Life - The Greatest Show on Earth

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Too Bright

, originally uploaded by

~sierra sugar~

.

Tiny steps echo across a wooden floor and come to a stop.

There is a moment of silence and then the lights come up.

"Over here. No, down a little. There ya go! Kitty center stage.

They say all the world's a stage.

And I say, Forget Barnum and Bailey's, this is it folks. This is the greatest show on Earth, and we're living it.

Except there is no dress rehersal, no retakes, and no scenes left laying on an editing room floor.

Life, is live-action in real time with no commercial breaks.

Everyone has a role, and there is no part too big or too small. Every moment is a vital scene that you alone complete.

So while that spotlight is on you, give it your best, all that you've got. Because you never who's watching and who's heart you might touch, mind you might inspire, or soul you might comfort.

We've only got one chance while the camera is rolling, cause once it stops...

...the rest is silence. "

stage lights fade to black as house lights shine on the rest of the world.

(c) sierra sugar 10/6/2011

Post partially inspired by the tremendous loss of an inspirational man, Steve Jobs, and partially inspired by personal loss in my life.

NEW POSE FROM eMOTIONS - "In the Spotlight" set, "Too Bright"

Skin:[rQ]Pale@TYPE.o4-B.o2 (lightBROW)

Hair: *~*Damselfly*~*Etta II White Pearl

Nails:[ Love Soul ] Prim nails+Ring*baby doll*Silver

Ears:*Dreams* (aka Somnia) Tied with a Bow Snowy White Twitchy Ear

Tail: PN Extreme Corset neko tail

Shirt: A Netherworld - Incantation Corset - Black (J)

Pants: Zaara : Ishaya Velour slacks *black

Necklace:Kunstkammer String of Tahitian Pearls (black)

Bracelet:Kunstkammer Tahitian Pearl Bracelet

Pose: eMOTIONS - "In the Spotlight" set, "Too Bright"

Still Standing




The mourning sun glares on a street
once enshadowed
By Twin Towers standing as guardians
over Manhattan.
As dust and tears settle on a now
unfamiliar skyline
Their thunderous demise still
echoes the Nation.

Instead of bringing this great county
to its knees
We rise shaken and bruised, refusing
to admit defeat.
We join together as one
to show
A united front towards
a common enemy.
 
Our flag continues to wave, The Star
Spangled Banner continues to play
And prayers are lifted unto heaven
on Angels' Wings.
Today, amidst the rubble and chaos
brought to this land
We, The United States of America
proudly STILL STAND!
                                                          (c) sierra sugar 9/12/2001

Growing up I remember my parents talking about the assasination of John F, Kennedy and how even decades later they could perfectly remember even the smallest detail of that singular moment in time.  I couldn't understand it.  That is, not until September 11, 2001.

Ten years ago today I was married to an enlisted Navy man serving shore duty at Patuxent River, Maryland, which is located just South of Washington DC.  We lived on base and he worked on the electronics and radar systems for the F-18 fighter jets.  That morning, like any other morning we both were at work and the kids were in school, him on base and the kids and I off base.  That's when I heard the news.  A patient called to say she wouldn't be in, she was watching the news and a plane just flew into one of the Twin Towers in New York.  I couldn't wrap my brain around that concept.

I went to put the news on for my boss and I.  I remember standing there with my phone in my hand as I had called my husband but it just rang and went to voice mail.  I vaguely remember hearing his voice mail message, as if through a hollow tin can, as the second plane flew into the other tower.  When the first tower collasped, that's when my legs gave and I crumpled to the floor.  By the time I was finally able to make my legs work and stand both towers had collapsed.  I don't remember crying but my eyes burned and my cheeks were wet.  Every number I tried to call got some message about circuits being overloaded and the call could not be completed.  Being that close to DC I didn't know whether my husbands squadron was going to get called out.  My family and friends didn't know if we were ok.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when my phone actually rang.  It was my husband.  He had literally two minutes to talk.  I remember him saying be quiet and listen.  Get the kids and get on base NOW, they are locking everything down.  No one in or out.  

My boss told me to go and I did.  I couldn't get through to the school but it didn't matter.  Cars were lined up, buses were loading kids already, and the office was in hyper drive checking IDs and signing kids out.  From that point it took me 3 hours to get on base as every car and person, kids included, went through a complete security check including metal detector and pat down.  They looked in cars, trunks, behind seats, used big mirrors to scan the under carriage of every vehicle.  Only those with valid military ID that showed they lived on base, or listed as critical crew were being allowed in, everyone else was turned away.  And at 6pm no one, living there or not, was getting on the base, period.  We were locked in for 3 days.

That night every navy wife and husband not on duty turned off their lights and sat in their front yards for a candle-light vigil.  Even the kids were solomn and still for that hour.  There was nothing we more we could do at that moment but pray and hope.  

For days we watched nothing but every video, news cast, interview, and heart-wrenching story from that fateful morning.  Until I finally couldn't take it anymore.  I turned the TV off and took the kids to the park on base.  Every moment of that day, every face seen on the TV, every tear, and every loss will always be etched in my memory.  And every day I am thankful that for all the heartache and loss that day, my family was spared.  I only wish so many others would have been as lucky.
Never Forget!

 

Sounds of Silence


This time of year is easily the hardest time for me. It sneaks up on me every year. My emotions run high. My tears fall freely. I find myself angry and confused for no apparent reason. And then I realize what's going on. And even though it all makes sense, it doesn't make it any easier.

Labor Day weekend. In the US it's a long holiday weekend filled with football, cookouts, friends, family, laughter, time at the beach or lake, and fun. For many it is the last hurrah before they go back to school. For others it is a quick reprieve after the first one or two weeks of being back to school. For me? It is the last time I saw Teddy (Thor Bishop in Second Life) alive. Four years ago over Labor Day weekend I was up in Long Island, New York spending the week with him, meeting his family, and planning our future. I flew home the day after Labor Day full of hope and happiness. One month later I found myself on a plane back to New York for his funeral. It doesn't seem like it has been four years. And then again at times it feels like its been more than a lifetime. Throughout the year I remember him with laughter and smiles. I have said my goodbyes to him. I have packed away all but the most treasured memories and I have gone forward with my life. Yet, I find once again this time of year tripping me up and bringing me down. Four years.

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. Throughout most of the country the colors start to change to rich reds, warm yellows, glowing oranges, and deep purples. The air is just barely starting to turn cooler, but the days are still sunny and warm. My mother loved the warmer months. The hotter the better. She lived to be outdoors in the sun. Autumn is when we lost her. Two years ago September 24th my mother lost her battle with cancer. Two years ago this time of year we were watching her struggle and slip away. Two years ago we were all in denial and silently preparing for the eventuality of her death. As much as we wanted to ignore it, wish it would go away, pretend it didn't exist, the cancer most definitely did exist and it was stealing my mother away breath by breath every day. I can still see the changes in her from each visit. I can still feel the frailty of her as I cared for her, helped her move, bathed and fed her those last days. Two years.

It doesn't seem fair for cancer to win so often. But it does, and it doesn't care how old you are. This time last year, yet again we were left helpless as we all watched my sister-in-law lose her fight with cancer. She was only a couple years older than me and had been fighting cancer for 4-5 years. When my mother died the year before she left behind a husband and three adult children. When the insidious cancer took my sister, she left behind a husband, one child just barely in college, and another still in high school. I was here, where I am most days, taking care of my patient unable to get away. I got the news of her passing and grieved her loss alone in silence. One year.

This time of year is hard. And I don't know where else to vent except for here. The above incidents are not the only things that have happened during September/October the past couple years, but they are the most significant. The others are just salt in already painful wounds. I was alone when I got the news that Teddy died. I sat all alone on the floor in an airport crying into a cell phone telling my dad. My best friend in real life didn't even know and when I tried to tell her she didn't understand, she couldn't. When my mother died I felt like I had to be the one to be strong because I watched as my brothers and dad were coming to pieces. I couldn't even express my pain for over a year, and even then it was over the phone to a long-distance friend who had never lost anyone and had no clue what I was feeling.

The past month here has been crazy with all sorts of repair work and technical problems. I am most definitely stressed and worn out. The past two days I've barely been able to hold the tears in when I'm on the phone or on the air. Music helps, distractions help, but they are not enough. When I hurt I tend to isolate myself. Hoping for someone, anyone to notice and reach out. In theory those that know me know this. Yet not one of them has taken the time to ask what is wrong. I reached out in sheer desperation to two different friends, just needing a little compassion and comfort to help me through what felt like the worst of it. One completely ignored me. The other told me to "get over it".

Why do I continue to put my faith in people? I like to think that when it counts I am a compassionate person. Honest and caring. Willing to listen and try to understand. Life experience has given me a lot, whether I wanted it or not. But it helps me relate hopefully to people around me. No one is perfect, we all fall short sometimes. But I would hope that when it matters I'm able to see through to someone's pain and be there for them. For those of you that perhaps I failed in this, you have my most heart-felt sincerest apology. And for those that know me know I tend to say "Everybody leaves". And that's exactly how I'm feeling right now, everyone's gone and I'm left sitting here completely alone.

If you listen to the sounds of her silence you'll hear the crash of tears as they fall. And if you look through the brightness of her smile, you'll see the shadows of sorrow in her heart. (c) 2011 Sierra Sugar


.❊ ڪʈℜ○ηģƸℜ ❊.


Broken, originally uploaded by ~sierra sugar~.


"I'm done hopin' we'll work out. I'm done with how it feels, spinin my wheels. I'm done thinkin' you'll ever change and I know my heart will never be the same, but even on my weakest days......I get a little bit stronger."

There is much talk about love and holding on, never giving up, always being patient. The movie "A Walk to Remember" quotes 1 Corinthians with this definition of love:

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4"

But what do you do when you feel all of that and more but it is not returned? "Just Friends" is the most painful phrase to any heart in this position. What do you do when you would do anything for someone, but they in turn would do anything for someone else? What do you do when the daily friendship is like acid in your chest. When every conversation with them, every phone call from them, every message from them, as innocent as they may be, is a reminder that everything you want stops at the word "Friend"?

At some point you have to protect your heart, and your sanity. Sometimes, the hardest thing you'll ever have to do is just simply let go no matter how much they beg you to stay. Let go and wish them the best. Let go and hope they continue to find all the happiness in life you ever wanted for them, and that maybe someday you will too. Let go because being just friends is a daily reminder of just how much it hurts to never cross that line. It doesn't mean you're weak, or that you love the person any less, but that maybe its time to love yourself a little too.

"I can't make you love me if you don't. I can't make your heart feel something it won't. Here in the dark in these final hours I would lay down my heart and I'll feel the power, but you won't."


Hard Lessons

We deserve better than to stay together, simply because we are afraid of being destroyed should we part.
(paraphrased from "Eat. Pray. Love.")

No one ever said life and love were easy.  In fact, for most all of us those are the two most difficult things we will face between birth and death.  We spend our entire lives living to be loved or to find love, whether within ourselves or in someone else.  Some of us are lucky enough to find that blissful peace, many of us never will, and eventually all of us will suffer the soul crashing pain of loss.

When love is new and fresh it is beautiful and exciting; the highest of highs along with the invincible rush of adrenaline.  From our early years with our first puppy love crushes through adulthood, love attacks us and attaches to us in many forms.  Even the most mild of afflictions can leave us breathless and wanting for more.

It is that euphoria that drives us to find new love or to hold onto old love.  It is an addiction we feed, whether it is to find that grounding love in ourselves or see that reflection of acceptance from another’s eyes.  Love is beautiful.  Love is kind.  Love is wonderful.  Love is working together as both partners and individuals.  Love is supportive and encouraging.  Love is passionate and thrilling, and at times peaceful and calming.  It cannot be described in mere words. But it is all things good and healthy, even the battles serve their purpose to make love stronger.  But love misplaced can be crippling, and painfully debilitating.

Too many times so many find themselves in the grasp of the memory of love.  Not even hope, for hope is usually a good thing.  But the memory that lingers of what might have been if only…. We make excuses for why it went wrong.  We deceive ourselves with lies on how it will get better.  And we stagnate ourselves and our lives in a rut of painful familiarity clinging with white knuckles to one of the most perilous of words in the English dictionary:

If.

If I did this they will love me again.  If this changed things could be better.  If I was a better person…. If I had a better job….  If we lived somewhere else….  If I moved….  If they changed….  If they settle down….. So many ifs and each one of them sink into us like hooks, anchoring our hearts in a loveless place filled with anger, confusion, self doubt, and fear.  It is a deception.  The emotional wolf in sheep’s clothing teasing us with possibilities that logic dictates will never happen.  But the heart almost always over-powers the mind, because the call of Love and its warm metaphors is more appealing than the sterile coldness of logic.

Stronger than any opiate.  Real, honest, true, and reciprocated love has the power to bring about peace, serenity, passion and fire, trust, and respect.  But when love is gone or never was, and you refuse to see and move on, it also has the power to make even the strongest person hollow and weak.  Yet so many of us, myself included, have held on to something that wasn’t real simply because we were afraid of what was to come.  Or rather, what wasn’t. 

The guise of love, painful as it may be, was easier to handle than the thought of being alone.  And that simple fact is what eventually will cause a person to lose themselves completely.  Happiness does not come from another person.  Love cannot be commanded or controlled.  We cannot will someone to love us simply because we want them to.  And life will in fact go on with out them.  And if we let go, truly let go, we open ourselves up for the most pure and honest of loves to find us.  But we must have faith and stop holding onto the ifs.

I always say, “Never give up.”  Never give up on yourself! Don’t settle for any ifs or what might have beens. Believe enough in who you are go let go and live.

Let go of the lies.  Let go the anger.  Let go of the pain.  No more yelling.  No more unbearable silence. No more not being seen.  We all deserve better.

We deserve better than to stay together, simply because we are afraid of being destroyed should we part.

~sierra

Virtually Six


In the normal chronology of life six years can be a significant amount of time. If a person lives to be 60, six years is 1/10th of their life span. If an average adult marriage lasts 30 years, six years is 1/5th of that time. To a teenager six years is longer than one spends in high school or for many even college. But in terms of virtual chronology six years is more than a lifetime, to many it may seem like an eternity. In an age and environment where technology is outdated nearly as fast as it is developed and changes are measured in terms of gigabytes per second, a year marks an extreme passing of time.

It also marks the virtual age of Sierra Sugar. Six years ago today Sierra was “born” if you will into the virtual world of Second Life. Seeking an escape from the grind and drama of the average raid oriented guild in MMORPGs, a friend of mind recommended this “new” game. Knowing my affinity towards The Sims, he thought SL would be a nice change of pace from the XP grind of WoW. Little did I know what I was stepping into.

In a world where any person can be and create anything their heart desires, Sierra was created as and has remained a virtual extension of her real life user. The only deviation from that real representation was the addition of kitty ears and tail, call it a personality trait expressed visually. Many use Second Life as a way to be something they are not or could never be. I have used it as a means to express who I really am. The person who was always a bit too quiet, or too shy for her own good could finally have a voice and be seen. It allowed me to step out of myself and take a good look. It showed me many things I did not like, and quite a few I realized I did. It has afforded me opportunities for amazing friendships, incredible love, unending creativity, and yes even unbelievable heartache. Through the laughter, the tears, the good times and the bad, after six years Sierra still remains.

Six years is definitely an eternity in Second Life time. And in those six years I’ve seen this virtual world change exponentially. It was a much smaller world back then. The grid could easily be traversed by foot, vehicle or hot air balloon in the course of a couple hours at best. There were no private islands and mainland was being bought up in large quantities by a budding virtual real estate entrepreneur, Anshe Chung. The only known custom skin maker was Munchflower Zaius of Nomine fame. There was no flexi nor sculptie. And any average Second Life citizen could enter into chat with a Linden simply by asking for help in world.

In 2005 if you logged in and there were 8,000 people online you know the world was going to crash. I remember the first time I saw there were 12,000 people online. And again when there were 20,000 online I sat back and went “Wow!”. Now on any given day there will be on average 65,000-75,000 online. Again, just “Wow!”.

In my six years in Second Life I've seen people meet from half way around the world, fall in love, meet in real life, and make it work. I’ve witnessed the growth of virtual support groups and learning centers. I’ve both witnessed and personally experienced extreme acts of kindness and generosity given to “friends” in a virtual world shared so closely, where yet the real world separates them by hundreds and even thousands of miles.

Residents of Second Life span the globe and their charitable interests are expressed accordingly. Funds have been donated in large quantities not just for RFL, but also for the relief efforts of Katrina, Haiti, Japan, Abused Women, education, Mobility, and various other charitable organizations. Our first year in working with the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life, citizens of Second Life barely raised $100,000 USD. Yet that amount was considered a significant achievement brought about by merely a bunch of virtual gamer geeks. The past two years Second Life RFL teams raised over $2.5 MILLION USD each year. Again, just “Wow!”.

In six years here in this Second Life I’ve also witness heartbreaking sadness and acts so inhumane rage and disgust can’t even begin to express accurately. Negativity and evil exists in the real world just as surely as it does in a virtual world. It doesn’t make it right or any less wrong. Human nature being what it is can we really expect others to behave differently simply because it is virtual? Not really. We are who we are no matter what platform or environment we choose to represent ourselves and interact with others. Evil, in what ever context you wish it to be, simply is. We acknowledge it, avoid it if we can, and move on.

Being the perpetual optimist I try to not dwell on the negative. To quote another strong woman from a different era, yet just as equally virtual in its own sense for the time she was created, Ms. Scarlett O’hara once said “Tomorrow is another day!”

And yes it is. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

~sierra

I am me

I don't apologize for who I am anymore!

I feel...everything.  I laugh and I love with my whole heart.  I cry real tears, often.  I get angry.  I get hurt.  I stumble and fall.  I make mistakes and try again.  I'm intelligent but not genius.  I'm talented but not gifted.  I'm flirty but reserved.  I stick my foot in my mouth regularly.  I am never intentionally cruel or hurtful.  I have a knack for missing the obvious.  I crave attention and tend to smother people in return.  I am broken but still trying.  I am strong but still struggling.  Even in my darkest moments I still hope.

Love me, leave, me, want me or hate me.  I really don't care anymore.  I am me.  I am real.  And I do not apologize for the person that I am.

Still Waters

They say still waters run deep.
The surface smooth. The surface calm.
But what you don't see below is the force of those waters, swift and strong. At times a veritable maelstrom of movement below surface warmth. Pushing and pulling from within, and surrounding anyone who manages to find their way inside.

They say still waters run deep.
And there is much more than what is seen reflected back to you. But for most the surface is all they will ever see. It may not always be a peaceful place. But it is my place.

They say still waters run deep. And if you're not afraid to look, you may just find me there. (c) 2010

Two Three Six Five - Sierra Sugar

Earlier in the year I was recommended by Callie Cline to the Two Three Six Five blog and they asked me if I would like to write. The Second Life Two Three Six Five is the SL version of the RL blog of similar namesake. After reading over the project and comparing the SL and RL blogs I was ecstatic to be included in this project. And of course the date that naturally came to mind for me to write about was 10/09/2010, a significant day to those that knew me.

Little did I realize the changes life would take over the past year and how it would effect my writing (and personal life) in a way I never imagined. If you haven't already been following this blog do go and check it out Here. If you've liked what I said please leave a comment. All feedback on anything I write is always most welcomed.

~Sierra Sugar

Argument in favor of a Private Tutor (Another "Big Fish")

"You know before they'll let you live up here you have to pass Yankee School."

This is what he tells me. "Yankee School", an indoctrination into the ways of being a Yankee. Apparently, Southerners cannot legally become a citizen of the Island unless they pass this secretive training camp. And just WHERE is this all-important Yankee School located?

"Yankee Stadium. You'll have to go there for two weeks."

I can feel my heart pounding and the faint tingling of a burn in my eyes. Two weeks?! How am I ever going to survive two weeks in Yankee Stadium all by myself, well all by myself with presumably hundreds of other potential Yankee wanna-bes, or possibly-bees, or how-the-hell-did-I-end-up-here-bees people? It was time for some serious action and negotiating.

The law says I have to pass Yankee School to live there, but it doesn't say I *have* to go to Yankee Stadium. That's just the most common and largest gathering place to convert, I mean teach unknowing Southerner's about the mysterious ways of the North, including their clipped, edgy vowel sounding vocabulary. What if I had a private tutor? What if he was my private tutor? Surely there is precedence for that.

He’s being stubborn. Or coy? Or perhaps playful? “I dunno. Why do you need a private tutor?” He asks.

Oh why indeed. *puts on her most innocent and sincere game face and commences with the powers of negotiation*

Throughout history there have been distinct fashion differences between the North and the South. One has only to watch the transformation of Michelle Pfieffer in the movie “Up Close & Personal” when she moves from South Florida to a news station in the North to realize that there are still distinct differences in acceptable attire for specific roles. And is not a “school girl” a specific role? I believe it is. And thus my argument in favor of a private tutor is that coming from Florida I have only the proper attire for a Florida School Girl and not a Yankee School Girl. It would be unacceptable, inappropriate, and possibly illegal for me to venture out to Yankee Stadium dressed in such clothing. Therefore requiring me to have a private tutor for the duration of my “Yankee School.”

Exhibit A – Proper Yankee School Girl

Yankee School Girl

Skin: Curio – Sunkissed Elf Light Freckles Snug 1

Hair: Truth – Lillian in Blood

Eyes: Poetic Color – Poison Ivy

Shirt: SF Designs Flexi Tie in Ruby

Tie: SF Designs Fair Isle Vest and Short Sleeved Shirt in Gray

Skirt: *Last Call* Hunt Club – The Baroness in Blood

Stockings: Deviance Flirt Stockings (From the Deviance Flirtatious outfit)

Shoes: Vignette – Toasties in Soil

Ears: *Dreams* Snowy White - Tied with a Bow

Pose: [LAP] Spice – Back to the Wall

Desk: Basic Desk v3

Bookshelf: RFD - Biedermeier Book Cabinet

Laptop: PixelTrix Laptop 1.33 - White

Exhibit B – Typical Florida School Girl

Florida School Girl

Skin: PXL – Lt NE Rose with Light Eyebrow

Hair: Truth – Ashlin in Blood

Eyes: Poetic Color – Poison Ivy

Shirt: B@R - Kar shirt in white

Tie: B@R - Kar pink tie

Pants: Branded – Denim Rolled Shorts

Shoes: N-Core – High School ExtremeHeel in Black

Ears: *Dreams* Snowy White - Tied with a Bow

Tail: *Dreams* Snowy White - Tied with a Bow

Pose: eMOTIONS - Aloof

Backpack: SF Designs – Puppy Backpack

Window seat: Second Spaces - Camille Window Seat w/accessories (Down the Chimney Hunt Prize)

Hopefully I've presented a strong enough case to win him over and have him be my private tutor. A poor Florida kitty wouldn't survive a day, much less two weeks in the chilling New York climate and harsh fashion critical eyes.