This week, Strawberry Singh presents two challenges in one. It's because of the second one that I decided to also do the first one.
Meme instructions: Share a side by side comparison of your first blog picture beside a recent picture of your avatar. Don't forget to share the link to your image in the comments and add your pictures to the Blog Memes flickr group.
First, let's state the obvious: I can't believe that next month, I will be six years in Second Life. Time goes by and all that. When I started in SL, I really sucked at using the camera, and I mean it. It took me months until I learned how to take pictures of my face, more or less at the angle I wanted it. That means, I have many pictures where I can see my back, many pictures of landscapes, many pictures from my profile, in odd positions, and finally, about July 2009, I learned (sort of) to use the camera, and started taking selfies (I don't think that the term existed back then?)
So, to the left, how I looked like when I was just a few months in SL. I was using a Redgrave skin, and I think that just a month after I decided I would be redhead in SL. Which lasts until this day. I didn't know how to use the camera, but I did know very well that I disliked almost all the freebie skins, so my skin was something I changed quite early in the days. To the right, my current me. I'm still using the eyes I bought from Redgrave, back in 2009 too. I haven't updated my eyes for daily use because the exact color, the iris size, the shine position... Define more of my face than I expected. I've tried other eyes, closer tones... but the differences were quite noticeable to me. It was like seeing an uncanny valley version of myself. I've never felt comfortable in other eyes, for daily use, so I'm sticking to my 2009 eyes. I wear other eyes for example when I use pale skins... But those are just for the purpose of the photo. My me is still using those pixelated 2009 eyes.
Now, let's go for the interesting part (well, at least, for me... because, you know, I like writing.)
What would I say to my teenage self? That's an interesting question. I've often said "I am glad I've grown up, because I would not want to go through my teenage years again". I've also often said "how I wish I had known all this". Let's see what I can tell to myself.
#DearMe, if you think you've suffered in this life, be quick in growing a thick skin, because things are going to get interesting. I know you've heard to your mother say, all days, for a long time now, that you're a monster. I know that she treats you like one. I know she provokes your father against you. I know all the other things. You have to learn that she's not talking to you when she says and does all those horrible things. She is talking to the reflection she sees of herself on the mirror. You will see this happening a lot. Many people you will meet, will project all their misery on to you. They will try to make you believe that it is you the one that is wrong. They will try to make you feel responsible of their miserable lives, of their failure as decent human beings. But you're strong enough to leave all that people behind you. Learn to run away from toxic people. That includes your parents, if needed. Nobody is so sacred as to have you live a miserable life. Nobody.
#DearMe, I also know you've already learned about betrayal, about fake friends and lies. Do not forget those lessons, because it's easy to give in when you feel comfortable with some people, and it is then when the knife hurts the most: When they have your trust. Do not fight anybody else's battles. Learn to fight your own fights, and say no, firmly, when you're unsure about doing something. People will learn to respect you if you're firm on your boundaries.
#DearMe, I know you miss having had an actual mother, not just someone who gave birth to you and made your life miserable. But no matter how weak you may feel, do not let any other woman to replace in your life what your mother never was. Just, don't. If there's only one thing you are going to listen from all the things I'm saying, let that thing be this one. Do not let any other woman to be a substitute of your mother. Never. I don't want you to know the pain, when she will stab you directly on your heart.
And last but not least, #DearMe, stay in shape, because I know you prefer finding solutions rather than stirring conflict, but still, some people do not want solutions. Some people want violence and blood. In those cases, you need that your body is able to run the hell out of the place where you are.
I could tell my teen self more things. But she will have to learn on her own, and make her own way in life, just like I did. The things I've written above are the ones I truly wish, I had known in time.