We are all afraid of being alone.
We all went to the web to find out if the question we all had in our heads was true.
Am I alone?
Does anyone else feel like I do? Am I the only one who feels this way?
We aren’t alone. That’s what the Internet was able to show us.
Back when it was the Information Superhighway or the World Wide Web. It was a big, flashing neon sign attracting nerds like flies.
I was one of those nerds. I was drawn to the flame. I craved the warmth and acceptance of other people like me. But I had no idea where to find them.
I grew up in a county with one school. One middle school. One high school. One.
I went to high school with about 500 other people. I graduated in 2000 with 167 peers.
It was a small place and in that place I was the freak, the outcast. I was big enough to be the ideal football player. With no interest in being a tackling dummy.
I quit the varsity basketball team because it would mean missing our final Coffee House, which our Literary Magazine put on a few times per year to promote our publication and raise funds.
I knew who I was and what was most important to me. But there were not a lot of people like me. Later I learned there is no one like me. No one is like anyone else. We’re all our own people.
Literary Magazine was a safe haven for me. I was able to be with artists and writers and musicians. I was able to share parts of myself that weren’t congruent with my 6’5″ and 250 pound frame. I was able to be myself.
I wasn’t the person I looked like. I wasn’t the stereotype people assumed.
I was my own person and that was a strange beast in my home town.
The web was a revelation. It was a place to go outside of my high school. It was a place I could be myself.
The web is about ideas. The web doesn’t care who you are or what you look like. The web is about information. Not appearance.
That’s what drew me in and why I keep going back.
I’m 34 now but I still feel like the same freak I was in high school.
I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin. I skip around and follow wherever I see as the best path at a given time.
I used to feel like I knew who I was. But the deeper I look inside the less I feel I know myself.
But I know one thing. The friendships I’ve made online are keeping me going.
Some of my best friends are avatars. And those avatars are wonderful people I wouldn’t know what to do without.
From dial-up to fiber, the web is my home.