I already know what y’all are thinking, so before we get started, I’ll clarify. Here’s a list of the topics about which we are NOT talking today:
- “Is anyone going to tell her that her ankle lock isn’t on and her foot is sticking out her belly button?”
- “Come on now. Turn on your AO. You’re not a noob.”
- “That thing is longer than your leg; please keep it away from me.”
- “For the love of the gods, SL has had windlights for years! What, what, WHAT are you doing?”
- “I’ve got a big head… and little arms!”
Nope. We’re not talking about any of these today. Why? Because while they are all hilariously unfortunate, these are all things that can be fixed with the click of a button or a simple instant message. And, well, if you’re one of those people who sees someone with an issue and snickers behind your keyboard and doesn’t say anything, lemme just tell you…
“Dishonor on you, dishonor on your cow…”
I spent an entire day walking around bald with my lady bits sticking out of my lovely shirt one day because no one bothered to say, “hey honey, you might want to relog unless you’re trying to start a new fashion trend,” so that one is a personal pet-peeve… but it’s still not the reason we’re here today.
There’s something a lot more important that we need to discuss. And it boils down to a really simple concept I’d like to call, “Don’t be a douche.” Let’s consult our Second Life dictionary for the definition of this particular terminology.
Douche (SL) – noun. Derived from the Latin ductus [leading], the original form and meaning of this word most closely relates to the Italian doccia (conduit pipe), but has been adapted over the years and adopted as a derogatory term. Examples:
“Wow! There’s no reason to be such a douche to other people in SL; there’s an X at the top of your screen for a reason.”
Let me unpack this just a little bit. See, it took me a while to figure this out. Why? Well, I’ve spent years in real life with people gaslighting me, making me feel as though my aspirations for my life are meaningless or unattainable, or treating me as though I’m made of glass, lying, and thus making me feel more like crap. When I initially joined SL, logging into the grid was a freeing experience because I realized that I could be myself, and that most of the people I met here didn’t know me in real life, and therefore had no space to judge what I could or could not do with it. I could be me. I could do the things I wanted to do, and people would be able to see me for my merits and not second-guess me. It was so wonderful to even think about that for the longest time, I couldn’t imagine anyone would have reason on a virtual platform to lie, or cheat, or be ugly to others just for the sake of doing so. I made friends, and I thought, “Wow! This is great. A+, snaps, and all that jazz…”
Boy, oh boy.
Over the last couple years, I’ve started to realize that people here in Second Life are sometimes more rude and more cruel than anyone I have come across in my real world so far. Even the guy who pushed me down the stairs my junior year of high school eventually recognized that he had been a major douche and changed his tune. It wasn’t until we were both in college and he had a child diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, but whatever, right? Progress is progress.
But there are people in SL who will say one thing, call themselves your friend, and then turn right around and insult you in the same breath. If you’re lucky enough, they’ll do it to your face so you can figure out what kind of person they are real quick, but unfortunately, that’s not always how it happens. So for the last several years, I’ve spent my time in SL literally trying to squash the parts of me that I came here to give an outlet. I couldn’t be myself or do the things I longed to do because I found myself met with ridicule or some form of drama every step of the way… and if any of you have been following along, I have more than enough of that in the real world. I don’t need it here. No one does. I put myself into a tiny box, poked a few air holes in it, and peeked out on occasion to see what new and wonderful things were going on that I was missing out on. I told myself that it was okay, or worse, that it would pass, or even worse still, that I could somehow single-handedly do something that would awaken the people around me to their inner Mary Poppins.
Unfortunately, I never did get my Hogwarts letter in the mail when I was eleven–I assume it got lost–and I have no magic wand to wave that will somehow fix everything. Instead, I had to fix myself. Remove myself from a few situations, make some new friends, take a few deep breaths, rub Buddha’s tummy a few times, and hope for the best.
And you know what? I feel a lot better. And that’s the thing: Being a douche is only part of the problem.
If you are one of those people – just stop. Stop being so damn negative, let people enjoy what brings them joy, and keep your opinions out of it. Be the best possible version of yourself and live your best second life, and have the decency to let everyone else do the same.
If you are one of the people who tolerates this kind of crap, let me see if I can cover all the bases here:
- No, you don’t deserve it. No one does.
- You can’t fix them, and burying your head in the pixel sand is only hurting you.
- You absolutely have a right to defend yourself when someone is being an a**hole, and the BLOCK button can be found by pulling up an avatars profile.
- That new thing you want to try isn’t dumb or insignificant. If it’s important to you, if it will make you happy, do it. Screw what anyone else thinks.
- Don’t worry about losing your friends if your friends only seem to tear you down. Hell, I’ll be your new friend, and I’ll remind you how freakin’ fabulous you are every single day just to make sure that you never ever forget who you are.
Moral of the story? Be yourself, and for the love of the gods, be kind to the other people in SL who are just trying to do the exact same thing.
Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk, y’all.
[Body][Signature]Alice v. 2.1
[Skin][[ session ]]Astrid (tone 2)
[Lips][Zibska @ The Makeover Room]Eria Lips (fit A – 10)
[Hair][monso @ faMESHed]Babi Hair
[Top][Vinyl @ Uber]Waffles Wrap Top
[Earrings][PURR @ Wizarding Faire 2020]The Hallows Earrings (gold)
[Howler][Guhit x Salem @ Wizarding Faire 2020]Magical Howler