Maybe its the way the wind is blowing but the past few days has seen me deep in thought and reflection. I’ve been living one of those times in life where moments continually happen, waiting to be placed in a row so the messages can be acknowledged and read.
The message finally echoing within my head is about change and growth.
From the moment we are born our lives are all about change. For good or bad, nothing stands still, nothing should. We grow through our experiences, we change from that growth. From life experiences we are meant to become better people but do we really? Or do we too often hold onto the bitterness of a bad experience, twisting reality into a version that sits within our personal agenda.
We all view SecondLife and our lives within this virtual world differently. The age old debate for as long as virtual worlds have existed, is it “just a game”, or is it a lifestyle? No answer is completely right, no answer is completely wrong. The answer is written in the grey of every person and why they participate within this realm.
In a world that gives us freedom to set the rules we live by; a world that allows us to fly; where we arrive at venues often as nothing more than a bald head hovering upon sexy heeled feet. Where inventories hold our body parts along side psychedelic orbs and teddy bears, why do we allow judgemental views to foster? How is it that we allow situations to occur that can make another miserable?
My answer upon reflection seems clear. It is our own actions as an individual that puts the spin into SecondLife. We have friends and family circles. We participate in groups and attend venues. What we do, impacts and influences more than just our little lives.
In the past 48 hours three significant moments have impacted and influenced my own personal direction and thought. Encouraging a change of behaviour.
The first in a response I received after reaching out to a stranger with some kind thoughts and words. It surprised me just how much she appreciated the time it took me to pass on my compliments, leaving me thinking about how much we take for granted as residents within SecondLife.
In a world of creativity and expression such as SecondLife, reaching out to someone with kind thoughts and compliments should just be a natural form of appreciation. Rare is it for a creator to receive a message thanking them for making beautiful items, yet we have all seen those complaints in group chat about not getting enough group gifts or abuse if something is faulty when often it is a viewer rezz issue. Those who allow access to their beautifully crafted sim’s often receive little feedback about the enjoyment we have experienced in the surroundings. Rare are the moments when we compliment a stranger regarding their avatar style. Instead hitting “inspect” and TP’ing off to find the outfit that caught our eye.
The second was a situation that upon reflection I was not proud of. A good nine months has passed since a rather bitter war between myself and another. I saw humour within a comment made in main chat and made a joke, which I indeed thought funny. The retort was surprising, highlighting to me how different the vision two people can share regarding the same experience. Having long moved on from all that had happened it never occurred to me that the sting may still be felt by the other party. For me I was having a light-hearted joke, to them I was having a personal attack.
It is one thing to share a giggle, expecting them to laugh along with us, but the words we use should never intentionally cause hurt. Part of being an adult is accepting we are in charge of our actions. It is not about what happens or what someone might have done. It comes down to how we respond to it.
It was a grounding experience to realize that actions which I have never taken seriously just seeing them as games of push and shove which one play online are actually responsible for real bitterness within another. Knowing that an apology would not erase the hurt all I can do is be mindful in the future that as people move on from situations at different speeds the importance is in remaining respectful of any hurt feelings or anger that may still linger for another.
Lastly, I stumbled across a most amazing heartfelt post by a fellow SecondLife player. It was my first visit to their blog and made me sit up and pay attention. In fact it encouraged me to put down these open and candid thoughts for all to read instead of leaving them rattling around my head. I know this post has been long and rambling but I urge you to click the link and read Chapter Three by Lucie Bluebird.
I wish that every person who started their journey within SecondLife was forced to read stories like Lucie’s upon signing up so they could understand that SecondLife is different for each of us simply because our real life stories are never the same. We enter SecondLife for many a varied reason and as a community we should embrace those rather than sit with judgment.
Maybe with more open posts mixing amongst the fashion feeds we can all hope for a SecondLife where negativity and nastiness is left at the log in screen and we genuinely put the best of ourselves forward to the world to see.
* Edited 14th October to include credits