Goodbye, love.

One of my best friends in real life explains why his past relationships didn't work: "Because they are who they are, and I am who I am."

It sounds so simplistic. But there's a profoundness in it.

Last night, I had to let a lover go. He is who he is, I am who I am, and who I am hurts him. Don't get me wrong. He's a wonderful lover -- intuitive, sensitive, caring, and generous. In the MBTI, he's probably an "NF", what Keirsey calls the Idealist. On the other hand, I'm an INTJ, a Rational. And when my cold analyses scratch his warm sensitivities, we both get hurt, we both feel misunderstood.

But I have no regrets about meeting him and loving him. With him, I've had many unforgettable experiences, touching moments, and warm memories. And I will look back on them fondly.

Maybe someday, if I'm lucky and the pain has healed, we'd come back and renew the friendship, if not the romance.

But, for now,... Goodbye, love.

Soul contracts

In the book "Journey of Souls," Michael Newton posits that groups of souls make contracts with each other before being incarnated in a new life. These contracts that we make with our soul companions are meant to help each other learn and grow. Even the little things that attract us to our soul companions are part of the contract to help us recognize the other in this lifetime.

A day short of a month ago, I met a soul companion in SL. SL being a virtual world, I didn't realize how significant my soul's contract is with him. This past month, he had been triggering all the emotional issues that I thought I had already left behind. Relationship issues.

Last night, the issue was about jealousy. And, all of a sudden, I was having flashbacks of my marriage. When I couldn't deal with it anymore, I ran away. Just like I did in the past. I understand that I've never really learned my lesson then, so fate brings it up again. Would I learn it right this time?

It's just ironic. That this happened on the anniversary of my failed marriage.

So what happens now?

There is nothing that could make us feel as incredibly vulnerable as an intimate relationship does, even if that relationship is just a fantasy. Trusting someone frees us to open up. If we feel safe, we trust a little bit and open up a little bit. If we still feel safe, we trust even more and open up even more. It's a necessary spiral towards deeper intimacy.

But, when we open up and realize that it isn't safe, we quickly put on an armor. And, more often than not, the armor has long poisonous spikes. So the mere act of putting on that armor hurts the people who are closest to us, whether we intend to hurt them or not. And that pain makes them feel vulnerable, so they also put on their armor, which hurts us back. And the spiral reverses.

Trust is so fragile. So difficult to earn and so easy to lose. And the only way to stop that loss is to take off the armor and be vulnerable again. But, oh!, the pain.

These past couple of days, I kept hearing a song from "Evita" in my head -- the one sang by Peron's lover after Evita arrives and sends her packing.

I don't expect my love affairs to last for long
Never fool myself that my dreams will come true
Being used to trouble I anticipate it
But all the same I hate it -- wouldn't you?

So what happens now? (Another suitcase in another hall)
So what happens now? (Take your picture off another wall)
Where am I going to? (You'll get by, you always have before)
Where am I going to?

My shrink: SL

(I had been trying to keep my SL persona separate from my real life self. And I had planned for this blog to be Opal's voice alone. But writing purely in Opal's voice is very difficult. Opal has very limited experiences. Even though I made her aware of her creator, writing from her perspective can become very two-dimensional. And if I attribute my thoughts to her, how do I explain the source of her wisdom? So I swing from different perspectives. Sometimes, the "I" is just Opal. Sometimes, it's the "I" in real life. But most of the time, it's a combination of both. In this entry, it is the "I" in real life speaking.)

Creating Opal is somewhat like creating a fictional character. Fiction writers have talked about their characters coming alive, such that they talk about those characters as though they were real people. I've even read of a writer (I can't remember who it was now), who said that he just creates the characters and the characters write the plot.

I've also heard it said that there's always something of the writer in the fictional character. That is, that the character is actually just an aspect of the writer's personality. Well, Opal has a lot of me in her. But at some point in the past month, I realized that I've been using Opal to balance my real life. I give her what I cannot have or don't allow myself to have in real life. That includes her looks, as well as her experiences. But creating an entirely new personality is as difficult as telling a lie. And since I'm in-world as much as I am, that can be very tiresome. So, Opal's personality is actually mine. But filtered. She gets the good parts of my personality.

However, last night, I had a spillover. And a bad one.

I (as Opal) was with the man I was seeing. We had another wonderful evening together. But, as we were holding each other, getting ready to say goodnight, I said that, if he wants exclusivity, he just has to ask. But, he's not ready.

He said it so sweetly, but it shook me out of the fantasy and back into reality. And I suddenly realized that, there they are -- my real life abandonment issues, intruding into my perfect virtual reality. And they've been there the whole time! I mean, in real life, I am fiercely independent. I had paid dearly for my freedom, that I tell people I'm "happily divorced." And, yet, in virtual reality, I am drawn to commitments. What on earth?!?

It's gotta be my abandonment issues. What else could they be?

Blame it on that kiss anim. It shuts down my left brain.

Pavlov's windchime

On my second day in SL, I went searching for land. I read about the First Land Program and did a search. The first few ones I saw were flat featureless rectangles in the middle of a prairie. I kept looking. Then I realized that the search results changed once in a while. So, I kept clicking the Search button.

Then I found it.

It is a small irregular plot on a hillside set against the northern edge of Aglia, with trees all around it. A few meters below are train tracks. Once in a while, I'd hear birds, crickets, and windchimes. I don't know where the sounds come from, but I suspect that it comes from a small cube hanging from my neighbor's tree. I bought the land that day. Then, I stayed there for some time, walking the boundaries, planning where I would put things.

All weekend long, I built a deck, a glass house, and a gazebo. It was my sanctuary. Somehow, when I am there, my mind quiets down but becomes acutely alert, like being in deep meditation.

Well, I didn't realize what effect it really had on my mind until this morning in real life. I was in that zone between sleep and wakefulness, when I heard a windchime through my bedroom window. Then, all of a sudden, like Pavlov's dogs, my mind goes into that meditation mode -- quiet, but acutely alert.

[Pant, pant, pant,... drool,... ;-) ]

Touched for the very first time

Well, last night, I lost it.

"It" being my virtual virginity. A full month after I get in-world. With a man I had just met a couple of days ago.

There's something about me and second meetings in Second Life. I get engaged on the second meeting with one man. I have sex on the second meeting with another. In SL, there's a sense of time going fast. Either that, or I'm just less inhibited. After all, the consequences are not as dire as in real life. Or is it?

So what if my heart gets broken every month? It's all just fantasy, right? Or is it? Isn't real life an illusion as well anyway? And why do the emotions feel so real?