elikatira

The Vines in My Mind

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“You are my water, sun, my soil, my life
You pull me out of every cold dark night
I wrap you up with the vines in my mind
I’ve got flowers in my head, blooming just for you …
I’ve never lived the colors in my mind
You make me breathe and sing them all the time
Brilliant blooms, to you I’ll always be tied
I’ve got flowers in my head, blooming just for you
I’ve got flowers in my head, with all the love I have …”

Look

Genesis Lab Head – Melissa
Genesis Lab Skin – Ingrid (Vanilla)
Mandala Ears – Steking Ears Season 5
Avi-Glam Eyes – Serene Eyes (Tropical) New Release @ Cosmopolitan, through October 8th *
Elikatira Hair – Lia (Redheads HUD) New Release @ Shiny Shabby, through October 15th *

Style & Pose

ECCO Jewelry – Aditya Headchain
LODE Headpiece – Fuchsia Head Accessory (White) New Release @ Shiny Shabby, through October 15th

Destination & Inspiration

🎧 Sounds: Jessica Rotter – Flowers in My Head

Embers of the Summer

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Pale September, I wore the time like a dress that year
The autumn days swung soft around me, like cotton on my skin
But as the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared
My heart went cold, and only hollow rhythms resounded from within

But then he rose, brilliant as the moon in full
And sank in the burrows of my keep

And all my armor falling down
In a pile at my feet
And my winter giving way to warm
As I’m singing him to sleep …”

Look

Maitreya Body – Lara v3.5
Genesis Lab Head – Melissa
Genesis Lab Skin – Angie (Cream)
Mandala Ears – Steking Ears Season 5
Avi-Glam Eyes – Hypnotic Eyes (Goldenrod) *
Elikatira Hair – Poppy (Redheads HUD) New Release @ Hairology, through September 30th *

Style & Pose

PurpleMoon Jewelry – Gitana Necklace (Size 1 Full)
Thalia Heckroth Dress – Kaia Silk Mini Dress (in Moss for Maitreya Lara) New Release *
TETRA Shoes – Double Wrap Booties (for Maitreya, Freya, Isis, Venus, Slink) New Release *
Double Take Pose – Pardon My French (slightly edited)

Destination & Inspiration

✈ Sights: Cheeky Tiramisu
🎧 Sounds: Fiona Apple – Pale September

For Ever

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Nostalgia is a wonderful emotion that I sink into gratefully whenever it strikes me, because it’s a kinder state of grace than memory, which can sometimes settle on the unpleasant things that have happened in life. Even its definition is perfect: “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past”, although sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that “the past” truly is as far off in the distance as time would tell us. I thought about this when I found myself listening to The Smashing Pumpkins music this week, marveling at the idea that I bought the album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness over twenty years ago. I can still remember listening to it softly on late autumn nights, its wildly diverse musicality underscoring everything from my first real kiss to my … well, sadder moments where my thoughts don’t wish to dwell. And it’s one of those rare albums that has songs on it that make you want to drive fast and live hard, as well as swoon underneath starlight in a lover’s embrace.

The song that has stuck with me most over the years and become a true favorite is “Thirty-Three”. I had always associated its title with the age, thinking back in my tender teenage years about how far away in time my 30s seemed to be, and wondering how they would find me when I arrived. Happy and hopeful, I aspired. Having a beautiful life with wonderful things in store. And while real life sometimes has its challenges, certainly my Second Life has met those hopes and beyond, and in its way, often feels like it exists with fewer limits, greater possibilities, and always more amazing people, places, and experiences to discover. I know I often wax poetic and romantic about SL, but I love that; I wouldn’t be so charmed and compelled to spend time within its virtual embrace if it wasn’t filling me with anticipation and contentment in equal measure. And you know me, dear ones: I love positive energy and try to radiate it fully. In the words of one of my favorite philosophers, “all is well and getting weller”. And in the lyrics of the Smashing Pumpkins, “tomorrow’s just an excuse, and you can make it last forever”.

So I’m dedicating the 33rd* self-portrait I’ve taken in Second Life this year to this wonderful idea of being content where I am, and eager for what’s coming. I went back to the always-inspiring Baja Bay, the place I took my first picture after returning to SL, and used the same hairstyle too, which is also a sentimental nod to my belief that Elikatira created the first hairstyle I ever purchased in Second Life. A lustrous pair of eyes from Avi-Glam, my very favorite eye designer, and the charmingly-named Ever Anchor necklace by YS&YS were further meaningful touches. I think I shall make this my profile picture for a while too; its lovely sunrise reminds me of how much I adore the beaches of SL, and how vivid colors and beautiful vistas always uplift my spirit. You’ll always know me as a sentimentalist, gracious readers, and hopefully with many more delighted moments in the virtual world to share. Here’s to the next 33 pictures, the next 33 places visited and people met, and to the next 33 years that life has to offer. ♡

For Ever
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“And for a moment I lose myself
Wrapped up in the pleasures of the world
I’ve journeyed here and there and back again
But in the same old haunts I still find my friends …
I’ll make the effort, love can last forever
Graceful swans of never topple to the earth
Tomorrow’s just an excuse
And you can make it last, forever you …”

Look

Maitreya Body – Lara v3.5
Genesis Lab Head & Skin – Melissa
Izzie’s Freckles – Body Freckles II (Maitreya, Belleza, Slink Appliers & System Layers)
Mandala Ears – Steking Ears Season 5
Damien Fate Eyelashes – FATELashes v2.0
Avi-Glam Eyes – Ardent Eyes (Aqua v2)
Elikatira Hair – Karee (Essentials HUD)

Style & Pose

Yummy Piercing – Gold Teardrop Septum (Aqua)
YS&YS Jewelry – Ever Anchor Necklace (Gold)

Destination & Inspiration

✈ Sights: Baja Bay
🎧 Sounds: The Smashing Pumpkins – Thirty-Three

* I realized after writing this post that I had miscounted, and this is actually my 32nd picture of the year. Grrrr! I could switch the ordering and wait till I get another one done, but being able to laugh at my mistake and be gentle about it makes me feel charmed and happy, so I’m putting this up as is. If you can’t be kind with yourself about your mis-steps, you’ll never be able to move forward. Here’s to making the effort; may it last forever. ♥

The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

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This week has been one of the most uplifting, fascinating, and emotional ones of my Second Life. There’s so much swirling around in my thoughts, but I’ll try my best to let brevity reign. I just wish I could express how much it means to me that you’re taking a few moments to read my words. ♡

The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
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When I wrote about personality types the other day, the site 16Personalities.com was remembered to me as a wonderful place to get some insight into the facets lending themselves to the unique personality brew that makes us who we are. And in all the personality tests I’ve taken over the years, I have always been unpeeled and revealed as an INFP: Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving. This summary encapsulates the type beautifully:

“INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. The risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type, but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.”

It was especially timely this week for me to remember and rediscover my INFP roots, as the wonderful Kess Crystal wrote a post on Thursday inviting her readers to find the feeling, pass it on. “[We] often appreciate people for their work in Second Life but so rarely find time to tell them,” Kess wrote. She encouraged people to IM those they follow, but may have never spoken to, on SL social media, and offer them sincere appreciation for their work and efforts. I thought this was such a lovely idea; maybe the loveliest idea I’d heard in a long time. But as I sat there in-world, my fingers dancing a slight tremble in their hovering pose above the keys, anxiety gripped me around the heart like a cold embrace. I couldn’t do it, and I knew exactly why.

***

“Buried deep as you can dig inside yourself,
And hidden in the public eye,
Such a stellar monument to loneliness …
And the grave that you refuse to leave,
The refuge that you’ve built to flee,
Is the place that you have come to fear the most …”

It’s difficult to write about your childhood troubles and traumas without sounding overwrought, and because so many of us had difficult times going up, it feels indulgent to delve into them too deeply; mine were no more important or deeply felt than anyone else’s, after all. But I can distill it down to growing up as a curious, idealistic girl who always looked for the good in others and the world, but still felt inescapably lonely. Both of my parents struggled with mental illness, and disappeared (emotionally or physically) for stretches of time. So I tried to be stoic as a lighthouse, while finding myself equally as solitary. Books were my refuge, fictional characters my friends. I was misunderstood emotionally and physically, looking older than my age (always taller and more “developed” than the other girls), and apart in appearances too: all red hair and freckles, with skin so pale it betrayed my every blush, much to my torturous schoolmates’ delight.

As I got older, I also discovered that love given freely can be twisted and abused, so trust became a barrier reserved for a modest few. Yet I still had hope, and a gullible naivete, that I wore like an onion skin armor; I felt like I was protecting myself, but it was really just an easily-permeable membrane that let the wrong ones in, time and again. And it brings me to the moment that leapt to the forefront of my mind when I was trying to send off those IMs Kess encouraged.

When I was 18 and fresh into my first semester of college, my home burned down. I blamed myself entirely (it was sparked by an untended candle in my bedroom), and it spun me into a vortex of depression and guilt. After a few weeks of desperate searching, we found a new home to rent, but it was far afield of the school I’d been attending. Getting there meant a 2-1/2 hour commute on foot and bus, but I was determined to keep attending. Even if it meant trudging the deserted, often snow-laden sidewalks of my Upstate NY town in the dusky pre-dawn morning, the inconvenience was a non-issue; I had earned it. I didn’t know how to atone for indirectly destroying our home, so every chilly footfall became a penance willingly paid. I didn’t know if my mom would ever forgive me. I didn’t know if I’d ever forgive myself.

Then one morning, as I stepped carefully through untrodden snowfall, a car drove up beside me. Two young men starting calling to me: “Hey pretty girl, what’s your name?” “Hey baby, need a ride somewhere?” I didn’t know what to do; I was alone and felt under siege, they were insistent and unrelenting. Finally, one of them held his mobile phone out of the window and waved it at me. “At least give me your number, baby?” I hesitated, then moved closer, thinking if I put my number into his phone, they’d go on their way. But as I approached, the phone-waver withdrew, quickly turned to his side, then hauled around and hit me full in the face … with a milkshake. Sticky milk filled my eyes and vanilla flavoring coated my lips, and they peeled off with triumphant yowls of laughter piercing the morning air. “Fuck you, ugly c*nt!” the milkshake bearer yelled as I stood in stunned silence.

I walked the mile or so back home, went down into the basement and stripped off my sodden clothes, then sat naked next to the washing machine and wept with bone-deep anguish. (I’m even tearing up as I type this; amazing to think this was more than 10 years ago now.) I just kept asking myself: Why do people do this? Why would someone lure you in with kindness, only to give you abuse? And what is wrong with me that I can’t see it coming?

When I offer my support to people on Flickr, I do it with such ardent, heartfelt appreciation that I sometimes worry and wonder if it ever comes across as feigned; like our wavering mirages here in the desert that seem real, but when you get up close, you discover it was just an illusion after all. But I mean every word I say, and it comes easily to me in comments, where there’s a “safety” in knowing that the other person feels no obligation to respond. In an Instant Message though, you never know what – if anything – you’ll receive on the other end. Might I be laughed at? Ignored? Will the other person feel undue pressure to say something pleasant in like kind? It’s amazing the thoughts and considerations that swirl around in our heads when we reach out to someone that first time.

But … I’m going to try. I have to try. Because SL is a place filled with unique, fascinating, thoughtful, creative, and often very like-minded souls, many of whom probably fall within the Introspective/Intuitive personality types themselves. Stephen Hawking said that “quiet people have the loudest minds”, and I think so many of us in Second Life are singing on the inside while we whisper our way through the world. And it doesn’t need to be that way.

So if you have very graciously and thoughtfully read all the way through this post (what was that thing I said about brevity again?), please take a moment to consider Kess’s wonderful idea and get in touch with someone in SL to let them know that you admire their designs, appreciate their photography, whatever it may be that sparks you. Because she so sweetly and compassionately reached out to me, I met my bestie/soul-sister/virtual-wifey (we haven’t quite worked out the ideal definition yet, much to our shared delight) in Chloë-Dakota. And there have been so many others with whom I have beautiful connections because of their thoughtful, caring gestures. So to those I’ve not yet had the bravery to send a message to … I’m coming for you. :) Perhaps more as a gentle wave than an avalanche, but still: you deserve the be appreciated for all that you do. People like you make Second Life the colorful, creative, amazing, and awe-inspiring place it has come to be. ♡

Look

Body // Lara Mesh Body v3.5 by Maitreya
Head & Skin // Melissa by Genesis Lab
Ears // Steking Ears Season 5 by Mandala
Hair // Karee (Essentials HUD) by Elikatira

Pose & Inspiration

Pose // Sit 026 by !Bang Poses
Song Spark // Dashboard Confessional – The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most

The Sirens Inside You

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One of the wonderful, kindred fascinations that so many of us share in the SL blogging and Flickr communities is a deep love and appreciation for music. Songs can often be found informing and inspiring pictures, blog posts, and even the looks we create. And some of the most enduring and beloved landmarks on the grid often have music at their core: whether it’s a well-loved dance and DJ spot, or a region like Chouchou whose very existence in rooted in the music created by its amazing owners and designers.

I’m often listening to music as I wander the grid, work on photography, or write my blog posts. And it was the soundtrack to the amazing and heartrending game “Life Is Strange” that inspired the site and sonic mood of my picture today. Without giving away any spoilers or secrets, a lighthouse features prominently in the game, and my look reminds me of something that a grown-up Max might wear on a trip in the dusky evening light to the Oregon coast. A form-fitting bikini modestly covered by a cool jacket she snagged from Chloe’s closet, and sandals with a wonderful Boho vibe that may be a bit of a nod to Rachel Amber’s memorable style.

The Sirens Inside You
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Look

Body // Lara Mesh Body v3.5 by Maitreya
Head & Skin // Melissa by Genesis Lab
Hair // Quinn (Essentials HUD) by Elikatira
* Eyes // April Eyes (Ambar) by Inkheart New Release!

Style

Necklace // Alianza Necklace (Black) by MINIMAL for The Chapter Four, through May 21st Free Gift!
Jacket // Free Love Leather Jacket (Mural Elephant) by Foxes for Uber, through May 22nd
Bikini // Neve Bikini (Maitreya Royal Blue) by Miss Chelsea for FaMESHed, through May 27th Free Gift!
Shoes // CountryGirl Sandals (Maitreya Fatpack) by VALE KOER for Uber, through May 22nd

Destination & Inspiration

Location // Black Basalt Beach
Song Spark // José González – Crosses

Both my bikini and necklace are wonderfully generous gifts given out at the current rounds of FaMESHed and The Chapter Four, respectively, and I’ll once more include the list of must-see events I mentioned the other day which are presently featuring anniversary/birthday gifts from many of the participating designers. Be sure to visit before time runs out! ♡

The Chapter Four, through May 21st
FaMESHed, through May 27th
We <3 Roleplay, through May 31st