I have always loved the creative aspect of Second Life. Whether it’s imaginative architecture, fantasy roleplaying or visiting virtual places you’d never get a chance to see in person, there’s nearly no limit to what can be done in SL – or what one can be. My avatar isn’t a representation of myself and I am always eager to try new things. The only thing I haven’t enjoyed is the response that some avatars seem to invite. I was very anxious in the past about sharing anything but my “known” avatar form, the freckly, snubnosed redhead most often seen on my blog. Thanks to bloggers like Achariya Maktoum (URL), Dakota Lubitsch (URL), and Mourna Biziou (URL), I have begun sharing more exotic avatars, as well. If these amazing bloggers don’t feel like they have to be anxious about being unique, neither do I!

blast from the past - my first furry

I bought my very first Furry avatar in July of 2007, about half a year after I joined SL. (It’s the Kani avatar from Curious (SLURL).) I thought it was simply adorable and it was certainly a big step up from the Tiny bunny avatar I bought in my first month. I was aware of the negative reputation that Furries have in SL, so I didn’t show the new avatar to many people. Despite that, I loved everything about it and spent hours dressing up and exploring Furry sims. Since then, I have found new Furry avatars and added them to a growing collection of favorites. I’ve also made a number of friends in the Furry community and, let me tell you, they’re just like you and me!

blast from the past - the user

I also kept this avatar under wraps for the most part. After reading an interview on Y Me, I asked shape maker Mellow Poppy to create a custom shape for me. I sent her a few pictures of myself, the user behind Candy, and she went to work, coming up with something I was ecstatic over. My enthusiasm dwindled a bit when I realized how even close friends reacted negatively to the change in my appearance. My normal avatar had very realistic proportions and tended towards the short and chubby side, so I never imagined the reactions I would receive by simply tweaking my avatar to be taller and curvier. I wanted to switch avatars, but those close to me were unsettled – some were even quite adamant about not liking the new look. In the end, I decided for myself that I would like to be something different in SL than I am in person. I didn’t base my decision on what my friends said, that’s just what SL is about for me – being anything and everything you can’t be anywhere else.

In the spirit of Pink Shirt Day and International Stand Up to Bullying Day, please respect your fellow Second Life Residents. In a world full of possibility, why should we bother with something as mundane as bullying?