When I wake & start to write in my journal, I sometimes want to write something about Second Life, because for a long time this was my “happy place”. For years I struggled to survive on very little money while I was unemployed & looking after my mother. First she was in her own home, then she was in a care home. I didn’t live with her, but I still worried about her & felt responsibile for looking after her. I loved her & wanted her to be safe, to have healthy food, to be seen by her doctor, to take meds that would help her feel better. Even though she drove me crazy sometimes, argued with me frequently, & often hurt my feelings, I still loved her & cared about her. Even though she was an irresponsible, self-centered, narcissist parent, I knew she loved me as much as she was able & that she tried to help me sometimes.
When I was living with Kathrin, my last landlady/ housemate/ friend, we generally shared mutual interests & enjoyed each other’s company. I got her hooked on Second Life when she was recovering from surgery for repetitive motion injury. After she retired, she took to Second Life as her new virtual work & play space.
After she evicted me & put her house up for sale, I lost most of my possessions & was homeless with my dog for a month. I didn’t want to go back into SL for a while. Now I go in, but it doesn’t make me feel as happy as it used to do. I don’t lose myself in SL anymore, but it still gives me a little happiness. It’s like going to a favorite restaurant, but it’s not as good as it used to be. Even so, there’s no other restaurant that’s better nearby, so I keep going back.
This change is not because SL has changed, but because I have. My inability to enjoy SL as much as a used to is a double-edged sword. I don’t spend as much time inworld, which is good, but it also doesn’t give me the sense of freedom & joy that it used to either. I still recognize it as a wonderful platform for exploration & creative expression, but I feel like I’m sitting in my room & looking into SL, rather than living in SL & coming out occasionally to stay grounded in physical reality. There is no place in my life where I feel the kind of happiness I used to feel when I lived with Kathrin & we both played in SL, especially before the last year and a half, when Kathrin had to take in another boarder to make up for the rent money I was unable to pay her.
I accept my share of responsibility for losing my home, my possessions, & my best friend, but I can’t allow myself to feel guilty for being depressed & psychologically broken. – If you had a friend with a broken leg, would you tell them they should go to a hospital – or would you call for an ambulance? – I needed help & wasn’t able to get it by myself.
I still go into SL because it gives me some happiness, even if it’s not as much as it used to be. Writing this blog also lets me be creative with words & pictures, while also sharing what I know about finding good free stuff & places to explore in SL.