December 30, 2013

Close Enough: A Catfish Story.

I don't blog much anymore because who the hell has the time to write a whole page of banal bullshit, let alone read it.

But, sometimes a motherfucker gets inspired.

For the last 3 years, I have followed the lives of people on Twitter, usually a safe arm's length away from the realities that lie behind the cleverness, the wittiness, the deadpan, and the drama. But lately the full frontal catfish nature of the internet has played me.

Now, I didn't know @nikkolascage or @theokayest as well as a lot of people thought they did. But, then again, who the hell did. I read the continued drama between her and a gentleman from Edmonton who moved to Calgary, desperately deluded that he would meet her and they could finally fall in love and be together. I caught the flashy ass and tit pics, and the KCCO hashtags. I smiled at her saucy posts and laughed along with her. She seemed so fantastic, I recall muttering to myself 'how can this chick be that hot AND this smart? What an asshole.'


Want the real story? Ask Ryncstar.

But this whole situation that has unraveled in the past two days has gotten me thinking about what the internet offers us, and the way it changes us. 
It allows us to reinvent, lie, design a person that may not be ourselves. But that is okay because with a quick account change or deletion, we exist again. And THIS time, we will be grander. Realer. Better.

I see it all the time. Some people even have numerous online accounts or personas, neither intersecting with the other, because one life wouldn't be comfortable with the world created by another. World's collide.

We take 30 pictures just to post a decent selfie. We gloss over the bad to illuminate the good or victimize ourselves with the tragic to get attention and sympathy. We are like these bush league directors of our online lives trying desperately to make a decent movie everyone is going to watch. We add party pics, and fun Vines, and tag friends, and even throw in a few songs for a killer soundtrack. We paint ourselves a bit happier, a bit smarter, a bit more together, a bit more apathetic, a bit MORE. We are martyrs for giving a homeless person five dollars and phoenix-from-the-ashes for getting out of bed after a break up. We are all fucking liars knee deep in hyperbole.

And most of our movies still suck.

The blonde on the left? Not @Nikkolascage. But it's a Nicole that lives in Calgary, so... close enough?

So, some people go a bit deeper with artistic license. They take it a bit farther. They flat-line the lies until they aren't even in their own movie anymore. And while I would feel astonishingly violated and victimized if someone used my real life to depict their very own Truman Show, I also feel stubbornly empathetic. I imagine what it would be like to have someone tell me how beautiful I was. Except they weren't looking at me. To have someone comment on how much fun I am. Except they weren't talking about any fun I was actually having. I imagine what it would feel like to try desperately to make connections with people who didn't even know me. Because I had painted myself completely out of the picture.

By the time they are ever comfortable enough to come clean and make a true connection with the people they had lied to lure in, it's too late. They're a fraud and they will only push people away. And if you are someone who lives almost solely on the internet, pushing the people online away means pulling the plug completely. You're not just breaking up with someone, you are breaking up with your life. And the only thing left that is authentic is your reputation.
And you know what they say... the internet is forever.

I have been guilty of shining up my life, especially when tragedy strikes. No one wants to hear your sorrowful bullshit and sometimes 'faking it to make it' is all you can muster. I try to balance it out with being honest when I look like hell and feel like hell and behave like an asshole. But at the end of the movie, I still want people to come away thinking I was exceptional, not an extra.

The difference is when my movie ends, regardless what people will be thinking about me, it will still be me they are thinking about. And I reckon sometimes in our hope to make an impact and not be forgotten, we forget to be ourselves.

And no amount of false friends or followers will be able to fill the void left by vacating your own life.