Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I love you. I hate you. But I'll always love you.

If you caught my post this morning called "Blaaaah-choo!", this is the updated version.

(And hey, at least you get to watch the writing process in action -- laugh!)

Sorry. As always, I guess I shouldn't have dashed off this morning's post (now replaced by this one) without some explanation.

Basically the explanation is this:


I love Second Life. I even love the love/hate relationship I have with Second Life. And I love writing about my love/hate relationship with Second Life. Call this blog bipolar (in the purest definition of the word, not the mental connotation, although some of you probably call it that too) or call it a tug-of-war, but yeah, with my love of SL comes some guilt and shame -- guilt because I could be spending all the time I spend online doing, hell, God's work I guess, particularly when I have a brother who devotes 14 hours a day to helping foster kids. Shame in that my preference right now seems to be to hide in my room online instead of getting out there and toughing out the real world, and in the fact that sometimes to me SL symbolizes my professional downfall and my transformation into sort of a lazy, unmotivated as*hole, pardon my French.

And so YES, while we're on that note, I have no problem admitting that it IS a love/hate relationship.

I love it for the creativity and fun and joy and the few close friends I've made.

I hate it for some of the catty drama, vicious overreactions, the weird way that stuff can really send me spiraling into depression, and the addictive hold that SL has on me.

I'm a daydreamer and an escapist and there are times when I dwell in denial, so for someone like me, Second Life can be extremely dangerous. It allows me to lose myself in a form of non-reality and blissfully ignore the fact that I'm in $27K worth of credit card debt, unemployed, uninsured, living with my parents, and about to file for bankruptcy.

We talk about finding balance as the key to a successful SL life, but for me, Second Life seems to be all or nothing. I'm either really in it or I'm avoiding it like the plague. Some people might be groaning and rolling their eyes at the moment because, yes, I have repeatedly tried to leave before and have repeatedly failed.

I hope to still occasionally come in and hang out with the people I care about, people who often make me laugh so hard that my sides hurt. I hope to occasionally come in and dress up in fun clothes and enjoy the thrill of hunts and sit on my little deck of my little house and listen to the sounds of (fake) waves and seabirds. I'd like to keep a place to where I can occasionally -- and the key word is "occasionally" -- escape, which is why I've paid my rent several months in advance and I don't plan on killing my account.

But I think the only way I can handle SL right now is if I use it as a reward for meeting goals, meaning "If I send out XX resumes today, I can spend XX hours in Second Life," or "If I set up two networking meetings this week, I will allow myself to log on for XX amount of time" or "If I make an effort to get out of my house and socialize one night a weekend, I can spend the other weekend night at home and in world if I so choose."

Baby steps back to reality. Laugh.

What a bizarre way to have to handle it, but I am admitting that I do have an addiction -- broadly categorized, actually as an "online gaming addiction" as much as the word "game" ticks off many SL users. The proven method of kicking many addictions is to 12-Step your way out until you eventually reach a state of sobriety, which you then work to maintain.

But I guess I'm not ready for complete SL sobriety, so maybe this positive behavioral reinforcement method will work instead. ("You lined up a job interview? Good doggie! You get to play in SL for a few hours!!")

I'll still check up on your blogs to see how you're doing. And when Prad recently wrote that he was leaving blogging for a while, I fondly commented something along the lines of "You'll be back -- it's in your blood." And that's kind of how I feel about this blog. Writing about my experiences (real or virtual) is in my blood. 

But this blog for the moment has sort of jumped the shark. It's ranting, it's angry and it's cynical. Some people are taking it the wrong way, and I chalk the misunderstandings up to my blunt language and weakening communication skills. Regardless, the joy behind it is gone. So this blog is going on vacation for a while.

But don't be surprised if once in a while you see a post from me. Someone e-mailed me today and said, "Aw, I just added you to my blog roll and now I guess I have to take it off." Aw, please don't (smile).

As far as the earlier draft of this post goes, I downgraded my earlier drastic resolution to throw my Second Life app in the trash to simply removing it from my MacBook dock.

I'm wrapping up THIS STAGE of this blog with some babble I primarily wrote for someone when her world was crashing down around her. And yep, that someone was me, but it was also for a friend battling breast cancer, and a friend who was dealing with a painful divorce, and a friend who had come to the end of her rope emotionally. I originally posted it a couple of years ago on a blog for real women struggling to overcome real obstacles.

It's cheesy and it's not gonna win any awards, obviously, but I often try to hold on to its theme: that no matter how challenging life gets, there will always be something to believe in. And actually that's not even an original thought -- it's from a song by singer/songwriter Shawn Colvin.

So rock on, Beautiful People. And no, you don't have to be an SL fashionista to fall in that category. ;)

*gives hugs all around and runs off into the sunset for another attempt at the whole "rising from the ashes" thing*

Beautiful Thing
Freeze this moment.
For even if you're sitting staring blankly at cubicle walls,
or slaving away in your tastefully furnished office,
or at home wearily watching your kids on three hours of sleep,
or desperately searching for a job,
or worrying about a loved one,
or grappling with grief,
or pondering what to do with your life,
or wandering through this world without hope,
or feeling humiliated,
or patching up a battered heart (again),
or sneezing, hacking and coughing up a lung,
or scrutinizing your past with regret,
or blindly reaching skyward from the depths of darkness,
I'm thinking that if you look hard enough,
you can still find one beautiful thing
or person
to believe in
and remind you that you too are a beautiful thing
who has merely and briefly
forgotten her own strength.

So go on girl,
grab that beautiful thing and hold on tight.
Then freeze this moment.
Because no matter what dark planets may be hurling your way,
perhaps you've stumbled into my cluttered galaxy
right here
right now
so I can assure you of this one thing:
Pardon the platitude, but this too shall pass.
And in the meantime,
there's still beauty in the breakdown,
and grace will find you at unexpected moments.


Anonymous said...

Please say you kept the first draft and made it private LOL. Email it to me. I always miss the first draft. DONT LEAVE ME NOW!!

V said...

awww :( Well... I can't say I'm any different though- I've taken an SL break too, although keep looking at blogs. I also have a lot of crap to figure out with my RL, and SL, while a pleasant escape, doesn't really help make things better. So.. I hear you on that. Don't stop blogging though :) haha.. if you happen to wander off and create another blog, I'd love to read it, b/c your humor and style would be sorely missed.
Many hugs and good luck with getting your RL back on track :)
-Eevie Lemon

Emerald Wynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emerald Wynn said...

*hugs Eevie*

Same to you girlie!

Emerald Wynn said...

Lizzie, LOL, the first draft just said "Bye! Here's a bad poem! Take care!"

Honestly, for once it was only a couple of sentences.

Which is probably why I felt compelled to rewrite it as a book.

I'M NOT LEAVING YOU! I'm just using the "SL reward system" now instead of "lying around in bed all day/night drinking coffee/gin and goofing around in SL."

Plus you have all my real contact info and I'm coming to visit you in Texas soon.

Meanwhile, this place will kill me if I don't stop hiding in it. And when it gets to the point when SL makes you cry more than it makes you laugh, it's time to cut down on the SL drug dosage.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes...if SL is making you laugh more than cry than a break is needed. I've done it in response to the ending of my addictive relationship with Douchebag (oh i shouldnt call him that anymore, LOL). Sometimes a break helps you to start a different more positive relationship with our friend SL. So with this being said....I will talk to you tomorrow. LOL. (hint, hint, Googletalk)

BastDawn said...

I hope you'll still post, even if it's about job hunts instead of Second Life. You're a very entertaining writer. :)

Anonymous said...

LoL i meant cry more than laugh haha.

Learning Teacher said...

*mutters because now I gotta comment again*

That's a lovely poem, Em, and I'm glad you're not leaving us completely after all, although I'll miss your blog. But yeah I understand the balancing RL and SL thing, and wish you all the best with it. It's got to do with respecting yourself, and until you feel good about yourself again, I suspect you'll never quite be at peace about SL. *hugs*


Stacey er..Bettye said...

F'em Emerald. It's your blog. You can do what you want with it. Take care, and I'll be enjoying it (and NOT whining about what I don't like about it-which is nothing) when you get back. :)

(And for the record, I've very little interest in SL except for here and there since I've gotten my RL back where I want it.)

Casandra Shilova said...

A wonderful poem Em. Thank you for reposting it.

My boss is undergoing her fourth battle with cancer. :( I believe it would help her.

Meara Deschanel said...

You leave just as I come back! Is it me? I swear I showered! :(

Do what you have to do Em, and take care of yourself. Love you and miss you lots. *hugs*