Wow what a whirlwind week!!!!
I’m sorry I haven’t posted more pics or talked more about the project here, I still don’t know what to make of all of it. I have tons of notes and am gonna sit in the library this week some time and get organized on paper and in my mind…
Just a few notes and pics though:
I am transforming into my avatar, Gracie Kendal. I am changing roles with her. Changing places. Finding my inner Gracie. (Any one of these will work I think)
Or am I? Why? What does all this mean? How will I feel? Will it help? Help what? Do I need to? Is it possible? What qualities does Gracie have? Do I have? Do we both share?
Is this art? How? Why?
Have to show the before transformation pic, so you can see what I am undergoing…
This week started out with my great friend Marybeth (Paige from Second Life) flying in from Pennsylvania to visit me for the first time (after knowing eachother 3 years!!) and helping out with the SL to RL to SL transformation. She did all the filming and took tons of still photos and was an amazing pillar of moral and emotional support. I wish I could say the transformation went as I expected, but it didn’t actually.Things took a lot longer than we thought, and were a lot more expensive than I anticipated. Going in, I didn’t know what to feel, or how to feel about the whole process. I wasn’t as prepared for what I would feel either. It was a rollar coaster of emotion, that is for sure.
The first day, Monday, I picked up Marybeth from LAX and it was like we had known each other forever. We talk on the phone all the time and know so much about each other, it didn’t matter that we had never met in reality. We went back to my house relaxed a bit, then went to lunch/dinner at the Macaroni Grill, where I had a couple sips of wine. (The first time in a couple years). After that we went and visited my friend Christine who we had borrowed a video camera from. It was the first day, so why wait on the transformation. We decided it was a great day to get my nose pierced. I have to admit I was a little nervous. I don’t think I showed it, but I kept saying to myself… this is a project about facing my fears. Not that I was THAT afraid of this, but didn’t know what to expect. And I think we are all afraid of the unknown.
It was a really great experience. Hardly hurt and afterwards, I was sooo excited. This was it, the beginning!!!
The experience on the first day was really great, fun and exhausting. But, i was excited to see what was next. Ok, i was nervous and anxious as hell too. I was worried about how everything would come out. Would I like my hair, my clothes? I just didn’t know.
The next day, we had planned to go shopping for clothes, get my hair and nails done and maybe go out to a jazz club, or dancing somewhere. We woke early and drove up to Lancaster/Palmdale, where my hairdresser works. On the way, we stopped at Kohls where I tried on a few things…
Through the whole “trying on clothes” thing.. I kept asking myself… “What would Gracie wear?” She would definitely wear the shoes..but to be honest, I don’t think she would wear the pink dress. But of course, being unsure and overwhelmed already, and the impulsive buyer that I am, I bought it anyway…haha
So next we were on to get my hair done… Let me just say.. OMG!!! What a process!! What an experience!! 4 hours later.. I am platinum!!! Marybeth and I had gone through magazines and took photos in of what Gracie’s hair looks like. At least the 4 main hairs that she wears. We knew it was a very very light blond. I had the idea of going platinum from my class actually. Someone had mentioned I needed to go platinum for the transformation. I didn’t think there was any other alternative. I wish I would have thought about it more. Gracie actually really isn’t THAT platinum. Oh well, what’s done is done…LOL
We went to Nina, my hairdresser for many many years, because I trusted her not to fry my hair. I knew she would condition it properly and she wouldn’t let me down. Going to someone new, you just don’t know what will happen. Let me just say, the whole 4 hours I was sitting in the chair, I was very very nervous!!
I Bet Gracie is laughing at me about now!!!!!
So here I am… With a new do… Honestly I was sitting here with such mixed emotions. I was exhausted and overwhelmed for the amount of hours it took and stressed at the idea that it cost twice as much as I had anticipated. $200 plus a tip!!! I was relieved that it was done, but nervous at the thought that now I had to live with this for a long time.
Did I say I liked it?? Well I am not sure yet. After 5 days, I am still not sure. The color isn’t what I had wanted. The pics we showed Nina were a lot less yellow and more natural. This just seems way too artificial and unnatural for me. I guess, Isn’t that what Gracie is?? (Just a thought) So yea… A mixture of emotion that is for sure!!!
So our next stop was to get my nails done. I haven’t had them done in a while. When I paint, I get the paint everywhere… I mean everywhere!!! No use getting your nails done when you will have paint on and under them in a matter of minutes… But I haven’t painted in a month so it didn’t matter. This is for several reasons… One, my broken elbow. Luckily it’s healing very nicely, but still can’t rotate my forearm all the way. Two, no money to buy canvases. Three, no time. This project has taken up all my time the last month. It’s probably a good thing I am out of work right now. I couldn’t have done any of this if I was still working 3 days a week 12 hour days(nights). There would have been no way!!! Well, I’ll start painting again soon, I’m sure 😀
So when that was all done… We drove back down to Northridge and went shopping some more. WOW!! I was already exhausted… but we couldn’t stop now. We were on a time budget. Marybeth was only here until Thursday… so had to do all this while she was here.
What would Gracie wear???
One of the problems we encountered… was the style… OMG Why are they going back to the 80’s??? OMG Ugh!!!! Gracie is definitely into the retro look. And not 80’s retro…sighs!!!
Ummm Cute outfit… but OMG I felt large. I felt fat, I felt heavy!! I felt uncomfortable. And… Would Gracie wear this?? Looking back in hindsight… Gracie wears paint splattered jeans and a tshirt in Second Life… Which is what I wear in real life… hmmmmm
So we were done for the day. Couldn’t handle any more shopping. Marybeth and I needed to relax. So umm we went back to Macaroni Grill (Yea yea yea) and I had a whole glass of wine (see previous posts on my food issues). It was sooooo good!!!!! I loved it!! AND needed it.. LOLOL
The next day, we had planned to go look at my real art hanging in The Colony Theatre Company Art Gallery, go to Venice Beach and meet our friend from Second Life Skarat/Mike, then maybe go out dancing or to Jazz or something that Gracie would do. First, we had to do some more shopping. We just didn’t find much the day before, and that was a big part of the transformation. Or so I thought at the time.
Looking back, I am asking myself, Why am I doing this transformation??? I don’t have any conclusions yet, and that is ok. I may not. I think its the journey and the asking of these important questions. Raising an awareness of myself and maybe a better acceptance? I don’t know.
So we went back home and Marybeth was sooo great to me, and curled my hair. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I felt like Gracie has curly hair, most of the time, so I needed to have curly hair. I don’t know if it’s me though…
Afterwards, I went to Macy’s and had my makeup done… I normally don’t wear that much makeup. Mainly just eye shadow and mascara. So this was a huge change too.
So there you have it… makeup check, hair check, nose ring check, clothes check. Feeling like Gracie…. Ummm I’ll get back to ya 🙂
I feel fat!!!
After the makeup, we went to the Art Gallery. I mean, in Second Life, my life is all about art. Well a large part of it. So we needed to go and check out my RL art hanging in a RL art gallery.
So our next stop was Venice Beach California. We went and picked up our friend Mike, who we know from Second Life, and who Marybeth is meeting for the first time.
The outfit is so not me… or Gracie… I just wasn’t feeling it that much then, or now. So much for the curls… ummm yea… sure. There was so much hairspray in my hair, they popped right back into place when we got out of the wind… hahaha
I feel fat!!!
I have to say, it was definitely nice being out and about in the real world. Feeling the wind on my face (messing up my hair), the sand between my toes, the soreness of my elbow as gravity took hold while we were walking… and oh, the sound of the real ocean rather than the sound effects in Second Life.Ummm yea, also the great food we ate and wine we drank at a restaurant close by. Cheers!!!
So this whole time, I was worrying we weren’t getting enough video footage or pictures taken. Are they gonna come out? Am I saying enough? Is what I am saying on video, good? Enough? What does all this mean? I was so overwhelmed.
After we dropped Mike off at home, I had to give Marybeth a good taste of L.A.’s rush hour traffic, so we drove across L.A. to Los Feliz where we met another amazing Second Life friend Douglas Story. Doug is a godsend. He is going to be editing all of my video footage from both real life and second life. And he is hilarious as all heck!!! We had such a great time sitting with him and chatting and drinking another glass of wine…yay me!!!!
Marybeth and I were both exhausted. We drove home and almost collapsed except for we had to film the nightly video diary. I decided I needed to do it both with and without the makeup and hair. Actually it was an amazing feeling taking a shower and removing the makeup and curls, all of the stuff that made me feel so artificial. I felt natural again. I felt like myself. Whatever that is!!!
On Thursday, I took Marybeth to the airport, said a sad goodbye and went home. That was it. The end of the filming… or so I thought. The more I thought about it, I realized, well It doesn’t have to end. I can keep doing these video diaries. Why not.
The end wasn’t even in sight for this whole project anyway. The next day, I had to do a photo shoot of the After Transformation. I didn’t feel comfortable about the clothes I had to wear, so I decided to do some more shopping. I went to Ross, and actually found a black dress that is similar to one Gracie wears…SCORE!!!!!
The next day, I went and had my hair curled at Supercuts, and went and got my makeup done again. This time I took a closeup picture of Gracie. The makeup artist was so excited about doing it, she even suggested I get fake eyelashes (didn’t even cross my mind). So I did…haha Then I went to meet Rick at school for photographs.
The dress is really cute… but in the end, I don’t think its me either. Hmmmmm what does that mean? Well maybe it was just that I didn’t feel quite ‘right’. The heels were so cute, but very tall, and uncomfortable. Something I wasn’t used to. My legs look fat and you can see the cellulite. Yes folks, I have cellulite. Ugh!!! Gracie doesn’t!! Hmmmm
So took some pics in the black dress…and also another outfit I bought at Kohls…
I felt most comfortable in the jeans and white shirt 🙂
So this whirlwind week was almost over. One last thing… on Saturday, I had a performance in Second Life with the Vaneeesa Blaylock Performance Company. It was a great success. It was a mixed reality performance in which I virtually went the other direction, and brought Kris into Second Life. Yep, that is right. I created an avatar with my real life name and had a shape made that looks like me in real life. Crazy isn’t it.
All of this is still very overwhelming to get my mind around. But it’s not over… I believe its an important concept relating to identity. Who we are in both reality and virtuality.
Some questions/ideas that I contemplated during this whole transformation:
Does Gracie act like/respond like Kris? and vice versa?
Which situation will be more satisfying? Being Gracie in Second Life, or Gracie in Real Life?
Idea of wearing “armor”, dressing up. Did I feel empowered, more confident?
What are the advantages of being Kris? And Gracie?
Talk about having an Alter-Ego. And how most people have one, and what it means.
I’m sure there are many more questions.. but can’t think of them right now…
I do have to tell you… the day Marybeth left, I finally felt it. That moment of pure panic thinking OMG What have I done!!! This will never work!!! This isn’t art!!! What in the hell have I done!!! OMG!!! I completely doubted myself. I thought, no one in the real world is going to understand this. I don’t want it to be a makeover story, or a Biggest Loser type thing. OMG What have I done!!! This will never work!!!
Luckily I am feeling a bit more confident today 😀
What do you think? I am open for any and all critique, suggestions, advice, commentary, theories, etc.