Few years ago, I stumbled upon this online forum for wanting to express myself, anonymously. To take a break from playing World of Warcraft (to spend time with the (ex) boyfriend) and from writing tons of essays for my MA, I started to write my stories on the forum. Stories of wanting to do a PhD after, of how much I cared for the (ex) boyfriend. Kinda like an online journal, blogging, or an obsessed Facebook status updater (haha). I was 23 when I wrote my first share in 2011. Feedback was sure to be had, and you can learn so much from how one writes.
Over the years, I shared music tastes, embarrassing moments, frustration, jovial times, deepest secrets…and read many stories of similar topics. It’s nice to be able to connect with other people around the world and find common interests. Of course, the Internet being what it is, there were a handful of unpleasant users out there who abuse the anonymity. Besides the usual perverts, there were trolls as well. The forum was meant to be non-judgmental and provide sound advice, when asked for. I remember being judged cruelly for one of my skeletons in my closet and took me few days to recover from the terrible feeling.
Funnily enough, I never really transitioned from that forum to other social applications like Whatsapp, Skype or emails. I guess it was because I wanted to stay semi-true to the anonymity feature. Yes, with some, I shared my name and where I was from, when asked, but never more than that, unless necessary. Unless I was willing to go there.
Five years on, I’ve shared about 70 stories; some anonymously, some penned with my profile. In these five years, I’ve exchanged messages with over 30 users, and, still with about 2-3 users only. I’ve experienced wonderful words of encouragement, enlightening conversations on Woody Allen’s movies, insightful thoughts on social and environmental issues, and, just simple hello-how-are-you chats. Most people I’ve had the chance to connect with were from the US, some from Australia, and a few from England, Italy, France, and Germany.
This forum is my online community, yet I don’t feel the need to log into it all the time, I don’t feel the need to “show” something or to grab attention. I like it because I get to share my stories and someone is bound to give feedback. I also like it because I get to read other people’s stories, and find that no matter where we are, we have similar experiences. The online connection makes the world seem small and big at the same time.
I also like this online community because there are so many good people. And despite what we’ve been through, where we are in the world, we all want the same things;
To give and receive love.
To live the life we want.
To give meaning to our lives.
I suppose that me stumbling into this forum, and then to have stuck with it this long, I wanted to know myself better. I wanted help with the disconnection I sometimes felt (and still feel) with the physical world. It’s amazing what you can read on online forums – you can find out so much about various behaviours and attitudes. I have found a place where I could interact with other truth-seeking individuals out there.