My darling friend Jane wrote a web log about her experiences on the internet last week. It is a must read. You can find it here.
Her musings have inspired me to write about my own internet saga. Let me set the stage for you. The year was 1999 and I was still very much a baby, at least emotionally. You see, I had always led a cloistered and sheltered life, a relativity happy life. Blessed in many ways. . It’s as if I had stepped right out of an Austen novel However, this was a difficult year for me, the hardest of my life in fact. This was the year I walked straight into a Bronte narrative, Emily’s not Charlotte’s. I was struggling both emotionally and physically. My situation made me a hot mess of crazy (as oppose to my usual quirky mess of nutty) My emotions were all over the place and the quarter life crisis was in full swing. Good times, y’all.
Have I set this up enough? Do you get the picture? Imagine “All About Eve” meets “Brian’s Song”. It was the year of my discontent that I discovered the web and all its mysteries. I was like a kid in a candy store, a very innocent and fragile kid. The internet opened up a whole new world for me and I met some really interesting characters. One would become a lifelong friend and to this day is like a sister to me. The other came into my life for a season to guide and teach me some valuable lessons about myself and the world at large. Lessons that took awhile to take hold, I’m nothing if not stubborn. This person taught me to be real with myself, to be honest. They helped me find parts that were lost, they showed me parts I had hidden away, they exposed things I did not wish to look at yet needed to and they encouraged me to believe in myself. Through their support, I learned to stand on my own two feet and found my voice. I learned I had more courage than I thought and discovered an inner strength I never knew I possessed. I learned to appreciate what I have and to live life to the fullest with no regrets, no excuses and no looking back. They also taught me how to let go of fear, guilt, anger, and the hot mess crazy side of myself. On a trivial note, it was from them that I acquired my love for “The Princess Bride”
Both these people were my anchors and life lines. They helped me reconnect with my authentic self and discover new levels and depths to my personality. Of course they had to put up with a lot of drama and angst too. I will forever be grateful for their support. I will always remember their kindness and how they were a catalyst for major changes in my life. All for the better.
It was also through the internet that I met my friends, Jane, Niles, and Mr. Lovely himself Colin. These relationships have morphed into real life. What a blessing. I am forever indebted to Jane for always being a sounding board, my soul sister and partner in crime. She makes me laugh and amazes me with her tenacity and spunk. She’s beautiful inside and out and the ying to my yang. Niles is my brother from another mother and my eternal introverted bibliophile buddy. He’s a quiet, gentle soul full of knowledge and kindness. Then there Colin he is my mentor and a myriad of the mystic and profound. It is through him that I have learned so much about humanity. He inspired me to become an advocate, to do more, expect more and be more. Of course there was also the eccentric and magnetic Dr. Suglia but that’s a blog in and of itself.
I suppose with any good, there is always the bad. Sometimes the angels become the demons. I have had my fair share of bad experiences on-line. These have occurred over the last few years. I had a cyber stalker. This person created a fake page and used my name and pictures. They wrote horrible things on it. They also tormented my mother. Nobody messes with my mama. GRR! It was absurd and ridiculous. Thankfully, we had a good friend who was able to help us deal with the situation and put an end to it.
I have also come across a few users who prey on kindness. You know the type of people who have an agenda and seek you out to use and then discard. They suck you into their twisted game of deception all under the guise of friendship. Scamming and scheming is all they know. These people are masters of deception, wolves in sheep’s clothing. They appear sweet and unassuming but much like the holly at Christmas they are poison They leave behind only carnage in their wake. They take hot crazy mess to a whole new and terrifying level.
My Granny always taught me to make sunshine out of rain. In some ways even the negatives are positives because through these experiences I have become more enlightened. I’m not the same gullible, sheltered waif I once was. My eyes are wide open. The girl that longed to see the best in people is still alive in me. I hope I never lose touch with her, her childlike exuberant sustains me. She’s just older, wiser and more in tune with the ways of the world.
I’ll end my saga by saying the internet is a paradox full of wonder and lackluster. It can be the great equalizer and the great enabler. I love it tremendously and abhor it whole heartily. It will never take the place of reading a good book, a walk in the sunshine, a glass of sweet tea, traveling the globe, a warm hug, or spending time with those we love. But, it can be a place to connect, communicate, learn, create advocate and be entertained.
Oh and watch adorable cat videos. Meow!