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:

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.


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.