Internet and Dignity

Posted on September 10, 2010


Nino’s Mum sent me this story “Death on Facebook” today. I was intrigued and could identify with the narrator in the story. She had become “friends” with someone she had hardly exchanged a word with, but knew from work, yet found herself following the life of a 20-something wild thing with interest. And then one day…(Ok, you have to click that link and read what happens…give the writer some respect :D)

I am one of those people who is addicted to the internet. No, I don’t just mean checking my email 100 times a day. I mean, waking up in the middle of the night, switching on a shut down computer to check my email, or read a blog. And I use the internet to while away time, educate myself, advocate for different causes, raise money, pay bills, shop for everything – from books to clothes to chocolates…yes, if the internet were a man, I’d be married to it.

For many, the internet is an escape. They can hide. They use aliases or fantasies or pretend to be who they’d like to be. But for me, the internet allows me to be…be who I am in all honesty. And as I look around today, I found people who’d identify with that feeling.

Recently a friend separated from her husband. She had been with him for almost ten years, five of which they spent being married. She is documenting her journey of freeing herself from being a Mrs to being a single woman, a young woman…her oscillations from mourning the loss of love to celebrating the joys of singledom. Each emotion, so honest, so pure…it makes one wonder how she does it.

And then I think of the outcomes of NOT doing it the way she does it. People’s sympathy is not only misplaced at many points, it can be annoying and infuriating. It is hard to keep explaining to everyone. Yes, you needn’t. But to some loved ones, you’d want to explain…hell, I would…and it’s just simpler to write it all down…bare oneself…and let it out and let go. The true cathartic way. There is no shame in pain and there should be no shame in moving on, wanting better things for oneself.

This brings me to my class 7 teacher. She must be around 74 years old. She is very active on Facebook. It was a pleasant surprise to see her profile. I thought may be her grandchildren might’ve put up her profile. But as I “friended” her, I got an even better surprise, she’s active on Facebook. She had uploaded a lot of pictures of our retired school teachers at a party, smiling…she had pictures of her family. And soon, She became not just my teacher, she became a person, a woman to me. Even though she had been a very good teacher, in my memories, she’d have remained a teacher…but now, in her retirement years, she’s living well…her status messages are always something apt and cheerful. She sends birthday wishes to all her students and replied to every birthday wish she got personally…

And this makes me think…had it not been for the internet, we’d have never learned an important lesson about being grown up from her after all these years. She is teaching us the meaning of dignity and joy 🙂

This brings me to ME. Remember, what you think of me today, is a lot because of the internet. This post included. On this blog, I have put up posts about my journeys through anger and depression owing to my experiences as a child and adolescent and I have received a lot of messages about how people can relate to what I am saying…it validates my experiences while freeing me, a little bit, each time.

To me, the internet is about leading an open and honest life…a life that I live with dignity.

P.S. – I have stopped using the internet after 9PM, so that I can sleep well and my addiction doesn’t get the better of me 😉