Two lives – one me – and the interactions between virtual worlds and Real Life

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged and, as with everything, it’s a case of finding the time.

I had originally intended to post at least once a week, but these things are not always possible. Pressures from outside, partly demolishing our SL home by accident (but, hey, you should SEE our new place 🙂 ), developing and furthering relationships, and so many other things get in the way of all our plans along the way.

So these next 1900-odd words will focus on the interactions between the two lives we lead once we become Second Lifers and how we are never far away from either life.

RL has had its usual ups and downs for me over the past four months, (sheeeez, is it THAT long ?!), but as far as SL goes things have been really hectic.

I have been trying to start up my own business in SL, something which, even with the wonderful support and encouragement I receive from Danny and other SL friends, proves to be an incredibly frustrating experience. Learning techniques, practicing, collecting suitable templates, scripts, animations and textures all takes up a lot of time, and a lot of brain power. My store still isn’t officially open, but my store of ideas is full to overflowing.

In RL I had the misfortune to suffer a head injury a few years ago which has left me with difficulties when it comes to concentration and organising myself, among other things, and a busy Second Life stretches my capabilities to their limits.

Now I don’t see this as a bad thing. I certainly need to keep my brain active and to interact with people, even if it is only via the wonder of the internet, but it is important to realise that we always bring “ourselves” with us when we log in. Indeed, every aspect of ourselves is reflected in our avatars and our behaviour, whether we are aware of it or not.

A few weeks ago Danny and I finally decided to “name the day”, and the final preparations are being made for our wedding this Saturday. I would love to show you some pictures right now but as Danny admits to being even a worse organiser than myself in SL we decided that I should take over the preparations, and I can’t let any little secrets out of the bag on here as he would see them.

But worry not…. another post WILL be forthcoming next week with pictures.

Although our first contact was made through a group we both belong to, after a couple of rain checks our first actual “meeting” took place in the ballroom on the Titanic. Danny proposed to me in the cargo hold there, next to “that car” from the movie, and it makes sense for us to complete the process of becoming a true partnership at the same place, and so our nuptials will take place on the Grand Staircase this coming weekend.

Nervous ? …. I’m ****ting myself !

I have seen marriages in SL that have lasted an incredibly short time… just hours… and have heard of people who have been partnered more times than I’ve eaten Mesh Donuts, but for us this has far more meaning than those so-called fun experiences.

For Danny and I this is our way of expressing to ourselves and our friends our continuing and deepening commitment to each other, and is another stage in our own individual and joint Real Life journeys.
Second Life is in essence just a game, but virtual worlds allow us to express and learn about ourselves in ways that no other non-Real-Life media does.

As I said earlier we bring our whole selves with us to SL and, if we pay attention, it gives us the opportunity to learn so much about ourselves and to evolve, not just in SL terms but in our Real Lives too…. the two are never very far apart from each other.

Danny and I share something very special. It may not be unique, but I suspect it may be somewhat unusual, even in a world of make-believe and fantasy such as a virtual world. We are both transgendered, in SL and Real Life.

Effectively we are a heterosexual couple in reverse.

And this is where the virtual world of SL performs another service for us. It allows us to express our true selves, our inner beings from out there in Real Life; to explore our emotions, desires and needs, and to complement our continued and developing Real Life understanding of ourselves.

Danny has been on SL for some time, but had his realisation of his true self outside of SL and decided to use it to assist in his understanding and development, and to seek support and advice from other transgendered people on the grid. For my part it was SL itself which finally opened my eyes as to why I had struggled so much with so many aspects of Real Life over the years, and I too began to learn so much about my true self through the network of friends I made as a woman, and by listening to the experiences of other transgendered people in SL. Their support and advice was invaluable to me during those early, traumatic but exhilarating times, and they continue to be there for both of us… never judging, just accepting… and showing us that acceptance is out there in Real Life too, if we embrace it.

In Real Life over the past few months I had the good fortune to be referred to a Self-Help Stress Support network for a few one-to-one sessions and during the first session I felt immediately comfortable in the care of “R” and so decided to take the bull by the horns and come out to her about myself. She was so amazingly accepting of the situation, agreed to call me Tish all the time, and the sessions have very much focussed on me being given the opportunity to just be free of the shackles that have bound me all my life thus far…. allowing me the opportunity to discuss in detail how I truly feel about myself, in both worlds; my femininity within, my hopes and desires, how being truly a woman in SL helps me to understand and express myself, and just generally being able to be “me” in Real Life for the first time ever. Real Life girly talk is just so truly wonderful !!

I had been meaning to ask my doctor for a referral for psychological assessment with a view to progressing to hormone treatment, and maybe eventually gender realignment surgery (although given my age and the difficulties I face which I referred to earlier, that I fear getting as far as the surgery will remain just a distant dream), and it was as a direct consequence of being emboldened by my experience with “R” that I was able to raise the subject in a subsequent appointment with my doctor and, shock-horror, I actually got my referral !

O. M . G. !!

Yes, I have actually taken the first step along the long road to as much physical readjustment as I will be allowed, or will be able to sustain.

This week I had my final session with “R”, which was such a shame, but she was able to give me some confidence about what may transpire through the assessment process, and has promised to write to my doctor explaining how much benefit I have received from being able to “be me” in Real Life… how breaking free of the restrictions that this male body and “persona” apply to me has enabled me to relax, enjoy life more (even if only in short bursts), and to have some real hope at last…. to be able to look forward to a time when, with Danny by my side, I can be my true self at last.

Danny also has developed so much as a person over the past 8 months since he came out. Just this past week alone has seen a marked change in him, so much more relaxed and at ease with himself and the world(s) in general, and it’s a joy to be there by his side and to witness it.

I don’t know what the future truly holds for me, I can only hope and trust that things will turn out well, but with Danny and my other SL friends by my side I know that I will always have all the love and support a girl could wish for, and at some point there will be the added bonus of more opportunities to talk openly to people in Real Life as the real me too.

On Saturday (early Sunday morning for me) I will do something that I will never have the opportunity to do in real life… I will walk into a room in a full, custom designed wedding dress, to be with the man I love. While Danny and I have every intention of being together eventually in Real Life, this is different. No matter what happens in the real world, we will not be having an occasion such as this. Saturday’s events will be, for me, the realisation of a long held and for such a long time very deeply suppressed dream, an “impossible” dream which will become a reality through the magic of Second Life.

I will be wearing the dress I always dreamed of, beautifully recreated from my imagination by an incredible designer in SL (of which more next week), supported by two lovely bridesmaids who have become my best girlfriends during my time in SL, and I will be in pieces…. Totally !

I will cling to every moment with all that I have in me as my dream of womanhood unfolds in front of me, surrounded by friends who accept me for what I truly am.

At the reception afterwards I will dance with my love who I know will, as always, be supporting me through all the emotional turmoil of the proceedings, and I will be in heaven.

My Second Life persona will appear joyous, hopefully radiant, and will delight in the experience, while my physical self will be a wreck…. dishevelled, tearful, and clinging to each moment with a vice-like grip, never wanting this to end.

But both will be me.

Both will be facets of the same person… the body and the soul.

So there we have it. The virtual world and the Real World are not separate, disparate entities…. they coexist in our psyche as we coexist in them. They are extensions of each other and both are always present within us.

Go out and enjoy your Second Life. Within the boundaries of acceptable behaviour never be afraid to experiment and to stretch your own understanding of yourself and the world(s) in which you live.

Carry respect for others with you always because you never know what they may truly be experiencing and, one day, their experiences may come knocking on your door.

I’m going to leave you with a track that carries meaning for Danny and I and which, due to my growing up with a love of Motown, has never failed to bring tears to my eyes (well, a girl can blub, can’t she?)

The “Farewell Performance” of Some Day We’ll Be Together, by Diana Ross and The Supremes, recorded at the Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas.

Be safe.

Until next time…

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