Observer Fantasy vs Particapatory Fantasy; The role of perspective in how we shape our avatars and characters in SL and other online games.

Note: This was originally written a whole heck of a long time ago and left in my drafts for a silly long time. So, what I was trying to say when I started it and where I have now taken it likely differ a bit. I’ve tried to make the writing consistent but it may show that change in point…

“That’s a nice avatar you’ve got there; be a shame if something were to happen to it”

Is that an attack against you or a roleplay challenge? 🙂

There’s a conflict in perspective here that I feel is often close to the root of a lot of the drama in Second Life; where it is not as well ‘blocked off’ or resolved as it is in more modern Virtual Worlds like Minecraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and so on…

 

I’m sorry for starting this on a silly note but that phrase was just stuck in my head and actually reminds me of how I first started to think of this issue in tabletop roleplaying long before I found MMOs like Second Life or World of Warcraft.

Have you ever looked at your avatar and thought “well (s)he looks nice” or some other third person observation? Or have you ever looked at thought “well, I look nice”?

Presuming for a second that your avatar actually did look nice to you… which of those two would be the most likely way for that thought to pop into your head?

In other words… are you observing your avatar or becoming your avatar?

 

Even in roleplaying environments, there are people who see a statement against their avatar/character as a personal attack.

In the context of roleplay that’s seen as a failure. And this is one way in which SL is NOT a game… In SL it’s normal for people to take encounters their avatar has as personal.

In gaming, people do take success or failure personally… but as an extension of how well they played the game… It’s just a little different. If you make friends in an ‘MMO’ with someone, you’re making friends with the other player… It’s very common in SL to never cross the barrier of the avatar and yet for the relationship to be felt as real – and this is in many ways because the avatar is seen as a self-extension.

Somehow the stronger barrier between avatar and real-life-user creates an inverse bond between ‘avatar experience’ and ‘personal experience’. That we often know the ‘person behind the character’ in an MMO makes the characters and what happens to them almost disposable, that we don’t know the ‘real person’ behind the avatar in an MMO like SL makes the avatar’s experience feel more personal.

 

Even if one has a character in an MMO that they highly value… it’s rare to see it as a part of oneself. It’s a character, not an avatar.

In online games, MMOs and the like, there is a popular refrain usually against males that play female characters, and sometimes though less often against females that play male characters. It goes something like “you just play that character to look at some T&A on your screen all day long”.

I think it’s actually more often stated by the men playing their character as a ‘defense’ against the possibly much worse accusation that they might actually identify with a female persona (yeah… LGBT folks, especially the ‘T’ folks, I suspect would get rather peeved anytime it gets revealed that this is why some bloke claims he’s not a “freak”, he’s just a “perv enjoying some T&A”… because really, the entire claim is a slap in their faces – but that’s a whole different topic from the one I’m going after today).

 

I’ve been seeing it phrased like that since the first time I saw an online platform allow players to play a female character (Oh boy… there’s a whole ‘nother rant about how video games used to be male characters only because that was ‘normal’. Remember when Tomb Raider came out; half the scandal was that she was too sexy with her grand total polygon count of 3… but the other half was just the mere fact that she was female).

Let’s cycle this back to avatar choices – that go way beyond gender, and really into every last aspect of your avatar, your character, and so on – in any platform where you assume some ‘representation’ that is not actually you on a screen like Facebook or facetime, etc.

I think examining this can also get to the heart of a lot of other conflicts we see in the social dynamics of online platforms. Even to why some people really dislike or embrace something like Facebook with it’s ‘the flesh and bones birth certificate only version of you’ thing.

When you see your avatar on your screen… again, is that you, or a character you are exploring? Does she have her existence and person, or is she just you recreated in cartoon pixels?

I strongly suspect that a LOT of those blokes in MMOs who are just ‘playing a blood elf to look at some ass’ actually are experiencing that character as a reflection of some aspect of their inner self, and just pretending to be there to be a ‘perv’ because well… apparently Harvey Weinstein is somehow still less freaky than Boy George… It’s 2020 and we still have to deal with that… (there’s a similar issue with women running the gauntlet between slut and tomboy/butch – except neither is “safe turf”).

 

I can’t really say either perspective (character as character or avatar as you) is wrong or right, and I also think most of us exist on a spectrum here that can also vary per ‘avatar’ / character.

I have many alts in SL. Whereas some people adopt different looks and set them up in outfit folders:

This is my furry look, this is my hot-girl look, this is my dude look, this is my ‘fuck me’ look, this is my ‘fuck you’ look, this is my ‘fuck off’ look… etc… I spin out alts…

So Pussycat is always a neko, and if some place doesn’t want nekos around but I really insist on going there, I log off and log back in to an alt. People that get to know me on a ‘hang out together’ level (and oddly, it’s been a few years since I had anyone on this list) have to deal with a cast of alts.
– so that pretty squarely reads like a statement that binds me to the concept of ‘Observer Fantasy’.


Observer Fantasy: your avatar is someone else, that you ‘roleplay as’ or otherwise observe externally. She is not you. You are basically perving her existence. Your avatar is ‘her’, ‘him’, ‘them’ – that person. Not ‘I’ or ‘me’.

But it’s not that simple because I also very deeply explore aspects of myself through my avatars. And I feel deeply about them and about how they interact with and are treated by others.

I’m not deeply on the Participatory Fantasy end. But I think I have observed it… enough… to be able to define it.

Participatory Fantasy: your avatar is you. She is a recreation of you in the online medium. It is your voice that speaks through her, and what she does is directly you. You are ‘living a part of your life’ online, using her as the means through which to connect to the medium. She is ‘I’ or ‘me’ and not her.

Watch sometimes how people will refer to the process of configuring something about the avatar…

“I just can’t find the right outfit, I don’t look good in this outfit.”

“I just can’t find the right outfit, my avatar looks all wrong in this outfit.”

  • Are you getting dressed in SL, or are you dressing a virtual doll?

 

That said… I think most people who are ‘Observer Fantasy’ will in an example like the above refer to the avatar in the first person… because the outfit frustration is their frustration… and it’s not natural to switch POV mid-sentence…

That’s where it starts seeming like we’re mostly ‘on the spectrum’ here, and not at the ends of it. Sometimes you ARE your avatar, sometimes you’re observing your avatar.

  • When I run off and put my avatar through pixel-XXX; I’m in observer mode. Intentionally so – it’s a big part of why I avoid SL ‘relationships’ and just go for ‘strangers’. This is ‘roleplay’ or ‘game time’, and it’s not me. Basically it’s ‘porn I can direct’ to have the actors perform my turn-ons and not those of some random bloke in Southern California…
  • When I am exploring philosophical positions and crafting my avatar to reflect some philosophy or political stance; I am in participation mode. My avatar is just a tool through which I examine how I feel about something. When I was early in SL and came across Rasta; this was very much where I spent most of my SL time – seeing the avatar as a self-extension.

Two extremely opposite perspectives. These days I tend to put a bright wall between who I will engage with for each, to avoid drama.

 

In many ways this is a different angle on the old debate about ‘is SL a game or not’. I’ve long held the position that it’s both… and I suspect that seriously aggravates mostly people who are very far on the ‘Participatory Fantasy side of the spectrum (especially those with narrow, older-generation conceptions of the word ‘game’ – we could look at a whole series of articles on the concept of ‘gamification’ in technology to see how the definition of ‘game’ is now a moving target).

 

So just some food for thought.

Do you ‘observe’ or ‘play’ SL, or are you ‘experiencing’ or ‘living in’ SL?

Or, I suspect, is it some combination of these putting you on a line somewhere between those extremes?

 

And how do you handle things when you find yourself dealing with a person or situation that is on a radically different end of that spectrum from you?

 

SL Nudist, or not – “Transgressive Nudity” / Exhibitionism, and re-partaking in ‘Adult Content’ in SL

Been a while since I blogged. A LOT of things have happened for me in both RL and SL. Generally good stuff, but I’ve been busy.

This is going to be a bit ‘all over the place’…

I read an article recently about how Halloween is the one time of the year when we can escape ‘slut shaming’ and just have fun. When you can walk down the street in a sexy nurse getup, and then go back to normal in the morning. I think SL can also do that for some of us some of the time. You can express things here and it’s a ‘different space’ with different rules. Not always; I was recently admonished by a group and kicked out of another as a result of the changes in my SL nature I’m about to explore below. But much of what we do explore in SL is in that ‘different space’.

So this is kind of musing on that and SL and my recent changes in SL. All I will say about RL is that even more dramatic changes have occurred for me there. They were crazy, but resolved very well.

I find myself at odds with all of the ‘Naturist’ / ‘Nudist’ crowd both inside and outside of Second Life.

I am ‘not’ a ‘real life’ nudist. Never been to one of their events or places and everything I’ve read about them and discussed with them tells me I would not enjoy my experience there.

But why. When the idea of ‘running around without a stitch on’ fascinates?

For me the nudity is highly sensual. I find the human body erotic. I strongly believe this puts me on the ‘right side of biology’. ‘Naturists’ spend an amazing amount of time talking about how un-sexual the sex organs are to them… which just baffles me every time they go down that route. I suspect our ancient ancestors before humanity had clothing spent a lot of their days “bouncing on the pole”, closer to Bonobos in conduct than Chimpanzees.

Yes there are plenty of nude societies around that world that do NOT spend all their time stuck in an orgy. An assortment of rituals, taboos, and gender divides end up serving the purpose that clothing serves for the ‘modern world’. I could be right or wrong about this. It’s just how I feel about it…

And that could easily say more about me than anyone or anything else.

Some of my own Amazonian ‘kin’ from lower down the mountain than my own people, live their whole lives in the nude down there by the river. And some of their societies have extreme taboos about going anywhere near a person of the opposite sex. Yes you can google, even google the exact name of my ethnic group, and find ‘online porn’ with ‘Indian Looking people’ playing or touching each other intimately. Maybe real, maybe not. I’ve certainly been trolled before by a racist posting a picture of someone who looked a lot like a cousin of mine, brutally murdered in the Amazon… As an excuse, the person stated it was an image from a movie… But the message was still there. Kind of like putting a noose on a black man’s mailbox and then saying “but it’s just a Halloween prop” – your message is still pretty starkly there. But the point is… there’s a LOT of stuff out there that is ‘fake Indian culture’ made as entertainment for whites. Hollywood had a whole genre of movies for this in the 1950s…

But I’m related to those folks in the Amazon by blood but not by culture. I’m an “Amazon Indian” born in a city of 9 million, who’s Amazon relatives live in a city that was put under Spanish rule almost a 100 years before the first ‘white man’ ever stepped foot in New England (it fascinates me how US-Americans talks about landing at Plymouth Rock into an untouched wilderness, and getting served corn – which was a trade good those ‘Injuns’ got from the Spanish that had been sitting in Mexico City for 100 years already).

But I am no less Amazonian than a Scottsman who isn’t running around in a kilt with William Wallace fighting the English with a sword and funky pipe music is no less Scottish. Well, maybe a person who is a quarter Scottish… We don’t all lose who we are the moment we stop being somebody’s stereotype.

So um… sidetrack aside (this whole article is a sidetrack of itself)… those Amazonians I do know of that live in the nude – have some major taboos. Often a village might be split into a male and female side, and you just don’t cross the line except with your own family. Clothing might very well be the first line in letting men and women socialize without resorting to an orgy.

Whether or not nudity and even social nudity is erotic in an of itself… it is for me.

I believes that puts me in the camp of not a ‘nudist’ but more like an ‘exhibitionist’. Another terms I’ve been tossing around in my head for this is ‘transgressive nudity‘. Something you will see in erotic fiction a lot: a character is nude in a setting they should not be, and this becomes the ‘focus’ of the eroticism for that work of fiction. The ‘transgression’, violating the social taboo.

Nudist say be yourself, be accepting. So I state myself, and they get mad as all heck. Because they’re whole thing is about denying the very thing I find self-evident. When I was younger this is a little like why I decided against Buddhism. I was fine with all the mindfulness and meditation, but I don’t think existence is suffering. The divine put us here to learn and enjoy and each other; to live in love.

I’m finding in SL that I like being ‘THE’ nude person in a crowd, and then imagining people are perving on my avatar. On the other hand if some bloke starts IMing me and making me aware that he actually is doing that, I get annoyed and even often block such folks… I could never do this in real life for an assortment of reasons, but in SL, it’s a bit of the ‘attraction’ for me now… to be in that situation.

You know what… just because I’m not white, just because I’m brainy, just because I’m intellectual and hyper political, just because I’m a person of faith… Just because all of that, doesn’t mean I can’t also have some weird kinks in my personality… and one of them is that I get turned on by watching my little cartoon avatar run around naked where she’s not exactly supposed to be naked, but can still manage to get away with it.

I get to be an individual too, not a label, and this is my individuality.

This is all kind of funny given how I spent just over half of my years in SL living a nearly completely ‘G rated’ existence, and seeming to be perfectly comfortable doing that. I’ve yet to figure out why this split is going on for me – how I’ve flipped sides of a coin.

But I’ve gone a step further than that of late.

 

Recently I began putting up explicit art of my avatar. And that was a very scary move, but also a very thrilling one. I sat on those works for months daring myself to post them and not doing it… telling myself to forget it and then constantly going back to ‘hovering over the submit button’. During this I even categorized all my art on flickr in my head, and started up a plan to delete ALL of the nude work. To basically tell myself: you go forward, or you go backward, but you don’t sit on this line where it’s driving you up the wall. I actually started putting this art into SL months back… if you’d been around my land you would have had a good chance of running into it. But putting onto flickr or here or somewhere felt like a ‘bigger action’.

 

Back when I first went ‘G rated’ I had a similar moment. I deleted a huge amount of ‘sensual and erotic’ outfits and furniture. Straight out tossed them into the trash. Can’t really sit on the middle of the fence…

When I went to being nude in SL, I started with just a ‘here or there’ and kept up with a lot of clothed outfits. But over time I’ve ended up getting rid of almost all of my clothed outfits (everything that was transfer went to an unused alt, the rest I just moved to an ‘OLD’ folder and deleted all the outfit configurations I had… with plans to rebox it but it’s a LOT of stuff…).

I do keep a small selection of clothed configurations: string mini-bikinis for G-rated land and then a very covered up full outfit for when I feel I need to be respectful of something that has blended in from RL (like if somebody starts talking about a RL personal tragedy, my desire to engage in my ‘sensual kink’ vanishes and I put on that outfit)… or if somebody on my block list is around and I feel ‘on the defensive’ and ‘foul of mood’ (one person on my block list has recently started going to one of my regular hangouts – otherwise most of the people on there are folks long ago banned from SL, or in circles I have moved so far apart from now I never encounter them).

So… rambling here… But other than that small selection I’m basically always nude in SL now. And I find it most exciting when I’m somewhere where the rules don’t ban it, but it is just a little to this side of ‘improper’. Or if everyone else is clothed, I’m nude – and somehow this is normal.

When I’ve gone to places like the ‘Naked’ sims… I feel kind of ‘dull’… in part I very much feel I do NOT fit in with the people I meet there (in most nudist hangouts, the people are not at all friendly – and this seems to happen to me regardless of my avatar choice. I’ve done my old ‘bring the white girl alt’ test to see if it is racism… and that avatar also gets a cold shoulder). I see them be friendly to other people, but not me. Somehow the fact that my “thing” and their “thing” are oil and water is apparent. We might both be liquid… we’re both nude. But it’s different.

I do notice how there is a sizeable segment in those places that seems to intentionally use ugly avatars… pre-mesh, hairy, out of shape, or whatever. So I kinda have to believe that for them the nudity might not be sensual. But that just makes them all the more confusing to me. I’ve even had this as a similar argument with RL nudists. Got into it some years back with one when I simply noted that the vast majority of people in RL are sexually attractive. Something I find true. That set them off like I’d come to a police squadron in a BLM t-shirt; I think I’m being completely rational and good intentioned, and the other party has a freak out on terms that baffle me.

On the other hand, oddly enough a LOT of these people on the nudist sims that tell me nudity is not about sexuality spend their time in ‘adult’ hottubs using the sex poseballs… So um… OK.
(Specific people who have ranted at me over this issue, have also sent me sex-furniture in SL…)

– And while I like the sensual and the erotic, that kind of scene also ‘rubs me wrong’. I seek the thrill of something, but the idea of making it a group communal thing just causes it to be a turnoff to me.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/40847626@N06/33086212734/
(Animation of me dancing)

If I wanted to engage in a whole lot of ‘free sexxors in SL’… I’d put on a slightly ugly avatar, go to a nudist sim, and rant about how sex is evil and the body is not sexual and then everyone would invite me to the orgy… Or so it seems when I go to these places… that is what they do. But the whole experience would be a turn off to me.

SL Orgies just ‘rub me the wrong way’. Can’t say why, just not my thing.

But as I noted, I’ve been putting up explicit art from SL lately. And well, to get that art, you gotta make that art, and to make that art, you gotta do things.

So I’ve been doing things. In SL. That I’d stopped doing around 2010 or 2011 somewhere (bit shaky on when that was).

I’m finding it kind of fun. It’s not the wild crazy conduct of my early SL days, but it looks a lot more wild because I know how to make it look that way now, more so than I used to. And well, these mesh avatars have a lot better details to them than the old ‘SL mesh’ does:

A rare 2009 moment. I had clothes on.

 

I’m still feeling a little selective and particular in all of this. I’ve yet to do what I used to: hit some random adult place and jump on a random poseball. Not sure if I will return to that kind of wild or not. It has a certain thrill to it, but it’s also a purely visual entertainment. The problem is most of the guys in places like that don’t have a look I find appealing. My newest explanatory ‘profile pick’:

SL Sex – let’s play if we play right together
Back into SL-Sex now, but still find it silly. Yet I am super-shy about starting things & I have my limits

I love watching SL avatars have sex, it’s a big turn on. I love public sex & crave to find an audience. I want to be watched

You’ve gotta look appealing to me. I like a pretty-boy or toned build, No super-muscle types. Gotta have good proportions. No tiny hands/arms or heads. I like Black or Asian looks or fantasy/alien tones. Your cock needs to be normal – not tiny or super sized

But this stuff is also mental, erotica & not just porn. I’m not yet ‘fluent’ in SL-roleplay, so help me out. 🙂

You’re going to have to be engaging, with intelligent dialog outside of sex. You’re going to have to talk about something other than what you think of me & my avatar

I will not do anything related to D/s, Gor, BDSM, RLV, sexual violence, or disempowerment

While I prefer F/F, it always seems to have ‘hangups / strings’ in SL, so M/F but no Herm / mixed-sex AVs & no blondes

Sorry blondes, that stuff just squicks me. 🙂

That’s a work in progress. I tend to write it in moments of being ‘on’ and then read it in moments of being ‘off’ and think to myself… ‘what the heck are you doing writing that?’

And there some moments of pause in all of this. I’ve already had someone I had to rebuff a half dozen times last year when I was just nude but still not into a ‘scene’, approach me again. With my art ‘out there’ it’s only a matter of time till people start making new judgements about me, for good or bad.

But… I’m on my path.

I’m not really sure who or what I’m seeking in this. I suppose I will either take a bolder step into some venue soon, or back away. The art’s out there now though – so I guess I can’t back all the way away without abandoning the avatar.

And that’s a big part of why it took me so long to come back to this cycle of things, and then to ‘out myself’ about it. This isn’t really always Halloween. There is slut-shaming in SL. And I do wonder if a few people I’ve known over the years in SL are rethinking knowing me as a result of ‘recent dramatic changes’ as well as some who are now focusing on me in ways I might not exactly like.

As I noted, I am still a deeply spiritual person. Let me just share my other new ‘Profile Pick’ with you:

Politricks and Faith
Despite my nudity and graphic content, I am still a person of faith, and still a leftist.

I am generally aligned with Rasta, though I explore sensuality in ways contrary to Rasta. As a rasta, I know the purpose of a pastor or priest is to lie to people and steal their spirituality for his own ends. I know that we must each come to faith on our own, with the help of peers, but without false leadership. Religion may be the opiate of the masses, but faith sets you free.

As a leftist I know equal rights and justice must be struggled for, and achieved, by any means necessary. Downpression is wrong, and I must chant down those who try to Put I down. I know that denial of Identity-politics is just code for forcing majority-identity and excluding others. And as a leftist, I exist for the struggle. Justice before Peace.

Religious people can be judgemental. And that includes ‘devout Atheists’ – which I find to be a rather extremist religion of it’s bent, bent on acquiring converts and centered on a ‘faith’ that there is no ‘faith.

But most religions are anti-sensual, and here I am blending the two – while coming from a faith, Rasta, known for being non-sensual. I see this as right for me, but I am sure others will not.

I think it’s just my nature to be transgressive, and to fight. I land in that space no matter what I do.

About that time when (yesterday) a white supremacist crashed my gig and tried to behave but couldn’t hold back in the end… And moving past that.


So yesterday I had my first meeting for “The Progressive Left Think Tank” and we had one guy there who did not seem to understand that this was meant as a meeting for progressives to come up with ideas together and well… strategize and plan.

Instead, like they always do – he felt the need to invade our space and try to co-op the meeting over to “all the reasons libertarians are the real liberals and you progressives are wrong about everything.” You know… the usual way they behave.

You know… if you are one of them and reading this… I don’t go crashing your space to rant about horrible things like “people should have equal rights” and “black people have a right to be alive” and “women have brains” and “imagine if we made the planet a better place just because, no profit involved” and “respect is only something you can lose, but everyone starts with it.” You know… all of our horrible ideas and touchy feely stuff like wanting to have rights.

No.

I say that here. My space. And I say it in my groups and among my fellows. And we use the public space to argue it out over whether or not cops should be allowed to murder people without even giving them a trial.

But then again this argument is all about respect and rights… so… of course the side arguing that other people don’t deserve respect and rights will… invade the space of other people… because they don’t respect our rights.

To them I just have to say… history is a long road. And its moving my way.

So that person, well, we had him going in the group, up until… here, see for yourself:

[2017/03/01 20:29] Pussycat Catnap: I think one traditional notion for the progressive left is that it is the role of government to look after the welfare of the people.
[2017/03/01 20:29] [V]: It’s hard to organize when everybody’s poor and struggling to get by
[2017/03/01 20:30] [S-M]: Korben, I disagree
[2017/03/01 20:30] [V]: Yes, Pussycat
[2017/03/01 20:30] Pussycat Catnap: Government shouldn’t be weakened – it should be harnessed as the tool to empower equality.
[2017/03/01 20:32] [Z]: [V]…I think that’s a wonderful idea….but let’s not forget the role of government in this….in a perfect world, my neighbors would take care of me and vice versa….but government, as I see it….is simply a gigantic union whose members are it’s citizens…..Mangement in this case is any and all private interests….The Union is the Public Interest……as a Liberal (and i use that term to describe myself)…I get really tired of people who treat the Government as this evil, “other”……it is us writ large……and it’s about damn time it served it’s workers and not it’s casino players.
[2017/03/01 20:30] Korben Rage: But the founders disagree with you, they said as much
[2017/03/01 20:31] Pussycat Catnap: The founders were all basically men like Trump, but with better educations: rich land barons who used slavery and exploitation of the poor to empower themselves and their own social class. It’s an accident that the document they left behind has been put to better use than they intended.
[2017/03/01 20:34] Pussycat Catnap: If not for people who fought against the founder’s vision, I would be a slave – my African ancestry, not much of it in me, but it is there, was about 100% Nigerian in the early 1800s somewhere.
[2017/03/01 20:34] Korben Rage: The founders didn’t enslave anyone
[2017/03/01 20:34] Pussycat Catnap: That ancestor would not have mixed out and into the many ethnicities I have now, if they had remained slaves.
[2017/03/01 20:35] [S-M]: OMG Korben, listen to yourself
[2017/03/01 20:35] Korben Rage: it’s true, Slavery was a thing created by others BEFORE the USA existed
[2017/03/01 20:35] Korben Rage: And the 3/5 compromise was meant to end it
[2017/03/01 20:36] [S-M]: the founders bought slaves that others imported here, and enslaved themselves those slaves offspring
[2017/03/01 20:36] [V]: We are going to have to acknowledge that the US was founded on slavery and genocide, though; without the former to bolster the economy and the latter to clear the land, the US wouldn’t exist
[2017/03/01 20:36] Korben Rage: True, but they didn’t start the practice
[2017/03/01 20:36] Pussycat Catnap: This is basically the point – where the Libertarian and the Progressive/Liberal part ways: should the society use a collective method to empower equality (progressive), or leave it up to individual actors who will act in self-interest for the betterment of society (libertarian)
[2017/03/01 20:37] Korben Rage: how do you empower equality, sounds like an oxymoron to me?
[2017/03/01 20:37] [Z]: The founders owned slaves…the founders struck the Deal With The Devil (the 3/5ths compromise)……it’s a bit disingenous for a man who penned “all men are created equal” to be squarely behind this deal…..but he was……If I come upon stolen money and still choose to spend it….it doesn’t really matter morally whether I stole it or not.
[2017/03/01 20:37] [S-M]: so, any practice you did not, yourself, originate you are justified in perpetuating?
[2017/03/01 20:37] [V]: Unfortunately, we are a part of society…. If there’s a way to rip myself free and live as a fully autonomous job creator, show me the door 🙂
[2017/03/01 20:38] Korben Rage: The US wouldn’t exist without that deal with the devil and couldn’t have ended slavery later
[2017/03/01 20:40] Pussycat Catnap: Well. I would rather not spend this time debating how we shouldn’t be progressives, but should be libertarians. Can we get back to Progressive definitions and thoughts on tactics?
[2017/03/01 20:40] [S-M]: but we did, at leas legally, end slavery. The question is what do we do NOW
[2017/03/01 20:40] [S-M]: thank you Pussycat
[2017/03/01 20:40] [V]: Continue dealing with the aftermath…. slavery ended eventually, but systemic racism has yet to…
[2017/03/01 20:41] Korben Rage: Pussycat but that’s why I ask, we aren’t that different, you have no hope of convincing a trump voter if you can’t convince me
[2017/03/01 20:41] Korben Rage: True systematic racism still exists, but it’s by the gov and against whites
[2017/03/01 20:41] Pussycat Catnap: I’m actually not holding this meeting to convince any Trump voters nor any libertarians.
[2017/03/01 20:42] Pussycat Catnap: Hmmm… yeah that one was my own personal nope – not going to let that line go.
[2017/03/01 20:42] Second Life: Avatar ejected.
…IMs:
[2017/03/01 20:43] Korben Rage: how typical, that’s why so few respect you
[2017/03/01 20:43] Pussycat Catnap: I didn’t hold this meeting to argue with people over how whites have been slaves for 500 years to the African.

Ok I got snarky there at the end. And yeah “I” might not be a slave today if the Civil War hadn’t happened – but somebody else who ended up descended from that ancestor would be. And me? I wouldn’t even exist. Many of you wouldn’t either.

But…
Now… If you happen to agree with this bloke, you do not belong in a gathering of Progressives, Leftists, or Liberals.

So… A few hours later I figured I should recheck this.

Make sure I was not over-reacting.

Let’s look at this guy’s profile and find out:

White Supremacist Group in Second Life – how do we AR them? by Pussycat Catnap, on Flickr

Yeah like… no…

Kinda doesn’t matter if I had originally over-reacted when I’m dealing with that. That is actually not the end of it. There’s more if you look through all the tabs at his picks and groups…

Still not convinced? If you really have no familiarity with, or are in denial about hate groups: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=white+supremacy+symbols&t=ffsb&iax=1&ia=images
– That symbol is pretty well known.

That… is not the way to approach life.


You gotta be better than that kind of path.


We’re going to keep on trodding this path. We’ve got a plan for another meeting next week. The topic will be, more or less:

Topic for next week: The Indivisibility paper:
https://www.indivisibleguide.com/download-the-guide
We will discuss our thoughts on it, and how we can take action based on how it inspires or otherwise guides us.
See also: http://thesixtyfive.org/home
And the general website: https://www.indivisibleguide.com

If you’re a Progressive, a Liberal, a Leftist, or somewhere in the range of those notions… If you understand how that is not a Libertarian…  come on by and we can work on that together.

But I’ve no patience for racists or libertarians (they seem to go hand in hand very often. I know all of one libertarian that I would say is not racist – a good friend in real life btw… frustrates me, but without the racism I can at least find other things to have in common without feeling a sense of danger).

I’m not holding debates. I’m holding gatherings to work ideas.

So… in moments like this, I turn to music. Music is my prayer.

Intro:
In this time you know, its not easy getting around. For Droop Lion representing to the fullness in
this time y’all.
Verse 1
When the barrel cracks and the smoke smell
Mama sing a prayer for me
She put her arms around me and say this place gonna set us free
Early morning Black Maria come and take my black brothers on a jail ride
But if they taking us all to hell center
Don’t you know some of us won’t reach alive
Chorus
I’m taking the freeway
The freeway way, right away
The freeway, o my brothers and sisters
They will be seeing me trodding up the King’s highway (repeat)
Verse 2
See the smoke rise above Earth surface
While the mountains come to the sea
Building blocks is burning, is burning,
On the news someone crying help
Thunder roll and lightning strikes
See the sun comes with all its might
Plantation field, it is burning
Setting the way for us to be free
Chorus (repeat)
Verse 3
Wheel is tough but me got to turn it
O father God, o help me on this journey
Walk through the fire and the flames don’t burn me
Walk through the tornado and the wind don’t turn me
Live ‘mongst eden, them can’t hurt me
Run with the swiftest, none of them don’t splurt me
I never do no wrong fi Babylon come girth me
I know my God … salvation
Chorus (repeat)

Ya’ll should listen to this one too:

Progressive Left Think Tank – Discussion group / meeting club

progressiveleftmeetingroom_1
One of the things I really like doing in Second Life is going to discussions, topical gatherings, and peacefully sharing opinions with others. Most of these though, are geared towards western philosophy, religion, tech, or secondlife news/events. Many are in voice – which I’m not a fan of (I find it distracting and it leaves out all of the non-hearing members of SL).

So on that note, and given that in this past year I have seen the return of extremist versions of populism and nationalistic policies around the world, and especially here in my own country (USA), I’m starting one of these of my own.

This will hopefully be a regular discussion gathering for the progressive left in second life to chat and think-tank together.

******************************************************************
The first meeting will be on March 1st, 2017, at 8PM SLT.

Here: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Keroo/232/24/4086
SL Event: https://secondlife.com/my/community/events/event.php?id=6991900
(The event sends you to a different spot on the parcel than the actual meeting room. Proper SLURL is in the event description).

The first topic is one I expect to repeat regularly:

What is the Progressive Left? What does this mean, what should our goals be, how should we go about achieving them?

For Americans, are we just the “Coffee Party” radical wing of the Democrats? Or something more?

How do we build unity and a cohesive way of taking on tactical and strategic action, rather than factional infighting over who’s individual issue is more important, possibly resulting in none of them being carried forward (is that a true or false concern)?

Can we, or do we even need to, or have we already moved beyond each faction feeling it’s own issue is so important that it has to be put above other Progressive issues first?

How do we find a way to advance a broad based Progressive Strategy? Can we embrace diverse inclusiveness in ideals as well as we do in membership?

Some links to consider:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-wing_politics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressivism#Contemporary_mainstream_political_conception
https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/definition-progressive-are-you-progressive
http://progressive.org/
progressiveleftmeetingroom_2
******************************************************************
Rules:

  1. Conversation is on an open basis. There won’t be a ‘reading’ or formal statement or moderator. Just be open and chat away.
  2. This is a meeting for Progressives. Not a meeting to challenge progressives or attack progressivism. It is assumed that those attending embrace or self-identify as on the progressive left in social and economic issues.
  3. This is a text chat venue, not a voice venue. Voice often leads to distracting sounds and range based issues that clutter to conversation, and leaves out the non-hearing members of SL. Text can be understood (or even translated) by everyone, and retains a record.
  4. Assume everything typed in local chat will be recorded and possibly posted. I may put the logs into a blog post. Assume everything said in IM is confidential, as per the SL Terms of Service.
  5. Some disagreement will tend to occur. Keep it polite, and avoid personal attacks. Individuals who demonstrate an anti-progressive agenda and who are present to attack or shut down ‘the left’ will be removed.
  6. The meeting is held on a property in Zindra, on A rated land. The venue is clothing optional. Any ‘adult aged’ avatar is welcome (including things where this is a moot point, like a robot or ‘prim cube’ or animal. ‘Adult’ activities are not to be done in the presence of the meeting.
  7. Suggestions for future topics, the meeting area, and so on are welcome. I suggest writing them up and sending along a notecard. There’s a ‘mailbox’ on the wall above the ‘radio’ for dropping notecards if no one is around.
  8. We are above a river on Zindra, and sailing / boating is available at ground. Clicking the space in front of the door will take you down to ground, to a door that can also be clicked to return back up.You can use the meeting hall and the land below as you desire when meetings are not taking place.
    The radio in the meeting hall and a linked radio on a DJ stand down below can both be used by anyone, but are limited to the presets I have placed in them.
  9. There is an ulterior agenda to all of this – I am hoping people can meet / make new friends. Self included. If you find you like what someone has to say, feel free to keep chatting with them after the meeting.

progressiveleftmeetingroom_3

Progressive Left Think Tank – First Meeting 3/1/2017 8PM SLT
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Keroo/232/24/4086
SL Event: https://secondlife.com/my/community/events/event.php?id=6991900
(The event sends you to a different spot on the parcel than the actual meeting room. Proper SLURL is in the event description).

White America wants me out.

Mad as I can get today…

38% of America’s white population believe non-whites are less-evolved. Make no mistake, last night in the USA was a whitelash. White Power is back in vogue in the USA. Yes both Candidates were white – but this was a rebuke of Obama as much as Clinton, and it was an embracing of a Racial Supremacist as President.

It is white America telling the rest of us they’d rather we were dead. That’s not why everyone voted the way they did – but it is why those who voted for Trump did it. It is all over his message. You either embraced that hate, or you cared so little for people of color that that hate didn’t matter to you – which is the same thing.

These racist crackers don’t want the rest of us around. I’m just about fed up with them.

Their racism was so strong, that a majority of white women voted for a man who’s proud of his history of sexual assault, just to send a message to us. They sold us out.

This issue, whether you’re Black, Asian, Native American, LatinX, or a Mulatto mix of all of these like me; has put a target on all of us.

30769149952_7d5653b61d_o

This BTW, is set to take a copy. copy/no-mod/trans

Racism, misogyny and religious intolerance have now been given a green light, and you need to understand that you will be under attack. You will be under attack from government policy. You will be under attack from the courts. You will be under attack from the police. You will be under attack on high school and college campuses. You will be under attack everywhere. Make no mistake: Donald Trump is as close to a strong-man fascist president as we’ve seen in our lifetime. And strong men don’t look for the middle; they demand everything they want.” – The Root

Solidarity is the key, if we’re ever going to stop them. It will take hard work even just to slow them down.

But don’t you dare try to tell me everything will work out and be OK, because it won’t;

“The upsetting part about last night wasn’t that democracy “died.” It’s that democracy worked. And the results showed that an overwhelming part of America does not want minorities here. This isn’t just another cyclical political party swing. It’s a loud and resounding message from white people telling minorities that we shouldn’t get too comfortable here. So yeah, we’re scared. And if you’re white, you don’t have to be. But please stop telling us that everything is going to be okay, because all signs point to “not okay.”

 

It’s time to try to find some new friends in Second Life

This is going to be a bit of an awkward post…
I may have to edit it a few times to get the tone right…

SLOffice.png

Bear with me in this awkward post, and if you think we’re a match, I’m putting myself out there hoping I can dig up a new friend or two.

As time has gone by and people have left SL, I’m finding myself getting thin on SL friends. I’ve hit that point where I’m hoping there are some people out there that would enjoy my company and with whom I would enjoy being with.

Its time to try to find some new friends around here.

If you’re up for an active SL friend, toss me an IM. Don’t send me a friend invite – those are really awkward before you know someone well. I’m not a Facebooker, I need to get to know somebody and spend time with them often enough before I feel like they belong on my friend list.

I don’t know how better to do this, so I’m just going to list off some things. Things I enjoy doing in SL, types of people I’d be interested in, some things about me, and of course types of people I know I am not compatible with. And then follow it up with my usual wordy essay on things and stuff.

This is not meant to be exclusive or something. I’m just hoping it can be a way to build a connection to give an ‘opening line’ to start things up.


What I enjoy in Second Life:

  • Hanging out and chatting someplace cozy, like people’s SL homes, small hangouts, and remote explore-able spots.
  • Having guests over to my SL home or other spot of land. Visiting others on theirs.
  • Dancing my avatar to enjoyable music, watching others dance as well.
  • Virtual Sailing. I really enjoy exploring SL waterways and oceans.
  • Virtual Driving. I enjoy driving SL vehicles almost as much as sailing.
  • Fashion Shopping at places that are not busy when I go so it can be social.
  • Shopping for quirky knick-knacks to rez here and there on our SL land.
  • Talking about left-wing Progressive politics and social issues.
  • Mesh bodies and accessories for them.
  • SL Nudity. Of late I prefer to be nude in SL anywhere that will allow it.

Things I’ve wanted to try but have never gotten far with:

  • SL Roleplay. I just can’t find a theme that I can sync with unless it already has cliques that look impossible to break into. I need serious hand-holding on this one.
  • SL Philosophy venues. Where did these go? I remember them as a newbie.
  • The whole furry community. It seems interesting but I’ve never found the right ‘glue’ to make it stick.
  • SL Live Music. If I could find a ‘clique’ to go to these with, I think I’d really enjoy it.

People who have interests in one of more of these things are people I’ve found easy to be friends with in past:

  • Left-wing Progressives. People of like political mind – I can’t seem to find them here.
  • Artists. I’m an art freak. Many of us are.
  • Hippies. I’m not one, but I like them.
  • People that just like to chat a lot, about things and stuff and whatever. I can sit for hours and just chat.
  • Hispanic communities (that can speak English, as I don’t speak Spanish even though I am second generation from South America).  Circumstances left me cut from my roots.
  • Multi-cultural communities. In school my thing was international law and ethnic studies. I love meeting people from ‘over-there-istan’.
  • People with their own quirks, who I can manage to entertain.
  • People that want to socially explore Second Life, even the parts we’ve “already been to”.

Some key things about me:

  • I am always a Neko or a cat furry in dreads. I won’t take these off to go someplace.
  • My avatar is African, but I am mulato (Asian, South American Indian, European, and a small bit of West-African).
  • I am hyper political, left wing, progressive. All about equal right, justice, unions, environment, and similar issues.
  • I am Rasta, that is a religion – not a style of party or music.
  • I can be hyper-shy at times, but over-talkative at others.
  • My education is in the social sciences, my profession is in technology.
  • I wear the term ‘Social Justice Warrior’ with pride.
  • I keep up with the writings of some of the Black Panthers and have corresponded with them in the past, but am not a member. I was however in La Raza when I was in college, as well as in the Native American Student Union. Didn’t keep up with either after though. I did not join the Asian Student Union at my university as they, in that one school, were quietly not welcoming of mixed people.
  • I have a strong geeky side, loving science fiction and fantasy. I love Star Trek, I loved Harry Potter, I’m fond of Dr. Who, Avatar was one of my favorite movies, I find my Hulu list is mostly super-hero TV shows, but I can’t stand Game of Thrones.
  • I am feeling the Bern.

People I have found I am not good at sustaining friendships with, and things I don’t enjoy:

  • Conservatives – I can be cordial with them, but friendships never last.
  • Libertarians – Diametrically opposed world views, always ends in a fight.
  • Hetero men & gay men that act controlling. It just gets uncomfortable after a while.
  • Lesbian Women that are seeking intimate relationships.
  • Anyone that feels a need to focus on & repeatedly point out how ‘sexy’ they find my avatar.
  • Roleplay that recreates points in history where people of color or other ethnic groups were brutalized.
  • Roleplay of slavery (ie: I do not get on with the Gorean scene).
  • Any venue flying a Nazi or Dixie flag, or similar flag / symbol of hate.
  • Country music.
  • RLV, Couple dances, HUG animations, Line dance systems, and similar things where I’m part of a group sequence and no longer in control of my avatar without breaking the ‘social encounter’.
  • Being hassled about trying RL Nudism. If you start lecturing me on this I’m out.
  • SL Sex. I don’t do it, period. Tried that as a newbie and found it was not my thing.
  • People that just hang out by themselves and IM me once in a blue moon but otherwise become forgotten entries on the Friend List.

The wordy essay part:

Once again this is kind of an awkward post…

AwkwardThoughts.png

I’ve wanted to write this blog entry for about 4 years now, and its felt super weird and awkward, and kind of embarrassing, each time. But I’ve noticed I’m not the only oldbie with this problem. It gets lonely when the people you started with have moved on.

If you read my blog you probably have some ideas about me. Probably some of them are even correct.

I originally tired Second Life in 2006 for about 2 days, but didn’t come back as a regular user until 2009. So I’ve been here 6 and just over a half years now.

I once read that most people who join Second Life only last with it about a year and a half, and that feels about right for what happened with most of the friends I met when I was new. So for most of my Second Life time my circle of friends has just been a very small few number of people, and whole lot of acquittances. I’ve reached that point in Second Life where you even nod at the people you really don’t like because you’re mutual survivors of some form of online culling…

New users have it a lot easier on this score. People expect newbies to not know anyone, to be approachable, and newbies themselves haven’t yet become ‘hung up’ on ‘what the rules are’ (or whatever…) and so don’t refrain from just landing on your head and starting a conversation like it was normal or something.

After we reach a certain point in SL, we start developing ideas about what we should be doing – even where those ideas are very different, everyone ends up with their own set of expectations. But even worse – other people stop assuming you’re looking for help… and start giving you “respectable space”…

SittingByMyself.png

Spending way too much time by myself lost in my own thoughts. Share some of your thoughts with me.

So my Second Life has gotten a bit lonely of late. I’m feeling a need to make some friends again and I don’t really know where to go as an ‘oldbie’ to find them.

I really enjoy just hanging out with some people in a not too busy cozy place and chatting. I’m not very good at being superficial, so large casual social things always feel awkward to me.

I’ve been really enjoying Second Life sailing. This is something I’ve liked for a long time, and my enthusiasm for it tends to be directly tied to my ability to find places I can go naked sailing. Real Life me can’t get into open water. I’m a natural born swimmer but I get panic attacks. When I was a toddler I had a babysitter that wanted to see Jaws, and had to take care of me… so he met both needs by sneaking me into the theater… I try to get my water fix in Second Life.

SLSailing.png

You can have a lot of fun with SL Sailing. It ranges from relaxing on a wide open sim, to a crazy game of timing sail adjustments.

I love SL dancing because I love watching the animations of a nice well designed avatar moving. I used to do a lot of dancing in clubs in my real life when I was younger. I love to see each avatar in its own unique dance. I really like to see avatars that are of quality and interesting to look at. Entertain me visually and I will entertain you visually.

But I’m a bit picky about music… so I don’t end up in SL clubs because they’re all playing the same selection of pop, rock (some of it – but I like 60s/70s rock), metal, or country. And that’s 3 things I can’t relate to. I enjoy Roots and Rasta Reggae. I enjoy Hip Hop and Rap if it has a positive mindset. Soul, Salsa, World Music, Blues – I’m good with those too. Pretty much anything except country, pop, metal, and rock. People always tell me I could go to SL dance clubs and just play my own music – but then my avatar would be ‘out of sync’ with things. Yeah I know that is silly but in my mind as I watch my avatar I sync her motions to the music… and if I actually know the music around her is not the music I am hearing, I “feel” out of sync…

SL Shopping. It has been a very long time since I’ve had SL shopping friends. Since about half a year into my being in Second Life actually. Somehow I keep making friends with the people who don’t like to buy anything. I want to have friends I can go places with, play dress up with, tell me an outfit looks good but another one sucks, suggest a different sofa, listen to me suggest a different arm chair, and so on.

I enjoy shopping in the quirky low traffic spots that have unusual items in them.

I also enjoy shopping for fitmesh clothing. Go on the off-days of events when the crowds are not there and you can actually have some fun. Perhaps my biggest frustration over the years in SL was that none of my friends partook in SL fashion, except for when I was a newbie and had friends who would do MM boards but never buy. I really like to play around with outfits, and often when with friends I’ll keep changing and talking about the choices. I’d really like to meet some people who enjoy doing the same thing.

SLNudity.png

This is my normal outfit these days. Its not an invitation to something, its just how I feel.

Second Life nudity / nudism. I really love to run around on a naked avatar. Neko or Cat Furry. It feels more natural to me. Unlike the ‘naturist’ types I also like to make my avatar very sensual in her dress, and I find this to also be perfectly natural. This can really confuse some people who are looking for ‘sexy time’ in Second Life… because that is the last thing I am seeking. I just love to be naked in Second Life. The circumstances of my Real Life make this a non-option, though it has always fascinated me. Ever since I first came to Second Life I have dabbled in it on and off again. And this being Second Life I don’t feel a need to follow the ‘constraints’ that real life nudists adhere to where they shame people who feel sensual or erotic about nudity. But I also don’t feel the need to see nudity as an invitation to something.

SensuallyNudeAvatar.png

I like to spice up my nude look sometimes. Its fun, sensual, and feels good to do.

I would love to have some friends that equally enjoyed that, and that sought to spice up their avatars for a sensually nude experience (ie: get a mesh body, a good skin, a good AO, and match your parts to your body, and add accessories to enhance).


So I’m putting myself out there. Hoping to breath some life back into Second Life for myself and whoever I hang out with.

I’m looking for  just a few quirky people, who might enjoy a good portion of the same things as me, who didn’t freak out at the nude pictures above, and whether old or new or in between with Second Life – want to enjoy it with others.

If you’ve wondered about getting to know me, send me a message in Second Life.

 

Judge not, lest ye be judged – an example of what that means

Reggae_SpiritualandSensual

I get it with nudism – its about self identity, expression, and acceptance of the natural. For me at least. I do find it sensual, but also spiritual. Like SL Sailing, for me it is something I can do here that I cannot do in real life.

On “The SL Naturist” there is a recent post expressing frustration about places that the poster feels ought to allow nudity which don’t. Ok, this comes about 60% of the way through the article. The first half is about something different to which I agree with the blogger, but the segue is rather natural but leads into something I felt a need to comment on.

I can certainly relate, as in my exploration of Second Life Nudism I am finding a lot of venues that just do not want me around in this current state.

Chief among them, nudist venues… Because after all, I’m a Neko in Second Life: I wear cat ears, whiskers, a tail, and tiny fangs (most SL Nekos don’t do the whiskers or fangs).

2009to2016

I’ve been a Neko since I got here. I was a nudist at first too, but don’t have good pics of that.

So I’m seeing a bit of ‘judged by your own standard’ in this. I’ve made a bit of a comment, and decided to reflect on it more here:

A lot of things about what people expect to be “normal” carry through from RL into SL, and you get a lot of places that as such reject the notion of true self-image-exploration (a deeper level than just body acceptance, rather accepting the self image others find to explore).

Before criticizing all those places that reject nudity, look to all of the nudist sims that lock it down to ‘100% human avatar’ only. It is two forms of the same problem: a rooting in pushing one’s own notion of what kind of personal exploration is to be done onto others rather than just onto one’s own personal conduct.

A logical response to my comment of course points out that some social norms stick for good reason: rejecting ‘ageplay’ for example. While other things that are supposed to be rejected don’t get rejected, such as the rampant sexism and racism seen in SL despite both of these things being against the ToS as repugnant. But the best way to sum up how all of this should be looked at is the rule found in almost every faith or moral system: treat others with dignity, don’t do any harm, and realize you will be judged by your own standard.

Which comes back to my first point: if an SL nudist is frustrated with places that ban nudity that ought to allow it, they should begin by looking at the policies of the nudist venues they frequent – one’s own standard often comes back to oneself.

The disclaimer for my comments: I’m a frequent nudist in SL, who as a Neko is not allowed in most SL nudist venues. So my comment is “defensive”.

Its a lesson I’ve failed on myself as well, and I know from enough decades on this planet that I will fail on this again. So I’m not trying to say this from some high horse… but rather from both sides of being experienced here…SelfPortraitofaSelfPortrait

Judge not, lest ye be judged. We’ve all heard that phrase. This is what it means… that in all things you will be judged by the very methods and standards you use to judge others. So before you make any rules or judgements, do some serious thinking about what you are trying to achieve with that, why you’re setting up that standard, and if someone had something against your particular angle on life – if you’d be comfortable using your very standards against you.

That lesson goes beyond Second Life of course.

Here in Second Life, just consider that if you restrict others for reasons of your own comfort level or roleplay or self-exploratory goals; expect that some of those others will likewise restrict you for their own comfort and reasons that exist wholly outside your understanding.

Sometimes its best to try to be accepting. We all fail at that – but failure just means to pick oneself up and try a little better next time.

About_Day_3_in_SL

See, I did start as a nudist, but my pics back then had other issues… And can you believe this skin was labeled as “dark”, and actually was the darkest skin I could find as a newbie. That said, back in 2009 people accepted me almost everywhere I went, dressed like this and sometimes the other 2009 pic above.

 Oh and PS: I can’t go sailing in real life… because my reaction to water is very catty, even though I love the stuff and swim better than a fish. And I’m not a real life nudist because I live in the middle of a dense urban environment with not much room or space to get away and a background that didn’t even make it an option to ‘get out’ until I was in my 20s. So these are things I explore in SL.

 

 

 

Must Read article: “I, Racist”

My post today has nothing to do with Second Life, except that everything in the article is even more strongly re-enforced in SL’s absurdly over-white presence than in ‘real life’.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-metta/i-racist_b_7770652.html
True for brown as well as black – we think in terms of we because we are not allowed to think in terms of ‘I’.

Black people think in terms of we because we live in a society where the social and political structures interact with us as Black people.

White people do not think in terms of we. White people have the privilege to interact with the social and political structures of our society as individuals. You are “you,” I am “one of them.”

[whites are] unable to differentiate [their] participation within a racist system (upwardly mobile, not racially profiled, able to move to White suburbs, etc.) from an accusation that [they], individually, [are] a racist. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it.

. . .

Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if we express any emotion while talking about it, we’re tone policed, told we’re being angry. In fact, a key element in any racial argument in America is the Angry Black person, and racial discussions shut down when that person speaks. The Angry Black person invalidates any arguments about racism because they are “just being overly sensitive,” or “too emotional,” or- playing the race card. Or even worse, we’re told that we are being racist (Does any intelligent person actually believe a systematically oppressed demographic has the ability to oppress those in power?)

But here is the irony, here’s the thing that all the angry Black people know, and no calmly debating White people want to admit: The entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings.

Ask any Black person and they’ll tell you the same thing. The reality of thousands of innocent people raped, shot, imprisoned, and systematically disenfranchised are less important than the suggestion that a single White person might be complicit in a racist system.

This is the country we live in. Millions of Black lives are valued less than a single White person’s hurt feelings.

As a Mulato with an African avatar, I’ve seen this dynamic all my life, and recreated inside of SL – where I get ‘grouped’ one way if I note that I am Mulato, and yet another if people just see the black avatar; but neither as an individual. And as the article notes, it is impossible to talk about race with whites because they are conditioned into denial.

They named a Kink & D/s sim for my Real Life religion – offensive?

RastaSim.png

Location of this pic:

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rasta/116/99/22

Consider this analogy:

Says it is D/s inspired. If I got a sim and named it ‘Jew’ and made it a place for Southern Biker gang RP, would that be offensive? Yes. But would it be offensive enough to get pulled? Think on that.

I use that analogy because ‘Southern Biker Gang RP’ is not offensive by itself. D/s and Kink people are perfectly legitimate roleplays in Second Life. I don’t get them or agree with them, but I accept them and accept that people should have a space to self explore themes of importance to them as long as it is not hateful to others.

It is the mix I am trying to get across in that analogy… If you took a theme that is way out of step with a real world faith community, and named it after that community… isn’t that crossing a line?

Let alone that if you names a sim ‘Jew’ or ‘Muslim’ or ‘Catholic’ it would and should get heightened scrutiny…

How should I act over this. I know how I feel over it.

This is not what Rasta is about. In fact its pretty much in opposition to what Rasta is.

Now for contrast look at this sim:

RastasSim_001
Not only do I not mind this one, I kind of want to get a Linden Home here. Except it turns out this is just a park sim and the homes in the background there are all just across the sim border.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Rastas/96/38/41

Why the difference? This second place is neutral in tone. No reference to any theme in the sim itself. And as a park sim, a place that is named for a real world religious community cannot get ‘messed with’ by people with bad intent or lack of knowledge.

I could actually feel a sense of comfort if I won the Linden Home lottery and got a spot bordering there.

 

And yes I know that as I am a sometimes SL Nudist people will wonder why I am objecting to a sim with the above mixed themes. But again I’m not objecting to the themes – I’m objecting to them being placed within the specific context of a sim named for my religion.

PS: Comments from random bigots pointing out how they could ‘find anything to get offended about’ will be deleted for the bigoted spam that they are…

Changes over the years… Journeying through myself.

How has your look changed over the years? What does this mean for you, and what has driven the choices you’ve made in expressing yourself in Second Life?

For me this has all been about a journey through sensuality, spirituality, and self-identity.

I went looking, and found some of the first images I took of my avatar in Second Life. I’ve put one here next to an image I took over the weekend of my avatar on a new spot of land I’ve got:
2009to2016
I am actually still wearing one item in common in both of these… fangs. I’m probably the only neko that wears fangs, and one of the few that uses whiskers. And as far as I know… it is still the same pair of them after all these years. Just about everything else has changed though.

Originally I wanted dark skin for my avatar, like I now have. But in 2009 the shade you see on the left was the darkest tone I could find, as a newbie.

Self identity changes over time, and I find it very interesting to look back at the journey of self exploration.

I’m a very introspective person – I self analyze a lot. For me that is a big part of being alive. But its also something I’ve been tossed into by the nature of my existence as a multi-racial person born before that was common or acceptable in the USA. My parents where married the same year as the Loving v. Virginia case and my eldest sibling was born right after the decision in that case came down. There actually was a judicial action to prevent my parents from being together on the grounds of miscegenation (race mixing), and I very much owe my existence to the impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr‘s civil right’s movement – which had changed the minds of the right people, including those who helped my parents overcome the challenge that was actually brought by my grandparents…

So thinking on who and what I am has been critical to my sense of self from the beginning.

As is known, I am not ‘African American’, yet my avatar is African. But there is a funny footnote to this because I recently found through DNA that I am in fact part African. Yet I grew up under the perception that I was an Asian / Amazon Indian / Caucasian / Cherokee mix. In place of Cherokee, I instead have a number of things from West and North Africa, and the Caucasian turned out to be different parts of Europe than family history had said. So one side of my family has a complete falsehood for every aspect of its ancestry.

Genealogical exploration is a pretty common thing for Americans to get into. We often find surprises. So that’s not the real trigger for me in being introspective. Rather being what Americans consider mixed-race has been the trigger.

I belong to no ethnic group.

When you don’t belong to any of them, all of their various members are very keen to point this out to you on many occasions in your life. It one thing to be the ‘other’ from that other tribe… but when you are the racial equivalent of a ‘stateless‘ person – you have no place to ‘escape back to’. There is no tribe standing around waiting to help me form an identity… I had to carve it out myself through some very rough experiences – some as recent as experiences I have had in some Second Life forum communities. No matter what I state as my ethnicity, I can be called out as a Rachel Dolezal – and I’ve been getting that accusation since I was 5 years old and my mother was trying to put me in Kindergarten… Every action, every thought, every preference gets judged by hostile mono-ethnic people seeking to hold on to their territory.

I am an eternal fake, and because of this I have to get very real.

Most people take for granted the vast bulk of their identity, cultural, belief system, even appearance. I have no such luxury. A person gets very introspective very fast in this situation.

So Second Life has been a blessing for me as a place where I can literally put on a skin, and explore an identity. Through that I learn so much about myself. I find where I stand on issues, how I can shape my sense of sense, and I can stake out an identity that people cannot take away from me and tell me I don’t have a right to because I’m not enough of their kind or another kind of blood for their liking.

And it has been a long and well worthwhile ride.

I didn’t come to Second Life to explore myself. I actually came here to get some goodies for the Poser 7 Launch event, and found out to my disappointment that the goodies were just goodies for a Second Life avatar. That is why my first attempt at Second Life only lasted 2 days in 2006.

One day in 2009 I was bored, and I was browsing or reading something that mentioned Second Life. So I wondered if it would load on my then computer. I looked through my files and found my old avatar’s name, guessed the password (or the forget password stuff, I don’t remember) and logged in. I spent a few days wandering around.

About_Day_3_in_SL.png

Close to day 3 of my return to SL. I got by, barely. I think its funny that I had a newbie prop on down below… Even back then I was keenly aware of how lacking the SL Avatar is.

The 2009 image above is actually my 2006 avatar and not Pussycat. Pussycat was born about 10 days later, because I very strongly didn’t like the avatar name I had.

On coming back in, I had randomly clicked something and found myself wearing a Neko avatar. It was a very crude free one – but it clicked right away.

I had found myself. Now I needed to name myself. I tried a dozen variations on neko, cat, pussy (erm…), kitty, catnip, calico, even koyangi (Korean for cat) and gato (yeah, gato made it into my mind but not as far as they keyboard because that is just way too manly), kittylicious (yeah… /fail) and yes, pussycat.

Somehow even though Pussycat was taken with a few other last names, it was not taken yet with ‘Catnap’… So off I went. I’m glad I ended up with this name… its very fitting for how my personality in SL wavers in different directions. Saying just parts of my name, or where you put the emphasis, can lead to very different meanings. Some people like to just call me ‘PC’ or ‘Cat’ because typing it all out makes them a little nervous I guess. Actually its a handy name for seeing how someone else is seeing you…

So I began in 2009 in SL looking for the sensual side of things. The image I used to start this blog was not the first one I took, the first one was a bit more… intense and unclothed. The 2016 image I used is unclothed, but is a normal pose.

Dancing_SexyNudeBeach

You can see the beginnings of some of my current style. There are my teeth, my eye color, and a lighter shade of red hair. And the face is actually not far off from the dials I use now. I used to love that little video game remote, and kept it on every outfit for a good year.

I spent a few months exploring that scene. I think a lot of people who come to SL have to go through that and they either stay with it or move on. I more or less moved on. But in the journey I also realized that I really like the idea of being clothes free, minus the weird politics of naturists.

I even tried exploring the adult erotic side of Second Life. But I quickly learned this was not me. In part due to encounters with S/m people. It took me some time to be able to relate to people from the S/m community because I am very militant about Equal Rights and even a roleplayed expression of submission or dominance bothers me. That has not changed, and will not change. What changed for me over time was learning that these people truly feel their relations are equal, so I accept them for themselves while recognizing that I am on a very different path.

However a major break for me on the erotic side of Second Life was just realizing I found these little cartoons engaged in ‘the act’ to be comedy, while others were trying to truly express themselves or have an experience in those moments. I felt it would be rude of me to be laughing while the others were feeling something more.

After a time I started to try and expand my perspective. I think finding the shop Bare Rose was key here – it was and is a Cosplay place, so there were all kinds of outfits in radically different styles, and they were cheap. At the time usually 150-250L for a full outfit. So each time I bought one, I could put it on, run around, and see if it felt like I’d found a new me. After I went premium most of my weekly money went to this shop throughout much of 2009.

Proportionstesting

Here you can see that even by July 15, 2009 I was already obsessed with fixing the bad proportions of the SL avatar.

I went premium about a month and a half back into SL. That really changes things. Premium is a commitment. Its not just renting a spot somewhere, once you’re premium you can see the bank statement, you’ve “subscribed” to this “free to play MMO” and there’s some land out there somewhere that you now have the privilege to buy, and once you… you’ve got to make sure you got your money’s worth out of it. So once you have your own land you end up spending a lot of time on it, and that time is often alone.

FirstSLHome_July21

I didn’t know at the time that it was my own trees there that caused this home to be super laggy at ground level. This was taken on July 21, 2009. Probably a few days into owning the place. I remember being so proud of my build, and that I had managed to find a rare roadside spot. Back then not much land was abandoned… The unpaved road is actually the bottom right corner of the top image – diagonally butting up against where I put plants.

Wandering through various Second Life clubs led me down the path of a spiritual awakening. Reading a random notecard left outside a Reggae Club got me curious. It was a card about Rastafarians, but it wasn’t very thorough. When you’re introspective the simple answers never work for you – so I went off to read more, and came back realizing I was always Rasta. Now Rasta is very much a leftist movement, not a liberal one. There is a marked difference that many people don’t understand. But it is also militantly non-violent, unlike your usual leftist movement – and that can lead many to mistake it for a liberal movement.

But I’m not exactly on the same page as the Rastafari in every aspect. I’m more fond of the sensual, and I take the Equal Rights and Justice angle to mean such for everyone. So as Apple Gabriel says, Give them Love.

Rasta is not a unified doctrine, unlike many organized religions. Each of us finds our path within that core concept of Equal Rights and Justice and the recognition of Yeshua Christ, Ras Tafari (Haile Selassie), and the holy land of Ethiopia – home of the oldest branch of Christianity, that predates the Catholics.

ExploringFurry

I didn’t start with cats for Furry. No, I made an alt just to get a furry look, and started with this.

After a journey through ‘am a furry’, I moved away from nudity. This was some time after finding Rasta, but before I was openly talking Rasta everywhere I went in Second Life.

Furry is interesting to me, in that I see the spiritual nature of an anthropomorphic self. A sort of ‘totem animal spirit’ if you will. In that regard I enjoy furry avatars a lot. But I’m not a part of furry culture at all. It baffles me, and I humor it. No opinions either negative or positive though.

Furries are very often gender ambiguous though (hermaphrodite avatars), and that is something I don’t relate well to at all. It is a common theme in Second Life, and I am accustomed to accepting it, but I don’t relate to it. I’m a leftist, but I’m not exactly a liberal.

PussycatCatnap_Egyptian

Now there’s a riot of themes.

I tried using Second Life to explore Rasta. I made a club, I wandered through events and other clubs, I made groups, and so on. Nothing really ever clicked here. There are a lot of people wandering around in SL with Rasta themes lightly in their look or venue – but they’re closer to what Rasta calls a Rentafari. A Rentafari is a male prostitute with dreadlocks who services white tourist women…

So yeah, that is an insult. What I found in SL was a bunch of people who equated Rasta with a black version of Cheech and Chong, for white people. Go to Reggae clubs, and they are usually run by white women, or Rentafari men.
8217840671_7b97ff4a48_o

So I kinda pulled back a bit from Second Life as my journey through Rasta kicked off.

Some might see me as appropriating by having a black avatar, or even in that my religion is Rastafari. But you should look to a person’s intentions, words, and deeds before going down that path. Snoop Lion is a black man who has been rightfully called out as appropriating Black Culture, while Jah Sun is a white man who is very real in where he stands.

When I go down a path, I go deep. As an introspective person I can’t just grab the surface of something. The Rentafari experience will not do for me because I see it as fake and that spoils it. I may love running around as a naked avatar, but I also have a very deep sense of the spiritual – and using religion to sell sex rubs me wrong. Even if I at the same time embrace the sensual in the spiritual.

Its a bit like the difference between Leftist and Liberal (think Malcolm X vs. Martin Luther King Jr). You might not see it, but its there, and pretty concrete. The sensual and spiritual go together naturally, but to use one to sell the other is a perversion of both.

So when I came back around to being active with Second Life, I started toning myself down a bit. That’s more or less where my break with nudity first occurred. In part also driven by the virulent racism I encountered on the SLU forums. I decided to stop engaging in some circles, and to alter my image a bit.

MeditationBuild

That’s about when I started calling my supposed shop in SL ‘Zion Kitty’, as a way to announce that I was looking at things spiritually now.

Rastafari Building in SeconfLife
Not too long after I even put up a Rasta ‘Church’ build based on a temple in Ethiopia. Churches as a building / location is not a Rasta thing, and that is why I eventually took that place down. People should gather anywhere to be spiritual, and without leaders. Pastors, Rabbis, Imams, and Priests are all mankind’s method of stealing spirituality from one in order to give political power to another.
8226725942_2d15d04855_o

That is something I’ve always known, and had to remind myself of.

Second Life has been a very useful tool for me in exploring identities, and in finding my spiritual self. It has also re-affirmed for me the notion that the spiritual is not in conflict with the sensual unless one is used to sell the other.
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And that is a bit of why I have returned to being openly nude in Second Life. I see nothing wrong with this and my spiritual side. And whereas I have a lifetime of people challenging me for my mere existence in my real life, in my SL I can stand up and say that and hold to it. It is me, it is how I genuinely intuit my reality.

Reggae_SpiritualandSensual

As I recently noted in my post about Nudity in Second Life:

For me, nudity, even public nudity, is a spiritual thing. I suspect that confuses a lot of people. We are born nude, we are created nude, we return to a natural state when this life ends.
. . .
For me, the nude form is a spiritual form. Yes it is also a sensual, in fact erotic form. And these are all by intent, by design. By Jah will. We are made to love each other, to strive for community, caring, and an appreciation of the beauty of life and the beauty within each other and ourselves.

And while that is not necessarily something I learned in Second Life, it is something I hold firm to. And it is something that Second Life is perfectly suited for letting me express.

Fake non-person with no ‘branded identity’ who belongs to none of your ethnicities that I am, I come here to get real.

This is a part of my journey.


So where are you headed?

 

 

 

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