I can fly!!!

Gracie- So, last night I was looking at someone’s profile, and under their first life tab it said, “Pretty much exactly the same in RL (real life) as in SL (second life). Well, aside from the fashionable clothing, perfect body, extroverted personality, and ability to fly.”

Kris- Haha, yea that pretty much says it all.

Gracie- Yea.  I gotta tell ya, I am sooo happy I can fly and you can’t.

Kris- Haha, yea, funny considering I’m afraid to fly.

Gracie- Well I’d be afraid you’d hurt yourself. I mean you better not go jumping off any buildings or anything or build wings of wax and get too close to the sun.

Kris- You just think you’re so funny, don’t you??

Gracie- Yea sometimes I do 😛

Kris- I hate flying in ‘planes’… brat!

Gracie- Ahhhhh, well, I’m not. In fact I am actually a pilot.

Kris- Yea, yea, I know. You have overcome a lot of fears haven’t you? Maybe I should take pilot lessons?

Gracie- Hmmmm, baby steps, I think. First you need to be able to eat whatever you want. You need to overcome other fears.

Kris- yea, I know. I realized as I’ve gotten older I am more afraid. I don’t know why that is. I used to be fearless or somewhat fearless. Well more fearless than I am now.

Gracie- Well you flew to Europe didn’t you? I mean that is huge.

Kris- Yes it is. I was proud of myself. But it was something I really wanted to do. I needed to do it. I had to do it. Actually it was an escape at the time. Just like Second Life was/is.

Gracie- Do you still think Second Life is an escape?

Kris- Well no, not as much. I don’t come into Second Life, to get away from real life anymore like I did. Now I come in because of art and my friends. Well, ok, thinking about it, I do come inworld sometimes as a way to escape my feelings. Although, I am realizing, that there is really no escape even in Second Life. You feel what I feel. When I am lonely, you are lonely.

Gracie- Yes, I know. I hate that. Why is that? Why are you ok we, so lonely?

Kris- I don’t know. That is a great question. I think that is what I am trying to find out. That is a path I need to explore on this journey of finding myself. Maybe I have been alone way too long? Maybe it has to do with my self esteem and self confidence? Maybe I was just meant to be alone? I don’t know.

Gracie- Hmmmm, well at least you are aware of it. That’s a start. It is something to think about. Aren’t you going to get into Yoga? That will help you on this journey.

Kris- Yea, I am going tomorrow to a place not too far away from  me. I’m gonna talk to them about maybe working for them a few hours a week in exchange for taking yoga classes. I think it would be really beneficial for me in all respects.

Gracie- Yea I think it’s a great idea. What else are you working on?

Kris- Well, I am finishing putting together a 5 year professional development plan for my life.

Gracie- Wow, no wonder you have been depressed lately…geesh!!!

Kris- Yea I know. I think this is part of it. I mean honestly, I don’t know what is going to happen in 5 years time.

Gracie- Well no one does. But at least you are trying to figure it out so you have some ideas.

Kris- Yea.

Gracie- So what are you thinking?

Kris- Well, I am looking at teaching again, artist residencies and the MFA program.

Gracie- WOW, that is a lot to think about. I think you should totally go back to teaching. I will help you however I can. In fact, I think we should work on lecturing in Second Life too. We had a great time talking about your project the other day.

Kris- Yea, I know. I have thought of that. But have no idea where to begin on getting into that. I think that is where I’m stuck on a lot of stuff. Where to begin. It’s so daunting.

Gracie- Yea, but the end result will totally be worth it.

Kris- Yea, I know. I will have a more fulfilling life, that’s for sure. That’s what I want. What I yearn for.

Gracie- Yea, I know. Even I yearn for that.

Kris- Yea, funny, I have realized your life isn’t any more perfect than mine.

Gracie- You’re just realizing this??? Geezzzzz

Kris- yea, I should have known. I mean when we do something ditzy, all our friends laugh and call it “pulling a Gracie.”

Gracie- Yea yea yea. I don’t know if ditzy is the same as not being perfect.

Kris- Ok true. Ok off to finish some stuff. Thanks for the chat.

Gracie- Sure, anytime 😛

Am I real?

Gracie- Am I real?

Kris- Wow, that’s a deep question.

G- Well, some people have said I’m not real.

K- Does it matter what other people think?

G- No of course not, but It still concerns me.

K- Well, I think you’re a representation of me, you’re my inner conscious, you are me and I’m real. So yea, you are real.

G- Phew!! I was scared for a minute.

K- Well we can get into a deeper discussion of what is real.

G- No thanks. It’s been covered so much. I mean look at “The Matrix” and of course Baudrillard talks about it in depth when he refers to the simulacrum and the hyper-real. I mean, Is that really what the project is about in the first place?

K- No.

G- So tell me then, what is the project about?

K- Well in universal terms it’s about identity. Personally, it’s about finding myself, my own identity, where I’m most comfortable, where I fit in in the world.

G- Hmmmmm.

K- What do you mean, hmmmmm?

G- Well how do I fit in then?

K- You are the project. I am using you…

G- OMG, you’re using me??

K- Stop it. You didn’t let me finish.

G- Ok Ok

K- You are my self portrait. You are how I want to represent myself.

G- Ok, I understand that. So now my question is, why?

K- Hmmmm. I think we have talked about this before, but honestly do I need to answer that? Did Picasso explain why he painted his self portrait the way he did? Or Magritte, or Van Gogh? Well Ok, Van Gogh probably did.

G- Ok True. But I think I’m a little more than a self portrait. I’m your alter ego. I’m the angel and devil that sit on your shoulders. I am you. Look at Duchamp and his work Rrose Selavy. She was Duchamp dressed up as a Jewish woman. He was totally dealing with identity too.

K- Oh yea, absolutely. He is a huge influence.

G- So what is the difference? You are using me to explore identity, to explore your identity as a cute, thin, successful woman artist who owns a home, has 3 dogs and a great art collection?

K- Yea, actually. To explore someone/something I am not, YET. Is it wish fulfillment? Yes. Is it fantasy? I’m not sure because all of these things are possible. I guess there is the larger question of reality vs. fantasy.

G- Yea, that’s true. Have you come to any conclusions?

K- No, actually. I don’t think I need to. This project is a journey, an exploration. I learn things along the way, sure, but I realized I don’t want this to be like “The Biggest Loser.” This is not just about issues of body image, even though that’s part of it. The support is amazing, but I know what I need to do to work through my issues. The journey is not one of transformation like I originally thought, rather it’s a way to discover who I am, what I like, where I’m going, etc.

G- That makes sense. So how are you going to continue this journey? Where are you headed next?

K- I don’t know, that’s the exciting part. I am very excited about this project. I am not the only person with a crisis of identity. People have them all the time. That’s what mid-life crises are all about. Identity issues such as gender, race and weight are huge in our society right now. It’s nothing new.

G- Yea, that’s true. Especially with the age of technology we are all living in. With the internet, people play with identity all the time via email addresses, profile pictures and instant message names. Even license plates and nicknames that people have. We all have different identities depending on what we’re doing. Whether at home with the kids, on the phone with your boyfriend, at work, out with friends, talking with the parents, we all wear different masks, hide different aspects of ourselves.

K- Yea definitely. Although it’s funny, with you I feel freer to be all of those at once. I feel like I don’t have to hide.

G- Yea, that’s interesting. I wonder why that is? Especially since you sit in front of a computer screen at home in virtual isolation. It’s weird how you turn on the computer go into Second Life and a whole world opens up.

K- Well that’s why I started. I was suffocating in real life.

G- Yea.

K- Having a Second Life, has given me the ability to have a better more fulfilling first life.

G- Hmmm I think we may need to delve into that more.

K- Yea maybe.

What lies beneath…

Gracie- Where have you been?

Kris- I’ve been here, where have you been?

Gracie- I’ve been here too. Apparently we have missed each other.

Kris- Awwww, you missed me? Thanks.

G- Well that’s not what I meant, but yea, I guess I did.

K- Thanks.

G- So where have you been? You haven’t talked to me in a couple days.

K- Yea, I know. I worked 4 12 hour days in a row at the hospital and yesterday just wasn’t up to it.

G- Well that’s when you really NEED to talk to me. Maybe I can help.

K- I wish you could, but I don’t think so. I have just been feeling miserable, physically.

G- Ahhhh, well yea, I can’t really help much there. Accept to say, be sure to take care of yourself.

K- Yea, I’m trying to.

G- So what is new? I know you had a critique in class last night, how did it go?

K- Oh it was pretty good actually. Very intense, for me at least. I could feel myself shaking a little bit, but it’s pretty personal and difficult content I am dealing with so of course I am going to feel strongly about it.

G- So what did you guys talk about?

K- Well actually, someone thought that maybe you are being objectified.

G- Oh really??? Hmmmmm. I don’t think I am. Do you?

K- No, I don’t either. But we had a discussion about what that kinda means in real life as well as second life. The idea came across that women who are beautiful, thin etc, are always galked at, looked at, gazed upon and that that is a bad thing and maybe they aren’t taken seriously.

G- Hmmm well I can kinda see that. But isn’t the same true for people who are overweight?

K- Yes, exactly. Someone else brought up the Tyra Banks show where she dressed in a fat suit. She found out that people who are overweight are also not taken seriously. They are pre-judged and looked down upon. The movie “Shallow Hal” was brought up too. I need to watch that again actually.

G- Yea, isn’t that how you feel.

K- Yea, in a way. I think that is a part of it for me. Maybe it’s my experience, but I equate being overweight with not having as fulfilling a life as I want.

G- Hmmmmm.

K- Well, not that I want to be married per se, but I am still single. I have dated, yes, they never last very long. That just reinforces to me that I am not attractive enough.

G- I don’t think that is true. I  mean come on, the guys you have dated have had issues of their own. For whatever reason. I think you were too good for them.

K- Well, I always say, it’s their loss, but still. Why wasn’t I good enough. Why not me?

G- Do you think living a fulfilling life has anything to do with having a partner?

K- No, not entirely. I think it’s different for everyone. But I feel that that is the one thing I am missing. I think intimacy is an amazing part of life. Everyone needs to be held, comforted and loved. I was thinking that I haven’t even had a good hug from anyone in a while. Which led me to missing my dad a lot.

G- Yea, I know. Me too. If you want to take a minute to cry, I’ll still be here.

K- Thx.