The advantage of writing posts a few weeks in advance is that by the time they are published, their content is very often old news, which makes things so much easier when dealing with some of the more personal points I might occasionally raise, which will often have been superceded by other things by the time you come to read them. So when that personal stuff does see the light of day, it is – hopefully – history.
As I write today’s post, it would be fair to say I’m not in a particularly happy place. During the course of the last week I’ve been a bit of an emotional mess, and the normal, rational person that I prefer to be seems to have nipped off for a break from reality, leaving me somewhat nonplussed.
Some of those inworld who know me may be a little surprised to find that I am indeed human, rather than some sort of vat spawned automaton, devoid of emotion and impervious to such facile distractions, but I am indeed a normal person – perhaps more sensitive than you might imagine – cut me, and I bleed; say the wrong thing in the wrong situation, right now, and I might well burst into tears, such is my fragile state at present.
And, of course, feeling sad and sorry for myself, I do all the usual things that most people tend to do, including that most weirdly human reaction when feeling down of seeking solace in doleful and soulful music.
Commonsense would say that the logical thing to do when feeling flat is to find a pick-me-up, something that will give you a lift and back on track again. Unfortunately, logic tends to go out of the window in these situations, and what our emotions tell us is that we need a metaphorical shoulder to cry on: It’s a kind of empathy. There’s nothing more comforting when you’re feeling miserable, it seems, than wallowing in equally miserable music.
When it comes to finding things we can relate to, whatever frame of mind we happen to find ourselves in, there are few places more suited to the purpose than SL. I’m certain that many of us flee to the virtual world when the real world becomes too much to handle, not so much because it’s an escape from reality – we can find that in a wide variety of alternative realities, from books and movies to drink and drugs – but I think it’s because SL allows us to pick and choose our escape to suit our mood and situation. Whether it’s company or solitude we seek, retail therapy or carnal delights, the open road or the anonymity of a crowded dancefloor, there will be something to which we can relate and which will perfectly mirror our feelings and needs.
Sometimes, what we need is to run away to a secluded forest grove and let the grief out; other times what we need is to run away to the circus and lose our dignity beneath the protective mask of the clown’s smiling make-up. Whatever diversion we seek, SL permits us to seek comfort, empathy, sympathy and whatever else it is we might need to get us back onto our feet and functioning again. That’s something we can’t always find in the real world, and even if we could, we’re still stuck right there in the real world – the one place where our problems and trials lurk and torment us, no matter how far we may run from them.
But, they can’t follow us inworld… They don’t have a login.
Well, I’ve got thick skin and an elastic heart,
But your blade—it might be too sharp
I’m like a rubber band until you pull too hard,
Yeah, I may snap and I move fast
But you won’t see me fall apart
‘Cause I’ve got an elastic heart
Sia – Elastic Heart