There’s a strange thing about online life. Because you literally create yourself from the ground up, you don’t have that odd disconnect between first impressions on sight and the people you meet. Almost everyone in SL is nice looking to some degree just by default and their outside says something about the person inside the shell.
It lets you live in a space where things you can’t really express effectively in ‘meat space’ become easy because there’s no automatic preconception about who or what you should be, except for the ones you choose to present. Real side, I have a lovely triad that includes a TG girl. She’s had a rough life fighting these perception issues and I can’t imagine having had to fight like that to exist.
My life has been easier in this regard. I’ve never had massive gender dysphoria because, at a fundamental level, I’ve just never understood gender the way others seem to. I’ve never really felt like I was female. I’ve just never thought of myself as male either except by default. My ideal image would be me with a body that somehow let me express myself freely. Now, I’ve talked with my rl partners about it at times but Cricket, the TG partner, has issues understanding the idea of gender as just another play space for me to work out things I actually care about because she’s fought so hard to define her gender space. Bippy, my other partner, is accepting of it but doesn’t really get it in a lot of ways. She just sort of nods and moves on.
My inner struggle has always been between being who I want to be and the twin poles of anger and conformity. I’m at a personal place where I express myself regularly. I go to work with odd hair and painted nails. I wear women’s jeans when I feel like it and sometimes femme vests. I do this consciously. In part because it makes me comfortable and partly as a dare to the world to fuck with me over it.
In SL, I largely hang out with TG communities. Truthfully, I occasionally feel like a fish out of water there too. They have bodies that feel ‘right’ to them. I have tentacles and horns and hyper pale skin because I’ve always felt a little monstrous inside and those are what make me feel ‘right’. Visual and physical cues to my self image that I never have to go into long discussions about.
Just me and the kraken. Two of a kind, watching eachother through the glass.
I don’t like those discussions in general. They make me feel self-indulgent and weak and oddly greedy and uncaring for essentially emotionally bleeding on people. But in SL I can just be myself and everyone can pull from that what they want and, because there’s no preconception of how I should act because of appearance or work, it works. I can interact with people without thinking about social or financial consequences to me or those I care for. That leaves me free to just be myself with them. It’s freeing and amazing and the acceptance bleeds back into the real world and makes it easier to try to play with myself there too.
Sometimes though, I really do wish I had someone I could curl up with and cry and whine about all the things that make me so tentative and careful because I’m really just hoping nobody notices the little monstrous bits aren’t just skin deep.