Breaking up with Social Media - Part Four - Becoming Ian

Over time I matured, and the internet matured with me.

Another huge change in my life happened that also forever changed me much like my love of the internet changed me in the years prior.

I mentioned how I had grown up in a small town that more or less repressed the person I felt I was inside. Well, in 2001 that all changed as my Dad decided it was time to move out of that small town and into a very liberal college town instead. This move happened as I transitioned from Middle School to High School. At first this felt completely traumatizing to me, as my personal anxieties have never made it easy for me to handle large changes in my life. However as I began to meld into this new school and this new life something kind of remarkable happened. I found that I no longer needed “Family” Ian while at school. People here accepted me for who I was. Being gay, or nerdy, or a weirdo were no longer things that I would be picked on for. Teachers would encourage these types of behavior and push me to be more of myself, I found new friends who were into all the anime and video games and computers I was into.

Online Ian met the real world. It was glorious and possibly the best time of my life. There is nothing more affirming than to be able to be yourself and be loved for it. This is what I got at East Lansing High School and is when the version of myself that was born and developed online really solidified into that main version of myself that I would become.

I still spent a lot of time online during this period, but almost all of the socializing I would do would be mostly with people I knew in real life. The popular method of online chat by this point was AOL instant messenger, which I used constantly when I was online at my computer. I had built my own websites before, but now I was building websites together with real life human friends that I knew in person. I began to become very self reflective during this time. Being accepted by strangers, again, but this time in real life made me start to question what had gone so wrong in my hometown, and question what was so wrong with my family. I had always loved to write and so when I found the site Livejournal I knew it was time to start getting all of my shit out.

My first blog post, from the day after my birthday 2002.

My first blog post, from the day after my birthday 2002.

I started a blog where I would talk about my feelings, my thoughts, my fears, my anxieties. I had discussed these kinds of things in chats with people before but never in a long form method like this where my thoughts could fully form and develop. This was again, a very trans-formative thing for me. I met even more new friends on blogging sites that also had an interest in figuring their complex emotional shit out, and we helped each other with encouragement and support to navigate what was going on in our minds and our lives. Having a place you can go where you can go as deep as you want to into your own messy mind and be still be accepted by other people is amazing. I cannot imagine the kind of person I would be today if I never stopped back then as a teenager to try to decide who I was as a person and discover why I thought the way I did about the world. In a way Family Ian was still alive when at home and at Church, Online Ian became just Ian and that version of me would continue to develop further with these new outlets for self-analysis.

At this point a new presence was starting to take hold on the internet. The advent of social media websites was upon us, and things would change forever.

Concluded in Part Five…

Independence, Jogging, and In the Army Now...

So my independence day was pretty lame. At first I had plans to go job hunting and then hang out with Kim, those plans were quickly killed when I realized that the busses do not run on the 4th of July. So I tried a plan B type situation. I was talking to Cameron and trying to convince him to go see a movie with Kim and I. This would provide a ride to East Lansing as well as making it worthwhile for the ride giver. The plan was going great, Cameron seemed really excited about going to see a movie, we had picked our choices for what we wanted to see and looked up times and everything. Then all of the sudden he was like "Oh, it looks like my friend wants to hang out with me now, so... I will just let you hitch a ride over with me as I go to see him."

First of all, am I not Cameron's friend? Anyway, this did not bother me all that much since I was still getting a ride over to East Lansing. So I told Kim I would be on the way and waited for Cam to get around. Then all of the sudden he tells me he can't give me a ride anymore, he says he is going to West Lansing instead. God Damnit, I thought.

Anyway, in the end I could not find any way to get out of the house yesterday. It sucked. Everybody but Kim had plans already and I got stuck at home with my internet addiction.

But yeah, lately I have been jogging a lot. I think back on my life and I honestly can't think of any time I did a significant amount of running. It really shows. When I ride my bike I can go for miles and not get tired, when I walk I can go for hours with no problem. Yet when I jog I can't seem to get more than half a block without completely breaking down and running out of breath. Which I find really weird since when I go to the gym and run on the treadmill or the nordic track thingy I can always go for half an hour without stop.

It is weird. But oh well.

So yeah, today my dad has decided to take me to see an army recruiter. In case you are in the dark about this situation my dad was close to kicking me out of the house a month or two ago. He gave me the option of either joining the army of being kicked out to live on my own. Since I don't have a job right now and could not really survive on my own I told him I would "think about" joining the army. Unfortunately I have to keep the charade going that I want to join the army until I can save enough money to move out. Which means going to see a recruiter today.

Now, before anyone starts to worry too much about this prospect, let me assure you that nothing will be set into motion with the army just yet. I have some court issues that I need to have worked out before anything can happen with this anyway. Which can't be dealt with until sometime in the middle of August. So I have about a month and a half to find a way out of this, and if push comes to shove I can always just fail the physical.

But yeah... that is the current state of things...