An Apology

I am writing this with great difficulty as I feel I have caused more harm than I would ever have wanted to do. The other day I watched a movie on YouTube and it moved me, moved me enough to want to visit one of the places mentioned in it.
When I arrived I saw that the place was very different than the one shown in the film, I hadn’t full rezzed but just the initial outline of the room was different, so I opened search again to make sure I had in fact TP’d to the correct place.

I saw that in search it said temporary location and finally rezzed to see the fountain to support the place-like many many clubs and places that have tip jars to raise tier etc- I put money in and was still camming around the building wondering what or why it was changed.

One of the people involved in wheelies tpd in and she and I spoke, problem was my first thought straight off was what can I do to help them get back to what i had seen, the lady told me that they were having a fundraiser on Sunday this week, and that money raised from that would go towards their efforts to rebuild.
I got all excited at that, and knowing that I have so many generous friends and know of so many incredibly generous people, I told her that I would love to try and get some people to help more – she was I think very surprised at that ,I don’t begin to guess her thoughts but since dealing with the lady that donates the use of her land to them already, all I have heard has been excitement over how incredible the people I contacted have been.

But see they don’t have experience with the second life I experience every day, they have their own second lives and their focus when in world is wheelies.

Thing is that they aren’t a charity, I myself put that word in the note card referring to the fountain, but at no other time that I am aware did I say it was so , it isn’t, and I knew that; but my head wrapped strangely around the note card and I was negligent in not rereading it to make sure it didn’t say that or wasn’t misrepresented.

That is not their fault that I did that, this also isn’t their fault that some crazy girl got all weepy watching YouTube and like a dog with a bone went a bit nuts. For some odd reason everyone thinks my motivation behind this is Wheelies itself , its actually not, my motivation was seeing a lady on a screen share that one place in Sl makes her feel at home, somewhere that her few hours a day she has after work in RL keeps her in touch with her friends in SL, somewhere that isn’t hard to navigate around because she wishes for the most part to stay in a wheelchair like she is in RL.

You see when I went to the club, its one large round room, with seating off to the sides, and above the DJ area there is a sign to click for seated dances, has anyone ever seen those elsewhere in SL ? I hadnt.
So not only was the temporary location wheelchair accessible for maneuverability, but the dancing catered to those that were in chairs, that again moved me.
Behind the DJ area was a calender, a board that stated what event happened each day; and not only was there nights of DJ’s, but there was a night for story telling and one night a week for discussions, again Moved.

When I was in yahoo I was part of a discussion group, a place people came to every day and a topic was chosen relative to the group and talked about, some heated things would come up lol but allot of the time people really gained understanding and sometimes really felt they had been heard and helped.

In RL when I came to SL – well I was actually dragged by a friend from Yahoo- who knew that if I didn’t come here would drown; and I was.
I landed in SL and saw different things through very closed eyes, but came across a sim that I was so welcomed at I stayed, that was fear.
I actually didn’t leave that sim for a long time, you see one thing I am very good at is faking myself, that might seem an odd thing to say but its about having lost yourself and remembering what you are, and what you have done, and re-enacting it every day to survive.

Because of the people of the sim I was at and their caring and support to me, letting me feel I was helping them help others at their place, I started to forget to fake it and just was.

The most amazing thing to me one day about a month in was that the owner of the sim came to me and said that he was building me a sky box in the sky, and letting me have a 100 prims to use how I wanted to furnish it.
I was overwhelmed. I knew by then how important prims were to a person that needed all of them to run their business, and that he had worked out a way for me to have a home in SL was just incredible.
No more changing clothes on abandoned rooftops in fear of being seen naked – yes I associate far too much with my avatar- somewhere to actually invite new and my older friend too, to just sit and talk without other people walking into the convo- back then I tended to talk too much about too much in open chat- that was all precious to me, but more so that the person had given me those things and the trust to use them respectfully.

Every day those first few months in SL I went back to being more me, more me in SL than I could be in RL right now .. people came every day to sit by the fire and talk, unload their worries and concerns about RL and SL, to just have a space where they weren’t intimidated and there was no other agenda, no sploders and no Best In such and such going on, do you remember SL 2 years ago ?
Maybe I didn’t explore enough as I did end up working full time there managing their mall rentals, and then eventually moved on to Manage a store.
But even then when I moved on to House of Zen the island that they created was also a place like that, we had many people just pop in, not to shop always but to just come and chat , the owners didn’t care they didn’t spend money, they liked the fact that my friends and our customers would turn into friends of not just us, but the island.

Again I had a home; and yes it was part of my pay, but it was more important to me than that. I worked out a way to have a premium account, that actually came from realising that if I wanted spending money, before my job at Hoz I would have to buy lindens, and when back then you had to do a minimum of 25usd for me that was closer to 40.00 and unfortunately when you bring it in you spend it. Realising that for me being a premium would give me an allowance weekly I chose that option, couldn’t really afford to but it was cheaper than the alternative.

Many others don’t have either option, and many will say that if they can afford a pc and internet etc that they should. Thats looking at the internet and pc as a luxury item; and in a sense I guess it is, but for some and probably many its an only communication option, if I had to choose between a telephone and the internet , the internet would win hands down.

Ok I am rambling as usual, but you see; ok maybe it is for me about wheelies the place, because to me without places like wheelies, people like me who were so in need of SL at the time but so fearful of people and not being able to cope with clicque’s and possibly intruding on others; wont have a place to go to.

It takes time to adapt to SL for most people regardless of their RL and skills etc, it takes time to learn where the wonderful places are, and that everything here isn’t about blue and pink balls or shooting things up. It takes time to learn how to deruth and not save changes when you are. Every day I encounter New Residents that tell me ‘Sorry I’m Stupid, I’m New’ it makes my heart lurch to my throat, that anyone feels that way even for an instant upsets me when its not them at all, but the intricacies of the place.

But when you are hesitant about taking a leap into something that is so intense in the first place, you do need a place that you can breathe.When I found that first place it was by searching in places using a keyword that led me there, and I was lucky to have found it. I think that I have probably told hundreds of people that were new to do the same, to use search places and type in a word that they have as a hobby or something they have an interest in RL or haven’t ever had the opportunity to experience in RL, like a trip to Paris or Skydiving. I think that maybe when some people that found wheelies typed in whatever they did they found that place, and its because they had that need for it.

The Texas Uni at Austin were helping them with a fundraiser , again I think that they were approached and offered this event, this is not wheelies going around with their hands out, this was my over eager to help actions that have possibly caused a negative approach to a worthwhile place.

They have said they want to eventually offer spaces to live for people that are in their group, and that also seems to have been taken way out of context too. As I shared my experience above, all I took from that is letting people have a spot of land that is theirs to be in, clean their inventory in peace, put pretty furniture down they may not be able to have in RL , it might be a place they just go to for peace, its amazing to me all the time how calming it is to rez a zafu meditation pillow and sit and watch my avatar do the Ommmmmm thing.

Many sims in SL are owned by people that let their friends and loved ones have space, set up a prim house and chill out at. Some people charge rent to people , some people have given whole sims away to people because they know they will put them to good use, some let them have stores for free to create a community; all of that happens all over the place and yet somehow wheelies wanting to have a community space has become a bad thing ?.

I will not and refuse to see that as someone asking for handouts, or throwing a pity party for people that may or may not have some restriction in RL that others don’t have, I have never thought of being in a wheelchair as a disability or inability to do incredible things, there are so many reasons some people may have restrictions on physical abilities whether it be a health or mental issue is their business; and something they have to live with each day. But wanting to build an environment that is accessible to all – and yes that is the main reason they want a bigger space eventually ACCESS for chairs – is not something that should be tainted.

I made an error a big one, I wanted to help them get what I felt they deserved, I never thought they deserved it because they happen to be in chairs or not, I felt they deserved it because they provide a safe and friendly environment for those that need it.

Whether you believe that people shouldn’t accept help or not, or whether you think that people with restrictions should stand on their own and earn it, is kind of besides the point. No one said they weren’t, until now they have; and unfortunately hit a rough patch.
I just wanted to show that there were such kind people all over SL, that if I asked may or may not choose to help , thats also the thing the majority of my contacts with others were my friends list, yes I made a kit and got a script together , yes I asked others to jump on board; but at no time did I expect them to feel obligated to, did I know they would ? sure, I have that faith in my second life surroundings, did I expect to hurt anyone NO, do I regret that I did DEFINITELY , but more so I am so very sorry that because of my wanting to help, that I may in fact have sullied Wheelies reputation with people that might not have ever heard of them before I did this hurts me way more.

Because of what I have done there is negativity towards them, they didn’t ask for my help or anyones, they would have gotten along the way they have been without me trying I am sure, so please please don’t make it about them, and the assumption they want something for nothing or are doing something that they should do for themselves, as i said they are and have been.

I steamrolled in and didn’t think for a second that the consequences of that would make people think they were anything other than one of many communities in SL, for that I am ashamed of myself and really I hope that you do see this now as me just jumping right in there and not their fault.

The people that have given of their time already and their products to help raise money for wheelies I will always be so greatful to, and everyone that has purchased items I give a huge thanks to too, everyone that has donated product proceeds has done so for their own reasons, yes I wrote a blog post that may have encouraged it, but I don’t believe for a second I am that powerful.

I believe fully that those that have, have done so because they were also moved by the video as it was the video that motivated it, and the video that I encouraged people to watch , it wasn’t a doco on wheelies but one womans interview about her life and second life that just happened to mention it is where she goes. I also know from IM’s that people were motivated because of their own RL experiences, some that have first hand experience and some that work within that field.

My other big confession or perhaps motivation was that we raise so many funds for causes in SL every day , but every time that money is raised its taken out of world; it goes to wherever it is needed and that is wonderful. I am forever proud of the residents that inhabit second life, but this time I saw something that could stay in world – again probably relating far too much to my avatar – I guess I wanted to see them grow, see them move on to bigger and better and be able to pop in and visit on occasion and know that people I know and didn’t know until the last few days contributed to that.
I also wanted to give a helping hand to those that have been doing it up until now, to offer them that support and say hey you are so appreciated .

So again please dismiss my using the wrong word in a notecard about a fountain, they arent a charity they have never said they were , and please know that no one, especially me; meant to turn something good into something negative.