So, throughout my journey as a computer addict, taking advantage of what free internet I can get, passing up opportunities to spend time with friends so I can check out the latest chapter for a book I'm reading online, or reply to people I met on a random site, or just waste time in general. I have come across many questions, that have never really been answered very well.
Questions, consisting of, why do people spend so much time online, when there are so many better, more constructive things they can be doing?
There is no easy answer. So, I want to share why I spend so much time online, and for those who are able to tear themselves away from the screen to deal with their rela lives, to be able to see it from an addicts perspective. Why I'm addicted the the online world, and why I'm doing very little to change this.
To the regular joe who does spend their life like a normal person, outside with their friends, family. Their jobs, pets, partners.
To the regular person, who doesn't find the comfort in the online world like I and so many others do. The life of bad graphics, bad grammar, shitty people with crappy opinions that you can't help but argue even though you know it's no use. People like me, seem anti-social. We're introverts. We're unmotivated, dispassionate, have a total lack of caring for the outside world.
But, you know. It isn't true.
From the day I first discovered, without my parents knowledge, that my DS connected to the internet nine years ago, I think, I have been engrossed in a world with so much more freedom than my own. No, the net could never and can never beat the feeling of riding motorbikes, racing go-karts, getting a go at riding a horse, and showing off my extensive book knowledge about them, playing 'witches' with my friends, and 'soft teddies' with my other friends. At the age of nine, the online world didn't hold quite the appeal for me that it does now.
I don't have the opportunity to do any of these things now. Now it's all about the way society views you, the judgement from your parents, your scores in school, that horrid anxiety I have to face each and every day over just about everything. Seriously, I used to love school, and now that I have the threat of failing year eleven a second time looming over my head, even the thought of attending school has me sobbing, heaving, and having no idea how to stop my heart from beating so fast or stop hyperventilating for over an hour.
The internet, is my way of escaping all this.
On the net, nobody knows who I am. I'm not known as that weird chick from primary school who burst into tears over nothing every second day. I'm not known as the girl who kept stealing money off her stepmother, who does everything for her. I'm not the one who can't tell if somebody is being serious or sarcastic. I'm not the one who doesn't know who you are after meeting you for the fifth time. I'm not the one being talked over. I can't be talked over, just ignored.
And you know, I prefer being ignored on the net, because I can't see you turn your head, and pretend I'm not there. I can't see you roll your eyes at me for not being able to get the words out of my mouth. I can't see you tell me I'm too passive, after having all the aggression beat out of me at an early(ish) age. If you say something I don't agree with, I don't feel like I can't defend myself, or try to change your mind. Behind a screen, I can say what I think, I can voice my opinion and I can feel like I have an opinion worth sharing.
We all have an opinion worth sharing.
But sometimes, we don't feel like we're allowed to have one.
Now, I don't have social anxiety. I know that's a common misconception about people on the net. That they have social anxiety, and can't stand to be around other people. It's not true. For some, maybe. But I don't think it is for most. If that is the case though, that you or someone you know spends an awful lot of time on the web due to social anxiety, that's okay. That's their escape. It might not be an especially healthy escape, but if it helps them, and it isn't over board, then it should be fine.
So, that answers the why.
In summary, I spend so much time on the net, because I feel safer. I feel safer on the net, where I can't be judged, I can't be made fun of, I have an opinion and can share it, whether you read it or not. It's my escape. I can find all sorts of things to take my mind of whatever it is causing my anxiety to spike. And I can find others who are like me. Who understand me.
So, what do I get out of spending so much time on the web?
My skills for typing quickly has certainly gone up, I still can't type without looking at the key-board, but I'm getting there.
I'm a lot more open minded. Growing up in a closed off town where for me coming out as gay to my friends was met with disbelief, and 'that's really a thing? I thought gay meant happy and the other thing was just a joke.'
I have actually had quite a few eye openers, and I'm still getting them, about what the world is really like.
I have found the most horrific things online, but I have also found things that made me cry happy tears. I used to believe, thanks to the lack of diversity in my old town and only meeting one or two, that coloured people got offended by anything remotely touching on their having a colour skin different to mine.
I have since learned, that I was a pretty freaking racist kid, without even knowing it. I would laugh when my Dad made a joke about 'black folk' and gorillas. Don't ask me what the jokes were, I cringe at the fact they exist and even more at the fact that anyone finds them funny. They're disgusting.
I used to think that the whole world was like my town, that everyone would return my passing smiles, that getting a job would be as easy as asking my aunt for a job as a cleaner at the family business. That every Maccas had a playground and that everyone knew Maccas was slang for McDonalds.
I used to believe that the world was centered around Australia. That everyone knew just as much about my home country and more. But, you don't. And it was unfair of me to think you would and should, when I know next to nothing about any other country.
There is a lot that I learned from the web that I would never have learned in school. There is a lot that I wish I'd never stumbled across, and a lot more that I wish I could find again.
I'm going to wrap this up before it goes for too long.
So, why do I prefer it online?
I can be me.
And with the help of the web.
I am finding me.