September 19, 2012 § Leave a comment
I am not who the internet says I am. I am not who the internet says I am. I am not…
I quit Facebook and felt relieved. One less appearance to keep up. Perhaps a bit of dignity restored. I thought my days would expand with beautiful new hours for projects and cleaning and coffee dates with the real-life friends I would suddenly make.
But the reality is much more grim. I am still on the computer just as much as I was, but instead of looking at Facebook, I am looking at things that are MUCH LESS INTERESTING. Desperately. Boring myself into oblivion. Just to avoid doing anything real.
The thing is, I thought I would write letters. Longhand letters, on paper, with pencil, to mail in envelopes to friends all over the world. That was supposed to be my new thing. That and spending real, old-fashioned time with people. But I’m still at home with my 3 year-old most of the time. It’s not conducive to getting together with people and it’s not conducive to sitting and writing letters. (I’m still trying to figure out what it IS conducive to. I’m kind of stumped there.)
I did manage to write one letter. It was too whiny. I scrapped it and wrote another, slightly less whiny one. I sent it off to a friend from college. I haven’t heard back. The pace of this whole thing is quite slow, and in the most immediate future I am in dire need of some validation. Tell me I’m okay. Tell me I’m passing for normal. Throw me a “Like”, a comment if you’re feeling really generous. These things meant pathetically much to me when I was on there. Without them I feel a bit invisible.
Other problems include: Writing to men. Now that I’m older and in a committed relationship, it feels a little inappropriate. But in the letter-writing heyday of my youth (seriously, I was a wild kid), which I remember oh-so-fondly, most of my pen-pals were guys. I may or may not have had crushes on some of them. That’s part of what made it fun. Now, I’m not sure if it’s fun or just…
Whiny. Seriously. I am so fucking whiny. I sit down to write and by the third or fourth sentence I am whining. Who wants to receive a whiny letter? I used to be funny. I used to do things like squash mosquitos right onto the page and then draw circles around the dead mosquitos and say stuff about them. Give them names. Sounds kind of gross now that I think about it, which may be why so many of those crushes were one-sided. Now, all I have are played out stereotypical mommy-woes to talk about. And how interesting it is, being older like this. Isn’t it? Isn’t it fascinating how sadder life is now? This is crazy-talk to someone whose life is going swimmingly, thankyouverymuch. This is not the stuff of good letters.
I turn to the internet to find out who I am. Who am I, as far as everyone else is concerned? Who am I, according to the authority that is a Google search? That is really what matters, right? I mean, for all intents and purposes? My day-to-day reality is nothing anyone will ever really know about anyway, so a page on a screen might as well be me. If I search my name on Facebook now, I myself do not exist, although there are several others of me. They seem pretty good. One even lives in my town. We look about the same age; we’re both average-looking white ladies. So somebody could very well think she’s me. And maybe that’s for the best. She seems like a fine upstanding citizen. I trust her to keep us afloat. I amass a tiny quotient of followers, and immediately I am pouring my heart out all over their news-feeds. Obscenely over-sharing. Promptly deleting. Wanting to be caught falling, and then forgiven. But this other one, she mostly just posts pretty pictures of food.