Happy Thanksgiving

There are many things that I am thankful for in real life, but that's for another blog. Meanwhile, here are the things I am thankful for in Second Life. (I am not mentioning names, except one, but you know who you are.)

  • I am thankful for newfound friends from around the world who share themselves, their thoughts, their emotions, their wonderful sense of humor, and their strange kissing customs. ;-)
  • I am thankful for lovers-turned-friends who remain in my life even as they (and I) try to heal.
  • I am thankful for girlfriends who take me dancing to ease my heartaches.
  • I am thankful for the young ones whose innocence keeps me from straying too far.
  • I am thankful for the very smart people at the ISM who warmly accept me in their midst and give me a chance (or more like a challenge) to learn from them.
  • I am thankful for the whole Linden family who tirelessly try their best, maintaining and improving a complex piece of software.
  • I am thankful for Philip Rosedale for planting the seed from which this world sprung.
  • I am thankful for everyone, whose creativity, personality, and presence make SL endlessly fascinating.
  • I am thankful for all the experiences that SL provides and that I would never have a chance to experience in real life.

And, finally, ...

  • I am thankful for all the souls I have touched and for all the souls who have touched mine. Because, even if everything else in SL is a fantasy, the touching of souls is real.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Listening

I haven't been able to sleep well the past two nights. My lover and I had not been talking or seeing each other much the past couple of days. Three nights ago, I saw jealousy in him; he dealt with it very well. But the following night, he stayed away, and that hurt me. Last night, we both stayed away.

I wondered, if he truly loved me, why did he stay away?

Then it occurred to me. It wasn't until I stopped licking my own wounds that I saw it from his perspective. Here's a man who is wildly successful, intelligent, handsome, charming. And with a healthy self-confidence that stems from what he has accomplished. Many beautiful women go gaga over him and cater to his every whim.

Then he met me. Someone who is unfazed by his successes, his intelligence, his looks, and his charm. Someone to whom he had to prove his character, his ethics, his integrity. Someone who will not cater to any of his whims that go against the grain of her being.

And that shakes his confidence. In fact, it probably even shakes something else inside him. He feels guilt about being with other women, even after I have given him permission. He feels jealousy, because he suspects that I am enjoying the same freedom I allow him. Feelings that he had never felt before.

From the beginning, I warned him that I didn't want the relationship to come outside of SL. He said "for now;" I didn't mean "for now." When he told me he had real feelings for me, I didn't believe him. I tried to explain to him that he's in love with a fantasy, not the real person. How could he be in love with someone he has never met? He refused to listen.

Or maybe, because of my own insecurities, I refused to listen.

This is going to be a bumpy ride and as much work as a real life relationship. And I'm still thinking about it, but,...

Babe, I'm listening now.

Vulnerability in Second Louvre

Headman Taringa recommended Second Louvre. The building itself is a very impressive recreation, although the statues outside the second floor startled me more than once in a who's-that-looking-in-through-the-window way.

There are sculptures and paintings and photographs. But I'm partial to sculptures, so I noticed those first.

I've seen large sculptures throughout SL before, so the huge warrior "Achilles - 2006" at the entrance didn't quite generate a "wow!" reaction. But, hey!, it was worth a photograph with me sitting on his left shoulder. I didn't much like the Sully Wing displays either. And the first floor of the Richelieu Wing had technically impressive, but emotionally barren, displays.

But the Denon Wing had a few thought-provoking treasures.

And the single piece that touched me the most was on the first floor of the Denon Wing, the first sculpture on the left as you face southwest. It is a woman fully covered in armor, which was sliced and folded open at the chest revealing human skin. And she holds out what looks like a can opener. It was created by Starax Statosky. Something about this sculpture held my attention, and I stood in front of it for a long time, searching for why it resonates with me. I knew it had to do with vulnerability, but exactly what? Is it that, by being vulnerable, our humanity is exposed? By offering the can opener to the viewer, is she inviting us to slice open the armor around our hearts too? Or does that can opener represent SL, which allows us to be open and vulnerable in-world, even as we wear our armor in the real world? Or does the armor represent our own avatars that hide our identities but expose our emotions?

Other works worth mentioning are Stella Costello's "What to Expect When You're Expecting Utopia", Heidi Herbst's sculpture recreation of "The Birth of Venus", Meleni Fairymeadow's swan sax, Koee Few's interpretation of Icarus' fall, Abraxas Alphabeta's photograph "Next Dance for Me", and Saeya Nyanda's abstracts.

Death by a thousand cuts

From the start, my mind told me to leave. Nay, my intuition told me to flee. But I didn't listen. I stayed. I let my curiosity get the better of me. There must be a reason why I'm here, why he's here. Or so, I figured.

I gave him my SL heart, but he does not take good care of it. He toys with me. His lies cut away at my heart. A thousand lies, a thousand cuts....

Hermes to the rescue

In Hades, the ground is steep and slippery. Even after you land, it is so easy to keep sliding further down, deeper into the darkness. And I became afraid. The darkness wasn't comforting anymore.

Then Hermes came. In the form of a youth. But he didn't come just then; he was already there. It was a conversation we had few weeks earlier that came to mind. Like the rest of the young folks who snuck into this grid, he thinks it's not right for people to bring sex into SL. I confessed that I was one of those people. Graciously, he said that at least I don't do it "the wrong way."

And that had been true until I descended into Hades with my dark love. The first night seemed harmless enough, but, the following night, something my lover said made me panic. And I knew that, soon, it wouldn't be harmless anymore. Yes, it is only virtual, only a fantasy. But is a fantasy worth losing my self-respect?

I have always listened to the wisdom of age, but I never expected it would be youth's innocence that would save my soul.

So, I return to who I was. I owe it to Hermes; I owe it to all the young 'uns; I owe it to myself.

Persephone returns to the light.

Persephone descending

A new month, a new lover.

September brought sweet tender romance. October was full of strong heart-felt emotions. November starts with deep dark desires.

In one day, I have done things I would never do in real life. November's lover had taken me to the edge of my everyday world and he challenged that edge. So, with my hand in his, I fall into the darkness of my psyche. Down into Hades, where my lover is lord.

And, when I stopped rationalizing, when I surrendered, the soothing comfort of darkness wrapped around me, womb-like. Cradling me and protecting me as I ride the rages of his domain. And, oh!, the power of those rages. He could make me burst into flames, simply with the strength of his desires. And he tends the fire, delighting in it, building it up again and again, until I am consumed.

Like Persephone, I have eaten the seeds of the pomegranate and I am bound to return.... To him. My Hades. My dark love.