As someone who is used to hiding behind the persona of Trueself (TS) both here and on Twitter, it is a bit unnerving to be on Facebook with real live people from my real live life. I am used to my virtual life being, for the most part, separate and distinct from my real life. There are some exceptions where I’ve allowed some people from my virtual life into my real life. There have been no exceptions where I’ve let anyone from my real life into my virtual life. So to state the obvious there has only been a one way exchange between virtual and real. If you can stand me in my virtual life then it is pretty obvious to me you can stand me in real life. It doesn’t necessarily hold true the other way.
Wait, that last paragraph kind of went askew from what I really wanted to talk about here today. What I started to say, but then didn’t, is that as someone who lived online incognito for a long time it has taken some getting used to being my real self (vs my true self, heh, heh) online when on Facebook. Sometimes I post something that as TS I could say without a second thought. Then I realize, OOOPS, this is IRL me not TrueSelf me, and I go back and delete the posting. I’m getting better at catching myself before actually posting those types of things, but it still happens rarely.
Once again, that last paragraph sort of went where I wanted it to but not quite. I'm still skirting around the issue of the day (or actually of yesterday since I had to stop writing smack in the middle of this post and come back to it) because, well, because it means admitting I've done something stupid. Not that there is anything novel in that. I do stupid things all the time and post them on here. I just somehow feel extra stupid on this one. This one is all about taking chances and putting blinders on to the fact that I'm taking chances.
A couple of hours after yesterday’s email was sent I got a friend request on Facebook. . . a friend request from, of all people who have Facebook accounts in the world, J’s current wife. There was no accompanying message, just a simple friend request.
Now, I very well may be overreacting (Who? Me? Overreact? Surely you jest!), but my first thought went to her having seen my Facebook message and/or email message to J. I wove a scenario in my head that he left his computer vulnerable (not signed out of Facebook and/or email maybe) and that she, being that she is unemployed and with plenty of time on her hands according to J, had been looking at his stuff, found my messages and now wanted to friend me to check me out before deciding on a course of action, which would probably in the future include doing things (well deserved things I might add) to ruin my life.
I’m sure what little color I have (palest human on earth, remember?) drained from my face as I ruminated on what I’m certain will befall me soon. I envision nastiness about me being posted on Facebook by her. I envision her making her best efforts to cause me discomfort with my family, friends, and colleagues, all of whom could easily read any postings she might put up on my Facebook wall. I envision me being mortified over the whole thing and losing the respect of many, many people who mean a great deal to me.
I tell you all of this as a cautionary tale. Don’t be stupid. Of course, there is plenty of stupid to go around. We see politicians and celebrities wallow in stupid all the freakin’ time. We watch as their lives implode quite publicly when they get caught up in these sorts of things. They suffer from nationwide and even worldwide embarrassment and humiliation. At least for me if it comes to it mine will be of a much smaller scope, and maybe I won’t have to resign or hold a press conference to apologize or go to rehab for my supposed sex addiction. Yet it could still be ugly – very, very ugly – and hurtful to me and those close to me, and it would be all my fault. So don’t do it. Don’t be stupid. Don’t take for granted what you have and what you don’t want to lose. Don’t risk it for stupid.
Even if nothing comes of this. . . Even if she just sent a friend request because she likes to friend all of J’s Facebook friends. . . Even if this ends up being no big deal. . . Even if. . . Then I lucked out, and I still need to heed my cautionary tale. I need to step back and reevaluate and decide how much I am willing to risk for stupid.
In the meantime, I’m still contemplating whether to accept or decline her friend request.