Posted by Raza Lane
At the start of the new year I promised myself, and this blog, that I would make more of an effort to visit Second Life and explore new SIMs that were on my ever growing list. I love Second Life and always enjoy my time immersed in the metaverse but as with many things I enjoy I seem unable to devote much time them. I resolved to remedy this by focussing more on my needs this month and have managed to log inworld most days.
Below (at the end of this post) are some pictures of a few of the wonderful places I have visited.
The more time I spent inworld the more I felt connected to my true self (corny as it sounds and comes out when i type it!), so I thought I would share a few thoughts about that.
One of the many reasons I love Second Life, and keep coming back to it since I joined (an age ago) in March 2007, is that it helps me understand myself.
I have always loved creating and exploring places and things, ever since I was a child. I am curious and inquisitive by nature and a little bit quirky. Seeing all the mind blowing creations sprung from the diverse imaginations contributing to Second Life never ceases to inspire me and fires my own, often stifled, imagination. When I see a magical SIM with glowing mushrooms on top of a Jungle Tree floating in the sky I think wow, I never would have thought of that, but it looks great. It makes me feel that life is full of endless possibilities and other ways of doing things and living. It helps open my eyes, and keep them open. We should not be confined by rigid rules and a lack of imagination, as much as those who try to suppress any form of creative spirit try to confine us. Why does this matter to me? Why does it strike a chord in me?
Well for the most part of my life I have always been suffocated and held back by a cultural background, family and peers who have a narrow and limited view of the world and all it’s possibilities. This is basically down to their own unresolved insecurities and fragility, though I didn’t understand this until now.
When my naturally open minded and curious young self tried to push boundaries I came up against this rock hard iron wall of resistance to the preconceived norm. A sort of solid cage that claustrophobically moved ever closer to me as the insecure people who built this cage did everything they could to crush my independent spirit. They were scared I would take them down with me. Or that I would end up like them, and they hated themselves. So they forced me to conform to their ways of living and doing things, because their way was the right way and the only way to live. People who loved me and whose job it was to build up my own self confidence and faith in life merely ended up crushing my faith in myself and humanity. My imagination was a curse, a blot on myself, my family, my community, all society. It was a hindrance, liek an infectious virus that needed to be caught and killed early on.
Whatever I truly felt deep inside me, or however differently I saw the world and all it’s possibilities didn’t matter. I was wrong. I was always wrong. They were right, always, and I had to obey them and give up my true self and all it’s dangerous ideas and conform to their uniformity or else be made to.
The more they pushed me to change myself to what they wanted me to be, the more i pushed back. But they were stronger. they were my parents, my family, my peers, my community, my ethnic background, people of my inherited faith, my society. Be it my ideas or questions on anything from religion to economics to politics to art to careers or even food, any desires i had that they didn’t like were always knocked out of me.
When you are a child your parents are like Gods to you. I only really understand this know, and how powerful it is, having become a father myself 5 years ago and also going through years of psychological therapy. I always thought that as much as i ended up having my true self, confidence and hope stripped away from me, I still had a lot of independence inside me. It seems I was mistaken.
It turns out that many of the decisions i ended up making, even in my 20’s and early 30’s were basically what my parents or society wanted me to do. I never really wanted to do these things myself. Examples include my career choices. My parents wanted me to become a doctor and do Medicine at University. I never really wanted to, but I still went for it. Then they wanted me to become an accountant. Me, a wildly creative and imaginative lover of films, art, fiction and all things eclectic and eccentric, become a staid, rule following, dull accountant (no offense to any accountants out there!). I caved. I gave up dreams of being a musician, a film maker, a fiction writer, an astronaut, a historian, whatever else i really was or wanted to be. I am naturally a bit left wing and liberal, a fan of charities and change, not corporations and tradition. Yet I “chose” to live and become part of a world that was nevr right for the true me, one of rigidity, material obsession, greedy tax avoiding corporations and insecure traditionalists”.
Even when I thought I was outgrowing and overcoming all the years of brainwashing and being pushed around, i was still really living other peoples lives. I had forgotten who i really was. I bought a house and took on loads of debt when i didn’t want to, realizing it was too big a commitment. If I bought this house then I would have to work in high pressured, highly demanding, corporate, soulless jobs forever, and I never once thought I had a choice to say no. I went to work for a large global multinational corporate giant, a psychopathic entity that was even more corrupt and wrong for the world than i had ever thought possible, deep in the hidden recesses of my forgotten true self. The list goes on.
I essentially got in so deep into this world that others wanted me to live in that i forgot who i really was and wanted to be. I became a walking pod, on automatic pilot, a pale shadow of my natural, youthful, imaginative self.
However, through a combination of good fortune and perseverance i have managed to get to the stage where i no longer accept that I can’t make choices that are my own and that I have to live the life that others want me to live. No matter how powerful a pull they have on me, i am determined to overcome their brainwashing and holding me back and I am doing all i can to reconnect with my true self. The calm, patient, warm, tolerant, accepting, passive yet strong, creative, open minded, film loving weirdo that i am. I am not the ruthless, aggressive, permanently angry money grabbing, greedy capitalist the modern world, my parents, peers and many in wider society want me to be.
Happiness is a complex difficult thing to understand, let alone attain, but it does not come from material wealth or power. It certainly does not come from living the life other’s want you to live, at the expense of the life you feel you truly want to live. The more you try to deny your true self, the unhappier you become. That much i have learnt so far. It seems to hold true for me at least. And that is the point. What matters is what seems true and relevant to me, What makes sense to me. What fires me and my imagination, not my parents or others around me.
That is where Second Life comes in. Trying to reconnect with a self that has been battered and pushed deep down and who in many ways i am still deeply suspicious off, is a very hard task. It is a painful journey of self discovery. Yet deep down I always knew who i really was and what i really wanted from life. It is just about reconnecting with that again. Second Life helps me do this.
When i see a SIM or an Avie that makes me tingle with excitement or when i hear virtual water flowing over virtual rocks in a Zen garden and i feel taken to another place that chimes with me, these are all examples of little ways in which i am reconnecting with the real me. In my real life i was always limited by the insecurities and anxieties of others. Those who held sway over me. In my imagination the possibilities seem endless and hopeful. In Second Life I can see the boundaries of what is possible to create being challenged, and limit’s being pushed. Our creativity and imagination should be the only limits to what we can do.
We all need tools to help us in life, and as a tech lover I’m happy to still have Second Life to help me on my journey. Seeing other people build worlds, people and places they want to see come to life, unhindered by preconceptions or outdated “norms” is refreshing and empowering to my own quest to challenge the norms holding me back.
The only problem is that the more i delve back into the world of wonder and creativity the more time i want to spend there, and time is a luxury i don’t have.
Anyway, enough of my psycho-babble and internal musings. Here are some pictures of a few great SIMs that took my breath away and fired my imagination:
(More pictures to come in further posts)
Basilique Private Members Club Island SIM
(More pictures to come in further posts)
Visit this SIM quickly as it will be moving on February 2nd 2013!
(More pictures to come in further posts)
Tags: anxiety, challenging preconceptions, creativity, finding yourself, growing up, imagination, independent spirit, insecurity, life journey, living your truth, Metaverse, overcoming insecurity, personal growth, psychology, pushing boundaries, Second Life, Second Life Exploring, Second Life Places, self confidence, self discovery, self esteem, SL, Virtual Worlds