by FEMAELSTROM, HSM team writer

Author’s note: As I finished writing this, Jin Lovelace’s article came out — it was similar in spirit, and he did one thing that I thought was interesting. He posted pictures of himself as his avatar and his actual appearance for the comparison. I took that as inspiration and decided to follow in his footsteps. Thanks, Jin; great idea.

I sat and thought about who I am. Not in that “where do I fit in the universe of existence” way. Instead, in the way that made me ponder how I am similar and yet different from my onscreen persona known as FEMAELSTROM.

Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the real me.

Introductions first. I am Jake, and yes I do have a middle and last name and there is even a number at the end of my name but those aren’t so important right now. I was named after a gun-toting devil of a man that was my grandfather who was buried on the day I was born. All the members of my family have initials that are ‘RM’ except me.

When I came to Home I didn’t think hard of what I was going to wear. I didn’t think it would matter too much, really. I wore some of  the free default clothing, but quickly learned of the trolls’ rancor for that, and soon after thought to buy some clothes. The first thing I bought was a costume from the LucasArts Star Wars collection: Rahm Kota the Jedi. From the day I first left my Harbor Studio adorned in that gear, with a ponytail and a Van Dyke beard (which I’ve sported for many years now in real life), I realized that was what I thought would be a great persona to project here in Home. There was an appeal to me to be a calm and gentle Jedi. It was an image I could relate to in my real life (although, no, I can’t move things with my thoughts).

I hadn’t thought of the impact that FEMAELSTROM would have on Jake and vice versa. The thought that we are sometimes different people here or simply extensions of ourselves is important in order to understand ourselves on Home vs. the real world.

I am a gentleman and I have always tried to conduct myself with a certain dignity. That dignity is what keeps me from doing the troll things that are so common. As FEMA, I don’t wear punk clothing — and I as Jake have never done so, either. I don’t treat women poorly, and I am slow to wrath, even in the worst cases. These are all Jake attributes, and I offer my apologies if I seem ‘braggy’ about me, but  I think it’s important though to recognize these things because this is where I start to fade into the gray area that is FEMAELSTROM. I have worked so hard to make FEMA like Jake. I try to make FEMA (and have failed as I, Jake, am still human) a decent, kind, and understanding avatar that anyone can talk to. The things that are “me” I have worked to put into FEMA.

There are some things that I am, as FEMA though, that I may not be in real life. FEMA is far better dressed than I am. FEMA is far more comfortable speaking in groups and to the fairer gender. These are places that Jake fails miserably. It’s a wonder that I have ever had romance in my life. There are many things that FEMA does with ease that Jake doesn’t. The question is this, and I ask it to everyone that is reading:

Jedi FEMAELSTROM atop his Tycoon Penthouse, don’t seem right in a way.

Who are you in relation to your persona and avatar?

Would you dress in the real world the way you dress your avatar if you could?

Do you really like the life you try to represent through your avatar and Home persona?

Personally, I’m very much like my FEMA creation. He is modeled after me, just as I have picked up some traits from him. Whereas I could not speak to women with ease, or strangers for that case, FEMA has approached many people and made many friends, just from his open and forward attitude. Jake has learned a few things from this. Certainly, one could contest that FEMA is merely doing what Jake tells him by way of the controller, but there is an aspect here that is in play.

When we have our PS3 controllers in hand, we do change, if even slightly. FEMA is an excellent dancer and can run farther and probably faster than Jake ever could. I couldn’t dance if my life counted on it. But that controller in hand (mine is red) can afford us the luxury to do things that we may have never thought to, like approach people, stand up and talk in front of a crowd, dance a dance that may be funny or swanky — whereas we would never do this in our real walk. For me, the avatar lets me take chances that I probably would have never done with Jake.

Certainly some people have taken the opportunity to do things that are harmful or annoying, but many people have also taken the chance to do things that step out of the shells of comfort we all have, and do something new and brave, if even in the virtual.

This is the girl I created for me, I lovingly call her ‘Pinkie’.

There are things that I wear in the virtual world that I would love to wear in the practical world. Some fall in the line of cosplay like my Kota wear or my costume from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, but the other items in question are easier to answer. I would wear the proper clothes that FEMA has. FEMA has shown me that this wear is something that I would love to really wear and looks good, and taught me that it is more acceptable when trying to make friends.

I believe this becomes more of an issue with the ladies of the audience where there is a large amount of wear that is risque and provocative. Many women I know refuse to wear the clothes that are leaning in this direction, and in such, their personal views are reflected in their avatars. I have also known women that live wilder lives than their avatars, and thus they embrace the virtual lifestyle and are comfortable with being a real person offline and keeping their avatars’ lives online and separate. There are such vast combinations of lives here that we are all bound to fit a category, even if we define our own.

I guess the bottom line is: do you represent your private offline life in your avatar or are they two separate and distinct personae? There is no wrong answer; this is not to point out the ones that do or don’t. This is just the observation of whether or not we are us. Is Jake FEMA, and vice versa?  That question is one that those that know me may have to help answer, but from my view, I have helped FEMA with his disabling shyness just as much as he has helped Jake. FEMA helped Jake talk to people and deal with annoying and disturbing circumstances as Jake has helped FEMA deal with the same

We are all someone a little different on Home, I believe. This is not a bad thing. We are all a little braver perhaps, a little cooler, because we don’t have to show our frailties. We put forward the “us” we want to be. I won’t show anyone the one animal that really grosses me out, or my Facebook page would be swamped with pictures of that one animal. I don’t have to tell anyone of my fear of heights and that I hate gas guns from a hygiene standpoint. So, um, forget I said that.

Everybody has these things too. so who ever you are, whatever your walk in the realm of Home, think if you are putting forward the you that you want to be. Are you like your avatar and persona, or are they contrasts to you? Or are you like me, where one faded into the other and the two share a great number of similarities?

Being FEMAELSTROM is a lot of fun, and he has shown Jake a great time; like shadows to each other, they are one and the same.


November 29th, 2012 by | 10 comments
FEMAELSTROM came to Home in June 2011 and never wanted to leave, even at weekly maintenance when he usually gets booted. The sand box environment appeals to the explorer in him and often is out and about as he ‘geeks’ out dressed like some sort of sci-fi character, while he people watches in popular public spaces. An artist and writer, FEMAELSTROM loves making friends and meeting people. He loves sci-fi and decorating Home estates and loves to respond “here” when people ask “where are you from?” in public places.


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10 Responses to “FEMAELSTROM vs. Jake”

  1. Olivia_Allin says:

    Awesome Article Jake/Femaelstrom
    I modeled my avatar after me for no other reason then I know me. I try to be myself on Home but admittedly a distilled version. When texting on Home there is a built in buffer that allows a person time to filter how they will respond or present them selves before typing out what they are going to say. Some people use this wisely while others use it to sharpen the edge on the cutting words.
    I am an adult. I am married. I am not on Home for a hook up. So I tend not to as the over asked questions like age and location or gender. I am dealing with the persona virtually standing in front of me. I can only trust what I observe so any background asked for or volunteered could be less real than what I perceive and there in should not be relied on.
    If a 14 year old can pull off being an adult then they are an adult to me and if a 33 year old acts like a child then that how I will treat them. We are interacting in a virtual environment that allows us to be who we are or be who we want to be. Maybe even try being someone we don’t want to be. Home is Home and Home is what you make of it as are the “people” that occupy Home. Until Dorothy looked behind the curtain, the Wizard was larger than life. I enjoy the freedom and imagination that Home allows us so I don’t peek behind the curtain to often. That said, I will share who I am with my friends and get to know what they want me to know. But as for how I present myself and how other present unto me is a choice and I respect that. I well deal with the information that is given me by its face value.
    When counseling with a stranger I can only work off what they tell me and a little bit of institution. I was dealing with a person that calmed that they were sad and needed help. As the conversation continued a person watching had the same feeling I was getting that it was just an act and spoke up and said so. I told him that he might be right but I couldn’t take that chance. Guessing wrong could do damage and to not risk being wrong would only cost me time, and I had the time to spare.
    Home IS what you make of it. That is a combination of what you give and perceive. That is what I see as being the true beauty of Home. I heard someone say “be true to yourself” and that’s fine if that’s what you want but I think on Home you should be true to your dreams and that dream can be to just be you or something more or less or nothing like you.

  2. ted2112 says:

    I truly enjoyed this article Strom. I’m personally glad to know you!

    I don’t make much of a distinction between an avatar and who is behind that avatar, because just like in real life people are going to be who their going to be. I like many of the writers here at HSM try to really be myself and tell you how I really feel about stuff. If you like it, great! If not that’s ok as well.

    Thanks for a great personal article!

  3. Burbie52 says:

    All I have to give you is me,
    just as I am, just what you see.
    Making mistakes is a part of the scheme,
    it is human to fail, human to dream.
    All you can do is the best that you can,
    to further yourself and fellow man.
    Strive to know and always grow,
    within your mind, within your soul.
    Yet always be just who you are
    in what you do and you’ll go far.

    That is a poem I wrote in my early twenties and it is still my philosophy of life for the most part. I agree that Home gives us the freedom to stretch ourselves and put forth a different persona if we choose, but I think we can only go so far with that, because in the end the “real” you will shine through whatever you do, at least to those who get to know you well.
    I believe in being who I am both in Home and in real life, and people I meet can take it or leave it, that is their choice not mine. While I do dress and decorate my houses much differently than I do in real life in Home, that is more because of the money involved in real life to obtain these things and the fact I am a younger version of myself in Home. But I never lie about my age to anyone, I tell most people I meet very shortly after we start to talk, just to give them the choice to accept it or not and move on.
    All of us have our quirks and personality flaws, in Home many have found the means to change those and perhaps grow in real life from that experience, like you have wonderfully stated in the article Strom. Great read as always, I love your literary voice(and your real voice as well by the way.)
    You have grown as a person and I am glad to see that, because it has given you the ability to reach out and make some good friends, and I am happy to count you among mine.

  4. Dr_Do-Little says:

    Great Article. I dont know if Doc had any inluence to who I am in the physical world, maybe. But I know I’m a better person on home than I was before. Not that I was bad or anything. But this ID and I have a long story together, back to the bulletin boards day. On home I have to live as Doc.
    As many PsHomer, or most peoples on most networks, it wasnt my first choice. After a few denied ID attempt Dr_Do-Little came back to my mind, and I’m thankfull for that.
    Peoples grow. Here on home, elsewhere online, or out in the physical world. The early 21st century will be rememberd for the awakening of a global community. Where social rules are slightly different and we are a part of it :)

  5. Roxanne says:

    Great article Jake. Well written and i am so happy to say that you describe “you” so perfectly. You are a really great person & I like the way you seem to be on “Home”.

    One of the”R’s” in your life :-)

    • FEMAELSTROM says:

      Everybody, allow me to introduce my sister, one of the most important people in my life. I want to take a moment to openly thank her for actually taking time to post. Thank you for the kind comments. A note of relevance here: she reads my articles though she’s not even on Home.

  6. MaeBell99 says:

    Very well written article indeed, Jake! You definitely have a gift with words, and thank you for giving me this chance for reflection. Concerning myself, I was very adamant in the beginning about trying to make my avatar look like myself, including clothing that I would wear in real life, although as Burbie mentioned for herself, my avi is a younger version of me. This is simply the result of not being able to create an accurate older representation of myself. Later, however, I started to get into the whole fantasy aspect by wearing costumes such as Star Wars, medieval, etc. However, unless I’m wearing a full body suit, I still try to always use the same face.

    As far as how I behave in home, I think that I am true to my real life self with one exception. I have a problem that is the opposite of what I think most people experience in Home. I feel extremely shy in Home, whereas I don’t generally have trouble meeting and speaking to people in real life. I am by no means an extremely out-going person in real life, but I am comfortable meeting new people and carrying on decent conversations. My job also requires speaking in front of groups of people, so the personal limitations that I experience in Home are truly a mystery to me. It must have something to do with not being able to read facial expressions and body language. However, regardless of any shyness that I feel, I try to always treat people with kindness and acceptance, just as I do in real life. Overall, I do feel that I am the same person in Home that I am in real life with the exception of being bold, and I’m hoping that as I enter my second year in Home, I can push MaeBell into being more outgoing so that she/I can develop new friendships and grow closer to existing friends.

    I would like to add one final comment to you, Jake/Femaelstrom. You have always been the exception to my shyness because I have been extremely comfortable with you since I met you all those months ago. You are the greatest gift that has come out of my Home experience, and you are special to me both in the world of Home and in the real world.

    • FEMAELSTROM says:

      MaeBell99, thank you for the comment, and I too feel like you are the greatest gain from Home I have gotten, because you are part of my real world. Thank you for being in the lives of FEMA and Jake.

  7. Jin Lovelace says:

    This is an absolute fantastic read!! 8D Thanks Jake for sharing this. ^_^

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