i can still remember the first day i joined in January 2006. i spent the day floating in a pond with a sphere i had managed to create, my first prim. So much was yet to come that would change me & leave a permanent impression on my life. Who knew ... not me. i had no idea what SL was or what to expect. But, i've been here ever since. i've taken my share of breaks, but i've never completely walked away from SL. i guess with that, things are bound to happen.
i'm trying to think of someone i know who hasn't had their heart changed in some way by someone they met in SL. i can't think of anyone. Well, maybe one person who thinks it hasn't happened yet, but, it will, if it hasn't already.
i've had some pretty intense connections in my SL years. i've had some crushes, some infatuations, some mistakes. And, i've been deeply in love. Even been married. my heart has been touched, overflowed, enlightened, but also dropped, broken & burned too. More has happened in my SL-based relationships than has happened in the development of any of my RL-based ones. And a few did go from SL to RL, but none lasted.
Some of my biggest loves have come from SL. There is no real separation between SL and RL. SL is RL.
No matter how painful the outcome of any of my relationships, the one most important thing is i've always learned from them. Sometimes it took more times than i can count to learn the lesson, but i eventually got it. i will always get it, at some point. After the last one, i told myself i would dedicate a lot of my time to pondering, researching & observing what true love really is. i didn't have stellar examples of healthy relationships growing up. i still don't have the nice neat solid answer i've been looking for, but i might have an idea. Especially of what i'm pretty sure that love is not. i'm almost 34, so i know there is a lot i have yet to learn. But so far, this is what i think ...
~ i think there's a basic core type of love - one that makes your heart ache for someone ... makes you miss them, want what's best for them, respect them, being there if they need you, The kind that if they really needed you, you'd drop things, forget past disagreements & just be there for them in that moment. Then i think that love can travel different avenues with different people. From romance, to passion, desire, sexual attraction, kindred spirits, soulmates of the platonic or romantic kind ... and even obsession, addiction, stalking & other forms of unhealthy "love".
~ i don't think that everyone who has loved knows the healthier kind of love. In their mind or heart, they are truly loving someone. But if that person does not feel truly loved & does not benefit from that "love" in the way one should ... if they are caused more grief or harm than good by this "love", i do not believe that is true, healthy love.
~ i know that obsession, addiction and stalking can feel like a strong love, but i feel if it is not mutual, if there are not other components of love with it, and if it destroys/pushes away rather than builds/keeps, then it is not true healthy love.
~ i do believe that one can think they love someone and then after painful events that have done damage, that "love" can diminish and turn into nothing but resentment or hate. Honestly, i don't think that someone who truly loves another can ever turn to hate them or intentionally hurt them.
~ i don't think that vengeance, spite, or uncontrollable, never-ending jealousy or over-possessiveness is love. i don't think that persuasion, manipulation, force or non-consent is love. All of these are only two things: selfishness & control.
~ i don't think that when someone just wants to use you or keep you for certain reasons where it's mostly all about them and their benefit and not about yours too ... that's not love. That's selfish, one-sided need & want.
~ Hiding who you are from someone is not love. Leading someone to believe you're something that you really aren't is not love. Falling in love with the fantasy of what you thought someone was or what they once were in memories but aren't anymore, is not love. It's a delusion.
~ Doing anything, even at the cost of the one you "love"'s well-being is absolutely not love.
~ i think it's possible for someone to love another in only certain ways .... certain avenues, but i do not think this is a true, total, complete sense of healthy love.
~ i do think that healthy love depends on the two people involved and what works for both of them, what does good for both of them, not just one.
~ i think it is up to each person whether they feel they are loved or love someone.
~ i think that forgiveness is love, but that abusing one's capacity to forgive is not love.
~ i do not believe that being on a wild emotional roller coaster with someone and always questioning your feelings and them is love. Life can be a roller coaster, but i don't think the heart should be with one that you truly love.
~ i think that you cannot fully, without a doubt, love someone in the most complete & ever-lasting sense possible until you have spent a good amount of time with them face to face. Living with them. Seeing who they really are day to day, off the computer, and how they react in different situations. How they treat other people, how they treat you in the flesh. You will never fully know until then. i knew that before and i know it even more so now.
~ i think that true love never goes away. i think that true love has no room for hate. True love heals, it doesn't destroy. It grows, it doesn't spiral downward. It can diminish, but if it does, i don't think it was a love that was meant to last or be.
~ If you pour your heart to someone and they do not receive it or listen, or respond, or want it, that is not love. You have to take it back, keep it, and move on.
~ i don't think that harmful fear is love. Unwarranted and unwelcomed demands are not love.
~ i think that true love humbles you instead of inflating your ego or filling you with resentment that you can't let go of. Arrogance is not love. Entitlement is not love.
~ i think that sometimes you need to just let your heart bleed. When you fall in love with someone and you can't help it. When you don't know if it's love, but can't stop feeling for them. When you eagerly anticipate it in the darkness of loneliness. And when you've had it but lost it. Sometimes you just have to let your heart bleed. Sit and feel the pain. Suffer through the months after. Try your best to find more constructive ways of letting it bleed. Writing it out. Creative outlets, absorbing the love of friends or family. Do something you've always wanted to do. Getting lost in studying more about yourself or life, the world. Learning more about true love, the good kind.
i've been on both sides of this coin - i've loved, i've not loved. And now that i'm just letting my heart sit here and bleed, alone ... it's one of the hardest things i've ever had to do. But it's not quite as hard as living through a hell of "love" that was unhealthy for me was. At least that much is true.
What i'm left with is some good, true love. The grieving of a dog that i think i've loved more than anything or anyone in my life before. The support & laughter from my friends & few family i have. my own love for many things i'm passionate about, a major one being creating in SL. This is a love i get to keep. And it keeps me alive.
i only have two wishes now: to be able to have dog love back that Miles gave me. And to be able to share everything with an intimate partner again someday. If i'm one of the lucky ones. i know that all the failed attempts have shown me just how much i hold inside for someone, and it's still all there.
So see, being in SL has taught me a lot.