Mastering the skills needed to ascend from mere observer to creator in Second Life can take some doing. Like everybody else, when I started out I couldn't do much more with building and scripting than rezzing a plywood box and making it say "Hello Avatar!"
A little Googling pointed me toward many wonderful online tutorials, particularly Natalia Zelmanov's
blog, which I continue to use as a resource. (She's added a few tutorials on sculpties, which I've been trying to follow, but Wings 3D isn't playing well with my computer right now, alas.)
Lately, though, I've also been taking classes inworld. They're amazingly easy to find--just go to the Events listings, select the Education category and all the casino ads magically go away and you're given a list of places to go and things to learn. I found a class on how to build neko ears and a tail, and I ended up wearing the results for weeks afterward. I took a class in animation, so I was able to learn exactly how to use that Avimator program that came with my copy of the Second Life book. And I ended up taking a four day course called "LSL Boot Camp", which was a very intensive set of classes on scripting. I'm still digesting everything I learned from that one.
I also wanna give a shout-out to kherber
who taught a fun class on furniture building, though I learned that from the second_lifers
community, rather than the Events calendar.
I've gotten a little more used to my appearance in Second Life, and then I went and put on a completely new one. While I wasn't able to make it to grizzygriswold
's discussion of race and gender (she asked that people try on an avatar of a different race or gender than their usual one and talk about how people reacted to it) I was still intrigued enough by the notion to try on a male body for a while.
So went into Edit Appearance mode, did a Save As on my shape, pressed the Male radio button and ta-da--insta-gothboy! With girly slit still between legs. Hm. I decided to pull the male version of the CyberGoth skin out of the Library and try that on for size. It worked for what I needed, since I was only doing it as a lark at this point. I did a little slider tweaking on the shape, then threw on some freebie hair I'd gotten somewhere earlier. While it wasn't perfect, it, again, served for a mere experiment. I donned the Blaze tux I'd bought earlier and went out into the world.
Nobody actually noticed, it seemed. Miles knew, but only because we were, once again, in the same room in RL and able to shoulder-surf. We went to a beach party that DJ Lysander was spinning at, and none of the usuals made the slightest remark on it. Then again, my boyself and my girlself are both pale and skinny, so it's possible people didn't even see a difference!
Seeing 'myself' as male was a curious sensation. I did gain a measure of insight into those certain men who apparently play female avatars in the shapes of their personal fantasies. When I looked at my boyself my thoughts were something along the lines of "Damn, I'd hit that!"
But there was also a sense of detachment that went with it. Part of it may simply be that I'm not 'used' to being in that shape. I also had a bit of that when my female face was changed in ways I wasn't comfortable with.
Note the number of caveats I put on my remark about the motivations of men who play women--my point is most definitely not that all men do this, just that some, possibly, do. I also know of RL men who play SL women as a way of expressing aspects of themselves that cannot be easily explored in that thing we call reality, particularly when their biology does not match what they feel their gender to be. It's also possible that the reason for my detachment is that I don't have as deep-seated a need to 'be male' as other people might.
My perceptions of this may change if I'm ever addressed and interacted with as
a male, which hasn't really happened yet.
I've organized some folders for my two different bodies and I think I'll be jumping back and forth between them for a bit. I do need a decent AO with a male walk--my sexywalk AO just doesn't work for my boyshape, but I can't hack it to change walks. I've picked up a few more freebies to wear, but I'd still like to find a decent male skin that has the impossibly bleached pallor that I'm accustomed to. Some things, it seems, I just can't bear to change.