I'll take that caffe-mocha-vodka-valium-latte to go, please.
So one life singularly is one complex ball of emotion, events, minor catastrophes and stress both good and the bad. One life is more than enough for any human being, given the events that are bound to unfold without the good honest kindness to give prior notice. So it makes so many question what in the name of the great beloved cosmic energy would someone want a Second one? What is this Second Life and what does it really do? I mean, at least in sim's you can lock 'em in a box and set them on fire and watch the carnage unfold. Why would you risk the loss of a first life to simply become something pixelated that doesn't require what we need? How can "Ten minutes" turn into three hours later? What the hell are you doing that's really so engrossing?
It's difficult to explain if you're not in the world. Beyond the ability to fully customize what you look like in ways that would take far too man plastic surgeons in the real world to do, there's a world full of trolls and hackers just waiting to steal from you. But in that mix there's loving, honest people. There's people with a terrifying fear to leave the house that can suddenly meet and know people all across the globe through a moment of a shared similarity. There's an endless possibility of near instantaneous gratification when you learn how to do something you once thought impossible. How many people who couldn't sew a stitch have become singularly dependent and wealthy off of the high-fashion gowns and clothing they sell in second life? The tireless hours spent building relationships that sometimes the real world can seem a distant dream.
What's the appeal? Ask that to someone who hopped from home to home as a child and can suddenly pretend for a little while to be that three year old child- to find a family that loved for them took them shopping and baked cookies. It seems so alien to some, such a sick and 'wrong' thing- but to that person who found therapy in a way that some therapists could easily relate to as "Role Play Therapy". Sometimes it's stress, and you can hurt so much from a "game" seems a joke. There are many of us who have tried to explain the pride that comes along with hours spent setting up a shopping area just right to someone out of game and all they saw was the wasted time sitting in front of a computer. Understanding it is beyond words or explanations, and sometimes there are those who "just don't get it". No amount of reading or blogging somewhere will ever explain that calling.
I can tell you why I do. It's more than therapy, and it's become something of a way to watch progress unfold. I find it endlessly frustrating to try and make change in the real world because the older I get the harder socialization becomes. I can't meet people the way I used to and I've gotten so select on the kind of things I enjoy that I'm finding it harder and harder to connect to my peers given the area's I'm in. So I can meet with people and I can help a complete stranger I might have come across while knowing there's always the safety of turning off the computer if it becomes too much. I can pretend for awhile to be that perfect person in that perfect world and visually build paradise. I know it can hold the keys to my own RL perfection but I can't verbally explain this to someone else. To explain to familiy and friends that that pixels on a screen have stolen just as much of my love as they have but they are in no way a replacement.
I am so blessed in my life to know the people I know, to have the family I do. More and more I meet people on Second Life that have come from such broken backgrounds I wish I could just make them understand what it's like to have that. We are never so humbled as when we understand all the perfect gifts we have been given. In this visual world I can connect, I can build, I can make a successful business without the risks of loosing everything. I can do impossible stunts and fly- and I can enjoy it knowing that there's always the way to unplug. Walking away is difficult, and there are some who understand that addiction is addiction no matter what form it takes. It is no less disabling than alcohol or drugs could be and in some ways is a stronger addiction. Though I think sometimes it outweighs the so called drawbacks of it.
I love my Real Life family, I've got them in my life and in so many ways they help me. Without them I'd not be where I am today which as difficult and frustrating of a situation it can be is still something of heaven to me. I've in no way lost any of the love I give them. There are things we struggle with as adults that we think somehow when we're teenagers we'll magically get to some age and know all the things we should have before through life's lessons- and the truth be told we're just older, more ignorant, and less pleased about it. So I try to learn, I try to take my ignorance and replace it with useful given knowledge. Though I also have to some way more than creatively express myself need to be able to visually watch something change and grow. Opportunities we had before close more and more everyday and I pray that when my own children are grown that they have a sliver of the chance we took advantage of when I was a kid.
The world is changing and it's a terrifying place full of anger and prejudice. I find in Second Life I can escape that, and I can watch the things I've put myself into flourish and not simply wither or never be able to see the fruits of that labor. In a market where I watch people of a higher life expectancy fall through jobs supposedly secure the fear returns. I watch relationships fall and rise with mere moments of no warning and I see my own life like some long movie. How many immortalized moments do we miss? Memories we'll never be able to go back and rewrite? I'm not even certain anymore. Today my Bestie, Nymeth Vale, did a shoot for a challenge I was totally stoked to be part of. I took my own photo of it and wanted to write some kind of awesome blurb for again but more and more I find that these are never what I intended them to be.
Yet I think everything happens for a reason too. I'm going to spend all day tomorrow offline, though I may come on simply to play music I'm going to shut off my computer for 24 hours and see what happens. I'm going to do those things I said I was going to do and I'm going to sit down and create memories not so immortalized, but will forever stay with me and with luck my children as they grow. Then, the day after, I'm going to log back in for a few moments while my daughter is at school and my son safely tucked in for his usual nap and I'm going to blog my heart out, and maybe by then I'll have some actual answers.