(this is a cross post from my multiply account)
Evil Dex and His Big Bodega
There was a time when I could post stuff about everything that's happened to me. That was before the advent of communities of interconnected interactive blogs. Before I was formally part of a group of people who blogged interactively. I had functional (if relative) anonymity. People who'd stumble on my blogs wouldn't have the luxury of prejudging the content based on how well they knew me. Select instances from my life seen through my eyes would serve to inform and divert and (sigh) entertain to an extent dictated by personal, social and geographical distance and by simple common sense.
Then I started to have an audience: moral supporters, curious and bored readers, at least one critic who put my writing and ideas to the test. The dialogues between blogger and audience was still thankfully somewhat Hegelian, and they were dropped once we left our terminals. The topics we argued about online were important --comics, art, philosophy, love and politics-- but they didn't spill over into our personal lives and social interactions. At least that was how it felt back then.
I was very opinionated, very pompous, very angry, very happy, a little sad, somewhat paranoid, very much in love, and very reflective.
I could almost freely blog about what it felt like, being the houseband living with my then-girlfriend, my issues with mom and pop and God and authority figures. I had a very lengthy blog entry (two parts!) about writing, English and, of all things, my hair as a political statement. I could blog about how much I disliked lawyers and advertisers even if I'm as pedantic as a lawyer and was a college-trained ad man. I could look over my posts and learn and relearn things about myself and the way I think and write and live.
Nagusame's Dex, Shrinemaiden
Somewhere along the line my reflexive activity started to affect other people outside my life online. I think this happened sometime after I lost my wife (the girlfriend). She was my center, or a large part of what kept me together as a person. I lost track of why I was blogging. I stopped talking about politics and comics and America and Hegel and Nietszche and St. Augustine.
And everyone around me knew it, could feel it, was affected by it. Some were inconvenienced and debilitated by it.
I was shouting it on every online mountaintop: I love you. I was arguing, on my blogs, the nature and merits of a life lived for two. Off line I was campaigning earnestly, assiduously for such an alliance.
My online life and my off line life had become one and the same.
What used to be entertainment and diversion that could be shut off as soon as I left the terminal had become ...reality television. I was talking about the dynamics of a romantic affair online and, off line, I was living the equivalent of a romantic affair ending horribly.
And everyone in my social circles (active online and regularly meeting off line) could not help but see it, even if they couldn't bear to watch.
But I couldn't stop-- these were events, variables. These had to be recorded, analyzed, compared with the experiences of friends and colleagues. Future scenarios extrapolated from insufficient data so I could find the one with the happy ending and bring it into existence.
And I felt it then, everyone tired of me talking a topic to death. Everyone tired of me number-crunching scenarios and throwing them away. Everyone with a prepackaged pop psychology solution to something I needed to work out for myself.
How do you stop an Imploding Man?
Perhaps I could have lived these lives separately had I not been part of several groups of people who knew me online and off line. It certainly would have spared my friends the grief of seeing someone destroy himself. It certainly would have spared me the grief of being sorely vexed by people with the best of intentions, by people who loved me. But that's neither here nor there now.
The point is that this is partly why I destroyed my old blog, my old friendster account. Why I stopped going to the club meetings, to the martial arts classes, why I stopped seeing friends. Why I hid. Why I talked about my disintegration and other personal matters in other blogs and venues. And why until August, I didn't post anything about my latest interpersonal stuff.
Perhaps the lesson is that familiarity breeds contempt, even in the most well-intentioned people. I know for sure though, that I'll be reviewing these musings and referring to them to guide my future interactions with the World Wide Web and the world beyond it.