life stories

the center of the universe is the brain

To Participate Invisibly

I certainly was not an early adopter of social media. Although interested, I thought, “I don’t want anyone to find me.” I have a past, or two or three. Nothing terribly sordid or even particularly interesting. But a lot I’d rather forget.

Dabbling in blogging, I found I didn’t have the inclination to maintain the pace of constantly updating. I found most blogs either boring or pompous and I didn’t see the point. Frankly, I still don’t but here I am.

With reluctant interest, I set up a Facebook account. I looked around for people I’ve known and found I was probably in a new territory where people from my past would not be playing. Until recently.

This is how I discovered cyber-boundaries. Someone from the past wrote with great excitement that she looked forward to hearing from me. I cringed. Twenty years and 5,000 miles faded as I struggled with thoughts of an unpleasant time in my life and this friendship that ended when I confronted her with the ways she used and manipulated me. These thoughts mixed with a defense of her saying that people change; I’ve certainly grown up… I hope. Then came a sense of obligation. She had contacted me. So I must respond. Right?

But I didn’t jump on that thought. I let it sit for a week… two weeks. Then, out of curiosity, I looked at the few photos on her Facebook page. She looked exactly the same. Exactly. Looks like she drinks too much. Never left her hometown. Has a fake, tight smile.

The sense of obligation faded. I didn’t want this person in my life 20 years ago and I don’t now. The internet forces me to be diligent about my personal boundaries but does that mean I have to hide away? Not participate? Play in a corner by myself?

The internet works outside the dimensions of time and space, there is no hiding from the past in the future. But that doesn’t mean the past floods into my now completely unrestrained, unfiltered. I still get to choose with whom I play.

And I don’t want to play with her.

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One thought on “To Participate Invisibly

  1. I love this post, esp. in light of our recent twitter repartee about Filter Failure. Healthy boundaries are really cool to find. For me, at least, they’re my favorite part of growing older and wiser. Thanks for the blog story.

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