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Feeling Yourself Disintegrate (Depressed Bunny Is Depressed) [Feb. 12th, 2013|10:34 pm]
Symphonic Rock Productions
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Once again I find myself preparing for another crack at getting my life on some kind of productive and healthy routine, after another spell of taking on too much responsibility in Second Life.

It's very easy to sucker myself into thinking I can do this and do that in Second Life. Things like maintaining a schedule for The Furry Club Alliance seem simple enough, and not terribly time consuming. That is, assuming all the clubs in The Alliance will cooperate and send me their info regularly. But, of course, they don't.

Truth is, I see no indication that most of the clubs involved are even aware they are in an alliance, let alone that I'm the secretary and it's in their best interest to let me know well in advance what their plans are. This being so I can enter everything on a web page that nobody reads.

Thus I end up having to go out and hunt down the information, which is a constant thing that I can never allow to get far from my mind, along with numerous other constant concerns I have. And this might be worth it if there was some evidence that anybody cared. But the evidence is overwhelming at this point that nobody gives a flip.

On some mistaken notion that there would be some need for my club, I reopened it. But it seems to be more of a useless money pit than ever. Fortunately I'm well stocked on game money. So I can run it for a month or so without it costing me anything. But after that, I don't see any practicality to pouring real money into it.

If I'm lucky I get maybe one or two people coming to my club events that I'm not paying to be there. Meanwhile, shows take a considerable amount of time and virtual cash to prepare. And then nobody comes to enjoy the results of that expense. This means we have to add cost in heartache and disappointment to the tally.

On top of this, completely out of the blue, without even consulting me on potential adverse effects, my landlords picked up the island I live on and moved it away from the other islands, where it now seems quite isolated.

My invisible train tracks which used to take my train up to Club Cutlass now go nowhere, they display a view of nothing but water, nobody has a need to cross my sim to get to another, the colorful buildings and temples that used to make up my view are gone, along with that very difficult to achieve feeling of belonging to something.

Directly following this disastrous move, my SL partner bought more lots to provide prims for creativity I had previously needed to restrain. But why be creative now? We're out in the middle of nowhere. Who's going to see it?

I feel worse than if I'd been griefed. At least when someone maliciously points out that your virtual life has no real stability or permanence to it, you can counter it by resenting the person. But when the game itself fails on its own to provide the illusion of a stable and attractive alternate reality, there's nothing to do but face the more solid reality of one's life being completely consumed by a colossal waste of time.

The end result of all this is I'm depressed all the time when I'm in Second Life. I am one sad, suicidal bunny who thinks constantly about ending it all. Or, as they say in the Tron universe, derezzing herself. But she can't, because there are at least one or two people who would be sad if she left the virtual world for good. Thus I just feel trapped, helpless and miserable in real life as well.

I do have other things I need to be doing. I've already got my diet on track, as well as my sleep schedule. I've lost enough weight that my legs are no longer a constant pain to walk on. I sleep really well – no sign of apnea at all, except after days when I've been excessively stressed. And where does the bulk of my stress load come from these days? Second Life, of course.

So, once again I've been attempting to back off of SL. I've pretty much handed my club over to the only managers and DJ's that wanted it. I pop in for their shows, just so they won't feel too lonely – throw a bunch of game money around to make everyone feel like they got something out of playing to an empty club, and directly after it's my bed time.

So now I've got the bulk of my days to do whatever I want with. So far everything I feel like doing still involves sitting in front of the computer, which is not healthy. Thus I plan to buy an iPod, or some other portable music device, so I can get back into walking as soon as the weather warms up.

What I hope my life will consist of in the future is writing in the morning, walking in the afternoon, and having my evenings free for any other projects I want to do, like ripping vinyl, rearranging my apartment, etc.

Will that leave me time to pop into Second Life and say hey to people once in a while? Maybe. But if so, I will endeavor to keep SL from becoming a priority again. At this point, what was a real virtual world for me, has indeed been reduced to an over glorified chat room.

It's a nice chat room – the only kind of chat room I'll go near, in fact. But it's not a place where I'm really living anymore. I just sit there or park my avatar on a dance ball to give people access to talk to me, if they should want to. Most of the time they don't.

Most of the time I'm sitting in the real world, occasionally becoming aware that I've been staring at the screen for hours in a state of unhealthy catatonia while the days of my life tick away – all the while a voice in my head is screaming, “Just turn it off!”

Now, I know I'm going to hear a lot about how it's important that I not lose contact with virtual friends, but seriously, my E-mail address is not a secret. It's a matter of public record. I've got an FA, and an LJ. Plus, any message sent to me on SL is forwarded to my E-mail. My friends can talk to me anytime they need to, whether I'm logged into SL or not. In short, disappearing off the face of the internet is a virtual impossibility for me. Especially while I'm still trying to get this serial going again.

So don't think of it as I'm leaving SL. Think of it as I'm going up the country again to my writers cabin - my workshop where I have all the tools I need for serious creativity. And hopefully the stuff you'll see being produced from there will make the few who really care feel my extended absences from SL are worth it.

In the mean time, if somebody needs me in SL for a consultation, a hug or whatever – send me a message. I'll pop on to see you as soon as I can. Just don't expect me to stay all day. And especially don't expect me to stay all night. I'm no fun at all to be around when I'm not healthy, and I must get regular sleep to be healthy.

I'm pushing 51 now. Used to be I felt much younger than my age. But now I feel like I could be 65 or older. The bunny needs to give her totem a chance to live, because it's not like she can go on living without it.

The more I use computers, the more I become aware of what I think is best described as brain damage. I'm listening to my text reader go over what I've written. I hear a mistake and go to correct it. But while the text reader continues speaking I can not read to locate the mistake. There is, not a painful sensation, but a sense of anxiety as my brain seems to be calling on resources that used to be there, but are not anymore. It's like my brain is throwing up a “Resources Not Found” warning.

This is that same unpleasant sensation I get while trying to manipulate the SL viewer, particularly when time is of the essence. It's probably also the thing that makes me snap at the old folks when they're both talking to me at the same time from different rooms without their being aware of it. I can not process two lines of thought at once without this extreme anxious reaction.

One line of reasoning at a time is fine. Given time and freedom from distraction I can still figure out how to do most things. But let anything interrupt my train of thought and I'm wasted. Lately I've even been turning the music off, even at SL parties, to avoid multiple streams of information. I suppose this is something I ought to see a neurologist about.

What concerns me most about this is if this damage has affected my ability to write – if it's the reason I so effectively avoid working on my serial these days. Is it possible some resource that was essential to my ability to write can no longer be accessed, causing me to become anxious about the prospect of writing?

I seem to be writing this entry fine. But I am just spewing words as they come out of my head on a single channel. Writing fiction may require several channels, dynamic maneuvers of random memory access that allows me to keep track of the hundreds of events past and yet to come in this saga.

I've heard that some parts of the brain can become atrophied if one does some kind of unnatural activity for a long time. Intensely projecting one's consciousness into a virtual world might be such an unnatural activity. Subjecting one's self to constant overwhelming stress might be another.

But I've heard that such damage may be reversible, if one returns to normal activity. And since I don't have a specialist to consult about this, all I can do is experiment with applying myself to what used to be my normal activities.

I'm mystified as to why I don't hear a lot of other people complaining about these problems. Is it possible that I'm unique because of damage caused by my previous head injuries? Did they create holes in my mind which Second Life or the internet in general is ideally suited to rip at? Or am I just experiencing the natural side effects of becoming an internet couch potato?

I don't know what it is. I only know that I really, really don't like this. Both figuratively and literally, I'm extremely uncomfortable sitting on this couch 15 hours a day. I'd like to get a life in the real world, but I've no idea what I'd do.

There's no money for traveling to Furry or Brony conventions, if I could even see myself attending a Brony convention. Frankly, the thought of seeing a convention hall full of grown men getting all googly eyed over My Little Pony just rubs me the wrong way.

Yes, I liked the old show, I enjoyed collecting the toys, and I used it to inspire very adult oriented fantasy for two of my Spectral Shadows serials. But the show itself was always a kids thing to me. I never could reconcile the old MLP Cat Fights board. And this Brony thing is even worse. I never wanted to share MLP with adults. I wanted to share it with the kids it was made for.

Which brings me to another random thought. Recently I've been reviewing the Card Captor Sakura series, and I've been getting back in touch with something that used to be very important to me – the fact that I love kids. Or, at least, I used to think I did.

What I see in Sakura and love to pieces is an absolutely adorable child – a perfect child, the kind which I now doubt has ever existed outside of fantasy stories. I love how you can see that all the people who surround her love this cute little girl to pieces and would do anything in the world to make her happy. And yet, she never gets the least bit spoiled, and her biggest thought in life is finding ways to return the love of all these people who care for her.

How ideal. Surely this is the way life was meant to be. But it's not. I've never in my life encountered a child like that. I was not one myself. It's a fantasy of an ideally comfortable existence. And I used to be in love with that dream. Perhaps I still am. But this dream of a perfect family for a perfect child is so elusive I couldn't even emulate it in Second Life. Because all the people who play children in Second Life are not into that dream. They're into something else. Just as the children in the real world are into something else.

This is what I always loved about cartoons, including MLP. They provided this blueprint for an ideal existence were love was the most important thing in the universe. And everyone was happy and healthy, because they knew they were loved. They never needed to have any insecurity about that.

That is actually why people who are Christians, and some other religions too, always go about with smiles on their faces. They are deeply immersed in a dream that they are bathed in the love of some cosmic source, and they want nothing more than to shine that love out to other people.

What's that you say? You never met a Christian like that? I'm not surprised. Because, here again, most Christians you meet these days aren't into that dream. They're into something else.

And because everyone, including myself, is into something else, this is not a perfect idyllic world with love radiating everywhere, enabling people to go about in complete security, and no need for anxiety. Instead we live in a world with people who eat hamburgers.

When I was a kid coming home from Sunday school, and the family stopped at Burger King, it was then that I first realized my inability to reconcile the loving teachings I'd just absorbed with a society that carves animals up for food and thinks nothing of it. That's just not a very loving thing to do.

I also recall that, when we were leaving the Burger King, we passed a display rack filled with Jesus Christ Superstar records. I think I asked if I could have one. I seem to recall the reason given for why I couldn't was because the records reflected the views of certain people that my father had no loving words to spare for.

I wonder if this doesn't have everything in the world to do with why I created a cute, gentle, benevolent, loving bunny fursona for myself. And why I will let her sit on Second Life for days on end just radiating love out to other people, whether they appreciate it or not, until my every last resource is drained.

I'm just so stuck on that dream of love that I can't walk away from it, even if my own survival's at stake. Maybe I have a little Sakura in me, left over from the child I would naturally have been if society had not conditioned me away from it.

Maybe that's why I still love My Little Pony. Because it's still made for people who appreciate that dream. But I know that the majority of Bronies, Furries and Anime fans alike can't imagine what the hell I'm talking about.

Who'd want to live in a world where everything was about love anyway? That's not reality, is it? In reality, life is all about money, power, sex, and everything you can steal and get away with. Oh yes, and hamburgers - those tasty reminders that everything we preach is a reflection of a truth human beings seriously despise and wouldn't be caught dead living by.

Life would be so much less confusing if we'd realize this and stop preaching things we have absolutely no intention of living by. But if you're a Brony, or a Furry for that matter, you sit in the temple of my inner child, where these sacred values are enshrined and hallowed. Do try to treat them with some measure of reverence while you go about . . . whatever else you're into.

Now to go off on yet another tangent. There is finally a Furry convention coming to Baltimore. I should be excited, right? But I'm not. I really can't find a single reason to want to go. Probably because I've just spent 6 years living in a virtual Furry convention.

Well, it's not only that. Mainly it's because I'm not a kid anymore, and I'm painfully aware of it. Maybe it's because the types of geekery advertized on the web site are not things I'm into. So I'd pretty much be there to gawk at the fursuits. And I hardly expect great fursuits from a city that's never offered a place to display them before.

Or could it have something to do with not wanting to show my real world face to other Furries, even if none of them know me online? Nah. I never have a problem being anonymous in a crowd. I just hate crowds, period.

I really made a huge mistake connecting with Anime fandom before Furry fandom. The 90's was when I had energy and enthusiasm for cons. It'd just be another load of stress for me now. Nothing to buy, no viewing room mentioned on the site. Nothing to do but be social. And that's hard to do while being invisible, or having people give me weird looks because I don't look like everybody else or I'm not doing what everybody else is doing.

Maybe I'd feel different if I had some local Furry friends who'd drag me along with them the way my Anime friends used to. At least if you go with someone you have someone to talk to. So it doesn't matter if strangers are friendly or not.

I suppose I could make up prints of TK's art and set up a Spectral Shadows booth in the dealers room. But I know deep down it would be just like the club in Second Life, a lot of effort and expense just to sit there being ignored.

A few years ago when I was building my club and publishing my serial, I was not bothered by such thoughts. I didn't have a need for immediate recognition. Back then it was all a hobby that I did just for the fun of it. Now, everything is work. And if I don't have to, I'd just rather not.

I think what it boils down to is I'm burnt out, too old to Rock & Roll. No, literally. I can't go to Rock concerts anymore. I can't take the volume. It bites into my brain through my ears like a dentist's drill. In the state I'm in it's difficult to feel excitement for anything, but especially for something I know going in is going to be far from perfect.

Here's a bit from the convention's “What Is Furry” page. “From within the fandom, anything classified as an anthropomorphic animal and/or creature could be called a furry. That could be anything from Scooby Doo to various sports mascots to Chuck E. Cheese® or Rapid T. Rabbit. Since mainstream characters are generally not created with furries in mind, the furry context is presumed by most outsiders to not be present despite subcultural interest.”

What the heck is that supposed to mean? Something I'd argue with, I'd suspect. Are they trying to say it's not a convention for fans of Scooby Doo, Chuck E. Cheese or Rapid T. Rabbit? And what do I care about what outsiders think? What does what outsiders think have to do with answering the question “What is Furry?” Unless their point is Furry is a fandom that worries far too much about what outsiders think.

That I could agree with, but I still wouldn't go to a convention to celebrate it.

The main thing I seriously used to enjoy about Anime conventions was sitting in the viewing rooms sharing the enthusiasm of people who liked what we were watching as much as I did. I don't see any indication I'm going to get something like that out of this Furry con. Most Anime cons I've been to had as many as 3 viewing rooms, running most of the day. I never had the option of being bored. This site reads like you need to be a gamer or a fursuiter to get anything out of this con. I'm neither.

I swear, if I had unlimited wealth, I'd beat Disney, Warner and Bluth over the head until they agreed to support the creation of a real, honest to God, convention for Furry fans. That's the only reason I can think of why they wouldn't support the existing Furry conventions – because there just seems to be something about them that smacks of ulterior motives which have nothing to do with appealing to fans of the Furry arts. Just like with the gosh darn Bronies, they're out to celebrate the subculture. But I do that online everyday. Why would I want to spend hundreds of dollars to do it in public in a skin I don't feel comfortable in?

I swear, I would rather go to Disneyland. I enjoyed the heck out of King's Dominion when Hanna-Barbera was involved with it. Please, I've had these subcultures surrounding me for over 20 years now. I just want to watch cartoons and share the innocence. Is that too much to ask of a fandom? Apparently so. They're all into something else – into what I'm into for different reasons. And I don't feel the need to beg acceptance for my reasons at a con for something else.

Just like in SL, the illusion of belonging to something is very hard to achieve in a fandom. And usually when I do feel it, it's because I'm way too good at kidding myself.

It's at times like this when I wonder if there really are such things as true belonging, and love. Or do we just make them up in our imaginations and force ourselves to believe in them, like we do our gods and popular idols. If so, the prospect of facing true reality seems unattractive in the extreme. And I want nothing more than to retreat back into my dreams.

How I wish to be able to dream again. It does not seem like I'm really living without a dream to make up for all that real life is not. Staring into the stark reality of the human race is about the most depressing state of existence I can think of.

Yes, I must make dreaming a priority, before I disintegrate entirely.


[User Picture]From: nikolinni
2013-02-13 04:45 am (UTC)
Don't give up on your dreams! You have to have dreams and goals in order to get anywhere with life. And if things like the Furry Club Alliance is going nowhere, people don't seem to care or give you the info, then forget about them. And when they come to you for your talents and help say "I'm sorry, I tried and no one cared, no one helped. No one cooperated."

If you gotta take a break from SL to just refocus yourself and work on other projects you want, feel free to. Like you said, it's not leaving, it's just taking a break. And remember always, if you need a kind fur to speak to, I'm more than willing to help you out with that

Good luck, and have a magical week.
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[User Picture]From: the_punk_hippie
2013-02-13 05:19 am (UTC)
If you're interested in going to conventions, I could always draw up some pieces of your characters that might be of more interest than the story pieces (some tasteful pin-ups, maybe chibi magnets or bookmarks) that you could make prints of :)
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[User Picture]From: symphonic_rp
2013-02-13 12:08 pm (UTC)
I've sometimes thought of having you do that, if just to have something we could sell. Not that I wouldn't enjoy the heck out of it personally.

I thought about maybe having you do a parody portfolio called "Not Spectral Shadows" after the old "Not Ninja High School" series, where you'd draw the characters as they'd look with the the usual Furry art attributes.

Feel free to pursue such ideas if you feel inspired. I'm sure I'll like whatever you come up with.
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[User Picture]From: the_punk_hippie
2013-02-13 04:13 pm (UTC)
I've been on a bit of a chibi kick lately, so maybe I'll make up a page or 2 of those for a future month :D

I can laminate & stick a magnet to them, so you could keep the originals as magnets (or if you'd rather have stickers, let me know, I have sticker paper I'm not using)
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[User Picture]From: symphonic_rp
2013-02-13 04:17 pm (UTC)
I think I prefer magnets to stickers
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[User Picture]From: nikolinni
2013-02-13 04:41 pm (UTC)
I dunno how many of you have seen Spaceballs but...

"Merchandising! Merchandising! Where the real money from the movie is made!"
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[User Picture]From: bixylshuftan
2013-02-16 05:28 am (UTC)
I'm sorry you've been having trouble, Perri. I hope those problems ease off soon.
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[User Picture]From: nikolinni
2013-03-01 06:09 pm (UTC)
So I sat down again and gave this a really good thorough read through. I'd have to say...don't give up on your ideas of people being able to love each other and just conform to the reality that everything is about sex, money, and power. There's a reason why they talked about the dangers of becoming a realist in a video on motivation I saw -- it can turn you into someone who can't be optimistic, who will stop trying when difficulties pop up, and even worse, you can turn into a cynic. There are other people, like myself, who see past the need for sex money and power. We've already talked about how I feel about sex, and money to me is little more than a tool to acquire material possesions or go places and do things with, and power? Well I never dreamed of becoming some kind of CEO or powerful person. I believe that if I did have power, it would have to be used responsibly and not be used so I can put others down or escalate myself over others. There's others like myself, I'm sure of it, we just gotta not give up.

Yeah, there seems to be a lot of people who do things that don't live up to whatever ideals that were originally set out. You got atheists who want to destroy religion, despite their supposed support of "tolerance", feminists who quip about equality but put more focus on girls' issues and seem to deny males having problems, politicians who claim to represent the people but squabble amongst themselves, and so on. Yet, out there somewhere in the waves of those who don't stick to the ideals are those who DO stick to the ideals. It's like finding the worker who sees their job as more than some kind of job. Hmm...like finding an employee at Disney who REALLY believes in making the magic. I mean I don't know how common those types of workers are, but I think you see my point.

I believe in you. I think you can do it. Nah, I don't. I KNOW you can do it. Ya just gotta have faith in yourself that's all. Don't let the harsh reality of life kick you down. You gotta get back up, look it in the eye and say "Nice try, chummy! But I'm still my old childish self! He's here to stay. Look I even made a persona of him and everything..." So yeah...if you still like the ideas of love, peace, childish innocence, that kinda thing, don't let the vision die on you. Pass it off on others. Find people who like that idea, or let them come to you. It'll happen.

And for Ra's sake, stop doing things that you KNOW are gonna stress you out. I mean, I can understand things you wouldn't expect (Like second life lag happening when you're least expecting it) but if things like trying to keep the FCA together when members don't even know they're members, or trying to run a club on your own cause you to suffer dearly, don't do it. Please. I don't want to see Bunny-San get hurt anymore than she already has to.

Okay, I'll stop yammering now. But please take into consideration what I said. : )
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