As I cut fabric for a customer, I wonder how I got here. Living in Arizona, in a one bedroom apartment alone and barely surviving, I fold the fabric in neat piles as I cut lengths of different ones with colorful patterns for the customer who was going to use them to make a quilt for her grandson. I tuck my shoulder length wavy brown hair behind my ear to keep it out my brown eyes and bite my lower lip as I think about my so-called life.
I'm a 44-year-old pretty woman, a little on the heavy side with a nice personality and lots of game but right now in February 2008, I just feel like all my adventures are over. When did my dreams of owning my own home and being married to a wonderful man turn into a distant fantasy that would never happen? I couldn't tell you really when I stopped wanting anything but I did. My reality became work, paying bills, and sleeping. Then a co-worker turned me on to this online alternate reality and my world changed. I finished work excited again for the first time in years, hurrying home to find out more about it.
I hurry through my front door and drop my purse on the kitchen counter and hang my sweater in the closet. My computer is in my bedroom on a little desk with a comfortable black leather chair. I turn it on and as I wait, I run to the kitchen and fix myself a sandwich, grab a Coke, and get ready to embark on my journey through Second Life. Once my computer was ready, I searched for Second Life and found it. I started the process of making my character and thought how great it was to create the me I would love to be in my real life. I called her Cairo Illios and as she was being created, I felt like I was being recreated.
Once I had my avatar I was taken to a place to learn how to navigate through this virtual world and it took me a few days to learn how to walk, fly, talk to others, and learn the basics of functioning in this new world. In a month I learned how to get free clothes, new skin, and pretty hair and met different people from all over the world who came to this virtual one to socialize and not be lonely anymore. I realized I needed a job in Second Life to pay for other improvements I wanted to make to my character. So I looked around and found a club that I thought would be nice to work in. It was called Club Eros so I applied and got the job.
Although I met and got to know other avatars before I started working at this club as a cupid, this became my virtual home with my virtual family and is where I met the love of my virtual life. As a cupid, my job was to dance and flirt and make the men who came there feel special. The women too if I was so inclined. We had a DJ and a host, and wonderful music to dance to. It was virtually a real club.
There, I met Guido Dalglish, another dancer at the club who was shy and adorable and I watched him while I danced with patrons of the club. Eventually he asked me out and I accepted. He asked what I wanted to do and I just said play checkers to be funny so he found this place where you could play checkers and played. I thought he was just too cute. We became an item and set a record at the club for staying together almost 10 years as a couple in a virtual world. We became good friends in real life and to this day we still talk to each other.
As it turned out, eventually I stopped playing in my virtual world because things in my real life changed and there was no time for it anymore. But as I looked back I realized that being there helped me relate to people again. It helped me find my flirty self and I met people from all over the world who I never would have met in real life. That is an experience I will cherish forever.
Relaxing at Home
I created an avatar of the me I wanted to be.