The limits of sweetness

In the last year or so, I’ve occasionally allowed my inner curmudgeon a little more freedom to express herself. It’s subtle, and if you aren’t paying attention you might miss the mildly acerbic remark, the subtle sarcasm, the “we are not amused” raised eyebrow.

Normally I am very mellow, so when this happens it sometimes takes people by surprise. I have a reputation for being kind and nice. And most of the time I am. That’s what makes my curdmudgeon so effective.  Watch out for Camryn, Walter chuckles. It’s always the quiet ones.

A few years ago I was invited to a friend’s birthday party on a private sim. The birthday boy was a very popular persona, and the sim was filled to capacity with at least 40 of his closest friends. Hijinks were encouraged. He loves flamethrowers! said his partner. So I secretly planned to display a huge explosion generated by the Omicron from Omega Concern. I’d tried it on my own sim, and it produced awesome fireworks. I imagined everyone smiling with delight, saying “oo” and “ah” as the flashes and particle flames lit up the night sky.

I quietly bided my time until everyone was gathered, dancing and laughing and celebrating. Then I walked into the midst of the crowd, unnoticed (I am almost always unnoticed). Smiling to myself, I pressed the button: apocalypse.

What I didn’t realize was that they had damage enabled on the sim.

The explosion lit up the night sky, alright. A blinding nuclear blast enveloped the island. All 40 of us, including the birthday boy, were killed instantly, and teleported home.

To say I was embarrassed would be an understatement. I was mortified. I apologized over and over and over again to the hostess and to the birthday boy. It was hard to get a word in edgewise, though, because they were laughing so hard.

Needless to say, after that incident, I had something of a… reputation. I had been the sweet one, but now I was the  assassin who blew up one of the most popular people in SL and 40 of his closest friends. Watch out… it’s always the quiet ones.

Besides providing many giggles over the years, that incident is a great metaphor for what happens when I ignore my anger and resentment. I can try to deny that I have any; I can resolutely maintain my serene demeanor at all costs. But that takes a lot of energy. Energy that drains me. Eventually my shields fall. Boom! Apocalypse.

It’s probably wiser to let my anger leak out gradually, when it is still only a spark, before it reaches nuclear proportions. I’ll continue to let my inner curmudgeon out of her cage from time to time. I promise not to blow anyone up.

Author: Camryn Darkstone

After more than two decades exploring 3D virtual worlds and their possibilities for relationship and self expression, Camryn Darkstone is leading a life of quiet contentment, building and landscaping for Littlefield Grid with occasional projects in Second Life. Camryn has been active in online communities since the early 1980s, and, under other names, has written extensively about the ways that people relate to one another on the internet. Since 2009 Camryn has enjoyed a loving, consensual D/s relationship as submissive to Walter Balazic in both the virtual world and the "real" world.

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