it to $200.

The blue forest watercolor was the second painting on the block (Saffia, who served as the auctioneer, interspersed other non-painting items in between the paintings). The bidding started at 15kL. Wolfgang advised me to wait until the end before I bid. So I joined when it became quiet and Terra Volitant had bid 22k. I started at 23k. Then the bidding bounced quickly between Terra and me. For five minutes.

I had already reached my limit at 50kL. But I kept going... with longer pauses. I decided that 60kL would be my last bid and I'd leave it up to fate after that. Terra called out 65kL. Saffia was repeatedly calling me by name on public voice asking if I would go higher. Then, as I emoted bowing out, Terra sent me an IM that he would not go over 65kL and he would not compete if I outbid him after that. But I already bowed out and, as I told him, 60kL was already past my limit. I felt that the painting wasn't meant to be mine.

The "Lugares Sagradas" was the fourth painting on the block. Its name is actually "Stupa" and it is from a series called "Lugares Sagradas"/"Sacred Places". From Elicio's description, 'Stupa is the last remianing original painting of my "Pre Second Life" period that is not already in a private collection.'

Up to the last minute, I had doubts about bidding on it for an inner nervousness that I couldn't explain. It felt as though owning it would be a very serious responsibility. I felt its weight on my soul. At the same time, it pulled me.

If the blue forest went as high as 65kL, I was sure the "Stupa" would go even higher because it's on canvas, but I decided to bid anyway. The bidding started at 20kL; I immediately started at 21kL. Soon, it was between Terra and me again. I think he felt sorry for me for losing out on the previous painting, because he stopped at 46kL so I won it for 50kL. My limit. The universe was confirming it was meant to be mine. Somehow. :)

I stayed for the remainder of the auction, even though I wasn't planning to bid anymore. Afterwards, I chatted a little with Elicio and he told me some facts about that painting. It's one of his favorite paintings, he said. The background is actually "one of the sacred mountains where the Ganghes is born". Then he told me about the four elements that a stupa's parts represented.
Then, he said, "This painting I had hanging on my wall for many years...and was always a source of solace and peace for me. I hope it does the same for you =)"

Uhhhmmmmm, I was feeling more nervous at that point. The weight of the responsibility felt a little heavier.

I asked him if he was sure he wanted to part with it, and I said he could send me another painting instead. He replied, "Letting go is important, specially as an artist. And specially when the piece is appreciated by who is getting it."

After he explained that it was a composite image (there are stupas in that spot on the Himalayas, but they had more prayer banners). Then he sent me a link to a photo of a real stupa with prayer banners.

I don't think this painting will give me peace. It has a certain mystical energy to it that reminds me of the mysteries around my maternal great-grandfather.

Anyway, I sent him my shipping information. And we'll see.