Saturday, February 21, 2015

From A Dark Place

Edit: Last night I posted this incredibly raw blog post about my father's suicide attempt.

The outpouring of love and support I've received is humbling, and beautiful, and it's brought such joy to me today.

When people ask why I'm part of SL, THIS is one of the reasons- the incredible people that have become part of my world, even if we've never spoken, never met. Doesn't matter. This is an exceptional community of wonderful people.

I love each and every one of you very much... you are in my heart, now and forever. 

I can't thank you enough for the kind words, the hugs, the messages of support and understanding. I'm so overwhelmed by you amazing people who are standing beside me, holding me up and sharing your own very personal stories with me. 

I have never felt LESS alone in my life- not with this incredible community standing with me. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. <3 <3 <3
This is probably one of those posts that I shouldn't write and certainly shouldn't share with the world... but I'm going to anyway. Because I need to.

Yesterday, I went to see my elderly father and couldn't wake him up. He's alive... but not because he wants to be. See, he took an overdose and tried to end his life.
This was planned and the only thing he regrets at this point is that he didn't take enough pills. And this makes me a terrible daughter maybe... but I understand. I think I wish I hadn't found him in time, though he really didn't take enough and would have slept it off. He came to on his own in the hospital after about 12 hours. But... the thing is, he's ready. And I understand and I'm absolutely devastated by the pain he's in and now can't end.
He's 86... he's had a great life. But he lost his love, my mom, to cancer six years ago. And in the last six months, he's lost pretty much all of his independence. The dog he loved beyond measure became too much for him to take care of. He gave up driving. He spends most of his time sitting in his recliner watching TV and wishing he could go be with Mom.
And now he can't. He's in the hospital being watched 24/7. Today I watched him try to pinch off his oxygen tubing... I watched him try to choke himself. He asked me to go buy him a gun. He asked me to give him a pair of scissors. 

He's tired... he's just done, emotionally and mentally. He just wanted to go to sleep and never wake up. And now he's trapped in this dark place. I don't know what tomorrow holds. But I'm so sorry, Daddy... I'm so sorry you didn't get your wish to go be with Mom.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How To Spend A Snow Day

In order to properly enjoy a day when one is supposed to go to work yet finds that the snow plow has buried your car, it's very important to start things off by jumping on the bed.
And since it's approximately -1 billion degrees outside, a hot bath is in order.
WITH bubbles.
Now that's more like it. But it gets lonely after a while. It's good to invite a friend to stop by.
It helps when your best friend is also your lover.
It's been a few days, so... well... you know, stuff happens. Sex stuff. Naughty words lead to naughty deeds.
And a very naughty ride on my man's very naughty cock.
I think he approves of my new bathtub.
And then we shared some secrets.
Like about how tonight I'm going to remove his pants with my teeth.
He thought that sounded life a fine idea.

So... that's how I spent the first half of this snow day... Who knows what the second half holds?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Boy, Have I Ever!

It's Monday!

But not really because those of us caught in the great 2015 Snowmaggedon got to stay home today and extend the weekend! Snow days are awesome!

For the rest of the world, though, it's Monday. And in Second Life, that means it's Strawberry Singh's Monday Meme Day!
This week, Berry challenged us all to a little game of Have You Ever.

My answers are below these photos...
I thought my new library needed a pool table. It's turning into quite the elegant little masculine escape... It wasn't really planned, but I suppose this is my nod to my submissive side. Most of the furniture is sort of Dom-lite.

It gives me a good little spot to bow down to my man and worship him in all sorts of yummy ways.

Right, so have I ever...?

  1. Have you ever owned a sim in Second Life? – No, though I'd love to someday. 
  2. Have you ever created content in Second Life? – Maybe? Do invisible ramps for my pixel pets count? If so, then yes.
  3. Have you ever driven a vehicle in Second Life? – A few. I mostly leave the piloting up to Hugh, whether it's boats or planes.
  4. Have you ever gone sky diving in Second Life? – I have. 
  5. Have you ever played a sport in Second Life? – Bowling's a sport, right?
  6. Have you ever gone clubbing in Second Life? – Elebenty billion times.
  7. Have you ever fangirled/fanboyed someone in Second Life? – Hmmm... I was going to say no, but that's not quite true. I love SL musicians and follow some of them around a bit. I love Beth Odets and Bat Masters. Rara Destiny. Max Kleene is always fun. 
  8. Have you ever taken a picture of your avatar in water in Second Life?– Apparently it's cliche to do, but it's so much fun!
  9. Have you ever taken a picture of a sunset in Second Life? – Once or twice, but Hugh photographs sunsets beautifully... Mine can't compare to his. 
  10. Have you ever taken a nude picture of your avatar in Second Life? – *blinks* You mean there are people who haven't?
  11. Have you ever dated in Second Life? – *swoons* 
  12. Have you ever had or attended a wedding in Second Life? – I was partnered once, but we didn't have a wedding. Nor have I ever attended one.
  13. Have you ever drank, smoked or taken drugs in Second Life? – I've had a few cocktails and I can often be found with a cigarette. No to drugs. Much like in my real life, I smoke like a chimney, rarely drink and don't do drugs.
  14. Have you ever engaged in sexual activity in Second Life? – No. *hahahahahahahaha* I can't even type that with a straight face.
  15. Have you ever been to Bukkake Bliss in Second Life? – Oh, yes... back several years ago I hung out there a bit. I've visited once or twice (or thrice) in the past year or so and typically leave as quickly as I arrive.
Well, this was fun! Let's do it again next week, shall we?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fights with Friends

So my best friend... my real life best friend... and I got in a bit of a fight today. Right smack in the middle of an Indian restaurant.

What was it about?

Second Life.
Mind you, we've been besties for well over a quarter of a century, so when I say we got into a fight, it means we had a strong disagreement that came to a heated head, then quickly dissipated when she excused herself from table for a moment and we both shook it off, shared some mango pudding and went on with our day none the worse for wear.

That's what's cool about having a long time best friend. I love her, and she loves me, even though we don't understand each other sometimes.

She knows about Hugh, though we don't talk about him a lot. I know she doesn't understand Second Life... and I can't figure out the words to explain it to her. It's a topic we mostly just avoid but today I said something about spending Valentine's Day with him and how we'd been together for over a year now.

So what caused the fight? She made the mistake of saying that he wasn't real. And what we had wasn't real and that there is no way you can be intimate with someone without actual physical closeness.

She has a lot of trouble with the concept that Hugh and I are completely satisfied and content in the knowledge that we'll never meet in the real world. And she absolutely can't conceive of how any two people can know each other intimately without meeting face to face.
I know she feels this way and I'm not sure why it got under my skin so badly today. I dug my heels in and she dug her heels in. The fight/conversation had a lot of things like this:

Her: Can you hold his hand?
Me: Yes.
Me: Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't real.
Me: You're being unfair.
Her: How do you know he doesn't have 20 other virtual girlfriends?
Me: I know him. I trust him.

(She yells... I don't.)
I tried to compare it to people she's friends with on Facebook that she's never met. She still considers them real friends. I said that means she has a relationship with them... she denied it. I don't think she quite understands that intimacy doesn't necessarily mean sexual in nature, though with Hugh, we certainly have that, too.

I'm not sure what to do, and I probably won't do anything. It'll just continue to be a subject we avoid, but that rather pisses me off. Hugh and I certainly don't have a traditional relationship by any stretch of the imagination, but we do have a relationship that we've defined for ourselves and he is hugely important to me. I'd like to be able to share a little of that with my best friend.
I'm tempted to invite her over one night and log on so she can see my world.  See me, my home. Take her to see a live musician. Show her some of the beautiful places people have created. Maybe even meet Hugh.

But I'm not sure I want to share that much of this with her. I just want her to accept that Beth Macbain is a part of me, and Hugh is a part of that, too. And to respect it, which she absolutely doesn't and that bugs the shit out of me. That's what I don't think is fair... that she's just closed her mind to it without having any understanding of it.
Anyway... that's where I am today. Trying to figure out how to blend a little bit of SL with my RL. Maybe it's best just to not even try that.

My bestie is, oddly enough, extremely conservative... politically, religiously. This isn't the first time we've butted heads when I feel like she's being close-minded. It is what it is... and as much as I want her to accept this thing I have going on, I guess I have to accept her for who she is, too. And I usually do.

Today was... just aggravating.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Milestones & Memories

I've just started doing Strawberry Singh's Blog Challenges and I have to admit, I'm quite enjoying them... though this is my first that isn't based around photography!

These are the instructions this week:
Meme instructions: Share when you started Second Life, when you started blogging about Second Life and talk about any Second Life blogging milestones you wish to share with your readers. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post in the comments.
Hmm... this is a difficult one for me, but I'm going to give it a go. First off, I'm not actually sure when I started SL. Beth Macbain was born on January 18, 2009, but she wasn't my first avi. And... I can't remember my first avi's name anymore to go look her up. Rather, I remember her name, but I don't remember how I spelled it! But it was either about 3 months earlier or 15 months earlier. I do remember I first joined SL on Halloween... I'm just not sure if that was 2007 or 2008!

(Hey, I'm an old lady... my memory isn't as sharp as it used to be! And I found her! I joined SL first on October 31, 2007!)

I'm also not sure when I started blogging because that original blog is long gone. It was during the Beth Macbain years, though. I have always been a writer. I started keeping a diary as soon as I could make words, and stories soon followed. My first "blog" was a Live Journal... I'm not even sure that site is still around. I wish I'd kept track of that because I remember writing copious amounts on 9/11 and I'd love to see what I wrote, but c'est la vie. 

I also got really into writing fanfic... don't laugh! Mine was good, I swear! My first love was the original Law & Order and I got involved with a group of ladies and we all wrote L&O fanfic and... wow... this was so long ago that we didn't have a place to post the stories online and the files were too big to email, so we'd print them out, make copies and mail them to each other.

After Law & Order came Buffy. Yes, Buffy. And I was deep, deep, deep into that world. As a matter of fact, the connections I made writing Buffy fanfic are the reasons I ended up moving to Los Angeles, being neighbors with one of the actors on the show and getting to know pretty much the full cast and crew. It was odd being sort of a mini-celebrity in that world. I had fans of my own and it was very strange. I would go to conventions and people would find out who I was and hunt me down to meet me. ME, the giant introvert!

I drank a lot back then... lol!

After the whole Buffy thing played out, I got into writing West Wing fic for a brief period but... eh, it faded pretty quickly. I stopped writing for several years, a lot of things changed in my world and I ended up back in Kentucky and in Second Life.

I wanted to start a Second Life blog, but I had no idea what I wanted it to be about. My first SL blog was a VERY short lived fashion blog. I think I made two or three posts before I abandoned that because it wasn't fun and it was SO overdone!

But I still wanted to do... something. And since I'd always been a diarist, I thought I'd give that a go. I had no idea if anyone would read it, but... what the hell, right? A diary is for oneself so it didn't really matter to me if I had a lot of readers.

My first post was August 18, 2013. It started on WordPress, but I started getting scared that it'd be taken down since it was very adult in nature and WP didn't allow adult content so I ported it all over to Blogger and have been very happy with it.

My first real "milestone" post came on November 3, 2013 and I didn't realize what a moment it was until I just went back and reread it. It was written after a bad breakup (a couple months after) when I went through a period of bleak depression and trying to justify a lot of stuff that didn't need to be justified. I had a revelation and wrote it all out... and now looking back at it, I see what was the start of a sort of metamorphosis. I was just realizing the sort of relationship I wanted in SL... the one I now have with Hugh, long before I knew he existed. Oh, if I'd only known what life had in store for me!

There were actually several posts around this same time that were pretty damn raw. My emotions and self-confidence were bouncing all over the place and it wasn't a pretty sight, but I needed this blog to be able to get it all out and work through it.

Then came the entry of February 1, 2014... this was the first time Hugh made any sort of appearance. We'd been seeing each other on the sly for a couple weeks and I finally came clean with the guy I was with at the time. Oh, heavens... that was some ugliness! But looking back now and knowing the man I was talking about meeting was Hugh... wowzah!

And then February 17, 2014, when I shared Hugh, my sunshine, my love, with the world.

As I'm writing this, I'm rereading my entire blog... god, there are so many milestones! I can't possibly list them on. In a way, each post IS its own milestone. It's been quite the walk down memory lane... and gosh, it feels like it's all happened so fast. I can't believe that over a year has really gone by since I met Hugh and seeing our relationship in words and photos... how lovely!

Not all the milestones revolved around Hugh... there were a lot of posts I'd completely forgotten about writing. Some frivolous, some dead serious. Learning of, and dealing with, my brother's cancer. Various bouts with depression. This blog has been all over the place, just like my brain.

I love it. The good and the bad... Every single day has brought me to this place. Has made me the person I am. Not always easy and not always pretty, but it's all me.

And I'm pretty fucking proud of that.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Saving Grace

It's no secret that I've put a lot of RL Beth into SL Beth.

In Second Life, I don't try to hide who I am in the real world... and I mean who I am as a person, not my real name, address and social security number! It's also occurred to me that I'm far less concerned with SL folks finding out all about me than I am RL folks finding out all about SL me.

Much of what defines SL Beth is what also defines RL Beth.
But how does SL Beth help define RL Beth?
Quite a bit, I think.

I've got a bit of the flu right now and late last night I found myself in Second Life wandering around in that sort of feverish haze one gets when one has the flu and I had one of those revelations that come when one isn't quite all there.
I was sitting in a seedy blues bar watching Beth Odets perform and I realized that at that moment, the world of SL was exceedingly real to me. I was sitting in that bar. I was completely immersed in Second Life... the real world ceased to exist for those moments.
And when I logged off, and came back into the real world, I realized that I was still Beth Macbain.

She is me, and I am her, and not only do the worlds blur when I'm in Second Life, they also blur when I'm not.
How does this manifest?

In the real world, without Second Life, I'm far less confident and self-assured. Beth Macbain can go anywhere and do anything. There's nothing she can't conquer.
Being Beth Macbain gives me confidence. When I'm on the grid, the world is my oyster. I am completely in control. My body, my surroundings, my world. There is no job, there is no electricity bill to pay, no groceries to buy... hell, my virtual pets don't even need food.
In Second Life, I am gifted with the ability to live life exactly as I choose. Outside of paying my tier, I'm beholden to nothing.

There's Hugh... but he certainly isn't an obligation. He's joy and sunshine and laughter. And together, we define our world. It's the same sort of control, only shared with another.
And when I log off, that feeling of empowerment doesn't go away.

My real life world certainly isn't as serene as my Second Life world. There is rent that is in the hundreds of dollars a month instead of $65. There is a job that I have to show up for five days a week. There's a litter box to be scooped. There's an elderly father to love and keep an eye on.

There is flu. :-)
The control I have in Second Life very much bleeds into real life. I walk a little straighter. My head is held a bit higher. When I close my eyes, I don't see the overweight, middle-aged, apartment-dwelling. desk-bound, problem-laden Beth.
I see the strong, confident, empowered, independent woman I am in Second Life.

They are the same person.
Is this therapy? Absolutely.

One of the most fascinating things for me about SL is the platform it provides to differently-abled people. Parkinson's, Autism, MS, all variety of different physical and mental/emotional problems can be swept away in SL as if they don't exist. It enables people from all walks of life to feel "normal" for the time they're logged in.
I'm not quite in one of those situations... I'm just a fat introvert! But it fills me with joy to know that this world, this Second Life world, provides those folks with the chance to shake off their real world things... and I have to believe that the independence and confidence they gain carries into their real lives.
There is nothing that SL Beth can't do... and as such, when I log off, I feel very much that there is nothing RL Beth can't do.
Am I alone in this? Surely not. We're all in Second Life for something... for a reason known only to us and I'm sure we all take away something from our experiences in world when we log off.
Isn't that cool? I mean, really? Isn't that the neatest thing ever? It's why I come back again and again and again. When I'm not in SL for a period of time, it dissipates. It's been a while since I experienced that... several years, actually. I think I was gone from SL for most of 2011-12 and though I didn't realize it at the time, I felt the absence. I came back for a reason and I didn't even know it.

I was craving something and it's still difficult to define exactly what that was, but I find it every time I log in.
Balance. Power. Independence. Strength.

Will Second Life always be here? I don't know, but I doubt it. But I think there will always be something in my real life that I use for an escape.

Some (most) in my real life find it odd that this virtual world plays such a big part in my life. They're not a part of Second Life so they can't comprehend what I get from it, and that's okay. I don't necessarily want to share it with them. They know about it... I refuse to hide Second Life like it's something to be ashamed of. I don't want them here, though.

I mean, sure, they're welcome to join Second Life and I would encourage them to give it a try... but they'll never know the name "Beth Macbain" in association with RL Beth. Beth Macbain is my little real life secret.
But they get to experience some of the benefits of RL Beth being SL Beth.

Because they're very blended... I guess SL Beth helps RL Beth remember that there is nothing I can't handle. As I benefit, so do those around me. The confidence, the ability to deal... it's all there, RL and SL.

I just need SL Beth to remind me of that. As much as SL Beth is RL Beth... RL Beth is also SL Beth. And I'll always be grateful to SL for providing that mirror.

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