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 · Homestyle · Looks

My Favorite Blogs…

So this is a 2 part post… first, I’ve seen this challenge all over Plurk & Flickr. I don’t know where it began, but it sounded fun and I decided to share with you my ten favorite blogs. This was not an easy list to make, as there are so many blogs I love for SL. My choices are in no way in any special order, with one exception. My first blog is one I’ve used so much in the past year. It’s a blog that’s about being a tool and that gave all of us who love shopping a new outlet for information. So, here… without further ado:

My Top 10

1. Seraphim: Oh, Seraphim. You’ve been such a great help. As a shopper, creator, event owner and now as a blogger, I am tremendously grateful for what all of the Seraphim bloggers contribute to the SL community.
2. Style Minions: Okay, how do you not love a blog with the name Style Minions? Aside from a name I find very amusing, these ladies post first rate pics and provide lots of detail. It’s a resourceful blog with great photography and writing!
3. Harlow Heslop: Harlow is someone I met through Plurk. She’s unbelievably kind and helpful and puts up with random, goofy IMs from me. I first “noticed” Harlow because of her popular blog. I read it quietly, admired her work tremendously and am very grateful to now consider her a friend.
4. Chance Raynier: Chance creates such great scenes for his blog posts. Often quirky and unique, his sense of style is really awesome. He also tells stories with his pictures, something I want to try to do more of myself. Finally, I know of his struggles in RL with chronic illness, and it’s something we share. The amount of time and energy he still finds to devote to his SL passions inspires me to push when I feel rotten.
5. Shopping Cart Disco: Some love you, some hate you… count me in the love column. I like real, and I think you guys keep things very real. Besides, what’s Sunday without a little side dish of SL Secrets drama to go with my cup of tea? And for those who prefer sweet over tart, there’s Sweet Fridays. I love both and everything in between.
6. Double Exposure: Ayla & Dolly are sassy and sexy… just visit their blog. You’ll have to click a disclaimer to get to it! I love that you both have such awesome, individual looks and work so well together. I enjoy seeing your pics pop up on Flickr and I love seeing the posts that go with them.
7. Flirting With Fashion: I don’t know Lauren Minuet except through her photostream and blog. But I love her style, and her blog is so clean with gorgeous photography.
8. Little Miss Fashion Cupcake: Cupcakes are cute, and so is Maci Restless. I love her pics… even when she’s being adorable, Maci’s style is timeless and elegant. Her blog is so clean and simple, nothing flashy or over the top. And I’m just loving her newly gingered hair!
9. Strawberry Singh: I think Berry’s is the first SL blog I’d ever visited… she is incredibly talented. Her photography is just superb. She is one of those SL photographers who has elevated it to an art form. I’ve also gotten to know her through her Plurks, and from what I’ve seen she lives up to her name. She’s sweet with just a bit of sass – like a perfect strawberry.
10. Sweet Sexy Crazy: Kaelyn Alecto is seriously nice. Beyond that, she’s a brilliant SL photographer… especially when it comes to pics that tell stories. I love her Flickr stream because her Second Life pics, whether or not they seem heavily edited or just off the cuff, are so filled with life. That’s a challenge when working in a virtual world, but it’s one Kae has conquered nicely.

And here I am, working on this post in my Funky Junk fall shed (from a recent Fifty Linden Friday round)… my desk and accessories is sort of an interesting mix of What Next items. The chair, laptop & coffee mug come from the older Blogger office set (ciel), but the desk, lamp, typewriter key pics and rug are all from the newer Novelle set. The Blogger picture frame, corkboard, and journal are from a recent Lazy Sunday item, the Blogger Accessories set. The Novelle set was a Vintage Fair item, and if you’d like to see the full set you can check out the post I did that featured it. I love the vintage typewriter, but for a post about blogging, it seemed a tad anachronous, so I stuck to the laptop for this one! My adorable stove is from LISP… I love fireplaces and wood burning stoves, and those who have visited my SL houses know I add a lot of them! My outfit is from Somnia. It’s comfy and casual and perfect for lounging about in. This adorable hair is a gift for the Summer Harvest Hunt from Alice Project. It’s definitely worth doing this hunt just to grab this hair!

Blogging

Now for Part 2… This jacket, a recent release from LeeZu, is just incredibly detailed. I don’t usually do 3 pics of one look, but I had to try to show as many facets of this as possible. Let’s start with the back, because it’s pretty spectacular. There are a lot of great color options on this coat, but I fell for the olive. I loved that it had some brown and beige tones, which gave me the chance to wear my slouchy Maitreya boots.

Autumn Night Out

The hair I’m wearing in this look, Skai, is new from Truth. This style is so quirky and since LeeZu is known for couture looks, I decided it just begged to be paired with this jacket. I’m also happy to have an opportunity to show off my metallic gradient nails from Izzie’s… and this stunning ring from Maxi Gossamer. It’s part of the set, and I’m also wearing the necklace from that set.

Little Bow Chic

This skin is new to me, but it’s an older skin from, yep, you guessed it, Izzie’s. When Izzie Button released Faith earlier this week, I fell in love with it. There are even two versions, with light blonde brows, out now as the VIP gift. I have those, and I’ve made a shape to wear with them and will do a post for it soon. But while I was demoing Faith, Brianna caught my eye. I’ve noticed this skin before, and I even have an eyeshadow set designed for it… I tried it on and just loved it so much that I wound up buying it instead of Faith (for now).

Sophisticate

Well, that’s all from me for now. I think I need to get into Second Life and check out The Aracade. I want to be a hamster. 😉

~Lucie

Credits:
Look 1
Skin: Izzie’s – Elena – Sunkissed
Hair: Alice Project – Keira
Outfit: Somnia – Comfort In The Rain – Green
Socks: Maitreya – Scrunched Prim Socks
Desk & Accessories – What Next (mixed sets, see details in post)
Stove & Kettle: LISP – Smooth Iron Stove – Grey, blue kettle
House: Funky Junk – Fall Shed

Look 2:
Skin: Izzie’s – Brianna – Sunkissed
Eyes: IKON – Kaleido – Forest
Hair: Truth – Skai – Sangria w/roots
Jewelry: Maxi Gossamer – Gold Agate
Nails: Izzie’s – Metallic Gradient nails
Jacket: LeeZu – DouceMan – Olive
Top: Ingenue – Amelie – Camel
Pants: Nyte & Day – Transpose II – Khaki
Boot: Maitreya – Radikal Boots – Suede Chamoisee
Poses: Embody – Bride 5 (pic 1), Cheesecake 3 (pic 2) & Charm 5 (pic 3)