My whole life is lived online. All that exists in the physical realm is a slightly overweight, exhausted middle-aged woman with just enough energy to jab at a keyboard…..but online.. I’m a REEEEEAL GIRL!!!
‘Surrogates’ was a 2009 American science fiction movie set in the future starring Bruce Willis and Rosamund Pike. It’s about a world where people live their lives free of pain, danger and complications through robotic representations of themselves, called surrogates. The ‘real’ them lays on a kind of dentist chair wearing an eye mask to control the surrogate robot twin – a younger and better-looking version of themselves.
That’s me folks. The virtual me gets around the Internet like Siri on speed, making witty comments on Facebook and posting photos that resemble a real life where I have more than one outfit. Of course, the sad truth is I’m a fake. I’m not a reeeeeeal girl at all. The closest I get to sports is body ping-pong between the bed and the couch. I think dressing gowns are highly underrated, as are elasticated waistbands. I make a mockery of active-wear, and the closest I get to sexy is camel-toe leggings. The highlight of my day today was working out my Elf Name from a meme on Facebook (if you must know my birth month and the first letter of my last name came up with Cranberry Pointysocks).
I’m not complaining though. Well, I am really. All the time in fact. I rarely ever stop whining, so scratch that, it was just a turn of phrase. I constantly wonder how did people survive chronic illness before the Internet and Netflix. WHAT DID THEY DO!!!??? I’m eternally grateful that the Internet provides me with some semblance of a life. If I’m too sick or exhausted to function I can mindlessly scroll feeds (and then complain about RSI in my thumb). If my body is wiped out but my mind is good I can focus on a movie or do something useful online, like write or participate in a group discussion. If I’m lonely or freaking out because I Googled a symptom and feel my death is imminent, I can share it with a like-minded group. The greatest thing about fellow Sick Chickens is that we are all sitting on the Internet 24/7 across EVERY time zone!!. Ask a random question like, “Does anyone else get aching joints and itchy nipples??” And within 30 seconds you have 58 responses all saying, “Yes!!!” So you go back to scratching away at your nipples feeling quite normal. ( . )( . )
Even with chronic illness, I can feel I have a life; friends; a purpose, because of the Internet. I can brighten someone’s day as they can brighten mine. I can answer questions for people who are on the beginning of their Sick Chicken Journey because it turns out I’m quite an expert 18 months down the track and thank God for that because I’ve lost all the other skills from my old life. We don’t credit ourselves enough for what we’ve learned along the way as we fight for our health and sanity and a right to be here without earning capacity. Our families and friends tut over the crazy things we will try to regain our health, but on a Facebook group, you can’t shock anyone; because we’re all fucking desperate. Yes, I’ve drunk turps and chewed up sugar cubes for Fibro, because I had nothing left to lose by trying it. I’ve taken herbal parasite formulas and sifted through my poop for worms with a plastic knife (more satisfying that panning for gold might I add), I’ve done coffee enemas and drunk green smoothies that made me dry retch. A Chinese Doctor even suggested I drink the sperm of a healthy male twice weekly, I haven’t tried that yet, but that’s more of a donor issue.
So I vacillate between fighting it and accepting it. Do I feel lonely? Bored? No. Not really. The screens on my phone and laptop are my saviour and my portal to the world.