Other things from inside my head

Evangelizing in the AOL Chat Rooms

I’ve been on social media since the era of Xanga, Hi-5, MySpace

I used AOL chat and MSN chat when it was a thing lol. I even went into the world of chat rooms, thank God I didn’t have any bad experiences there. No one got any important information out of me. I usually made up a fake life, I’m good with making up stories haha. 

I remember one of the reasons I started flying through the world wide web was because I was in search of someone to help me understand the things I was feeling and thinking. I had no idea why I was noticing that guys were cute, I was confused. I got called names for being “artsy fartsy”, for playing the flute, for not being good at sports, for always being around girls etc. Some of those names I had never heard so I obviously looked them up and I started to realize I related to what “fag” “faggot” “gay” meant. As years went by and I started to understand that I had same-sex attraction, I kept googling for “gay Christians” “guys who are gay but don’t want to be gay” “gays in the Bible” “God and gay guys” … We had AOL and I didn’t really know how to use search engines so a bunch of the stuff that came up I had no idea what they were talking about. I also didn’t want to get caught searching for that stuff, the computer was in the living room, so anyone could have passed by and seen what I was doing. This meant not much research was done. 

In middle school, I had to do my first “research papers” so of course we were taught how to search online, and I also learned from my peers the magic of deleting browser history. Put both of them together and I still got a bunch of stuff I didn’t understand. lol  I found some “fire and brimstone” articles stating God hated gays and would burn them in hell. That didn’t answer my questions and it also didn’t really feel right. I found some “God doesn’t exist so be gay and happy” which obviously didn’t help me at all because they lost me at the “God doesn’t exist”. 

What was I to do? I needed answers, I wanted to talk to someone. I did find out about chatrooms, I skimmed through AOL and found the LGTB section. I don’t remember what that section was really called. I entered one room and at first, you’d see everyone put some random letters (A/L/ ) I only remember age and location. Being the little naive preteen, I  put my age but I said I was in some other state, just to be safe lol. Of course, everyone would immediately exit.  After a few tries, I finally got someone who private messaged me. At first, he put this big paragraph which I was confused about, basically, he was just trying to protect himself in case I was a cyber cop. At this point, I can see how God was watching over me and protecting me. The guy, wrote to me explaining the dangers of going into a chat room especially for someone underage. I was able to ask him some things, I don’t remember what but I think whatever it was it helped. I talked to him about my struggle and confusion. By the end, he said he’d hope I could find the help I needed in a safe way.  I tried searching for his username afterward but never found him again, I’m guessing he blocked my account just to be safe. 

I still went back but took into consideration some of the things he warned me about. Strangely those who I did have private chats with always ended up saying the same things in the end: To stay safe, to stay the way I was inside, to not let the “gay world” change me. Some of them weren’t fooled, they recommended I go outside and play. lol Some were looking for someone to talk to but they usually found guys who were only interested in doing “the nasty” online. That’s the words they used. I guess when all I could really talk about was God and Christian things, they tried to make the conversation PG. 

I guess “strangely” is the wrong word, all those times it was just God watching out for me. I hope that in some way maybe I was able to remind them of God, maybe a seed was planted for later in life. I did have some bad experiences, like seeing some RatedR material, that some of the guys shared in the group chats. This was my fault for not taking the hints God was giving me. I moved on from the chat rooms when I was introduced to Xanga, Hi-5 and Myspace.

Ok, this is not what I was going to write about. The original title was “social media” and had to do with something completely different. 

I thank God for watching out for me especially when I had no idea the type of danger I was in. I’m glad my parents left the computer in a visible space, who knows the type of trouble I could have gotten myself in. Today I pray for the younger generations, it’s so much easier to get wrapped up in the dark side of the web now that we have computers that fit in our hands. Predators have gotten smarter. I pray God grants every parent the wisdom to be vigilant at all times. 

Hope you have a great day! God bless 

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