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Gratitude Guest Blogger: Phoenixa Sol


Linden Lab

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Second Life Saved My Sanity

Second Life was the surprise rescue to a part of my soul I didn’t realize was so traumatic it was locked away for 30 years. Prior to May 1978, I was a dancer (nine years), a gymnast, (six years) and a springboard diver, (three years, through school.


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Though my activities were varied, in my heart, I am a dancer. Every piece of music I heard, I choreographed in my head. Until that May day, I would dance to it when I could. I felt the greatest joy and freedom when dancing. At some points, I'd even feel like I was flying. In high school, I could take my first formal training. It was heaven to me to dance.

On May 12, 1978, we were hit head-on by a drunk driver doing over 45 mph. I was paralyzed for three days; my left arm for two months. I was now bedridden. I had to be fed, it was truly horrendous. I prayed to be able to play the piano again. Eventually, I could move and I was very grateful.

But, over all this time and since those early days, my heart has longed to dance again. As life, strife and illness struck, even the most limited dancing movements became impossible. After the 1994 premature birth of my daughter, due to her disabilities, I became pretty much homebound. The world closed off to me. The 2000 gift of "the internet" opened the world back up to me, and I have enjoyed helping independent musicians worldwide at a large online site. But, with all the assistance and getting them exposure, I felt there MUST be some way to reach a wider audience for some of them. As I sought this, I found a link in a Wired article, and came to check out Second Life.

As I struggled through the gray fog of learning to exist in this virtual splendorland, I sought out the dancing opportunities. As I collected more of the best dances, I began to put a few routines together. I soon realized that machinima would be the only way that everyone could see what I create regardless of lag, etc., I could have the audience see the moves as I intended them to match the music.

During my hard work learning to do this, it dawned on me that I was happier, joyful, exuberant and couldn't wait to show my latest and then start my next.

It was then, that I realized this piece of my soul had been imprisoned for nearly 30 years at that time, and suddenly Second Life had become the key which released it from prison.  I'm eternally grateful, that even with the limitations, that Second Life exists.  While yes, I cannot dance in Real Life any more, I can do so vicariously through my avatar and regain that inner joy once again.  To share it with others who enjoy it is wonderful.  

Where life threw me lemons, Second Life enabled me to make lemon meringue pie.

- Phoenixa Sol

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Thank you Phoenixa for sharing this with all.  So many people on the outside look only at the cons of Second Life and do not consider the benefits.  I am glad that it has been a blessing for you

 

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You're very welcome, and thank you for making a rather dark day brighter!  There is so much more to this, such as connecting with others who have survived strokes, heart attacks,  and some of the other conditions I deal with. 

Those who slam second life are floored when I mention to them the huge contingent of folks who raise money through Relay For Life and other charity fund raisers, that universities hold classes, that huge corporations hold global meetings here rather than stomp their carbon footprint to fly everyone to a central convention center, thus saving a lot of money... not to mention so many artists who for a variety of reasons can no longer leave their house... yet, they can play live music gigs again for a global audience from their living rooms.  As for me? I'm off to flydance some more! 

 

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An inspiring story indeed.  Being alone and pretty much housebound myself through illness I have found Second Life to be a godsend in allowing me to enjoy dancing again and the attempt to sing again too, though that has been less straightforward. I can also create without the physical problems that usually accompany it.   I found new friends and even a "special friend" I would never have met any other way.  I regularly meet others in similar situations worldwide and even on Christmas Day I can reach out to others who would otherwise be totally alone. 

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