Letting the Cat out of the Bag…

Posted: June 7, 2014 in Guest Blogged!
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hey, it’s Matt, (a.k.a. ‘the firsty’).  Once again, I’m briefly kidnapping Emily’s blog.  Sometimes, when I’ve done this in the past, it’s been a way to push my writing a bit and do something different from how Emily generally writes this blog.  Other times, and this is one of those, I have something specific I want to write about, something that I can’t or won’t filter through the literary conceit that Emily is real and I’m her imaginary alter ego rather than vice versa.  I won’t poke or prod that conceit here today.  It would only be repetitive and off-topic.  Plus, Emily makes much more sense within the context of a long time social role-player with access to an elaborate virtual world.  Without that context, almost everything I can say about Emily is crazy or creepy or both.  Think of Emily as a filter or prism inside my mental toolbox.  Emily has exactly my knowledge base, no more and no less.  However, if I look at life through the Emily filter, I see it a little differently, just as looking at a photograph through colored cellophane or through 3D glasses or through a magnifying glass may hide or reveal different aspects of the photograph.  Pushing the analogy a little further, sometimes you choose to look through a filter, and sometimes you may do so unintentionally.  When Emily was writing her last post, with the subject of secrets as ‘What’s on My Mind’, it clarified some thoughts about some secrets I have here in First Life rather than in Second Life.

Remember, Firsty, I can hear every word you say...

Remember, Firsty, I can hear every word you say…

Emily may hate secrets, but I’m actually secretive by nature.  I would generally use the words ‘private’ or ‘reserved’ rather than ‘secretive’, but that is a potato po-tot-o distinction.  (As an aside, that is a figure of speech that works much better as a figure of SPEECH than as a figure of writing.  *Sigh*)  I am mildly nosy, whether I’m looking at the world through Emily’s eyes or my own.  It’s a natural outgrowth of curiosity, self-centeredness, and low self-esteem.  Not only do I collect information like a magpie collects sparkles, but I also have a nagging fear that any conversation that excludes me might be about me and my failings.  Ironically, the same low self-esteem helps fuel my privacy and reserve.  I worry that if I reveal some fact-X about myself, I will lose the affection and regard of those who learn it.  In addition, I know I possess both the cultural tendency towards self-absorption and the geek tendency to obsess.  I generally get excited about whatever topic-Y is in the front of my mind.  I can expound equally readily about the Dr. Who episode I just watched, a explanation I read once about transfinite numbers, or what I think the Cincinnati Reds need to do to fix their season.  I tend to bottle it up, however, because high self-awareness and low self-esteem remind me that whatever audience I have may a) not give a rat’s ass about whatever topic-Y or fact-X I’m currently geeking about, or b) care about topic-Y but consider my opinions and stories about topic-Y to be irrelevant and a waste of their time.  The net result is a sponge-like approach to secrets and gossip… I do my level best to soak up any secrets and gossip around me, but don’t release any of them until I’m squeezed for the info.  (Note to self: that metaphor extended well… file it away to use in later writing…)  Emily’s complaint about not being mentally organized enough to keep track of who is ‘cleared’ for various secrets is true for both of us, although the filter effect changes how we process that.  Thinking as Emily, it is simpler to be open than to create mental complications about who knows what.  Thinking as myself, I just volunteer nothing until I feel confident and comfortable.

I’ve commented before, both in First Life and in Second Life, that Emily has a bright and cheery personality while I tend towards the melancholic. It still surprises me, however, to see that in black and white before me.  My default for sharing information is that everything is forbidden until it is permitted, a negative and pessimistic view of the world.  Looking through filter of my ‘inner Emily’, everything is permissible unless it is forbidden.  Forgive me a brief psycho-therapy moment, but I think I just realized a big portion of why I love Second Life.  I don’t talk about Second Life much within First Life, because talking about my imaginary alter ego, particularly a female imaginary alter ego that I use the third person to describe, does sound like I’m creepy or crazy or both.  I generally quietly apologize for Emily’s gender with a brief the-temporary-became-permanent and brush it under the table, saying I keep Emily around for her blog.  True but incomplete.  Since I’m melancholic and have low self-esteem, it goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that sometimes I wish I was someone else.  Not that I wish I wasn’t me, but that I wish I was a new and improved version of me, a me 2.0 so to speak.  Let me be clear on one point.  I had something else on my mind when I created Emily, so she does NOT represent me 2.0, or a feminine version of me, or some sort of subconscious shadow-me lurking in the depths of my id.  However, some of the traits that have become part of Emily are the sort of traits I wish I had.  I enjoy my chance to ‘try on’ Emily’s optimism and her brash belief in our shared dream of becoming a novelist, and hope that, if I practice being a little bolder and a little more shameless, I will develop an aptitude for that sort of thing in real life.

*AHEM*  Can we get to the secret?  Please?!

*AHEM* Can we get to the secret? Please?!

Apparently I have even less aptitude for sharing secrets then I suspected, as I managed to spiral away from my intended revelation into a bout of introspection.  I could probably spin the introspection even further… My apparent openness in trying to dissect and pin down my own thought processes would seem to contradict the statement that I prefer to keep my cards close to the chest, and I can gnaw on that sort of self-contradiction for paragraphs and paragraphs.  I’ve lived inside my own head long enough to recognize when I’m procrastinating.  It’s my nature to fret, to worry at my thoughts and endlessly re-parse them until they are just so.  As Emily would say, sometimes it’s best to rip the bandaid off quickly.

I’m going to be a daddy.

Let me just leave that statement out there briefly.  My wife and I are having a baby.  We’re right on the border between the first and second trimester, so Little Whatzit should make an appearance between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.  It’s so early in the pregnancy that we still have another six to eight weeks before we can even learn the baby’s gender and give the poor thing a proper pronoun.  We’re just now starting to tell our families.  We were trying, so we’ve known what the test said for a couple of months, but we wanted to know everything appeared healthy and on-track before we spread the word.  Last week we got to hear Little Whatzit’s heartbeat for the first time and earlier this week we got to see the first ultrasounds, which remind me of famed pictures of the Loch Ness Monster emerging from the fog.  It looks like the baby is going to be a healthy little Whatzit, and the sound and pictures make Whatzit real in a way that a pregnancy test doesn’t, even a pregnancy test accompanied by a truly brutal case of all-day sickness.  (Like countless mothers before her, my wife is learning that morning sickness is lousy at punching a time card.)  But now it’s real.  It’s really real.  I’m going to be a daddy.

So, Firsty, how exactly am I related to Little Whatzit?

So, Firsty, how exactly am I related to Little Whatzit?

This is the big reason why my posting frequency has suffered over the last few months.  I’ve always had to juggle my time for writing and Second Life around three work schedules, two of my own and also my wife’s.  (My best writing time is when I’m off and my wife is working… It’s harder to write when we are both off, both because we like to grab what us-time we can and because my wife disapproves of Emily.  As I said above, an imaginary female alter ego sounds creepy or crazy or both.)  Add doctor’s visits and a house hunt into the mix… it would be brutally hard to find time for what is essentially a hobby/game even if my wife did approve.  And who knows what will happen once Whatzit is born… It’s hard to argue a baby will create more free time in my schedule, but there will be times when I’m at home with Whatzit while my wife is working, or when we’re at home together but each left to keep ourselves entertained so I don’t know what will happen.

I don’t know what will happen is a big theme in my life right now.  Friends and coworkers keep asking me if I’m excited.  I am excited, in my low-key, melancholic, over-intellectualized and introspective way.  Little Whatzit is no accident; my wife and I made the conscious decision to try, particularly since the biological clock was starting to tick a little louder.  I’m curious to see what sort of little person we are creating.  I’m hopeful for the future and looking forward to loving little Whatzit.  My wife and I both came from good, happy, functional families, and I’m confident that we absorbed a lot of good parenting advice from our parents.  And mixed in with all of that is a knot of solid bowel-clenching terror.  There is going to a little person who is absolutely dependent upon me, who is counting on me both to provide her immediate needs and to train her and mold her into the sort of person who can take care of herself and leave the world a better place when she’s done with it.  That is an awesome responsibility and all my doubts and insecurities are latching onto that single point.

I remember the first time I ever rode a roller coaster.  I was thirteen years old, and my eighth grade class went to Kings Island on one of the last days of school.  I got in line for the Vortex, which was still new and at the time the biggest badass of the Kings Island Coasters.  As the line slowly crept forward, my fears and nerves kept getting worse.  My mind and bladder played tricks on me, trying to convince me I needed to use the bathroom so I would leave the line.  I knew I probably wasn’t going to get flung out of the coaster and die, but my imagination kept painting terrible pictures of failure… I would throw up from airsickness… I would pee myself… I would scream and whimper like a little girl, losing all chance that any girl in my school would ever date me…I would lose my glasses or my wallet or my soul from a pocket and have to stay until after the busses left and park the closed to get them back.  Even once I was through the line and on the coaster, as the cars slowly clacked to the start of the first drop, I was chanting “Why am I doing this?” as a mantra and wondering if it was really too late to get off.  The actual ride was an adrenaline rush, of course, and I spent the rest of the day cheerfully waiting through lines to try other coasters and repeat the experience.  Now I love roller coasters.  (Although I still fear them too, and battle the same nerves on a smaller scale with the first coaster of the season every year.)  I’m sure you see the metaphor coming here.  As my wife and I expect, we are in line for the roller coaster.  I want to do this, but my imagination is still painting terrible pictures of failure.  The cars will take there sweet time clacking to the top of the first hill, and once it starts… well, there will be ups and downs, and it will be over too fast, and I will probably at some point nudge my wife on the shoulder, waggle my eyebrows, and say, “Wanna do it again?  Huh, huh?” wherein I will do the same fears anew but on a smaller scale.  Right now, I just need to breathe deep and get ready for the ride…

Dammit, Firsty!  Now I want a Whatzit too!

Dammit, Firsty! Now I want a Whatzit too!

Well, I’ve been verbose as usual, but there are still two things I should do before I sign off.

Emily would want me to include a style card.

  • Shape: AladyPreg6Milania from Alady Island
  • Skin: Ethereal from Sexy Mamas
  • Hair: Wendi from Tameless Hair
  • Outfit: Baby Cropped Hoodie from Freaky Geeky, Tartan Bellbottoms from Blue Blood, Fringed Ankle Boots from Grumble, Grumble
  • Tattoos: Pregnancy Stretch Marks from Freaky Geeky, Love Me Face Tattoo from Grumble, Grumble
  • Other Accessories: Teal Spiked Bow Headband from Grumble, Grumble, Earring and Ring from Random Calliope, Lip Ring and Belly Piercing both Source Unknown

Also, because music plays a big part in helping me breathe deeply, I always like to include a song.  Last night, while I was still fretting about not being ready to be a father, about wanting more time, my wife and I went to the ‘Love Worth Fighting For’ event at a local church.  The speaker was Kirk Cameron, who is a truly amazing speaker, but we were even more impressed by the musician Warren Barfield who both spoke and performed.  Not by his music per se- he’s talented, but doesn’t play the genre of music I generally listen to- but just by how real and authentic and sincere he and his faith were.  This is the sort of guy you just want to hang out with for a while.  But the first song he sang was like it was chosen just for me, because it was the message I needed to hear right then, the answer to my doubts about whether I’m ready to be a father yet.  This is ‘The Right Time’ by Warren Barfield.

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