I’ve actually been doing a lot of self-reflection lately. Part of it comes from a strong need to write my way through this month and vent every feeling I’ve had so far as I try to come to grips with losing a spouse. Part of it is a tendency to ask myself these sorts of questions from time to time anyway.
One of the things I’ve thought about is the relationship between myself and my avatars. I’ve only logged Ravensong into SL once since my husband passed, and it was extremely difficult for me to be in world. I hadn’t realized just how closely we had associated ourselves with our avatars, we always joked that they were us as we’d like to be, but I think the identification was much deeper. Raven is Melony, Natureszen was Jeff, there was never a division where we’d see them as characters and ourselves as the typists controlling them. SL was our shared experience, it was ours in much the same way a favorite restaurant was ours, the park we went to most was ours, and even watching certain TV shows or listening to a particular band was our thing. I’m finding that with all of these activities, even if it is something I’ve enjoyed on my own from time to time, I am having a hard time imagining it will be possible to enjoy it without him. I am so closely tied to Raven that logging her in to explore is almost the same in my mind as considering going to a favorite RL place by myself. It just feels wrong, and lonely.
But even with all of this I don’t want to abandon SL. I really need a place to mentally escape sometimes, now more than ever, and there’s only so many documentaries I can watch on Netflix before I get restless. Since nearly all of the in world interaction with my hub was with our original avatars, I thought I’d give it another try under my most active alt just to see if it might be a little easier. With her sixth rezday coming up in a couple of weeks she’s nearly as old as Raven and I’ve always logged her in regularly, but I’ve never developed the same emotional tie to her that I have with Raven. I’m not sure why that is, she’s not a roleplaying alt or a character with a back story of her own and she has almost the same shape and general style as Raven, in most ways they are really quite interchangeable. She’s still just me, but at the same time logging her in doesn’t bring along memories of adventuring across the grid with the hub.
It felt strange, but somehow she did seem to insulate me a little from the very raw grief that I felt taking Ravensong in world. Perhaps she’ll allow me the chance to roam around and escape for a short time. Sometimes my hub used to suggest I use her as my breaking out of my shell avatar: turn her into the outgoing, confident woman that I struggle with becoming. Maybe it’s time to let her step forward for a little while and be my main.
This week’s meme from Strawberry Singh is Introspection. It seemed an interesting one to tackle this week.
- Regardless of your current number, how old do you actually feel? For the longest time I would have said I feel about 25 at most, mentally. I’d always been one to listen to people my age talk about raising their kids, and fuss about all these things that this generation is into, then in the past few years many of them started talking about grandkids… it always felt to me like I was listening to people who were twice my age and I just couldn’t relate to them very well. In many ways I still feel like I’m waiting to grow up and I haven’t gotten the hang of this adulthood thing. This month, though, I think I feel my age for the first time ever.
- Which is worse, failing or never trying? I think this depends entirely on the situation, so I can only consider how it relates to my own experience. I can look back at a lot of situations where I just couldn’t bring myself to try, almost always because of a fear of failure. For me it almost always led to regret. What would have happened if I’d done something differently? What if I’d given that a try? I can think of several things off the top of my head that I avoided because I was afraid I couldn’t do it, and without exception I regret that I didn’t give it a shot.
- If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently? Well I’d have been gone for 9 years now… I’m not sure I’d have done anything differently except worried more about the end.
- Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things? Always about doing the right thing.
- Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton? I would rather be joyful anything. I am a worrier now, an excessive chronic worrier and I hate it. It would be nice to be joyful.
- Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend? I’d like to think so, but I don’t know. I’ve always tried to be there to help people when they need me. At the same time I think I have a strong tendency to pull back and isolate myself, I have a lot of trouble accepting help when people offer. Lately I’m really becoming aware of how reluctant I am to bother anybody for help and I wish I were not that way.
- Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset? Does it really matter now? Five years ago was 2008. As I think back on that year I honestly can’t think of one thing I might have been upset about. I’m sure there were minor little frustrations in life, but they would have been short lived and trivial, and I’d have been over them in an hour or so.
- At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive? Oh, lots of times. Any time we were doing something together that we both loved, especially if we were out taking photographs and I found a perfect shot I could share with him. Or, last fall when my husband took me to see my favorite band, and it was a perfect night made even better because we were sharing it. He was standing behind me with his arms around me, and everything in the world seemed perfect and exciting and fun. I wished it would have went on forever.
- If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job? As soon as I can gather myself back together and regain my ability to focus on something for more than five minutes at a time (I’ve worked on this post on and off for the past several hours) I’ll be embarking on a job search, so at the moment I have no job to quit. A million would certainly be helpful, though these days I don’t know if it would be enough to carry me through the rest of my life.
- If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today? My terribly depressing answer is I’ve just lost the only person who I would have wanted to spend the last day with. If tomorrow were the end of everything, I think I’d just cuddle up with his photo and wait.
- What do you feel is the difference between being alive and truly living? The difference between going through the motions just to get to the end of the day, and looking forward to each new day with excitement and passion. This was actually something I was considering reflecting on in a blog post elsewhere. Note to self to start on that.
- If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Fear of failure, of receiving harsh criticism, or possibly the fear that a mistake may have a negative impact on other people as well.
- What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? Post all my fun Second Life shots on my Facebook? Lol. I live in such constant worry that people are judging me and thinking I’m not living up to my potential that I can’t even imagine what I’d do if I didn’t have that concern. Probably be living like the joyful simpleton from question 5 and enjoying life far more.
- If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be? Never doubt that true love is possible.