Reality and Rhythm

Nearly New Moon

(Sorry about this entry rambling a bit. I’m taking it from notes I wrote in my journal.)

I’m currently reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. Today as I was reading it, I thought my own sense of reality isn’t always normal. Also, if perception is reality, then why do I continue to imagine a conflict between the reality I experience and the reality I imagine “normal” people experience? I know the world is more than mortar and stone. Mortar and stone are real, but so is spiritual reality. The god-forms in American Gods are real too in a way, not just in the imagination of its author.

I believe our gods change over time, as we change and our environment changes. Rather than new gods being created though – as happens in the novel, – I think the powers we think of as gods adapt to become associated with new things and new ideas. Deities of communication, crossroads and commerce, for instance, become associated with the internet, electronic communication, and virtual worlds. Lilith probably started as a Sumerian demon, but has since become a modern goddess of modern women. Odin is All-Father to modern Norse heathens, much as He was to Vikings of old. His modern worshipers are different from old Vikings though, so He must be changing somewhat too.

I believe I have a matron deity who’s name I don’t know. From dreams, I see her as being associated with the sea, with a kind of primal sea of creation, death and rebirth, and with a subterranean sea. Sometimes I wonder if she could be Yemaya, Mami-Wata, Mara or Nammu/ Namma. She might even be Isis for all I know.  I usually see her in my dreams as the ocean itself. The one time I saw her as a person, she had fair skin, but deities can appear however they wish to people. There was a dialog in American Gods in which the main character was asked, “What is a god?” My immediate answer was “power”, so maybe deities can be viewed as concentrated and conscious forms of power? I view all things and all deities as aspects of the one Deity of Creation, but each has it’s own persona and associations.

My reality seems often to be a conflict between “should” and “want”, between hunger and self-control, between imagination and mundane reality.  Just wanting doesn’t make things happen though. One has to gather, focus and direct power. One has to plan, work and believe. What if practical actions were teamed with magical belief and focus? I can burn a candle inscribed with runes while I look for jobs online. I can cast spells before and after job interviews….

There’s a part of my mind that says “Magic isn’t real. It’s just a delusion,…just like auras & chakras, psychic empathy, psychic vampirism, spirits, gods and hope are delusions. Nothing is really real except hunger and death. Everything else is just a trick we play on ourselves to keep us alive and reproducing.” If this is true, then there is no real reason to keep living. I don’t have children. I don’t have a pet to care for anymore. A few people would be sad for a while if I were gone, but they’d get on fine without me.

I sometimes feel like there is a power that’s trying to destroy me. Sometimes I think this is my Devil, the one portrayed on my Soul Collage cards. It tries to get me to lose hope and give up. It tries to get me to kill myself or, if it can’t do that, to make me so anxious and depressed that I can’t do the things I’m meant to do in this world.

The world we live in is so complicated and interwoven that it’s possible for us to have huge effects on other people through relatively small actions.  Maybe I exist in this world to push positive events in small ways?

I’ve been thinking lately of the magical power that must reside in regular places and objects. Magical power isn’t only in what we call the “natural” world, because everything is natural. Some things have been manipulated and crafted by people, but their components (physical and spiritual) are still natural. Spells are ways to gather, focus and direct magical energy. As such, spells can use sticks and stones, pen and paper, pixels on a computer screen, or just the imagination and will of the caster. Using symbols that have an understood meaning to many people (and spirits) through time and place help a spell to more easily direct power, – but everything is symbolic when it comes to communication and spell work.

I recently read a novel called Fifteen Dogs, in which the gods Hermes and Apollo make a bet on whether a group of dogs given human intelligence and language would end up just as unhappy as humans or not. There is a line in the book that I think is an important idea on how both prayer and magic work. It said something like, “Nature loves rhythm.” One dog in the story started praying to his idea of what must be the ideal dog, which he thought must be a real dog somewhere, not just an idea. He began leaving offerings for this ideal dog in a secret clearing, over and over again, until Zeus took notice of him and took pity on him. It probably helped that this dog was the leader of his pack and wanted to be a good leader (because like calls to like). Zeus couldn’t interfere with the bet between Hermes and Apollo, but he did appear to this dog as this ideal dog and told him that when he died, He would grant him any wish he had at that time.

Nature loves rhythm. We can see this is true in the tides and the seasons, in the spiral shape, in the pulse of quasars, in light waves and magnetic waves. Chaos and imbalance have a place in nature too, but patterns, repetition and rhythm can create structure and control.

In magic, rhythm can take the form of a repetitive chant, drumming, or a repeated ritual. If we repeat the same prayers or similar rituals over and over, they probably gain power to catch the attention of deities and spirits. They do certainly affect our minds, since a repeated prayer or mantra can bring calm and better focus. Repeated behavior becomes habit. Repeated thoughts become ingrained. Repeatedly trod paths become roads and highways.

I took off work today to get my car air-conditioning fixed. It cost me $865, but I have to have AC with my long commute to work. I keep worrying about not having enough money. I keep fearing that everything is going to fall apart in my life. I keep fearing I’ll end up homeless and sleeping on a sidewalk or that I’ll end up killing myself. If there’s a Devil that wants me to kill myself, it has my anxiety and depression to use against me. I also have a primal resistance in my psyche that wants me to stay alive though. – Repeated negative thoughts have power, but so do repeated positive ones.

Advertisements

Kaylee Blue

Kaylee Blue profile

Yesterday I had my dog put to sleep. The tumor on the back was growing bigger faster and she had several new open sores that worried me. The vet said that at her age and condition, putting her under anesthesia to do surgery would likely kill her and agreed with me that with summer heat coming, having open sores would be an invitation to flies biting her and laying eggs in her wounds. The vet also said that her internal tumors could rupture and cause internal bleeding. I don’t think Kaylee was really ready to go yet – she still enjoyed treats I gave her, going for walks and playing with my roommate’s pom-chihuahua mix – but I think it was the right time to spare her further suffering in the near future. She also had arthritis and sometimes had trouble climbing up and down stairs. According to the vet records she was 15 years old. She still had beautiful, thick, white fur and stunning blue eyes.

She was named Blue by her first family, who turned her sister and her into the SPCA for chasing chickens.  I named her Kaylee for the girl mechanic on the sci-fi series Firefly. I think the meaning for this name that suited her best was “joyous in green fields”. She chased and killed rats when she was young. She also liked to chase ducks, but never caught any. She liked everyone, got along with everyone, and was calm and easy-going in almost any situation

3 - Kaylee on the sofa
(From her early destructive phase before we got Kira for her to play with.)

Fort Bragg - April 05 01
(Tasha, Kira, Kaylee and Kathrin at Fort Bragg, CA.)

 

I sometimes make up little songs for my dogs. This was one of Kaylee’s

I love my dog and I kiss her on the nose.
She has furry ears and she has furry toes.
She has furry fur that looks like it snows.
I love my dog and I kiss her on the nose.

2-21-2006-06

Every dog has it’s own personality and lessons to teach us. Kaylee taught me to have a positive outlook, a sense of humor, to stand up for oneself and one’s possessions, and that sometimes love and trust don’t start out easily in a relationship, but can still build to deep trust, love and respect. When I lost my home and almost everything I had, I kept Kaylee and we took care of each other. At times she has seem like my only true friend I had left.

I’m keeping her bed in my room and still setting out treats and fresh water for her spirit, in case she wants to come visit. Right now I have my roommate’s pom-chihuahua sitting on my bed to keep me company too. I’ll probably get another dog when I have a stable job and living situation, but for now I’m dog-less for the first time in my life since I was 7 or 8 years old.

Kaylee Blue - 5-21-16

RIP Kaylee Blue – 2002 ? to May 19, 2018.

 

Short Update (poor WiFi)

PICT0692.JPG

I wanted to do a post before this weekend about the Twisted Atlantis hunt in Second Life, but my WiFi connection is so poor that I haven’t been able to take pictures of the items I’ve gotten so far. Last weekend I spent most of 2 days hunting, but only got through 28 shops. (I crash nearly every time I try to teleport and it takes forever for things to rez.) I have Alycia hunt first, then have Persephone pick up the hunt prizes I want for her. I’ve been derezzing other avatars, particles and prims. I have Alycia go hunting as a Twisted cube, which reduces her Avatar Rendering Cost to about 1540. (Completely invisible with no attachments gives an ARC of 0. Wearing just system layers with no attachments gives an ARC of 1000.) The very first prize cube in the hunt has a Twisted Cube avatar, which is a great outfit for hunting, because not only does it lower your scripts and rendering cost, thus reducing your lag and that of other people, it also confuses other hunters so they think you’re the cube they’re looking for.

Work is going ok. A team on another shift broke a warning light in another production room, so we had to clean out our room for that production. Then we had to clean our room again, so we could use it again. Then we found a problem with our temperature, humidity and air pressure monitoring system, which prevented us from working on our product Friday night. The net result is that both production rooms are now behind schedule. Our team is not at fault for this delay though, so we’re ok. Meanwhile there’s an opportunity for easy overtime doing an inspection of tablets for a cosmetic defect. I went to work 2 hours early twice last week and will probably go 4 times next week. Sitting and inspecting tablets for a couple hours before my regular shift is easy, relaxing, and doesn’t cost me any extra in gas.

I’m still feeling depressed sometimes, but blogging last time helped & I feel ok right now. Kaylee is fine, though the tumor on her back doesn’t look great. A woman at the dog park yesterday said it looked “gross”, which just goes to show that idiots with no sense of tact or impulse control can be anywhere.

You Don’t Want to Hear About My Depression

brown paper package   My work is going fine. My workplace is not high stress. The people are decent. Sometimes it’s physically demanding, but that’s ok. I have enough money to survive, though not enough to move to another place, get my car bumper fixed, or do much for fun.

I have a safe place to live, though my roommates annoy me sometimes. My dog is safe. My car is running ok. My WiFi is adequate for my basic needs. I get to play in Second Life. I’m able to eat out or get treats for myself from time to time. (I’m putting on weight from eating too much though.)

I’m still depressed much of the time. Sometimes I feel angry. Sometimes I feel anxious. Sometimes I get catastrophic thinking. More often than I should I get suicidal ideation.

Don’t tell me to be grateful for what I have, because being grateful doesn’t help. I carry grief within me, even when I should be happy that my life is pretty much ok now. It’s pretty much ok, but I miss the happiness I used to have and keep thinking I’ll never have again. I feel like I don’t have any real friends. I don’t have a social group. Most things I might want to do for fun cost money or time I can’t spare. I’m alone, except for my dog, and I’m lonely.

Second Life is my practically free outlet for fun. It’s also my addiction that I can feel guilty about when I don’t get my room cleaned-up, look for interesting things to do in “Real Life”, or look for another place to live. (I can’t afford to move now anyway, so why should I bother looking.)

The title for this post is mostly about my friends and family on Facebook. They get a feed for this blog. My other readers may have depression themselves, so they understand how it doesn’t just go away when things get a little better. “Why do you have to be such a downer and constantly dwelling on negative things?” a normal person might think. They don’t want to be brought down too, so they likely won’t respond or might not even read a negative post. They’d rather see a cute cat video or another post that confirms whatever their social and political views already are.

I hate Facebook. Have you seen me say that before? Yet it’s the easiest way to keep up on what distant family and maybe friends are doing now.

The brown paper package above shows how I feel lately. Dull on the outside, but you don’t know what’s inside. It could be something wonderful. It could be a bomb. You don’t know, and you will probably never know if you don’t want to find out more. It’s so much easier to look at the surface and assume that’s all there is. Or maybe you can imagine whatever you want to imagine, whatever suits your preconceived expectations, whatever is easy, whatever makes you happy.

If it pains or annoys you to think I might still be depressed, then think I must be ok now. If you think I’m a loser who creates my own problems, then imagine that whatever happens to me must be fair and just. If you think you have your own problems and I don’t do enough to help you or make you feel better, then you’re probably right. Just please don’t think I’m ignoring you because I don’t care about you. You wouldn’t even be among my Facebook friends if I cared nothing about you. It’s just that, as I’m sure is true for most people, I have my own problems to deal with, and I’m putting most of my time and energy toward dealing with them as best I can.

My problems are probably 80% psychological and 20% practical, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t real. They are real enough to make me feel depressed, to keep thinking “I wish I were dead”, to make me think my brain doesn’t work right, and make me wake up with clenched fists and feeling physically tired much of the time.

I’m mostly ok now, but not completely ok.

Life is still a struggle, but it has it’s bright spots too.

 

 

 

Second Life is but a dream

Alycia & Pete, _ Ratii dAlliez (3-4-14)

I sometimes think about what I like in a sexual fantasy. I tend to create an imaginary scenario in which various sexual encounters could easily take place, then stick with that scenario until it no longer arouses or interests me. Last night after wandering around a few adult venues in SL, I thought about what it takes for me to feel comfortable engaging in virtual sex in Second Life, and I wondered if could I pick the perfect SL setting the same way that I create an erotic mental scenario?

One obviously doesn’t get all the same sensations or emotional support from an online encounter as one does from a real life sexual or romantic relationship. On the other hand, one can get many of these things without also having to deal with certain Real Life problems with sexual and romantic encounters.

Obviously, we can’t get an STD, assaulted or pregnant from an online sexual encounter. Many of us also know that we can get a sense of an emotional connection and friendship from online relationships. People who for various physical, financial or social reasons can’t easily make new friends or romantic partners in physical reality can often connect more easily online. People can also explore parts of their personality or alternate personas in ways that make them feel freer and more confident than they do in normal physical reality.

Given the fact that virtual encounters on a platform like Second Life are so much freer and free of real world consequences than they would be in physical reality, I’m surprised that people often carry the same social mores they have in physical reality into the virtual world. Why are people who dress as vampires or cartoon animals in SL considered weird? Why are woman who sell sexual fantasies to men still considered prostitutes and still disrespected as such, especially since what they do is often more like writing an erotic story than it is like having physical sex? Why is it often considered tacky and disreputable to engage in virtual sex with anyone other than one’s single significant other in the virtual world, even if the couple in question could be on other sides of the world in physical reality or might even be married to other people in Real Life?

I think it’s because Sex is not just a physical act. It is even more a psychological act. It is whatever excites, arouses and satisfies us sexually. Images create sexual thoughts and feelings. We feel arousal. Words remind us of real life physical touch. We feel arousal again. We imagine more than what we see or read or hear. We imagine what would arouse us more at that moment. We may touch ourselves or we might not. Ideas alone may be sufficient.

What happens then after the virtual encounter? We may feel more relaxed and closer to the other person, we might feel sexually unsatisfied, or we might even feel unhappy or icky about the encounter. We might feel like what we did was bad somehow, which might make us feel like the other person was bad too. We might think disparaging things about them or hide from them, hoping to never encounter them again.

Why? This other person is probably no worse a human being than we are ourselves. If one person pays for sexual satisfaction and one accepts money for providing sexual satisfaction, both are still engaging in a business transaction for sexual pleasure. In virtual reality, those who function as prostitutes are seldom working under duress or to support a drug habit. In most countries what they’re doing is not illegal. They aren’t spreading STDs. They aren’t supporting organized crime or terrorists. So why are SL “escorts” still treated badly, often by the same men who make use of their services?

For myself, I try to figure out what kind of sexual fantasy arouses me without also making me feel icky in some way. I personally don’t like most Domination-submission fantasies because they usually give me this icky sensation at some point. I’m not turned on by rape or abuse fantasies, but I also concede that a fantasy can provide arousal even if the real life act would not. People are complicated, and human sexual arousal can be very complicated.

I think most women who engage in virtual SL sex feel both more aroused and more safe when they’re acting out a monogamous romantic relationship. First they build an emotional connection with their partner, then they play at virtual sex with that partner. Often this partner eventually reveals aspects of himself (or herself) that don’t fit the initial fantasy the other person had of them. Both may grow unsatisfied and bored, at which point it’s easy for one or the other to break up. I think serial monogamy with occasional cheating is very much the norm in SL – much as it is in RL – because we tend to act out the same psychological needs, expectations and misunderstandings in virtual reality as we do in physical reality, though it’s also much easier to get in and out of relationships in virtual reality.

For myself, I like fantasies that involve voyeurism and exhibitionism, safe casual sex, and being in control of my sexual relationships. When I had a RL boyfriend in SL I wanted to remain sexually faithful to him, even though I wasn’t getting much sex with him in RL or SL. I ended up finding places in SL that allowed virtual sex with scripted objects, rather than with other avatars. This allowed me to interact in a virtual sex scenario without involving another person, and thus without “cheating”.

Often SL sex is basically interactive cartoon porn. If it involves other avatars, everyone involved is creating this porn together. If it’s between one avatar and a scripted object, then it’s a collaboration between the object creator/ text writer and the person who’s interacting with that object. This might be an alien creature that rises from a pond while a woman naps on a rock. It might be a stone dragon that comes to life. It might be a tentacle creature. It might be a vibrator, a sofa, or even a towel with masturbation animations in it.

I find that often I feel uncomfortable acting out casual sexual encounters in SL as my primary character. I think this goes back to wanting to be viewed as someone who’s “normal”, proper and respectable. I feel like being viewed as normal and respectable is safer than being viewed as weird and unsavory, so I want my main avatar – who I associate with being me – to be viewed as normal and respectable.

If I want to get a little kinky and sexually adventurous in SL, I sometimes go in as an alt who doesn’t have a reputation to protect. Other times I might stay as my main avatar, but change her appearance to be that of an alien or succubus. By changing her appearance like this, I imagine that normal human sexual mores no longer apply to her. As a alien or demonic succubus she may be genetically or culturally driven to have much more sex than humans normally have. She might feed on sexual energy or be curious about how various alien creatures will engage sexually with her.

I find that often virtual settings are more arousing to me than are the other avatars I might see in those settings. This is because I’m aroused by the idea of what could happen in such a place. Just walking around an empty club that promises casual sexual encounters is arousing. Knowing that my partner and I could be secretly watched or that I could secretly watch others arouses me. Sometimes I’ve been to such places with a partner. We might be busily texting each other in private IM while pushing animation buttons and adjusting our avatar positions. We might be trying desperately to keep the mood erotic and arousing between us, and then suddenly some guy in the sim IMs me and disrupts the mood. – Don’t be the noob who does this, as doing so will hardly ever result in you getting to jump on sex balls with the person you IM. Please just watch quietly and maybe IM the person the next time you see them alone in such a place.

One such place that I’ve explored multiple times as it’s undergone multiple incarnations is “U.F.O. Abduction the SexXxperience”. The theme in this venue is that of a large spaceship full of little green aliens who observe humans and other creatures engaging in a variety of sexual encounters. Last night there was only one other avatar there besides myself, and I wasn’t interested in playing with him or anyone else, but after I logged off I imagined a scenario I could play there that intrigued me. What if my avatar were asleep and wearing a skimpy little nightgown when she was picked up by these aliens? She might think she was having a particularly vivid dream. She might have been feeling horny before she went to sleep, so allowing this experience to become what she thinks is just a very vivid sex dream allows her (me) to play at casual virtual sex without attaching normal RL waking life mores to it.

This idea intrigues me. One could role-play it at various sims that encourage casual virtual sex. One simply needs to announce in local chat or to the person who IMs them or who they IM that they think they must be having a very vivid dream. If one can show up in pajamas or a skimpy nightgown, so much the better, though they may need to abide by the dress code of that sim instead.

What are you wearing when you find yourself in sex dream? I don’t think I’d ever start out naked, but sometimes I may dream that I have just a blanket or towel wrapped around me. I don’t think I have a blanket I can wear wrapped around my avatar in SL, but I think I do have a towel or a terrycloth robe.

Karma, Naked Poety

(A naked poetry reading in SL, a scenario that mimics a possible sex dream.)

 

Depression doesn’t just go away

Depression - grey rose

I’m almost ok.

My job is ok – except that I worried all Thursday about making a mistake clocking in and Friday I worried over wasted time that wasn’t even my fault. I worried over whether my supervisor was annoyed with me, when he probably wasn’t. I have enough money for rent and gasoline, but not much else. I sold plasma today, and my arm hurts now. My dog has medical issues, and I can’t afford a vet. I cried several times last weekend because I missed my old friend who made me homeless. I’m angry that my life has been difficult. I’m sad that it isn’t much better already.

I don’t want to complain. I want to explain.

I isolate myself, then feel alone. I want more, then feel like I have less. I’m glad that I have a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, that my car runs, that I have food to eat,…but I’m still not happy. I’m still depressed.

Depression doesn’t go away when things get a little better.

I’ve been trying to focus on buying what I need, rather than what I want, but I still bought a few books and fast food. I don’t want to feel guilty about that. I want to be able to treat myself to a few treats. I want to be kind to myself, because it hurts too much when I’m mean to myself. The world is hard enough without me telling myself that I don’t deserve little treats, that nobody likes me, that I’ll never be happy, or that I’m a failure at my life.

I shouldn’t keep thinking that I wish I’d been able to kill myself when I had a chance, that my mother had aborted me, or my father had killed her when she was pregnant with me. I should keep thinking that I’m here for a reason, and I wasn’t able to kill myself because I still need to fulfill that reason.

I need to believe that my life will get better, not keep thinking that maybe it will only get worse again. I need to be happy that I have a job I don’t hate, rather than fret over how this company hires 70% temps so they don’t have to keep them for more than a year and never have to pay them decent benefits. Let the glass be half full, instead of half empty, and don’t worry that the water might be poisoned.

Enjoy the rose, without worrying about the scratch of the thorns.

 

The Best Month for SL Freebies

Alycia - Reindeer outfit Dec. 2017_001

There are still a few days left in December, which is the best month for SL freebies. There are Christmas trees and Santas with gifts, Advent calanders – some of which go for the whole month, group gifts, new Lucky and Midnight Madness boards. The best gift of all though is the half-off discount for 3 months of Premium membership – active for the rest of December. – If you can afford to spend $ 11.25 for the 3 month package, it pays back more in lindens than what it costs. If you don’t want to pay the regular price after that, be sure to drop back down to the free Basic rate before your 3 months are up.

I sent Alycia around to collect a few Christmas gifts this year, though no where near as much as I’ve collected in previous years. Her hair above was a Christmas group gift (I’ll have to check from where) that came with several versions, including this one with a super low render weight. The antlers are last year’s gift from Blueberry, which I couldn’t resist using for this cute Christmas reindeer outfit. My best hall was from Reign shoes, where I got awesome color-change boots that fit the most popular mesh bodies and these cute Reigndeer slippers and thigh-high socks.

Alycia - Reindeer outfit Dec. 2017 slippers_001

7 Deadly S[k]ins was again doing their advent gifts, but I couldn’t go in every day to collect them because I was busy working in RL. I had 4 days off Christmas weekend though, so I spent most of a couple of those days in SL.

Alycia - Oubliette outfit Dec. 2017_001

One item I really liked was this gothic T-shirt and knit duster from an Oubliette hunt prize. I love quality gothic clothes for Alycia, and Oubliette seems to be one of the nicest shops for good-fitting, detailed, mesh gothic clothing. Of course I love the gifts at Sn@tch too, and with color-change HUDs for mesh clothing, even non-goth shops can provide some gray or dark colors that could be part of a gothic look.

I looked around for gothic hang-outs and found a couple nice-looking ones, but Alycia has an intense dislike of vampires, which sometimes frequent such sims. In the character backstory I created for her, she was terrorized by a man who thought he was a vampire, she had to kill him to escape, and then she ran into a Bloodlines player who wanted to bite her at a gothic freebies place, so she can’t stand SL vampires. She is also an eclectic dabbler in witchcraft who likes all things witchy and irreverent.

I bring up the idea of Alycia having her own personality and interests because having different personalities and interest for my avatars helps keep their inventories down and helps me remember which has which items. Alycia wears skimpy clothes in dark colors. Persephone wears more modest outfits. Alycia does 7Seas Fishing. Persephone has the buildings, landscaping, most of the furnishing, and most of the building materials. I can also play different characters depending on my mood. Alycia doesn’t try to fit in and be “normal”, she’s unashamedly moody, and she’s a tough and confident survivor.