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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Retiring as a blogger

Over a year has passed since I made my last SL-related entry here. I have been successfully undergoing psychotherapy since December and for the first time in 18 years (sic), I am depression-free now. I am in a committed long-distance relationship and we are working on moving my partner, who is US-American, to Germany for good. I will go back to university in autumn to finish my education, which suffered under the depression as well. It is no exaggeration if I say that I am happier now than I have ever been in my adult life before, even if the therapeutic work is not over yet.

Second Life and “Vintage Verwood” were a way to cope when my first life was anything but rosy. They provided an escape, and it worked for a while by engaging my mind and allowing me to become creative. The happiest memories I have of this time are all related to blogging and the people I got to know through it.
So it is with a crying and a laughing eye that I officially retire from updating this blog. I will not delete “Vintage Verwood”, but as I recover, the need to escape vanishes, and so does the free time I have as I re-build my real life. This year, I haven’t spent more than a few minutes per month in world, and it’s not going to change anytime soon. I’m going to stay “active” on plurk, and going to check on Aderyn once in a while – if not for the fond memories, I would have walked away for good long ago.

Thank you to all my readers and thank you to the people who reached out to me in-world. I will miss you.

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On my prolonged absence

Before the year comes to an end, it is about time to give a little update on this blog: “Vintage Verwood” is not dead, but on a very long hiatus. I haven’t been in world for a couple of months and probably won’t be in the overseeable future, for the simple reason that I need to take care of my first life before I can even think of the second one.

I suffer from chronic depression and hit a low earlier this year that pretty much brought both the virtual and the real life to a halt, and sucked the joy out of both. A conscious decision to stay away was never made, it just happened, but I have no doubt that it was the right thing to do.

A few months are a long time in a virtual world, where everything is much more fast-paced, but the beauty of it is that one will catch up again equally fast after a substantial absence, and I am already looking forward to doing it.

A happy new year to everyone, Aderyn Verwood

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Whenever we make a blog post, the words are “out there”, accessible to everyone worldwide (at least in theory). Yet, with the Second Life community being one of a limited size and the musings of its members being of no particular interest to anyone outside of it, it’s all too easy to forget that those words can be carried away from the intended audience. It happened to me with my last blog entry on Sunday.

I stand by my words and do not wish to take back any of it. I spent quite a while debating the pro and contra of publishing the entry, but in the end, decided to go for it because the topic is important to me. After all, people can choose to not read it if it bothers them, and I believe that HIV-awareness should be higher than it currently is, for a lot of reasons.

According to the WordPress statistics, this particular post brought a few people from outside the SL-community to my blog, but not significantly more than any of my other posts. There are always people googling for pictures of real-life vintage fashion or seemingly completely unrelated things who end up at “Vintage Verwood”. However, one of those visitors wrote a blog entry herself and decided to quote parts of mine (you can find the links and my elaborations in the comments on the previous entry), and I find that it bothers me – not because my words are used, but because they were taken out of context and are leading a life of their own now and the same incomplete compilation of them appears in various syndications of articles related to World AIDS Day.

What bothers me most is that my original blog post was made in the form of an avatar “speaking” to other avatars, and published together with comments about virtual fashion. Within the context it appeared – on a Second Life-related blog and syndicated to various Second Life-related feeds – it made sense. Being singled out as “the voice from Germany” in between real life-blogs by real-life people, not so much – not because what I wrote isn’t true, but because the real-life me has a lot more to say on the topic than “Aderyn Verwood” put into the original post.

In the end, I guess I would not have minded as much had I known about this before. The topic is a very serious one to me and my original point was not so much detailing why I care about it or that I love my friend and care about his well-being, but to consciously take a break amidst the holiday troubles and remind myself of all the people living with HIV (other than my friend), and to give the readers of my blog a little heads up on it, too. At a time when the number of people who underestimate the effects of a HIV-infection is on the rise and at a time when there are voices claiming the use of condoms is a sin, and when the vast majority of the population of the Western world believes that there is no danger from HIV anymore, or that it is a problem restricted to so-called Third-World-countries, at such a time, I wanted to send out a signal. No less, but also no more.

Most of you who are reading this probably did not come here to educate yourself about HIV. Maybe you believe your knowledge about it already is sufficient – before I learnt about my friend’s HIV-infection, I thought the same, only to discover that most of what I knew was incomplete or not up-to-date anymore. In case you feel like updating yourself, here are two links I found particularly helpful back then, and still do:

http://www.namlife.org/cms1254847.aspx

http://www.aidsmap.com/cms1038153.aspx

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December 1 is World AIDS Day, and on this occasion I would like to do a blog post to raise awareness of a condition we all know about, but – for various reasons – choose to largely ignore in everyday life.

A very dear friend of mine is HIV-positive, and he also is the person who first introduced me to SecondLife® in December 2007. Without him, I wouldn’t be here, writing this post.

Like most people, I knew about HIV, but the role it played in my life was too insignificant to ever become more than a distant, abstract threat that seemingly did not belong to my environment. Now, no day goes past that I don’t think of it consciously, that I don’t hope for improvement of already existing therapies or for a breakthrough in scientific research, so that a cure might be found.

At a time of the year when most of the Western hemisphere has its collective thoughts on either upcoming or past holidays, I would like to take a break for World AIDS Day and for all those who are infected with HIV – regardless of age, race, gender, sexual identity or social status; regardless of whether their infection was a risk they took, an accident, or fate; whether they were born with it or not.

To my friend, I’d just like to say: I hope that many decades from now, we will sit together, old and wrinkly, laughing about the times when we were young. I love you.

——————————————————————————————————————————————–

Of course, the red ribbon I’m wearing is very anachronistic, but in this case, I really don’t care.

My outfit is a new-ish release by Ingenue that I love so much that I’m not yet willing to change into something else. Both the high-waisted “Jane Jean” and the “Marguerite” sweater have a playful, pin-up style sexiness which is never really out of date, so even if vintage or retro fashion are not usually your cup of tea, you still might enjoy these two items. The quality is, as always with Betty Doyle’s creations, very high, so there really is no reason why you should hesitate to get one of the many colours she offfers.
If your balance is currently low or you still need further persuasion, there’s a red version of the Jane Jean available through a Midnight Mania board at Ingenue – just touch the board and with a bit of luck, you’ll receive a free copy at midnight SLT.

Since I recently joined the “iheartsl.com bloggers”-group, I will from now on note all promotional items I received through them with a bold “R” for “review copy”.

Body:

  • Skin: (5th & Oxford) FAIR Audrey Summer Cocktails 5
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]
  • Hair: >Truth< “Ashlynn” espresso

Outfit:

Other:

  • Pose: [LAP] Wonder Girls II – The Zoe

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After weeks of attempting to get back into blogging mode and miserably failing at producing anything worth sharing, I’m just going to leave a little note here:

I have given up neither SL nor this blog, but health problems (still the same that plagued me back in June already) had all but eroded any creativity and patience in me for a good while. In addition, currently I don’t have as much spare time as I used to, which makes it even more difficult to come up with something.

However, I remain hopeful that both me and “Vintage Verwood” will be back on track soon. 🙂

MGJ2PGZAKG8C

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Usually, I keep my personal life out of the blog posts, apart from the odd comment on the side. Who I am outside of Second Life® does not play a role in them. Today, however, I’d like to take a stand on a topic I cannot discuss without bringing my personal life up: same-sex marriage.

I have lived most of my adult life as an out lesbian, and these days I identify as a bisexual woman with a preference for women. The day my home country, Germany, introduced civil unions for same-sex couples is still very vivid in my memory. Back then, I assumed it would be the first step on a road to complete legal equality, but the process slowed down and there still are differences between marriages and civil unions.

Being a second-class citizen hurts – because that’s what you are if you choose to spend your life with a person who doesn’t have a different gender than your own. It hurts not only when you already have a partner, but also when you are single. Every day you are reminded that you don’t have the same rights most of your fellow citizens take for granted.

Those who oppose marriage equality often claim that marriages and families need to be protected, and I agree with them. However, they don’t need protection from gay couples, but from the hardships life keeps serving all of us. Allowing two people of the same gender to marry does not wreck heterosexual marriages. Allowing a person to be covered by their same-sex partner’s social security benefits does not harm children. Granting same-sex couples the legal visitation rights should their partner end up in hospital does not make the divorce rate among heterosexual couples go up.

Legally, it doesn’t matter if the person who brings chicken broth soup to my bed when I’m sick, who I buy a house with or who I travel together with is a man or a woman. We live in a time where equal legal rights are claimed for men and women – why, I ask, do so many people still insist that a marriage can only consist of a man and a woman, then?

In the Western world, marriage is only legal if verified by an official of some sort – you are not required to wed in a church, synagogue, mosque or temple. Why, then, apply religious convictions to a civil union? Why deny civil rights to citizens? The religious groups may hold the views they chose, even if they don’t agree with mine. But the law and the government should not distinct between people based on who these want to live with.

In my virtual disguise, I may look old-fashioned or conservative to many people, prancing around the grid in hats and gloves and demure attire. But my convictions are neither, and this is why I chose to support this campaign, even if I live in another country. Everyday life can be hard enough as a “non-straight” person, especially in the beginning, when you only start coming to terms with the realisation that you feel and indeed are very different from the majority of people around you. It takes time to process and a bit of courage to openly acknowledge this and guide your life against the written and unwritten laws of how you should spend your days. But it is possible, and no government in the world should be allowed to have a veto in the matter of such fundamental questions as the gender of the person you want to commit yourself to.

In 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights stated “that all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”

We have overcome the legal discrimination based on social classes, based on gender and on race – it’s time to take the next hurdle in order to make this come true.

And for those who want to know:

  • NoH8-attachments: available at the gallery ( http://slurl.com/secondlife/Cupcake/54/51/28 )
  • Skin: Fleur Allure Alabaster Winter Nights 2
  • Eyes: (Miriel) Realistic Eyes – Strong Green [not available anymore]
  • Lashes: (Miriel) Lashes – Feather [not available anymore]
  • Hair: Clawtooth by Clawtooth – “Timeless Glamour” (Black Beauty)
  • Shirt: [Whippet & Buck] Cole Boatneck Shirt Alabaster

ETA: I completely forgot that those shots were supposed to be done wearing white shirts, so I updated it with a different image.

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I meant to get a picture done and posted for over a week, but SL had other plans for me: crashing sims, disabled log-ins, slo-mo shopping at Hair Fair… and suddenly it’s Wednesday evening and I have nothing to post about except that I’m leaving for Paris in about 8 hours.

It should be an inspiring trip, since at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs an exhibition of Madeleine Vionnet’s designs opened today, which I hope to see at some time over the next days, and because… well, how could Paris possibly not be inspiring?

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