More years ago that I would care to admit I first mentioned an online friend to my family. It was a simple conversation and at the time it never phased me that anyone would care that the viewpoint I was sharing came from someone I met online. Boy was I wrong, you would have thought that I told them I was dating a serial rapist, or was going to be kidnapped in the night by a mob of men who stalked the internet for young naive women. I am not saying there aren't people out there who are manipulative and do horrible things to people because there are but they are not the norm. I have met many wonderful caring lifelong friends who I have never seen face to face. And some I have never even heard their voice. I was never a mIRC user, but I did have an account with Collegeclub.com. For those that don't know, in the late 1990s and early 2000s Collegeclub was a social website for college students. It had email, a chat server, forums, etc. This is where I was introduced to chat, and online relationships. Most of us also kept in touch with other forms of instant messaging as. With the mask of the internet I was able to share some of my teenage angst and to care for others who were going through rough times in life. We also shared joy, it was a great time. However, I was made to feel by those in "real life" that these relationships were not as valuable as "real" ones. So I started hiding those relationships more. This is probably when I first started separating out the different parts of my life. My online friends and life vs my real world life. If I never mentioned my online friendships I wouldn't have to justify them.
I know I am not the only person to have gone through this, but it now annoys the hell out of me. It is so easy to judge something that they have never experienced. I love The Guild webseries, in the first episode when Codex is speaking to her therapist. Codex has a great line when the therapist asks if she had met them face to face. Codex says: "I hear them it's good enough for the blind". Truly it is enough. Words on a screen or a voice through a speaker is as good as time spent in a room together. In my experience some people are more authentic online when they feel like they can be themselves instead of fitting whatever role they think they have to fill. Society can be so harsh when we don't fit into the defined box. This is a battle we all face, even those people we perceive to have it all together and be completely comfortable have insecurities. Because of my insecurities I feel it necessary to keep parts of me hidden from the rest of the world. I guess it comes down to how much I care what they think. If I am confident in who I am and who my friends are it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of my friendship. It just helps to feel supported and understood. I know I am getting there, eventually I will buy a Alliance hoodie and wear it proudly... well maybe. :). What about you? Do you find it hard to share parts of your life with others? Let me know. Leave comments or follow me on twitter @jaygurrl.