Blogger Challenges

BVN Secret Santa Swap!

The Blogger & Vlogger Network did a neat twist on the Secret Santa concept for this holiday season. The Secret Santa Swap was an opportunity for bloggers to sign up to blog about a fellow blogger and BVN member.

My recipient was Adalynne Romano (adalynnereed resident in world). Adalynne’s blog is called Graceful Class and Elegant Sass. I’ve been following her for a long time on Flickr, and I think her photos are absolutely stunning. Not only does she do great fashion pics, she’s also fabulous with decor and landscape scenes.

I thought I’d share a few of my favorite pics Adalynne’s done recently.

This is possibly my favorite pic I’ve seen all holiday season by anyone. I just find it utterly adorable. The cozy PJs and slippers and the baking scene are just too cute and I love the lighting and composition.

Bake While They Sleep

Next is this wintry outdoor scene, which at a quick glance almost appears to be a real life photo.

Conservatory

Finally, this shot which is elegant and dreamy. The shadows in this scene are gorgeous.

Mistletoe Trouble

If you’re not already following Adalynne I highly recommend it! She’s also on facebook.

You can learn more about BVN on their website, and if you’re a blogger definitely join their in-world group.

Adalynne, I wish the very happiest of holidays and all the best in 2018!

~Lucie

Blogger Challenges · Buzzeri · Charities · Events · Fundraisers · Getting Personal · iheartslFeed · Inspired By Words · Just Because · Looks · Mesh Bodies · Mesh Heads · Neve/coldLogic/FATE/Goji · The Epiphany

I stand for peace…

When I first heard of the “I stand for peace” challenge presented by The White Canvas Gallery, I have to admit… my tendency towards cynicism won over. My first, honest thought? I’d love to stand for peace, but my legs are going to get awfully tired. But being me is complicated. Because even though I can be cynical (though I tend to prefer to think I’m just realistic), I can also be idealistic. So, I have said it before and I’ll say it now: I’m a realistic idealist. I can recognize when I’m being idealistic, but I refuse to give up the idea that there’s a place for idealism in this world.

I really like this quote, and not just because I consider Sara Teasdale to be one of the most underrated poets in history.

I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes. ~Sara Teasdale

I like to think I manage to do this most of the time. My life has been interesting and difficult. Full of love, but also challenges. However, I like to believe that, when faced with hardships, I find a way to make the best of a bad situation. To find the proverbial silver lining. So, even though I fear that we’re living in a time that will face far more violence before we achieve anything akin to peace, I also think we can find ways to look for peace from within, to take strength from the stories of others; of those who survive, of those who saved, of those who died so others might live. We can see the beauty that is always here, and remember the wise words of Dumbledore (via JK Rowling): Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

It seemed fitting to blog this challenge using one of the gorgeous hairs you can find at Hair Fair 2016. I feel that this event is an example of the best of humanity, of the goodness and love that exists in this world, and I mean the real one as well as our virtual one. Because, after all, this event benefits real life children. Also appropriate, I felt, was to use something currently available at The Epiphany – these adorable butterflies from Cubic Cherry Creations. For if ever the world needed another epiphany, the time would be now.

My hair is from Mina. I loved the windblown feel of this hair, and I’ve always been a huge fan of Mina’s red shades. My adorable capri pants are by Just Because for N21 and I’m wearing the N21 exclusive color, which will not be available when the event ends! The tank top I’m wearing is one of Neve’s summer offerings. My sandals are from fri.day, and fri.day has moved to a new location, so be sure to update your LM!

I stand for peace

Now I have to talk about this gorgeous new mesh head from Catwa. Bibi has such a sweet, youthful face. It felt perfect for this dreamy, peaceful look I wanted. I paired it with Glam Affair’s Gabriela applier, which is part of the Gacha Guardians event. If you’ve been looking for a mesh head with a young, soft vibe, definitely go demo this one. Bibi is a basic head, which means you can get the static version of it for just $L900. You can check out this image, which explains all of the various options available on Catwa heads.

Sweet Bibi

If you haven’t done the “I stand for peace” challenge yet, consider it. It’s simple, but powerful. And I was nominated by the lovely Saffie to do it, so really… I had to.

~Lucie

Credits
Maitreya: Lara Mesh Body
Mina: Neah hair – Dark Reds Hair Fair 2016
Catwa: Bibi mesh head
Glam Affair: Gabriela applier – Asia 02 Gacha Guardians
Izzie’s: Catwa dimples applier
Nanika: Eyelashes Nata
Buzzeri: Moka eyes – Honey
Neve: Everyday top – baby
Just Because: Jen Capris – N21 Exclusive N21
fri.day: Dinah sandals – cloud
Cubic Cherry Creations: Flutter 21 – Dream The Epiphany
Infiniti: Carefree Pose 3 (slightly modified by the butterflies built in pose)
Location: Blithe

Blogger Challenges · Home & Garden · iheartslFeed · Inspired By Words · Just for fun · Mesh Bodies · Mesh Heads · Neve/coldLogic/FATE/Goji

Snapback

So this post is a very long time in the making. As soon as I heard Old Dominion’s song Snapback, I knew I wanted to do a blog post inspired by the look the singer describes. I knew Truth had just released a perfect hair for it. But life happened, and other things got in the way and I only finally, months later, decided it was time. I was gonna do it! Especially after I saw that they got the look SO wrong in the music video (linked at the end), I had to do it.

And I mean, these new(ish) shorts from Neve were perfect. They were inspired by Dirty Dancing, but the cutoff, wornout version just seemed made for this look. And frankly, just being inspired by a movie made them perfect for my new challenge itself (more about that in a moment)!

Snapback

In case you’re wondering, these were the lyrics that inspired this look.

Those stars need to be wished on
Your skin needs to be kissed on
My eyes baby, they’re fixed on you
In your snapback
T-shirt of your favourite rock band
Checking your makeup in my Ray Bans
Breaking hearts like only you can
In your snapback

This also felt like it required a romantic moment, so I grabbed my alt and voila!

Kissing you would hit the spot with me

I’ve got a LOT of these sorts of ideas… so I thought about it, and decided to create a very informal challenge for it, complete with a group called Inspired By Words: Second Life. If you have any pics inspired by words – whether from songs, books, poems, movies – feel free to add them to this group! Just be sure to let us know what inspired you. I am gonna aim to do one of these at least once a month because they’re fun!

Here’s the link to the video. It may not play if you’re outside the US, but you can read the lyrics here. Also, for those who haven’t heard it before, “snapback” is a nickname for that sort of baseball cap because they often involve plastic snaps.

~Lucie

Credits
Lucie:
SLink: Hourglass mesh body, casual hands, flat feet
Catwa: Candy head (fatpack w/expressions, which are used in 1st pic)
Glam Affair: Catwa applier – Alessa – Asia 3
Buzzeri: Zodiac eyes – Avada
Letis: Cetus V2 for SLink
Addams: Jennifer V-Neck – Heaven
Neve: Baby shorts – frayed
Schadenfreude: Waits rings – Uberpack Collabor88
Bella Elephante: Unicorn nails applier
ReignXFlite: Taylers – Grey/Sea
Repose: Country Girl 4 pose & prop (pic 1)

Sephie:
Clef de Peau: Lucas skin T4 w/freckles
Exile: Better Days – Naturals
Buzzeri: Bewitched eyes – Hazel
SLink: Relaxed mesh hands
FATEwear: Phillips shirt, Carter shorts
FATEstep: Ziggy Chucks

Decor:
Consignment: Stepside Bed – Mint (couple pose is in this)
[we’re CLOSED] grass field green 01 – random
Little Branch: Bouton d’or Lavender{Rounded-Field}
JIAN :: Koi Pond We ❤ Role-Play
Cheeky Pea: Boho Glamping Cabin, Boho Glamping Bed
{what next} Guitar Case Sign Collabor88
[ Organica ] Ridley Bird Bath (Mossy Rock)
+Half-Deer+ Candy Chickadee Bird
Studio Skye: Skye Cliff 4, Skye Cliff 3, Skye Cliff 2 light rock, spring ground textures

Blogger Challenges · Buzzeri · Events · Homestyle · iheartslFeed · Looks · Mesh Bodies · Mesh Heads · The Epiphany

Skating with Jennah

There’s this wonderful photo challenge that Nigel Riel has created where he pairs people to take pics together. You can see all of the pics here. It was something fun and different, and gave people an opportunity to meet new people.

I fell in love with Zenith’s Lolita Winter Coat from The Epiphany. I’m wearing the rare Candy one, which comes with a hud and you can change the color of the dress. It’s kind of rare for me to wear this much pink. Though it’s more of a coral or salmon pink but whatever. It’s adorable and I thought it would be a cute outfit for skating. The Epiphany is winding down, and ends February 2nd, so if you haven’t been yet you’re running out of time! Remember, every designer has an exclusive available if you opt to “cash in” your extras for points. If you’re unfamiliar with how it works, read about it here!

Also, the adorable little cabin is from What Next. It’s for the Wayward Winter event, but that ends tonight… so if you miss it, be sure to check the Mainstore in the coming days.

Skating with Jennah

This is Jennah’s adorable version. Isn’t she cute?!

Nigel's photo challenge - Jennah & Lucie

~Lucie

Credits

Fashion:
Maitreya: Lara mesh body
Catwa: Annie mesh head
DeeTaleZ: Cynthia applier for Catwa – Nordic tone
Mai Bilavio: Essential lashes for Catwa
Elua: Gemma hair – reds
Zenith: Lolita Winter Coat – Candy – Rare The Epiphany
Izzie’s: Cozy tights appliers
N-Core: Roller/Ice skates
Pose created by Jennah

Decor:
What Next: Snowy Alpine Cabin
JIAN: White Tail Deer – Female Adult (Animated), Fawn (Animated), Female Adult (Sleep L), Fawn (Sleep L), Wishing Well, Wise Owl’s Tree, Hillside Orchard – Apple Tree
Half-Deer: Lighted Pathway – Planks – Snowy, Snow Animals – Dog, Snow Animals – Bear, Snow Animals – Cat
Dysfunctional Designs: Pair of Waving Snowmen
Little Branch: WildBirch.v1, WildBirch.v2
Botanical: T2C Mesh Fir 05
Studio Skye: Ice and Snow ground/ice textures

Blogger Challenges · iheartslFeed · Looks · Raid Your Closet · SL Places

Freckled

I didn’t dive too deeply into my inventory for my newest round of Raid Your Closet, but these are things that met the criteria! Most of these things I’ve had just a few months. But hey, newer things need love, too, right? Like I this beautiful, freckle-faced DeeTaleZ skin I bought earlier this year, and never once wore. I love freckles on other people, like my beautiful sister Peppersley. I just don’t usually like them on me. But this time, I did.

Trace my freckles with your fingertip

My dress is a fairly recent release from coldLogic’s spring line. This may sound weird, but I love the creases. The attention to detail is just one of the things I always love from the coldLogic designers. Also, it’s worth noting I am wearing this dress, in the standard sizing large, with my Maitreya Lara body without any issues. Just had to alpha out a few parts, and voila! My strappy, sexy sandals are from Livalle, and this beautifully bohemian hair is from Tableau Vivant.

Waiting for my dinner date

~Lucie

Credits
DeeTaleZ: Maxine Skin V2 – Nordic w/tintable lip layer brightness 2
Tableau Vivant: Diana hair – reds
Buzzeri: Bewitched eyes – hazel
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
Lara Hurley: Black eyeliner – waterline (came with Fae skin)
Lovely Alien: Eyeliner (came with Starry Eyelashes)
Maitreya: Lara body
Izzie’s: Body freckles applier for Maitreya body
coldLogic: Dame dress – coral
Livalle: Modig sandals – brown
Repose: The Look pose 2 (pic 1)
Infiniti: Elegance pose 4 (pic 2)
Location: Blithe

Blogger Challenges · Homestyle · iheartslFeed · Looks

Stop and catch the fireflies

I’ve been working on a beach in the sky, and it’s been a fun challenge. But I decided to take a break from that for some fun, and dug into my inventory for some oldies but goodies for the Raid Your Closet Challenge.

My top is from coldLogic. I freakin’ love that store, and whenever there’s been a sale, I have gone and stocked up. But because a girl can only wear one outfit at a time (unless said girl has a knack for accidentally wearing folders, but we won’t discuss that), I rarely even wear half of what I buy. Imagine me facepalming here. Because I am. But it’s on sale! And someday I might need it! Well, the last time there was a sale I grabbed this adorable top because I love stars and I dig the back detail… and I also love this top because it’s ever so subtly sexy with the hint of side boob in a shirt that otherwise is best described as cute. My shorts are from erratic, from a couple years back, but I still love them. Especially because I’ve always had a thing for mail, and look! I’ve got stamps on my butt.

Stop and catch the fireflies

Oh, and the awesome house you can see a bit of, which I am in the midst of decorating, is from Barnesworth Anubis for the current round of Collabor88. It’s really pretty and reminds me of Emily Thorne’s beach house on Revenge.

~Lucie

Credits
Glam Affair: Rose skin – America clean
Truth: Wren hair – reds
coldLogic: kemp top – blue
erratic: Briony shorts – stamps
SLink: mesh hands & feet
fri.day: Wayfaring sandals – vintage
Infiniti: Fireflies pose & prop 10

Decor
Barnesworth Anubis: Hamptons house Collabor88
Happy Mood: Sweet Garden Grass02 – gold
Studio Skye: ocean sand textures, sand dunes
Botanical: Marram Grass – Medium – Grn Br
Trompe Loeil: Driftwood Pathway Planter Hanging 2 (Logo) FaMESHed

Blogger Challenges · iheartslFeed · Looks · Raid Your Closet · SL Places

The Return of the Raid Your Closet Challenge!

Hi! So, I’ve brought back the Raid Your Closet Challenge! RYCC 3.0 is officially underway. If you missed the original and the sequel, now’s your chance to take part in the latest version. Not familiar with RYCC? Well, here’s a page with lots of info!

The RYCC Page

This challenge requires that everything blogged was in my (and should you choose to participate, your) inventory as of 11:59 pm April 30th, 2015. As in every prior RYCC you are expected to wear an entirely new outfit – something you’ve never blogged/photographed/worn before – each week (or however often you participate), but you can have exceptions. My exceptions include my shape (my own creation) and my eyelases (Mon Cheri’s Falsies, which I wear nearly exclusively). I likely also frequently repeat my SLink mesh hands and feet, though probably not in every post. If you decide to participate, either via Plurk, Flickr or your own blog, just make sure you list your own exceptions, too!

For my first pic, I’m wearing seriously adorable Ohmai Salon hair I bought at last year’s Hair Fair and never wore once. I built the outfit around this hair, and the dress is from Gizza that I bought at Shiny Shabby a couple of rounds back. Without further ado, here are my pics… both taken at Blithe, which is fast becoming a favorite place to take pics!

Daydreamer (RYCC Week 1)

Birds of a feather...

Be sure to join the Flickr group to follow as the challenge progresses and add your own pics. You can also share your blog links in the comments of this post!

~Lucie

Credits:
Glam Affair: Alice Cygana skin – Jamaica 07e
Ohmai Salon: Sopha hair w/tweeters – Naturals
Buzzeri: Lillian eyes – Sapphire
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
Gizza: Cara dress – white
SLink: Mesh hands & feet
Eudora: Artemis Sandals
Cae: Anniversary ring
Wicked Peach: Sparkling Wine manicure applier
Infiniti: Definite poses 5m (pic 1) & 1 (pic 2)

Blogger Challenges · Homestyle · iheartslFeed · Just for fun · Looks

Avatar In A Box Challenge

So, I read Berry’s blog post where she participated in a challenge presented by Vanessa Blaylock called Avatar In A Box. It’s inspired by a cool, real life art installation, and as soon as I saw it, I knew what I had to do.

I just had to be me.

You see, I regularly wear boxes in SL. I also frequently wear houses, or entire folders, or attach things instead of deleting them and go flying across my parcel to the object. Yes, even in SL, I am a world class klutz. It’s okay. It’s part of my charm. 😀 In fact, this morning I was gifted a Trompe Loeil giftcard. And I was wearing the box within seconds of it landing in my inventory, and I can’t even tell you HOW it happened. I’d have taken a pic of that for this, but it was on my head and I didn’t want to hide my pretty skin from Glam Affair for Collabor88 or the adorable hair by Tableau Vivant.

So, without further ado… my challenge pic. This is totally raw, as I uploaded it straight from SL to Flickr.

Avatar In A Box Challenge

This is a fun challenge, that will undoubtedly result in lots of creative, intriguing entries. Definitely one to follow, even if you don’t participate yourself!

~Lucie

Credits
Fashion:
Glam Affair: Sia II Ice – Asia Tone Collabor88
Buzzeri: Lillian eyes – Avada Kustom 9
Tableau Vivant: Neve hair – reds
SLink: Mesh hands – casual, Mesh feet – Natural
Ingenue: Chloe flats – Buffalo Plaid Red
Tee*fy: Noel Sweater Dress – Grey, Soft Wool Jersey Leggings – Plaid Inspiration Point Hunt Gifts

Decor:
Dysfunctional Designs: Mountain Lodge Retreat, Holiday Giftbox – Rectangle Flat, Fireplace Tools, Lil’ Holiday Picture Tree
Scarlet Creative: Rustic Lace Table
Tres Blah: Soiree food items The Arcade
Cheeky Pea: Lucille sofa, coffee table and candles
Tarte: Snow White Rug
Trompe Loeil: Roanna Sleigh Seat White With Blanket
Lost Junction: Holiday Party – Fruit Punch Bowl RARE The Arcade
ISPACHI: Florian – Sleeping Puppy In Basket RARE (past Arcade)

Blogger Challenges · Getting Personal · iheartslFeed · Looks · Opinions & Thoughts

Brave

So, last week I launched a new SL venture called Project EveryBody… and I issued my first challenge to everyone who wanted to participate. The challenge was fairly simple, at least in terms of requirements. I asked people to “be brave.” You can read all the details here.

I have big plans for Project EveryBody, and I’ve even bought a domain for it, with the hopes of translating it to the real world eventually. But for now, I’m content to see what it can do for us in Second Life. For now, here’s my take on being brave.

In March of 2009, I was out in SL at Redgrave. I’d taken the base avatar shape and made it my own… badly. I had no sense of proportions, but it was my shape, my (virtual) body. I was protective of it. One thing I had wanted, like so many, was to be some sort of idealized version of myself. I saw SL as a way to be things I couldn’t ever be in RL. Like, for example, leggy. My RL legs are short. I am not short; at 5’6″ I am taller than the average American woman. But I carry my height in my torso. It’s just the way I’m built, like my mother and grandmother before me. The shape I had created in SL was opposite that, and sort of the… Amazon warrior type, and certainly bigger in width and fat than most avies.

Well, back to Redgrave. Some assholes decided to taunt me in public and call Lucie fat. There was a LOT of uninvited commentary about my “fat” shape, and I was furious. Fat? What they hell were they talking about? These people clearly didn’t know what “fat” meant. But, truth be told, in comparison to other SL avs, Lucie was fat. And that’s okay because fat is merely a physical descriptor, not some sort of bad word. It’s like saying (in RL), I have brown eyes. Yep. I do, thanks for noticing. Now, in this case, they were being bullies and jerks about it, and I didn’t really know how to reply because the concept that I was being bullied for how my pixels looked was kind of mind blowing.

I didn’t change my shape because of their assholery. But, over time, Lucie’s shape DID change. Why? Well… I sucked at editing prims and sculpties and nothing.ever.fit. I was frustrated. Didn’t I already deal with this crap enough in RL? Why did I need to deal with it in SL, too? So gradually, Lucie “lost weight,” so to speak, and as she became smaller I lost a big part of who I – the person behind the avatar – was. I was actively working with an eating disorder therapist in RL when I began SL. I was learning to accept and love the RL me, regardless of size. And by shrinking Lucie, well, I sort of caved to a mindset I was so desperately fighting in the real world. When Standard Sizing for mesh came out, Lucie was between a medium and a small. But closer to a small. Instead of embracing the larger size, I shrunk her even more. For a long time she was a small, and occasionally, even an extra small. Now… you need to understand the secret thrill I felt. I’ve literally never been a small in anything. I was a big baby (8 lbs, 6 oz) and I was a BIG kid. Here, let me show you.

Brownies

Guess which girl I am? Okay, yeah the only one with my face not blurred. But also, by far, the tallest, heaviest and overall biggest. And we’re all the same age. This is first grade. I wore a woman’s size 8 shoe by third grade. Nothing ever fit me right.

So, in SL… when I could be a small! Why wouldn’t I? And that’s a valid question, and it’s fine and fun to be in SL what we can’t in RL. Except in my case, it caused me angst, and played into an unhealthy mindset I’d worked too hard to escape.

I realized over time that I didn’t really feel like ME. So, I became a medium, but resisted becoming a large. If Standard Sizing has a flaw it is that the jump from medium to large is pretty freakin’ dramatic. If you look at the differences between small to medium and medium to large in terms of slider points, it’s significant. So, the jump from a small to a medium didn’t feel so major. But to go from a medium to a large? It felt like putting 60 pounds on my avatar in a few short clicks, and part of me resisted that for a year, even though another part of me secretly craved to make Lucie even more fuller figured. And then… then I saw this picture from Lauren Minuet.

Forget about it

While I vehemently disagree with the notion that to look like a “real woman” a person (or avatar!) needs to have “curves,” or that a thin, slender, or athletically built woman is somehow less “womanly” or sexy, I saw this picture and just fell in love. Lauren just oozes sensuality here, and it made me realize that, despite what I’d told myself, I could be a bigger, fuller figured, curvier avatar and NOT feel frumpy or somehow… less than. I could be more like the real me, the me I’d spent so much time working to love just the way that I am, right now, today. I talked to Lauren (who is one of the sweetest people ever) for some tips and advice (mainly I wondered if she was wearing a large or using fitted mesh – she usually wears large, though the dress in the above pic is from a store that doesn’t use traditional standard sizing). And I tweaked my shape dramatically. And I love it.

Going from a medium to a large should’ve been a huge transition, but it felt so… right – at least once I’d realized it was what I wanted, and opinions of others (and especially of my own inner voice that wants to hate on my own body, virtual or real) be damned. Sure, I’m often the biggest avie in the room, but that mirrors my real life, so it feels right. It feels natural. And it’s okay if I’m the biggest, just as it would be if I were the smallest. Admittedly, it can be infuriating to find clothes that fit my new shape properly (because it seems designers don’t always use the exact measurements for large standard sizing and/or don’t make alphas to work with their large sizes). And forget about poses! We need more curvier poses, people. And AOs. Please, AOs! But I digress. So what? These are minor details, minor inconveniences. I feel sassy, sexy and utterly luscious. I feel more like myself. And, not to sound like a McDonald’s commercial here, but I’m loving that.

So, for my “Be Brave” look I picked this outfit from Gizza because of the bold, vibrant and non-matchy colors. I used to dress that way as a kid in RL. At first people made fun of me (not that I cared), but this was the 80s and dressing that way became a trend not long after I first began to do it (which made me do it less, hah). I stopped wearing bright colors like this in RL years ago, and in part I realized it’s because I felt I shouldn’t try to stand out, that I should try to hide my fat body. Somehow, this carried over into SL. I’d bought this outfit in a “safer” color option, even though I wanted, desperately, the vibrant colors you see here. So right after I issued this challenge, I ran back to Gizza to grab the color I’d wanted all along (though they’re all pretty awesome). I picked the hair because I’ve always felt I “couldn’t pull off” these angled bangs sort of styles. The pose is one from Ploom, one of the stores I know of that does does provide curvy avie friendly versions of their animations, and the pose just says, to me, hey, here I am. Take me or leave me, but I’m not hiding anymore!

Brave

I also used a skin that I feel has a more mature face, Simone from Curio. I even got crazy and tried to find some tattoo layer crow’s feet, but I couldn’t find any that weren’t awful and cartoonish. I even made my Mon Cheri Falsies lashes brown instead of black so they’re not quite so dramatic and somewhat closer to a more realistic RL lash look (at least for me).

I'm no heroine

Finally, I have to leave you with a snippet of a song by Ani DiFranco. I love the entire song, and I’ve linked to a YouTube video below. But this particular part resonates with me very strongly (though that’s true of plenty of Ani songs).

I’m no heroine
at least, not last time I checked
I’m too easy to roll over
I’m too easy to wreck
I just write about
what I should have done
I just sing
what I wish I could say
and hope somewhere
some woman hears my music
and it helps her through her day

(For the record, if it helps men that’s awesome, too)

If you want to participate in this challenge, by all means, jump on board! And be sure to share your posts on the challenge page in the comments.

~Lucie

Credits
Note: I am doing a home decor post of this scene in the not-too-distant future, so I’m just doing fashion credits here, but feel free to ask about things if you’d like to know where they are from in the meantime.

Curio: Simone – Makeup 6 – Sundust
IKON: Promise eyes – Moor
Mon Cheri: Falsies lashes
Wasabi Pills: Betty hair – Cinnamon
Gizza: Suspenders outfit – Vibrant
Cae: Cupcake ring, Ascend bracelet
SLink: Mesh hands – casual & mouse, Mesh feet – medium
LVLE: Elena pump – Viridian
Ploom: Strike 1 – Curvy

Blogger Challenges · Events · Getting Personal · iheartslFeed · Opinions & Thoughts · SL Places

Chapter Three

When I initially read the prompts for Chapter Three of The Writer’s Block, I really wasn’t sure I’d even have anything to say this time around. I don’t really think too much about going back in time to change things. Not because there aren’t things worth changing, but because I believe that every event in our lives leads us to the place we are right now, but literally and metaphorically. I happen to love my life, despite the challenges I’ve faced. So, I wouldn’t risk making a change that might completely alter my entire history, or cost me all the good I have in my present life. The other three prompts seemed interesting, but well… I’m in SL with my RL husband, so sex in SL is sort of irrelevant to me at this point. But I did mentally keep coming back to the fourth prompt… “the struggle between the real and the second” seemed very compelling to me. But what to say? I honestly wasn’t sure I could think of anything. My SL and RL have always been pretty merged (the whole RL husband thing again).

Then yesterday I was shooting a new poster for the front of our store Embody. We have six huge posters of our products, and we try to highlight the basics and best sellers with the posters. One of our biggest selling categories has always been maternity. So, for the poster, I got all dressed up like I’d been thoroughly knocked up and was about to pop. I thought I looked pretty darn adorable, dressed like a pregnant diva on a shopping spree, and well… it made me realize that maybe I did have a story to share about the struggle between the first and the second.

The reality of dreams

I remember when I was still brand new to SL. I mean, maybe two weeks old, and we were at a club where a woman had a tummy talker. I found it so odd. I didn’t understand the point of role playing a pregnancy (or anything) at all. But I had literally no exposure to RP before SL, so that’s not really surprising. Also, let’s face it. It’s easy in life to be judgmental. Humans are judgmental by nature, and my personal opinion on that is that we need to be able to make judgments. Being judgmental helps us make decisions and choices. The question is whether or not those judgments are flexible, and are they based on all the facts. Can we be fair judges in our lives, both real or second? That’s the part that’s tricksy.

I like to believe I am open-minded. I am fond of saying that I am a bisexual, anti-dieting, Libertarian atheist with a degree in anthropology. If I couldn’t be open-minded, or accepting of differences, I wouldn’t really have very many people to talk to in this life. Besides that, agreeing with everyone all the time sounds boring to me. I like debate, and intellectual discourse. I like to learn. I may be opinionated, and there are some things which I cannot imagine I will ever feel differently about, but I’m willing to listen to other perspectives.

Okay, so back to the story… the tummy talker kind of freaked me out. The SL pregnancy thing just seemed odd.

Then a friend of mine in SL got pregnant a few weeks later with twins. She looked, well… adorable, to be honest. All round and cute and dancing around with her new husband, and she mentioned that they couldn’t be together in RL and he couldn’t have anymore RL kids even if they could. Suddenly, I saw the whole thing in a new light. You see, part of how I wound up in SL was infertility. Oh, not directly. It was not like “well, can’t have kids, let’s join SL.” It was a series of events, but they are all events that would’ve transpired very differently had we had children as we’d planned, and tried for for two years. That all ties back to my not changing the past thing, really. If I’d become a mother, as I’d dreamed of my entire life and for years after meeting my husband, I know I would have been damn unlikely to be in SL. Which is not to say mothers shouldn’t be in SL, by the way. I just want to clarify that. It’s just my personal belief that I never would’ve been in stupid YoVille, which is what led to me winding up in not-generally-stupid SL. Just a disclaimer.

It wasn’t long before I realized that I could have an SL pregnancy and baby… I didn’t get to do any of the fun “I’m pregnant” stuff in RL because I couldn’t get pregnant. Infertility sucks all the joy out of the entire experience, at least until you get pregnant, if you’re fortunate enough. I wasn’t. But here I was, in a virtual world with virtual doctors and my real life husband. Rad is a serious trooper, and he went through it all with me and even played along. Once he asked a silly question about whether or not the gymnastics type run in my AO was safe for the baby. The first time, I was pregnant for only 5 weeks, and Ashlan was born. The second time I was pregnant 20 weeks, and we had Trinity. After Ashlan and Trinity, I was supposedly done. I wasn’t going to do it again. It wasn’t inexpensive, and it was silly… right?

Then my real life sister got pregnant. She was 17, and pretty much got pregnant the day she left rehab for the third time. Now, I love my nephew. I’ve only gotten to meet him once, but I adore him and we talk on the phone (he usually hangs up on me). He’s so sweet and I am so grateful we have him in our lives, but it was hardly ideal for my troubled teenage sister with a dysfunctional relationship to have gotten pregnant. And it just tore my heart to shreds. My sister was like my daughter, which is a long and complicated story I will spare you all from reading, but she was. We were inseparable, and we were so much alike in many ways. Until the drugs. Then things changed. Eventually, we had a huge fight. She told me I was just jealous of her because she could get pregnant and I couldn’t. Now, she was 18 and troubled and pregnant… but that is something that will always sting, and our relationship has never been the same. Maybe when she gets a little older (she’s not quite 22), things will change. But for now, it’s a gaping hole in my heart… and in the moment, several years ago, it was utterly crushing.

During that painful time, I decided I wanted another SL pregnancy and baby. Rad told me he didn’t think I’d be satisfied until I did one that lasted nine whole months. Now, you won’t meet a lot of people in SL who have done nine month pregnancies. Not in SL where a week seems like a month, and a month easily feels like three. Time in SL is so strange and nebulous. But I said yes… okay, let’s go for it. Let’s do the whole nine months. I didn’t pick the gender this time, either. I did, about halfway into the pregnancy, decide I was having twins, but we RP’d it like the doctor “discovered” the second baby. I didn’t pick hair color, but rather gave options based on our avs. Same with eye color, skin tone… you get the point. I made it as real as I possibly could, so that I could get it out of my system. And it worked, too. No, it is not the same. It could never be the same, naturally. But it’s as close as I could get to the real experience.

I know pregnancy in SL is one of those “hot button” issues everyone has an opinion on, and I know the vast majority of people I’ve met find it silly, stupid, weird or some combination of those things. I’ve seen plenty of snarky comments about prim babies, tummy talkers and pregnant avatars. I always get really mad, but I remind myself that at first I also didn’t “get it.” The thing is, you don’t have to “get it” to be more accepting and less judgmental. I don’t get a lot of things. I don’t get prayer, for instance. But I try to not judge people for whom that is an important part of their lives. I believe that, so long as your choices aren’t hurting other people, they are yours to make.

For me the struggle of not being able to have children in real life turned into something of a struggle in Second Life when I felt judged by total strangers or even friends for being (or having been) pregnant in SL. Now, mind you I muted my tummy talker in public places (with only family-friendly locations as an exception). Or I took it off. I didn’t wear it to laggy events. I didn’t take my (prim) babies to public places because I personally didn’t see the need, although I know some people RP in a way where leaving a baby with “Nanny Inventory” is not okay. But I went through so much trying to get pregnant in RL… and I never could. Second Life gave me the chance to live out a dream. No, it wasn’t the dream I wanted or imagined, but it was as close as I could get to that dream. I remember being baffled when a girl wearing an interactive cat tail judged my av’s pregnant belly. Really? I doubt she had a RL cat tail on her body. Part of what makes SL fun is doing what we can’t do in RL, or what we choose not to do in RL. For some of us, that includes pregnancy and families.

So, the next time you see a pregnant av before you snicker about it, consider what it might mean to her (or him!). Consider that maybe the person had cancer treatments that left her infertile. Or that her partner can’t have RL kids. Or that it’s the only way for two people who are currently living thousands of miles apart to share that experience. Consider that just maybe what you don’t understand is allowing the person to work through something very painful and difficult, and you don’t have to understand it. It’s okay for everyone to have their own unique SL experiences, and their own unique RL ones.

After all, don’t you?

Belleza for Collab

Some of the cuteness I have on can be found at the new edition of Collabor88, so if you love autumn, be sure to hop on over. I took these pics at the gorgeous sim that is home to Little Closet, and if you want a lovely autumnal place to hang out and take pics, definitely check it out. My hair is new from Truth for The Season Story event, which is full of wonderful fall goodness, too!

~Lucie

Credits
Skin: Belleza – Leila – Pale – 03 (Collabor88)
Eyes: IKON – Perspective – Glass (coming soon)
Hair: Truth – Junpier – Reds (The Season Story)
Dress: Geometry – Love Maternity Dress – Ivory 3rd trimester
Jacket: coldLogic – Plume – Earth (part of a dress)
Hands: SLink – mesh -Casual
Boots: League – Lauren – Taupe (Collabor88)
Poses: Embody – Mother MegaPack