The internet does weird things to how we are perceived and how we interact socially. Two recent examples:
- A New Zealander living in Scotland has contacted me through YouTube (where I have added a few Kiwi music videos to a personal playlist) hoping to meet a fellow Kiwi expat: "i'm from xx, north island, where r u from?" .. Denmark? Maybe I should start adding a couple of Danish tracks to that playlist of mine .. nah.
- Facebook sent me a message the other day. "Suggest friends for XYZ!" Today the site sent me another message: "Keep in touch with your friends! Leave a wall message for XYZ!" XYZ, a distant member of my extended family, passed away from cancer a month ago. Needless to say, the messages made me feel extremely uncomfortable. I can only imagine what it must feel like for her close relatives to be sent these messages and pushy 'reminders'.
Following on from that, I have been following a message board thread about personal identity with some interest. The thread started with a newspaper article talking about "late-blooming lesbians". The thread meandered through discussions on bisexuality, marriage and queer politics - but the one post which made me stop in my tracks asked about the idea of "always having known myself". Can we really, really lay claim to having a stable identity throughout our lives? One of my all-time favourite quotes is from Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Ulysses:
I am a part of all that I have met; Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades For ever and for ever when I move.
I like to think that our identity is an amalgam of our experiences and a select number of personal traits. I cannot lay claim to "always having known" something about myself, because "always" is a really complicated word. My three-year-old self had a radically different way of perceiving and naming things than my twenty-five year-old self or even thirty-four year old self. I feel at peace with that idea of a fluid sense of Self, a bricolage-like identity, which keeps shifting and moving towards untravelled worlds. I feel significantly less at ease with always having been the same person.
Getting all this from a thread which was basically "u all suck an i'm rite" isn't bad.
While I remember, I'm tentatively planning an escape a holiday to Denmark. I need to recharge my batteries and I miss people. I don't know any dates yet (although it'll probably be late October/early November), but I just thought I'd give a bit of advance notice !