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. 

Garden of the Seven Shamans

I started writing this post almost a month ago when I signed up for the garden contest of "Filling the Cauldron" event to help raise funds for Elicio Ember's family.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I bought half the store again, as I did six years ago. Since I don't have land for my Mer Betta store anymore, I figured I could at least use my new acquisitions in the garden contest.

My goal was to preserve the mystery and the magic of his work. I didn't want a manicured garden. I wanted something untamed, natural, and spiritual. I scrapped a couple of ideas. The water, the skull, and the swamp tree in the back were the easiest decisions. The rest were a bit more difficult to decide, but I felt pushed to work on it every night. So I got done about a couple of weeks before the deadline with positioning scripts. Yeah, that's unusual for a procrastinator of procrastinating, like me. (Don't ask about my taxes which are due for filing on Apr 15. I'm procrastinating about filing the extension. :) )

The only thing that wasn't created by Elicio is the fog. I was looking for rain and found the fog. Happy accidents. :)

I took pictures of the result, of course. This is the best one, I think.

"Garden of the Seven Shamans" (entry for "Filling the Cauldron" garden contest)

And I made a machinima that makes me very sleepy, to be honest. But I've been short on sleep lately. I found the perfect music, which I would love to reuse in another project someday.

Hopefully, it calms you down too. Or maybe it takes you to that mysterious magical world that Elicio's work takes me to.

Come and experience my garden here and vote here. The event ends tomorrow April 9, 2017.

The psychology of reversed roles

Sometimes, you get the most interesting conversations while testing sex beds.

Wolfgang: do you see how it is more sexy [when] you are on this place?
He had just clicked SWAP in the menu. Earlier, my avatar was tied up and his avatar was the dominant one. After the swap, his avatar was tied up and mine was the dominant one.

He thought it was a lot sexier when I dominated him. And that was surprising, coming from a man who has always been dominant. But we have reversed roles for a few months now. Taking a more submissive role was one of the "gifts" that he gave me recently and that he promised to give to me only, forever. It was an easy promise, like my promise that I would never take another dom ever. Being submissive is not his nature at all. And not mine either.

For him, the reversed roles were a way to balance our relationship. I'm still not a domme, but I "take care" of him in our roles. I'm the oldest in my RL family, so it came naturally to me. At the same time, he says that he feels at peace and mellowed out in a less dominant role. It also makes him less likely to "hunt" other partners, although he pursues Opal and my other public alts.

We've been meeting almost everyday for a few hours before I go to work. (Yes, I've been getting up at an ungodly hour to meet him.) And the last few weeks, we've been like rabbits. Only a few months ago, I thought that menopause had caught up with my libido. I was wrong.

So, yesterday, when he noticed the big difference in how he felt, just because he swapped our avatars, I realized that it probably had to do with our reversed roles.

Because FF is not my natural sexual orientation, he understood that I was projecting into his female avatar often. Many heterosexual men have created female avatars because female avatars get sex partners more easily. Then they project into their male partner's avatar. So when his avatar takes on the more passive role, I project into her, not on my own avatar, because I can relate with her passivity better.

I thought he was projecting into my avatar, when I take the more assertive role. But, many times in the past two months or so, he would get a feeling that he never expected and it would amaze him. And I'd say, "Yes! That's exactly how I felt when you ..." and I'd recall a situation we had a long time ago when I was in his shoes.

He is finally understanding why I did certain things, why I made sacrifices for him, why I felt insecure. He was understanding those things from a first-person perspective.

I too have had my own aha! moments when I began to understand how he felt when he dominated me.

Today, we realized that the reversal of roles intensifies our sexual relationship as well, because we essentially experience it "in stereo".

When I first started with stereoscopy, I marveled at how intense the images looked in 3D. Someone in the stereoscopy community responded that it's because our brain gets twice the information — once from the image in the left eye and again from the image in the right eye. Two slightly different 2D images processed by the brain as a single image in 3D.

So, the role reversal is something like that. We naturally relate to the role we are familiar with — the dominant role for him and the passive role for me. But in the process of acting out the reversed roles, we also get the perspective from the opposite side — the passive role for him and the dominant role for me. So each of us actually get the full perspective because we get the view from both roles. Deeply, intimately. In the first person. Like stereoscopy. That's why these experiences have been intense.

Anyway, that's my theory, and he thinks it makes sense. :)

Our relationship continues to evolve. We've become more emotionally and psychologically intimate. We're not the same people that we were the first time. The situation is different, because we are each other's only serious relationship nowadays. And, because of the reversal of roles, we relate differently with each other. Because of the reversal of roles, we understand each other better. From experience, not just from logic.

Tying a posthumous knot

My fifth partnership in all of SL. My third with Wolfgang. Another tie that binds me to him. Another knot.

We decided to do it today, which is exactly five years after I surrendered to him in our first RP. The surrender that felt like a wedding.

We also decided to do it all without logging the pair into SL. It was all done on the website. Our relationship still has landmines, and this pair is one of those landmines. Too risky. Too emotional. And he is fighting to keep us together by avoiding those landmines.

We were logged into our current pair, which was the first pair we partnered. And we went to the "grave site" of the pair we partnered today to do the partnership there. It felt like a wake, like a ceremony for the dead. It was bittersweet. I cried.

Then I thought to bring Alt #6 to "visit" us again. I saw his strong affection for her, his sadness for losing her, how he missed her. At moments like that, he reminds me of my father.

But he was soothed with her presence. Well, more aroused than soothed. Just by her presence, he said. Like Pavlov's dogs, I said. He laughed.

Needless to say, I was late for work. :)

"Filling the Cauldron"

It was March 20, 2011. Almost six years ago.

Ember Farina had given me a tour of the 2011 Fantasy Faire sims which were being built for the event. I was one of the merchants participating. One of the sims took my breath away. Ember told me the builder's name -- Elicio Ember.

That same day, I went to Cerridwen's Cauldron and bought half the store. (Elicio later confirmed that I bought "more than half" the store.) Then, after my shopping spree, I IM'd him, starting with:

[2011-03-20 22:40:52]  Opal Lei: Hello, Elicio.  Will you marry me?  LOL

I was in such awe of his work. And I still am. His products have a certain magical feel about them that you don't see often. It's dark, it's deep, it's complex, it haunts your soul, it speaks to your subconscious, it terrifies your dreams, it charms your intuition, it brings undefined archetypes to the fore.

Today, I heard about his father and his family's predicament from a Fantasy Faire group notice, and I learned more in the Filling the Cauldron site.

So, off I went happily for another shopping spree. :)

Yes, I bought half the store again. :)

Nope, I didn't ask him to marry me this time. :)

(Also see Where's Dim Sum? #42 and #45.)

Dancing with a memory

Yes, I'm sentimental.
Yes, I'm weird.
Yes, it's eerie.

In SL, you can remember someone with more than just still images or chat logs or machinima. In SL, you can remember with a dance.

Yes, his avie is just an empty shell now. Yes, there's no conversation that makes the dance special. But mfpwtff and I made our anniversary dance somewhat of a tradition. Even if he's no longer here, what's wrong with continuing a tradition to remember what we had and to honor his memory?

Yes, I'm sentimental.
Yes, I'm weird.
Yes, I miss him.

At this date of valentine

[2017/02/14 06:22]  
Wolfgang#7: I had a litte thought
Alt#35: yes?
Wolfgang#7: I know it is precipited and maybe little sily, and i m not very much in symbols
Wolfgang#7: and i don't know if you ll wish
Wolfgang#7: but in case you d wish, and thought it was nice to do, although the complication when we don't use the couple
Wolfgang#7: we could partner them at this date of valentine
Alt#35: :D
Alt#35: I wish! And I accept!

We were talking about his two alts whom I rejected, because they've been with his other lovers. I deemed them "unpure". Then we talked about my other alts.

He wanted to wake up Alt#27 but he didn't want to wake up his alt that was paired with her. That particular alt of his is male, and he didn't want to do MF. Instead, he wanted to created a new (female) alt to be with #27. I declined. #27 belongs with that specific alt, and I couldn't see her waking up while her lover remains hibernating. So, instead, I introduced him to #35.

He had mixed feelings.

A screenshot of my horoscope for today.
 © AstrologyZone Susan Miller
Almost three years ago, I was deeply hurt because he showed favoritism to one of his other lovers. Just as I personified Death, I personified my pain, my jealousy, my anger. Alt#35 was born. She roamed for a while, then I finally decided to stop hurting myself with my own anger. So I put her to sleep, with no one knowing about her at all.

When he met her, Wolfgang said that, in a sense, she was our daughter, taking a hint from something I wrote in her profile. Plus, I explained that her name came from a poem that he wrote for me. He was very glad to meet her; however, the reason for her existence bothered him.

I was surprised when he created his own alt to be with and to be like Alt#35. They would be another pair that are exclusive only to us, to our "inner circle". Pure.

Today was the first day those alts "met" and spent time together. About fifteen minutes before I had to leave to get ready for work, he had a little thought. So, we quickly wrestled with the partnering process.

By the time I hopped in the shower, they had each other's names in their profiles. My fourth SL partnership; two with him.

I also agreed to go back and partner Alt#27 with her lover, a partnership that I declined angrily in the past. But we would do that next month on the fifth anniversary of our very first meeting in 2012, so it would be a significant day for us. Then, I would have a total of five partnerships, three with him.

Melting walls

this is the contradiction inside these [abysmal] creatures
She reject like, and desire to be liked
the doomed creatures
Those are the creatures who really need love most.
But they build walls around them, so they cannot feel the love that's just outside the door.
So they keep looking for it and craving for it.
yes something like that
and when they feel it around, they get panicked
or strangled by
Because it means the walls melted and they feel vulnerable.

We were talking about one of his personas, but my responses were also about me.

That was part of the hour-and-a-half conversation that we had on Saturday (yesterday). During our twelve-and-a-half meeting today, the walls melted away.

Yesterday, I challenged him to let me do something that I knew he would never agree to. It was just a joke. After a lot of back-and-forth about levels of gifts, he agreed. I thought it was still a joke.

Today, we shopped for what we needed. I still thought he would back out. Or we'd call it just another RP and have fun. He later admitted that he also delayed it by taking me shopping at another store. He was nervous about it. But it was almost time for his bedtime. And he promised it today.

Just a few moments before I started, I realized how significant this was. And almost instinctively, I tried to distract him, like the best doctors and dentists do when they know they are about to do something very uncomfortable for the patient. I asked him detailed questions about what he had for his RL dinner.

It was over in less than a minute. Then, I held his avie tightly. I was very overwhelmed. My tears fell irl, and I told him so.

There are a few very significant moments in our relationship. The first time was during our RP when I felt as though we became wedded, because I surrendered to him. In that moment, it felt as though our relationship fast-forwarded to a deep intimacy. Today's experience felt just like that. Except it felt like it was he who surrendered to me. The effect was the same and just as strong as the first time.

And I realized many things. I understood many of the things he told me in the past, and now I believe him because I experienced it myself. It is very illogical, but I cannot deny what I felt.

My anger dissipated. My pain was soothed. He gave me a very big gift. And I felt it. And he felt my response. For real. Today, he paid his emotional debt.

Many men have lost sleep just to spend a few more hours with me. But not Wolfgang. Until now. He went to sleep three hours late. because, as he said, "it s hard to leave when you are sweet like that."

I've never returned to a past lover. Until now.