I mentioned in my last blog that I have two things I wanted to talk about, one in RL and one in SL. I didn't get to the topic inworld, so I'm going to dedicate this entry to that subject.
I've tried many things in Second Life. As a noob, I spent many many days learning my way around, bumbling from one thing to another, not really knowing what I was doing. I didn't understand the usefulness of the Torley tutorials, the groups, blogs online that I've found, heck, I didn't even know how to make friends. The first sim that i became a regular at was October Country, a halloween based sim that played old horror radio programs from way back. I remember the first time I sat down on a log in front of a roaring fire and looked at the others that were there. Such a mishmash of characters, none like I had run into before. I sat between Batman and Pinhead and saw many zombies and ultragoths come in. (Later I found out that the Batman avatar was that freebie one that honestly isn't that great). I realized that second Life was a greater place than I realized in that people could express themselves as something other than regular people.
I was also at this time learning how to build things. I would find myself at various sandboxes, shaping and linking objects and playing with textures and the various coordinates. It was a blast! I eventually began building a character that was specific and unique, and I began defining who Leigh Eel was. I made him into a satyr. Granted a very modest one, one who wore a green jacket. Not a very carnal creature at all. but it was something I made all by myself, I didn't buy anything at all, in fact, I had a basic account and was determined not to put any money into this hobby. I had fun with it. I went to October Country and felt like I fit in better.
Real Life came rushing in, and I took a hiatus from Second Life for about 4 months, not logging in once. I still didnt' have any friends on a contact list, and I felt I had no obligations or specific desires to stay online. I had joined two groups while i was there, when I went to a party/social function, purely by accident. I joined Love Harbor, the group for the sim where the event took place, and I joined the DJ's fan club, his name was Arcadia, I believe. During my hiatus, I noticed that my email was piling up with notices from these two groups. I didn't use that email address for anything else, so I pretty much ignored it. After about 4 months, I decided I really had to do something with this pileup of notices. so I logged in, and dropped the two groups. I felt horrible about it, as if I let these people down.and I let the sim owner know how sorry I was. It's funny in retrospect, I think how innocent I was. Since I was online, I explored some, and discovered that October Country had expanded to cover an entire sim. it was very cool, and I had a great time. I went back online a few times and thought not too much about it.
If you know about my real life, this was right before I came out of the closet. I began thinking about SL a lot, and about how I could really express what I was dying to do in RL. I tenaciously scouted out some gay sims, embarrassment causing me to not interact too much. Any time anyone approached me, just to say hello, I tpped right out of there. My courage gradually grew, as I felt I did have the screen of anonymity on being online, but I still didn't want to commit myself or admit to myself anything. To alleviate my issue, I explored fantasy-based sims, since I was a satyr. I found a region called Metatheria, and there I was welcomed and invited to join their group. Pleased, over the next few days I explored the area, and went into the adjacent sim to the south, Chiaroscuro. I met more of the locals, including a very straightforward satyr named Arva. I cannot say how much I am indebtted to him, as my coming out to myself was bubbling to a full boil, and he was kind enough to listen and offer his time and opinions and let me know that it really was ok to be who I really was. I had grown fond of him.
One day, as I was driving home from work, I thought about what I was doing on Second Life, that it wasn't just a hobby anymore, it was more of a sketchbook of how I wanted to be in real life, with the bonus of trying new shapes out that I had only before dreamed about. I was very fascinated by centaurs, and I decided that I wanted a centaur look. I tried at one point to build one, but there were secrets of scripting that I just couldn't figure out. I decided to actually look for one from a vendor and see what I felt at the time. I found one that I really liked. The vendor was a shop called Hoof-It, who specialized in horses for riding, and horse avatars, and they had a avatar that was a centaur, and it was very well made. It was also 1200 Lindens. Since I was a cheapskate, I hemmed and hawed over this price, but I decided that since I had already invested so much time into the game, I could afford a little spending. I made my first Linden purchase and eager opened it up and wore it. It was so natural feeling, if that makes sense. I wore it all the time that I was in a fantasy based sim. I was home.
Since that time, I had gone through many phases. I went club hopping, I explored art scenes, I found cool music venues, I discovered the thrill of treasure hunting. I eventually came to comfort of being gay and was pretty happy with the time I was spending online. I made friends. Arva was my first. I remember when I said to him that I didn't have any contacts and he was so surprised that he introduced me to many folk in chiaroscuro, all of whom were more than welcoming to me. Archie, Thorn, GerardWay, Rammy, Grev, and many other good people whom I was happy to meet and know. There were also some dark times, in which I felt that the world was against me and that I couldn't trust anyone. I lost many friends this way, even though many of them remain on my contact list. at times I try to reconnect, but it doesn't always stick.
These phases didn't always conduce to being a centaur or a satyr, so I had my standard human form for these. There were many times when being human was more common than being a fantasy character for me, and I didn't fight it, because there was no need to.
This sorta brings me to what I wanted to say in the first place. Recently I changed my profile pic for Blogger. It was a pic of me leaning against a lamppost. It's now a pic of me as a centaur. I've been trying to foster more impetus for this character, more grounding. I've been reaching out to other centaur friends on SL slowly slowly. It does give me a feeling of confidence, to play this character. My centarur friend Annabelle said something to me once, which i will not forget. "Your have four feet on the ground. You are stable" Though it's not a very catchy mantra, it does hold some strength for me.
The downside of centaurs on SL is that it is difficult to find poseballs that work well, and dancing animations look very goofy. When invited to dance, I used the same tired joke: "I can't dance, I have two left feet." I really should find a better joke.
Well, that was what I wanted to say. It's not fantabulously interesting, but it's a slice of SLife, and was on my mind, so I said it. Good night.