Slivers of what once was hit me like the sudden flicker of light; the poignant, yet brief, illuminations create a sharp recall. The reminders are so immediate that I quickly scribble the notes onto a post-it before I forget so as to be able to re-hash this lost memory when I sit down in front of a keyboard and monitor. It was the first actual instance in which I can lay the foundation for what some may construe as a misanthropic attitude, when in fact, it is a wariness to trust others.
I was eleven; I remember, with clarity, the feelings that I attribute to my first crush. My stomach knotted itself at every sneaked glance, my heart raced at extended conversations, and wishful thinking engaged my thoughts.
Perhaps I had best written my piece on being a “digital pilgrim” before this entry, but chatting online was by no menas unfamiliar to me. Talking to strangers was a norm for me; so long as the conversation remained in the abstract online space, there was no taboo line crossed.
It was either a Saturday or a Sunday when a “Mark” from Calgary added me on MSN Messenger and began conversing with me. The prying of information wasn’t something that I found to be suspicious – after all, how likely was it for what I said to be regurgitated in my immediate sphere of friends?
I stood near the goal posts of the soccer field when it happened. The laughter that echoed towards me and the fingers pointed at my boy-ish haircut perplexed me. It was then that I had ever felt the first real pangs of humiliation. Never until that moment did I feel myself to be exposed and to be stripped of any sense of privacy. Friends who comforted me could not rid the humiliation that I felt; voices were blurred in this surreal instance.
There wasn’t anything to do but to merely let time freeze. Tears welled up in my eyes as I panicked to wipe them away. There was no “Mark;” it had in fact been pure gullibility on my part, believing in the coincidence of strangers meeting, when in fact it was a classmate who was simply “trolling.”
With years past, this is perhaps the moment that I could identify as where I learned that nothing can be taken back, no matter how distant the medium may seem. In writing this brief entry, I come to realize that my aversion to actual statuses and updates on social networks stems to the desire not to be traced or to be pinned to one particular set of phrases.
After all, it is the small things that echo in our lives, and this instance just happens to be one of them, whether or not I remember it on a daily basis.
Image via Flickr (user: Gamma-Ray Productions)