Saturday, January 3, 2009

Onward to Y2KIX

So where was I?... I came across the sim in which I would spent most of my time, Chiaroscuro. I had fun with my centaur, and I'd switch back every so often as satyr, and I'd chat with the locals. But just chatting wasn't enough. On another commute home I was randomly thinking, and I had an idea to build a sousaphone. I was really psyched about this, so when I logged on that night I found a quiet spot and commenced to build one. I worked on it all night, and a few people stopped by to see what I was up to, but for the most part I was left alone. I discovered some of the more intricate rules of SL building, such as return parcels and prim counts and so forth. It was very fulfilling. On the last day of my building, a character named Emperor Bing ( I think that was his name...?) came up to me and asked if I would build some instruments for him.. I said sure, it was fun to do. I also told him that I did not know how to add animations and music to these, but he said he knew someone who could do this. So over the next couple weeks I built some more instruments.
As I was doing these projects, I saw Emperor less and less often. I did meet Arva, who would sit with me and we'd talk about all manner of things. I enjoyed his company, and it was to him that I first confessed about my RL issues of acting straight and being secretly gay. SL allowed me the anonymity to express explore my feelings without having to do so in RL. He (virtually) rubbed my shoulders and kissed me, we flirted and kissed and I came to relax about my situation. It was a very important time for me. At this time I also met Greville Oh, the owner of the sim. A very nice man who was constantly busy, yet took the time to visit.

When I was finished with the instruments, I was ready to hand them over to Emperor. Since I hadn't seen much of him, I had to contact him. I set up the instrument in a nice display, and IMmed him. When he arrived, he seemed hurried and nervous. Greville also showed up, perhaps because he was curious, I thought. My first transfer of objects went very lumpily... I had to do it several times to allow for different permissions, during which Emperor was becoming more agitated and impatient. Eventually, everything was ironed out, and Emperor took his items and left. I cleared up my stuff, and said good night to Greville, as it had gotten to be very late. I didn't think too much more of it.

I decided that I was becoming a contributing member of SL and Chiaroscuro specifically. I was also meeting many interesting people whom I liked very much. I decided that it was time for me totake a plunge. I increased my account from Basic to Premium, since I was enjoying this habit, I decided to invest some money into it, and I began renting a skybox from Greville. I attended weekend parties and generally had a good time. Archmage Kondor was one person I met and we became very close friends. He had rented the skybox above mine (It was originally rented by Emperor) and we hung out all the time. I would talk to him about my RL issues, and we'd go out exploring together and have a generally good time. Arva was taking on bigger responsibilities at Chiaroscuro, helping Greville manage the sim, so it was understandable that I would see less of him.
At one point I found out why Emperor was not around so much... I had gotten word that he had been banned from Chiaroscuro for messing around with a minor-- not good. So that explained why he hadn't been contacting me about the process of the instruments. What can you do about something like that? It was upsetting to me because his contact for animations and music went away with him, plus I witnessed how people can exploit their anonymity in dangerous ways. So I went along, humming my song and wondering what the next great adventure would be.

My friend Arch got a boyfriend named Aelred, and I saw less and less of him. They had become interested in another sim, Aquaria, and a mer lifestyle. I tried it a little bit, but the RPing was a little too strong for me. I tried involving myself with other fantasy groups, but again, the RP seemed a little contrived for me. Arva started dating Gerardway, and this made me terribly jealous, more than I cared to admit. I felt our kinship and friendship was not to be any longer. I met Ricardito around this time, but I saw very little of him because he was busy setting up his home/globe. I also met someone named Tarr Gothly, and I fooled around with him some and we became friends. He invited me to some dance clubs, of which I tended to avoid, for no other reason that I wasn't interested...
In RL, after an uncomfortable day, I had an argument with my wife about use of the computer. I was very upset, and I needed to get out to cool down. I drove around town, my thoughts spinning around in my head. When I came home, the kids were already in bed, and my wife was watching TV. I told her I had cooled off some, and I went into another room. After maybe fifteen minutes, I joined her in the living room, and I told her that the argument we had had nothing to do with computer time. After a few beers and many tears, I broke down and told her that I was gay. It was not a pleasant evening. But it was a good evening, a necessary one. She had no idea of my feelings, even though I thought that I had slipped on more than one occasion. Apparantly no one sees your fears and faults as much you do. I had stymied her for a good twelve years, and she felt she couldn't trust me any more. We went through therapy together and learned that, yes, I wasn't honest with her, and yes, her idea of what her life meant and was built upon was based on things taht weren't true. And yes, despite all this, she still loved me. And I still loved her. We have shared so much together and we "get" each other like no one else does. It was hard, but it was worth it.
The little dramas in SL had returned to their rightful perspective--minor. After all, I had some pretty big fish to fry in RL, and SL was meant to be a release from my RL problem. Aelred invited me to an opening in his gallery in Chilipepper, and I had an inkling! I do art in RL, why couldn't I have a art show in SL? I felt my pieces weren't really good enough to display in RL, but they would work here. So I had it set up that I would upload my art inworld and I had an opening in June. While I was preparing, Ricardito had completed his globe and had a globe warming party. I came and met people and ate the little pixel crackers and smoked the particle pot, and swam in the pool via poseballs, and ended the evening with him in the shower.

The next day, I contacted him and told him that was a totally weird experience to me and that I had never done that before. We talked and became fast friends. I hung out with him more and more, and eventually we became boyfriends. He was a great influence for me in SL and in RL. He helped me with my self-esteem in both worlds and made me feel needed. I had never felt this way before and it was exhilerating. I felt my friendships across the board were strengthening. Earlier I mentioned the art gallery opening, Rico came, and Tarr did too, and so did many of my friends, Rammy and Paradox, Archmage and Airia, Arva and Grev and Blackdog, and many others, and of course Aelred was hosting. Many many people came and I felt indebted to these people, my friends.
Arch and Aelred announced their engagement. Greville elaborated a big ceremony, and Arch asked if I would be his best man. Unfortunately, I did not know if I could log on at the prescribed time and date, so I said that I'd have to decline. Later I found out I was free at the time, and though I didn't want to dismount his other choice, I did want to attend. There was a mix-up, and when I was called via IM to come, I was at the reception, not the ceremony. This was upsetting to me, and when I talked to him about it, he didn't seem to understand. So I broke contact with him, which was really kinda juvenilish, but I just didn't want to deal with it anymore. So I lost a close friend. It was also about this time I built my windmill, which became my home for a very long time until quite recently.
I moved on, though. I still had people with whom I hung. Tarr, for example. He was fun, light, cute and sexy, and he liked to dance. Rico had my primary attention, and Rammy was growing to become a strong confidant, but when they weren't online, Tarr was there. He took me to my first club at Incubus. My friend Thorn also began inviting me to IGBC, where he was hosting. I began showing up to these two places and was beginning to make friends who weren't mythic. At first I was very nervous, because these clubs were not part of my life previously and I felt like a fish out of money. But for the most part I had a good time. I'm not so much into techno/disco/club music, but I'm okay with it. I loosened up and enjoyed my SL experience more.

As summer was winding down, I and my RL family had planned a trip to visit family in Minnesota. I was going to be offline for a little more than a week. I made sure to spend extra special time with Rico, and we clarified our relationship clearly. I was getting confused, and so was he about our feelings for each other, and we had a hard time distinguishing between RL and SL for a while there. I had fallen for the man behind Rico, and he had for me, and it was not simple anymore. He also informed me that his RL persona was applying for some positions and that his real life would have to change drastically. I told him one of my goals in Minn was to inform my parents and brother that I was gay and that my family life might change. We promised to keep in touch via email, but Real World things were changing for us that would affect our SL relationship. Also during this time Tarr stopped being Tarr and he reincarnated as an alt, for his own reasons (and to protect his identity, I won't mention his new name). I took this in stride, because, after all, that is his choice.

My trip to Minnesota went very well. It was difficult to explain this to my brother, whom I saw first, but he was very understanding. It was more difficult to explain to my parents. The reason for the difficulty was that they were rather unfamiliar with that "kind of" lifestyle. I was worried that they might be upset by this, as they had been lately been going to church regularly, and I was a little worried about some sort of homophobia from them. Fortunately, it turned out they were just rather bemused with a dash of concern. It was hard, but on the same token it was rather easy. During this trip I spent some very necessary time with my wife and I found that I truly was taking her for granted, and our bond became stronger. I emailed Rico to let him know I was fine and that things were going well. When I returned, it was August, and the summer was coming to a close. Rico had gotten a position in another state/town that promised to hold the majority of his attention after September. During that time hehad to plan his moving and he would be offline for a good chunk of the time. I relished as much time as I could with him, and treasured his company.

I spent some more time in dance clubs, but something wasn't feeling right. I began getting uncomfortable in these clubs, I was becoming more and more anxious. It finally got to a point where I couldn't even be in the club at all. I would place my avatar in the dance area, and then I would turn my headphones off and pull my camera way back so all I could see was the outside of the club and the local chat. I was maddening that I wanted to be in there yet I couldn't be in there, and yet I wanted to be in there but when I was my heart started beating faster and at some points I was having difficulty breathing. I couldn't understand it, and I wanted to beat this. But it was getting to a point where I just had to do other things. Burning Life was happening, and Rico invited me and Rammy to some events at Broadway Isle. I was alright in these crowds, and I had mucho fun. But it still bothered me that I couldn't visit my friend Tarr, who went to these places regularly. Everytime I tried, the same thing would happen, I would enter, say hello hello to whomever was there, and then not say another word the entire night. I mean, who can compete with a ~~~*Woot woot*~~~ and a homo party whistle? how was I to relate?

Rico's job took up most of his time. I met new people all the time, the old crowd from Chiaroscuro didn't seem to be there anymore, but new people were showing up, and I found them engaging and dimensional and creative, and I fucked some of them. I found that I was becoming more of a slut in Rico's absence. Maybe that was bothering me. On one occasion when he was online, I told him that I had been fooling around, and he said he was alright with it, since I was only giving them my genitals and not my heart. I guess that I didn't tell him that I was doing it more than I thought was proper, and that's probably why I felt guilty about it. Rammy and I were hanging out more and more, and he invited me to go to Tiger's Isle, where Franziskus was building a cave area. I had met him before, in fact Rammy brought him and Quagmire to my home once when Iwas building a Moroccan minaret, but didn't really know him too well. It was fun if laggy that night, and I visited the Tiger Island beach for the first time. Franzi was building the setting for a party and Rammy and I just kinda hung out on the beach while he worked. I had no intention of going to the event, sicnce I was still dealing with my social anxiety, but it was fine, there was no pressure.
In October, I was bound and determined to overcome this anxiety. Tarr's third incarnation had owned a club, and I tried many times to go there. It got so frustrating for me that I took him off my contact list and never visitied him at all. It was not a kind thing for me to do, because he really didn't do me any wrong. I had done this before with Archmage, and I regretted that, too. but I did it, and felt so ashamed that I never contacted him to say sorry. Still, I had to overcome my fear. I used two areas, Tiger's Isle and IGBC, the two dance areas where I felt if not 100% comfortable, then at least acceptably calm. The more I went, the better it got, as I felt like I was under control of this. Towards the end of the month, right before Halloween, a friend of mine was killed in a mauling by a tiger. (He worked in a sanctuary as an animal keeper, and it was technically a liger-- cross between a lion and a tiger, but that gets wordy to describe, like I did just now :P) It was to say the least, shocking for me. I went to the Halloween party in Arizona Isle, and was pretty quiet because of what had happened to my friend, but I didn't want to ruin anyone else's fun. Then it kinda hit me in a strange way. I was here at Tiger's Island, with a bunch of bloody corpses dancing. It was sooo strange that it was so coincidental to what happened in real life.. I felt like booking, but I also felt that I had made so much progress that I wanted to stay. And then Rickie showed up in his Halloween get-up, which was a headless corpse, holding his head in his hand at his hip... I saw this and really freaked out, because after all, my friend had his head pulled from his spine. I quickly said goodnight and logged off.

November came and Obama was elected. Rammy started talking about OpenSim, as if it were the wild and woolley west. He had gone on some adventures there, and asked me if I was going to try. Now I'm a computer idiot. I can't figure out my mp3 player. I downloaded it, and went in there a bit, but I was terribly confused about it. So now I have this extra icon on my desktop that I don't do anything with. so thatbrings me to about 55 applications eating up valuable disk space that I don't use. *shrug* oh well. Overall, though, November was a very good, stabilizing month for me both in SL and in my RL. Perhaps it was because of my friend's death, perhaps it was the news that Rico had met someonein RL and I was genuinely happy for him. Perhaps it was the RL therapy I was going through, which forced me to re-examine my life. Perhaps it was the anticipation of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Perhaps it was just my time to be stable. At any rate, I had rediscovered fun, I had my perspectives in order, and my anxiety was under control.
I wrote aboutwhat happened to me in December in a previous blog ("Leigh loves Rico"), so I won't get into all the events that happened in it. One thing I didn't mention was the introduction of a new person in my life, Naedani. Nae and I had been spending a lot of time together, and he had sorta become a major squeeze for me After Rico and I broke up, I spent a little bit more time with him, and *ahem* explored the possibilities. I was a little hesitant to go too far with him, as I was not looking for a rebound relationship after Rico.

I will now, however, get to why I was having a crappy New Year's Eve. I was genuinely lonely. My wife wasworking that night until 11:30, not getting home til 11:50, my daughter spent the night at Grandma's and my son was content to watching Ghostbuster movies until he fell asleep. In-world, Rico wasn't there virtuphysically or emotionally with me. Many of my inworld friends were not online, and I didn't have any big plans of where I wanted to be. Earlier that night, Rammy came to visit, and then Naedani IMmed me at the same time, and then my friend Tiffy also IMmed me. It was a communication juggling act, but every so often that happens. Then Rammy decided to spend the New Year countdown in the Real World, and he logged off, and naedani did as well, and Tiffy had her thing going on, so I didn't know what to do. I wandered from place to place, my favorite haunts were empty. So I went to Sky Ranch, pretended to have a good time, and then soon logged off.

I was lonely. I spend a lot of my time on SL by myself, and looking at my contact list and wondering what people are up to, but I don't contact them too often. I just figure that they're busy, and there are several people on my contact list that I feel funny about contacting just because I don't know them that well. Which is damn foolish, I know. I should make the attempt more often. I've found that the people whom I've tried to get ahold of are the ones that are my strongest friends. Tiffy for one... Every so often I call her just to say hello, and she is such a ray of sunshine and has such a magnetizing personality that I feel confident in her being a friend. And Taurin. He convinced me it was ok to say "I love you" and have it mean nothing more than that. (Actually that was kinda hard for me..I was felt that if I had said that, I would become attracted to him, which wouldn't be so bad, but again I was worried about rebounding). Loneliness is such a terible place to be, but what's worse is when you think you're lonely but just can't see the people who are there. The following days were much better... See, 2009's already better than 2008..

Ok, that's the end of this lengthy blog. I'm gonna put some pics in now.... Thanks for reading!


Rammy said...

wow! what a great post!

Jordyn Carnell said...

I've said it before.. I'll say it again.. you are a fine blogger.

And I'll elaborate and say.. you are a fine human being.

I use my SL and my blog (I see my blogs as an extension of my SL) just like it says on my profile. "To learn about the world, other people, and my self."

SpAnKi said...

wow, great entry.
really enjoyed reading your story Leigh. and i really appreciate the honest way you write about your self and your experiences, good and bad.

And I do that too, the thing about not contacting people cuz i figure they are busy or watever. But i decided to stay in touch more as a new year resolution, and as you can see, reply more on blog entries! hehe

kiss x0x