I haven’t been posting here much lately, but for my friends and family who actually keep up with my withering blog, they know why. I’ve been busy working with a talented group of artists publishing our first wholesome, SL fashion magazine Ferosh: A Visual Art & Fashion Experience. In edition to that, I’ve been shooting editorials for other magazines like Versus, and also participating in another secret project that has really, really touched me, O’Clock.
I don’t view myself as a fancy person, or even outrageously talented. I don’t think I’m the best thing since colored television, and I’m not one to toot my own horn when I’ve done something well. I simply count my many blessings, thank the people who’ve pushed me along, and work harder to do better the next time — thankful that I do have a next time.
This will be the very first and last time I write about this.
I know what people must think of me. Especially models in the so called SL “Fashion Industry.” I get the general sense of it on a daily basis, and luckily it’s something that I’ve grown immune to. I get this sense that some feel as if I don’t deserve the achievements that I have, or the accomplishments that I’ve accumulated. I think that’s life. There’s always somebody to spout about one person not deserving this or that. However, in SL modeling it’s more of a peculiar situation.
I’m not a MVW. I never was. Granted, when I was 3 months old I would go to that sim and look at the towering stack of applicants wishing I had the guts to do it. I never did. In fact, there were several circumstances that changed my mind about it all together. I’m not saying I’m for or against the contest — I’m saying that it just wasn’t a good fit for me. So, I chose a different path. I wanted to be unique, and innovative, and more … couture. I just couldn’t imagine the models in my VOGUE editor’s picks volume — doing beauty pageants. I wanted to pretend I was that girl on page 105, in some crazy couture outfit on a beach with a ribbon of cloth floating in the air.
I’ve never worn a crown, or owned one. I was never Miss this.. or Miss that.. or Face of this .. or Herald of that. I won a few small contests and, joined some great agencies. So in a sense, I haven’t paid my “dues.” I didn’t get raked across the coals by that kind of rejection. To be honest, I think it’s simply because I just didn’t have the heart to. There were many contests where we’d run and buy all the clothing as a marketing ploy for the designer — a model would win the crown and then they close up shop a few months later. I’m not saying all contests are like that, however this taught me how intangible a crown was. That you really don’t -own- it. The tags. The letters above your name. The brand. You’re simply a pawn.
Of course there can be sport in it and friendships. Contests can be a healthy way of getting your name out, getting runway practice, and having a bit of fun. Some girls are REALLY REALLY good, and I am always so impressed! For people who enjoy that and keep it simple, then I’m sure they’re great experiences. Why else would they still be so popular? But for me, I want to enter contests to win. Knowing I wouldn’t win, I just didn’t bother. lol — that’s keeping real. This admission doesn’t make me brave, but at least I’m honest with my expectations.
So, I know myself. I know my limitations. I know what I enjoy and what I don’t enjoy in Second Life. I know that with Absi’s peculiar face, that she’s hard pressed to get some fancy ornament plopped on her head. This was something I came to terms with when I first created her nose. I said to myself, “Well… there goes pageants. So, what should we do.” For me it was kind of a relief. I was entering into a realm where I my hopes and dreams didn’t rely on the validation of others!
Not. Quite. There are agency castings, runway castings, vendor castings. I must admit that I have been blessed to work for the top agencies in Second Life. I was afforded many great experiences by working with them, learning from them, and all the great people that accepted me for who I am. I was rejected a great deal, too. I wallowed in grief for a few days and then would pick myself back up and work on it again. I really started to grow as a model and these weekly rejections were becoming less painful — the few times I succeeded became very special to me. I worked for nearly everything I had in SL as a model back then. But, once again, it was about getting validation from others. “You’re good enough to be in our agency.” “Your look is good enough for us.” I found myself collecting tags again, but in a different way. Ultimately I realized that.. no matter how long that list was on my “Modeling Picks” — I wasn’t going to be happy. It didn’t make me happy. The duplicity and cruelty of some people simply because you have a certain tag can really be astonishing. I also started to realize that SL fashion isn’t about what you know, but who you know.
But, like I said, I had some of the best experiences of my SL life in some of these agencies, before I had the wool pulled from over my eyes, especially in the case of Avenue. I never thought that I’d be able to survive that catastrophe. The lies, rumors, cheating, stealing of money, more lies, bickering, dramatics — all presented with a pretty name that had stars in the tag. The stars that people believed in when it was all a crock of shit. — But, of course my name gets drug through the mud with it. Avenue broke my heart. It changed my perspective on SL modeling and how agencies should be run. It nearly broke my desire to continue. I still think the staff was top notch and they were the glue that held it together. I really commend them for all the work they did, and I enjoyed working with them.
So. I was back to square one again. Not a pageant girl. I left many inactive agencies and was kicked out of the Avenue modeling group (never mind the fact that I earned my place there). The people I worked with had stopped talking to me, hated me, or were probably told some obscene lie or rumor that I must have said about them, and so my friends list was dwindling.
This was also around the time that somebody tried to publicly humiliate my avatar on facebook. They made fun of her appearance, called her grotesque, and disappointed me in their behavior. This person, despite what she has told people, has never apologized to me. The way that people outwardly expressed their dislike for me was one of the most painful experiences in my LIFE. I guess for my real life, I have never been picked on .. and definitely not for my appearance. I learned how crushing it felt. Even though Absinthe is not how I look in my real life, I feel that she is how a part of my soul looks. Her big eyes, strange nose, quirky ears is a reflection of my (sometimes odd) personality. So yes, this was a personal attack to me and I was very blunt when I handled it. At that point, I was simply -tired- of the underhanded, manipulative, passive way people handle situations on Second Life. And, I’m not even one iota apologetic for my response. I was at all all time low in SL. A very.. dark place where I wanted to give up. I just wanted to quit.
Why, when my real life is so nice and comfortable, would I subject myself to the hostility, cattyness, and cruelty of online personalities? Why would I bother logging in, when somebody is going to take a picture of my avatar, and make fun of her like that? And then to see… all the comments from all the people that I looked up to, or I thought were my friend… litter that post…
As you can imagine. My friends list was … losing a lot of weight. It felt like so many people were rejecting me. Not me from being in their agency, or exclusive group, or some pageant. They were rejecting –me-. I never felt more like a fashion reject in my life. And I heard so many times before “You won’t make it anywhere with that face.” or… “Your avie looks soooo fuuuucked up!” from random people at Truth hair, or at Collabor88. I had spent all that time collecting titles and tags for them to be ripped away on the whim of somebody “not liking me” anymore (or my breaking up with them, either way..)
So. Here I am. Back to square 1.
I guess like with many things in life, you have to hit rock bottom before you can really make a change. I realized that.. the people who trashed me, talked about me, stopped talking to me, removed me from their friends list, kicked me out of their agencies…. they weren’t my friends to begin with. That, my Second Life is not about the validation of others. It’s about validation from myself.
And whenever I logged in after that I said to myself, “As long as I have my clothes, and my camera, I’m okay. Nobody can take that from me.” No agency. No hater. No fancy CEO with a title that wants to act like they’re God’s gift to fashion. Noone can take my love for fashion away. I realized at that moment that I could leave it all — and as long as I had those two things, I was okay. I was going to be okay and this was not the end of the world. The SL world, anyway. I also had to stop reading gossip websites. They don’t have the facts. The people who post there don’t know half the story — it’s just a place that is designed to make me feel like shit.
I blocked them from every internet browser in my house and I haven’t looked back. I have absolutely no desire to read what retched thing somebody thinks about me today. I will pass.
It was time to get back to basics. Taking pictures, exploring fashion, and then also.. decorating! You can ask my SL son, Westley Dalton, but I spent nearly 3 months decorating straight. I said it was therapeutic, but really I was healing and thinking. I met my brother, Long Pausch, during that time and I spent a lot of time with him — going to his shows, and I decorated his first little club. He’ll never know, but he saved me by giving me something to do. Kera was a constant ear for me — she heard my cry and held me together. I started to look up to a different group of people. Not the ones with the fancy crowns and the famous tags, but people like Neva Crystall and Petra Messioptra.
Well, it’s simple. Their SL is exactly what they make of it. Their world and creativity is divinely expressed through their love of art and family. I started to see the richness and wholesomeness of their SL through their pictures, but also through how they live their SL lives. And, that… validation will never, EVER, ever come from a tag. It will never ever come from how many groups you’re listed in, how many fashion agencies you belong to, how many runways you tromp down, or who’s magazine you’re in this week.
It comes from the simple things that you enjoy. From your friends and family who appreciate you. From the people who support you, pat you on the back, IM you and say they’re proud of you. It comes from offering a piece of yourself to others without the expectation of it being returned. In giving, and not receiving. This is what my Second Life is about now. I have people that I love, my true friends, and my family that really care for me as I do them. I have my half sim that I’m bargaining more prims for (damn that LTD magazine lol), and I have my pictures. My not so perfectly edited, but somewhat decent pictures that make me go “cool. I like that.”
I don’t do this for the hearts, the stars, or the likes. If I did, I think I’d be a really unhappy person, because I don’t get many. I do it because I love to. It’s my hobby, and it makes me happy. :) I love my sister, Kera and my hubby Rob. My son Wes. I love Xandrah, Vikeejeah, Cassie to bits. I love ALL of my family and friends (it’d be obnoxious to list them all). And, I’ve forgiven, gotten over, and built a bridge over the ones that I feel have disappointed me when I was low. I apologize to those that I may have wronged — but ultimately if they don’t want to talk to me about whatever the situation was that may have hurt them, I can’t fix it.
So, now, what is SL modeling to me.
I think that.. it will always be a rat race of the sorts, and you have to choose if it’s what you want to do. I think that if you have the right perspective it can be a lot of fun as it was for me once-upon-a-time. SL modeling to me is simply being a girl with a camera, dressing up a barbie to make some really cool looks. It can be going down a runway in designer clothing, and modeling in vendor pictures — but it’s more being my own manager — doing what makes me happy, shooting people that inspire me, and wearing clothing that make my toes curl with their “couture goodness.”
Link to O’Clock Issue 3
This is why this O’Clock issue is so special to me. Because I’ve had some SL highs and some really low lows. And it just touches my heart that somebody believes in me enough to want to do a book just about me. I had always dreamed of being on the cover of a magazine alone, however this was like… that dream x 13990438443845.
Who would have thought? So, I get it. I get why.. people feel about me the way that they do. But, I also realize that through my SL experiences, I’ve toughed up. I can take the heat. I can take how people blatantly ignore my accomplishments when I praise theirs. I am humbled and surprised by the cold nature of some personalities. And then I am blessed by the warmth of others.
I am so honored and happy to be apart of O’Clock 3. Thank you to Sidney Mopp for picking me for your magazine when you had no idea who I was. You took a risk and gave me a chance and I’m so honored and thankful to you. I’m so happy to call you my friend. I’m so thankful to the people who picked me up when I was down, like Mila Tatham, and my family. Mila is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met in SL, and her store and designs are simply magic. Picked me up and hugged me when I needed it. Sometimes it sucks being so strong when it feels everybody’s got a bone to pick with you. You know? When you try to tp to a shopping event but your banned, or you try to go to a store and you’re banned from there, too. It’s nice to have a sister, Kera, who can say “Well screw that place. Let’s go dance without panties!” — I’m blessed to have my people. I love.. love.. love my people.
Ferosh came from a dream way over a year ago. Kera and I actually thought it up while we were working with that agency I won’t name again. Of course, we had every right to be scared to share our idea then. This was something that I had always wanted to do in SL. I just didn’t know how. I wasn’t equipped. I think if I would have tried before, I wouldn’t have been emotionally equipped to handle how harsh people can be. I’m ready now.
Timing is everything. Vikeejeah kicked us in the ass and said “Let’s DO THIS!!!” and so without her, I seriously doubt I would have. I kept thinking to myself, “Nobody will want to work with me. Not with the way that I think people see me. They’ll all say no and laugh at me…” But thank god she did.
And yes, some people we approached declined and 1 fell out. But, ultimately, we were able to work with a fantastic group that gave us a chance and took a risk. To them I’m forever grateful.
I think that it’s through my experiences in Second Life that Ferosh will be different than the stereotypical agency where you have to weave through runway acrobats and have a slew of titles behind your name for recognition. I’ve done it all in SL fashion from layouts, to production (poorly as I hate doing that), taking pictures, to runways… to creating budgets and managing a magazine (without the tags). I have the experience to do this, and thankfully the support.
I’ve also had it all taken away from me. The tags. The titles. The agencies. The “friends.” Yes, I was very hurt, but also I learned through that process I’m so so so much more than that. So, I’m not scared of losing these intangible things. They mean nothing to me.
When I look for people to join Ferosh family, I want to see their art, their passion, their personal style. I want to see what they love to do, and and their skill. I want to see a model in some small agency who’s just *rocking* that runway because she’s so happy just to be on it! That is Ferosh. It’s not something that I can pass out to people, but something that people already have. It’s when you’ve let go of that desire to be the BEST, and are simply satisfied in being the best YOU.
Short. Small. Broken Nose. Red hair. blue hair. Big ass or… not. However you want your avitar to be should be just as it is. Though it may not be accepted by some, there are at least 15 other people who do accept you. It has been said that Absi couldn’t be a model with this face. … Well. Thank goodness I didn’t put in weight into that opinion. Thank goodness.
I am happier now. I don’t expect for people to take my path, or follow my footsteps. I don’t even know if I have a path to be honest. But my God, it’s not an easy one. But, there will always be struggle when you go against the norm. However, be thankful for where you come from, who you are, and for the people that love you and support you. Be thankful every time you get to do a runway show (if you like that kind of thing) or if you get to be in a vender ad. Thank the people who give you opportunities and be sincere about it. Do your best to be on time for your appointments, to dress or style as they have asked, and to meet your deadlines — these are the people that are giving you a chance to participate in making something wonderful. :)
Try to go to events without wearing your tags sometimes. Just be you. Beautiful. Fabulous. Wonderful. You. :) IM somebody you haven’t spoken to in a while and tell them you like something they’ve done (you must really like it) and don’t expect that they’ll shower you back with compliments. Do it because giving and sharing positive energy makes your life more wholesome.
I am so thankful, and so excited for where the future may go for me and Second Life. It’s time to start a new chapter! And its started off with a bang! So cheers to how this virtual world can teach you a little bit about who you are in your first world. <3
Anybody anybody ever needs to chat, I’m all ears and closed lips.
You, you rock my lives, both of them. <3
I applaud you for sharing your story, Absi. So many people are afraid to. I have had some growing pains in SL fashion as well. Some very similar to what you’ve experienced. I think that is why you and I can identify with one another so much. Individuality in this RP is very often shunned because it’s feared. Feared by those who want to control others through some internal desires to simply hurt others because they hurt on a subconscious level. I learned to make my own way in SL, much the way that you did, and I am grateful for all that I have here. It feels good because it’s all yours. I feel you on every level, girl. I admire you more than I can express. I’m so happy to call you my friend. A real friend not just someone I am friends with when I log in. You have an amazing spirit and I will always defend you against those who don’t know wtf they’re talking about. They don’t know the real Absinthe. It’s a shame too, cuz they’re missing out <3
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I really enjoyed reading this. I personally think you have one of the most beautiful and unique avatars in SL, and that uniqueness is only part of what makes you special as a model and photographer. Anybody who has eyes for a beautiful fashion spread can see that you work incredibly hard and put pure 100% passion into your photos. Also, it was really comforting and down to earth of you to share your struggles with the SL Fashion world. I’m sure it took a lot of guts!
Also, FEROSH was an incredible project. You guys killed it! Thank you for giving us beautiful things to look at and be inspired by!
I don’t know you, but I saw your pictures and avi and fell in love with your creative genius. It makes me happy to read that you have found “yourself” and perhaps the struggle and the process is why your work is so strong! LOVE and keep it up! ;)