Six Months

Six months has come and gone, but I am still very much stuck in August 2013. It’s like I’m trapped in this fragile little bubble of work, school, food, Plurk,  and One Direction, using those things to cope with a hurtful reality. Today I have a snow day from school, so when the biggest distracter doesn’t do its job, I’m left with my thoughts and reflecting on a very painful “anniversary”, and a date that only means something to a handful of people.

A few days ago, I said in a Plurk that this past week was one of the most emotional in my life, second only to the weeks following Andrea’s passing. My life is now changing in a very drastic and demanding way, and the stress coming from school is so taxing that 3/5 nights a week I don’t even walk through the door until 9pm at night, having left my house at 7am. I think about last summer when the excitement after having been accepted to graduate school calmed down and I started to talk about it with Andrea, what my life was going to be like and how it would affect our friendship. I remember worrying about not getting to talk to her and not being able to log on SL as much, and even after expressing to her all of these troubles and worries, she did what she was so good at doing and reassured me that everything would be alright. I always thought of her as my own personal Bob Marley, singing about 3 little birds. This past week I met my 3 clients for the first time and had my very first therapy sessions with them. I had to make up all my own materials, craft session plans according to rules and guidelines and fill out hours of paperwork, and even though I’m totally being dramatic and making it sound like pure hell, I wouldn’t rather be doing anything else. When I walked out of my last session on Thursday to my supervisor telling me that I looked like a professional in a room with a kid with severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech and ADHD, I fell apart. I cried then and there, and I went home and cried some more. When I shared my experience and relief, everyone told me how proud they were and how far I’ve come and how they knew I could do it when I had doubt in myself. I love every single person who has supported and encouraged me, and the appreciation I have for you all is endless. Still, I can’t help but confess something is missing. The automatic and familiar words of encouragement and appreciation from the person who has literally been there every single step of the way. The voice and the words that pushed me to succeed and motivated me to be the person she already knew I would turn out to be. She’s missing.

When I am in a session with a client working on expressive language production and my supervisor and the parent are analyzing my every move from the other side of a one way mirror making sure I’m doing everything according to protocol, oddly enough, I am alright. But when I stop to think that 6 months ago the best friend I have ever known was taken from this world without even a last goodbye, all I feel is broken and anything but Bob Marley’s alright.

Before, it was a day, two tops, that we’d ever gone without speaking. Not even the worst arguments we had could keep us silent for more than a few hours, and even those few hours felt like an eternity because we always turned to each other after a disagreement with someone else. The other person always had the answer, always told the truth, always told it as it was. We had the kind of relationship where nothing surprised either of us, and we could tell one another literally anything. Half the time I didn’t even have to say more than one word, she just knew. No eye contact, no inflection in my voice to go off of, no facial expression or body language; just one word. One word and she knew something was bothering me, and most of the time she knew exactly what it was, too.  Had I known just how sick she was, I’d obviously do things differently, probably would have dropped everything and flown out to England with the last of my savings. She meant the world to me, she still means the world to me, and I won’t ever get sick of telling people that.

I often speak to Andrea’s mum, and that’s a blessing that I am thankful for every single day. She is a beautiful and strong person, much stronger than she realizes, and I see so much of Andrea in her. Last week she said something that resonated with me, and I’d like to share it here. She said that “time doesn’t heal all wounds” and she couldn’t be more right. The death of the most important person in your life is not something you will ever “get over” or “heal from”, it’s not a pretty bad breakup or a bad fight with a close friend. It’s a tragic loss, a debt that will never be repaid, words of encouragement that will never be spoken again, only remembered. I don’t really think it’s something you ever learn to accept either. Maybe I will never accept that she is gone, maybe that’s not healthy and maybe it’s not what a therapist would tell me, but that word is too harsh for me. I cannot accept that I won’t ever be able to meet my best friend. What I can do, though, is wake up in the morning and try to cope as best I can. Live my life for myself and for her in a way that would make her proud. Put on my smiley happy face for the world, go out, do my thing, come home at the end of the day, and try to not fall apart.

Six months. This is the longest period in my life that I’ve ever gone without speaking to my best friend, without hearing her voice, not having the chance to grow stronger from her encouraging words, not smiling because of a witty comment or shaking my head and then laughing anyways because of an off color one. I was looking through her blog today and found myself at the entry she made about a year ago, exactly 6 months and 2 days before the day she passed away (link here). I was almost surprised to see one of the first mesh dresses I’d ever textured staring back at me. I half expected it to be another one of her blogs featuring the good old Union Jack, or one of her typically fashionable ensembles, but there was my dress and there was my name.

“I’m so proud of my best friend, Delaney.”

And then the tears started to flow. Last week on Thursday I was in little pieces after stepping off what felt like a rollercoaster of nervousness and happiness and personal satisfaction. A week of achieving another major milestone in my life, with a side of utter despair that I wouldn’t get to share it with Andrea. Then I stumbled across that blog, and those words, which obviously were meant for a different time in our lives, but they hit me harder now than they ever did the first time I read them one year ago. You don’t always have to hear something or see something to know love. Sometimes you just feel it. Love is strange, love is weird and unpredictable. Love isn’t something that will ever go away when someone passes, because they live on in your mind and in your heart. They leave behind memories and even personal artifacts that embody who they were and who you will become. Time stops for no one, so why should love?

Even after her untimely death, Andrea is still teaching me things about myself, and that’s why I will love her until the day I see her again.

EJ x

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These Four Walls

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I’m feeling very sentimental and nostalgic today, so heads up on a potentially emotional post. This isn’t a blog about clothes or any SL events or anything like that. It’s more of a personal reflective journal entry, so make of that what you will.

Because of both practical and financial reasons, this week will be the last week on the sim we’ve had for over a year. I was just at my house, picking up odds and ends from each room, when a familiar house in the distance caught my eye and the reality of the situation really started to sink in. This was the thing I’d been dreading most about letting the sim go – not my own personal things, not picking up the landscaping or the hundreds of prims, but those memories on the other side of the sim, the things that will never be rezzed again. The things that, once returned, will be put to rest in her inventory along with all the precious photographs, gestures, saved outfits never blogged, all the memories.. everything. I knew eventually this day would come; there will always come a time when you need to “let go”, but I don’t think knowing that makes it any less bearable.

This time of year was always Andrea’s favorite. I, on the other hand, turn into an unbearable scrooge, usually because by this time I’m stressed from school, overworked, and completely sick of being subjected to Christmas music and rude customers for 10 hours at a time at my work. No matter how much I would complain, though, Andrea always used to bring out a bit of Christmas cheer in me. She’d make me watch Elf or The Grinch with her, or drunkenly call me and start singing a Christmas song that I couldn’t help but smile and join in. She’d start a countdown to Christmas the day after her birthday (which was in June) and remind me every day of December how many days we had left to go. The level of her obnoxiousness by the week of Christmas reached maximum full potential. By December 25th, I wanted to buy a plane ticket to Liverpool just so I could punch her.

Last Christmas was especially upsetting because it came not long after the Sandy Hook shootings. I live about 15 minutes from there, and as if the very nature of what happened wasn’t enough to ruin anyone’s holiday cheer, my proximity to the site just made it all the worse. I met with families who were affected, attended Dawn Hochsprung’s wake, and even spoke with one of the mothers on the phone at my work, who was calling to order a pastry tray for one of the kid’s funerals. I remember just sitting in front of the TV that Friday for hours, unable to pull myself from watching the news, huddled up with my cat and my blanket, effortless tears just flowing for hours. Unspeakable things happen every day to people all over the world, this was no rare exception to tragedy. But it hits you on a much more personal level if something so devastating happens so close to home, or so close to your heart.

In four days, we will mark one year since it happened. And four days ago marked the fourth month since Andrea was taken from us. They say time flies when you’re having fun, but time absolutely drags when you lose a loved one. Every day is another day you’ve got to get up and face the world without them laughing in your ear. Every song that comes on the radio you can relate back to what you’re feeling, and you swear whoever wrote that song wrote it just for you. Every night you get into bed not having made one last memory with them, so you sit there for awhile and muse over the memories you do have for the thousandth time. It’s very easy to circle around inside your head and live in the land of suck, focusing only on the negative and the sadness in your life. Some days that’s who I am, and other days I lift my head up, throw myself into a distraction, and I know I will be fine.

Everyone deals with loss. Grief disguises itself with many veils: death of a family member or a friend, a loss of friendship, the loss of a pet, a broken heart, broken promise, a broken dream. We are all human and we all have horrible things happen to us, but we should find some sort of comfort in knowing that we are never alone through any of it. It’s okay to break down and cry because of a trigger that sets you off. It’s okay. It happens. It’s okay to show your emotions to others, it’s okay to pour your heart and soul out to someone else and let them see you at your most vulnerable, because sometimes vulnerable is beautiful. It shows you for what you are. Human. A stunning human being with the capacity to feel something so deep, to form connections and incredible friendships and romances, knowing the risk that some day they will all be gone, but not letting that stop you. That’s fucking beautiful.

That’s what I will be constantly reminding myself these next few days. We are all human. We are all born into this world and eventually, we are all taken from it. It’s not either of those things or the length of time between them that matters; it’s what you do filling up the space in between that counts. If you can get to the end of the day, look back on the day’s events and be content with yourself, and happy with what you accomplished, and even maybe what you didn’t yet.. then you will be okay. You may have tears in your eyes as you fall asleep tonight, and maybe your heart still feels very broken, maybe it will for awhile. Maybe your heart will always be a little bit broken, but you will make it through. I promise.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, you guys <3

Del x

Meet Leila

Hi guys! It’s almost September 1st, which means the next round of the Arcade is creeping up on us and before you know it, your linden balance will be a fraction of what you’d like it to be. But that’s alright because we’re really treated to something special this round, and that’s this stunning new face from Belleza. Meet Leila!Final Leila blog

I’m not kidding when I tell you this is one of my favorite skin releases in a long, long time. As soon as I demo’ed even the first option, I was in love. Choose your favorite (if you can even pick) from 15 truly amazing makeup options, including 3 unique rares. One of my favorites of the line is #2 rare, a soft smokey eye-shadow with a neutral lip. But then the #3 rare is so classy and elegant, then #7, #8 and #9 are also at the top of my “will wear often” list. Here’s a closeup of that must have #2:

leila face

This is one skin you’ll definitely want to demo and then spend some time trying to get come Arcade opening. The sim opens September 1st at midnight <3

Skin: **NEW @ The Arcade** Belleza | Leila | Rare #2 (Shyla Diggs)
Hair: **NEW** Elikatira | Tallulah | Latte (Elikapeka Tiramisu)
Ears: Mandala | Unisex Simple Ears (Kikunosuke Eel)
EyesIkon | Vanity | Hazel (Ikon Innovia)
Eyelashes: Garage | v.23 (Slava Parkin)

Picture Location

The Wind Beneath My Wings

Andrea

picture by Shyla Diggs

31 lit tea lights. 31 years come and gone, but a lifetime taken far too soon. One flame for every beautiful year my best friend lived on this Earth. It still feels unreal when I say that she passed away on August 5, 2013, because she is still very much a part of me.

My good friend Natalee Oodles reached out to me shortly after hearing of her passing, and told me how she was inspired to do a blogger’s challenge in her honor. I thought to myself what a wonderful and beautiful way to remember her. Andrea has always loved fashion in SL, and I’ve always really been amazed at the uniqueness of her look and seeing it evolve over all the years I’ve known her. She was excited as can be when she started hers up, and even though she didn’t have the best computer and had no way of using Photoshop, she somehow managed to leave a dent on the blogging community. She adored blogging; she loved finding new stores and putting looks together, she loved getting opinions on lighting and angles of her photos. I can just hear her now stressing about having 17 different outfits to blog and just saying “cba” when I told her to suck it up and do it (cba means “can’t be arsed” and was a favorite expression of hers). I’ll always remember the panic in her voice when nobody commented on her Plurk blog post, or if she didn’t get as many favorites on a picture as she expected. She would get so dramatic about it, kidding of course, and we’d just laugh and give her ‘pity comments’.  I’ll remember her staying up all night till 8am her time for Collabor88 or faMESHed to open, her speech slurred from lack of sleep but the laughter strong all the same. Andrea is the reason that I even have a blog at all. She would constantly pester me to start one up, and when I finally got a computer that I thought was good enough for graphics, she helped me set this one up.

Just when I think I have no more words, more raw emotion comes pouring out. Just when I think I cannot possibly cry any more, the tears pour like a waterfall. But that is not what this post will be about, this post is about facing a challenge, as so many of us are. I know it will serve as a reminder to me to keep my head held high, and I hope that it will serve the same purpose for anyone facing sadness or overwhelming grief, be it about Andrea or anything else that life hurls at us.

You can read Natalee’s blogger challenge post in detail here. It challenges us to 1) express something you are thankful for, and 2) track progress of something you want to improve on.

Thankful. I am thankful for her friendship. When I put aside my own heartache for the loss of my other half, I am able to see just how thankful I am to have known her in the first place. Now, more than ever, Second Life stands out to me as a wonderful vessel for us to connect with people that we may never have crossed paths with otherwise. Andrea lived in England her whole life, I in the United States, and it is because of the internet and Second Life that our friendship had the chance to ever form and blossom into what it is today. I am thankful that she could so openly accept me as a person and a friend. I am thankful that she could see me exposed and vulnerable, in my darkest and most broken moments, and was able to pick me up and help me put all the shattered pieces back together. Whatever strength and security I feel today is in large part because she gave me the consistent support that we as humans so desperately need. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to grow with her, to learn from her, to teach her, to love her and be loved by her. I could sit here for hours and hours and try to piece together words that would express how thankful I am for her friendship, as so many fellow SLers have already done on this tribute website to her. But I am thankful for more than just her friendship - I am thankful for all of the people I have met because of her along the way, too.

The first thing I wanted to do when I was told that Andrea had passed away was call her. It was my initial, gut reaction and it always has been. In the past, whenever something happened to me or I got sad news, she was the first one that I told because I knew she could get me through it. She knew every last little detail about my life. And in the day or two after she passed, I just couldn’t shake this horrible, empty, sinking, lonely feeling. I kept thinking “How am I going to make it without her? Who am I going to talk to when I need to vent?” And although it took me a day or two of processing and grieving with others to realize, I can see it now. I am not alone because she is no longer with us. Rather I am richer than ever if I just open my eyes and embrace all the friendships that surround me. She seemed to have a billion people that loved her, some she met on Plurk, some she met in Second Life, others through blogging and Flickr. Every single one of you who has come to know her through one of those mediums is special to me, because she knew you and interacted with you, even if it was just once in passing. Not a single one of you is insignificant in my eyes because you were not insignificant in hers. She welcomed new friends into her life with open arms, gentle eyes and a sincere demeanor. That was one of the things I loved most about her; she treated just about everyone the same. But of course I know that nobody is perfect. She had flaws just like me and just like the rest of us (and I can assure you I reminded her of that constantly), but she really was one of the most accepting and least judgmental people I have ever known. Which brings me to the next segment of the blog.

Improving. I want to improve my life and I want to improve the lives of others, just like she would be doing if she was still physically with us. I want to improve on not being so quick to form opinions on others. I want to improve on reaching out to other people even if I am struggling. It’s too easy to tune everyone else out and just live in the land of egocentric suck when you’re having a bad day, and I’m guilty of it myself these past few days. But then I think about Andrea’s life and how she was battling so many emotions and obstacles herself on a daily basis, yet she always, always asked me how I was doing or how my day was going, sometimes even multiple times a day. And it wasn’t just to make conversation or to break the deafening silence she hated so much; she really wanted to know.

I want to improve on letting go of grudges and just being able to forgive and forget, because for the first time in my life I have lost someone dear to me, and now more than ever I realize just how precious life is, and how short it can be. As cliche as it sounds, I don’t want to waste time dwelling in negative emotions like resentment or hate. I am done with it. That doesn’t mean I will be a flower picking hippy who sees stars every time she meets someone new, and I am certain on some occasions my actions will contradict these very words. But I will try. I will try to forgive, forget and move on.

Dylan, Keri, Kate, Rebecca, Natalee, Darla, Chells, Katie, Layne, Johnny, Luke, Kara, Lulu, Shaar, Chuck, Jill, Abby McDonnagh, Giselle, Meg, Maelie, Brandi, Rachel, Liq, Tyr, Willis, Taylor, Roli, Dermie, Annan, Asia, Jo, Poly, Katy, Misha, Rose, Jared, Tyler, Love, Quint, Mayson, Cyke, Kilo, Lucie; whatever your name in RL or SL may be, thank you so deeply from the bottom of my heart. The list of people I want to hug could literally go on and on because the outpour of people supporting has been in the hundreds. If you are reading this right now, you are surely one of those people. To every single person who has taken the time to message myself or someone else and offer a comforting word, thought or memory in her honor: thank you. Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for recognizing what an incredible person she was, and knowing just how significant her presence in my life and in the lives of so many others is. Thank you for your prayers, your sound advice on dealing with this grief, your beautiful words in her memory and all the efforts put forth to let her spirit live on. I am truly touched by the kindness and sympathy this community has shown for Andrea, and it has made the pain that much easier to take. I am thankful for you all, and thankful for the feeling that I am not alone, even in the absence of my very best friend.

<3 Delaney

Did you ever know that you’re my hero
And everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle
‘Cause you are the wind beneath my wings

It might have appeared to go unnoticed
But I’ve got it all here in my heart
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it
I would be nothing without you

Get Lucky

Back To Love

Skin: **NEW** Pink Fuel | Harley | Peach – Button nose, freckles, lid 1  (Mochi Milena)
Hair: **NEW** Exile | Piece of My Heart | Dark Browns HUD (Kavar Cleanslate) *Hair Fair item
Top: **NEW @ FaMESHed** NYU | Bodice dress| Nude (NyuNyu Kimono)
Pants: **NEW @ FaMESHed** Emery | High Waisted Jeans Strauss | Coral (Sunami Beck)
Heels: **NEW @ The Liaison Collaborative** Gos Boutique |  Lauren d’Orsay | Truffle Collection (Gospel Voom)
Hands: Slink | Mesh Hands | Relaxed R, Relaxed L (Siddean Munro)
EyesIkon | Vanity | Denim (Ikon Innovia)
Eyelashes: Garage | v.23 (Slava Parkin)

PoseDiesel Works | Beth | Pose 7a (Rogan Diesel)
Picture Location

We’ve come too far to give up who we are
So let’s raise the bar and our cups to the stars

Read All About It

Read All About It

Skin: **NEW** Pink Fuel | Harley | Peach – Button nose, freckles, lid 1  (Mochi Milena)
Hair: **NEW** Truth | Qopi| Brown 04 (Truth Hawks)
Top: Ricielli | Basic sweater | Black (Fhara Acacia) *past The Dressing Room item
PantsOverhigh | Suede pants | Gray (Marry Lemur) *past The Dressing Room item
HeelsJust Design | Lux | Black leather (Davidefre Resident)
Glasses: Reek | Augie glasses | Color change HUD (Riq Graves) *no store/marketplace at time of post
Hands: Slink | Mesh Hands | Relaxed R, Relaxed L (Siddean Munro)
EyesIkon | Vanity | Denim (Ikon Innovia)
Eyelashes: Garage | v.23 (Slava Parkin)

Pose: **NEW** Embody | Bookworm 5 (book prop & pose) (Radagast Lexington)
Picture Location

You’ve got the words to change a nation
But you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a life time stuck in silence
Afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song?

Anything But Ordinary

Anything But Ordinary

Skin:**NEW @ The Liaison Collaborative** Belleza | Ava – TLC 3 | Medium (Tricky Boucher)
Hair: **NEW** Magika | Dusty | Color Change HUD (Sabina Gully)
Dress: **NEW @ The Dressing Room** Cynful | Rocker Chic | Green (Cynthia Ultsch)
Shoes: LMD | Chloe canvas sneakers | Latte
Necklace[glow] studio | Grape Briolette | Vanilla/Gold (Linka Demina)
Tattoos:  Para Designs | Kaleidoscope| Black, light (Vicky Werefox)
Eyes: Ikon | Vanity eyes | Hazel (Ikon Innovia)
EyelashesGarage | v.23 (Slava Parkin)

PoseAtooly | Female pose 128 (rockstarroo GossipGirl)
Picture Location

To walk within the lines
Would make my life so boring
I want to know that I 
Have been to the extreme
So knock me off my feet
Come on now give it to me
Anything to make me feel alive