Where do I begin? Today was, for lack of a more appropriate word, different! As I write this, I’m still having a bit of a surreal, out of body experience. As a self proclaimed writer, I feel ashamed that “different” is the only word I can reach for at this time, but let’s just keep going.
What began as a bid to teach my son a lesson in courage, being/doing your best and facing the daunt of the spot light, has quickly evolved into something I didn’t anticipate.
Today I was crowned – Miss Bay City 2015!
Now, you might not know what that even means. Perhaps it isn’t significant to you, but to me and to so many other proud citizens of beautiful Bay City, it’s something special.
The day began as usual, with my precious little morning huggies from my son, Taelor. He was already dressed when he came knocking on my door, eager and ready to head to the Bay City Fairgrounds for the pageant.
I’d been up earlier to get his lunch prepared. I put it in a picnic basket to take with us to the fairground just in case we were out longer than expected. I then shoved the small basket into my carrier bag along with my costumes for the contest. Once we had both made trips to the bathroom, we were on our way to the Bay City Fairgrounds.
When we arrived, there were already a number of people there. Irma had arrived also. She was beaming and it was so good to see her and have her meet Taelor. Soon we moved on into the crowed. I spotted Ayame and her daughters Star and Vyll. I also spotted a lovely new friend, Rita, who had fought her RL sleep to be there. What a dear!
In no time, announcements were made for the contestants to head to the staging area, so Ayame, I and the others who had arrived to compete, moved on along. I felt sad leaving Taelor behind, but he had his brave face on and gave me a big warm hug. I needed it! ❤
The turn out was great. However, my nerves were racked high as a result. My palms were sweating, but I was also excited to be around all these amazing people.
The judges took their seats. Each of them were significant in and outside of the Bay City community. That didn’t do any favors for my nerves, but press on I did. I was more happy than I was nervous.
Occasionally, I would look at the end of the runway and find my son clicking away on his camera in my direction. I could tell he was taking it very seriously. It was hard not waving at him the entire time.
I had left him in the care of Irma’s parents, but then soon I saw my brother Viktor turn up after pushing through the crowd to get to the front and exhaled. I was glad he was here for many reasons.
Looking on at the crowd took my breath away.
Announcements by the well groomed and very dapper looking host, Pygar Bu, boomed again and it began. [FULL TRANSCRIPT HERE]
We lined up, then each of us made our way up the stage turn by turn to answer some questions. Ayame went up first and as she did, I changed into something that was a fit interview attire.
Pygar: “What is your favorite hangout in Bay City? What makes it special to you?”
Ayame: “Hmm…. I’m a little bias on that one. My favorite hangout is the Bay City Activity Center because it’s a great place for anyone and everyone to highlight the dynamic community we have here in Bay City and give the rest of the grid one place to come see that demonstrated.”
Pygar: “Do you see Second Life as an international community?”
Ayame: “I absolutely do. My SL Family and Friends are from all around the world. I’ve gotten to meet musicians and artist who come to SL to share their talents and culture with so broad and welcoming a medium”
Pygar: “Do you explore other virtual worlds than Second Life? Which ones, and why?”
Belle (me) smiles at everyone and nods at the judge doing her best to remain of the appearance that she is not nervous “Well thank you for the question…”…grins “I actually do not. I suppose if you count the Sims as a virtual world, then maybe.”…smiles “It’s not as, well, shall we say, interactive as Second Life. There’s much to be said about loving and enjoying your own company, but the sims doesn’t afford you that in the least. Second Life is my only virtual world that I visit regularly and invest in. I do so mainly because of the social aspect.” smiles at her friends and family, “as well as the amazing platform of creativity it affords.”
Pygar: “Tell us five strong points about Bay City.”
Belle (me) wipes sweaty palms into her gloves “Well, being a frugal mother, I’ll have to begin with the element that drew me in. Cost! I brought the children from my orphanage here on a holiday and soon discovered the affordability of it all. Soon other elements crept in as the primary reason I can’t visualize myself living elsewhere. The sense of community provided by having a functioning and open Bay Alliance. They communicate with the residents and even seek our opinion. Also, the mirror into RL. I love the layout of the town. It goes a long way in providing great visuals for you to exist within. The amazing creativity that’s found here. I turn a corner and find a shop that’s not a franchise and exists here. Sort of like a little secret. And finally, I love love love the homage paid to the contributors of this amazing city, the moles. It’s nice to have a daily reminder of the efforts people make to create such a lovely place we can call home.”
((Summary: Cost, Community, RL mirror, Creative creators and Monuments showing respect to the Moles/Lindens))
Pygar: “What makes you “Miss Bay City”?”
Cinder: “what makes me bay city, hmmm. well, i’ve lived in bay city for about two years after wanting a place here for about seven so i guess that’s a start. i think i would be a good representative of the values the city stands for. i love coming to the events held here when i can. the bay city rumble, the poetry night at the cafe. and i live right by the airport so i meet new arrivals on a day to day basis!”
Pygar: “If you could do one thing to make Second Life a better place for everyone, what would it be and why?”
Cinder: “well, i try the best i can to make second life a better place already. i work with linden lab and tpvs to bring improvements to the viewers especially the mac users. if i could do more, i would find some way to bring down the price of land because it’s still too darn high after all these years… plus i would add cookies to the sl library. i know that’s more than one thing.”
Pygar: “What are three words which, for you, best define community?”
Micha: “Retro, fun and lag”
Pygar: “If you could be CEO of Linden Lab, what would you change about Second Life?”
Micha: “Well, not so much for me but that’s what I hear.”
Pygar: “What has been the biggest challenge for you, and how did you overcome it?”
Micha: “I would change the mainland, eliminate the abandoned parcels even if it meant shrinking the continents and try to make it so that people were less apt to using standalone sims. My biggest challenge was the interface but practice makes perfect and it wasn’t so hard after a year.”
Pygar: “What is the most valuable lesson you have ever been taught?”
Moolly: “In Sl I’d said say the best lessons I’ve learned were where to get help and that community is what makes a huge difference when you’re first starting out in SL and what keeps you here long term.”
Pygar: “What do you want people to remember about you and why?”
Moolly: “I’d like to think I’ve helped make a difference here together with a great group of people who help new users get started in SL”
Pygar: “What is beauty?”
Moolly: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, especially here where you can be anything you want.”
After that I changed into swimwear then joined the other contestants on stage strutting our stuff. It was so much fun. The energy was really just about enjoying each other and having fun in the moment. Ayame had the cutest bunch of balloons and I was certain she was gonna fly away. Thankfully, she didn’t.
I presume that it was during this time that the judges collated their figures and reached a result, because after only a few minutes of parading, Pygar (the host) made his way to the front of the stage.
He pulled out a piece of paper and after torturing us with delays and mystery, he finally announced the winner – me!
Let me be really honest, I was truly truly shocked! I couldn’t believe it. A part of me felt like any second, they’d say “Oops we added up the numbers incorrectly”, but that second never came. In no time a sash was put on me along with a beautiful crown. I cannot beliiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeve it! My head is still spinning. I also was handed the keys to a beautiful brand new Jaguar. And was handed a beautiful bouquet of flowers by my brother. He also sent a bunch to the house.
As the crowd roared, I spotted a few young faces that were familiar. Jasziah and Kiptin were there! I waved to them but it was really packed and I could barely think through the shoutings to give a speech. I even spotted Terr and Jacob. Also my friend Jett turned up.
So many people came to support me and it was truly such an honor to be thought of enough to turn up. When I finally made my speech, I was full of emotions and eventually scurried quickly off the stage so I could get within hugging space of the people there for me. I shook the judges’ hands as I made my way to the front where I hugged Irma and her folks, Taelor, Kiptin, V, Jett and my brother Shakespeare who turned up late. Heck I didnt care if he turned up late. I could hardly believe he came. I really was touched to see him. I didnt see the Jeddas or Jasziah at this point and was really sad that I didn’t get to hug and thank them before they left.
There was an after party. Taelor went about hugging everyone he could while I chatted with V, Jett and Shakes. Eventually, I got to introduce Taelor to Jett. Then we danced for a little while.
Once that was done, I took Jett, Shakes and his wife, Maxi, Taelor and I to the Lollercoaster for a ride. It really was just for Shakes, Maxi and Jett to experience, since I’ve already been there. They loved it and to be honest, I almost felt like it was my duty as Miss Bay City to see to it that they rode that rollercoaster! Very serious business indeed!! *giggles*
After that, we walked through the aquarium. They were very impressed with our city and I can only hope they return to visit and maybe even relocate.
Shakes headed home with Maxi, so Taelor and I headed to Roha Park to eat dinner. Fortunately, I still had the lunch I’d packed for him and I. It had a little bit of everything. As I was setting up the food, V turned up! It was really cool seeing him roaming about looking for us. Suddenly the idea of him living in our city was beginning to appeal to me. Fortunately he was feeling the same way. 😀
We talked and enjoyed our meal together, but as always, bed time came and so I had to head home to get Taelor into bed. As always, we said our prayers together and then I tucked him into bed.
He told me that he was so very proud of me. It truly made me the happiest mom alive. Staying up to muse over him asleep was very easy to do, despite my exhaustion from the day.
That’s it folks! Today I became the public icon and representative of the city, and that means a whole lot! This city is amazing. Before I lived here, me and Taelor have spent our time in numerous other places and we were happy. However, there’s just something special about this place! It’s the collaboration, the creativity, the people. It seems that people here are content to just live and be happy. I have yet to meet a negative person or someone so overcome with wanting to outshine the other. People here seem busy enough to not be petty, but not too busy that they can’t connect with one another. It’s a truly special place. The fact that I’ve been accepted by the citizens, first and foremost, then acknowledged in this way, is incredible!
The competition itself is admirable and fair. The true title is “Miss” Bay City. It’s written in this way because they allow for no limitations on who can run for this position. You don’t have to be human. You don’t have to be female. You just have to have whatever they are looking for as your character.
The wonderful young host, Pygar Bu, put it perfectly when he stated:
“Miss” Bay City is our City’s representative to the rest of the SL Grid. They are smart, funny, gracious and well-dressed, occasionally all at the same time!
It’s hard to fathom how I managed to win up against amazing women like Ayame Kintsugi! Ayame is such an inspiration to me and the reason I ever considered visiting the Bay City. I count my win as hers.
This is the 4th year of the contest, and I’m preceded by some pretty amazing women. I was able to speak briefly with two of them – Angela Galway (The 1st MBC, 2012-2013) and Uccie Galway (The 3rd MBC, 2014-2015). It was a really good chat. I feel a bit more at ease knowing how wonderful and approachable they are indeed. I was given some really good advice. Wisdom that I take to heart. I even learned a new word from Angela, “androgynous”. Yup, she’s awesome! 😀
I don’t know what my legacy will be as the 4th in the line of these incredible women who have been charged with this title. All I can promise is that I’ll continue being myself and with any luck, that’ll be good enough to fill the shoes of the ladies who have gone before me.