Meanderings

Pulse – a personal note

The past couple of weeks have run by in a blur for me for a variety of reasons.  Real life, Second life, a lot of various influences all combining to at times make me feel like I am not sure if I am coming or going.

Sometimes I share these things, little journeying moments that I go through, in fact I sometimes overshare and I suppose this might be one of those times but it feels appropriate.

The shooting that happened in Orlando.

Someone asked me recently if I’d share my thoughts on some of my realizations after the shooting because I had mentioned that I had been emotional over it, and it got me to want to write about it.  So here it is.

It has been weighing heavily on my mind and within me ever since I heard the first few news pieces on it.  The horror of it, the idea of it, the magnitude of the whole situation really all taking up my thoughts, one person inflicting so much fear and agony so quickly… just one person, I almost couldn’t make sense of it. That part really floored me and at first I felt almost numb while I read or saw or conversed about it. Since I am really not used to feeling this way I quietly tried to figure out what was going on even within me.

I don’t think I talked about it at first because I felt awkward doing so. I sincerely wasn’t looking to be the band wagon jumping sort considering most of the time I am rather soft spoken and very private about my real life or things going on in it. It isn’t for any real reason except that I have been online for a very very long time. Twenty years. In those twenty years I have encountered more than enough reasons to keep my thoughts or feelings or real life details to myself. Sharing some things with very few friends or acquaintances and over the years it is very easy to become very silent. When you start out wearing your heart on your sleeve or believing a lot of the things that happen on the internet you come away very bruised, battered and burned. You learn to pick and choose your battles, and you learn to also quietly observe so you can protect those scarred parts of you.

So now it is very hard for most people to really see the inner workings of the person that I am, and I think that goes for everyone.

I have always known I wasn’t straight, I knew for a long time I was at least bisexual and if you really want to be nit picky you could classify me as pansexual.  I can very literally have feelings for, deep relationships with and whatever else you like to imagine with just about anyone. It hasn’t always been easy, being in relationships with someone other than a man… getting those looks, odd sneers and judging comments about it.  Even from my mother, I remember listening to her once tell me a story as she looked me in the eye about how disgusted she was when she visited NYC and saw two women holding hands.  Just holding hands… the sneer, the revulsion, her look really burned into my memory because I hadn’t come out or told her anything and at that point I felt a deep deep rejection, and fear to ever really be honest with her about myself.  For a long time I’ve been in a relationship with a man so I’ve been fairly safe from all of that because it appears ‘normal’ as far as relationships go.

Unless you get to know us… then you know we’re far from normal but I don’t think that is where I’m going with this.  I never went through a thing where I felt like something was wrong with me but I did have a hard time coming to terms with my feelings and how I could be. I was told once I was blessed; it was a gift to be able to love freely, without constraints or judgment.  That I could understand people and relationships differently than most could, that I see things differently, that I shouldn’t take that for granted or to feel like something was wrong with me because of it. Sometimes it feels like a curse, not only can I be rejected or hurt by one group of people, I can be by just about everyone.

I felt fear but I really didn’t know fear until my son.

My son is gay.  Very much so, no really mistaking it, he has a rather strong feminine streak as well.  He tried to fit in, tried to appear straight… at one point he told us he was bi-sexual… we let him go through his journey and what he needed to do. He dated one girl, that was the only one and then he somehow came to terms with who he was and said yes… I’m gay.  He was part of groups, and had a large group of friends all very accepting, welcoming, and supportive. I am so thankful he had that because he also has the most golden of hearts that you can imagine. I adore my son; he is a well-mannered, loving, giving, saint of a soul that has always tried so hard. Not always conventionally or where you could see it but just is. He grew up to be a really good man.  One that I am proud of.

The first time I felt fear, real fear when it came to my son and his sexuality was when he was in high school. As part of a group activity they were having a Christmas party.  Some of them were going to dress in drag and some were going to dress up for this pageant they were doing after school.  Unbeknownst to me my son had decided to change at school into a woman’s outfit to wear all day on a dare from some of his friends.  He was dressing up as a naughty Mrs. Claus type thing.  So yea, it was a short skirt, fishnets… whole nine yards, blonde wig, make up, heels… hey kid had some guts because he actually did it but seriously if I had a daughter who wanted to dress that way for school I would have told her to march her ass back to her room right this instant too… so he changed at school and didn’t let mom or dad know what he was doing.  He ruffled some feathers looking like this; some of the guys had a real issue with it.  Since technically my son wasn’t breaking dress code the school hadn’t made him change during the day.  He took some flak for it but what he didn’t know was that some of them were planning on following him after school since he was a walker and…. Well…. hurt him.

Someone, a student, heard the guys talking about it.  Heard them planning and alerted school authorities about it, I don’t know who that student was but I am thankful that they did and not just look the other way or not get involved.  They pulled my son into the offices, told him what was going on which shocked and scared him, got a hold of us and my husband came home early while the school made sure he was transported home by one of the teachers after the event so he wouldn’t be walking.

Since it was right before school vacation and there was only a day left before they broke it was decided he wouldn’t go to school on Friday so that things could simmer down over the span of the vacation.  I don’t know if those boys were ever talked to or had to deal with anything because they didn’t actually get to do anything but it sucked.  It just plain sucked and when my son went back to school I was terrified for weeks every time he walked out the door to go back and forth to school.  I still get scared, knowing there are some very insecure people that hurt other people for no real reason except for who they can love or how they dress.  I am always afraid of that day where I could get a phone call because my son is who he is and can’t really hide that.  He shouldn’t have to either, no one should have to.

The shooting at Pulse hit home for me for those very personal reasons. I read about the mother who got a text from her son as he huddled in the bathroom telling her to call 911, that the shooter was coming and one of the last ones he said he was going to die. I placed myself in that moment realizing that it could have been my son in that bathroom and what it would be like to have my phone, powerless, receiving those texts as he tells me he loves me, knowing his fear and my own if I had been in that position.

Looking over the victims list many of them the same age as my son or even younger.

I read this: https://storify.com/fuzzlaw/this-was-never-supposed-to-happen-to-you

Realizing that I could identify with a lot of it as a parent, as a woman, as someone who had been through some of these things throughout my life and having hoped or wished nothing like this would ever really happen and feeling a lot of what she was feeling.

And I cried.

These things shouldn’t happen.  But they do.

As much as I wish I could take away all the pain that these people feel or have felt or the things that I’ve had to experience I will always hope for a better way even though there is that part of me deep down that is afraid that it will never really change, that we should hide.  There will be a level of acceptance and I guess we have to keep going forward, to not let those doubts or fears keep us from who we are or supporting those we love or letting ourselves love who we love.

I wish there was more that I could do, I don’t like feeling powerless so I do what I can…

There is a fund for those families and people affected by the shooting, and in world this week there is an event where the proceeds are going directly to it.

I got involved not just because it is the right thing to do but because I had to… for that mother who received those texts, for the people who huddled in the bathroom or at the club trying to hide or escape, for the family of the mom and son who were there celebrating together and died, for everyone effected.    But I also got involved for me… I realized that I was affected by this and had more at stake here than I had at first realized or given much thought to prior to this. Just pause a moment please… our lives go by so quickly, they really do and as you get older it goes by faster and faster.

And so ends my sharing, I feel at a loss as how to end this…

To not pollute this post too awful much with business I’m going to do what I did with the opening of my store, this more personal post will stand alone… the one describing the event to raise money and the item(s) that are there will be in another.

If you’ve read this far, thank you I think…. Does it make sense to write all this out and leave it for whoever passes by? I don’t know.  Self serving?  Perhaps…  does it have much to do with my business, absolutely not but I have always found some level of healing by sharing this sort of thing so I suppose I have written this so I can heal and maybe not let that part deep down inside of me that believes nothing will really ever change win.

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Roawenwood Reopening – the Journey

at the heartFull steam ahead or something along those lines. After being closed for almost 2 months I finally got the gumption, nerve, or just plain stubbornness to get it opened up.

I am if nothing but something of a perfectionist in some things, trying to think up everything that I might need to do or things that I should be doing but not always quite getting there. Or the little touches that make a build good, I can go on and on over them… making it much more difficult than it needs to be. Well, I decided to just batten down the hatches and get it done. So we’re open!

The Roawenwood is officially opened up again (though only to in world group members the 25th & 26th – the rest of you have to wait until Friday haha!), the main store on the Five Blades sim has been totally redesigned and ON the GROUND! Oh… I’ve been up in the sky in boxes and things for far too long, it isn’t something I recommend unless you have something you really like to be honest. But we’re back, the collective we you know… anyhow… I digress.  This build is something rather personal. Here’s where I slow down a little bit and if you’ll come with me for a small journey of exploration as I let you in on a few secrets.

Yes.  This is a store.

Yes. It is meant to be shopped and yes it is a business.

But then again…. it’s not.

The store is made up of several main areas, shopping areas. Two bazaar types with booths of a sort, an area where clothing, accessory stuff is and then a more role-play, landscaping, prefabs type of area. When you drop in you will be faced with the middle basically. The heart of the store, within its heart there is magic, hope, and a quiet place of solitude if you like.  There are paths circling and moving through each area so that you can seamlessly move through the store, hopefully not getting too lost in the process since it is big.

Big for a reason, one I like to breathe, two… because I think wandering, slowing down and taking a moment can be beneficial. Plus, it can take up a lot of space trying to display furniture builds among other things and I like to stage everything nicely.

When I started trying to build my place, my space which is actually over a year now and I never would have thought it would take so long. I wanted something that was “my world”. I wanted my furniture, my stuff everything to be surrounded by… well.. me. I didn’t want to settle for a box with rows of display spaces. I didn’t want to be just another store, or something. I wanted to create something where when you stepped inside you did a quick… “whoa, is this a store?” and get caught up in it for a moment. I’m not saying it had to be a jaw dropping stunning build, yea no, not that. I wanted to evoke a feeling… so I struggled trying to figure out how to balance this want and the business side when it seemed like from the landscape of business in SL people didn’t want what I had to offer in that regard anymore. They wanted quick easy shopping, going to events, who cares about a main store, waste of time, “I just want all my creators in one place so I can go there then go home.” ” What can I buy, who can I buy it from, can I cam shop from the sim next door, don’t make it too laggy, don’t make it too ornate, I just want… want… want…” Exploring, wandering, feeling at home… they had no business in business.  At least, that’s how it felt. I felt old, out of time, from a past era of builders and SL that was trying to keep up with the new faster paced and newly meshed version of SL. So I struggled, wondering where I fit, if I fit. Did I want to become something else, not really and it depressed me mightily feeling like if I did not conform to what I thought was the new standard of production almost like it had become a line job at a factory churning out new items just to make them then I might be left behind because to be honest I love to create. I share bits and pieces of me, my passions, my vision, my ideas. It’s all so much fun for me and it felt like it was dying so slowly. Instead of an idea inspired by a vision or something I wanted to give, to help other people create their world it was becoming like an assembly line. Even people around me could see it.  Concerned friends and family members wondering where the spark had gone, worried trying to kick me in the backside afraid that I was giving up.  I’ll be honest here too.  I was.  I was giving up. Tired, burned out, and dissatisfied with my creations often. Feeling like something was missing, feeling like it was a real job and by real job I mean the sort where you put on your suit in the morning or your work clothes heave a sigh and wince, “well I’m off to work.” To settle in for the day at a dry dead cubicle to make something because it was expected, and I was in an event or something. I very nearly quietly closed. There were steps made to, you could see it if you knew me… It almost all came to an end, sick to my stomach and sneering not wanting to do it anymore but very sad that it might be. I felt like I was losing a part of myself and that my home… was slowly withering.

All very dramatic isn’t it?  I never said I couldn’t be dramatic.

It took a long while for me to kind of come to grips with what it was I wanted vs what I thought was wanted.  And while I know you all aren’t probably _that_ interested in this side of the journey I wanted to do what I tend to do which is share because now… reopening, you get to see that I made up my mind and I like what I have found.

SL is SL just like everywhere else, business will change, adapt and then change again.  I have always been good at adapting changing chameleon like to make up for the new things coming over the past 10 years. It’s always a challenge because technology throws a lot at you within short periods of time so that has been a lot of adapting but I draw the line somewhere. Here.. maybe it’s because I’ve done this so long but there are parts that just need to be out there and well, those who like what I see… my vision, of a peaceful place. A place to not only explore but to share. Little spots to pause a moment and breathe. It’s not all supposed to be rushing around, it isn’t all supposed to be instant gratification, sometimes… it is the pausing. Slowing down, enjoying what we see in front of us, taking the time to bring a friend along…. So yes, my place is a shopping place but it is also something that I share with you. Forests and groves, fairies and magic. Hope, and a love for the path we take not just the destination. I wanted to bring a little bit of magic into everyone’s lives so that is what I am doing or at least that is my intent. No one can take that away from me unless I let them.

If you explore all the little nooks and crannies you will find bits of me. Statues and displays of flowers, things I enjoy or precious moments. You’ll find tributes to loved ones and momentos of events, faires, RFL, and gifts given to me by friends. You will find my love of magic, my love of nature, tranquility and of life. Each corner has areas that have nothing to do with shopping and there’s a lot of little areas mixed in between. Even the gacha redemption spot has little things… pieces and each area I can imagine spending time with loved ones.  So while you explore Roawenwood if you really pay attention and take a peek you will see a large part of me from spiritual to mundane to the physical, it might as well be an open book but then that would be too easy.

Enjoy my store.

Enjoy the experience.

And welcome back to the Roawenwood.

 

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Did you know?

This year is going to be my 10 year rezz day and the 10th anniversary year for the Roawenwood as well.

I know that I haven’t been talking as much, or seemingly as involved with my store as in the past perhaps but there are reasons for this on some level that most may not be aware of or just assume it is the busy things that keep us.  Part of that is true…. I have been extraordinarily busy recently.  My real life has gone and kept me very very busy.  People have been home, schedules have changed and things have shifted that at times makes it very hard for me to come online or spend much time working on things and one of the things that has suffered is my communication with my store.  With my peoples.  Not for a lack of trying and definitely not because I haven’t wanted to, I just haven’t been able to.

When I get a chance to come in or online I’ve worked on things quietly and then try to remember to announce them even.  My notes, my thoughts, my little letters have gotten shorter and shorter.  The personality and the things that I imbue into the wood has been suffering and it is not much fun for me to watch that happen.

I’m not going to be making a lot of promises… I’m good at those by the way, but sometimes I don’t always keep them when it comes to Roawenwood which, heh, is irritating.  I WILL say though that this year I have a lot of thoughts surrounding my place… it is hard to not be reflective when you are faced with something as long as a decade.  Imagine it really…. 10 years, a full decade of creating, working, adapting… being a part of a community, a technical sort that shifts constantly… and I’ve made it.  That long… still running… adapting, learning, growing and still a big part of some peoples lives.

Along the way things have changed… people have come and gone, and some have stuck around.  Familiar names, faces, folks who have stuck with me through the years… I really treasure each and every moment.  I remember people coming to me with pictures, thoughts, things they’ve done with my ideas making them even better than I could have hoped for.  This year, this time I have so many little things that I would like to do, things to contribute and while I have that drive… that desire, I find at times a difficulty in expressing it or the time.  Time has shifted in a big way.

My plans for the time being are fairly simple… to continue, create and in some ways define a bit of what I feel is important. I remember fondly having more events or things from my own desk for my people.  For those who traversed the wood and that is a goal.  I would like to reinvent that.  I like doing outside events and have a lot of fun mingling within them however I sincerely miss doing for my group specifically. The little rewards and things that were so a part of the Roawenwood. I have always thought of my people, my customers as an extended family of sorts and should benefit from that.

I have so many thoughts, and while I might not seem like I am there… I am probably more than I have been in the past year or so. If not physically in world but in thought and while I muddle through getting this all sorted I am hoping to come out for the better in the very near future.  There is going to be a new store build.  I often struggle with this. Finding what I think is good for my store.  Do you become commercial, very mall like, keeping a distance from your store like a furniture outlet in the real world? Or do I find my personality, my vision, and my world within it?  Do I create from the standpoint of purely a business persona trying to make a buck off of you fine people or do I come at it from the perspective of my other self.  The role player, the dream weaver and the world builder?  Do I create a destination, a place to explore and wander while you shop like so many places that I was familiar with when I first started my journey in SL sometimes growing so frustrated with these artistic builds wondering if I could ever find the product they were supposed to be selling or do I have lil cubby displays…. neatly displayed, easy to find but manufactured.

I strive to find a balance. My path, my way, breathing to life my vision and still sharing those little pieces to decorate your life in SL.  That has always really been my goal.  To share.  I create to share. Something of a vision, something of a past time, something of a dream.  I like to give those little pieces that let someone have a moment or two where their eyes shine and find some enjoyment in the world they can create from those little pieces.

Perhaps I will find it… even after 10 years there are always goals and things to strive for. I still believe in the potential for this world, I still find myself looking for what might be next around the corner and yes…..

I still believe in magic.

Until we meet again… thanks for reading, updates coming soon.

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Until we meet again…

Hovering I look about me the fog having kept its grip upon the Thicket, the muted colors and sounds feeling even a bit more closed in than usual. It’s terribly quiet, the crowds and people for the most part are gone. It feels like you shouldn’t raise your voice and even if you do it feels like the sound might be swallowed whole before it can actually be heard. Today the Thicket truly feels mournful to me, it’s almost like the sim knows that it is coming to its end trying to hold tight to a few final moments.

Soon it will be gone. The months of planning, work, preparing… all the hope that it will be what I had envisioned, putting it all out there. Hoping that people would understand it for more than the dark woods that it was and then rejoicing when I witnessed for myself that it was happening…

I watched people poke around into the different spots. Finding the ravine filled with sharp thorns blocking the way upwards to the gypsy camp. Finding the spots where the roses thrived amongst the jagged rocks. Pausing to breathe in the Thicket’s hidden little areas… The jail, a favorite spot I believe seeing it come up in quite a few pictures and then of course the landing. The camp.

Life really was here. Folks sat around the campfire whiling away the hours together singing, laughing, enjoying the rum that was left near the barrels and crates… dancing, lounging around the wagons. Unicorns bed down in the grass over there and there were horses grazing over there.

What I had hoped for.

What I wanted for the Thicket… it happened.

The whole week long I watched as people lived, breathed, and experienced the fair and I am so grateful and just thrilled that I was able to provide that backdrop. That setting. That little bit of a respite as we travel together.

It really was all I wanted, and I got it.

It’s been a wonderful fair filled with memories.  From the first fair I did 4 years ago as a vendor each fair has precious moments.  This one has been particularly emotional for me. Stories shared from people, bonding with friends more closely than ever, and traveling when I could even though real life and needing some sleep kept me away more than I wanted to be. I didn’t get to share it the way I wanted exactly but I AM the proud owner of the Fairechylde now, the radio flag ship for the fair that has the most awesome fireworks cannons ever. *laughs* I’ve been told by the way I am now obligated to throw parties since I purchased the ship. That little tidbit must have been in the fine print somewhere, I surely didn’t see it but we’ll see. I’m so not good at hosting parties. hahaha

My after fair post isn’t going to be as long as usual. I said a lot in the pre-fair teaser post about the dedication and what I was putting out there. This is more of a thank you and a look around.

Yesterday I got to do the tour, and a repeat today. Each year a bunch of us pile into a bus inviting folks into our madness as we travel from one sim to the other. Laughing, side splitting tear inducing laughter as we fall off of cliffs, spin in circles getting sick to our stomach trying to cross sims, flying through walls, avoiding hitting anyone on the way, dropping to the bottom of the sea or into lava pools as whoever is unlucky enough to win the draw of having to actually drive through these sims is muttering from behind the wheel. You know these sims are REALLY not driver friendly. This year it was Alia, poor guy.

As we worked our way around, pictures snapped for flickr pools and memories there was one that really hit me for some reason.

In so many ways it just felt like the perfect picture to end the fair with…. The group of us riding off into the sunset so to speak after a long lengthy exhausting fair, laughing… living, joking and relaxing trying to make our way upwards to heaven… which I will tell you, we couldn’t ever quite get up those damned stairs without cheating… we kept flying off and landing in the lava pools below. Typical if not a bit fitting.

Screenshot by Vylna Daviau who graciously let me have a copy to use

I really hope you had a good fair experience, this year I am leaving it with a smile and I must be nuts because I’m already looking forward to what we will bring you next year.

Take care everyone and thank you so much for donating, working hard, and just being there.

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The story of Yuale Nura and The Evensong Wood

You are in for a treat or not perhaps depending on your point of view but you are about to get a very rare and a very personal look into the persona who is Searlait Nitschke.  If not interested, *grins* then move along… later on you can find more product stuff, fun and bouncing like usual but for the moment…. there is a bit of a different goal in mind.

It is a familiar place for me now, the perch high above in the trees of Evensong Wood.  A favored place that I had created, my steps carrying me back and forth over the wooden structures that were first raised months ago, then changed… altered… their form taking shape over time as it came to me.  There is a story… of the elves, of a lady, slumbering beauty and the moon… little things I made up as I worked placing the characters I had created within the cold landscape breathing life into it as I went so I could see it.  Feel it.  Imagine it.  Yuale Nura and the wood became something more than just a sim to be built for Fantasy Faire.  I believe strongly in RFL anyways and Fantasy Faire allows me to meld things that are meaningful to me in one place.  Fantasy, imagination, creation and flights of fancy with a meaningful cause, the fight against a disease that has like so many other people insinuated its way into my life one way or another through the years.

Whenever I create something for RFL there is usually someone in mind.  Last year I was asked to do a 1/2 of a sim along the Relay for Life track, a decorative piece really.  The theme was something to do with time and I put together a piece with gears, time pieces and angels… with an alchemist hidden within the ruins, long struggling to find the cure but never giving up.  I created that for my other half…. clockwork angels, standing the test of time even as the rust creeps along the gears and statues.  I enjoyed that very much and could be found lounging within the rolling hills, flowers and trees there gazing up at one of the angels quietly.

This year when asked to do a Faire sim I couldn’t quite put my finger on what to do, tree city type was thrown around as an idea… I’ve always wanted to do it but never had the nerve to, challenge me and I tend to try it.  Then the idea of winter… I latched onto that and like I said in the interview for the faire, there is a time of the year that is very personal to me where I go out in the night when it is bitter bitter cold gazing up at a cloudless sky to breathe in the season while the tree branches creak bending within the frigid night… soft sounds, a light wind perhaps rustling what might be moved.  Wrapping my arms around me taking in the moments in a meditative sort of way.  I find it beautiful, invigorating, and awe inspiring, I wanted to try to get that across.

But then there is more… more to it, the part that I didn’t write about in the interview.

I said it was corny… it might be, never know what someone else will think of your personal thoughts, I don’t often extend them and why I am on the blog… eh, it’s because I like to write, it is a venting, a release, a way to place into words things that I might not otherwise utter. A sharing.  I have for years written things, but it is rarer and rarer that I put it forth.

Look up above the towering trees into the darkness surrounding us; like a blanket of sorts hiding what may or may not be seen within the brightness of the daylight… there… do you see it where the branches and foliage leave a small gap.  The smallest of windows, stars glistening within the wide expanse… the light shining from so far away and there…. the moon.  Round and full looking too big for the sky.  Hanging above us full of mystery and mysticism.  The snow sparkles beneath it within the night each step you take feeling as if you might be breaking sacred silence, the ice and snow crunching under your feet loud to your ears before we pause.

It’s cold… very cold.  Your breath hangs in the air as if it too wishes to linger within the frigid cold for a few extra moments.  I catch my breath as we gaze upwards together, the threat of tears shimmering in my eyes.

It’s beautiful isn’t it?   It is for my sons that I built this too…. he who cannot be with me… and for he who struggles, they gaze upon the moon for their own reasons pointing it out to me rather like I have pointed it out to you.  One from so long ago… whispers carried on the wind that can no longer be heard the voice lost to memory.  Then we look upon the moon wishing and hoping…  when I am gazing to the moon…. I think of you… my sons.  No matter where you are know that when you gaze upwards you are never alone, and in those moments perhaps there will be times when we are watching it together.  It was a promise I made years ago and one that I keep still this day and will continue.

I built this for you, for them, for relay, for imaginative flights of fancy, for somber reflection, for all those who know the pain of being separated from loved ones whether it is by choice or design or taken by a disease that haunts us.

I relay, and I fight…. and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this journey with me.  For traveling the sim, for donating, for giving time and energy to a cause that means so much to so many people.  This is why I create…. hoping to find the moments to share.  I am sad as the faire sims will be disappearing soon… I stand upon the walkways pacing back and forth not wanting to let it go… knowing it will soon be gone.  Gazing to the moon.  Though even as I lament the passing of this years Faire I already have begun to look forward wondering what magic will be brought about for the next chapter.  What people will see, what we will contribute… what beautiful wonders will be put on display next year.

Until then….

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