Ok…first things first…I am not officially back from vacation yet. This post is purely something I have to share and it can’t wait until I’m back from vacation. I just… I don’t know. It will make sense as you read it. Just be warned…this may be a long one with everything I have in my mind and heart today…
What kind of impact does Second Life have on you? Have you allowed it to positively influence your life or do you use it as a means to hide? For me…I cannot put into words what my time in Second Life has meant to me…especially the relationships I have built in the music and blogging community.
Before I left for vacation, I had shared that I was attending the SL Mid-Atlantic Jam outside of Baltimore this past weekend. I also planned for it to be my first time showing the world the real me….the woman that no one had seen in real life. I was a nervous wreck and I came so close to cancelling my trip so many times. I was a mess. How was I going to deal with not knowing how to do my hair? How was I going to deal with never having been able to apply makeup in a decent fashion? What about the fact my wardrobe is so minimal? In the midst of all my anxiety attacks…so many of you stepped up to message me and let me know that if I panicked and needed someone to hold my hand…you would be there to sit with me until I got myself together…and would hold my hand every step of the way.
Now, I won’t go into a ton of detail about the jam today. However, I do have to give a very special thanks to three people who were at the jam though. Kath Rise, Toxie Darkmatter and Hogan Baily. These three people…OMG!!! Before I showed everyone there the real me, Kath took the time to sit down with me and teach me how to style my hair. Toxie took time out to teach me the basics of make up. And Hogan…this man is such a sweetheart and a gentleman and just…I can’t even put it into words how much it meant for him to see me as a woman from the first moment we met and treat me as such the entire time. These three people were my rocks at the event for the 4 nights and 5 days we were in Baltimore.
Then there were those of you who checked in on me to make sure I was ok throughout the jam. Poor Rina got a photo message from me almost every time I was getting ready to make sure I looked cute. I’m surprised she didn’t scream, “Enough already! Get out there!” Ryanna and Troy constantly checked on me to make sure I was ok. Adalynne and Raven being my late night, “OMG!!! I can’t believe I did that!” people. And there are so many others, far too many to mention, who made sure I held my head high and took the opportunity in Baltimore to be fully ME. I can’t thank you all enough. ♥
To say that the people at the jam, as well as just the jam itself, were something magical would be an understatement. Everyone was so amazing, loving and accepting. From Agatha Nowles promising me lessons on eyeliner to Marina Sharpshire and Gigi helping Kath pull me on stage to dance in front of over 150 people (between the jam crowd and those watching the live stream) to Gina Stella giving me advice on hair extensions to Ratz showing so much strength and a positive spirit to Tamra being this beacon of joy and self confidence to me…it was just unreal the level of kindness and, dare I say, love I experienced from everyone.
As much as my hands shook at every “first” on this trip, all of you were there to encourage me and support me.
I know some think I am being hokie when I say that I couldn’t continue on this journey as well as I have were it not for the support of all of you. For as much as you tell me that I am an inspiration to you…I legitimately draw so much strength from each of you, my Second Life friends and family, to keep placing one foot in front of the other and to begin to believe in myself. With the loss of relationships that comes in RL with transitioning, as well as the difficulties staying connected with people due to work, family and life…all of you have been a constant for me though every up and down on this journey. This crazy digital platform called Second Life has given us all a place to gather and grow to care for one another, despite 1,000 things that could tear us a apart.
Knowing I had the love and support of each of you allowed me to find the strength to step out of that that hotel room door, despite my anxiety being through the roof and my hands shaking, and spend the entire trip showing a bunch of people from SL, all of whom I had never met in RL before that day, the real me…the woman I have always been…the woman you all have seen me as in pixel form only.
The impact all of you have had on my real life and my sanity through this transition…I don’t even know how to describe it. I will never be able to say thank you enough nor do I think I will ever be able to find words that adequately express my gratitude.
May be an example will work best to know what your love and support has meant to me…
Yesterday, I had to see me endocrinologist for my 6 month follow up appointment. After the experiences I had in Baltimore, along with the love and support from all of you, I made the time to get ready to see my doctor in a way I never have before. I styled my hair, did my make up and choose a cute but comfortable outfit. I grabbed my purse and walked into his office. Before I could even give my soon to be former name at the desk to check in for my appointment, members of the clinic team were screaming down the halls that the others needed to come see me. With the biggest grin on my face, I hugged them all as they came out to so share their support for me. They made a huge show of changing my “preferred” name and gender pronouns on my medical record. They were, for lack of a better word, even more amazing than they have always been.
Whether you believe it or not, that experience is a direct result of the love and support each of you has shown me.
Your love and support gave me the strength to even share a picture of the real me…which I share again here. In case you missed it on FB… Hi! I’m Tiffany! Its a pleasure to meet you. ♥
I have shed more tears over the experiences of the past 6 days…but for once, they were all tears of joy. You all are responsible for helping make that joy possible.
With that, I am going to end this post with a thank you. No credits. No sponsors in this post. Just my heart feeling so full of gratitude that I find myself unable to properly say thank you.
Hopefully, a simple “thank you” to all of you will suffice.
See it on Flickr.