‘A brief and selective history of my time online’ by June Jones

‘A brief and selective history of my time online’

I couldn’t tell you what the weather was like today
but it was raining in World of Warcraft
and then it wasn’t
I am a 28 year old human woman

In 2002 I learned basic HTML
in anticipation of my 2020 poetry debut
Now I grieve for the lost ability to remember
what the fuck my Angelfire and Geocities pages were about
In 2003 Alex Clarke sent me an MSN message
calling me an “mf” for breaking up with her
after we had eaten salads with Italian dressing at McDonalds
and watched Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle at the cinema
In 2004 I started a Neopets guild
called “The Studded Jacket”
“for punks and goths”
unaware that I was invoking
such a powerful subcultural overlap
There I met Lilith, a 31 year old Wiccan
who I messaged with every day after school
and who told me about a website called Myspace
I’ve had a social media presence for 57.9% of my life
Throughout high school I was a member
of various forums full of absolute wankers
dipping my hairless toes into different worlds
wondering if I myself could be a wanker too
Kazaa, Limewire, Soulseek, BitTorrent
forgive me father for I have pirated
so many albums, so many TV shows and movies
but I could never get a Demonoid invite
These days I torrent audiobooks
because I have attention deficit hyperactive disorder
I used to think that I’d just spent
too much time looking at a screen
In 2012 I joined Tumblr
to look at jpgs of drawings
and within three years
I had changed my name and pronouns
Soon after, I spent a fortnight without the internet
and I read six incredible works of literature
at least, I think they were incredible
I remember almost nothing about them
A month later, I posted a picture of myself in a cute dress
and my uncle left a comment
asking if I was becoming drag queen
I haven’t spoken to him since
I have muted the vast majority
of the people I follow on Instagram
due to my feelings of anxious inadequacy
and because some of you post cringe, no offence
How many times have I followed a lesbian meme page
only to unfollow mere days later
because they don’t want any T in their L
They would much rather Cate Blanchett
but what does Cate Blanchett know about memes?
Or forums made up of catgirls, coders, and MUAs
united in their quest for a trans-friendly laser clinic
and the best tips for helping your boobs grow?
I can’t wait to get off bad screen
and go home to look at good screen
but in quarantine, the screens are the same
and you’re always at home
I’m just a self-made woman
in a grey suit
holding an assault rifle
standing in front of a 90s Macintosh computer
asking it to love me