There is an upcoming programme on Radio 4 about how much online communication has altered the way we relate to one another. Has it made us more homogenous, or has it allowed individuality to flourish? In terms of “kink” (a word I hate), never has it been easier to contact and write to other like-minded people. However, there remains something sad in it all to me. Here I am named Blackbird. What does that tell anyone really? What’s in a name…
Well, a lot. Our history, our sense of self, our identity as we have known it all our lives. Our names contain something of our souls. When we meet someone, it’s the first thing we tell them. In well-run groups, knowing names is given paramount importance.
I am uneasy particularly because I have spent all my life trying to join up the various aspects of existence. My work isn’t something I “go to” because I have to make money. It arises out of my passion for singing and a desire to share it with others. I don’t “socialise” – I have deep and personal friendships with others, where I seek to find out what the major issues of their soul-searchings are and bear witness to them, rather than swop tips about making the world an easier place to negotiate or show off achievements or holidays.
In my experience the world is a very difficult place to be because not many are concerned with their own internal journey. Few are courageous enough to question their own motives or constantly revise their interraction with others on the basis of new information gained in relationships. We don’t like to be challenged, it’s painful and there isn’t time. And we don’t like the pain of others being evident because it reminds us of ours.
Online friends write from the heart more often because they can hide behind identities created to separate out the “wordly” from the “internal”. I realise I take an extreme position on this. We should all be allowed privacy. But writing one’s deep sexual truths online has already crossed that boundary and made the private, public so the argument doesn’t hold water.
And who do we think is receiving our revelations? It can be enormously comforting to be met online. It can be a moment of grace towards a hidden part of oneself that dare not speak its name in other contexts. But it can also feel like sand running through your fingers when the lines are down and you can’t just pop round for a cup of tea.
I tell my friends about my sexuality and they are interested (as long as they don’t have to take on board the gruesome details!) because of the emotional dynamics of it. What it means to me. I bring it up judiciously because it is usually of benefit to them too, to think about their own.
I don’t have a conclusion here. Just a sadness that we can’t trust more.
My name is Rachel, by the way.