Two months ago, I was gutted (as the British would say) by a family matter. It's hard to convey how bad it was without getting specific, and as it's not all about me, I won't go into details.
The point is, my world deflated like a badly-prepared souffle. This made social media, which is like a well-prepared souffle, hard for me to do.
Ten weeks later I engaged in a Twitter conversation. It was lovely; a delectable trifle that cheered me up no end.
Don't get me wrong. This wasn't the death of a family member, or the loss of a home, or any of the myriad really horrible things that can happen to a person. This was just my personal bridge too far.
The thing is, some people took it hard when I stopped being friendly on Twitter. I don't blame them. I just didn't know what to say. And, ironically, the dearer the online friend, the less I knew how to deal with a profound sadness when "talking" online.
That's the trouble with a menu of carbonation and air pudding: it can't support the heavy stuff. It wasn't that my online friends wouldn't have understood what I was going through. It was that I had no idea what to tell anyone. It's not that my online friends--you!--aren't "real" or don't care. You are real and you do care. I get that.
Sorry for the cliché but it's true: it's not you, it's me. I didn't know how to explain and I couldn't compartmentalize so that I was frothy online and devastated at home. I don't judge people who can do that; I imagine it can be a great comfort. I'm not very good at asking for comfort, and I'm probably pretty prickly when it's offered.
That's what makes online relationships tricky: they're based on our "best" selves. But it's not our "best" selves that take the hits and go into little emotional caves. Those are our "real" selves.
Thanks for understanding that my online self disappeared for a while and it wasn't personal. It was just real life.
Incidentally, that delicious looking dessert up there is a Passionfruit Soufflé from a restaurant in Australia. At least, I think it's Australia. Here's their website.