Ali and Cen have both written brave heart-rending posts to their blogs lately. The links are the most recent ones. It was one of those times when I so wanted to say something that showed I care about them, their challenges, their courage, admire their spirit and insight into their own lives and their needs and wanted to encourage them and cheer them on. And I so didn't succeed in showing any of this.
I really should learn not to comment late at night, when I don't have two brain cells left to rub together. The first thing I thought of this morning was Cen's struggle. I'm sorry to say I haven't thought of anything to say that might help now either.
Thinking about both of them this morning made me realize that one of the things that SL gives me is a connection with people that really don't want much of anything from me but my friendship. This may sound pretty pathetic, but for me it's not. After nine or ten hours at work, I can quite happily be a friend, be there for you.
I am a very social person. I work retail. Retail is a social job, but much of it is the type of "social" that is demanding and draining.
I am a department manager and buyer for the largest department in one of the largest shops of its kind in the country. I spend my day surrounded by people that want me, bits of me - for my color sense (used to teach college art), for my knowledge (we do mini-classes all day long just leaning over the cutting table explaining the "how to" of what they are trying for), for my skills (someone who doesn't know how to do something and doesn't want to learn asking/pressuring me to do it for them) and for the answers to questions (where are your/do you have? many times they are standing within ten feet - or two feet - of what they want in direct line of sight and haven't bothered to glance around), for my ability to pull together what may be 30 different pieces that they need to get their project done (it can take 45min to 3hrs of intense work with one or more people) for my historical expertise (I'm sorry to say I'm not as knowledgeable as everyone wants to believe).
There are many people that walk in the door that don't really need in-depth help. There are many people it is a joy to see. I am very service oriented, and the place I work believes in customer service.
I have a regional reputation!! People whom I have never met walk in the door and ask for me by name! Some of the things people have said to me are rather disconcerting! I would rather not hear them. I've only lived here seven years, but due to my job there are probably a thousand people in the area and several more scattered around the country that would realize who I am from my profile if they happened to stumble across me and think about it.
I belong to a weaving guild that meets once a month on Thursdays. I belong to a re-enactment group that meets every week on Thursdays (different time of day) and has events in the larger geographic region every Saturday. My day off was changed from Thursday about the time I was introduced to SL. We are closed on Sundays. So although I need the social interaction and the ability to display the creative side of me (weaving, embroidery, costuming) that those two groups give me, I am working those days. I visit close friends on Fridays and I can get an occasional Saturday off to go play - yay!
SL can't really replace those particular activities. But it gives me a social outlet where I can just go and dance, join in some role play, do some shopping without the traffic (if it's too laggy, I can TP away and come back another time). I need the relaxing social intercourse that SL provides me.
Please don't misunderstand - I'm very glad to critique designs of all sorts, go shopping with someone for anything they want to look at, help set up venues for fund raisers. Don't hesitate to ask me. I will willingly and happily give it my all. It's different from work and I love doing what I can to help people.
SL for me is primarily the people. A few of my friends are on sporadically, sometimes several times a week - sometimes it's weeks between log ins (for a couple it's job related absences). I enjoy the people I talk to every day just as much, but I don't want to miss the opportunity to catch up with ones that are on occasionally. I frequently relax on a favorite piece of land (home or my rp household) and weave and embroider and hand sew while I glance at the monitor periodically to see if the people I care about have logged on or want to talk. Many friends realize I'm shy, and they are the ones to start the conversation.
I am certainly have my own problem with balance, but it's not any different with SL then it is with the other things I'm into. Housework is what I avoid. And food is life sustaining to me - I only occasionally really want to cook. But I do it and I'm fairly decent at it. I do housework when I must, but not because I'm buried in SL - I would rather exercise, sit on the breezeway, walk on the beach. I could just as easily be immersed in historical research or embroidering and put off vacuuming.
Below I have copied and pasted the comments I put up on Ali's and Cen's blogs - lame as they may be. I think everyone else did much better at expressing what I wish I could have put into words.
I read Ali's first. If I had read Cen's first, I undoubtedly would have commented differently on Ali's.
My comment on Ali's:
Wonderful post Ali. Thank you.
My husband thinks I'm addicted, but he also knows I don't have an addictive personality. I focus on something (usually some sort of art) - delve in thoroughly until I hit a point and realize it's enough!
With SL, I don't know if that time will come. The friends, the adventures SL brings us! Hurray!
My comment on Cen's:
I work full-time, exercise faithfully an hour a day, don't have kids, and my husband doesn't get home until after midnight. So I have hours each evening waiting up for "us" time. SL really hasn't changed my perspective on RL. I spend the same amount of time doing/or avoiding the doing of my RL chores in favor of doing the fun stuff.
Now most of my recreation time is spent in SL rather than in creative RL pursuits. Mostly because of a major setback I received in that arena. That was the latest "wall" I referred to in my comment to Ali's post, although hitting a wall can also be learning something well, so that it's time to move on.
I took a break from SL for a week just lately and thought about it. I'm ready to pick up my RL projects again.
I treasure SL for the very real friendships and the wonderous creative spirit evident in so many people here.
You are strong, you are a wonderful person that I feel privileged to know. We are all pulling for you!!