I hate to conform – I’d go so far as to say that a substantial proportion of my life has been engaged in one long attempt to be subversive, not in a particularly dangerous or edgy sort of way, but more along the lines of not wishing to follow the crowd, with a decent helping of sticking it to ‘the man’, and some mild rebellion against whatever authoritarian entity happens to be ‘in charge’. I’ve certainly never been one to be in with the in-crowd or to toe the line when I can otherwise justify doing things my way. Occasionally it has got me into trouble, but mostly it’s meant that I’ve lurked on the fringes, carving out my own niche, rather than feeling compelled to fit into anybody else’s.
But of a square peg in a round hole? Well, yes – but it’s of my own making, and at least I can say I’ve always done things my own way.
That’s almost certainly why SL appeals so much – it is, of course, an ideal place for someone like me; it’s a little subversive and its very nature means that it’s unlikely to ever become mainstream and popular – it’s an ideal environment for dropouts, rebels and non-conformists of every kind. In many ways, it’s what those who know better would call a stabilising influence – something that allows me to explore the more extreme parts of my character in a safe and non-damaging environment… to which I say “Cobblers!” – I’m perfectly safe and undamaged being who I am in the real world, I don’t need SL to be my hidey-hole where I can misbehave and be rebellious: That’s what RL is for – SL is for me to be just like everyone else, a place where all of that crap from the real world has no business being, so basically I can just get on with things with none of the hangups associated with being me in RL.
So, my inworld persona tends to fall into a recognisable and fairly standard pigeonhole: pretty ‘normal’, (by SL standards), maybe a little quirky and eccentric, but not particularly outrageous or way out, and for the vast majority of the time, that’s exactly what you’ll get – boring – if it’s edgy, wayward and a pain in the butt you’re looking for – but fun (well, possibly).
However, even in the virtual world, I find my rebellious nature occasionally has to be satisfied. There are times, often triggered by real world events or maybe an unexpected inworld occurrence, or just sometimes an unrestrained mood swing, when I can go right off the rails.
Those are the occasions when even those who know me well may raise a bemused eyebrow, or even be a little shocked at the sudden inexplicable transformation. The fairly even, predictable and reasonably well adjusted person they are used to can suddenly turn into something completely unrecognisable. I become the sort of lout who gets shouted at for riding motorcycles at speed in pedestrian areas; children are hustled indoors when I appear; and those of a nervous disposition – mafioso, cage fighters, and the like – find excuses to TP away from my presence. Be unfortunate enough to run into me on these occasions and you’d be forgiven for thinking I was one of those undesirable people your mum warned you about – the wild, staring eyes, unkempt hair, shredded clothing, bristling weapons, bruises, tattoos and crazy behaviour tell their own story.
It’s all show and bluster though – I don’t become some mad griefer, intent on alienating those around me and trashing the joint: All I’m doing really is aimed at myself, because deep down inside I just don’t want to be normal, conformist and a pillar of society, and there’s always a danger that’s what I might indeed become inworld without the perspective that a real world environment would otherwise assert.
It’s not done to shock or to grab attention, it’s more a case of that overused profile declaration: ‘RL and SL – I’m the same in both worlds’ . At the core, I am, but most of the time that’s really not how I present myself. In RL, I’m shy, retiring, quiet and have no desire to join in, participate or otherwise express myself in any way publicly – inworld, it’s a completely different story, but inside I’m still the same person, and sometimes that needs to find its way to the surface. Sometimes – even in SL – I have to go off the rails and be the awkward, fringes of society rebellious dropout that I really am. Enough said.
And, of course, it’s a whole lot of fun too!
Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress
Rebel Rebel, your face is a mess
Rebel Rebel, how could they know?
Hot tramp, I love you so!
David Bowie – Rebel Rebel