Every year when I design a Fantasy Faire sim I write about it. Usually during the weeks while it is going or shortly after at the end. A wrap up sort of post explaining what I was doing and why. Each year it is something of am emotional journey that I let everyone in on.
Last year was hard. Last year was the year for my Mother.
This year I think is even harder. This year was the year that was supposed to be for me.
The concept was supposed to be a reawakening. A coming back to life. A finding myself again. This past year since my mother passed it’s been rough.
So I got with Elizabeth and we talked, I had mentioned how much I had enjoyed doing my first sim. The elves up in the trees but I was thinking of redefining them. Instead of the cold and frozen realm they had inhabited I was going to put them in a more spring like thing. The cousins so to speak of the others. Living further south and it was going to be colorful, full of life, over a mystical sort of swampy terrain with magic everywhere. It was going to be a project where I would be coming back to life alongside it. A cross over. It was supposed to be grande in scale and design. Sort of a way for me to say, “I’m back.” after feeling like I have been away. I tend to use my builds to convey something. She loved the idea.
That was the plan. And boy did it go sideways.
What Fairelanders saw and what was intended were two very different things. I had people asking me throughout the Faire what the inspiration was, or the reasons for different things was. Why it had different styles of buildings and all. Sometimes I answered, sometimes I didn’t. Sometimes I couldn’t, I just didn’t have one for them.
So I was working on it, plugging away but this year it was really tough to focus. I’ll admit since my mother passed I’ve been struggling pretty hardcore, and while you all don’t need to hear the gory details it was often a get through one day at a time sort of thing. I knew before my mother was gone that when she died it would shatter me and I wasn’t wrong. It did. In more ways than one.
The sim was moving slow, I was having a hard time seeing it. When I get a build in my head I ‘see’ it. It has a life, I breathe life into it with these sort of strange half imagined feelings or visuals… I just couldn’t find it. So it was going slow and I started to worry that I had chosen the wrong thing to focus on. That I needed to find something else because focusing on my stuff was just not working.
Then I fell. I had an unfortunate run in with a mop bucket. The bucket won.
I end up getting a wound on my leg and it got infected. All of a sudden not only was I having a hard time with the sim, now I couldn’t really sit at my desk. It hurt, I couldn’t put my leg up the way I needed to, I couldn’t sit for very long getting squirmy unable to ignore the pain or discomfort, and it just would not heal. And I was so tired, sick feeling, the infection just wearing me out. It got so bad that I was almost admitted to the hospital because of it. I was a bit scared here as you can imagine.
With the Faire not that far away, a lot still needing to be done and then these things I end up contacting Elizabeth to say I might not be able to complete it. We talked and she said to let her know after that weekend because that was when I was supposed to go into the hospital. Long story short I didn’t go in and decided to try to continue, to complete it. I know no one would have blamed me for giving it up so I could take care of myself but I didn’t want to let it go. Us world builders can be a stubborn group.
So slowly I was getting better and would sometimes get a little message or IM or something from someone saying they heard I was sick and hoping I’d be ok. Of course I had only told Elizabeth what was going on so… *clears her throat tapping her fingers on the keyboard* yea it was a bit startling when that would happen. Since even though I am writing all this and I’m pretty open I also am VERY private and don’t like to let people know these things to begin with. To even tell her was a big deal. Well it wasn’t the end, not by a long shot.
As I continued I realized that I just couldn’t do what I wanted to do, that the concept was going to have to change dramatically. I couldn’t put in what needed to be done to do what I had planned on so the elves who were supposed to be up in the trees all of a sudden are going to reside on the ground. I had not wanted to give up on the original partly because it had already been advertised so now the website had this description that just would not fit. But I had to accept that I just couldn’t do it. Hard for me. Hard to let it go.
Then it got worse.
As the dates for set up closed in and I was frantically trying to work on this, to stay up… I realized that I was going to need help.
Ms. Control Freak. Ms. No one is going to touch my build or understand it like I do. Ms. Never ever ever ask for help.
Again I contacted Elizabeth to tell her I might actually need help from some of the other world builders to fill it in. I had decided to do these massive buildings that were going to be decent but the rest I just wasn’t sure I could do. I was going to make a sort of formal garden concept with a wild part below. The main store being a temple that oversaw the magic somehow, the featured stores the upper crust of elves living near the temple and the ones below the workers, the ones who tended the gardens and kept the magic alive. It was the best I could come up with.
You have no idea how very humbling it was for me to go and tell Elizabeth I might need help from other builders, to even consider it. I have never done that, most of the time fighting and pushing through to do it myself but this was too big. The faire too important, I had to put me aside and that was not easy.
As it turns out I didn’t use their help even though I’m sure they could have done some wondrous things.
Instead I got some help from someplace else. People who were around the Faire this year would recognize her, the little pink dinkie kitty who flew around in her balloon causing chaos and munching on waffles. She offered to help knowing how much I was struggling and at first I didn’t accept it. I don’t like accepting help but then I did. I decided to let her in. So I arranged it and she came in to help me fill it in, to help build the little spots I couldn’t take the time to while I worked on the larger buildings and areas. So while I was pushing through to finish hunt gifts, items to sell for RFL, the buildings, the whole giant project there she was like a little gardener bringing to life the smaller spots. Helping to breathe life into the Faire as we brought it forward from the mists for you all to enjoy. Towards the end she asked what she could do or not do after we had gotten some done. She knew what a control freak I am over my builds. I was so tired, far more exhausted than I let on…. she knew the direction I was going in and I said. “go ahead, play. Build.” she thought I had somehow lost my mind and asked me again because she didn’t believe me, and again I said.
“Play… have fun. Build whatever you like, I trust you and… ” adding as an afterthought or smart ass comment, “anything I really can’t deal with I’ll return, as long as you can live with that and not take it personally…. go. Enjoy.”
She was of course dumbfounded, squealed with delight, off she went and I went to bed to sleep. In the morning I went to look at the sim to see what she had done. With a smile I wandered the space. I didn’t return one prim.
If it hadn’t been for her my sim would have been a lot more empty. A lot more dead and a lot less inviting. The little benches, the little spots… most of them were her contributions. I would watch people reclining, relaxing and enjoying the sim often around the little spots she created. Sure… the temple was magnificent. I love it. But that building by itself wouldn’t have carried the sim and without her it would not have had its life.
One of the things she created was this little garden in one of the out of the way spots. It was full of color and mushrooms. Because I had said I wanted mushrooms but didn’t have time to make any new ones. With the biggest heart she made a little easel with my picture on it and inserted a little notecard expressing a dedication to me, to my work, to my struggle, and how I never ask for anything. It was the sweetest most loving thing anyone has done for me in my Second Life. Whether she knew it or not through the Faire I would go visit that little spot to sit and I probably didn’t let her know how much it meant to me. I’m bad at these things.
So this years Faire sim which was meant to be about me and waking up from the long sleep really end up not being about me at all. Not in the way I thought it would. It became a lesson in humility, a lesson in letting go, a lesson in letting our loved ones help us when we need it the most. It became about community, love, hardship and pulling through. I am forever changed because of this experience and for the better I think.
So this year I am dedicating this experience to my Faire family. The people who each year come together to do this but more importantly I am dedicating this to the wee little pink kitty cat. Her name is Carmella, and if you see her jetting around in a balloon, on a motorbike or just poking at people with her stabby stick make sure you stop and dance with her for awhile. She is always up for a good dance.
It took me awhile to find the way to write this. Between recovering from the Faire, other events and really just unable to find the words. But here they are, until next year.