Not a zero-sum game

I haven't written much this year. Probably because this year has been the most stable for me; romantically, that is.

I met the Captain in February, neither of us thought we'd be together this long, neither of us wanting a serious relationship. It was supposed to be just casual -- "amics amb dret a cuixa", friends with privileges -- but the emotions ran deep. He truly has been my anchor. I hear from him infrequently now; I see him even less. But we both know each other in real life now, and I feel great joy knowing that he loves me and that the friendship is real.

Meanwhile, I've taken other lovers who came, stayed a while, and faded away. Would the secondary relationships have developed if I didn't have the Captain? Probably not. However, I think the Captain gave me some insulation from the ups and downs of other relationships as they came and went. Something similar to the safety net that married people have when having affairs in SL.

But I received more blessings than that. Former lovers and flirting friends -- the few who never officially became lovers -- surprised me with how deeply they cared.

If I have realized anything this past year, it is that the more freedom we have to love, the greater becomes our capacity to love and be loved. These men have showed me that. When love is not bound, it multiplies.

Love is not a zero-sum game.

The question now becomes: Could I be bound to just one man again after I've experienced this?

Pruning the tree

In all my Second Life, I have not deleted a friend. Well, okay, I deleted one jerk. But in more than three years, I made it a policy to never delete a friend from my list. Until today.

I started out with almost 300 people in my friends list. And that probably would have been many more if it weren't for other people deleting me from their own lists, or for people canceling their accounts.

But, lately, I've been betrayed, I've been lied to, I've been taken advantage of. With friends like that, who needs enemies? So, today, I'm cleaning up my list. Granted, those are in a very small minority, but there are so many in my list that I've only spoken with once two years ago, and more than half don't even log in anymore. So I'll be clearing those out too.

The only ones that will stay in my friends list are those I have a strong connection with and who have a positive impact in my life, as well as business connections. If I have a doubt whether to leave someone in or let them go, I'll leave them in for now.

I am also going to start a policy of not accepting friendships until I've encountered the person at least twice. If people need to keep track of me, I'll give them my card.

If you're one of the people trimmed off, you can still find me through search. But if you feel bad about it, I'm afraid I can't take responsibility for that. I'm responsible for taking you off the list, but you're responsible for how you feel about it.

They say that, if you want big sweet and juicy fruits, you prune the tree. I'm pruning this tree.

In hiatus

I will be hiding out for a while.

I'll still take care of customers, and I'll still log in to work.

But after today, I will be out of the social scene. Any attempts to start a social conversation will be ignored. I need this for my sanity.

Please don't be the one to drive me to kill myself, literally, because you won't leave me alone. Whatever you need -- a shoulder to cry on, wit to make you laugh, an ear to bend, a hand to help, *someone* to help, assurances for your own insecurities, a hug, attention, Linden dollars, voluntary work, whatever -- please ask someone else.

My cup is empty.

You don't own your beauty

I met Black more than two years ago through my RL alt. We've chatted many times about business in SL, about roleplaying, about real life. When I focused on Opal, he and I rarely caught each other online, so we hadn't talked for a long while. Then late last month, he logged in while I was in that alt.

That night, the flirting got really intense. And since I had been offering long-time friends the chance to know my RL, I did the reverse with Black. I offered him the chance to know my main alt, which is Opal. (I also wanted to move the flirting away from my RL business alt.)

Even after knowing Opal for almost a month now, he still thinks my RL alt (which is the least attractive of all my female alts) is sexier.

I said, "I work hard to make this avie pretty and you prefer the least attractive avie."

He replied, "Beauty is [like] reputation. ... You don't own it. ... Others do. ... Others own your 'beauty'."

*sigh* I'm spending hundreds of thousands of Lindens and countless hours on something others own. That's just not fair....

Back from the sea

My Captain is back. :D

I got a new hug HUD from Meike, the one with the jump hug, just so I could jump him when he got back. And I did. :D He gave me a present too -- a bouquet of roses and gardenias. This time, he got it with Transfer permissions. :D

We spent a bit of time together, just talking. There was a little awkwardness -- so much to say and not knowing where to begin. So we talked about his daughter, about his vacation, about traditions in his culture.

While he was gone, we were in communication by email but only occasionally. When I asked him in email if he wanted to know my RL, he said yes, so we exchanged information. Today, I asked him if he still felt the same way after knowing my RL, he said yes.

And I learned more about him. Today, I saw another side of him and it amazes me. Here is a man of paradoxes. I have seen his tender side, his caring side, his intellectual side. Today, I saw his strength, his masculinity, his physical side. And that endears him more to me.

I have seen other men in his absence, as he allows me to, but he is my anchor. And while he was gone, I felt as though I was standing on one foot, unsure, teetering. Now, he's back and I'm on solid ground again.

Three

Yesterday was my third rez day. It was a quiet day. I had too many things going on irl that I didn't have time to make plans for a celebration.

But, as I did in the past, I made a gift for friends -- a custom version of the "Etched in Stone" jewelry sets. I wish I had more time to create something entirely new. Ah, well, maybe next year.

Again, August proves to be a significant month in my SL. The most important change this year is the fact that I went to SLCC, which prompted me to decide to reveal my RL identity to friends. That already had a significant impact in my life and I'm sure it will make a big difference in my friendships and romantic relationships in the coming year.

I am also starting a new venture in my RL alt that bridges SL and RL, and we'll see how that goes. I also just moved residences irl, so maybe August is starting to affect my RL as well.

Here's a toast to my friends for another great year.

I'm sailing right behind

On Sunday afternoon, the Captain returned to leave me a message. I had missed him by only a few minutes.

Since I last wrote about him, he had been back a few times. His mother was getting better at one point, then suddenly her condition took a turn for the worse. And then last Friday night, she passed on.

He said he needed time alone, but he promises to be back.

Sometimes, you want to hold a loved one in your arms and you can't, because they're not logged in and you cannot go to them. And all you can do is hold them in your thoughts and hope that they feel that support and love anyway.

"... if you need a friend, I'm sailing right behind ..."

I'm coming out


Im Coming Out - Diana Ross

There's a reason I hadn't been inworld much the past several days: I was at SLCC. I didn't register as Opal, of course. I registered as my RL-associated alt.

But I met so many friends of Opal -- long-time friends -- that I had to go and introduce myself. And the reaction I got was amazing. After they read my name tag (which had my alt's name), people were friendly and shook my hand. But after they find out that I'm Opal, faces lit up and arms automatically opened wide for a hug. So, by Saturday evening, I decided Opal won't be anonymous anymore.

I won't advertise my RL identity like I do with my alt, but it won't be a big secret anymore either.

So I'll be taking out this blurb that I have in my 1st Life tab, which is too bad because I get chuckles from people who read it:
For those who keep asking, my real life name is Jane. Yup! Previously married to John Q. Public. Since the divorce, I went back to using my maiden name, which is Doe. Now, stop asking silly questions.


So, if you wanna know, go ahead and ask the silly questions.

Another goodbye... and a "Hello again"

A dear friend of my RP alt sent out a notecard today that he'll be leaving SL to heal his RL. :( We didn't meet often but he's a catalyst in my RP alt's story. *sigh*

But, on a good note, an old flame returned to SL today. How old? He was one of my flavors of the month during my first six months in SL. But he's in a new alt, of course. His old alt was long gone.

I took him around to fix up his alt today and that brought back memories from when we first did that. Erm, naughty memories. LOL Well, he kinda looks like HiHo now. :D

We don't know if we'd pick up where we left off. It's been more than two and a half years and we're both different people now. But we decided we'll explore things and see how it goes.

At the very least he'll distract me from missing the Captain. *sigh*

I don't want it to be over

The Captain logged in tonight. Not his usual time. I was editing a necklace in my workloft and I wasn't paying attention to the blue pop-ups at the bottom corner of my screen, so I was surprised to see him on my radar.

"I logged to inform you that i will be out of SL for some time ..."

His mom's health had gotten worse and he wouldn't have time to log in anymore. I was already expecting it, because he hadn't been logging in much during the past few weeks for the same reason.

I saw it coming. Still, I cried. I don't want us to be over.

Not that "Opallei"

I finally decided to go into Twitter today to create an account for Opal, and found someone already used "Opallei" there.

Just for the record, that's not me. But she seems like a nice young lady so, if you choose to believe she's me, it might be good for my reputation. LOL

Anyway, I created a Twitter account for Mer Betta instead.

No new boyfriend

Relay for Life 2009 ended yesterday (Sunday). I'm sitting in one of the sims as I write this. I just finished going around the whole lap again, taking in the sights this time since I didn't have time yesterday morning as I was running.

I came in around 2pm on Saturday to see what was up, but it was way too laggy so I figured I'd go home and do some work. I came back at 1am to do the relay.


I started out with Morgana tagging along. RFL gave out these water packs that you can click and you can automatically follow someone or automatically walk. So Mor was automatically following me, and she didn't even last a lap before she went to bed.

Anyway, I stripped down before I went and chose to wear a bandana from the Hair Fair when I returned in the evening. My sneakers were kinda high in ARC, but, overall, I was still under 400. No eyelashes, even!

I chose to run instead of using the "walk" feature of the water pack since walking was too slow. And I took off all HUDs, including my AO, so I was running my run animation manually. Unfortunately, I had to reset it every time I crossed sim borders.

All my graphics settings were set very low so I was hardly seeing anything. Sometimes, the road wouldn't even rez and I'm already on it. But as I ran more laps, I rezzed a bit more, but I still missed a lot since my distance was set too low.


Around 7:30am, I gave up. I was falling asleep on the keyboard. But I had already ran 72km. I came back in the late afternoon and spent the evening exploring and taking photos. I have almost 400 and I don't know what to do with them yet.

In the end, RFL raised a record US$263,000 inside SL this year.

Well, I didn't meet any new boyfriends from the relay this year. *sigh* ;)

You're a what?!?

I was chatting with Lora tonight. She mentioned she's a Calvinist. So, I said I'm a Hobbesist.

:D

"i want fat girl can u help?"

I got a random IM while I was at my workloft today. It came with a random friendship offer that I also declined. Here's how it went:

The name has been (barely) masked to (kinda) protect the (not really) innocent.
[18:39] mido Zu****n: hi
[18:39] Opal Lei: Hi, Mido
[18:40] mido Zu****n: how r u
[18:40] Opal Lei: I'm good. Do you need help?
[18:40] mido Zu****n: tp me to u plz
[18:40] Opal Lei: May I ask why?
[18:40] mido Zu****n: we will talk there
[18:40] Opal Lei: Do you have an appointment?
[18:41] mido Zu****n: what?
[18:41] mido Zu****n: ?
[18:41] mido Zu****n: jjust tp me
[18:41] Opal Lei: Unless you tell me what this is about, you'll be muted.
[18:42] mido Zu****n: i want fat girl can u help?
[18:42] Opal Lei: Why are you asking me?
[18:42] mido Zu****n: u said u can help
[18:43] Opal Lei: Well, how did you find my name in the first place?
[18:43] mido Zu****n: on map
[18:43] mido Zu****n: tp me
[18:43] Opal Lei: My name is not on the map.
[18:43] mido Zu****n: on mini map
[18:43] mido Zu****n: i find u
[18:43] Opal Lei: Why do you think I can help you find a fat girl?
[18:44] mido Zu****n: give me land mark to find fat girl
[18:44] Opal Lei: Sorry, I don't have a landmark.
[18:44] Opal Lei: Did you try Search?
[18:46] mido Zu****n: no use
[18:47] Opal Lei: Well, maybe there aren't any in SL.
[18:47] Opal Lei: Did you try World of Warcraft?
[18:48] mido Zu****n: funny
[18:48] Opal Lei: LOL
[18:48] mido Zu****n: so funny
[18:48] Opal Lei: You just got it?
He stopped talking to me after that. How rude! And I was trying to be helpful....

*grins*

Should anything happen to me

This is something I had already been thinking about for a couple of years. Since LL said that they would only release an account if it's in the deceased's will, I had been planning to write a will and include something about it there.

But my sister brought something up when I chatted with her today. She brought up the possibility that I may still be alive but incapacitated somehow. How do I let people in SL know?

So, during the past few hours, I've started a document that only she and I have access to, and she promised not to read it until I'm incapacitated or dead. It contains a list of people to notify in either case.

She also knows to give people the option to know my RL identity (as well as the names of my other alts) *after my death*, if they don't know it by then. It is an option because once-lovers might choose to preserve the fantasy. Of course, the option would also be available to friends.

Okay, enough of the morbid thoughts....

Fictional vs. virtual

Yesterday, I met a fictional heiress. She's a character in a novel. Since her friends (according to the book) tend to get assassinated, we agreed I'd be her "image consultant," instead of her friend.

Well, that brings up the question... Am I fictional too?

The character that my roleplay alt plays is fictional; that's easy enough. But is Opal fictional?

Virtuality blurs the line between fiction and non-fiction.

Two and a half years

I met Blue Tsuki at a sandbox in 2006. He was wearing an ornate texture for skin and he was building a stepped pyramid.

That Christmas, he gave me one of his works as a present. I've acquired many of his works since then, but this particular one is special because it's a gift.

It's a picture of a man wearing a hat under a big yellow rose. You can view it at the upper level of my glasshouse here. Because he gave it to me with Mod/Copy permissions, I have it up in my workloft as a triptych with the left and right side tinted red and green respectively.

As I was working on the vendors for my new mermaid tails, my brain was just pondering the fact that I love colors and the colors of that triptych matched the colors of the tails on the vendors. Then, a light bulb lit up....

The picture is beautiful by itself, and there was a certain ambience about it. But I never understood the connection between the man and the rose... until now.

I thought the man was a traveller because of his hat and what seems like a globe in front of him. He could very well be a traveller. But I thought he was taking his hat off (at the end of his travels) or putting it on (to start his travels), but the rose didn't quite connect.

It didn't occur to me that he could be tipping his hat. He was tipping his hat to the rose!

If that's what it is, this picture is one of the best executed compliments I've ever received!

And it took me only two and a half years to figure it out. :D

THANK YOU, BLUE!

Time... and, again, ...

A old friend (with privileges) blurted something out today that stunned me. Well, what he said didn't stun me. The fact that it sounded like a complaint stunned me. It was a comment about me wanting a lot of time.

I only ask for two things from lovers -- their time and brutal honesty.

The men who strike a chord in me are the ones who wish they could spend more time with me but couldn't. The ones who frustrate me the most are the ones who refuse to spend more time with me because they're on a schedule. The difference is very subtle. To the men in the first category, I am important enough in their lives that they consider the time they spend with me as precious. To the men in the second category, I'm just another appointment. Or worse, a time sink. And sometimes I wonder why they even bother to IM me in the first place.

The biggest compliment I've ever received from a man is when he told me he missed his plane because he was talking to me. He was supposed to take that flight to a very important meeting, and he had to rent a private plane to get there on time. But he had no regrets; he said talking to me was worth it. And we never had sex either; it was just regular conversation.

I realize that it really is less a matter of time and more a matter of prioritization. And I've read a quote in many profiles that said something like this: Do not give priority to someone for whom you are only an option.

*sigh*

/me trims her priority list.

Isn't it roman... Please turn off your hair...

Imagine you're on a romantic date in a beautiful sim. You and your lover have your settings on midnight. Other couples have found their own little nooks all over the sim. Then suddenly, someone teleports nearby with glowing hair.

What on earth?!?

:D No, that didn't happen to me. What really happened was that I set to midnight and realized that *I* was the glowingest creature around. Yes, glowing hair is nice. But only if the sun is up! When set to midnight, I look like a clown sans the red nose!

I mean I *love* the hair styles made by this particular merchant, but it's a pain to turn off full bright, especially since SL tends to miss a number of prims in an object that has about a hundred prims. And I'm sure you know how big a pain it is to edit a specific prim hidden behind several alpha prims. Click,... ooops, no, not that one... click,... ooops, no, not that one... click,.... And if you turn on transparencies, you can't see which one is glowing.

Anyway, I'm just griping. I really do love these styles, even though I have to do a bit more work on them. Thankfully, they're Mod.

"if i would be married in SL..."

"if i would be married in SL with somebody ... for sure that will be with you ..."

I have issues. Everybody who knows me already knows that. The problem is that my issues conflict with each other. You see, I've had abandonment issues since I was a toddler. And after my divorce, I developed this long-term-commitment phobia. Pull. Push.

All I wanted to do was to give the Captain a gift, so, yesterday, I took him to the A.I.Friends store so he can pick out a kitten that looks like his RL cat.

Then, out of the blue, he asked me how SL pregnancy works because one of his friends mentioned that she and her boyfriend are gonna go through the SL pregnancy thing. So, I explained how it's done.

I offered to show him the pregnancy clinics and some prim babies. He declined saying that he is already a parent irl and he doesn't need it in SL. But he added that, if I wanted to, he would. I was touched.

Then as we continued talking about why women would go through that with a prim baby, he suddenly said, "if i would be married in SL with somebody ... for sure that will be with you ...". This time, I was stunned.

I was speechless. This was more serious than the pregnancy offer. And I was confused in more ways than one.

First confusion, he allows me to have other lovers and I see a partnership as being exclusive. I would have thought that he'd ask for exclusivity first.

Second, I love the man dearly. I adore him. I admire him. He is incredibly good to me. But I take partnerships very seriously, even if it's only in SL. The only time I partnered, it was only symbolic, because that partnership agreement was limited only to those alts and we promptly put those alts to sleep.

I think the cricket started chirping very loudly at that point and that added to the confusion in my head.

The Captain sensed that I was getting nervous about the whole discussion. So, he clarified that, no, he wasn't proposing. But I had a feeling that, even if he wasn't proposing then, he was testing the waters.

To tell the truth, if he really really wanted a partnership, I'd likely say yes anyway and deal with my own issues later.

*sigh*

/me prepares to wrestle with the cricket again.

Opal Flu

He said that my eroticism is dangerous, because it is infectious. :D Nobody has ever said that to me before. And he said it very gravely. I'm talking about the Captain, btw.

It's strange that after I met the new guy (I'll call him "Punny" because of his puns), I appreciate the Captain even more. And it's not just because Punny makes me groan, instead of moan. (Ha!) It's that the Captain treats me like a queen. He always has, since I met him.

Even with the language difficulty, he still finds the right words and says the most heartwarming things. He is gentlemanly to the point of being chivalrous; I wouldn't be surprised if he donned an armor and challenged someone to a joust to defend my honor. He prepares for our private roleplays carefully and meticulously as though he were preparing a feast for esteemed guests.

Lora says I'm spoiled... She has no idea....

Avatar lookalikes

Almost two years ago, I had this conversation with Lora (I was wearing one of my mermaid tails.):
[2007/08/29 20:44] Lora Chadbourne: I saw a woman at the store today who looks like your avie :)
[2007/08/29 20:44] Lora Chadbourne: with legs
[2007/08/29 20:45] Opal Lei: What's the name.
[2007/08/29 20:45] Lora Chadbourne: RL honey
[2007/08/29 20:45] Opal Lei: Oh. :D
[2007/08/29 20:45] Opal Lei: lol
[2007/08/29 20:45] Lora Chadbourne: I did a double take
[2007/08/29 20:45] Opal Lei: You mean she didn't have a tag over her head? lol
[2007/08/29 20:45] Lora Chadbourne: it was like, there's Opal! :)
[2007/08/29 20:45] Lora Chadbourne: lol
[2007/08/29 20:45] Opal Lei: lol

Yesterday, the Captain said he saw a young woman (probably in her mid-twenties) who looked just like my RP alt, with the same face, the same hair, and the same "hippy skirt" as he calls it. He didn't get a very good look because he saw her for only about a minute. He said she must have felt uncomfortable and so turned away from him.

What's with these real life people imitating my avatars?!? ;)

The Captain said he would let me know if he sees a RL woman who looks like my sex alt. :D I said he wouldn't. Because his heart is bound to my RP alt, not to my sex alt.

He had been away for the whole week, popping in briefly once on Thursday. He was so busy, he didn't even have time to RP via email with me. And when I talked to him via Skype yesterday, he was sniffling; he has a cold. Poor baby.

And to top all that, I had to give him some news -- that I met someone.

The Captain took the news calmly as I knew he would. He wanted me to promise him I would be happy. I said I couldn't promise that, but I promised I would try. His generosity of spirit still overwhelms me.

I don't know how serious this new affair would be and it wouldn't change things much yet, except that I may not be as available to the Captain. Right now, the only reason I'm entertaining this new affair is that this new guy is unattached irl -- a widower. So I won't have to deal with the cricket there.

Look into my eyes...



You are getting veeeeeeerrrryyyy sleeeeeeeppppyyyy ....

I got tired of ordinary eyes. I think I'll wear this for a while and see how many people I can hypnotize.

(There's a processed version of this photo on Flickr.)

Psyche messages

I read somewhere that we get a lot of messages from our psyche about what we need to know. And these are very subtle messages, like dreams.

Sometimes, the messages come in a song that comes into your head out of the blue. Sometimes, it's a picture that mesmerizes you. And, sometimes, it's something that someone said. It may be mundane to them, but it strikes a chord in you.

That happened today.


Realize - Colbie Caillat

Pretty prim prosthetics

Today, I bought feet. The sculpty kind.

The first time I saw prim toes, Lora was wearing peep-toe pumps. It looked cool and it was very well done.

Then I saw the strappy sandals with the whole foot as a sculpty on one of the MODA models. It looked like she was wearing prosthetics. Someone else said it was because of my viewer, and she sent me a picture showing that the prim shade matched the skin shade. I didn't think it was my viewer but I wasn't going to argue with a photo. Since I started creating mermaid tails, I knew that SL rendered the shading on prims differently than on system clothing. Well, in the recording of the show, her prim feet looked just like I saw them, like prosthetics.

Well, a few weeks ago, I found the same strappy sandals with prim feet on SLX on sale for 99L for a megapack. Who's gonna say no to a price like that? :D Well, I never wore them. LOL

Today, I was styling an outfit for Monday's show and was chatting with Lovis about having a hard time deciding what shoes to wear with one of the outfits. I joked that I'd just go barefoot, and Lovis suggested Slink, which had prim bare feet. So, 500L later and some tweaking of colors and options, it still looks like prosthetics. And it would have looked worse if I followed the instructions that came with it.

So, here's what it looks like in the Windlight settings that the feet creator recommended when adjusting the skin tone.

See how flat the Windlight settings makes everything look?

Now, here's what it looks like with the "Midday 1" setting.

You see that my right foot is already showing a discrepancy in skin tone, but the left foot is still okay.

And finally, here's what it looks like with the "Fine Day" setting and scene gamma set to 10.

See the difference between the lighted side of the foot and the same side of the leg?

Even when you cover up the seam between the leg and the foot (as I did on the left foot), it will still look odd. So I'm thinking these prim feet only look good on one side. Whichever side you match the color on, that's where it'll look good.

I guess it's a matter of choosing which ugliness you can live with -- prosthetics or fused toes.

But for tomorrow's show, I'm wearing prosthetics. :D

I hope you're smilin'

I discovered this song through my YouTube subscriptions. I'm linking to the original by "krabbers" and covers by my two favorite uke players.

"... a chapter has to end before another chapter can begin ..."







PS: I'm helping lisaxy come into SL to perform when she gets the time. We need uke players in SL. :D

A spiritual moment in SL

I went to the Basilica Cardinale Cathedral to take some on-location pictures of the bridal gown from the WedEx'09 fashion show.

When I got there, there was a sermon going on. I wasn't sure if it was for real, or if it was roleplay. The priest is Recaredo Zebendein. At first I wondered if he was a bot, then he stood up from the pulpit, went up to the altar, then back to the pulpit. Then I looked up his profile and it said that he's "a friar of the dominican order". If it were roleplay, he would not specify the order he belongs to. In a roleplay, that detail doesn't matter.

One other person knelt in the front, wearing a brown monk's robe and holding a rosary. He was listening to the sermon.

There was something about the scene, that made me pause. In fact, it gave me a slight shiver. It wasn't the visual aspect of the cathedral; I've been there before. It was a certain ambience, for lack of a better word. A certain energy around the two men. There was a solemnness that I hadn't witnessed in SL before.

The friar was typing in Spanish, but he had a translator on. He was speaking about the work of paradise.

In the end, he gave us a verse to reflect on and it was about the tree of knowledge of good and evil which Adam and Eve were not supposed to eat from.

Then something clicked, like a synapses forming between two concepts. The knowledge of good and evil is the Buddhist concept of duality. That is the "original sin" -- duality.

You know that sense that there's a message in circumstances around you? The tingly feeling when synchronicity was at work? I had that feeling. And I have a feeling that there's a deeper message behind that "duality" click. A more personal message. I just haven't figured it out yet.

It's just strange. I've experienced spiritual moments like this in real life, but this is the first time I've felt it in SL.

I think my SL just crossed another threshold.

Loading...

Dreams used to own a photography studio next to my Ms.O.Lei-ny store. We had this conversation today (she said it's okay to publish it):
[21:49] Dreams Demonia: what ya think of my RL pic in my profile?
[21:49] Opal Lei: Loading
[21:50] Dreams Demonia: yeah
[21:50] Opal Lei: Loading ...
[21:50] Dreams Demonia: yeah
[21:50] Opal Lei: Loading ...
[21:50] Dreams Demonia: that is the pic
[21:50] Opal Lei: Ooooooh, I get it.
[21:50] Opal Lei: LOL
[21:50] Dreams Demonia: LOL
[21:50] Opal Lei: I love it!
[21:50] Dreams Demonia: hahahahahahaha

If you want a copy of that texture, she's giving it away for free. Go to the Ms.O.Lei-ny main store and look for a gray box.

If you like it, just find her in Search and drop a few Lindens on her. :D

When he lied, I cried

I have this little script that I wrote when I was with mfpwtff. It wasn't meant to be used for spying. I wrote it before he met Opal, so that he would know if I was logged into my other alts, and so that I would know when he's logged in while I was in my other alts. That way, he can either wait a few minutes for me until I join him, or he can assume that I'm asleep and do something else.

The past couple of months, my sex alt has had a few regular lovers who were European, so the scheduling was a bit tricky. So, I used this script for that. The Captain was one of those lovers. Even though he is now in Opal's friends list, he still doesn't know the identities of all my alts, so I use that tracker still.

Then the other morning, I was surprised to see his name pop up in that tracker, but when I looked for his name in my friends list to say hi, it showed him as offline. Thinking he must have logged in and out quickly, I checked my chat history. Nothing. So, I figured he wanted some privacy, so I left him alone.

Just to clarify, he and I have no agreement to be exclusive to each other. We had agreed to that arrangement even before he met Opal, because he cannot guarantee how much time he can be inworld for me, and he understands the reason I have a sex alt in the first place.

But, two hours later, he sent me an IM. This time, SL said he was online. And then he said, "i logged just to give you a hug."

Uh-huh.

He couldn't stay long, but I confronted him about it anyway. I said that all I ask from him is honesty. I reminded him that he has no commitment to me; therefore, he has no reason to lie. He promised he would never lie to me again. Then he had to go.

After he left, I cried.

And I couldn't understand why the pain was disproportionate to the transgression. It was really just a white lie. He said he was shopping for some items. But even if he were with another woman, I really wouldn't have cared; I don't consider him "mine" outside of the roleplay. And then I realized what it was....

During my undergrad, we were required to read "Sula" by Toni Morisson. In the story, Sula sleeps with her best friend Nel's husband. Nel later realizes that it wasn't the loss of her husband that hurt her more; it was the loss of her friendship with Sula. It was that feeling of suddenly losing a deep connection with the slash of a betrayal.

I had trusted the Captain with my secrets. That small white lie made me wonder if I was wrong to trust him. So, instead of revealing more of me, I would be holding back. The deepening of a friendship averted.

Now, I understand why Jaime, two years ago, mourned when all I did was copy and paste a simple conversation we had and share it with someone else. He had given me advice that I thought would help someone else. But that sharing of his words, which I didn't ask permission for, caused him to lose trust in me and threatened the friendship. I didn't understand it then, but I sensed it. It was a matter of trust.


I wonder if I still have that book somewhere....

Giant gardenias for St. George's Day

He asked me what my favorite flower was. The first man to ever ask me that question in SL.

Then, today, I got a huge bouquet of giant gardenias, because he can't log in on Saint George's Day (April 23), which is apparently the equivalent of St. Valentine's Day in his country.

*sigh*



"He" is a new lover. Well, not so new really. I first met him in early March through my sex alt. Very kind, very gentlemanly. And a sexy avie even with newbie skin and system hair! (Well, we've updated him since then, of course.)

For more than a month, he didn't know anything about me, except that I'm a woman and that I am (in his words) "very very very erotic". Then one night (or early morning SLT), we did a brief roleplay just for kicks -- he was a ship's captain and I was a ... mermaid! (Did you expect anything else?)

As we talked, I realized it was probably better to switch him over to my RP alt. Besides, we've become friends and we didn't want to lose that friendship. So I told him that I would introduce him to my other alts where I am more open about myself and that it was up to him which alt he preferred to be with.

He met Opal first and I showed him the work I do. He was already making up his mind; I think he was still preferring my sex alt. Then I introduced him to my RP alt, and she changed his mind. :) To him, my RP alt's character represented "freedom, dangerous freedom but very attractive". And so, he and my RP alt have been in roleplay since. Not very often, since he's busier now, but we RP in email too.

Because he is married, I made him promise me that he wouldn't fall in love with me and he promised. (mfpwtff says, "goodlukwiddat". :D That was the best backhanded compliment I ever heard. :D)

Now, if only I could smell these gardenias....



That conversation with mfpwtff actually started out about something going on with Mer Betta; I badly needed a friend to talk to and he was the only one who was logged in that early and close enough to me to confide in. Earlier that morning, Kyota (Mermaid Temple) made me aware of another mermaid tail seller who has been stealing design elements from other mermaid designers and mixing them up. I can prove that the thief took a picture of one of my tails and simply modified it to make hers. She made enough changes so that it doesn't look like my tails, but she didn't make enough changes with designs she stole from other designers. At least one of those other designers had filed a report with LL already. I'm still talking to people to get advice about this before I decide what to do.

My Captain (that's what I'll call this new lover from now on in this blog) was trying to make me feel better with these flowers. *sigh*

To twit or not to twit

Last week, I received an invitation to start a Plurk account. I already got a Plurk invitation months ago from the another friend, the same one who introduced me to Twitter.

So I already have a Twitter for my real life. And I'm still trying to decide if I want to start a Twitter for Opal. You see, microblogging is like writing a status report for your boss in your real life work. The more time you spend reporting, the less time you actually *do* work.

Opal has a Facebook account but not much activity there either, because, well, it seems odd. Facebook is a social network, Second Life is a social network, and Opal is a persona inside Second Life. So, Opal's Facebook becomes the social network for a character in another social network. Social networking on top of social networking.

I once received a friendship request from someone who's not even in Second Life. He was intrigued by the avatar picture. But I refused to accept the friendship offer unless he came into SL and met me avatar-to-avatar. LOL. Unfortunately, his machine cannot handle SL, which is too bad because he sounded like a very interesting man. But the problem is that social interaction on the web now seems pale in comparison to social interaction in SL. Even if I accepted his friendship, I rarely go into Facebook, so I wouldn't be interacting with him much anyway.

Besides, I *hate* Facebook's design. There's too much junk! What's with all these quizzes that don't mean anything and gifts that you can't use? The interface is so cluttered and the navigation is so convoluted that you can't find the link to what you actually need.

Anyway, back to Twitter and Plurk.... I have, in fact, already explored Plurk. Alt #9 has (unused) accounts in both. And Plurk's "karma" reminds me of chain emails.... "If you don't invite ten of your friends to join in the next ten minutes, you will die...." I'm exaggerating, of course, but you know what I mean.

However, there *is* value in Twittering. It saves me time by broadcasting to friends and family that I'm still alive and well. And it saves *them* time from sifting through my blog, especially since you can receive twits to your cellphone. I won't be sending twits from my cellphone for Opal's account though, because you can only associate one Twitter account with each cellphone number. But I could use it for short bursts of wisdom (or smart ass-ness). On the other hand, I can do those short bursts here in this blog too.

Hmmmmm.... Let me think some more about it.

mfpwtff

We have been saying goodbye since early February. Coming and going. Wanting and rejecting. Fighting and making up. And with each goodbye, we get closer. Ironic that.

Tonight, we had another one of those quasi-goodbyes. Just as tender as the last one, but we decided not to prolong it; otherwise, we'd end up crying all night again and I might end up naked with a white veil again.

But this time, it feels better, the air is clearer. And I think it's partly because of the reason this time -- he'll be working on his marriage. His wife had committed to it and so he is committing to it. And I can't help but admire him for that.

So I step back. The friendship remains; we're not giving that up. But it will just be in the back burner, so I don't distract his efforts.

Surprisingly, I am truly happy. Because this means real-life happiness for him, not just a fantasy. And his happiness makes me happy. And, to top it off, the cricket is happy, because he's feeding the cricket now. So, no matter what happens after this, the cricket will forever be quiet with regards to him.


Up Where We Belong - Joe Cocker

tgyi, mfpwtff.


I never really gave him a nickname in this blog. I *do* have a nickname for him that came out of a conversation a long time ago, and I've tacked it on, somewhat mysteriously, at the bottom of a previous post. But it's long and it's a secret, so it's in code -- "mfpwtff". Don't ask me what the other four letters are; that's a secret code too. :D

Update two hours later: If I am so happy, why is this pain here?

Beauty is in the eye of ...

HiHo did a MODA Spotlight show this past Monday featuring RFyre. After the show, Mak commanded him (in the public voice channel) to meet her in the backroom later. LOL

Anyway, the models got gift cards from RFyre, with instructions to send transaction records to Harper Beresford. Well, HiHo handed his gift card over to Opal, since, well, he doesn't need any clothes. And Opal went shopping last night then sent the transaction records and the gift card back to Harper.

This morning, Harper sent HiHo the refund and an offline IM with a rhetorical question: "... and how come women make better male avatars?!?!?" LOL

Well, I have a theory. Or two. Or three.

Theory #1

When Alt #9 was taking the then-newly-born BF #2 around to look for hair, I commented, "You notice that when you see men shopping, there's usually a woman with them?" His response was "that's to keep the men from running out and blowing clothes money on a rod and reel ... or a shot gun ... or a pair of yosemite sam mud flaps for the truck ...." So, you can ask a guy where you can buy the best HUD for anything (especially sex HUDs) or the best TV screen and he'll give you a long list of vendors with pros and cons. But if you ask him where you can buy the best skin or shoes, he'll give you the one or two places where he got his, if you're lucky.

That's also why most male avatars look alike. They all went to the same store. (I'm kidding! I'm kidding! I know there are so few good male skins out there. LOL)

Theory #2

There's this book about self-identity (but unfortunately, I can't remember the title and it's hidden somewhere in this pile of boxes in my living room) and it says that women generally think they're fatter than they really are and men think they're in better shape than they really are. So, men generally don't have issues about how they look. And they come into SL thinking they're pretty good-looking and so try to make their avatars look like their real selves. And, ummm, let's just say that it doesn't translate well to the medium.

Either that or they get some satisfaction in the fact that a drop-dead gorgeous woman (virtual though she may be) would be so willing to hop into the sack with someone who looks like him.

Meanwhile, women who make male avatars are trying to recreate their dream boat, so, yeah, he'll look better than your average guy.

Theory #3

I think men tend to drink a few beers before they tackle the unpleasant task of modifying their avatar. Capos Calderwood (aka Alex Whitmore irl) has a song that goes, "Beauty... it's in the eye of the beerholder... Tonight we'll drink until we look okay..." So they just keep drinking until their avatar looks okay.

*grins*


Now, keep in mind that this doesn't apply to ALL men; I'm just generalizing. Besides, tbh, I've actually seen quite a few really good ones out there, created by men without any help from a woman. Unfortunately, as Kit and I were lamenting just last night, most of them are gay.

*sighs*

On the other hand, some men know enough to ask a woman for help and so end up looking like a young Robert Redford.

*swoons*

On cruise control

Yesterday, I made a decision. Yesterday, I decided to move on.

I could have just moved on without a word, as I'm sure he has. But I don't want another "I wish I knew" night that complicates life. I don't want another misunderstanding. So I sent him an email yesterday. He hasn't replied to my emails for a while now, and I'm not expecting a response to that one either. But it served its purpose; it was an act of release, of letting go.

I could have listened to what Anna had been advising for years. I could have preserved my boundaries and kept him with my sex alt. But then I would have missed out on an incredible emotional experience. And, most importantly, I would have missed out on a potential great friendship.

But life is a one-lane road. Sometimes, other roads run alongside for a while, and then they veer off to other directions. But there's that deep serenity when you're driving solo. You can hear your own thoughts. You can enjoy the scenery. The world is at peace.

/me sets the cruise control, turns on the music, and breathes.

I happened

This past relationship was stranger than previous ones because there were too many synchronicities around us. But there was also another reason -- something about him reminded me often of my RL ex-husband. Superficially, they are very different. But their *souls* feel the same.

And I think that's why this breakup is so complicated. There's a lot of emotional connections weaving in and out of the whole mess. At least on my side. It's not just about *this* specific relationship; it's also about a past marriage.

Today, I felt emotions that I thought I had already dealt with almost a decade ago during my divorce. The emotions were still as strong, but they came and went in a span of a few hours, instead of months. It just took me by surprise that this SL breakup would trigger an RL memory so strongly.

When I was going through my divorce and for months afterwards, I withdrew from friends and family. It's how I deal with grief, how I deal with pain. Somehow, I've opened up to a lot of friends this time around and most have given me advice. But most importantly, they've given me a shoulder to cry on, a hug for soothing, a dance for distraction. I will always be very grateful for those.

And I am also grateful for the funny responses to my blog entry. Be said, "Opal ... that entry can be an entire movie :)". Meanwhile, Anna simply sent me a picture of a train wreck. She always claimed that, because of my SL relationships, I'm a train wreck waiting to happen.

Well, I guess I happened.

If only...

Kyota just sent out this video link in a notice to her group. It's her new marketing video, titled "Fairy's Dust who heals disappointed love".

Of course, I went and bought the fairy. You never know. Might be true.

/me hangs on to the smallest sliver of hope.

The cricket's thumb

Sometimes, friends remember things I've said that have impacted their lives, even if I don't remember saying them. Sometimes, friends say things that have impacted *my* life, even if they didn't think anything of it. Oftentimes, it takes a while before the impact hits me.

Howard pinged me yesterday after reading my last blog entry. So, I figured I'd get his advice and the conversation got to why a man would hide his virtual affairs from his wife, even though he claims that she doesn't care about him anymore. Howard's response was essentially that the man still loves his wife and still wants to spend his life with her, and he doesn't want to jeopardize that, whether he is aware of it or not.

I had to let Howard go when Lover logged in. I wanted to know where we stood. I had separated Alt #9 from the rest of me and put her to sleep, so that I could be free to be with someone else. Now that there's only him again, the question becomes: Does Alt #9's partnership to his alt also means that Opal is partnered to his main as well? And when he cannot come into SL anymore, do we continue in email?

He said okay about continuing in email, just to appease me. I sensed a reluctance and that's not what I wanted. Certainly, there were logistics issues, but, if he really wanted me, those issues were very minor. He explained that he already lost me, that he "cried [his] ass off over [me]", that he didn't expect the Hitchhiker would release me, and that he's still stunned from that news.

I had a chat with Lora later in the evening, and she kinda confirmed what Howard said, even though I asked her a different question altogether. I think they're both right.

I had a sense that the Hitchhiker coming into my life provided Lover a good reason to make his exit. It eased his guilt for leaving. But when the Hitchhiker exited stage left before he could complete his own exit, he was stuck with me in his hands and now he doesn't know what to do with me.

To be honest, I feel like a hot potato.

Then, today, it hit me. The same words that the Hitchhiker said to me apply just as well with my lover. I need to step aside myself so that Lover could work on his marriage.

And, here, I thought the cricket had been unusually quiet the past three months. Little did I know that he was just waiting right outside the parking lot with his thumb out, hitching a ride.

tgyi, mfpwtff

Shakespearean tragedy, anyone?

These past few days have been overwhelmingly emotional and I'm exhausted. But I feel peace.


The Hitchhiker

On Saturday, I took out my sex alt after a long time. Well, technically, I took her out earlier to do some freebie hunt but gave up before finishing it. But this weekend, I was trawling. I met several men but none stuck, except one with a gentle face and with gentle words in his profile. I pinged him and we went to his home.

We chatted quite a bit and I was stunned that he was laying himself bare emotionally so fast. He was already thinking a year down the road, and we had only met. We spent all night together, chatting, having sex, then chatting some more. He was so sweet, so wonderful, so caring. My broken heart needed a home and he offered one. I figured it was worth a try.

Before midnight, I had made a commitment to be exclusive to him. By the morning, I had introduced him to Opal.

He read my last blog entry and said, "so you pulled out of the parking lot and there I was with my thumb out :)". :D


"I wish I knew"

On Sunday, I received an email from my last affair. He was apologizing for being harsh on me. He explained that he hasn't been dealing with RL well and he took it out on me and other people. And he asked forgiveness. I decided to wait until later in the evening before responding. I had too many things to get done and I was meeting up with the Hitchhiker again.

But, as I was saying goodnight to the Hitchhiker, my last affair sent IMs reiterating his email. I decided to wait until after my goodbyes before responding, but he said "bye" so I quickly responded and told him to wait. When the Hitchhiker logged off, I replied that I wasn't mad at him and that I never saw his behavior as taking anything out on me and we started talking.

It was 11pm SLT.

I told him that I had met someone new, and he said he was happy for me.

I told him how painful the past few weeks had been, especially since that day he rejected me. And that's when we realized we've made wrong assumptions.

He explained that, with all the stresses of his own RL and crises that friends were going through, he hit a point where he couldn't deal with it anymore and, in his words, he "imploded". The day he refused to see me, I assumed he never wanted to see me again. So I said "take care of yourself", which he took to mean *I* never wanted to see *him* again.

I said, "I wish I knew." He said, "me too ... i wish i knew".

I was going to transfer out some things from Alt #9's inventory that night, then I was going to put her to sleep. He said he decided to put his private alt (BF #2) to sleep with #9 too. So we logged into those alts one last time. I was already crying.

We talked about things that was good about our relationship, what we were grateful for. We reminisced about good times. We said things that we wanted to say but never did. Good things. Painful things. Emotional things. We laughed. We cried. We made promises to remain friends and stay in touch. And we kept repeating, "I wish I knew."

Knowing might have bought us only a few more chances to be together, but we regretted that misunderstanding anyway. He still would have to leave SL soon. But every chance to be together was so precious. "I wish I knew."

I saw him log in and out a few times, but he didn't try to contact me. I took that as confirmation of my assumptions, so I didn't try to contact him either. And he never bothered to read my blog so he didn't know how I really felt. "I wish I knew."

He said he had seen me log my sex alt in with an online indicator HUD a couple of days before. And he went to the same jazz club where we first met, hoping to "bump" into me. He didn't ping me because he was afraid I really didn't want to see him anymore. "I wish I knew."

We compared our situation with "Romeo and Juliet". They too had misunderstandings and they both ended up dead. "I wish I knew."

He said, who knows, maybe there would be a next time, so we hung our hopes on that "next time" as we hung on to each other.


An idea

I reminded him of his promise to meet up again on my alt's third rez day. He asked when that was so I opened up the profile window to check. At the same time, I decided to update her profile to reflect that she would be "sleeping". And he updated his alt's profile as well.

Then a bulb lit up.

If my alt was intended for him and his alt was intended only for me, and they were both going to be put to sleep anyway, why not partner them? It would only be symbolic because those alts would be inactive anyway, but what an awesome symbol it would be! He agreed without any hesitation.

I had never partnered before in any of my alts, because I consider partnering in SL to be equivalent to being engaged in real life. He promised himself he would never partner again. And, yet, there we were, getting partnered on the spur of the moment.

When I said I would have to search for a gown in my inventory, he said, "just get naked and keep the boots on." :D So, while he was drafting his proposal, I found a white pair of thigh-high boots in Opal's inventory and sent them over. I also used the Mer Betta Pasithea veils, pearls, and gloves. Thankfully, Lora logged in as I was frantically searching for a bouquet on SLX. She lent me a transferrable bouquet from her inventory.

He logged his main alt back in to be his best man. I logged Opal back in to be my maid-of-honor, but she didn't stay long because I was lagging badly.

I accepted his proposal at 8am, February 23, 2009.

After accepting his proposal, we kissed, took pictures, dismissed his best man (Opal was already gone), and cuddled and talked some more. I asked if he remembered my blog about "Heart Gravel"; he did. Then I said, he gets two -- one now, one later. And he said he'd hold me to that. :D

More cuddling, more pictures, more talk, more reminiscing. Until we were both too tired to keep our eyes open. Then our alts said goodnight and went to sleep.

It was 10:18am SLT.




Aftermath

However, the idea had its consequences, including breaking my word. After the MODA fashion show, I met with the Hitchhiker again as we had planned and I told him what had happened overnight. I asked for his forgiveness and gave him the choice to decide whether to continue the relationship or end it.

His response was very perceptive, very kind, very wise, and very gracious. His own words:
You have a strong tie with this man and you have history with him
your heart is in his hands not mine
I free you from our commitment so that you can bring this love you share to a proper and fitting conclusion
whether it be in parting or in finding a way
I must step aside
And I am going to do so

I know I broke his heart. How badly, I have no idea. But at this point, I could not love him as he deserves to be loved. For his wisdom and his graciousness, he has my gratitude and deep respect.


One more synchronicity

A lot of synchronistic coincidences marked most of the last three months. Not ordinary coincidences either and way too many to be attributed to chance.

Today, one more strange thing happened.

While we were getting ready for the practice run-through for the MODA fashion show, my cellphone rang and I ran off to pick it up. It was my mom. I told her I was busy all night and promised to call her back tomorrow. But wondering if it was some sort of emergency, I asked if she needed anything quick.

She replied, "Oh, nothing, I just had a dream about you last night in a wedding gown...."

Pulling out of the parking lot

A lot has happened in my life the past few months. It's not that I haven't had time to write or that I haven't had anything to write. It's just that the emotions have been too intense and jumbled that I couldn't write.

My recent affair had officially ended a couple of weeks ago for RL reasons. We expected the break up from the start, and the affair went on longer than we thought it would. But for some reason, the separation is much more painful and much more difficult to get over with than my usual short-term relationships. We continued to see each other when he could log in, but, a couple of days ago, he flatly refused to see me.

I understood. Continuing to see each other just prolongs the healing process. Except that the rejection was so damned painful....

I think I've changed. I think the flavor-of-the-month flings are not likely going to happen anymore. I think I'm ready to venture out of the parking lot now and try the side streets at a faster speed.

Everybody, out of the way! Crazy woman driving!

By the way, you might notice that I changed the layout of this blog to a more subdued green. I even changed the title of the blog; I've always wanted to use that pun somewhere. :)

I don't need rescuing, ty.

I was roaming the grid yesterday. *sigh* It's been a long long while since I last went exploring. And this wasn't really for fun. I was looking for new land for Mer Betta -- one with real water. Well, okay, one with *Linden* water.

Anyway, in my explorations, I found this nice secluded little island in a sim owned by Governor Linden. Well, it just *looked* secluded.

While I was replying to an offline IM, a helicopter came by. It was a Search and Rescue helicopter. Or, that's what the pilot's group tag said. I IM'd the pilot and joked that I didn't need rescuing and that I'd send a big SOS if I did. The pilot sent me a link to their group's website and said that they were a non-profit. So, that peaked my interest and started asking if they were a real-life organization.

Long story short, it was a roleplay but he refused to call it that. They "rescue" avatars who were being griefed or who are lost. But they refuse to teleport; they only use vehicles.

After more questions, I found out that he also belongs to another group he calls the "3rd life church", and, again, he refused to call it "roleplay". Apparently, "3rd life church" members aim to separate themselves (the avatars) from their humans, and he said that artificial intelligence is a step towards it. (Pinocchio, anyone? Or even the movie "AI"?) At the end of the conversation, he said he had to send his human to bed. And we said our goodbyes.

Not ten minutes later, here comes a Search and Rescue boat.... *sigh*

Oh, btw, that IM I was responding to was an invitation to a Valentine's Ball for dragons in the Isle of Wyrm, and they wanted to invite mermaids. I think I'll forward the invitation to the Search and Rescue team; the mermaids might need some rescuing from the dragons....