I have not exactly been shy here about discussing things – especially things that relate to my flaws and faults. I do this mostly because A) I’m far from perfect, and B) It’s a lot harder to use something against someone if they are out in the open with it. This is a hard lesson I learned over the last year or so.
I am a naturally private person. I can’t help it. It isn’t always that I’m hiding things, or being shady, it’s often that I just don’t feel that certain things are any of anyone else’s business. When asked about them, I will often not feel comfortable giving the appropriate response (Which in this case is “I’m sorry, how is that any of your business?”) And so I will change the subject, or I will do something to subvert it.
I have done a lot of damage to relationships (Friendships and otherwise) this way. Usually, it is people I have mostly online communication with. People I have not met in person.
Lately, I have been coming back out of my shell and re-joining the world of the living. Getting out of the house, fighting that crippling social anxiety and going to meet some of the people I’ve called friends over the last few years.
I am truly a child of the digital age – I have a lot of deeply developed friendships with people I have never touched. Or seen face to face. I’ve lived in deeply romantic moments with people I’ve never touched and I’ve confessed my deepest, darkest secrets to men and women that are on other sides of the world and felt understood.
A lot of these friendships are ones that, when explained to other people who do not have these experiences – or have not had them – are met with “Well, you don’t really know them, So it can’t be a real friendship.”
They don’t understand this kind of friendship, and they certainly don’t understand how I could have had a romantic relationship with someone I have never laid eyes on in person.
I have had the opportunity to have real life interaction with some of these people over the last year. People I game with, People I met on various forums. Hell, I’m in a real life theater company with people I met Roleplaying in World of Warcraft.
In each of these cases (Save for one – but we don’t really talk anymore) I have been very lucky. Meeting my friends face to face has been like coming home. There are already years of understanding behind the smiles. There are inside jokes and common ground. Something that (For someone like me who is awkward as hell anyway at making friends) is essential at easing that initial anxiety.
I am not going to sit here and wax eloquent about the virtues of meeting people the way I have been – It is, I’m sure very dangerous sometimes, and some people have had terrible experiences. Look at the show Catfish (For those of you not hip to the lingo – a catfish is someone who lies about who they are online – simply put)…but overall, my experience has been pretty gratifying.
This comes as a shock to most people, but I am painfully shy. Despite being a performer. When I’m just meeting someone and I have to be myself – I am always blushing and awkward. Until I warm up to them – then I’m usually pretty much like you see me here. I speak a lot like I write.
As I meet more and more of these dear friends, I am feeling more solid – like my life is coming back to me. These last few years have been one hell of a ride. I want to take this time to thank each and every one of my readers for the support you all give to me, and the encouragement to keep going. You are all treasured.
If life goes like I would like it to go, I will be more and more public in the years to come. Conventions, speaking engagements, podcasts and going back to performing. Little steps like this are pulling me back out of the shell I have been living in and breathing life back into me. As it all unfolds, however it does, You will all have front row seats.
For now…I’m off to go deep fry half my kitchen and watch movies.
Love you all –