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About AnnaIvanovna

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  1. I was addicted to SL for many years before I tried quitting it a few months ago. I first joined SL in 2009 after reading about a 'successful' SL real estate tycoon in Lianhe Zaobao (a Singapore newspaper) and my curiosity was piqued. I was eager to find out what the fuss was all about and thought it to be like any other social media platform like Facebook. Little was I aware of the tumultuous love-hate relationship I would have with SL and how my addiction would spiral out of control. I was a high-achieving student back then, the typical Asian good-girl, hardworking in school and responsible about my duties. I purchased a new laptop that year which allowed me to partake in SL activities in a private and intimidate setting, i.e. my bedroom, without fear of discovery by others. Everything was so new and exciting to me, and SL is a like a huge playground for me to fulfil my every whims and fancy. I soon discovered how to use my avatar like a Barbie doll and spend time hunting for the most avant-garde and aesthetically-pleasing fashion. I also discovered the dark fantasies that some SL users engage in, like cybersex and bondage. I even virtually married someone who dissolved our partnership within days. All the while, I was a student whose academic performance spiralled downwards uncontrollably and my emotions fell into a pitfall as a result. Gradually I grew tired of this game because of the inability of meeting many people due to time zone differences. I also felt stifled by the rules and admins of the role-play sims I was in, e.g. Tombstone where I even worked as ‘soiled dove’ and models for lindens and clothes, further fuelling my craving for playing Barbie. Then in the following three years, I discovered new hobbies, which I then thought SL would be a great platform to further my interests. The first was my fascination with foreign languages. Back in 2009, there were numerous language schools in SL. I met people, chatted with them in different languages, found the voice chat too laggy and switched to Skype. It became a habit for me to pick up people who speak a particular language natively, quickly befriend them and talk to them through Skype all day. The second was my growing enthrallment with the classical opera which consumed my time and energy as I fantasised being a soloist myself. I went to several different karaoke lounges and performed operatic arias to an uninterested and confused audience. It’s a bit similar to the audience reaction in this video, see clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX4u0D6k4hw. On a side-note, I even went so far as to befriend real successful opera singers on Facebook, but I’m digressing. In 2012, I had to prepare for an important examination, so I quit SL for half a year. I deleted my account before I quit and went so far as to clarify that with the personnel on the SL hotline. Just recently, after the examination, I was back. During a bout of boredom, I rashly decided to call the SL hotline, just to see what happened to my old account. And voila, the friendly staff at Linden Lab re-activated my account promptly and all my inventory items were as good as new! So for almost an entire week, I picked up where I left off and joined in the festive holiday season celebration. The influx of presents from designers, (the discovery that mesh clothing is now THE clothing) and the number of gridwide hunts which kept me busy for hours in front of the computer, until I discover the invaluable ‘area search function’. The constant use of laptop had me drained physically and mentally. All the emotional roller-coaster associated with gaming came back to haunt me along with all the pleasant and guilt-ridden memories. Eventually, on Christmas Eve, I had a serious confrontation with my family who were concerned over my long hours of internet use. I broke down emotionally and there were ugly scenes, harsh words, tears and heartbreaks. I had constantly lived in self-denial over my serious addiction towards computer gaming, especially SL. Until now, I had not realised what a huge mistake it is for me to take part in SL. Virtual world is not for everyone and I no longer want be part of the equation. I do not want to fall victim to online game, ever again, especially that I am still young and have a long journey in life before me. Second Life destroys my life and I tell myself, I have only ONE life and I better be happy with it and make the best out of it. There is no SL vs RL balancing act. YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE. PS: This is my first ever SL forum post and I had just deleted my whole inventory, group & friend lists, and now my account is pending for deletion, again. For all intents and purposes, this is NOT a rant against SL or LindenLab. I admire the creativity and effort put into this by both the LindenLab IT team and SL user-creators. I am grateful for the kindness of strangers on SL, even though you were anonymous to me and were not obliged to be amiable. This is a very personal and difficult post for me to write, and I just want to share my story for those struggling with SL addiction. I do not bear any grudge against the makers and users of SL.
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