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:

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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).

Linden Lab’s statement against the hateful bigotry of the US President is a good thing.

trumpistan_800px
In the face of the US National Security Council being headed by a Klansman, and the creature in the White House being a Russian puppet with ties to White Supremacists, things are pretty bleak in the USA.

Statements like this are why I choose to live not just in California, but in the Silicon Valley:
https://www.lindenlab.com/releases/linden-lab-statement-on-trumps-executive-order-on-immigration

We at Linden Lab are extremely disappointed in and adamantly opposed to Trump’s recent executive order on immigration. We reject racism, intolerance, and xenophobia.

We are proud to include immigrants among our leadership, colleagues, and customers, as well as our families, friends, and communities. We value diversity, compassion, and understanding, and we are proud that our products enable people to come together and form meaningful connections regardless of differences in their offline lives.

Trump’s order is counter to what we value and antithetical to American ideals. We join the many voices calling on the US government to remove this restriction as quickly as possible and to refrain from imposing additional barriers that threaten opportunities for immigrants, under-represented minorities, and women.

It is only here that I can remind myself that it is not the entire white race that is full of hate. Something my rational mind knows, but which experience anytime I leave this area, works very hard to counter.

Linden Lab’s statement is not just a press release, not just a bandwagon, not just ‘getting in politics’. It is a statement against hate. It is a reminder to me and those like me that we are family, we are friends, we matter, and we will be protected. If not by our own government, then at least by allies among the people.

To the people who say “we don’t want politics here” in Second Life… As a person of color it’s been a lifelong experience that the people who say that will shove racist policy at me all day long, and then use that line when I object…

Conservatives and racist have a basic notion that their politics are just fine, but when somebody doesn’t like it: that suddenly is being too political…

And if you think I’m just some “cartoon cat person who posts a lot of stuff about nudity in SL”, I am a veteran, with one of my  degrees in political science in addition to working in technology. I’ve spent my life, as a person of color, keeping a keen eye on hate movements and learning to counter them, as a matter of survival.

2017-01-28_-_protest_at_jfk_81017

On January 28, 2017, thousands of people gathered at various airports in the United States to protest President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13769

It is never wrong to stand up against hate. No matter how small your actions, any action against hate is a worthwhile action to take. Never give up the fight, never step back from the frontlines. The enemy is always waiting to pounce – as we saw in the USA in this last election, the slightest relaxing of the guard and they have shoved the Klan all the way into the White House.

In my personal life ‘outside of online’ I am able to meet and deal with many people who share the mindset Linden Labs expresses above. They provide that hopeful counter message to what I see in the news or encounter in travels and online from those outside this region.

A great comment I heard recently is that the USA is like an empty head with two ears that listen: on the coasts. Everything in-between is a dark incurious mess of ignorance and bigotry. Of course this misses things like what you see in maps like this one:

Each Dot On This Map Is A Place Where A Person Of Color Was Lynched

Each Dot On This Map Is A Place Where A Person Of Color Was Lynched

That Southern Coast is pretty bad. Southern culture as a whole is a toxic thing based on centuries of abuse by a people who have never had to face any justice or recognition of their actions.

The USA never had a Truth and Reconciliation moment, so it has never grappled with the current of hate broiling through it’s culture. We get taught about Southern culture as gentile, refined, graceful. We don’t get taught about lynchings, mass rape of slave women, brutalized families, Jim Crow, plantations, share cropping, beatings, killings, white terrorists like the Klan, and so many other things – evil things, that we must face head on, acknowledge, and work to stamp out, or they will keep coming back, and as we see – even make it into the White House. Trump is a northern Yankee, sure – but his worldview is a product of that legacy.

So when I see people stand up against hate, even in small announcements – every chip put into the armor of hate matters. And when I see it from a place I frequent, it matters even more. I can feel more comfort, less defensiveness, if I know someone has my back.

Of course it is worth noting that the tech industry didn’t have much to say about Trump until he started directly threatening their workforce. His immigrant bans and plans to attack H1B visas have people in tech very scared. Tech didn’t seem to have much to say when it was just racism and sexism. But now he’s woken them up. Whatever it takes though, to get the libertarian tech world to realize social justice matters.

America is supposed to be a place of inclusion and diversity, and in times like these, we need to fight to keep that. And we need to wake more segments of society up, not just the Tech sector. Everybody needs to realize fascism hurts us all; Trump must be stopped.
greater_than_fear

I’ve put the above image and 4 more from it’s series into SL, for anyone to copy:
we_the_people_sign_in_sl

The source says you can copy, print, give away – but not sell. Respect that. Click the image to go to it’s website, and the sign inworld will also take you there. Also put it up free (as required) on SL Marketplace.

There’s also now a flickr group for ‘Avatars Against Trump’ for those of us in virtual worlds to comment through:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/avatarsagainsttrump

Covered here: http://strawberrysingh.com/2017/02/03/avatars-against-trump/

I will leave you something to consider from one of the USA’s political prisoners, released not long before the US put him away:

Take a look at me, tell me what do you see
You don’t have to love me, but I’m not your enemy
And I’m not amused, by your verbal abuse
You think you’re clever, what a sorry excuse
Playing with the minds of people, dangerous games they play
Man if you are not careful they lead you a stray
Protect your soul by any means necessary
Take nothing for granted, you may be sorry, oh
One life you’ve got to live
Come on let’s us live it right
If you’re in bed with the devil
Then you ‘ave made your choice, because

We’ve been battered and bruised (battered and bruised)
We still nursing wounds (aah)
Battered and bruised, yah, still nursing wounds, well
Battered and bruised (battered and bruised)
Still nursing my wounds (aah)
Battered and bruised, yah, still nursing wounds, oh

We face all form of human segregation
Who are used to ask me where I am from
They brought us here in shackles and chain
And throughout the centuries, it’s nothing but pain, Lord

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.”

 

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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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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