Despite what you may think, I do not exist.
That’s right, I am not a real person. I am a composition of colorful pixels which create the illusion of an identity where one does not truly exist. When you close this browser or go to another page, do I not cease to be, in your mind if nothing else? Should the internet crash and all data be lost, would I not be lost as well? Can I venture out in to the world, or am I contained by your screen? Truly, I am just a fleeting idea of person, a concept constructed of imagination, and nothing else.
The internet allows people such as myself to exist where they wouldn’t otherwise be able. There is a real person pushing the keys, there has to be, but he (or she) does not necessarily have to be anything like me. It isn’t that hard to fill out data fields falsely or change them, and in the digital age, not even a memory or sign of the previous data will be left behind. It isn’t that hard to present yourself in a manner that is entirely different from who you are in reality, or rather, who you appear to be in reality.
Even people who consider themselves to be genuine are not. In the real world this occurs, to a point. You present a version of yourself that is best suited for the people around you. But, this version is still bounded by reality, to a degree, and social acceptability almost always. The internet has no such boundaries. A person who wants to be pretty, can be. Take a picture from the right angle, or just use another that you say represents you, and suddenly, you are.
“Are you rich?” someone may ask.
“Certainly,” you answer, “just look at my income. I make over 100,000 dollars.”
The internet allows one to lie without consequences and in the process, these lies can become a reality unto themselves, coalesce in the vast wastelands of deceit and evolve into new beings. They can lie so well, they express truth better than the real thing.
I have been many things in the past, but they have died and no longer exist. I have been fifteen, twenty-seven, thirty-five, and seventy. I have been white, black, racist, Jewish, male, female, fat, skinny, straight, gay, intelligent, stupid, clever, funny, serious, likeable, hateable, religious, atheist, loving, and callous.
In just a handful of years, I have lived lifetimes. Most of the websites within which those identities were born have long since closed down, and no trace of them is left behind. One day, this version of me will die, too, with a whimper rather than a bang, and perhaps eventually, I will not be reborn. But I treasure my fleeting existence. As a fleeting idea, myself, I can expect no better.