Posted in business in SL, Clover's Kitchen, personal

Still not here, but…

I’m still on my cyclical break from SL and, even more than before, I’m finding myself pleasantly surprised by how little I’m missing it. What I miss is conversations with my people (though at least one of them is on Skype and we’ve stayed caught up that way).

While I’ve been away, I’ve been thinking about what needs to stay and what needs to change. Some things, I think I’m holding onto simply because I have a fear of change and I’ll stay with what’s comfortably familiar for a long time instead. I’m not kidding when I tell you that when I was a RL kid, I kept my training wheels on until I was 8 because it was too much of a comfort for me to want to risk changing. That’s me, I’m like that. Which brings up Clover’s Kitchen.

I’ve had Clover’s Kitchen since November of 2008 and it’s been a tremendous creative outlet for me. It started with me making food out of oldschool prims, then as I got more skilled I incorporated sculpts and hours and hours of texturing said sculpts. I have spent countless thousands of lindens on sculpt build kits, which I mix and match and sometimes include with sculpts of my own. This has led to about 120 pretty damn good items in my shop.

Then mesh happened and once again I was faced with how behind the times I’m getting. I’ve made 2 items so far using mesh build kits, but the thought of shelling out more and more money to bring my goods up to date is appealing less and less to me. Add to that the big Food Fair, which I didn’t hear of before it opened and which didn’t hear of me. It felt like a huge missed opportunity, but rather than kick myself over it, I felt relieved at less to worry about.

All of these things lead me to believe that it’s time to make a hard decision regarding Clover’s Kitchen. It’s time to either take off the training wheels or else put the bike away. And, in my heart of hearts, I think it’s time to put the bike away and maybe later on get a new one.

Clover’s Kitchen will go to MP Only in about a month. I’ll close up the prim-and-mortar shop which has stood for over 3 years in Lionheart around the first of September. It’s been an outstanding run, but I know its time has come.

Posted in day-to-day, entertainment, meme, personal

Strawberry’s Weird Questions Meme

This week Strawberry Singh’s weekly meme is to answer the following weird questions:

  1. Which was the last sim you visited?
  2. Does your avatar look like the real you?
  3. Do you wear underwear/panties underneath your clothing when out and about on the grid?
  4. If you won a million linden dollars, what would be the first thing you buy inworld?
  5. Have you ever bought something in SL and then realized afterwards that you had already owned it from before?
  6. Have you ever done anything in Second Life that would be considered illegal in real life?

  7. If you could go out on a date with any other avatar, who would it be?
  8. Who, in your opinion, was the greatest avatar to ever slive?
  9. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done inworld?
  10. If your avatar had a mind of its own, what do you think it would say to you?

Answers ahead…
Continue reading “Strawberry’s Weird Questions Meme”

Posted in personal, updates

Updates and schtuff

So, um, hi.

Hard knowing what to write after the last thing but I figure I’ll at least try.

It’s getting on that time of the year where my interest in Second Life is flagging. It seems to happen every summer, really. In June there’s a little surge of enthusiasm with the SLB, and then in July I’m off the face of the grid until somewhere around September. It’s not necessarily my depression, in fact I think it’s more likely just the natural cycle of RL activity that gets my attention in the summer. For example, I’m planning our annual RL vacation for July, in which we go on our medieval reenactment event local to the area. Because I’m the head of the Household, I end up doing a lot of the logistical and culinary planning. Not to mention dressing myself and my husband for the occasion.

Another thing that’s got a lot of my attention, I’m pleased to say, is writing. I’ve been pretty inspired lately and I’m trying to get and keep myself on some kind of schedule for writing. And it really feels good to create. Part of me says “I hope it doesn’t suck…” but the other part of me reminds that first part to not worry about it sucking. There’s stuff out there that sucks and still does well. The difference between their crap and my crap is that theirs is done, so shut up and get to work.

There are some developments with himself’s RL work that we’re watching closely. I’m not at a place where I’m at liberty to share more about that because he’s a secret agent and he would have to kill me I MEAN it’s changing too rapidly and is too uncertain for me to share yet.

So I guess what I’m saying is, please don’t be worried if you hear less from me this time of year. Really, I promise, I’m all right. But just in case you are worried, PJ has my cell phone number and anything she has to say is what you should believe. Unless and until you hear The Word from her, I’m safe and content and doing all right.

Posted in depression, personal, updates

The ice cracks

Sometimes ice goes away ever so gradually, melting to water a few slow drops at a time. Other times it shatters, hard, sudden, with a shiver and a crack.

Depression’s like that too. And today the ice snapped and popped. I was thinking about my husband and my cat, and about how much they mean to me, and about how much it would hurt to lose them, and suddenly I felt this overwhelming bittersweet feeling of what himself calls “mysterious sad beauty” so profound that it made my heart physically ache. I cried, a little (I was at work so I reined it in), spontaneously; and I felt like I was alive and that it felt so beautiful to love someone enough to think about how much their loss would pain me.

That’s when I realized I’m not depressed right now. That for now, I’m free.

Posted in day-to-day, depression, health, personal

Bouying Up Slowly

I’m currently in the “anxiety and irritability” portion of our program, but make no mistake, I’m on my way upward if slowly. Depression just really fucking sucks all around but at least I can see a way out of it, if long and slow.

I’ve been showing this to everybody. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s like that. Yes. She nails it to the fucking wall.

Let’s see, let’s see, what news. The festival is over. Anytime I ever feel like spearheading a nine day event again, in particular when my availability is limited, do us all a favor and check me in. I’m officially certifiable for going forward with that and expecting different results.

That’s not to say it wasn’t without its moments of enjoyment. There were even some moments of outright fun (like blowing the grounds up…). And, none of it could have gone over without the help of my friends who were also my staff. And, to the performers and merchants who made it more than just a really pretty vacant lot.

But you see, a depressive crash hit me right square in the middle of it all. And with it came the “what the hell is the point?” described in the link above (seriously, GO READ IT). And so it means even more than it ordinarily would that those whom I could count on, stepped up and held things together while I tried holding me together. With the crash came the bitter disappointment of such low turnout, and by the time the second weekend rolled around, well, you had one elf ready to just throw in the towel and stay in bed. Which I pretty much did, on Saturday.

I can’t really state just how much of myself I end up pouring into things like this, so it’s hard not to take it personally when it falls miles short of expectation. So to everyone who said, “Mistletoe, this was a great event,” you made me cry. Which is a good thing because you got to my partially-frozen (due to the depression) heart and really made a difference. THAT, is the payoff I get for doing stuff like this.

Posted in personal

7 Second Life Facts

You can thank Strawberry for this one. And it’s pretty simple, it’s a blog meme where I list 7 facts that are probably only interesting to me.

But since this blog is to hear myself talk anyway, I’m OK with that.

  1. Stealing one of hers first: I hate notecards. Hate them. I hate them with a passion that burns with the fury of a thousand suns. It is a hate that endureth, and ceaseth not.
  2. I’ve dealt with two stalkery people in SL. One finally figured out he was being creepy and backed off. The other… I don’t know. I’m still wary when I meet new people, and I look for similarities and “red flags” all the time.
  3. I haven’t purchased Ls out of pocket since February of 2009. And counting.
  4. I not only have had pixel sex, I once had an alt who was an escort. A male. It was short lived when I was reminded, oh yeah! We women don’t have to pay for sex or attention! I could have branched out and been a gay escort, but I was too insecure in my lack of knowledge of what happens when there isn’t a vagina in the room.
  5. I hesitate to talk about SL in the meatworld with anybody but my closest friends.
  6. I’d kill for the ability to have a sim on a stick on this computer.
  7. I miss being able to stare at my avatar, when I was able to see her the way she looks in photos. Now, because of the viewer I have to use, she has a box on her head in place of gorgeous mesh hair.
Posted in personal, rant, updates

So did you hear the one…

…about the elf stuck in Imprudence? It goes a little something like this.

I have OSX 10.5. For those of you who don’t speak Mac, think of it like running an older operating system like Vista (only mostly functional). In order for the latest MANDATORY UPDATE ERMAGERD SL viewer to work, I need 10.6 (which is, what, like needing Windows 7 or something. I’m trying here, you guys).

In order to get Firestorm to run, I need 10.6.

In fact, in order to get any type of viewer that will show me mesh, you guessed it, 10.6.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. What about that one (can’t think of the name) that has a Version 1 interface, like Imprudence, and yet has mesh enabled?

Ten. Point. Fucking. Six.

So I’ve been SLing on the only viewer that works for me anymore: Imprudence. Imprudence doesn’t have mesh, doesn’t have prims over 10m, doesn’t have multiple attachments, doesn’t have a Merchant Out Box, but got damn it, it’s the only thing that gets me in world anymore.

Well I try (unsuccessfully) to be one who solves problems rather than bitch about them, so I ordered the upgrade software to 10.6 (or Snow Leopard, as the big kids call it). It arrived Monday (yesterday). I made three attempts to install it when at last I had to call up Apple Support.

Long story not quite as long, the problem appears to be the DVD drive. As it is an older machine, it may be that the lens needs cleaning, the nice lady tells me; she says to get a cleaning kit for it and if that doesn’t work, here’s a ticket number.

Have I ever mentioned that I’m in Boogers, Maine, population 1000 people and 5000 cows? The nearest place to find one such kit turns out to be about 45 minutes drive one-way from here. To afford it, we rolled up change. I’m not fucking exaggerating here, except perhaps the number of people. It may in fact be lower.

So… I go, I get the thing, I come back. Run the cleaner kit.

NOPE. Doesn’t make any bit of difference.

So it looks to be a hardware situation with the disk drive. By this point I’m just starting to think either a few things. Either it’s been a fun five years but time to hang it up, or, it’s time to just get a new fucking computer.

I’d REALLY prefer option B. Option A, while more affordable, is much less enjoyable. Between now and one or the other, Imprudence it is. Not like I was teaching myself mesh modeling or wanting to upload anything to Marketplace anyway (grumble grumble).

Posted in day-to-day, personal, rant

Reply to a reply

I got a reply to a comment on Whiskey’s post, in which the commenter feels sorry for my experiences (I mention that I’m a survivor both of domestic abuse and of sexual assault) and she hopes that I can one day come to find joy in dancing again.

Wut?

Whiskey very wisely disabled comments on that post so I can’t reply there. And since I can’t Shut My Elfy Yap and let shit go…

Look, I appreciate the spirit in which your comment is meant, as much as I appreciate the spirit in which OBR is meant, but neither is what I need.

I DO feel joy about dancing. Time and place, is all. And, gah, please don’t feel sorry for me. I live my life day to day just like anyone else does, worrying about things like bills and taxes and the road conditions on the commute and if we’re out of milk or bread. I’m in a happy household with a loving partner and smart cat, I have nieces and nephews and joy and love and creative projects and hobbies and I do NOT want nor need pity. Please do not assume that just because I am not on board with this project, that it must mean that I’m too walking-wounded to want to play. I’m a survivor, not a victim.

As a matter of fact (no but srsly tho, Mist shut it), the assumptions made in the comment kind of piss me off. Don’t slap a ribbon on me. Go and provide the things I needed when I did need them: a place to go when my mother wanted to get out, a place to watch us kids while she tried to make arrangements and earn a paycheck. Money for that flight or bus ticket out of reach of her abuser. Someone to teach teenage me that no means no and it’s not up to me to say no in the right way or right number of ways for it to finally be heard. Someone to believe me when I said his advances weren’t welcome and I never want to see this person again. Someone to still be my friend and not automatically take his side and say I must have encouraged him somehow. Fuck dancing, fuck gooshy words. Go do that.

Please.

Posted in personal, photos, work in progress

Elf-olution

So, new blog, newish look, and new profile pic. This is the time of year where I like to change things up.

Snapshot_005

It’s taken a long time to get my avatar to what I really like the look of. Mostly because I have lots of other things in the queue ahead of personal appearance; also because I like spending my rare Ls on building stuff and texture uploads lately. But, I got a bit nostalgic for the old days, so I hope you’ll excuse what is probably a moment of narcissism as I put up a timeline of avatar pictures, from then (2008) to now (2013).

Continue reading “Elf-olution”

Posted in depression, health, personal

Depression and mental health: let’s discuss it.

This is a thing I’ve been meaning to write for a while, but I never quite know how I’m going to go about it. However, in light of the recent loss of an SL friend to depression (see previous post), and the fact that it’s “that time of year”, I think it’s time I just stopped making excuses and went forward.

If you live with, if you suffer from, if you have or are had by depression, you are not alone, and here’s my tiny bit of evidence:

I, Laura, whom most of you know as Mistletoe Ethaniel and/or Clover Windlow, live with depression. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder officially about 12 years ago, but depression is something that I’ve known since at least the age of 4 (I have a vivid memory, for example, of crying and telling my mom that it was for no reason, that I just felt like crying). I’m no stranger to the frustration and the pain and the isolation; if anything I get more frustrated with it now because god damn it by now I should have it all together.

And I don’t. I know that nobody has it all together. I’m sure that outwardly I appear to have it more together than most. That has taken decades of self-discipline to master, and sometimes I feel like a real fraud for it when what I’d like to do is stay in bed and just cry for no reason.

I want to talk about the things that help, the things that have gotten me through the unfathomably dark places, because maybe it will help someone else too. No one thing will make the depression go away entirely, but they can (I hope) help you break free from its grip. And I hope this can offer some insight to people who love someone with depression as well.

Medical Treatment.
Depression is not a character flaw or some kind of “weakness”. It’s a disease, and a potentially fatal one at that. You wouldn’t stay home from a doctor’s office and try to “ride out” diabetes, or mask it from your friends and loved ones, or beat yourself up for not being able to make it go away with your own strength of will.

By way of medical doctors and pharmaceutical treatment, I can live my life. It doesn’t make the depression go away and it certainly hasn’t made my personality go away (a fear many have regarding medication) or my creativity go away (a fear I myself harbored). But it has made it manageable; it’s like reins and a saddle for a wild horse. It’s hard to remember to take it sometimes, but if/when I go off it, the effect can really be a mess. That’s where I come to the next thing:

Self-Awareness.
I know exactly what happens if I miss a dose. I know exactly what happens if I miss two. I know exactly what happens if I take too much. I know exactly when my body is not acting like it should, because something has interacted with what I’m taking (by the way, Seroquel + Dextromethorphan = NO). One of the– I hesitate to say advantages, but it’s the best word I can come up with at the moment– of depression is that it kind of removes you from your self in a way that you can be a dispassionate observer. I am easily able to distinguish what’s “me” and what’s “not me”.

And while I’m discussing self-awareness, I want to stress the importance of not making one’s illness one’s identity. It’s why I tend to stay away from like-diseased groups. I am not bipolar; I have bipolar. I’m still me. In fact most of the time I’m more me than I’ve been in a while, if that makes any amount of sense at all.

Discipline.
And no I don’t mean the whips and chains “yes Mistress” stuff. I mean something far more difficult: self-discipline. The discipline to take the medicine every day at roughly the same time (an alarm clock setting on my phone helps). The discipline to get out of bed when I really really don’t want to (the hardest thing for me to accomplish, when I’m depressed, is this one task. I don’t know if it’s the same for others but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. Holy hell). The discipline to go to work and put on my game face when I really don’t want to. The discipline to call the doctor or counselor when I’m just not able to hold myself together on my own. The discipline to make myself something to eat (another sure sign I’m depressed is an anti-compulsion to preparing food for myself).

The hardest part, though, is not beating myself up if I’m not able to do any or all of these things. That creates one hell of a vicious cycle. I try to remember– to have the discipline– to not talk to myself in a way that I wouldn’t allow anyone else to talk to me. Or, on hard days, like I would talk to a child.
Continue reading “Depression and mental health: let’s discuss it.”