Theory in a Digital Age: A Project of English 483 Students, Coastal Carolina University

"Eddy and Edith": Online Identities vs. Offline Identities

I woke up this morning the same as every other morning. A prisoner in my own skin. Fighting the same inner battle, I’ve been fighting since I was nine years old. I am now fourteen and still fighting harder than ever. To my family, friends and teachers, to the world, I am Eddy. But when I am alone, I am Edith. There is a poem I once read that goes something like this:

 And this, is exactly how I feel. As each new day passes, Edith struggles to break free. Trapping herself further and further in. So here I stand. Staring at my reflection in the mirror. Looking at the body I don’t fit in. Trying to make sense of it all. 
I see myself wearing a flowing maroon sundress and skinny black leggings. This image makes me smile. But that smile quickly turns sour when I hear the voice of my mother shouting from down stairs, “Eddy,” Edith, I mutter under my breath. “Hurry up. You don’t wanna be late for your first day of school!” Her voice snaps me back and I’m now faced with reality as I continue to stare longingly at the mirror, at my reflection. I don’t see a flowing sundress now. I don’t see skin tight leggings now. All I see is a long red shirt, just hitting below my knees and a pair of my baggy black sweatpants.  
I made it exactly three hours into the school day before I excused myself from class. A new record. When I got home from school, I sprinted upstairs, crashed through my door and sprang onto my bed. I curled up under my blankets and pulled out my laptop.
For the next four hours I spent my time huddled in my room playing a game called Second Life. Second Life is a role playing game where you are in control of everything related to your avatar. From how you looked to what you wear and even how you acted.
Upon creating my avatar, I had to pick a gender. At first, I impulsively clicked on the male avatar. I began going through the stages of creating myself. The hair was the same. The skin was the same. When I got to the option of adding clothes, I started to scroll through all the items. Everything was so boyish. Everything so not me. I deleted my avatar and as I was about to shut my computer off and give up, I decided to give it another shot.
In the end, my avatar was a girl named Edith. A fragment of my imagination. She was the pinnacle of beauty. Edith wore a flowing maroon dress and tight black leggings. She was everything I wanted to be.

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