April 19th, 2006

Loz Cola

How to isolate yourself from the world using Livejournal...

The truth is, I'm feeling somewhat ambivalent to being back on the internet. Ever since it came back, I've been on it - non-stop. Reading the ds_flashfiction badfic challenges in delight, posting here, there and everywhere, downloading things. Seemingly, these are all good things.

But really. Not good things. Not good things at all.

I've created a nice little world for myself here. A world where for the most part, I am in control. A world where I know and interact with a lot of wonderful people. And in person, know and interact with very few. Here, I am connected with people in various different countries, every person fascinating and often a bringer of cheer and joy. However, this connection does not extend to a touch on the arm, or a look in the eyes, or a change in intonation. It extends to virtual hugging and well wishing. In some ways it isn't a human connection. I've always disliked it when people refer to their "real life" friends and their "online" friends, as if the two can and should be separated, mostly because if I did that, I wouldn't have many "real life" friends I could refer to. This became even more apparent without the internet - where the realisation that I even need this tool to confer with my "real life" friends hit home. I don't want to diminsh any friendships I have with people on the internet, because they are real to me. I think about my "online" friends, I care about them, I would be upset if I never saw them again (and have been, in the past). I miss them, and enjoy their company, so to speak.

There's another facet to this, though. Once upon a time there were several people online I was very close with. I would chat to them all hours of the day and night. Yes, what we chatted about was probably mostly fluff, but it was fun, it was stimulating. I knew them quite well, and they knew me. I do not chat very often anymore. Now I write a post and depending on whether I wrote it to generate discussion, wait for a response. I have distanced myself even further from people, even here, in this realm I control. I now have a plethora of internet acquaintances, every person fascinating and often a bringer of cheer and joy, but I don't really know them, and they don't really know me. I am better connected, and less connected. I am isolated from the world whilst being ostensibly out there for all the world to see.

I shouldn't want to live my life this way. I should want to be with people, engaging my natural human instinct of needing contact by going out and meeting like-minded individuals. I shouldn't want to hide and enjoy it so much. When people say "this person needs to get a life" I almost always think "yes, that is me," but the cycle is the same. I start to think about how I live my life, I feel guilty about it, I complain about it, and then I go back to living it just how I was before. I trick myself, I know all the ways. I'll do something, like cut or dye my hair, and say "this is it, you're changing things, just like you've always wanted" and the next day, there I will be, sitting at a computer screen typing a mile a minute, content with my new hair and ready to tell the whole world all about it.

This is a conscious, deliberate thing. I fulfil my emotional needs by spending time on the internet. In need of cheering up? Internet. Want to talk about something? Internet. Sexually and otherwise frustrated? Internet. It is to the point where slightly over a week without this salve was akin to Chinese Water Torture. This is it, this is my support structure. This is what I base my life on. I do not Livejournal about my life, I live my life to Livejournal.

The irony is not lost on me that I am writing this on the very bane of my non-existence.