In Which I’m Angry, Then Sappy

You know . . . I stressed about what I was going to write today. I did. I know I should write about my experience at Penn on Tuesday [it was pretty much awful, but only because of the MRI/MRA]. I want to write about that.

But then I saw this link tweeted by a friend, and it really, really pissed me off. For those of you who’d rather I summarize, the woman who wrote the post was duped for four years by someone she thought was a man with fatal leukemia. He changed his name three times in the course of those years, and each time he did, his story got bigger and much worse. He’d been sexually abused. He was autistic. He’d been sold into child pornography by his abuser, so he wouldn’t share a photo for fear of being recognized. Then he blocked the author of the post from all contact with him. Finally, she called him one day and demanded answers. He wasn’t a he at all. He was a mother of three, grandmother of two, who hated what she’d done, but couldn’t confess for fear of hurting people.

You know, I’ve been duped in the past. Once when I was pregnant with Butter, by a woman who claimed, after having her child, to need a kidney transplant that her twin sister [with whom she wasn’t on speaking terms] helped her with. I can’t even remember all of the things that went down, but I specifically remember one of my friends putting together a package a bunch of us had donated money for together and it being returned more than once. The reasons for its return were actually fairly comical, including the post office box the friend was shipping it to being her in brother’s name, so they wouldn’t take the package.

I should have learned my lesson from that one. I didn’t. Two years ago, I became close with someone who lived in North Carolina. I should have known by how many times her story changed that she wasn’t for real, but I’m the kind of person who believes there is good in all people. This person was so excited to get pregnant. Then she got Swine Flu and lost her baby at 16 weeks. I sent a care package full of fun stuff for her, her husband, and her son. A few weeks later, she cut off all contact with me.

Lesson learned. I’m a little frustrated it took twice for me to learn, but I’m far more cautious about people I meet online now. I don’t give out a ton of information about myself, and I especially don’t give out information about my children. It’s why I don’t talk about where I work or where my husband works.

That isn’t to say I haven’t made some amazing internet friends who’ve become real life friends. @kneatfreak is the big sister I never knew I was missing. @EpicNancyLee and @EpicDon are wonderful friends. Rachel keeps me sane most days via BBM. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting @PSUrunningmom and @redpenmama from Pittsburgh, and @SLHamilton from Maryland. Mel, Christine, Mandi, Jenni, and so many others I’ve met on twitter have become real life friends. I know I’m blessed, especially since internet friends turned real life friends have burned me in the past.

Thank you. All of you. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Edited to add @trixietraci, who is awesome and possibly loves my kids more than I do. I AM SO SORRY I FORGOT YOU. FORGIVE ME? I’ll share my kids. They loooovveeee you!

2 Replies to “In Which I’m Angry, Then Sappy”

  1. Aw, sweetie. Thanks for the shout-out. I have been lucky in that pretty much everyone I have connected with online and then met has been real — including you, of course. I am (and I’ve said this on my blog before) a WYSIWYG girl (what you see is what you get). These people who construct these elaborate online personas are mentally ill and in need of incredible attention (there have been some remarkable cases in the on-line babyloss world of which I’m tangentally aware). Either that, or extremely frustrated novelists.

    *hugs* to you, and I hope you are feeling better soon.

  2. Wow! That article was freaking nuts!
    I am glad that I got to meet you and you are my friend. All because of a little story that I fell in love with. :o). xo

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