I had originally thought I might not share this interview as Bella is still sometimes in SL. Had this been an anonymous posting I might have stuck with that decision. I am trying not to censor these in any way and as I thought about it, I find it interesting that she considers herself as having left SL. Her character that she played is clearly no longer at the table but she (the person behind the avatar) still checks in at times.
Recently the subject of people who leave, some even faking their RL death, or an illness, only to come back as some other avatar has come up. I find it interesting again, that people do that. Some are involved in scandal, some have other reasons, but to do so would mean they would most likely not be involved with the same people. I recently discovered someone I know, who has been away, has returned, removed all trace of her past "qualifications" and replaced them with new ones. Again, interesting. So here is Bella's interview:
Why did you originally start in SL and did you have any specific goals or hopes for your experience?
I started in 2007 and I didn't have any goals or hopes i was just curious about Second Life and wanted to see what it was about.
Were you role playing a character or was your avatar the real you?
Oh it was all me, I can't be anyone else.
Looking back now, do you think there was another reason you went in and stayed as long as you did?
I stayed for the few real friends that I met.
How did SL help you?
Well it taught me how to open up since I am shy in real life it also taught me how to react in certain situations in a better way than I was used to.
Did SL harm you in any way, if so how?
No, it could of tho if I let it get to me.
What was the best experience you had?
Meeting some wonderful people.
What was the worst?
Finding out that people you thought were true to you actually were not.
What was the cost, if any, for your RL? Or was it just totally a benefit?
It was a 100% benefit.
I am sure you lived through, perhaps even survived some or many of the dramas that unfold in SL, can you speak to a couple of things about those types of incidents. Firstly the perpetrators and secondly the victims. What would you like to say to them in terms of helpful advice?
I have had a few, first relationships. You need to keep your eyes open and think with your head and not the heart, this is still the internet and we all are strangers. We all come to Second Life for our own reasons some bad and some good but we have to remember everyone is dealing with their own demons. I would say to just not let the bad in Second life get to you too much in real life, if you find yourself doing that then I suggest you log off .
Do you miss it? What specifically do you miss?
I am still on Second life but not as much. I have a main avi that i used to model on but grew tired of the backstabbing and the drama. I have another account that I use 95% of the time now to keep in touch with friends and have some fun . I do not miss the modeling at all, people think it all fun and games but it can be a very sad thing if you take things to heart to easy.
What has LL failed to understand about the potential of SL?
Oh the business side of it all. There are limitless amounts of opportunities for business on sl but I think they fail to promote it.
What about society as a whole, what should they know about SL?
*sighs* there is good and bad.. it saddens me that many think SL is all about sex even tho it does play a huge part in it. There are some of us that come here and not for the sex.
I know that you were involved/exposed to the fashion industry during your time in SL. What is your take on the whole dynamics of the group.
I was involved and at first it seemed so fun but then you see the backstabbing and the drama of it all. It made me second guess myself when I know I didn't need too. One of the things that bothers me most is that women and men take the whole SL modeling so serious! This is not RL I've seen grown men and women act like idiots over it. Perhaps if they put that much attention to their RL instead they wouldn't act so crazy.
Do you think anyone can come into SL, work hard and get ahead or is there more involved than that?
Sure you can as long as you learn how to keep the drama out of your SL life and yes it can be done.
Did there come a point when you knew that the shine was pretty much gone for you? Did you do anything to try and rekindle that or were you prepared to walk away at that point? In hindsight do you think you should have left earlier?
Well the shine went out of modeling and I knew I was done with that. I walked away with no regrets except how much time I spent on it. I think that I left at the perfect time. Like I stated I still go on SL but on another avi , just for fun tho after I take care of real life.
Romantic relationships in SL ... What is that all about and do you think they are healthy, fun, dangerous or all the above?
Oh they can be wonderful and they can be tragic. You just have to remember to think with your head but I know that some can't do that, they come to Sl because they are lonely and not getting what they want out of a possible RL relationship, Sl relationships can ruin a rl one in a blink of an eye. There are good and bad men and women here in SL when it comes to relationships. I see many women and some men that get all involved in them, they meet on Sunday and by Monday they are in love with not even knowing who the other person really is. They sit behind their computer screens all mopey if the other doesn't log on and think they only can be happy if that other person comes on. Never ever make anyone on SL your whole life let it be your SL or RL
Anyone from SL still make an active effort to keep in touch with you? Any long lasting friendships or have you completely moved on?
I have a few, my SL mother has been my friend for 6 yrs on SL and i am proud to call her a RL friend. I have a few others that keep in touch but for the most no.
Would you be happy to see your daughters plugging into SL and being as excited about it as you once were? Why or why not?
She never would so I am not concerned about it.
Do you think people really understood who you were while you were here? If not, what are some of the things you think people missed and you wish they had known?
I am sure I was misunderstood by many but not in a bad way. I am pretty shy in RL and some take it as being stuck up in SL. I am a pretty loving person and i think they didn't see all that if they didn't take the time to get to know me.
Looking back what do you think SL could have been, maybe should have been for you?
Hmm I have no regrets at all about coming to SL, like I stated before I do not let the drama of SL near me so it's been a pretty smooth ride for me
What are you doing now? Do you think SL contributed in any way to the path you are now on? If so, what and how?
I am still on SL but not like I used to be. In the beggining I was on all the time then I seen that RL is much more important. I think we all make that mistake at first, it becomes addictive. Sl has taught me many things and most of them good I'd say 98% good.
Any final comments?
I see far too many rl relationships suffer from SL, let it be your children or partner... turn off that computer and take care of your kids!
If you, or someone you know, would like to take part in these interviews, please contact me online in SL as Bliss Windlow, or on Facebook under the same name, or at my email: email@example.com. Whether you want your name used or not, is totally up to you. I will not edit your responses excepting that I will now allow for anything that is aimed at someone currently in SL by way of naming them for some wrong doing. The purpose of this is dicsussion and exploration, not a witch hunt or retribution.