Saturday, November 3, 2012

A little bit of a heavier blog than normal..

Akemo and her daughter, Eden.
 Where do you go when your escape from reality becomes someplace unsafe and unstable? I usually retreat to my child avatar because through her I can deny that responsibility that comes to me as an adult. Because even if she were to flee from bath time, dump a bunch of bubbles in the sink and then squeal like a heathen child while her mother and uncle chase her down there will be that patient, loving, tolerated understanding. Her life, as hard as it get's sometimes isn't compared to the things I've been through in my own. I've manged to in a way block out the majority of memories from my childhood because the few I do have are bittersweet or painful. I can't go into detail as much as I want because there are people involved whose stories mingle with my own and it's neither my place nor my right to share these things.

However, I can share some details. My father's side of the family dominated most of our lives, because like most people in sitcoms, both sides of the family couldn't stand each other. Not in a amusing sort of chuckle way, but in the way that ruins lives and causes resentment no matter what you try to work out. Still, as a child, I would like to say that I'm relatively sure they did their best to keep us from it. My memories of those young years are filled with the things that causes a child delight, food, presents, loads of people around talking, playing chase in a yard that was a child's jungle, tripping over people who loved you because you were that innocence. I remember my Papa's ham, his hugs, the way he slipped money to us after Mom told us not to take it. I remember my Grandmother's ever patient love and care and that light that seemed to follow her no matter what. Though these are the only good things I can particularly place. I remember getting sick, some, but I remember my parent's arguing. I remember my own mother working a lot, and I remember a very angry older sister who loved me but didn't like having a shadow who worshiped the ground she walked on.

Yeah, we got into a lot of trouble as kids.

I remember my parent's getting a divorce because I'd been told in school the things I should look out for, that weren't right. Those safety talks? It's worth having with your own kids. As much as you get sick of saying it or think it's overheard, sometimes it just takes the right voice saying it to make a difference. I remember the bitter divorce, my father's parents trying to get me at school which I didn't know at the time and having police detectives question me after pulling me out of school. I remember the terror I felt, the guilt, and that sinking feeling that all I wanted was to go back into that happy bubble where nothing bad really happened out of the movies. I was six.

Artemus (me) and her Amazing Family <3

My daughter's seven, and as much as someday lawdy knows I want to shake the shit out of her, I am also grateful for as intelligent as she is, and all the stuff we've been through in our life since her conception I'm almost uniquely gratified that she's still a child, that I've been able to shield her from most of it. My life changed that day, and every day after it. I didn't understand anything, but I knew how I felt. I still do, in some ways, even after years of therapy and the knowledge that it was out of my hands and I saved more than one life that day. It's not this grand parade of being a 'hero', because my actions I think would have happened regardless, but I wouldn't change it even now. I remember crying, a lot, with my mother and sister. I remember the struggle. I remember listening to my mother when she thought I couldn't hear terrified about not only keeping a roof over our heads but food in our stomachs. Working late nights at a convenient store that got robbed frequently because it was one of the few places that she could pick up another shift. She worked as a police dispatcher for most of my life but it wasn't always that easy.

It was hard, and I had to grow up fast. Without the technology we have now babysitters were word of mouth, and by rule of thumb most of the ones in affordable level standards weren't great ones. This is not a pity story, because I've learned some pretty irreplaceable lessons in this lifetime and I'd like to think a lot of my good qualities that people seemed to enjoy have come from these really dark places where I was not nearly as protected as my other family had thought because I just internalized it. So sometimes, when my life gets a little too much to bear my therapy is being able to escape into this little blonde hair blue eyed pixel doll, and for awhile she almost becomes me. No, it's not regression, it's not twisted. I, the adult, am always there behind that pixel. The innocent laughter, the sheer simplicity of these actions begin to knit the wounds that therapy has not. The sweet nights of tucking in, of feeling that warmth through the action even in life heals over the injury that is no fault of anyone other than circumstance.

Still, there are so many harsh and hard words for people who play kids out there. There will always be bad apples amongst the tree, that's true of anything, anywhere you go. Though beneath there are the late blossoms that bloom bright and produce the sweetest fruit. Though if they were bashed, knocked to the ground they would bruise, they'd become malformed, yet no less sweet, though perhaps a bit more bitter. These are things to remember sometimes, when your dealing with a child avatar. Even if you don't understand it, or don't want to, there's a person there. We're all here for a good reason, we're all looking for something we're missing. Health reasons we can't socialize, but on second life we can be popular club owners selling land and running our own staff. Why is the idea of a family such an oddity then? Of having that ability to regress into a child (albeit with a few more freedoms) for some time and enjoy SL without all of the other pressures that generally come with being an adult and that responsibility. Life is hard enough sometimes, and it's nice to have that weight removed even in an artificial world.

Even grownups never told old to snuggle mama.
Though I go back into by definition, what is real? Who's to say on some level that Second-life, who we become there, is not another manifestation of ourselves, only we've got the window into touching that other plane and have that ability to 'play god'. In all of my travels, role play sims, and experiences in SecondLife the most fulfilling, the most compelling reason to keep me logging in has been family. It started out small but has built over the years and in both my adult and my child avi's lives there have been those who hurt us, who have left, but in some ways, and in many ways my heart still goes with them too. For all the bitter souls in pain who feel they've got to hurt others to find that hallow pleasure because in the end it is only that, will continue to feel that sting of loneliness that still haunts them.

Family sometimes has to leave too, but that's okay, we remember all those who've had to go. Ohana. For such a silly little line in a Disney movie how many find it true?

The Eberhart - Enderfield Family.
As much as we can argue, fight, makeup, and for all those who've come and gone, we ARE Family. I wouldn't trade mine for the world. My Real-Life Family is still there too, and I wouldn't trade them for it either, but those warm memories of big family dinners, laughter, and presents still are there. So I consider my SecondLife family mere extensions of my current one, not replacements. My hunt is for that, for that happy bubble where nothing bad existed outside of the movies. You don't have to agree that I'll ever find it because there's pain and hurt and bad things out there too, but I'll never stop believing it.

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