Saturday, February 20, 2016

Getting Adopted in Second Life

You can kid the world, but not your sister.  

Charlotte Gray


           Many of you, especially my three loyal readers, are familiar with my wanderings and various misadventures across Second Life (SL) for the last several years.  (And are also aware of Significant Other’s astonishment that I still haven’t been booted out.) You’re probably familiar with my interest in the communities that form inworld and the relationships within them. 

          Along the way, I’ve made many friends.  Some very close and whom I consider as close or closer than some of my Real Life (RL) friends. (Contrary to Significant Other’s claims otherwise, I do have some. OK, just a few.)  Now, in this story, I’m reporting a new relationship for myself and another in SL. 

          I’ve been adopted by a SL resident as her older brother.  I now have a little sister! 

          I’m proud to announce that Bec Kellstrom and I are now inworld siblings.  (Took a
while for Significant Other to accept that Bec hadn’t just lost a bet and was being a good sport.) 

          Bec is a religious minister and member of the board of First UCC in SL, a RL church based inworld.  Before her RL caregiving duties took over, she [provided pastoral care within the congregation and specifically to the LGBT community.  Many of whom, not having RL support, have come inworld looking for assistance.  First UCC is an Open and Affirming member of the United Church of Christ (UCC) in RL.  First UCC is open to all from all faiths unconditionally.  (Hey, they let me hang around and I’m on the Inquisition’s watch list.  (Yeah, they’re still around.  It’s another story for another time.))  Bec’s interests inworld include dancing, exploring, and becoming the Queen of Freebies. 

          In RL, Bec is an ordained minister in the UCC.  She served as a local church pastor and as a spiritual advisor to students. Presently, Bec divides her time between her family and handling all social media for First UCC.  Bec’s RL interests include dancing (If only in her living room!) and exploring the great outdoors.

          How did I end up with a little sister inworld?  (Significant Other asks why this poor woman.)

          Bec and I first met in early 2014 when I was experimenting with social media and looking for God inworld.  (Not to digress, She, God, is there.  Check my story for the details.) We became friends and worked on other stories about First UCC.  Along the way, we talked about about philosophy, theology, and books.  (What else do you talk with a minister about?)  We also discovered a mutual interest in Doctor Who, all things Whovian, and LEGO.  I admit freely to being eccentric.  Bec can speak for herself. 

          The catalyst in our relationship came in late 2014 when I suffered a major loss in RL.  (Significant Other nods in agreement here.) I was devastated and I was helped by Significant Other and others in RL.  But, the one person who reached out to me and was there for me inworld was Bec.  She counseled and guided me through a very difficult time in my life when nights were dark and the world had gone to bed. (Significant Other says, “Thanks you!”)  I’m forever grateful to Bec for the time she spent with me during this time. 

          After that, Bec and I continued to meet and chat about ideas for stories and whatever was happening in RL that astonished or annoyed us.  Whenever I met a SL resident who needed help in RL, I turned to Bec and her associates at First UCC and there was always a response. 

With Bec’s permission, I'll also share that it's not only me going to her for help.
Last year she suffered a near tragedy with one of her RL loved ones.  While she cared for many people all at once in her world, I did what I could to be supportive: sent messages to check in, chatted whenever she was available, and provided humor when sorrow overwhelmed the poor woman. Having only recently surfaced from that difficult time, Bec said she's eternally grateful to me for all I did. The level of mutual care and concern, as she and I each helped the other through hard times, cemented the feeling of being siblings!

          Of course, there were the other little things.  Like Bec’s commenting on why I only had three outfits inworld.  (Truthfully, I hadn’t noticed until she raised the point.)  There were additional comments about my inworld habits, tendency to overplan, and my other little idiosyncrasies. (Significant Other would like it to be noted that similar points have been raised in RL.)  Then one day, Bec called me “Big Bro”, I called her “L’il Sis” in reply, and the names stuck.  (Significant Other whistles A Boy Named Sue in the background.)

          In fairness, I gave as good as I got.  I teased and made the kind of Big Brother jokes that have been around since Creation.  (I got in at least one reference from Scripture!)  Of course, I received sharp elbows, an arched eyebrow, and incessantly rolling eyeballs.  When I needed a date for a friend’s wedding, Bec asked archly if I couldn’t do any better than my own sister.  (Significant Other is convinced Bec regards
me as a soul who can be redeemed.  Significant Other wishes her luck.)  Interestingly, neither of us already had our respective roles in RL.  Bec was the oldest in her family and I had only a younger brother. 

          What do we get from this sibling arrangement inworld?

          I get nagged. 

          Bec gets teased.

          I mean this happens a lot! 

          Seriously, we each have a new sibling to help us in our journeys in SL and RL.  Bec says that we care about each other and both of us have a tendency to be bossy.  We will probably never meet in RL.  But, we’re there for each other, sharing our thoughts and supporting each other.   And, isn’t this what SL should be all about? 

What occurred between Bec and me wasn’t planned.  It just happened slowly, developing overtime.  Bec has read every one of my blog posts since we met, even ones that made her shake her head.  Bec says we talked a lot and became great friends and then moved onto something closer.  Our RL Significant Others know of our mutual adoption and approve.  (Mine is happy to have someone else to share the burden of me with.)  Bec and I [now better understand the many people who discover their family] inworld!

          I’d like to thank Bec for recognizing as her brother and as part of her family.  I owe a great deal to this wonderful woman and am realizing what I missed by not having my own little sister growing up in RL! 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives! 

Additional pictures from my visits can be found on this flickr page. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.
          Open roads and kind fires!