The question in its entirety left much room for interpretation I think and could have resulted in a very long post, so I have taken the liberty to simplify it a bit and just ask if there is a psychological impact of my choice of clothing in SL on myself. If you wish to wander some of the constructs of my mind, please come with me while I rez myself….
In the mists of twilight, I arrive – naught but a glowing silver cloud – undefined, unshaped, and unreal. I must become something or someone – must apply a face with which to deal with this world.
I must first select a gender to wear, or it must select me. Though most tend to select the gender they wear in the actual world (TAW), it is a choice – or sometimes an expression within us that refuses that choice. I choose my normal form, female – soft – needing to be held – needing to touch – needing to love – wanting to dance – nurturing the plants in her gardens.
Shall my skin be white, supple, soft – crying out for a hand to caress it – or shall it be dark, defined, hardened and strong? Shall my skin be coarse and dry, or shall I anoint myself with oil, calling attention to the curve of my breast as it sparkles in the sun?
And in what shall I drape myself? Shall I adorn myself with jewels and fine robes, place upon my head the crown of the Queene, or shall I hide behind tattered rags, expressing the smallness within me – the simplicity that wants to hide, but choosing a torn and patched dress does not? Shall I wear a dress that swirls when I walk, like dandelion seeds dancing in the arms of a zephyr, or like leaves whipped by an autumn wind to twist and turn in the corners – making haste to fly to the ground? Perhaps I should wear only leaves – let myself become the wind around which they turn – the desire at the heart of their dance toward death and decay – or maybe flowers – scented splashes of color begging the senses of those around to partake of me, to touch and to dance with me in the open air.
But no – I cannot be the Queen for she is beautiful and respected and I do not feel beautiful. Neither can I wear rags, even though it is in them that my self in TAW feels the most comfortable, for people tell me I am expressing too much of the darkness within me – that I should be seeking light and joy…. but I cannot dress in leaves or flowers either, for to be desired would be wrong too. I must hide this body, for it is filled with shame and does not wish to be looked upon – want desperately not to be desired or sought after.
I try on jeans and a sweater – but that drags me much to close to the actual world I have come here to escape… though it feels good to walk without shoes even as the snow begins to fly around me in the actual world. I must find something from the past or from the depths of fantasy to become – must run farther from the self that struggles through the actual world.
My mind begins to shred as the options fall. I stand naked on the shore of an ocean, my skin changes to blue scales, my eyes ignite with a yellow flame – my legs dissolve and are replaced with a tail as I become a mermaid and hurl myself into the waves – but still I feel wrong – still too human. With a scream I leap from the water and my body crashes on the rocks, flesh torn away, tail ripped to bits along with my heart as I am suddenly set free. I become wings and light – that which was a body is crushed and twisted by an AO – then thrust beneath the ground to be ignored by myself and those who pass – only a silver sparkle with filigree wings remains to be seen by the world .
No clothing at all – I am completely naked – without a dress, without skin – without shape or even gender… even the wings fade leaving only a glow of light. I am nearly back to what I was when I arrived, still undefined. Not to be seen, but also with nothing to hide. I am amorphous and free, though chained by my AO. Finally I feel like "me" and can go out to face others in this virtual world.
But then a friend tells me I really need to get out from under my rock. I blink my eyes, stunned a bit at the bluntness of her words, but then realize that she is right. I return to a mostly human form, clothed in a simple peasant dress. My bare foot tentatively touches the dance floor atop a mountain and pulls my body with it. I begin to turn, and my dress swirls in the wind, reminding me of wings. I sprout wings - gossamer tendrils of fairy flight - and I feel myself lighten. The dress feels too heavy with the wings, so I shift to a lighter and shorter dress. Still swirling in the breeze, but more free and light. The music clothes my heart, and I feel lighter still... I doff the dress and dance clad in nothing but flowers and wings, and the some in me makes me soar.This is much better than hiding under a rock ... dancing naked, not a hidden nakedness, but exposed to the sky and the trees and the wind and the world - clothed in the skin of my definition - clothed in the ideal that I know myself to be. I AM beautiful - inside - I just had to wear the right skin, the right flowers, the right wings - and the right thoughts in my heart.
No – Clothing has no deep psychological impact on me or my actual life – none whatsoever…