All of This

It's a time of change. After 5 years, I can see the end of the tunnel. I'm not quite there yet, but I will be soon. That means that this part of my life, as it was, is coming to a close.

You won't see me online as much. I am not going to leave. Radio Riel remains. New Toulouse remains. And I continue to lead them. That won't change unless I experience an unexpected RL trauma or emergency. But it's not going to be like it has been for these last five years. I have been at SL's beck and call, and that must end.

It has been a difficult time of transition. There are people who have not been able to accept the fact that things are different now. These things *have* to be different now. I can not "belong" to all of you the way that I have for the last 5 years. My path diverges from some of you now, and I wish you all much happiness.

To those of you that have stuck by me, whether we know each other well or not, I love you all. That will never change. All of this was everything to me. All of this, was life.

Every wicked thing I’ve ever done
Every single sin I’ve stumbled on
Every blackened piece of bitterness
Mended with a shard of tenderness

To the one with whom I played a charade years ago: We aren't friends. We can't be friends. I do not know what I was thinking 2 years ago when we said that we would be friends. Have the last 2 years made you feel less guilty about how you treated me 4 years ago? I suspect that they have.

In spite of everything that happened, I hoped to look back on us as something special in a moment of time. Not meant to be anything more, but special in its own way. That was so foolish. I was never anything special to you. Just one woman on a conveyor belt of women. So many had come before me and so many have come after me.

And yet after our last discussion, I got the impression that you did not like being just another one of my friends...that you wanted to be special. The ultimate irony. 4 years ago you were so special that I begged you not to go. And then I got over it. And you. I was not the same with you when we decided to be friends. You were never going to get the Gabi that begged back, but I had hoped we could be friends.

We will never be friends.*

All of this, was wonderful and worth the heartache
All of this, was beautiful and full of light
All of this, was everything I ever hoped for
All of this, was life

To another: You really stunned me. I tripped over a wire that I did not know was there and it opened a curtain that had hidden something very dark. Six months ago, I would have never guessed that I would see you the way that I do now.

I do not wish you ill. Nothing negative about you will ever pass my lips when people mention your name. I will never do anything to cause you roadblocks or problems. I hope you can be happy. And I hope that you can give me the courtesy of treating me the same way.

But you will never have my assistance, support, regard, attention or friendship ever again.

Every time I drank myself to God
Every time I fell and got back up
Every lie that twisted back my tongue
Every time I lost and never won

I have said this before, so many times. If you have a problem with me or if you think that I have a problem with you, come talk to me about it. Be an adult and come talk to me. When I have a problem with you or something you have done, I will tell you. I can guarantee that if you are skulking around stewing over something about me, I most likely have no idea.

Do not make up scenarios in your head about me based on assumptions and conjecture. I am not a mind reader. The sad thing is that after behavior like this, I *will* be mad at you. You just created a self fulfilling prophecy.

I have worked very, very hard during the last 5.5 years in Second Life. I enjoy working with people on projects. I enjoy helping and supporting people if I am able. There were so many times over the last 5.5 years when I stepped in and helped someone with something that was either falling apart or they were in emergency mode and needed someone to save the day. There were some people that I saved multiple times. I saved so many days. I do not regret it nor did I ever expect anything in return.

There was a big drawback to doing what I did in the way that I did it. Some people began to expect that I would do these things for them all the time. It developed a sense of entitlement in some people. They feel, no matter what I have done to support them, that I owe them. I owe them attention. I owe them my work and efforts. As far as I am concerned there are only a few people in Second Life that I "owe" anything to, and they all work at Radio Riel.

All of this, was wonderful and worth the heartache
All of this, was beautiful and full of light
All of this, was everything I ever hoped for
All of this, was life

Please choose to do things (community projects, donations etc.) because they make you happy and not for any other reason. Do them because you know that the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment will be all of the "thanks" that you will ever need. Thanks and positive feedback are *wonderful*, and I give both out as often as I possibly can.

And some people it is not enough. It will never be enough. There have been people that I have known over the last 5.5 years that I thought were working on projects with me because they felt about those projects in the same way that I did, that the work and results were the "prize". The first time that someone turned to me and said: "Look at everything I have done for YOU! You OWE me!", I was stunned. I naively thought that they felt like I did. And in most of these cases, I had not even asked for the accuser's efforts. I thought we were a happy team.

The accuser usually takes the worst possible tack and indignantly lists off their contributions as the proof of what I owe them. I am sorry, but think about it, you are going to tell me, the woman who has spent thousands of hours and dollars on contributions that are far, far too numerous to list, how much I owe you based on your 3-4 volunteer efforts? I am sorry guys. I know it's probably not fair of me to line your projects up against mine, but I can't help it.

I am by no means saying that donated efforts have no value. They do! They have immense value. And whether you know it or not, I always appreciate them. But do not use them as the excuse to yourself  to turn on me and attempt to emotionally blackmail me. I always respond in the same way. If you are unhappy and feel like you aren't getting what you want out of me, then stop helping me. I do not want help that comes with a secret price.

Everything must change and so it does
Everything that’s good inside of us
Every fading hope will find its way
Every dying wish will see the light of day

Even after 5.5 years, and many occurrences, it still makes me feel completely horrible when I discover that someone deliberately cultivated a "friendship" with me for nothing but their own gains. I feel dirty, soiled and incredibly stupid! This behavior knocked me off my feet 5 years ago when it first happened. Again I was naive. I did not see why someone would do that with me. I did not have anything of worth that could benefit someone intent on using me!

...ah but I did. I had prestige. I had a platform. People listened when I spoke. I had the admiration of many. I had a "title" that "meant" something. You have to know that I never saw myself that way. I *still* do not see myself that way, especially because I feel so far removed from the young Gabrielle Riel. And there is a story behind my keyboard that is my paradigm. In SL, I am in the eye of the storm. I have no perspective on what I look like from the outside.

I do think that we all unconsciously cultivate friendships with people that make us feel good. We are getting some sort of payoff from that relationship. And I am always looking for partnerships/relationships that are win-win. It's my preferred method for everything that I do. I absolutely believe that I can form relationships with people and work on projects that result in something wonderful happening for both of us and/or our organizations.

Even so, other people have used, or tried to use, what I have as something that serves only their desires, goals and ambitions. It happens very, very rarely now. I learned years ago how to spot "users". But when it does happen, even now, it hurts.

It takes a lot of energy for me to deal with the things that some people project on to me. This was another very unfamiliar and difficult thing for me when I was young Gabrielle Riel. I have learned to live with it, albeit in a rather battle-worn manner.

I should not be idolized. I am not an angel. I am not perfect.

I should not be hated. I am not evil. I do not live with malice in my heart.

I am a real woman. With some very strong talents and gifts. With a naive desire to see everyone get along.

I also make mistakes. Big mistakes. I have a white-hot temper. I push back when someone pushes me. I rail when I see someone acting like an idiot or a bully.

I love with wild abandon, with my body, heart and soul.

Despite what *many* people have thought and said behind my back, I truly do not waste my time on interpersonal power games, gossip and drama. I don't "target" people I do not like. I usually walk or even run away from people I do not like!

My motives behind Radio Riel and New Toulouse are transparent. I love doing those things. That is why I do them. And I hope that other people gain enjoyment from them. Period. That is it.

I do not want groupies. I don't want nor deserve people who tell me how great I am all the time.

I can be hurt. And if you hurt me deeply enough, I will be done with you. I know that's harsh, but it's who I am.

Don't place me on a pedestal, because at some point I will disappoint you, and the pedestal will come crashing down on both of our heads.

Don't assume that everything you thought about me while you had me on that pedestal was a lie. There were truths there, in this imperfect woman.

I don't deserve your universal loathing. If your feelings about me are that strong? Ask yourself why you feel that way and why they are so strong. There is something going on there that has nothing to do with me.

I am just a woman, trying to make it through all of her lives, just like you. Living. Loving. Making mistakes. Trying to be "good", sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. Just a human being in an avatar.

All of this, because, and in spite, of it all, was wonderful and worth the heartache.

All of this, was wonderful and worth the heartache
All of this, was beautiful and full of light
All of this, was everything I ever hoped for
All of this, was life

* - I am not referring to my dear friend and former partner Azul Draken in this section.