Is It a Game If It Breaks Your Heart?

Melanie Kidd

Melanie Kidd in 2012

Melanie Kidd was the first blogger I ever met. I was a newly minted Second Lifer and was dating someone who made custom surfboards as well as swimsuits and rash guards and she blogged his store several times. I was there when she came to check out his store and then I started reading her blog, Grid Expectations. I just knew she was smart, clever and funny because of that name.  She did a blog post on Baiastice that bankrupted me and started me on my long love affair with that clothing line and my eventual friendship with Sissy Pessoa. She did another post on Subtle Facial Expressions that I still go back to again and again. I got to know her better when I joined Plurk®. She was unfailingly kind and compassionate, a person who focused on others.

She died this week. Cancer, of course. This is the summer of cancer. Cancer has taken six friends since May and is haunting other friends and family.

I do not want to exaggerate my loss. We were not close, intimate friends. We were friendly, a casual friendship like 90% of friendships. But still my heart breaks, for the world that has lost another of the good ones, for Gogo, Cake and Carson, her closest friends whose hearts must be shattered, and for her family who has been robbed of her joyful, sunny spirit. Maybe a little bit for myself, too, because I liked her, damn it.

Lots of pixel ink has been used to debate whether Second Life® is a game or not. Is it a game if it breaks your heart?

Second Life’s motto is “Your Life. Your imagination.” I guess that answers the question of whether it is a game for me. If a game is the limit of your imagination, that is what it is —for you. For me, I wonder whether it is even a “second” life. Isn’t it more of a complement to or extension of our first lives than an alternate life?

I wonder, too, why we routinely contrast this “second” life with our “real” life? Are we less real in this world? What is unreal about friendship, love, and community? Are the tears we shed for our friends in this world less liquid, less salty, less painful?

No matter how different the digital presentation of an individual in SL may be from their physical manifestation in the non-digital world; their character remains the same. They have the same psychology, the same fears, the same hopes and the same habits of mind. If they are petty in their first life; they remain petty in their second. If they are open-hearted in the first; they are in their second.

I am not ignoring how Second Life frees people to be more open in expressing themselves because it leaves behind those impediments to self-fulfillment such as concerns about appearance, health, mobility and class. Actually, I think in many ways, we can express who we truly are even more completely in this world where our physical appearance is a facade. We can be free to be who we really are, our best, aspirational selves. You might even say we can be more real.

I have rambled far afield. I guess, for those who think this is TLDR, all I can say is that friendship is valuable and real wherever you find it. Treasure it.

this post has 6 plurk responses, click here to plurk page[+][-]
最近的 plurk 回應:
FrickerThat was beautiful. It's a perfect question to ask. you have been touched by someone special emotionally and that's no game. I can feel your words.
SuchANastyWomankhayaleistone: I was thinking of her, too, when I was writing this.
Gogo ♔Thank you Cajsa, this post is beautiful
SuchANastyWomangogolita: I am so very sorry for your loss. I know you loved her very much.
FudgeGogolita I am so so sorry for your loss

4 thoughts on “Is It a Game If It Breaks Your Heart?

  1. Olyvia DeCuir

    I can so relate to this post.

    To me, a game is something that has a mission…a goal. You play it, you attain whatever goals are involved, and you win or lose. Second Life is not a game. It is a virtual environment where some of us live out the lives we wish we could have had, or dance and run if we cannot so do in RL. We are the same people in this virtual world as we are in the real world, with the possible exception that most of us look 20 years younger and probably 50 pounds lighter!

    I have lost a few friends, myself, and the tears I cried mourning that loss were not virtual. They were real, and so was the headache that came after.

  2. caoimhe lionheart

    You have grasped and worded the most basic concept of this “game”, Cajsa, it’s human reality. This is not a one dimensional playground because in its social core we embrace the person at the other end isn’t fictional but is a living breathing human with typical human frailties. I feel your pain bc I lived it in RL with my sister in law dying from leukemia. Neither less tragic because both our losses are so very real. Huge hug

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