(Small headshot feature of Izzie’s, Lazuri, and -DAMNED-)
I found myself looking into the mirror
Knew I wasn’t who I wanted to be
I was living life the way that I wanted
But my eyes reminded me I’m not free
Believed the lie, so everything that I know
Says I gotta go, tired of going solo
But I’m never gonna go there again
(Got a new graphics tablet and have been experimenting. So far so good…)
Ok. So… June is Avatar Blogger Month… so I’m going to try and do 30 in 30. Now, granted, I’m a couple hours late for my June 2nd post… but my evening was a little bit full with something important. And it was actually that something… and the things that occurred before, during, and after it… that inspired today’s blog.
First of all, to get my random comment out of the way, I should’ve used a couple of sharpen filters on the picture today. It’s a little matte and blurred for my liking.
Anyway, back to matters of a more philosophical nature…
There are a few things that people need to know about me… but first they need to know the reason that these things have been ‘hidden’ (hidden in plain sight, if you ask me… I’m not very secretive) for as long as they have. I was told more recently in my modeling career that there were certain things I needed to ‘hide’ in my profile, or simply not place there, because certain lifestyles, etc may offend the customer base of a store, or the fan base of a contest, or the executive team of an agency. This idea is understandable, and I totally get it. And so I took the advice and hid some groups and re-worded/took out some things from my profile.
Skip ahead a little bit to why my evening was so full tonight, I graduated the Passionate Heart of Dance Academy’s Beginner’s course. Now, for those that don’t know, I’ve been dancing in SL since 2009. I am far from a beginner. But for the last 7 months or so, I had a horrible writer’s block that I just… couldn’t write. I could choreograph routines all I wanted to, but when it came down to sitting down and actually putting pen to paper to write the emotes, I just couldn’t do it. I might be able to get half a post written, but I couldn’t go beyond that and I would get so frustrated with what I did manage to get written that I would scrap it, delete the notecard, and give up. It was a miserable exists for those 7 months for someone who identifies themselves as a dancer.
Oh… you didn’t know I was a dancer? That’s part of what I was advised to hide.
Not that dancing itself is a bad thing… but that most of my dancing takes place in a little roleplay space in SL called Gor. (Yes, I was being sarcastic about the ‘little’ part.) There is no grey area with Gor, it seems. People either like it or hate it. And the ones that don’t like it or hate it have likely never heard of it and don’t have an opinion. There is no “sort of” liking Gor or “sort of” disliking it. Gor deals with a futuristic, yet with medieval-age technology in some cases, other-world that is defined by a system of Mastery and slavery. (Yes, there are also Free Women and male slaves, but it is predominantly male Master and female slave.)
Ok, let’s back up a little bit.
Confession #1: I am a slave. My partner Zak is not just my partner; He is my Master. My being a slave has nothing to do with feeling like I’m worthless or wanting to be a mindless twit for the rest of my life. In fact, some of the strongest women I’ve ever met are submissives or slaves. Being a slave simply has to do with how I prefer my personal, romantic relationships to be conducted. Please note there that I said “person” and “romantic”. This does NOT dictate how I deal with people in everyday situations. Does my being a slave make me any less outspoken? (Some of you just started laughing.) A lot of you have first-hand experience with just how outspoken I can be… and I’ve always been a slave… this is nothing new. So tell me, does being a slave make me any less outspoken to you? Didn’t think so.
Confession #2: I am a competitive Gorean dancer. I just recently stepped back into the competition sands this past Saturday morning (and placed 3rd, by the way)… but I have been competing since September of 2011. No, I do not currently roleplay in Gor, but yes, I still compete there, and I intend to continue to do so. In fact, I’m working on two dances for future competitions at the end of June.
Now, these two facts were not on my profile. I used to proudly display them. I started to sort of display my dancing again… by posting which events I would be competing in in a pick in my profile about dance. But I did not mention explicitly that I am a competitive Gorean dancer. I also wiped out everything I said in my profile that even eluded to my being “collared” to Zak. I did this at the advice of a friend trying to help me in modeling. Because apparently some agencies and stores and competition/paegant teams will look at that and deem it offensive to their client base and decide that you are not a good model based solely on that.
And then I remembered… since when have I gave a damn about offending people? I am who I am, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine. You don’t have to deal with me. That’s the beauty of SL… plenty of more people out there.
But the whole ‘being true to myself’ thing was just compounded upon tonight during graduation.
I invited a few of my friends from the modeling community to come and watch the graduation. They were aware of the date, they were aware of the time and that it may be at a late hour for a few of them. Would I have been offended had they not shown up? No. I would’ve understood. A few decided to come though. (I won’t name them, as I’m not trying to call them out or embarass them… merely make a point.) Before the thing even really got started (there was a delay due to the DJ not being able to play the right song for the group dance that started us off) one of them crashed and proceeded to IM me in Skype a “thanks for inviting me” and decided not to come back. I checked the message and didn’t respond, because I had my own things to be dealing with, with how the lag was on the sim, and trying to get ready to perform, even if I was last.
The other thing that my invite stated was a LIST of the DANCE ORDER that we were all dancing in. And just in case people didn’t get it from the list, I even made the statement, “Yes, I’m going last.” While the 2nd dancer was dancing, I receive an IM from another model who came, asking me when it was my turn to dance. I ignore all IMs that aren’t from people associated with the event when I’m doing something, dance or modeling, and so I did not respond. I didn’t find out until later that when they didn’t receive a response, apparently they just decided to leave and not even wait for my turn.
When I got up there to dance… there were only 5 dancers and each dance was less than 10 minutes long… so it’s not like it took 4 hours to get to me or something ridiculous like that… but when I got up there to dance, I looked around as I was dancing… and re-choreographing on the fly due to the lag just butchering my sequence… and I didn’t see the ‘modeling’ community. All I saw were my friends… my real family… those people who knew and understood and accepted all sides of me… and even if they didn’t fully understand, they embraced it and encouraged me anyway. These people never turned their back on me, and they’ve loved me for the entirety of who I am, always. (Granted, there were some in attendance that I didn’t know, and others who have tried to sabotage a friend of mine so they’re on my shit list. But, as a whole, the people who were gathered were people who were important to me and the others who graduated.)
So then I was left to wonder… why have I forsaken this community of people who embraces ALL of me… everything that I am… flaws and all… for the sake of clinging to a community that only accepts part of me and makes me hide the rest?
Why have I given up so much of the time I could’ve been dancing… or so many of the weekends I could’ve been attending or dancing in an event… in order to model, or style, or attend a casting, or wait for some bloody notecard that is ultimately just going to tell me I wasn’t good enough but I could ‘keep trying’. What in the hell has been wrong with my priorities?
After I was finished dancing… and finished crying… I gave serious consideration for a couple of hours to the idea of quitting modeling entirely. My whole world was turned on its head by my graduation… and I was seriously about done with modeling and the superficiality of SOME (emphasis on SOME) of its people.
But then, I let myself calm for a few minutes… or an hour… and decided that no, I wouldn’t quit. But I would devote more time to dance. I would choose dance over modeling if I felt like it and would not allow myself to feel guilty about it. And what’s more, I would put those things back in my profile about being a slave to my Master and being a competitive dancer in Gor. I would unhide the groups that I’m proud of that I had previously hidden for modeling. I would express, to the fullest extent that I damn well please, exactly who I am… and if people didn’t like it, then that was their issue, not mine.
Because of this, I’ve had to go to every designer and every agency that I ‘work for’ and tell them. “Look, these are the things you don’t know about me. I’m a slave. I’m a competitive Gorean dancer. These things are not going to change. It’s who I am. If you feel that represents you in a bad way, then I will freely leave with no hard feelings. But if you’re willing to be accepting of ALL the parts of me, then I’d love to keep working with you.”
So far, I’ve only been dismissed from one agency. And, well… I’ll keep my opinions to myself there.
I am fully aware that this decision might make me unsuccessful in some castings… unsuccessful in some pageants/competitions… I may lose out on modeling jobs… I may not get into some agencies… I understand the reality of what I’ve chosen to do.
But when I think about the things I might miss out on simply for being who I am… I have to pause and wonder if I really want to associate myself with a group of people that’s not going to accept me for me.
The answer is always, “No, I don’t.”
*~* This Is What It Is, This Is Who I Am… *~*
Skin: Holly Skin Fair – Izzie’s
Eyes: Lovers eye (Pistachio) – the Skinnery (MESH)
Eyeliner: Liner Pack 1 (Liner 3 thin) – DAMNED Bodyshop
Eyelashes: Flirty Lashes – DAMNED Bodyshop
Blush: Blush (fair skin) – DAMNED Bodyshop
Lipstick: Pale Pucker Pack – *BOOM*
Hair: Soleil (cranberry) – Truth Hair
Jewelry: Enchanted Emerald Necklace & Earrings – Lazuri