It is a foul creation. Yes, utterly foul. My computer provided me solace, love, adoration, attention, vile excitement. It provided me entrance into a world where I was accepted, a world where no other could come without my consent, a world that was all my own. I am - was - a stalker, a conspirator, a human looking to satiate her selfish desires in keyboards and codes. Yes, I considered myself the heart and will of the Internet realm.
In all truth, I was nothing more than a shadow melting against a shoulder in search of kinship. Because of text, because of chat rooms and web pages, I became nothing more than an apathetic mess of flesh with nothing else to live for. It was all because of the computer, this box of worthless mechanics on which I type this very essay, that I descended into the darkest depths of human nature. It was because of this that I once lacked the ability to socialize.
I was only eight when it all began. We purchased a gorgeous box of technological advancement and my father joined a popular web service and launched me into chat rooms. At the time, I wanted to amuse myself with others who enjoyed video games, so I delved into chat rooms devoted to this topic.
I made a friend. It was one of the most brilliant moments in my life, making a friend! Having been a loner in elementary school (because people failed to grasp my creativity and mocked me for it), I couldn’t help but be enthralled with this person who didn’t know about my record of obscure behavior and real-life habits. We talked for a year until she vanished from the Internet. Soon after, my father moved my online existence to a certain chat server.
All my obsessions were satiated in this new slew of rooms. I talked, role-played, voice-chatted, and wove lies. This routine became a daily ritual, a habit to which I devoted myself. More friends, more people to allow into the depths of my mind. Oh, it was utterly beautiful! I gave them everything with sugarcoated sweetness, and in return, I gained their loyalty.
My first beloved was from these chat rooms. I was in love, or so I thought. I found out later he lived only a few towns away and my trust dissipated. I became spiteful toward this teen whom I had proclaimed to the world that I loved, and ended up severing our connection.
Life moved on, and I became more dependent on text, on friends, and soon, instant messages. Understanding that I could now communicate through more than just a chat room, I began to create online journals and proved my prowess with HTML. After six years of mirthless addiction, high school arrived and with it, the chance to meet new people.
Sophomore year brought the attempted suicide of a close friend who suffered my same addictions. I only knew of her attempts because of her online journal, which I checked with stalker-like regularity. I became wrought with fright and inquired to my “other self,” my real person: Why? Why were things going so horribly? Why did depression eat away at her? Would I suffer the same fate? Would I end up in a mental institution like her?
That began my ascension into the textured, hard reality which I had tried so desperately to escape. I realized that I might have been able to save her if we had a social life with our friends and after her attempt, I made a pact with myself.
I told myself it was time to stop being so devoted to the computer and focus on friends. It is quite an amazing feat even to say such a thing. It was proof that I was willing to escape my chains of addiction and I’m proud to say I did. Now, three nights a week, I physically remove myself from the computer desk to engage in theatre games. I also take great enjoyment in art, Renaissance fairs, studying Latin, and writing. Writing is my reason for living. I write words, sentences, paragraphs and pages worth of text, of tales woven in the recesses of my mind. I ponder now what drove me to become so dependent on the keyboard with which I type this text. Was it human nature? Was it a natural touch of existing in what felt like another plane of reality that made me so crave technology? Whatever it was - be it reality or the chains of intrigue - it is gone now, lost forever to the revolution of a single soul.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.