I have said it here and on Facebook a lot lately… Despite what people would lead us to believe, the world is getting better. We still have such a long way to go, but it is getting better.
Over the past year, I had become the poster girl for a platform dweller. I wasn’t getting out much to do, well, anything. Unless it involved buying things I needed for blogging, I would remain parked on my platform coming up with some new scene to build. Blogging made a convenient excuse for kind of tucking myself away, only seen when I decided to post something….which was almost every day. I immersed myself so much in my blogging that I was only engaging a select few people who I felt incredibly safe with.
That was fine for a while, but it certainly isn’t the healthiest of behaviors.
So why was I doing this? Sure, I had blogging commitments. But there was more to it. It was things like some times not wanting to answer 20 questions about my life. It was because while I have never gone looking for love in SL, getting that constant rejection or the verbal attacks…or the ghosting…after someone was flirting with you and then they find out about your transition, and suddenly everything changes. Despite SL being as wonderful as it is, there was a sense of safety that I wasn’t really feeling. Some of it was in my head, of course, but there were also things new people on the grid were doing that helped reinforce that feeling of not being safe in world.
Then, things started to change.
The first was Trouble Dethly and him reaching out to me to be a part of the Eclipse’s anniversary piece on being transgender in Second Life. The article, which I still feel is one of the best articles ever written on being transgender, helped to give not only myself a voice, but also the six others interviewed and the transgender community as a whole. While yes, I had been writing about my journey, there is a distinct difference between writing about it from the safety of my platform and encountering the questions and such out on the grid. I also found strength in reading the stories of the others interviewed and seeing they experienced similar highs and lows to me. Thank you, Trouble and Cajsa, for that. You both are amazing.
The second thing happened a month or two later. My trouble making friend Sady drug me off my platform and took me to a club one night. She introduced me to a few people and encouraged me to join this club. Why would she do that? Because it is a club that takes a very firm stance on the LGBTQ community being not only accepted, but also welcomed and protected. What I witnessed there, along with conversations with a few of the management team members gave me a sense of safety I had not felt at many other clubs on the grid. Needless to say, I signed up for membership that same weekend.
Now, don’t think it all got better right out of the gate because of these two instances. It didn’t. And, I own it, it was my own doing.
I will always find it ironic that I can sit here and spill my soul in a blog but I struggle to just say hello to people. I mean, I am confident in who I am…but I also hate having to explain to each new person where I am on my journey and/or how far I plan to go in this process and/or dealing with someone who expresses an interest in me and knowing that once one little piece of information comes out, it all may change. It can be a bit exhausting.
Thankfully though, both members of the Eclipse team AND leadership at this club all reached out to me at some point. Many of them saw me dancing in a corner or being a bit quiet so far as saying hello and they reached out, said hello, welcomed me and gave me words of encouragement. They helped me to start opening up and take that next step from, “This place feels safe to me,” to, “This place IS safe and I can truly be me here.”
Its because of people like those mentioned above that I am getting off my platform more and enjoying more of the grid. Its the reason I am starting to meet new people. Its the reason I feel a bit more free to be me.
I have always said that even the strongest people need support to help them when they are tired and to help them maintain their strength. The things I have mentioned above have helped me tremendously there. To have someone message you at a club and say, “Hey…why are you dancing alone? Why don’t you come dance with me and my partner?” or “We want to help give you and others a voice.” Or, and this one means more than these people will ever know, when someone is a total asshat to you because you are transitioning and one of the first things these new friends do upon finding out about it is to message you and tell you they are going to go after the person who treated you poorly to defend you… Those things truly do help build those feelings of safety and of feeling supported.
No matter how much others try to tell me the world is getting worse, I can promise you that for people like me, it is far better than it was 10 years ago. Its because of people like those mentioned above that I know this.
It is because of people like those mentioned above that I am starting to engage others more…and I love it. ♥
See it on Flickr.
Foxcity – Higher 5m
No Place of Ours – Autumnal