Muted whisper

Once upon a time, I met a whisper and fell in love with him.

It is difficult to describe what we had then. But I know for certain that it is one of those unnamed things that are the best that virtual worlds can offer.

It's like Pinocchio becoming a real boy. It was a fantasy, a roleplay, that has become so emotionally intense and has taken root deep into our psyches that it has become real. Not real as to be part of the "real world", but real nonetheless.

I spoke with him in Skype today. As we would in real life. He said that he deleted the account. And I cried. I cried as though a real lover had died.

I wanted to tell him that I love him, but those words in the context of "real life" feels disrespectful of his real life. All I could do was thank him, but even those words aren't enough for the tremendous impact his presence made in my life. And when I tried to give homage to what we had, every word I said merely trivialized the experience.

What we have of this virtual world is so flimsy, so fragile, so transient. And places and people are gone with one click. Places and people that mean so much to us. Places and people who have been significant in our virtual lives.

And it seems so unfair that they could easily be gone just like that. With no warning, no preamble.

The whisper turned into silence.

And I grieve.

Time wasters

I broke up with Yes Man a couple of days ago. He admitted that he was roleplaying; I was taking it seriously.

I am very disappointed, to say the least. I had specifically detailed out what I expect in my relationships. Not just in Opal's profile but also in Alt #11's profile. He met Alt #11 first. He knows me from my most anonymous alt to my RL. He read my blog almost in its entirety. We had been talking almost every night for two months.

And yet, when I repeated exactly what I said in Opal's profile verbatim,...

Love me ...
... only if you understand that SL is NOT a game, because it isn't to me and my heart is not a plaything.
... only if you understand that SL is NOT separate from RL, and commitments made in SL have the same weight as commitments made in RL. Meeting me in a virtual world doesn't make me less human or less worthy of respect than people you meet in real life.

... his reply was, "Well, people say 'things' in their profiles." So he thought I was lying in my profile?!? Even after reading my blog extensively and talking to me for two months?!?

How else could I make it clearer what I expect? I put it out there for people to read in so many places. If people ignore it and assume it's a lie, even when there is so much evidence supporting it, is it a wonder that they cause a disaster?

This is why drama happens!

You try to be straighforward with people and they lie to you and assume that you're lying to them to justify their own lies. WTF?!?

If someone specifically says they're NOT playing, and you're a player, do the world a favor and keep walking. Playing is a legitimate use of this platform, and that's fine. But please don't impose your games on those of us who already made it clear that we're not playing. You're wasting our time with your games.

*sigh*

That said, Yes Man was a good lover. He was considerate and consistent and thoughtful and attentive, and he made me happy with his presence and his smiles and our conversations. Too bad it was just a game to him.

Well, if nothing else, he remains a friend. How good a friend remains to be seen.

A bow to the people of United in Style

How I got involved

The past two weeks, I had been participating in the United in Style event, an ambitious project involving fashion designers, models, musicians/DJs, emcees, show production people, and other supporting folks, culminating in three full days of musical shows and fashion shows.

When I found out about it, I figured I'd offer to walk as a backup model. I didn't want to participate as a designer, because I don't have much time with all the RL travel and projects I have until August, and I already participated in two other events as a designer earlier this year (the Fashion for Life clothing fair and the Fantasy Faire). And I also said that I couldn't start until the end of June when I came back from a 3-week travel.

At first, I was assigned one outfit designed by the amazing Sonatta Morales. Then, somehow, with all the people leaving for various reasons, I ended up with increasingly more responsibilities, some of which I volunteered for, just to keep Prissy Price (the founder of the event) from panicking. So I got a second outfit to walk, two teams to coordinate, which grew to four teams, and four other teams to help out with, emcee scripts to compile and distribute, music streams to collect, two group photos to take and process, three days of helping direct models/emcees/musicians/DJs during the shows, and an hour taking over as emcee at the last minute. Thank goodness, they didn't ask me to sing.


I am in awe

Some people called the event a disaster. Many people forget that it's not about them, that it's about raising funds for cancer research, that it's about saving real lives.

The project was chaotic, yes.
There was lack of communication all around, yes.
It could be improved in so many ways, yes.
It fell way short of its fundraising goal, yes.

It may have been a disaster, but it wasn't a failure. Not from my perspective. It would only be a failure, if we don't get anything good out of it. Personally, I did. Because, in those two weeks, I met many amazing people and I was awed.

"The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges.”
- Martin Luther King Jr.

Both the teams in the Evening category -- "Breathless" and "Nocturnals" -- recovered well after being abandoned by designers. I bow to their resourcefulness.

Even Breathless's DJ Xerxes Ixtar recovered on Day 3 after an embarrassing conversation between him and his wife that was unintentionally broadcasted on his stream on Day 2. Well, embarrassing for him but funny to us. I bow to his commitment to delivering the best job he could and to making it right when he couldn't.

Rachel Dooley (Evening Team 1 "Nocturnals") stayed up late to clean up her team's emcee scripts and style cards after a designer withdrew at the last minute. RhiannaLynn Lane (Casual Team 1 "Fusion") compiled her team's emcee scripts and style cards in the same order as the line up and saved me a lot of time. I bow to their organizational skills, management skills, and dedication to their teams.

Avacar Bluestar, BillyJo Riler, Galdriel Inglewood, and Leigh Mialifo of "The Problem Children" (Casual Team 2) had the worst lag and even server crashes during their shows. I bow to their resilience.

Memory Thorne of "Disharmony Dream" (Haute Couture Team 1) and Rex Requiem of "Retro Glam" (Retro Team 1) bugged me to make sure their team's shows ran smoothly. I had to tell Rex he needs a good talking-to about panicking. Rex, here's your talking-to: "Keep clam." (Quote borrowed from my favorite seafood restaurant Ivar's.) I bow to their initiative to get things done and to continually follow up.

Katherine Comet and Aspen Parx of "Estilo" (Retro Team 2) were unable to pull together outfits for the competition, but they insisted on doing the designer showcase anyway. Even Blue Porchers, whom everyone thought had disappeared from the team, appeared on Day 2 to showcase additional outfits, in spite of incredible lag. I bow to their professionalism.

"Moda Hermosa" (Haute Couture Team 2) had disagreements and clashes within their team, yet they set their personal differences aside and came together on Day 2 to present the best show they could. I bow to their work ethic.

Lopez Fairlady and Memory Thorne, competing with each other on Day 3, collaborated with each other to sync up their poses for their finale. I bow to their broader sense of "team spirit".

I bow to Pooky Amsterdam for remaining calm under pressure. (And thank YOU so much, Pooky, for wearing opals in my honor. I AM honored!)

I bow to Wurlitzer Seisenbacher for his hilarious verbal antics.

I bow to NyuNyu Kimono for her foresight to wear a communicator to coordinate directly with the current modeling team while she emcee'd.

I bow to onyx Warwillow whose quiet empathy calmed me while I was pulling my hair out.

I bow to Rhianna's ear that patiently listened while I vented at the end of Day 2. (Thank you for the tea and sandwich!)

I bow to the many emcees/musicians/DJs/models who went with the flow as schedules and plans changed around them at the last minute, including Harlee Lane, Wurlitzer, WytchWhisper Sadofsky, and many others.

I bow to the many people who were willing to stretch themselves and do things they had never done before.

I bow to all of you who remembered why we are doing this and who saw this project through to the end.

And, finally, I bow to Prissy Price's vision and her tenacity to bringing that vision to reality. She may not be the easiest person to work with and I personally don't agree with her management philosophies, but she has good intentions and she listens to ideas. And, without her vision, this would never have happened at all.

Virtual violence

When I first joined the fashion industry as a model, I added a "Limits" section to my portfolio, very much like RP limits. I specified that I would not allow myself to be in a photo that depicts violence against women or denigration of women.

Today, I inadvertently broke that rule.

I was responding to a call for stand-ins in the MaMachinima group. The group notice didn't describe what the machinima would be about. Well, I thought it would be benign like the ones I've volunteered for in the past.

When I tp'd over, the first people I noticed were two naked women who were dancing in the air. The film maker asked me to stand by a "rack". And one of the naked dancers started chatting with me after reading my profile.

I was distracted by the chat, the lag, and my camera wiggling because of alphas all over the place.

Then I noticed that another female avie was near the film maker, and she was tied upside down from the triangular rack. Well, the film maker and I were both wearing gowns from Violator with lots of "tentacles", so I didn't notice that she had a whip in her hand. I had mistaken it as a "tentacle".

But even after I realized it was a whip, my mind zoomed in on how realistic the animation was that made the tied woman's body writhe. It didn't occur to me how violent the scene was.

If it were a man who was whipping her, it probably would have bothered me more. But because it was a woman whipping another woman (I later found out it was the film maker's own alt), it wasn't an issue about gender anymore, and somehow it felt more tolerable.

I had read "The Book of O" years ago and didn't quite understand a big part of it. But now that I've chatted with a lot of people in the BDSM community, I understood a lot more when I rediscovered the book recently and reread it. The odd thing was that the book mentioned that women actually can be more cruel against other women than men are.

What really troubles me is that I wasn't disturbed at all by the scene today. Is it because it's violence from one woman to another? Is it because I know that it's only virtual and she's not really being hurt? Or have I become immune to violence? Have I lost my empathy? Or is it something else?