I am going to pause my recollections from my fateful summer to make space for a blog post which I feel compelled to write, so strong are my feelings.
When I began my blog I explained how I had been inspired and encouraged by individuals I had chatted with on another platform, namely Instagram. One of these people I came to know rather well. We both admired each others images and entered into conversations by direct messaging, sharing thoughts, ideas and genuinely bonding. There was never any ‘sexting’, it was intimate chat yes, but not of a nature intended to arouse each other. They were wonderful explorations of the nature of sexual relationships, the taboos associated and the sharing of ideas for creative projects.
Her imagery, whilst being sexually charged, was never explicit. It was mainly thought provoking, with deeper messages in the stories she told through her photographs. That is certainly not to say her images were not ‘hot’! They were just done with thought and sensitivity.
From the very outset of our making contact, we had always had a mutual requirement for anonymity and were both extremely cautious when it came to revealing our respective identities, as we both hold down professional careers within which our creative explorations might not be appreciated.
We discussed how easy it can be to be truly open about ourselves in these anonymous online relationships. No real indication of the clutter that affects our ‘real’ lives. Pure thoughts, almost like stream of consciousness, flowing back and forth. I utterly adored this aspect of our conversations.
Suddenly her account disappeared, apparently deleted. This is the nature of Instagram I have discovered, and more explicit accounts seem to fall prey to the censors quite frequently. That said, I am sure her disappearance was not for reasons of censorship. The imagery was far too tame in comparison to so much more content which isn’t removed. More likely to have been a spurned follower who didn’t appreciate the brush off and chose to report her by way of revenge.
Anyway, she reappeared again shortly later with a new account and we re-established our friendship. Everything was just as it was.
A week or so ago I was scrolling through the “following” feed and by chance noticed a photo that she had liked and recognised the location. It was the village where I lived. The person taking the photo lived within a few hundred yards of where I am right now as I type. This was quite remarkable as my friend lives in the US. Not only that, he had requested access to both my private account and also my public account which is where all my friends, colleagues and family reside.
I brought this up in conversation with my friend and and we discussed the identity issue again. I didn’t want this individual snooping through my intimate secrets, particularly as I have subsequently discovered that we have real life mutual friends who I certainly wouldn’t want to share my private thoughts/ feelings with. This wasn’t a problem with my private account as I could simply disregard his request to follow my account. I wasn’t concerned about my public account as there wasn’t anything of a sensitive nature there.
My friend suggested that she would block him from her account if I liked. I didn’t want her to do that as this wasn’t something which affected her privacy and also who she chose to follow etc was completely her business. Again she said she would block him if it made me feel better. Again I said no.
I had viewed his account and he had some interesting pictures of my neighbourhood, but generally speaking they were rather narcissistic selfies of him posturing and posing, which to be quite honest, I don’t see as a good trait in a middle aged man. He was quite clearly in love with himself. Quite the opposite to the way I picture myself, although self perception can be a tricky one! But my friend agreed that we were indeed very different.
So anyways, a few days passed and I thought no more of the matter when, again purely by chance, I saw in her feed that she had commented on one of his pictures. It was an image of a moody sunset right outside my very window. He had captioned it “Lovely evening for a walk” and my friend had commented “Yes… with you”.
I struggle to describe the sudden rush of emotions I felt on seeing this. A pure red mist descended. My mind filled with irrational thoughts, like an adolescent. What followed was me reacting in a completely enraged fashion. I scrolled through her images and found the interactions between them, but they only went back a couple of weeks and so I went through his… Sure enough, they had been communicating for quite some time, long before we had even come to meet each other online.
Our communications were just terrible. Hers pragmatic, whilst mine were emotional and volatile. Her pragmatism simply fuelling my rage. It made me feel I had no right to feel the way I did… and that is probably true. But it certainly didn’t make it any better.
In my paranoid state I deleted everything. I was hurt. If this was what I could see, what had been going on in messages? I felt betrayal. Why? Over the course of a few weeks I had entrusted someone with my innermost self. I could tell her anything without fear of judgement. I had never ever experienced any form of relationship like it. But then again, I was a newcomer to the whole modern age of interactions through social media platforms. This whole universe of 1s and 0s floating around in the ether… only ever becoming tangible in our own minds. Gone in seconds.
This was only three days ago. Now I feel empty. A very important part of my personal re-development and voyage of self discovery had gone. My accomplice in that process was no longer there. I toyed with deleting my private account and everything associated, this blog included, but something inside me said no, and that is what this blog post is… an explanation of where I am, how I feel, and most importantly an exercise in catharsis. If I could delete the past week I would…. simply because I miss her