Working it out…

So today is Day 8 of this journey that I’ve embarked on. So far so good. I am excited about where it will lead, but still getting my feet wet and trudging my way through. (Hmm I should be a creative writer!! Hahaha NOT) Today I pretty much stayed home and vegged all day. I have been so overwhelmed with ideas, work, school, bills, weight, eating, guys, money, car trouble, you name it… it’s on my mind..  I just needed a day to unwind, relax and not think about hardly anything.

I even took my time posting this update. But I wanted to get it out here. I want to keep up with this. I am finding the element of collaboration helping with the experience here. I had thought of a support group of sorts. Maybe in-world or out. Whatever works. I was talking to a friend earlier and I think art can have an amazing ability to spark conversation, dialogue and debate. This collaboration has almost become a ‘consciousness raising’ of sorts. Which I find really amazing. I thank you to all for contributing and hope you continue.

One of the great comments I received recently was about working towards a physical goal:

“I was also wondering about if there could be some kind of unification/integration between the two of you…. and  perhaps it could be a trajectory of sorts??? … I’m just thinking right now, what if you were to have some sort of  physical regime, in addition to the discipline of your documentation and all, to try to merge your real body with that of your ideal (Avatar) and or have her look more like how you look now (i only mention the other way first because it could only make you healthier physically and feel better mentally )??? Just a thought.” (Thank you so much Sabrina)

In regards to this comment. This is one of the ideas I had thought of when starting this project. Becoming more like Gracie, physically. I have said before that I am uncomfortable in my own skin. (and forgive me if I repeat myself. I find this is also like a journal, and I tend to just type in a stream of consciousness style). I can feel my fat. I can feel the bulges. I feel heavy. The last 3 months I have gained over 30 pounds. It is my fault. I have been binge eating. I admit I have issues. The fat has just gone right from the ice cream container onto my hips, stomach and butt. (where it never went before…ugh!!) Food has been a huge part of my emotional life for a long time. And not for the better. I have struggled with food issues for as long as I can remember. I am an emotional eater. I had a panic attack (again forgive me If I told this story already) almost 2 years ago. I thought it was an anaphylactic shock from food allergies. From this I developed a fear of the food I thought I was allergic too (due to false positive allergy testing). I was only eating a few foods. Period. I lost 30-40 pounds in just a few months and was down to 167.  In August I weighed 176, and today I weigh 199. I don’ t want to go up to my all time highest weight of 227. I don’t want to go above 200, but I fear the way I’ve been eating the last couple of days is gonna wreck that. That’s okay. I just won’t weigh myself for a couple weeks 😛

Anyway. I am in counseling to help with the food issues. It’s all psychological. A lot of it stemming from childhood. I am becoming more aware and have an amazing counselor who is helping me work through this. For the last few months I have been trying foods that I was afraid of, and unfortunately I’m back to eating quite a bit.  Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream from Baskin Robbins and the Red bean and cheese burrito from Del Taco are the two main foods right now.

I used to know how to eat healthy. I used to know how to exercise right. Not that I did either of these things consistently. I want to try again though. I have realized that I can’t do it alone. What I am looking for in this project is empowerment. Even though I am both Gracie and Kris, it all comes from within. I know I can’t do it alone. I have tried. I need help. This collaboration with you is a huge start. Just the support I have received so far, is amazing, and I thank you again!!! I have contacted the Kinesiology department at CSU Northridge to see if they will work with me. Maybe I can work with a Graduate student there. I haven’t heard back yet, and will contact the fitness center next. I can’t afford a personal trainer or a cook, so this part is going to be tough. I am going to make an appointment with a nutritionist at school and go over a healthy eating plan. I am also going to make an appointment with my doctor just to make sure I am healthy. I want to be healthy and fit. That is the most important. I want to live a healthy lifestyle. I want to be able to dance and not feel the fat jiggling heavily on my thighs. I am tired of feeling fat, tired and unmotivated. Everyday I see people walking in their neighborhoods, walking for health, walking their dogs, walking just to get some fresh air. I envy them. I want to feel as good as they look. I just don’t yet. I saw my shadow while walking the other day, and didn’t like what I saw. I was slouched over a bit and just looked sloppy. I hate that, because I know that is not who I am.

Thank you again for your support!!!!

 

Day7

Day8

Who is the avatar and who is the woman?

I have had some amazing feedback from my post yesterday. Thank you all so much. I am even more excited to continue with this endeavor I’ve undertaken.

One of the suggestions I received was to write about this project. I was definitely going to do that. I am not going to follow a strick formula, and I expect it to change all the time. I mean, come on, my life has never been one to be constant, right? Haha. For instance, Day 5 below, is only of me/Kris sleeping. Yes, sleeping. I worked a 12 hour shift on Thursday from 7am-7pm, and a 12 hour shift the day before from noon to midnight, and I was just extremely exhausted. I barely wanted to turn on my computer much less take a picture of Gracie. I probably could have taken a pic of the computer screen turned off…haha, but I was too tired to think. So this pic is solo of just me, Kris. There may be days when I don’t want to take a pic of Kris either. Who knows. I am making this up as I go along and having fun doing it actually. Which is what life is all about, both real and virtual!! I am probably not going to give this much commentary for each picture, as a picture is worth a 1000 unsaid words, I believe. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer them. And who knows, I  may change down the line. I’m just taking this day by day.

Some questions I have been thinking about in relation to identity in real and virtual life:

Who is the avatar and who is the woman?

How many roles do we play?

What’s in a name?

Who do I want to be?

Who Am I now?

What about authenticity as identity?

How has Gracie’s ideal beauty affected her/my life for the good? for the bad?And Kris, How has her non-ideal image affected her life? Would I have received more opportunities if I was thinner, prettier to the eye? How would my life be different?

What is the difference between Gracie and Kris? What is the same?

That’s it for now. I know I have more, but they will come as I go along. Day by day. Thank you so much for supporting my project!!!

(Disclaimer: I am still trying to wrap my head around the first person, second person, third person narrative of this project. I consider myself to be both Gracie and Kris. Gracie is an extension of Kris and Kris is an extension of Gracie. If I am referring to a specific picture, I will either say Kris or Gracie. But I may continue to also say me. As this is all about me. Hope that makes sense. I would love suggestions on this if you have any :)))

Day5 copy

Day6

The Gracie Kendal Project

For as far back as my memory allows, I had never found myself in a place I felt comfortable. My world has been in a constant state of change since I graduated High School, actually since my parents divorced when I was 12. I have moved in and out of my mom and stepdad’s house, had several roommates, had over 16 cars in 20 years of driving, changed my hair more times than I care to say, fluctuated my weight with the rising and setting of the sun and the list goes on… Needless to say, I have not felt comfortable in my own skin.

When I joined the web 2.0 virtual world known as Second Life www.secondlife.com, it was probably the first time I felt at home. My life within Second Life has remained pretty constant from the time I started. I bought a house and land and have lived there for almost 3 years now. My avatar, virtual representation, has pretty much remained the same. I have had the same body from the beginning and have only had a couple hairstyles that I have kept. In fact, I normally wear the same clothes, consisting of my jeans with paint splatters, a black t-shirt or tank top, my glasses and my Chuck Taylors. This is who I am. I am comfortable in this alternative/virtual skin, within my avatar known as Gracie Kendal. Although I still have deep personal issues I am working through in real life, I am consistantly inspired by who I am in Second Life. My avatar allows me to be free. I often feel more confident and I’m not scared to say what I feel. I know, that my avatar is run by who I am in real life. So the confidence and self esteem I exude in second life, does come from my real life self. But I don’t know where in my real life self it comes from. I want to explore this relationship more fully in this project.

I am currently a Graduate student in art at CSU Northridge. The current artwork I am creating, has to do with my identity in both real life and second life.

On November 1st, I started documenting my life in both worlds. This is going to be an ongoing project. I am going to document how Gracie Kendal inspires me to be a better person. I am going to show on a day to day basis, my real life self (I hate pictures of me, so this is not something I am taking lightly) juxtaposed with Gracie. We are both going to go on an exploration of our selves. And we will see where it leads. I am posting the documentation which I started on November 1st, and will try to keep up the blog on a daily basis. I would love any suggestions or critique you’d like to offer. Thank you so much for your support.

Day 1 copy

Day 2

Day3 copy

Day4 copy