Friday, January 2, 2009

Why 2008 Was My Best Year (of the two)

I wished many people Happy New Year, and I received many good wishes in return. But in truth, it really wasn't a fun night for me. I tried and I tried, but I just wasn't feeling the festivities. When midnight hit the east coast, I was at Sky Ranch, but I don't think I said more than two things the entire night out loud. Amidst the Woots and Wahoos, I think I said hi to the DJ (His name was Yummy, btw.. never heard his show before) when he welcomed me in. I've been to Sky Ranch a few times, but not enough to be considered a regular. And with my tendency for tight-lippedness, it is hard for me to open up to people. Right after East coast midnight, (which was actually 11:00 for me in RL), I was tired of not having fun and I quickly logged off.

So it was bothering me why I wasn't having any fun, and I spent some time reflecting.

2008 was an explosive year for me in SL. I started out the year in Carbon Freeze mode. My birthday is August 31, 2007. I had heard about SL on NPR's Science Friday, and I decided to try it out. I had a pretty typical first few days, I would suppose, starting out with the uniform white T-shirt and jeans and clonish features. I went through Orientation Island and read all the signs. I edited my appearance, rezzed a few cubes, flew about some, and experienced my first teleport. It was fun. I wandered about quite a bit and didn't keep track of anything I did. I discovered the wonderful world of freebies, wondered about the cool stuff I found and when I was done for my first day, I found a air mattress, constructed my first swimsuit (bright green speedos! Ooo, risque!) and sat on the pose ball. I logged off.

It was a fun little experience. Over the next couple of weeks, I came online about twice a week. I made my first friend, a woman named Serena, who showed me how to dance. I thought it was a goofy dance, but she assured me there were better ones out there. I had no idea what to do with this new friend after we parted ways, as I didn't understand IMs and so forth, so I never heard from her again. I developed the skeleton of my character, a satyr, by building my first set of horns and tail (which I still have, btw) it took me a while to figure out the hooves, but I did that too. I was pretty dang proud of my little satyr, even though now I look at how primative it was. I was determined not to buy anything at all, because after all, I thought this was going to be a cheap little hobby. So I built everything I could, and used freebie clothes whenever I could. Wasn't too bad a Life. I stumbled and bumbled about, and when I discovered how to use the mini-map, I walked directly to the closest group of people. At the sim called Clinker, I found an odd bunch of people sitting around a campfire. I said "hello" and was invited to sit. I, a satyr, sat between Pinhead and Batman. Oh this was thrilling! I engaged in the chat and discovered that these people were listening to their media. They showed me how to turn on my media player and there was a radio show being broadcast. This was amazing to me.. lol.. I was in love with SL.
The people also showed me how to join a group by clicking on the big sign nearby. So I joined my first group, The Haunting Hour. I also became sorta a regular there, listening to the stories and chatting with whomever was there. When there was no radio show, I wandered about more, but I always came back to sit around the virtual fire and listen to Ray Bradbury Theatre or Stephen King stories. I developed my building skills and created more avatars that I thought fit me, such as my dragonfly fairy and I felt I had a pretty good "mundane" avatar for walking around regular human folks. I built better horns for my satyr, and eventually built the antlers that I still wear today.

It was fun.. but eventually the glimmer of fun and excitement began to wane, and my RL was needing me. So I stopped logging in altogether. That was almost Thanksgiving of that year. My first couple months I felt I had did quite a bit, Haunting Hour grew, and eventually the owner, Martian Wei, bought an entire sim called October Country. I knew how to protect myself in sandboxes, and I caught a glimpse at the world of furries. But really, there wasn't much to keep me there. So Leigh Eel went into stasis.

I had always had a sexual fascination for mythic creatures. My favorite was of course a satyr, and I had a chance to live as one in SL. But then the other mythic creature that lives in the back of my brain wanted out as well. In March of 08, I was driving home from work, and my fantasies were playing in my head, and the centaur suggested I try SL as a medium for manifestation. When I had a chance at home, I logged in, and I attempted to build a centaur body. It was very very very hard to make a convincing centaur. So I used the search engine to find some help. I found Hoof It, which had a convincing centaur for 1200 L$. I had maybe 8o L$ left over from the survey I did (I had splurged once before and bought some eyes fo 20 L$), and so I antagonized over it for a few weeks. Eventually, I thought, what the hell, I bought exactly the right amount of lindens for the avatar through the website, logged in and bought the avatar. My first major purchase! The spark of SL had returned for me.. I could play my centaur and have my little happiness. I searched out some fantasy sims and came to one called Metatheria. The people who I met were very friendly and invited me to join their group. I did, and I explored on my own. I crossed over to the south to Chiaroscuro and I fell in love with the place..It was a fantasy sim, the people I ran into (mostly fae) were very friendly and happy to meet a centaur and I was allowed to build there! I spent several days there.

This was also about the time in my RL that I had to deal with probably the biggest change in my life. I had to come out of the closet. For real. In Real Life. To my wife of nine years. I had to be honest with myself and to her or else my real life would pass by in shame and discomfort.

oh my god... This blog is getting really long, and I still haven't gotten to why my New Year's day was kinda crappy. I'm gonna have to leave this as a TBC... For the two people who read this, just so you know.. I've figured it out and am not having a crappy time at the moment.. In fact, I'm feeling pretty good. :)

Rest of story to come...(with maybe some pictures, lol)


SpAnKi said...

Hi Leigh! hope you dont mind me reading here too
Your story so far is very interesting, and omg, a centaur! how cool! I would love to see sometime (perhaps do some photos if your up for it? Photography is one of my little SL things I like doin)
Anyway, my new year started crappy and ended okay so I guess we are both heading in the right direction? lol

(hugss) Spanks =^.^=

Jordyn Carnell said...

OMG! tbc! tbc! I both love and hate tbc stories!

Oh, and I'm with Spanki on that idea, pix really liven up a post! And I'd love to see all the great things you've turned yourself into!

Rammy said...

Oh what a great story, I loved every word! Just remember Leigh no matter how bad things may get in RL - you have a lot of friends here! Thanks so much for telling it and I look forward for more.

(hugs) - your friend Rammy

Leigh Eel said...

Omg,I didn't expect anyone to actually READ this! So I published part Deux w/ some of my avvie pix.. Thanks guys!