Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory Year-End Introspective Retrospective

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By the end of 2008, my honeymoon with avatar existence was definitely over. After nine months of daily blog posts and a continuous stream of comics and machinima, the work of putting together a one-bot art exhibition finally pushed me over the edge of endurance, leaving me strung-out and exhausted.

A year later, I'm happy to report that I've transitioned to a sustainable approach to leading a creative virtual life. Since many who read this blog are also challenged by the demands of active dual identities, I thought I'd share some of the changes I've made this year that have been most beneficial:
  • I stopped fighting the fact that there will never be enough time in a day to realize every creative vision.  When I fail to consciously accept this truth there is a part of me that must be dragged kicking and screaming away from any creative work. This is still something I wrestle with. Fighting reality is the main cause of any unhappiness I experience. It's a relief to pause from the battle.
  • I gave up pseudonymity when its wings became an anchor. This was an important lesson for me about the need for courage in a creative vocation. Although evolution can gently lead us through a series of small adaptations, there are times when it demands that we leap through the ring of fire into a new and unseen state of being. Those who do not heed this call are doomed to become self-plagiarizing caricatures of themselves. 
  • I realized that I can soothe my creative hunger by snacking on Tweets. There is a unique joy in the art of fashioning and sharing pithy gems via social networks. No matter how busy the day, I can almost always find five minutes to go to the creative well and come up with a thimbleful of refreshment.
  • I finally grokked that small is beautiful. Although I have a number of grand works on the back-burner, I've learned to love taking a small concept and giving it enough life to make it worthy of sharing. Offering food for thought can be just as valuable a providing a fully fleshed-out work.
  • I learned that adversarial engagement is a no-win game.  After a few unfortunate skirmishes earlier this year, I finally figured out that it is best to reserve debate for those who seem to be more committed to discerning the emerging truth than defending their fixed ideology.
Life is good. My one New Year's resolution is to continue to consciously follow my muse wherever it leads. Otherwise, why bother with a virtual life?


Lalo Telling said...

Otherwise, why bother with Life of any sort?

Happy New Year, Botgirl

eirwenes said...

I enjoyed the list very much, and especially the last one. That's something we all "grok," I imagine, without ever expressing it quite so nicely. Happy New Year! I'm looking forward to spending another year with you. :-)

Shelby Rasmuson said...

First one I am slowly coming to grips with...trying to do everything and be everything to everyone is the way to burnout..

sororNishi said...

Happy New Year, Botgirl, you are a light for us all. Glad you are on an even keel.

iliveisl said...

wow, a very different experience for you (makes sense since we are different people). i love my virtual identity, been three years now and many projects (doing 12 sims isl and 4 in reaction grid is enough in itself). not being critical of yours at all, just sharing mine

my virtual identity "seems" to be very much that of my inner child and a place from when i was 14 and the world was full of colour and dreams. maybe that is a significant differentiator, an event changed my life at that age

so for me to slip into my virtual identity (which is not what i really do, it just is me, but a bit more focused on one aspect) is like a breath of really fresh air

i don't think i will ever tire of that "ahhhh" feeling. but time will tell

"becoming" my virtual identity was just another creative outlet for me, a place to allow my heart to create joy for myself. it does not feel contrived or forced at all. in fact, i have thought of changing my rl name to my avatar's name. before anyone thinks that is weird, why is that any stranger than accepting your real name? you did not give it to yourself, your parents did

anyway, i blab . . . i admire you very much Botgirl and am a little saddened that Botgirl Questi does not seem to feel as right to you as mine does to me (and it's likely i totally misinterpreted what you wrote!) =)


Botgirl Questi said...

Lalo: It seems to me that in the physical world, there are many more requirements for maintenance and survival that fall outside the call of the muse. Laundry, shopping, cleaning, cooking, financial demands, etc. Although a few choose to abandon convention and live the life of a starving artist, very few are willing to make the related sacrifices.

Eirwenes: Thanks. It will be interesting to see what the future holds!

Shelby: I think in my case, I was only able to wake up to the situation by crashing and burning. Virtual life can open up very powerful latent forces that can be overwhelming. For me, it centered around a sense of unlimited creative potential. For others, it is the ability to experience emotional intimacy, social connection, leadership,...whatever dimensions of life that had been otherwise suppressed or unrealized.

Although we very well may have the inner potential to actualize our new virtual powers, few people have physical life situations that can support them fully (as I outlined in a bit above in my comment to Lalo.)

The good news in my case, was that the physical life supporting my virtual existence was stable enough to bend, but not break during the manic phase of non-stop creativity. And that I was able to eventually create a sustainable and satisfying compromise without abandoning virtual life, as a number of my virtual workaholic friends chose to do last year.

sosor: Thanks!

iliveisl: Thanks for sharing some of your experience! Actually, the problem for me was not that being Botgirl didn't feel "right", but rather the opposite. She is such a powerful force, on the level of an archetypal goddess of creativity, that the underlying human life could not manifest a fraction of the channeled energy. To do so would require the elimination of sleep, work, family responsibilities, etc.

I really admire your ability to manage so many projects while maintaining what seems to be an underlying sense of joy and freedom. And to balance whatever physical world responsibilities you have within the context of your virtual pursuits.

Bettina Tizzy said...

Happy New Year, Botgirl! Kudos for finding your sweet spot in between two full lives.

I'm still trying to figure out how to balance things. The hardest part is the guilt on both ends of my life (virtual and real) because now there is so much more to address in the same 24 hours. I do know one thing for sure... I can never go back to having just one life.

Senban Babii said...

Happy new year to Botgirl and indeed everyone in her life :)

I definitely agree with your final point and life is filled with less friction as a result. Oh my god how I used to fight and argue with people! Now, things are a lot more mellow and relaxed :)

I'd definitely agree with your point to about how Botgirl is a powerful force. I feel the same about Senban. But in truth I don't see Senban as being something I step into and out of. She's my projection into a space and I love the raw power of Senban's existence! Because that power is part of my overall existence across parallel identities. Senban is nothing less than part of my decentered self and the energy crosses over into the other pieces of my self just as elements of my self cross over into Senban's existence. But you're right! Senban and Botgirl can be seductively powerful and we can easily crash and burn if we don't recognise that power for what it is and learn to handle it accordingly.

iliveisl said...

after consideration and clearing my head of it's fog and seeing a comment by Botgirl on my blog, i am adding this to supplement my earlier comment

now i see that you developed Botgirl as an explicit experiment or, dare I say, art work. that helps me understand your post better indeed

my virtual identity was simply an avenue to further express myself and yours seems more an avenue to expand yourself - yours being a much more difficult, yet much more creative endeavor

you have dispelled my melancholy clouds =)

i truly bow to the divine within you =)