December 23, 2008

Social Deactivation

I deactivated my Facebook account today. I find myself looking at the pictures and stories of all of these lives and instead of making me feel happy to be a part of this virtual community, I feel more isolated and saddened by my loneliness. I feel like Russell Crowe in “A Beautiful Mind,” like all my friends are mere figments of my mental illness or some overactive gland. Yeah, that must be it; I must have a chemical imbalance that makes it so hard for me to function in the world.

When I was a kid, I was painfully shy. It was debilitating. The first day of kindergarten, I locked myself in my room and would not come out. I just knew in my heart that there was something wrong with me, that I wasn’t like everyone else. I feel more like that 5 year old today than I have in years. I feel like everyone else in this world not only got the manual, but knows I didn’t and that I am just winging it and hoping for the best.

I work from home, spending most of my time in my attic office alone, shut off from real people. The addition of Facebook has meant that now all of social interactions have become virtual as well. I live in a city in which there is about 5 feet between each house on my block and I am terrified to go outside and talk to my neighbors. I want to take out my cell phone and text a message to them.

Maybe I fear face-to-face conversation because there is no backspace button. I can’t carefully consider the words and what impact they will have. Or maybe I am so terrified of losing people again like I did during and after the storm that I just don’t have the fortitude to get back up on the horse. Or maybe, I just don’t want to leave my room and face those scary 5 year olds that have grown up into adults.

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