I was once a Catfish. It wasn’t intentional. I never set out to hurt someone like most of the people who get shown on the MTV show. The whole thing started out quite innocently enough. It just didn’t end up that way.
My story begins with Twitter. Once upon a time, and probably still happening to this day, Twitter was known for being a Mecca for role players. I first became introduced to it when the show True Blood became a hit on HBO. Almost overnight there was a plethora of vampire role-playing on the Twitterverse. I was at the end of my second marriage at that time and getting to be part of a fantasy realm if only for a little while, was a welcome escape. I played a female character and naively assumed that my male counterpart was a male in real life as well. I was wrong. I moved on from that rp partner to another, only to discover that “he” too was female behind the scenes. Both, of course, being less than honest about it from the start. It shouldn’t have mattered, but somehow it did because I was in a bad place and actively seeking “male” comfort. These days I look back on that time and laugh at how silly I was, but at the time I felt a little bruised. More than I knew.
Enter with someone I will call “Jake” for purposes of this blog post. That of course not being his real name. I had ventured out of the vampire rp and strayed over to a Star Wars verse for about 2/3 weeks when Jake and I bumped into one another. My rp character was being bullied by people who didn’t like how I played it, and Jake stepped in to lend a hand. The trouble was that I was rp’ing as a 19-year-old girl at the time, and had vowed to keep my identity a secret for a change. So when Jake started asking personal questions I stuck to my story. That’s where it all went wrong.
Jake was 25, and a total sweetheart. We could sit and chat for hours about almost anything. We exchanged stories about our lives and the hurts we had endured. Everything I told him about my past was 100% true. I only withheld “when” it had happened due to my actual age difference, and the fact that I had children. I left out my past marriages (at this time I had fully separated from spouse #2 and was living in another state) and Jake and I got along famously. He never minded that I was less than enthusiastic about being on a video cam. He was content to just talk on the phone for hours at a time. Those turned into skype calls without video feed from my side but giving me a glimpse into his world.
Before I knew it, a time had passed and Jake and I were completely infatuated with one another. He had started talking about marriage and kids. I crazily went along with it. I can’t even begin to explain why. In my head, I knew none of this made sense and could never work. But my foolish heart had other plans. Lonely people do strange, and regrettable things sometimes. Finally, he broached the subject of our meeting and I knew the jig was up. It was time to come clean and fess up or end it altogether.
I chose the cowards way out. I’m ashamed of that fact now and wish I’d had the courage to do things differently. At the time though, I just couldn’t stand the thought that he would recoil away from me in disgust upon learning I was ten+ years his senior with four children and a lot of excess baggage. So, I vanished from his life. One minute I was there, the next he never heard from me again. I shut down all rp accounts, Skype accounts, and changed numbers. The only avenue left was email and I decided not to shut that one down, for just a bit. For months after I would often find an email from him there, begging to know what happened and where I was. I never replied. I knew if I did that it would only start things up again. I chose to have him eventually hating me for running out on him, than finding out who I really was.
To this day, many years later, I still wonder how he’s doing, and hoping he was not too scarred by what I did. I would have given anything to have been the “girl” he thought I was. But I’d lived my life and it was too late for that. I’d like to think that if I hadn’t of felt so let down over what had happened to me on twitter rp, that I might not have felt compelled to weave my own web of lies. But really, who knows.
All I do know is that I will forever be overcome with remorse for any pain I may have caused Jake and it is something I will have to carry with me and live with the rest of my life.