This is Day 5 of the 30 Day #LinkYourLife Challenge
Explore a troubling memory
Friends from the Internet
I’ve always regarded people I met from the internet friends in some fashion. Pre-2005 they were the only connection with the real world that I had. You see from the years of late 2002 to early 2005 I became a hermit. Someone that used his computer to exist. Internet addiction is real and a worthy cause to look into. I was addicted to the internet. Yet, not without cause of course. Prior to 2002, I had suffered an extended period of psychosis and paranoia which was [much] later diagnosed as alcohol induced psychosis. I heard voices and I hallucinated. And, around people, anyone, I was horrendously uncomfortable. I didn’t like the way I looked or felt, and god forbid those ideas materialised into my friend’s words. So I hid, behind a computer, under the guise of a username on Internet chatrooms. IRC to be exact, or Internet Relay Chat as one would call it back then.
It’s safe to say that I built up quite a friendship circle on the Internet. And the internet is quite the obsessive’s dream. Where people with leanings to obsessiveness, like I have, can talk to others all day if they wanted to. It can get quite tightly woven, friendships. And sticky. I really enjoyed my life online. I met people and socialised with people from all around the world. This was a relatively new thing for us. A community without geographical boundaries, and communities so culturally and ethnically diverse it would have amazed even the worldliest traveller back then.
But life on the internet wasn’t without its hiccups. When there’s an up, there’s always a down. It’s the laws of physics and life. Because there’s no physical presence on the internet it was easier for people to break friendships for petty things, and similarly, breakups would involve gangs of people breaking friendships with another gang of people because someone I liked, that they liked, that they liked, didn’t get on with such and such. It was all VERY babyish, but I admit. I was a big, dummy sucking man-child too, with my obsessive behaviour and whimsical breakups with friends.
It struck me as a harsh blow when the only friend that I didn’t actually think would have chucked me, did eventually later in life. You see, later in life, I went through a torrid despair of depression, a horrific hermit-like climb into myself. A year or two later a beautiful butterfly sprung forth. But, during those horrible years, she, she was the only one that bothered herself to try and contact me. The rest, probably couldn’t have given a damn. I could have been dead in a ditch and all I would have been was a memory. Sure, they’d have had their get-together where they honoured my presence and said a few choice words about how awesome I was, but no-one. Not one person took the step to give me a text. Ask how I was, give me a call and check up on me. She did. She always did.
Shit like that stays with you a long time, it really does. When the beautiful butterfly sprouts forth and spread it’s wings it was not without memory. Didn’t forget who had forgotten and who remembered. And those people that did solidified a place in his heart for eternity.
It sucks that she deleted me. It’s not as if we were even romantically involved. Because we weren’t. That somehow our relationship had become so toxic that she couldn’t bear to be in the same room with me. No, it was nothing like that. She had a husband, and I had a wife. We were just long-standing awesome friends. And you’ll still see me complain about the situation every time I see something that reminds me of what happened. To this day. And, probably a long afterwards too.
It all happened one Summers day when I had decided to cook myself not the healthiest of breakfasts. It was a full English. And it was a HUGE breakfast. FULL of meat. Perhaps it was all meat? Anyway. I can’t remember. Now my friend has strong vegan beliefs, which is acceptable, you know, I’m all for diversity and such. She slaps a statement on my picture telling me that I will die eating all that crap.
So I can’t say I was the best at conflict management back then, and, what she had just said quite offended me. As one does when they are criticised in any shape or form. I’m always saying criticism is bad! So I replied to her, I told her that she would too, being vegan. All those supplements she has to take each day to maintain her health! Obviously, I knew my statement was both ludicrous and brash, yet given the circumstances, I’m well within my rights to reply to a judgemental statement with another one. Friends argue. That’s life.
So she deleted me.
That really bit me hard.
I remember that night shedding a tear whilst hugging the wife and telling her the story.
Because I had followed up her deleting me with a message asking why she had done that? By doing that she had just brought years of our friendship crashing down. Fucking years. And all that mushy-friendshippy stuff when I was unwell. It felt as if she just said it for something to do. It obviously couldn’t have meant that much to her if she could effectively “get rid” of me over pretty much nothing.
Maybe I had snapped some Camels back with my last straw? I’m not too sure. I’m well under no notions that I’m completely without blame, and yes, I do realise that two people make any kind of relationship, be it friends, love or family. But the least she could have done was come forward to me when whatever it was started bothering her, no? I’d like to think that I was more than approachable and accommodating.
This memory is still raw, and why I thought it was worth writing.
I really hope you enjoyed it, folks.
Thanks for listening.