my occasional musings on life, love, art, perfume ... what else is there?


Who ARE You?*

A couple of weeks ago, I read this on a message board I frequent and it stuck with me:

"This is cyberspace - there are no identities -there are keystrokes -and this is not my real life, nor is it anyone else's - (unless they have no real life). Nothing can happen HERE that affects me, or my real life - *member's name* is only a created identity - that I could kill off tomorrow and nothing in my life would have changed."

That board is a wonderful place that I have really enjoyed. I made what I think are authentic friends there ... and the people I have come to know are truthful with me, I think, as I am with them -- about who we are and why we're there.

Maybe it's the nature of the board -- it's about perfume rather than sex, for instance (yes, yes there could be a philosophical discussion here but let's not) -- but I choose to believe that most of the people there are real about themselves. There's a lot of warm exchange between these people, and I think it goes past keystrokes and created identities. In fact, that idea kind of hurt me AND creeped me out.

That you can put on and take off who you are in cyberspace. And that there's no cost to that, emotional or otherwise.

I don't believe it. I think we carry our humanity wherever we go, and that we can form real relationships here that can have breath and tangibility IRL. I know this is true.

We carry the usual human responsibilities (compassion, tolerance) with us into cyberspace relationships. (And I'm not just talking about the various act of kindness packages I owe, owe, owe my dearest cyberfriends.)

*"ooh, ooh; ooh, ooh" from The Who, CSI themesong. There, Jim.

Today's fragrance: L'Occitane Eau des 4 Reines. The perfume's story is as good as the scent: named for the four king-marrying daughters of the Count of Forcalquier, thus the perfume of the Four Queens and their favorite roses, Grasse, Turkish, Bulgarian and Moroccan. It's a rich rose, uncomplicated by other notes, very easy to wear. Reminiscent of Keiko Mecheri Damascena.


Blogger actonbell said...

I don't know, really. That image reflected in the mirror may or may not be me--there's no way of knowing. It may all be a dream.
I like that picture!

9:56 AM

Anonymous Laura said...

Artist, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, traveler, gardener and on and on. I cheated and just looked up the answer on my blog's My Profile. Otherwise, I might have got it wrong.
And you?

10:27 AM

Blogger mireille said...

A and L, you beat me to the punch this morning ... I'm so slow with the post. Please let me know what you think after you read what was supposed to go with the painting ... xoxoxoxo

10:44 AM

Blogger Bela said...

That quote gives me the creeps.

Maybe we're too naïve. I too want to believe that the people I'm in touch with are genuine, although I've had one long encounter with a psycho so I know appearances can be deceptive.

Bela is a little more confident than I am, I think, but otherwise she's definitely me.

I've been reflecting on that subject too, M: I feel a slap coming...

11:47 AM

Blogger Tan Lucy Pez said...

I totally disagree with the quote.

When I can't read "my" blogs, I suffer. I love reading the blogs that I have become attached to.

I'm myself on my blog, and I know that my family is too. It's real.

1:45 PM

Blogger AP3 said...

Yeah, I think it's all pretty real.

1:59 PM

Anonymous mamiesb said...

I am what I am, in print or in person. I think I come off as a bit kinder and gentler in "internet time" than in real life -- but that's becuase ofthe blessed ability to edit myself.

And I choose my cyber-frineds carefully, because they just may be telling the truth as well....

Happy Sunday.

3:34 PM

Blogger katiedid said...

Is that the edp or edt of the 4 Reines? Do you get a bit of a rosehip jelly note from the edp, too?

I always am who I am, but I respect and abide by the "tone" of the board I am visiting. It's just a decent thing to do. I am not adverse to politeness, so if one board favors a polite tone, this is how I phrase what I have to say. The meat of what I have to say is still the same, y'know?

4:07 PM

Blogger Tom & Icy said...

Sometimes it is very real, and sometimes way out imagination. Cyberspace can be whatever we make it.

5:41 PM

Blogger fsgsf said...

I dont know how real it is, but it definitely has some reality to it! I have some "real" friends that I met in the blogosphere!!

Good luck to ya!

NJ from NJ

5:43 PM

Anonymous janey said...

I'm going to hedge my bets and agree with both you and the quote. We definitely carry our humanity with us to whoever we meet or wherever we go. But there are people who can easily camouflage who they are - those are people on line and face to face. Whether it's in person or on line, caution should always be there. I've met the nicest, most supportive people on line but is everyone like that? No. Is everyone a serial killer? No. But we barely know the people we know let alone people we've never physically met. I'm not afraid of the dark but I'm also not going to walk down a dark street alone.

6:37 PM

Anonymous janey said...

And I also meant to say that this is why I like your blog so much. You ask good questions and bring up interesting topics. Keep at it!

6:37 PM

Blogger Bela said...

I lack imagination and have no desire or need to hide behind my username. I don't understand people who do.

6:54 PM

Anonymous keeter said...

Very good question. Who are you? I wasn't sure if that was a photo of you or Dorothy Parker the other day! Or Mrs. Banks?

9:24 PM

Blogger mireille said...

heh heh heh heh ... look for a special feature on Mrs. Banks SOON! xoxoxo

9:39 PM

Blogger Kate said...

I'm pretty much the same where ever I go, for better or for worse. Sometimes I think it would be better if I would tailor my persona for the situation at hand more often, but the older I get, the more I just don't feel like it. :-)

But there are people who do. And there are people like that in real life too. It is interesting to think about. Machiavellian. I think it might be good to be that way sometiems, but it's too much work! :-)

Dave said to me the other day: "A person could go through their whole life just saying and doing the right things, always giving the correct social cues, but never revealing anything of themselves."

I think a lot of people do live that way much of the time. People are afraid to be naked. It's called conformity. They might think of it as "themself" but how much is a persona to fit in, and how much is authentic? If you think about it too much, it becomes like a hall of mirrors...

3:58 AM

Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Although the quote stings, I can see some truth inside of it.

When we enter cyberspace, we make many assumptions about people, some of which turn out to be correct and others not so much so. The major and most fundamental one, is that people are who they say they are. But what we must remember, is that we all have emotions, feelings, some good days, some not so good days, tempers, loving hearts, and all the other stuff that others have out there in reality.

Like you, I have made some authentic friends in this genre, whom I cherish. But I have also met some people who are not what they seem to be. (this is a subject of my post today about family.)

Ultimately, we must use our own judgement about others, and in the end be true to ourselves. Somehow, I like to look back to myself before leaping to judgments about others, and see where it is that I am in my life. Since I may be on the verge of menopause, this can create quite a rollercoaster ride these days.

Hope you are well, m.

5:49 AM

Blogger cjblue said...

I remember that particular quote all too well. And I think that, for most of us, we pretty much show through as ourselves. Like Mamiesb said, I have the ability to edit myself or simply walk away - two things I can't really do in real life. So I come off as a bit kinder in cyberspace. But still, I'm me. Generally I think I *am* a pretty nice person, but hoo boy, do I have my days.

I don't think it would be possible for most of us to truly become somebody else in cyperspace, a deletable entity, withouth ourselves being part of it. Not for long anyway. A few posts here and there, but you become involved in any kind of interaction for any period of time, and you will come through with yourself.

7:10 AM

Blogger Bela said...

B, you have nothing to fear from the menopause apart from physical changes (those are bad enough). I know from talking about it with my partner that I, for one, haven't changed one iota mentally. There's no reason why you should either.

No PMT, no mood swings, nothing. All quiet on the female front.

7:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know that person who uttered, created, the quote. It's interesting that I see her utterance as a "wish" and not really as her reality. I think she desires for this to be true so that no one else will hurt her.

It would be nice if we could so abstractly remove our hearts from the places and people we come to know, but I for one become entangled with... (and sometimes I fall in love with) those who I meet in cyberspace. I believe the author of the quote has such love too and is putting up a necessary front, a wall, a hedge to keep her feelings from another disappointment.


8:38 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello dahlink! we are constructing and destroying selves all of the time, I think even in our fictions. there is something to be said for playing with identity for fun or learning. that said, I try to be true to my-self-as-I-know-it when I'm dealing in the real world, which to me means anywhere I interact with people who are taking me seriously, which to me includes the web.



8:59 AM

Blogger Atreau said...

I would find it too tiring to be anyone else other than myself although it's always been fun to run with a different image as I've done with gift exchanges in the past.

6:19 PM

Blogger Jonniker said...

God, how exhausting to even TRY to be someone else. I could never be someone else. Ever. And it makes me a little sick to think that someone else would be different, too.

7:25 PM

Anonymous Gene Stecher said...

Good blog. Keep it running!

10:18 AM


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