I am unsure of how to exist without the internet. Not exist in the quite literal version, but rather in the existential way.
Just bare with me. I will do all that I can to explain the scrambling of my brain in a way that will hopefully make sense to you all.
This is an issue that I have been battling for the past couple months. Or rather it is an issue that I have battled a majority of my life, but only now am taking actions to actually attempt to defeat it.
It all started in junior high when I was introduced to instant messaging. Instant messaging provided a way for me to communicate with people, mostly female persons, without being crippled by my anxiety. The crippling still existed and still exists, but the internet provided me with a crutch. A crutch that I have now become dependent on.
Before instant messaging I would spend my days mostly in silence. After instant messaging I would spend my days much in the same way, except now when I got home I was able to talk to everyone that I just spent the entire day afraid of talking to. I would often be chatting with 5, 6, 7 at a time, then the next day my lips were glued shut. Mum. Nothing. Not a word. But later that night I was a chatterbox. Or rather I was a ferocious typer.
Instant messaging became MySpace which became Facebook then Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, all of it, and soon my entire existence was only online.
Fast forward to today. I have deleted all of my social medias. And I am now facing a problem that I have always had, but only just now realized. I am unsure of three things. Or rather I am unsure of nearly everything, but I am about to list three things in particular. 1) I am unsure of how to maintain relationships without the internet. 2) I am unsure of how to rekindle past friendships without the internet. 3) I am unsure of how to build new friendships without the internet.
After a lot of investigating of my own mind I have narrowed it down to this-- revision.
With the internet we are always able to revise. To edit. To perfect our thoughts into words that match them.
Hardly do we ever send off our first draft of a text. We often stare, study, dissect every word and make sure that its every letter is saying exactly what we want it to say. We filter our photographs. We choose what we want to show to the world and only communicate exactly what we intend to communicate.
This doesn't exist in real life. We can't edit our conversations. I can't say something, then change it and change it and change it until it reads exactly as what I mean. No. We have one shot. We say it and forever it is out there.
You see, as I mentioned earlier, one of my biggest issues has always been the anxiousness throughout a face-to-face interaction. I realized that early in life. So I built an entire life sheltered around this one single fact. Anxiety and trying to numb it.
I truly believe that the reason I love writing as much as I do is because I am able to revise my every thought. Not only that, but I also can control an entire conversation. I am in charge of everybody's thoughts. There is nothing that catches me off guard. I am in control.
Never do I post my first draft or my first thought. I am always revising until I am left with my exact intentions.
That's the thing about the internet, it is very easy to get intent across. However that isn't always the case in real life. Often you stumble over your words. You mispronounce words into new meanings. You stutter and your meaning is lost in translation.
Because of the internet and the crutch it provided me, I only managed to build and extend my anxiousness. Ever since I discovered the world of revision, it has become increasingly more difficult to move back into a world without it. A world of misinterpretation. A world where your mistakes cannot always be fixed.
So, here comes my problem. How do I, in a time where quite literally everything is online, exist without it? How do I live my life unfiltered, unedited, unrevised, in a world that is all of those things at all times? How do I reach people who only exist online without also being online? I am no longer in school surrounded by other humans who are also forced to be in school. I am a writer, the loneliest of all professions. The bars are filled with blue faces living in the internet world.
How do I exist in a world that only exists where I'm not?
Am I just cursed to walk the world alone? Born only decades too late.
I don't know the answers. I really don't.
All I want to do is exist. In the most existential of ways.
All I want is to exist.
Maybe this, my website, my online journal, my blog, whatever this is, the will provide me the slightest bit of existence.
I don't know.
I really don't.
What I do know is very little. I know that people make me nervous. I know that I want to be loved. I know that I fear rejection. I know that my veins are filled with insecurities. I know that I seek nothing more than a real human connection.
And I'm unsure of how to mix the known with the unknown. I am unsure of how to live in a world so foreign to my soul.
I am lost-- maybe lost in time, maybe just lost in my own mind. But lost nonetheless.
(Fully revised. Yet still fully lost in translation.)