I have a confession. I said my dreams inspired me to write and that’s true, but it’s only true to an extent. I began writing long before I got the courage to share any of it. The reason I wrote had nothing to do with dreams. I wrote because I was lonely and I wrote the way many of us do, I started keeping a diary. I don’t ever talk to other girls about their diaries, and except for my BFF I’ve now named Jessi, I don’t talk to other girls about mine. I wrote in them devotedly for three years, before I finally started keeping a second one just for the weird dreams I have. It didn’t take long to realize that the one with the dreams filled up a lot faster than the one accounting my daily life, or that it was also more interesting than my daily life.
When I decided to write a novel based on some of those dreams and write it as the autobiography of a fictitious person, I opened a door into a world of loneliness I could never have imagined. I sacrificed all the real friends and family I have for not just the time I spent writing, but for all the time I spent here becoming the personality of my protagonist, Flower Anne. I don’t regret that, but I sure have learned to hate how it feels sometimes.
This confession would not be complete if I didn’t also share two very important facts. The first is that my friend Jessi only exists in my dreams. But I met someone on Facebook who reminded me of her, fell just as in love with her as I possibly could, and then raked both of our hearts over the coals of a literary inferno in order to capture the personality of a new best friend and the heartbreak I needed us to share. In spite of the fact that I told her what I was doing before I started, I feel guilt. A lot of guilt. If she ever forgives me enough to read this, she deserves to know how completely and incredibly I love her, and the indescribable awe I have for what she gave to me as a friend, and more importantly as a complete stranger. She deserves to know she is my BFF.
The second fact is that if I had any foresight at all, the last thing I would have done was to create a Mafia Wars account. It seemed like a natural fit at the time, I needed a few hundred people pretending to be my friend so I could find a few to talk to, and I am easily enough addicted to games to be a valuable Mafia Wars ally. I won’t go into my opinion of what Zynga did to their game, or any of that. I don’t feel that strongly really and I just had a lot of fun with the posts. But I will say that what I found was that most of the people on my friend list would rather click a mouse all day than read a book. Not exactly my target demographic.
I also found that I felt a very real obligation to the people I befriended to help them with their conquest of the game. So if you are one of the people who took an interest in my writing rather than the wars I helped win or the gifts I sent out, etc., thank you so much for your interest. I don’t intend to let you down! And if you are one of the people who came to count on me for those things and just stumbled here by accident… I love you. You have an addiction. I’m going to be a better addiction someday if you’ll give me a chance.
Loneliness is not something I actually really experience that much of in real life. In fact, even when I am alone, since as early as ten years old, I have always tried to be my own friend during the times when there is no one else there. It makes even more sense now than it did then. Who knows me better than I do? How to help me laugh? How to conjure up the most perfect imaginary lover or the most devious evil foe? It wasn’t until I stepped into my protagonist’s shoes, until I became Flower Anne, that I was truly alone really for the first time in my life.
It’s a horrible feeling. I have enough trouble being over-emotional as it is. There are a few people on Facebook who talk to me, and one nameless doctor who is very liberal with his surgical implement of choice. But the first time I really needed someone to talk to, my heart was actually really breaking. I didn’t know how to say what I needed to and the only person I could talk to at the time… well, all she had to say to me was, “I don’t really know you and you don’t even have a real picture.” No! Really? I could only wonder how that had suddenly become news, when I realized it wasn’t. It just suddenly mattered because I needed her to care. I’ve been struggling with that now for some time.
Eventually, I attributed her calloused aloof response to being one of my real feelings interfering with her addiction, and I let it go. I have addictions. I understand them. I respect them, and I don’t necessarily even think there is anything wrong with them. I am here, am I not, because I said I was addicted to writing? I do honestly hope though, that I could put down one of my addictions, even this one, to help a friend with their loneliness. And I would hope that I wouldn’t stop to care whether I truly knew this friend, or whether they had a real picture posted on Facebook.
Many of us stretch far beyond the boundaries of sane logical decisions for the sake of quenching loneliness. This is just my opinion, but it is that. One has only to read one too many stories about the young girl whose body parts were found floating in a swamp or the boy whose scars reflected immeasurable tortures, to know that people push far too hard to cure their loneliness. And what do we find afterward? We find they met someone here and ended up in the news. So I have no real name, and I have no real picture. People fear me and I am alone. I guess it’s a trade I have to accept.
I’m not going to suddenly stop being Flower Anne tomorrow. I’m not going to stop pouring my heart out. I’m going to view the lack of “Likes” (did I call those surgical implements?) and comments as self-protection and common sense. I won’t ask my readers to invest their emotion in me again. But in all of that, I am going to be lonely. Your comments help. I love you.
© 2010 Anne Schilde