an online presence.

I visualize the online communities I partake in as something really generic like a colorless mass of a vortex into which I'm slowly becoming subsumed, obviously super tired as far as visual metaphors go but I say it specifically to bring to mind some idea of being removed of any agency while in proximity to something else. If I were to just say that by itself, though, it just plainly connotes something of an inward helplessness, doesn't it? Like a severe addiction or just having poor impulse control. Really, just trying to preserve that 'helpless' aspect in looking at the the way we develop these connections with people online which is what I'm trying to point out here, the difference being rather subtle in how we internalize them in the end, that while suggesting on the surface that even if it appears that we're not so apparently discreet in seeking connection, we still think of and process these connections in a phenomenological sense. Abstracted things that we still interact with as being direct. I still think (whether in spite of or because) of this twofold interaction where I'm trying to interpret how best to show the breadth of whatever identity I'm able to mangle together through not just the limits of my own words but also the stylistic limitations of the given medium, then to thereby have that reflected back to me as even more diluted by assuming the tone of the other person's response (and everything implicit in that assumption), it's enough cause to make me wonder, and this is a very lofty and unformed view to be fair, how much of what I assume myself to be investing in this 'pared down' iteration of my personality is really just an overall concession that human connection on the internet is not so much beholden to miscommunication but a willfulness to want to project.

So if it's a platform where people are (supposedly) on equal footing in terms of expressive ability on a technical level, like Discord or an old-school forum, as opposed to services more routed to the idea of 'networking' like Twitter with its many gating protocols (supposedly), I feel that I adopt the same habits, voice the same concerns I normally would. You would think with how much self-policing I do that that certain sense of self would feel as more unstable to me, but it never has. I can think of a certain online facsimile that resembles me with a few descriptors just off the cuff: overly-wordy, somewhat aloof, unserious. Yet in that I'm never sure if it's the same 'type' of a person to which I find myself drawn. Not enough of a sample size to truly determine if it's demarcated on descriptors that are more clear-cut, like culture or socioeconomic status. Age, certainly.

Lately it's people from São Paulo, and I'd like to think it's more than just availability or accessibility that marks this recent trend in my life. I should say it's easier 'attaining' (truly for lack of a better term here, but I'm strictly speaking from a stats perspective for a moment) people from Brazil because I'm fairly open about my love for Brazilian Portuguese, and the country's history. But even if I left all of that out, the same 'type' would still come just as easily floating into my field of vision. Someone kind, with nerdy interests in a broad sense, wanting more conventionally to be a better and kinder person. But then I notice too and it's without any prompting on my end, their tendency toward cynicism about the general state of the world, about specific figureheads and other people within the same wide-ranging demographic. Something seemingly out of my hands and yet I can't help but dwell on if for no other reason than to ask without being self-deprecating and whether rhetorically or metaphysically, just, why, or what is it about another person I may speak to — what are they investing in me, and I in them, for us to regard each other as friends.

For language practice, I'm trying to find a physical copy of Uma Mulher Vestida de Silêncio, a biography of Maria Goulart, the wife of deposed former president of Brazil, João (Jango). Her life as well takes on another abstract meaning from the time she was dubbed “the most beautiful First Lady in the world” and having that marker transposed to the internet age where the image of a person seems more free-floating and lost of some of its essence.