Apparently, my emotions are a somewhat popular subject with my friends. It seems that the few friends I have here on E2 feel it's appropriate to send a link to every single person I know, whenever I node about something personal or emotional. I don't mean this as an attack on any noders I know in RL, and I hope no one interprets it as such. I'm just kind of pissed off about it right now. Part of me thinks I shouldn't be writing this, but I also don't want to lose what I'm feeling right now, so I need to get it out.

I feel violated somehow. I discovered this beautiful world about six months ago, and it's steadily grown into the single thing in my life which I hold sacred. I love it here. I love you all. When I sit at home, I feel empty and alone. When I'm immersed in E2, I feel like a part of the community. I feel appreciated. I feel accepted. When someone /msg's me with a compliment on one of my nodes, or even when I get C!'d, I feel very happy. I very rarely feel truly happy in my other life. I was finally starting to feel like I could really express myself here. Like I could really share how I feel. When I was younger, before I realized that people would give me money to code, I always wanted to be a writer. I feel like I can be both right now. I get paid for what I'm good at, and I do what I love in my free time.

I trusted the community. I don't feel that same trust anymore. I'm worried that I won't be able to drop my inhibitions at the door anymore. I'm worried that I'll censor myself from now on. I really don't what that to happen, but I feel terrible right now, and I don't want to feel this way again.

It's not even so much that I'm bothered that people read some of the things here. It's that I don't feel that it was (or could be) interpreted properly, especially by anyone who doesn't know what it's like here. The person I am when I node is not the same as the person I am when I talk. This is another life. I am not Ben, I am SlightlyMadman. Do not confuse one with the other. Yes, many of the things I node about are mostly true. The problem is that they're more or less second hand. The person speaking them is not the person who experienced them, even if we happen to share the same social security number. I exaggerate. I blur and alter certain things to better make a point, to more strongly provoke an emotional response, or just to make it sound more interesting.

All I want to do right now is run away. I want to leave everything. I want to delete my account. I want to move to another state. Maybe I'll just create a new account here, where nobody will know that it's me, but the thought of that makes me sad.

Honesty regarding one's self can be very good, but only if you can detach yourself from it.

Having been in the internet atmosphere for several years now, and having experienced the sudden silence that seems to fall in bbs rooms whenever anything personal or idealogically beautiful goes from my brain to the screen, I have to say that true, open honesty about anything on the net is an open invitation to have your heart torn out.

Because the internet is merely words on a screen, many people are incapable of regarding what they see in the same context as, say, people's feelings. You become a part of the entertainment, rather than a living soul.

Is this expression worth the risk? Personally, I think so, and have never held back from self expression. But I've also learned to stop caring or attatching too much importance to what other people think. That's far too dangerous anywhere in life, but especially on the 'net.

I have pissed off more than my share of people who read my nodes, which are, pretty much, mostly about my personal life. The people I piss off are people I know IRL. I don't know yet of any noders I've pissed off. I piss them off because maybe they didn't know what was really going on in my life until they looked here to find the commentary. They didn't think I'd actually tell the world how many men I've had sex with, or that I would tell the E2 community about them.

I'm not saying it won't get you in trouble. But I for one am glad I have tried to stay true and honest about what I've noded here regarding my personal life, that I haven't adopted too far fetched and alternative personality so that I can keep every one happy and keep giving them the warm fuzzies.

But I don't want to pretend that my life is anything but what it is. I don't want to hide the things I'm ashamed about. This for me is a way of saying to people, "if you want to see how my mind functions, read this and if you still want to deal with me, we can talk." I've done that once or twice, told people I've met IRL to read my website or my E2 nodes and I've found it to be a great feature. They know that they may become writing fodder, and while that can be unsettling, it's better that they know up front because I am, by my definition, a writer and will end up documenting them at some point.

It is wrong for me to expect other people to be the way I am, to take the reputation risks I may take by writing as I do. But I can't help but feel a release when I do, so that if people will judge me, they can do so openly, they will have all the ammo they need; they will not have to search for or whip up ammo. I feel better knowing that I wasn't scared to put myself out there and show all my flaws, that I haven't spent most of my time creating nice little facades to distract people from seeing me in all my imperfections. It isn't for everyone. It may not be for me forever. But for now, it's something I must do.

It seems to me many people on E2 come here with such open, anonymous honesty it still shocks and amazes me now and then. That's what pulled me into this place, this community in the first place. I don't know the face behind your words, the various expressions that might cross your features, the sound and connotations of your voice. It's rare that I even exchange a /msg with anyone here, and yet there I am, reading the most personal things of your lives. Nodes that make me laugh aloud at the cleverness or pure silliness of them, or those nodes that make you think of a certain issue in a different light, or those truly special nodes that touch us deeply as to bring me to tears. They are sharing these things with us, sometimes the most detailed and personal and honest accounts of their lives.

Obviously, this kind of openness can have consequences in RL. I've written nodes and hesitated on the submit button for long periods of time, in fear those people I knew in RL who come to E2 would read them. Not particularly because it was saying anything about them, but because, as someone has said before, we're never everything with anyone. Having a friend to talk to is wonderful, but noding somehow has it's own quality, it's own kind of therapy. Then there are those times when you do want to talk about those certain people in your lives who read E2, and what in the hell do you do? I find myself struggling with that very concept now. I can't write about those who read my nodes because I will mold them in ways I normally wouldn't. Instead of doing that I'd personally prefer not to write anything at all. I'm not happy about that. Not at all.

Maybe noding about your personal life is a bad idea, but don't let those "consequences" take away from E2. Your experience here should be a good one, and if noding your personal life would attribute to that, then do it. If people in your life can't handle it or somehow give you a hard time for it, I'd question whether they should be in my life.

Or, you can always get a new user name and not tell anyone who you are!

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