Sunday, October 19, 2008

When the Heart is Breaking

If you expected today's Blog entry to continue railing upon the "Developers" of Second Life, Linden Lab, I must ask you wait for another day, instead today, I need to get some things off my chest; this will be a LONG Blog Entry, so if you don't like reading, come back another day.

I've been a part of the Community of Second Life for over 5 years now, and for the most part, it's been a wonderful ride. Most of you know of my situation, I suffer from Arnold-Chiari Malformation, to which complications of the disease has left me suffering with excruciating pain in my Neck, Shoulders, and Back. I've tried many different drugs, my latest is Lyrica, which seems to interrupt the pain signals coming from the nerves, but interrupts a number of other signals as well, leaving me stumbling around like a drunk and not being able to read most prints because of the blurred vision Lyrica brings along with it. Although, I freely take Lyrica (Free of Charge from Pfizer because I'm dirt poor), because the alternative is about a foot away from suicide. The physical pain I'm in is something that can be explained by science and I'm sure many of you will send helpful ideas, of which I will try most, to see if I can't alleviate the pain, but again, this pain can easily be explained. When I had my Decompression surgery, the Neurosurgeon found that my Forum Magnum, the bone that covers where the Brain-Stem and Spinal Cord meet, was elliptical instead of round. This told the Surgeon that my Cerebral Tonsils must have been in the Forum Magnum upon development (in the womb for you that haven't figured that out) and therefore I've always had some blockage of my CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) into the exterior spine (where all the nerves are). As I grew, the blockage grew, until it was completely blocked, to which, the nutrients carried by the CSF were no longer being delivered to the Nerves and eventually the protective cover surrounding the nerves broke down and caused my problems. See, all my physical pain can be explained by science, isn't that wonderful!

So, today, I want to talk about something I've been brooding over for the past couple of weeks. It's taken me this long to write about it because I didn't want to say something so damaging that I broke something else; a friendship. When someone has been involved in the Second Life Community as long as I have it's natural that there comes a time when you make friends that are more then just Second Life friends, they become friends of your Real Life. It's impossible to keep your Real Life and Second Life separate that long, unless you spend a lot of time lying or deceiving (means the same, look it up) people, to which I'm not the kind of person that would do that. People know this about me too, that I'm straight forward, easily given over to sharing my Real Life if asked (sometimes even not asked). I believe this is what most who have come to know me more then just casually like about me, I say this because some have actually told me so. I too have become familiar with many people in the Second Life Community, past their Second Life Alter-Egos, and I like that just fine. The problem with this, when you allow someone to know your vulnerabilities, they can hurt you in the heart, something that can't be explained by Science.

In my time in the Second Life Community, my heart has not just been broken, but ripped to shreds on three different occasions, the last being two weeks ago. I won't mention those people that have hurt my heart so bad that I just close off that part of me, they already know who they are, and each of them, I let in, close, and each chose to take actions that destroyed me inside. I used to be the kind of person that if you hurt me, I hurt you back. I was very good at this too, I could make most people cry, and once made a whole family cry; but let's not go there. I have grown up, in Real Life and in Second Life. I don't have the same reactions as I had when I just started and that's natural as well. The one thing that hasn't changed in me though is the more I let people know me, the more the risk they can not just hurt me, but destroy a part of me. As I mentioned, on two separate occasions, I let two people within my inner-circle of emotions, and what I received in return was a complete ripping of my soul, so much so, that I just closed down those areas of my life, Real and Second, and refused to let others in. Two weeks ago, it happened again, and once more, I began closing down that door until I realized if I do I'd be completely closed off from everyone. I learned in counseling that building emotional walls leads to more pain and trouble then it's worth. Today I realized that again and have chose NOT to close down, instead to struggle on.

The natural question you want to ask is, "Is it worth it? The whole Second Life experience compared to the pain and anguish people can cause you?". That same question must also be asked for Real Life as well, and when you do, you realize there's just two choices. Close down, be alone and let no one know you, and you know no one, or, struggle on and hope that there are those that will come along and lift you up in your times of struggle. Many people will argue that "playing" Second Life is easier as you don't get hurt, because no one knows the real you, but that presents it's own issues, you are living a lie, even though it's a lie in a Virtual World, it's still a lie. I can't live like this, my moral compass and ethics aren't tuned to be like that and I pity the people that do practice this, as they are missing a wealth of Love and Friendships out there in the Second Life Community.

Yes, when you let people in, they can hurt you, but, opposite of that, letting people in, they can lift you up, even in a Virtual World, and you can fly on their love, and enjoy Real Life and Second Life, that much more. While I let my heart heal through this latest hit, I ask that those of you concerned about me know this, I will return to the world of Second Life eventually, I just need to let my Heart heal a bit, as I don't want to go in-world and "do unto others as they have done unto me".

When the Heart is Breaking, life, Real and Second, hurts a lot, BUT, the love poured out by those that know you, is a nice soothing balm to your pain. If you haven't allowed yourself to experience the whole gamut of Second Life, by being real with people and they with you, I pity you. Until you have your Heart breaking you won't ever know the true depth of Love that others can show you, and if you never know that, in Real Life and Second Life, I beg you, don't let that part of you saying "it's to protect you" win out. The only thing that you are allowing are walls to be built up around your true self. When you let people in to see your true self, you will be surprised that they don't turn away in horror as you expect, but approach and show you Love, a healing balm for all your Heart pains.


Bill said...

That wasn't that long. You will always be a friend in respect for not only what you taught me here. (real and in virtual). But in your character. Friends come and go, some stay with us through all eternity. Emotional Pain shapes us.
Believe me I won't go any further than that, because of your condition and the knowledge you have of both the physical and real side of Pain. Niche said it best.
"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger."
Hang in there, there's a select few who pray for you and your situation more than you care to realize.
Who said this?
It is always darkest before the Dawn?

MagnAxiom said...

It's a tough step, but I believe you are taking a step in the right direction. I know how much it hurt 2 weeks ago, and I know that you were trying to "take the high road" even then, but I know it was hard on you. You know you are in Amy and My prayers, and hope that you can see the light at the end of this tunnel.

Brad Lupis said...

Hey Bob,
Just passing through the old stomping ground (Slate) and found this blog.

Hang in there, your one of the stongest people I know, just take your time and head back in world when you get a chance.

sylvester said...

When my heart was ripped from me by Hurricane Katrina you and the Slate community were there for me. Welcoming me with open arms and helping me to slowly ease past all the nightmare in its aftermath. The kind of unconditional love and caring that were given to me were beyond price and impossible to repay (although I know you don't expect repayment). It has taken years but I have slowly rebuilt my life and even learned to walk again (ok I won't win a marathon but I CAN do it). The support I got from you and the Slate community were a large part of that.

Now I find all I can say to you Is be safe, take care of yourself and those you love, and know that there is someone whos life you touched so deeply that is praying for you and forever in your corner.