Regarding Donations and Fundraisers

I’m writing this mostly in response to some posts I’ve seen on Plurk about the Love Ulaa fundraiser I was involved in but it’s something that’s been on my mind for a while as negativity always seems to pop up when such events are held. Like I’ve said time and time again, one of the things I love about Second Life is that people come together to help each other out in awesome and amazing ways. The flipside to this is that there are some that treat that with suspicion and distaste – calling the recipient’s life into question and making those who contribute out to be gullible fools.

I wanted to reply on Plurk, but it’s a restrictive forum and I always end up getting wordier than I intend. So I’m posting this here and will link back where appropriate.

People who ask for help (or have fundraisers arranged for them, etc) are just that – people asking for, or seen to be in need of, help. They are not accountable to anyone – they are not registered charities who need to present their accounts or justify their causes. They are simply people who are brave enough to say, ‘do you know what, guys, things are really difficult for me right now.’

No one is obliged to give them anything and I know I don’t give anything I can’t afford.. my personal responsibilities have to come first. But what I do contribute, I do with a happy heart, whatever the ‘goal’ of the cause, if it’s something that resonates with me (and I have the luxury of deciding what that is.) I don’t mind if it’s something people consider ‘worthy’ or essential or just something that would make someone’s life better right now. And, if it’s the case where I’m buying an item whose proceeds happen to go to a cause – if it’s something I want anyway that’s no different from shopping regularly and I don’t ask store owners what they’re doing with the money – I don’t need to because it will be buying food, paying rent, replacing computer parts, taking holidays, shopping themselves etc.. normal stuff that people do. Shopping at or donating to fundraisers does not buy me a ticket to scrutinize that person’s life from then on – I’ve decided to give, the way in which the person in receipt of what I’ve given chooses to use it is up to them. Priorities or circumstances may change for all I know.

No one likes to think they might be duped, scammed, etc but I think that is mostly a case of hurt pride in feeling that we’ve allowed ourselves to be deceived. If it happens, isn’t it better to move on and remember that we wanted and were able to help and how good that feels? There are malicious scams preying on the vulnerable, of course there are, and they do need to be stopped but pointing the finger at anyone who dares to say ‘I need help’ is not the way to do that.

I don’t know for sure, obviously, but it doesn’t feel like the people who spread this negativity are people who decided to help Ulaa (or others) and are feeling disappointed.. I think they are people that feel a sense of jealousy – why not me, isn’t everyone’s life hard? Shouldn’t everyone be deserving of some help from time to time? The answer is yes, of course.. but unless we cultivate a climate in which people feel it’s ok to reach out to one another to give and receive help and love then that’s not going to happen.

If anyone disagrees with me that’s obviously your right – this is simply my opinion. I won’t be entering into a debate about it – I’ve said what I wanted and I have issues with depression that means conflict really takes its toll on me.. it was hard enough to write this. I do, however, wish you all well ❤

Stand4Love 2014

Stand4Love - Chiana Oh

Stand4Love is a fabulous campaign founded by RicoRacer Flux & Editorial Clarity.

Their mission statement:
“Our goal is to spread awareness that two consenting adults should have the right to love and marry regardless of their race or sexual orientation. If we can open someone’s mind and promote tolerance and equality, then our goal has been achieved.”
Read more, including details on how to get involved, on their blog.

Equality in love, indeed in all things, is something I believe very strongly in and it is my absolute pleasure to once again show my support and hopefully spread the word.

I can never talk about matters of equality without pausing to appreciate how incredibly fortunate I am.. I’m white, I identify with my birth-gender and, although I finally realised in my late 20s that I’m definitely bi-sexual, my few rl relationships have all been with men and therefore have always been deemed ‘socially acceptable.’ That doesn’t mean I’ve never been the target of prejudice but I’m well aware how much of it I escape compared to others.

And it’s because of, rather than in spite of, my ‘acceptable-ness’ (or whatever you want to call it) that I want to add my voice to campaigns such as this one. A few months ago one of my favourite webcomics, Robot Hugs, published ‘Privilege‘ and it explains what I mean much better than I ever could – I encourage you to take the short hop over to read the post, because it’s full of awesome, but the bit I really want to highlight here is this:

“Because social power dynamics have made my voice more important than others, I will use that voice for good.”

I think it’s crucial that I do, that we all do.. that we speak up for ourselves and others regardless of our own backgrounds, orientation, race, gender or any other part of that fantastic rainbow spectrum that makes us who we are. That we listen to those that need us to listen, that we treat every single person with equality, respect and love.

Especially love.

I also made a couple of gifts.. visit my store blog for your taxi!

Stand4Love Gifts

EveryBody Deserves to be Happy!

EDTBH 1
Last week Lucie Bluebird did something amazing – she launched Project EveryBody. The project encourages us all to stop judging ourselves and others for how we choose to look in this virtual world (and out if it) – I highly recommend reading her interesting and thought-provoking posts.

For her first blogger challenge from this site, Lucie encourages us to be brave, to create a look we might usually have never dared to try – something that we might admire but is too far from our perception of our virtual selves or out of our comfort zone for us to have previously embraced.

It took me a good while to figure out what to do for this challenge as I think that I’m pretty flexible about what I blog and I genuinely am attracted to many different styles – it’s usually time that constrains me rather than willingness. Then I realised: Chiana has never had boobs. I’ve seen absolutely amazing avatars that have mesh breasts but, while admiring them, I never felt that the look was ‘for me.’ Initially I wasn’t sure how to go about making Chiana more busty – which implants to try and how easy they would be to fit – and then I remembered something that is gaining a lot of attention right now – the WowMeh fitted mesh body by Baby Ghosn (in-world store here, blog here). I hadn’t bought one earlier as I wasn’t convinced it would add that much to my general look but I read that it had recently been updated to work with breast sliders so I thought it might be perfect for this post.

The body itself is headless and works with SL shape sliders so it’s really easy to adjust and get your own unique look that’s a lot more flexible to what can be achieved with the standard avatar. It comes with a lot of nice features including a set of casual hands and flat feet (I also purchased the additional tiptoe feet) but you can, with a little effort, make it work with Slink attachments too. I had some difficulty with seams that didn’t show so much in my poses but that I wouldn’t be happy walking around with BUT I haven’t spent a lot of time trying to get everything ‘just right’ and it seems to me, and judging by feedback from others, that it should be possible. In any case, WowMeh is still a work in progress and updates are free so it will be interesting to see how the body develops and it’s a lot of fun watching more skin and clothing creators get on board.

EDTBH 2&3
(I think this is also the first time I’ve had my nipples out in this blog – so we’ll see what that does for site traffic 😉 )

As I began playing with my shape to balance out my new mighty boobs I realised I didn’t want to stop there: I decided I would also utilise this challenge to be brave about something the real-life me has a lot of trouble with – reveling in a much curvier shape. My own body has grown so much over the years, for various reasons, but my self-love has never grown with it. I’ve denied myself so many fun activities just because I think I’d look idiotic doing them, always with the promise that I’ll do them ‘when I’m thin again’ and I never, ever, look at myself as being sexy even when people in my life have insisted that I am. So, you can imagine that the idea of being the centre of attention, on stage, flaunting my shape is pretty much the stuff of my nightmares. At the same time, I adore women that are comfortable enough in their own skins to not care what others may think and who just fucking own it! – I wanted to join their ranks, if only for one glorious virtual moment!

What really surprised me over the course of preparing this post is how much I’ve come to love this shape – I think it looks adorable. Obviously, it’s still pretty idealised – nothing sags or has stretch-marks – and I wouldn’t say it’s even particularly that fat – but it’s pretty large by SL standards and I’ve certainly been this size in real life and still felt like a whale which, when I look back now, is an awful lot of wasted time hating myself when I could have been out having fun and being happy.

Being larger in SL has its own challenges – getting anything with standard sizing to fit is obviously not likely to be possible but I’m already looking forward to seeing what other outfits I can put together. While I still can’t see this becoming my default ‘look,’ I think I’ll be using it a lot more than I expected to: I’m going to be taking Curvy Chiana out and about and maybe, just maybe, as she gets braver, I will too.

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with the words of a woman who has much inspired the ‘real life’ me – the first time I heard it I cried with relief that there was someone out there brave enough to say these things, to challenge the ideas of ‘accepted beauty,’ and she started me on my own, admittedly shaky, journey to body acceptance.

Full credits follow the video and remember, whoever you are, whatever you look like in whatever world, you are beautiful.

Yes you are.

Credits

Clothing
WowMeh Applier: ‘Bodysuit (Black)‘ – Hawt Spot ClothingL$25 (applier only)

Body
Hair: ‘Shimmer‘ – MagikaL$250 – Pack 1 (30 colours via HUD)
Skin (face and hands): ‘Oceane (Ivory)‘ – FilthyL$490 – discounted Fatpack
Skin (body): one of the basic tones included with the WowMeh body
Lipstick: ‘Lip Balm (Blood)‘ – AlyceL$90 – 20-colour pack
Lipshine: ‘Diamond Lips Lip GlossDark Midday DesignsL$1 – Dollarbie (Marketplace)
Eyes: ‘Liquid Light Eyes (London Fog, w2)‘ – MayflyL$0 – Free Colour
Lashes: ‘Tableau Lashes‘ – Cheap MakeupL$0 – Freebie (Marketplace)
Mesh Body: ‘WowMeh Headless Fitted Mesh Body‘ – WowMehL$899
Hands: ‘AvEnhance Hands (Elegant)‘ – SlinkL$450 (wearing included basic nailpolish)
Feet: ‘TipToe Feet‘ – WowMehL$50 – Promo Price (wearing included basic nailpolish)
Shape: a heavily modified version of my usual shape

Decor
Stage: ‘Les Folies Vintage Sideshow‘ – POSTL$800 (includes much more than pictured)
Sign: ‘Big & Beautiful‘ – by Chiana Oh (not for sale)

Photo Tools
Pose (Main Pic): ‘Diamonds 1 (w/Swing)‘ – {NanTra}L$60 – 7 poses/1 prop ($60L Weekend Promo Price)*
(*hand & neck positions modified slightly with Animare)
Pose (Pic 2): ‘Diamonds 2 (mirror)‘ – {NanTra}L$60 – 7 poses/1 prop ($60L Weekend Promo Price)
Pose (Pic 3): ‘P.Y.T. 3‘ – ploomL$75 – 10-pose pack (Lazy Sunday Promo Price)
Facial Expressions: ‘Expression HUD v1.0‘ – AnyPoseL$0 – Freebie
Facelight: ‘Light Lab v1‘ – Color LabL$0 – Freebie (Marketplace)
Windlight Setting: ‘Silver‘ by StrawberrySingh.com
Editing: GIMP & PicMonkey