On The Occasion Of My Third Rezzday

Today is my third rezzday. I arrived at this one in a fine frame of mind, thanks to spending a few weeks really pondering my SL existence, and making some positive changes. I’m feeling *very* good about the year to come!

I have heard about three-year-burnout from older friends before, and I can definitely see how it happens. By Year Three, an avatar is likely to be well-known in their social circles, has probably been through a lot of drama and stress, and most importantly, may have accumulated many friends, tasks and obligations. The simple act of logging into SL can actually be dreaded rather than anticipated, if one knows they’ll be facing an avalanche of blue notes, notecards, subscribe-o-matic announcements, inventory offers — and while trying to clear through those, the IM windows start stacking up like cordwood. For me, it was not unusual to log in, work on the incoming stuff, start fielding IM’s, handle emergencies and occasional dramas… and finally log off some hours later, having never even left the point I logged into. I could go weeks without ever seeing a friend face to face, or goings somewhere interesting. That is not a Second Life. That’s a Second Existence.

So I changed it. This is MY Second Life and should be what I want and need it to be. I tunneled in and completed dangling projects. I learned to say “No” when friends offered interesting, tempting, fun projects (that was really hard!). I made a list of all the collaborations with friends that were hanging, and realized that most of them could simply be let go. Not every notion in our heads will actually be DONE, and I needed to let go. I decided what projects are the most important to me, and thought about how I could get the most enjoyment out of them.

And here’s what I’ve boiled it down to. My CocoaJava Cafe is important to me. It brings me a lot of joy in so many ways. Writing and editing for the Primgraph and Prim Perfect are very meaningful to me. I cannot tell you how much I am learning through these magazine collaborations – I’m gaining skills that may benefit me in my real life. And the friendships I’ve formed there are precious. Finally, the New Champagne Rooms is an outlet for the showoffy side of my personality, and very appealing to my love of eras gone by. Again, friendships formed there are very important to me. These are my three rocksolid committments in Second Life.

Anything else I do in Second Life will come from my wish to spend time with my friends, and to get back to exploring the grid at large. It’s a big wonderful world and I want to see everything!

I’d thought about writing a list of advice – some bullet points of what I’ve learned, impart the wisdom gained by my advancing old age. 😀 But I changed my mind. I will leave you with a few thoughts, though. And I’ll preface these by saying I’m still learning to take my own advice, too!

Thought the First: If you don’t like your situation, change it. Do what you gotta do. If friendships are a mess, take the time to talk to people, one on one, and get down to the crux of things. Don’t go on assumptions, don’t rely on group-mentality for your info, and don’t play passive-aggressive in hopes that everyone will notice and rush to put bandaids on your life. Be clear, honest, up-front and respect others. It goes a long way. Learn to use the social calendars in your desired realm. Find the Nings or other social networks connected to the regions you like, you’re likely to learn a lot about the place and others and tighten up your friendships by becoming engaged in them.

Thought the Second: This is a specific Thought since I’ve had to deal with a lot of roleplay issues, even though I’m hardly a roleplayer in SL. But I am surrounded by them, as my chosen home is in a ‘roleplay optional’ City. Anyway. If you are craving roleplay… SLOW DOWN. Find the area’s covenant, ask about specific rules. Imbed your character slowly and thoughtfully. Absorb the details of ongoing storylines. Ask questions privately, get the facts straight, and ponder how you will best fit in. Face it – a sim with a longstanding roleplay tradition will have accumulated it’s own history, legends, folklore and taboos. Do not expect to be welcomed with open arms by rushing in the day you arrive and shaking things up. When you’ve gained a good understanding of the group, THEN you can shake things up in a way that’s fun for all. You are not the star of the roleplay and never will be. It’s collaborative, and all have their moments to shine. If the action is getting you stressed and angry and you’re tempted to retaliate harshly – LOG OFF and go reconnect with your First Life for a while.

And that’s enough lecturing! Time to get back to what matters. Enjoying and helping to nurture this amazing world we’ve all stumbled into. Go enjoy your Second Life. I intend to!

There’s More Than One Way To Skin a Ceejay (okay, maybe there’s only one way)

(Now, this runs in a weird realm. It’s not IC, it’s not OOC. It’s in that strange realm where conversations happen between Typists and Avatars. In our case, there’s a very strong bond betwixt the two, and Ceejay is not simply an avatar to her Typist. She embodies a fully-formed personality, a concept, a backstory that’s vast, and her own quirks and eccentricities. The Typist is not a spacey fool, however, and not mentally ill. She understands this dynamic and that it’s part of her writing process. But she *is* a writer who has a mind open to letting her writing muses roam freely, run rampantly, and defy her when it is in their best interest. Sometimes her and her muses butt heads. They really do. Now. Imagine Ceejay, coming from this environment, being told by her typist that her skin is seriously out of date and it’s time to upgrade it.)

I’ve been told I’m beautiful. It’s taken me a long time to be able to smile graciously, take this compliment and feel that way about myself. The face I wear is not my first on the grid. When I left the vampire realms, still carrying the pale bloodless visage that made me feel beautiful, powerful and proud, I was told by a living human-friend that I was cold, untouchable and grotesque. Yes, he was a bit crass, but he made a good point. I was holding hopes at the time of moving to New Babbage, and wished to be an unremarkable middle-class member of society. And so I took the advice of this rude yet well-meaning friend, and scampered off to Laqroki to agonize over what would become the face my new friends would know me by. 30 demos and a lot of pacing and pondering then took place, until finally my typist and I came to an agreement on how I would be seen.

And I have been content with this face for well over a year. Last week, my typist told me that she feared I was showing my age. I huffed and cursed at her (as I often do) and told her she was being absurd. I am who I am. One huge life-changing metamorphosis was enough, thank you very much! I could tell she wanted very much to agree with me and let the issue slide… but she didn’t. I know it came from a kindness of heart, but it hurt when she told me that as she watched me move amongst new friends and societies, I looked like a girl out of time. A chalk drawing amongst oil paintings.

I admit I had noticed this too, but was not willing to think about what I might be asked to do. The day she dragged me to a recommended skin shoppe, we both stared at the walls, trying so hard to bond with the unfamiliar faces staring back at us.

One of those faces would be laid upon me, and I would be lost in it. Would the essence of Ceejay be able to fight its way back to the surface? Would I still be me in there? I was scared. She was confused. Rebellious tears were shed, and we ran home without spending one linden. I wasn’t ready and she needed to wait.

Tonight we went back, with clearer heads. We returned home with a huge cartload of demo skins, and took our time seeing how each looked. Most were dismal – at least to us. I am sure they were each beautiful, but the typist and I were still working on being receptive to this change, though we both knew it was needful and inevitable.

And in the end… we found one. Actually, we found two and purchased them both, but thus far, one is all I can bear to wear. Brave and reckless soul that I can be on occasion, I slipped into my new skin, dressed in proper garb and went to meet friends as we had previously arranged.

And I felt like myself. Now and then, as I would turn and move, my typist would catch a glimpse of my face. And she didn’t curse this time. She smiled. And I found myself…. oh lord, was I really? I felt I was preening. I felt pretty. And more importantly, I felt like me.

No one else seemed to notice – I suppose this could be taken two ways. Either I was so horrifying as to strike them all mute, or… I just looked like Ceejay. I’m thinking and hoping it was the latter. That would be wonderful!

Just today, just this once…

Just today, just this once… Find one thing about that person you despise that’s good.

Just today, just this once… Resist the urge to pass on that bit of juicy gossip.

Just today, just this once… Open your own front door instead of another Firefox tab.

Just today, just this once… Write a completely unexpected email with no hidden agenda.

Just today, just this once… Visit your regular evening hangout, and look around to see who’s miserable and out of place. Talk to them.

Just today, just this once… Mind your own damn business. Live and let live. An it harm none, do what ye will. Judge not.

Just today, just this once… Love unconditionally. Laugh loudly. Dance badly.

Just today, just this once… Look at this entry tomorrow, and maybe live it all over again.

Something From My Past

I was hunting for something else I’d posted in another journal a bit ago, and stumbled on something else. It made me smile. It’s a journal entry I posted on September 10, 2007 in a livejournal community. And … geez. I can see myselfcaught between two worlds, wiht absoultely no inkling yet that I’d be leaving one for the other in days to come. At that point, I was struggling to keep my nightclub going and learning that to a lot of people, Second Life means never having to say ‘I flaked out on ya and I don’t care’. ANYway. I recall back then how I’d love to run to Babbage and how nice everyone was to a strange little vampire girl. Reposting that journal entry for amusement and nostalgia’s sake.

Been A While!

Life got busy for a while there, so I haven’t been peeking into second_lifers much. But I think I’m getting a handle on things again, and it feels good to read you all again!

I’ve gone back to some adventuring and exploring in SL, too – and I have to say I really, really, really love Babbage. I’ve hauled a friend in to explore with me and he thinks the place is amazing, too! We encountered a couple of builders this weekend, and both were very polite and happy to show us what they were creating. I also stumbled across some free goodies (a War of the Worlds longlegged warship! It doesn’t work, but it looks amazing and I can sit in it and pretend!) and while exploring an airship, I poked a bookshelf and got a big handful of digital Victorian books. I have a hard time staying away from Babbage. Being there just makes me feel so happy inside.

We’re still working to build a regular crowd in our nightclub, too (The Crypt, disturbing world, 96,174,25) but the three of us running the place keep having timezone problems. I’m in the US, the other two are in the UK and Bavaria. We’re trying to bring in some regular hosts to run events at various times, but so far only one has been any sort of reliable. One host simply stopped coming in at all, and when he was politely poked via IM to see if he was all right, we were promptly removed from his friends list. Yikes! I found that to be an uncalled for, abrupt way of quitting. We will continue trying to find a few more hosts so we don’t feel tied to staying in the club at all hours. More exploring time is definitely craved. I wanna go see the Greenies again soon too!

A "Train" of Thought

Transitions are a natural part of the progression of life. They are not to be feared, or avoided, or scorned when one finds one’s self in transition. A train hurtles down the tracks – it is in transition, from one place to another. My life is a train… and it gives me choices. I can choose to close my eyes and plug my ears, and ignore the train. I’ll miss seeing it’s massive beauty though, or knowing what direction it came from, or where it is going. I can choose to throw myself on the tracks and let the train run over me, and lose everything.

Or I can choose to hop the train as it goes by! Sure, it might wrench my arm a bit, but that little ache is a very small price to pay when making the choice to embrace change, to revel in the transitions, and to find yourself racing down those tracks to adventures yet to come.

A side bit of advice, before I close. It is best not to burn one’s bridges, else those train tracks will have a difficult time taking you over the rivers as you go forward. Because, the world is round, and what you burn behind you will someday reappear on your horizon. Keep your mind open, your heart open, and proceed with wonder, joy, and thankfulness. Let the cowcatcher on the main engine scoop aside regret, jealousy, bitterness and anger. That dreck just warps the tracks and ruins the trip.

Have a great ride through life!

My Busy Life

I’m just in the mood to chatter a bit about my busy life! One of these days I will have time to simply laze about, but this is not that day! Next week, perhaps I will simply push all my work aside for an evening and sit and watch a sunset, or go exploring.

My typist is fond of making lists. I must pick up this tendency from her, because I wish to make one myself, in hopes that it will help organize my mind.

1. Write two articles for Prim Perfect magazine. I have completed the interview and tour, and simply need to pull all my materials together into the articles.

2. Take Mister Rip Wirefly and Miss Orchid McMillan shopping for undercrackers! Really! I was ‘purchased’ in a charity auction, and this is the promised activity. We shall do this Thursday evening, and it shall be fun!

3. Finish my cafe. Little bits and pieces need to be completed. Ladders added. The truffle shoppe completed. A few oddities for the second floor.

4. I need to write up a notecard to be delivered to cafe visitors – I have many notions and thoughts about the place I would like to impart to my guests!

5. Subject myself to an hour’s torture at the hands of the evil Doctor Oblensky, and take a tour of Chou Chou with Roanoake. Again, more fun from the charity auction! I bought both of them!

6. Work with Ahnya on our talk for the next Aether Salon – it’s titled “Shimmy!” and will be all about burlesque!

7. Speaking of burlesque – we have a pile of projects for the New Champagne Rooms to attend to.

8. Again speaking of burlesque! I need to finish the new act I’m working up, and do one more after that, so I can have new material for our charming guests.

I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but these are the big ones! My life is busy, but fun and fulfilling. I quite enjoy all these projects and challenges.

Widget Woes

I just wanted to mention that I’ve noticed a widget in the side-bar of two blogger accounts I’m accustomed to following, and to be honest, I am uncomfortable with it. Feedjit announces my arrival in these blogs, and what city I am in when I read them. It also announces when I leave and what blog I chose to read next. This is all public for anyone to see.

Sometimes I visit blogs multiple times during a day. I often use my friends blogs as ‘jumping off’ points to explore sites they list as favorites. Knowing I’m being tracked is making me feel very self-conscious and on display, and even a wee bit like a wannabe stalker.

I still maintain that ‘your blog, your rules’, and I will always feel that way. But also, ‘my web presence, my rules’ applies in my own life, and if you think I may have stopped reading your blog, this may be the reason why. Do whatcha like, but I wanted to make my feelings known about sharing my physical whereabouts with the web at large.

In other news, I wish everyone a safe and happy New Year’s tonight!

A Year In My Life

Tomorrow is the last day of the year. When I think back to what my life was like on December 30th of last year, it feels as if I’m looking through a smudged window at another girl’s life. Last Christmas was a quiet one. I spent a great deal of time in Munich, sipping Gluewein and wandering with my then-partner, learning his stories of Bavarian customs and history. Those were peaceful and happy days. Not soon after, I would step into the new year, the very same year that is about to end. As I stepped into January, I was filled with optimism, hopes, and many dreams for the year ahead.

But by March, all my dreams had been shattered. A grand deception had been woven around me by the one I loved, and when it was discovered it nearly broke me. I was left homeless, cut loose from friends, unwelcome in most places I’d taken comfort in. I wandered the world, even drifted through Munich but the hot spiced wine could no longer warm and cheer me there. I searched my mind for places in the world that had enchanted me in past explorations… and then I smiled, for the first time in weeks. I remembered one very special city, filled with creativity, passion, and surprises around every corner. New Babbage.

I had a little money saved aside, thank goodness. But I worried it might not be enough to find a place to live in Babbage. And I had a bit of baggage with me too, the SS Spanky, my beloved airship, the only good memory I cared to hold on to from my past life. It had been a gift on my birthday, and the setting for a surprise party attended by all my friends. Could I possibly find a place to live, and moorage for my ship? I was willing to live aboard the ship, even though it was not equipped with living quarters.

I found a little newspaper in Babbage Square, which let me to a place called a ‘ning’, in which I took a deep breath and posted publicly my wishes and intent to move to Babbage. Amazingly, I received a private post from Miss Bela Lubezki, who arranged for me to have a lovely, airy loft in Her Dark Materials factory. She even arranged for me to be able to moor the Spanky overhead!

I settled in happily, and began working in earnest on building my little writing business. I’d furnished one corner of my loft as an office and spent many happy hours writing at my little desk. In the evenings, I would take walks through town, learning the layout and meeting my neighbors on their own nightly strolls. One evening, while I was still recovering from a nasty illness brought on by poking a giant monster hand with a stick, I happened to see a very drunken Captain Maelstorme Smythe fall into the sea. As brief and innocent as that encounter was, and perhaps it was due to the welcome acceptance I’d felt in this new town that had so quickly become my home… well, how can I say? I had tried to shield my heart which was still mending, but there was something about his manner, even in his sodden, drunken state, that touched me. My heart whispered ‘I’m okay to try again’ and in days to come, I gathered up my courage and let him know that he had caught my eye. I think everyone knows how that’s worked out!

I am not who I was last year. Many things have changed me, some for the good, though some sadness is just the nature of a life well lived too, I think. I have laughed and cried in equal measure. I have learned more of the nature of my own heart and mind, and though I will never be perfect, I find I am mostly content, perhaps truly so for the first time in my strange little life. There is still much I yearn for, but I know how much I have.

And now another new year is so close I can nearly touch it. What it will bring is unknown. I hope for the best, for myself, for Mael, for all my friends. Happy New Year, New Babbage. And thank you.

Introspection

Dear Diary,

I lost a week. Seven entire days have somehow scampered off to parts unknown, taking with themselves any memory of what I may have done during that time. I seem to be healthy and unharmed, yet I feel as if I must keep this absence a secret from the world. It is too strange a feeling to describe to others, so I shall only tell you, my little paper confidant.

Seven days is not a long time, but the world is different now. I seem to have drawn closer to certain friends, and I have lost others. My heart is both cheered and broken. I may look the same on the outside, but inside, you might not even recognize this strange little writer girl. It was a very long seven days that passed in the blink of an eye. But I have returned, and I know more of who I am. These next seven days I have vowed to use as a forge, and I will heat myself in the fire of my life, and when I have cooled enough to be safe to touch again, I shall be stronger, sharper, easier to trust and quick to defend. My pen remains mighty, but I shall be the sword.

First Snow

Dear Diary…

Now, there are two words I have not written in a very long time. I’ve become so consumed with proofreading others words, and with writing articles for pay that are of the editor’s choice, that I fear I’ve come dangerously close to losing my own words. I apologize for neglecting you, my tatty little diary.

Last night I realized that my editing work had stacked up to an alarming level on my desk. I poured a cup of absinthe and got to work, as I felt a compulsion to sweep my life clear of all those words I did not write. It was near dawn when I finished the last task. I fell into an exhausted sleep on my couch, and did not awaken until evening approached. I might have slept even longer, but for the chill air that roused me. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and looked out to see the Palisade covered in snow! Bela’s factory sparkled as the setting sun’s rays danced over hundreds of icicles hanging from the eaves.

I managed to get a fire started in my potbellied stove, and dressed myself warmly. After trying on every hat I own, I realized I needed something less fanciful and more practical, and so I went for a walk, enjoying the sights, poking in various shops for a warm winter hat. I finally found one I liked, and felt much more comfy with my new purchase pulled snugly onto my head. I wandered further… and heard the sounds of squeals and laughter coming from the park – an ice skating party was in progress! It was good to see my neighbors having such fun. But Ruby’s was also close by, and I found myself nipping in there for a drink, and became absorbed in watching what some people have been calling a ‘moving picture’, which told a story titled “Jane Eyre”. I purchased a calendar for charity while there, as well.

Eventually the story ended, and I returned to my loft, desiring to put up a Christmas tree, which I did. I bought it from BlakOpal, right there in my own building! It is beautiful, and delicate, and reminds me of the trees my mum would put up when I was very wee. By the time I finished decorating, the fire in the stove had died down, and I took my leave to spend a warmer night in the Seraph Building with Mael, as I normally do.

Today I hope to write more of my own tale. I feel a sense of guilt that I have not make swifter progress on that. I am not sure why I feel guilty though – do I owe it to myself to do this? Will the world stop spinning if my book does not find it’s way into reader’s hands? I am neither special, nor worthless. I am just me. Am I enough of a life to warrant a book? I suppose there’s only one way to find out!

(Her typist wishes to mention that Ceejay’s lifestyle is her own choice, and if she’s floundering financially, so be it. Ya spend your money on vices, charity and clothing, then you’ll also have to pay the piper. This is NOT a sympathy ploy for other typists to give her lindens. Try that and they will be returned to you. Yes, her lindens DO get very low, and then she has to scramble and work hard to earn more. That’s how I choose to challenge both Ceejay and myself in SL, this is how we keep things interesting. How she lives is an attempt to portray a semi-realistic life of one of our citizens of New Babbage. With luck she will continue to write her book, and also speak of her life in her diary as well.)