Since I began SL in 2008, my avatar has taken on hundreds of forms. The permutations of hair, skin, eyes, shape, eyelashes, nail polishes, makeup, clothing, shoes, accessories, tattoos, are endless. For most of my SLife, I’ve worn black hair, but I’ve also worn blonde, brunette, red, purple and pink. I wore the same shape, hair and skin for a whole year before I upgraded, and now I hardly think twice about changing them. But regardless of the combination, even if I’m on an alt, I like to believe there is a formula that is specific only to me that makes me somewhat recognizable – even if only to those who know me – amongst the crowd. Because, after all, I’m always me.
It is an ugly truth that people are judged by the way they look. An even uglier truth is that people are judged by those that love them. I think females are especially susceptible. RL husbands tell their wives, “You’d better not cut your hair that short,” when the wife takes notice of the lady with the cute bob. Mothers tell their little girls, “I’m not taking you out like that. Nothing you’re wearing matches. Go change.” Women spend ridiculous amounts of money trying to stay thin, avoid stretch marks when pregnant, and putting their own bodies at risk to have cosmetic surgeries, all for fear that not maintaining the status quo would change how others see and feel about them.
It even happens in SL. I have been told at times throughout my SLife, by more than one man and even a female friend, explicitly and implicitly, that my new shape, skin, hair (fill in the blank) was inferior to a previous version. To add insult to injury, some have even added a dash of sarcasm, or shall we call it cruelty, for good measure.
Case in Point:
Yesterday I TP home to a guy who claims to be utterly and completely in love with me.
He immediately writes, “Ummmmm” and before he’s even hit the Enter key, I’ve already started typing, “Yep, it’s a diff shape,” because I already know what’s coming. He then says, “What have you done to your face?” Not, “Oh, you changed your shape,” or “You look different” (much less “cute” or “pretty”). His tone, even in text, emanates disapproval. He then asks, “Because ……?” to which I reply:
- Because I wanted to?
- Felt like it?
- Like to mix things up once in a while?
- Can always go back?
- Like having different looks?
- Like keeping people on their toes?
After a few minutes of sitting there on the sofa in what seemed like never-ending silence, I TPd away and turned off his ability to find me on the map. I wanted to be away: from him, from our home, from being judged, from being made to feel inadequate, less than, and not good enough.
Thirty minutes later, he says, “I’m sorry,” and asks if I’m going to say anything. I couldn’t get into a conversation then because I had to log for RL, but said I’d try to come back. An hour later I was able to log back in, but for only a few minutes. I still didn’t have the necessary time it would take to discuss all this, and told him as much before I was about to log. And then, he sent me a friend request. Without me realizing it, he had defriended me.
An already bad situation just got exponentially worse, because to me, defriending someone is about the biggest slap in the face you can give to someone in SL, especially when it’s done in anger. Even when I may have had a falling out with friends in the past, I was never the one to defriend them, because the unknown risk is: You may never get them back.
I know a meek SL blog is not the best place to air such grievances, but I do so with a purpose. If there is anyone out there – male or female, SL or RL – who is judged on the outside by those who claim to love you, just remember:
“Love” is unconditional – and that’s not an option, it’s a requirement.
If someone doesn’t love the PERSON you are on the inside REGARDLESS of any and all permutations outside, then that’s not love at all. Any “love” that pretends to be otherwise is bullshit.
Life is too short to essentially not live it, because you’re not free to change, to please someone else. They have their own bodies and lives to control. Be sure you have yours.