unreal

whenever I take a moment to step away from the world of the internet, I get this feeling that the online world is unreal. I almost feel in a daze, or a dream. I feel like the “me” on the Internet isn’t real – it’s a mere phantom, or an online persona. I don’t feel like I’m her. She feels like a completely different person and I don’t recognise her words; I am surprised at what she has written. I am surprised at how different she sounds.

I’ve written on blogs before and I’ve always gotten the feeling that the online me is uncannily, unbelievably friendly and stable and lighthearted and funny and talented. None of these are bad. In fact, in many ways, I love my online persona. But my real self has something she doesn’t – heart. Rawness. This girl feels fake. She feels “plastic”. She’s nice but she’s not me. She doesn’t make me feel anything.

I think this is a part of what causes the dysphoria between my online and real selves. But I get this feeling not only with myself but with the whole internet. It feels fake. It feels technological and altogether too neat and clean and shiny. Reality is gritty and crude and messy and earthy and rude.

Maybe there is a problem with my calling the online world “unreal”. Why should it be unreal? If you have felt something online, why can’t it be real? And I have. I have read beautiful, crushing, raw stuff online.

But maybe that is the problem. So much on the Internet is not raw and not gritty. It’s been airbrushed. Or maybe not everybody wants that kind of gritty life and the Internet is a refuge for them. More power to them. They are perfectly welcomed to use it. Maybe their lives are also different, maybe they really are clean and shiny and that’s not wrong either. My words might seem negative but believe me I don’t mean them that way.

But me, I want something raw. More than that, I want something painful and deep and bloody. I want the truth.

I want to feel life for myself. Really. I want to feel the blood and the guts and the gore. It makes me feel alive.

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crushed

I didn’t understand how crushes worked. I didn’t understand how you could pass someone and feel a fluttering like butterflies in your stomach. Girls would tell me of the guys they liked and giggle and blush over them and I would wonder, with a certain envy, that I’d never felt that before.

When we ask what it means to be in love, people always say, “Oh, you’ll just know!” Obviously, I thought, I’ve never been in love.

I wondered where was the line between liking someone, and being attracted to someone, and having a crush, and being in love, and being infatuated.

I thought a lot about something I’d never understood, never felt, until now.

***

A lot of people don’t believe in love at first sight. They say it’s just lust.

I don’t know. Maybe love at first sight won’t last and maybe it’s a bad basis for marriage. But it’s not just lust.

I know that. I’ve felt it and it’s not, it’s not lust.

Well, to be fair, I didn’t feel “love at first sight”, but the whole thing I’ve felt is as ridiculous and senseless and unlikely that I could well imagine how a mere glance could send someone into the spiralling that is falling in love.

I didn’t feel anything for him at first. I thought he was a cute, sort of nerdy guy. And that was it.

It wasn’t like I was consumed with lust or anything. He’s cute but there are a lot of better looking guys.

I knew we wouldn’t be good together. He was completely indifferent to me. He didn’t like me, didn’t hate me either. He would joke with his friends; he never did that with me. With me, he was always frustratingly polite.

We don’t have good chemistry. We have little, maybe close to nothing, in common. He’s not even a very nice person. He makes insensitive, almost heartless jokes sometimes. I’ve got no reason to like him.

How can I explain what happened when I can’t even understand it myself?

After I had first met him, I would watch him where he would lie on the ground and close his eyes, as he liked to do. I would look at his smooth decidedly unmanly cheeks and jaws and his curls, and he was adorable, and sometimes I would watch as his mouth broke into a smile, crooked teeth and all, and I guess that was how it all happened.

It happened. That’s all I can say. I have no reason. I had no reason. But it happened.

And what’s more, I didn’t want it.

Talking to him doesn’t bring me joy. He talks to me enough that I can’t forget his face or his voice or his manner, but not enough to calm my heart, and tell it that yes he does like you, even just as a friend, and yes, he does notice you are alive and he does think you are a nice person and it’s okay.

It’s okay.

All that comes from this crush is pain. I didn’t know it would be like this.

I first realised my feelings one night when I lay in bed and my heart was aching because he didn’t care for me and I was thinking, crazy as it sounds, I would rather he hated me because at least he’d be paying some attention to me. Then, I realised how crazy that sounded and I began to wonder why the hell I cared what he thought of me, one way or another. And the words formed in my head: I totally have a crush on him.

I berate myself. I tell myself that it’s ridiculous to hurt over something like this. I know we’re not compatible and high school infatuation doesn’t last and it’s pointless to get invested in something like this. But I can’t help it. I can’t help the way my heart feels like someone’s squeezing it, whenever I think of him. I can’t help that I feel so much in my chest whenever I hear a love song.

I like to think I’m realistic, and I do think I am. I have said he’s not perfect. I have said he is very imperfect. He’s not a particularly nice person. There are a lot of boys nicer than him, that I would do well to pick instead. He’s not particularly anything. I would even say, there’s nothing special about him – nothing I know now, for sure. I don’t know even what I would talk about with him – heck, would he even talk to me? If he ever treated me badly, I would leave him. I feel sure of that.

And yet – and yet – I am a hopeless romantic and I know if he said he loved me – that he felt for me the same way I feel for him – it would be too much.

I can’t help it. He’d have my heart.