Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

Off The Grid

The following featured entry was originally written and published by Ozma on her weblog, Hah!. She used blogging for personal growth but unfortunately became too big to fail.

I think I'm going to do a little series on the people I google and whether I found them or not.

Later, I'm going to try and figure out why the hell I keep googling these people.

My motivation is a little mysterious to me. I MUST KNOW. WHAT HAS BECOME OF YOU? EVEN THOUGH I NEVER WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN. Why? Why must I know this?

One problem is that sometimes I cannot remember people's last names. This is true even of people I remain ardently curious about.

I get very attached to people. Later, I will write a post explaining how I don't like people. I don't like people and yet I become attached to them. (In this post, I will explain how I actually do have friends and once had many, many friends. Just so you don't think I'm a big loser. Not really liking people--this is surprisingly taboo, I have found. Don't put this in your personals ad, is all I'm saying.)

Actually, I do like people. I simply don't like being around them most of the time. Is that bad or something?

So person #1 that I googled for a number of years and could not definitively find I will call Gina.

I met Gina because she lived in the dorm room next to me in college. Gina was extremely beautiful and we became inseparable. In other words, Gina was extremely needy and I was also one of those people who, at that time, was willing to nurture and soothe needy women.

Gina's desirability and our very, very close association became a bit of a problem. We sometimes slept in the same bed (Gina's idea). Every man in the entire school wanted to have sex with Gina. So they were constantly hitting on Gina. Then, Gina would start frantically searching for me. Gina would be at a party all the way across school and send these frantic messages to people. So I would be walking across campus and someone would randomly say "Gina is looking for you. She really needs to talk to you." Somehow, in my 18 year old confusion, I would think that this put a real demand on me to find Gina. I would arrive at the party and Gina would be in the center of some cluster of boys. Dumbass frat boys, often. They would be doing coke or some such thing and Gina would insist that they give me the free drugs they were giving her.

In other words, Gina made me her personal cock blocker. This engendered no little amount of resentment on the part of these boys, who were often remarkable assholes. (I admit, I do wonder what happened to all these boys. Some of them were such assholes. And also, stupid. Did they all grow up to be stupid assholes? Or is that just a phase they were in?)

Basically, the image of me was of the lesbian girl who was not as hot as Gina cockblocking their moves with my inexplicable lesbian hold over the delectable Gina.

Worse, Gina wouldn't let me leave. I would be forced to sit there for hours with her, with those boring stupid assholes, because she could not tear herself away from the attention and she insisted that I get high, like her. Not that I did, every time, but I was unfortunately very receptive to any substance that would fuck me up good back in those days.

Then Gina would leave with me. She would go home with me or take me to the taco truck and buy me quesadillas and we would stay up until dawn and then sleep in her twin bed.

The deeper part of my bond with Gina was our excessive use of LSD. We had some amazing trips together. And then an odd thing happened. Gina started to adopt my mannerisms, phrases and speech patterns. Also, my interests, anything I knew or cared about. One difficulty here was that Gina was better than me at being me. She was like an incredibly improved version of me, as if my brain had been downloaded into the world's most luscious fembot. And of course, I only looked like a pale version of her.

It was quite confusing, particularly since this was my freshman year and few people knew me. It seemed as if I were Gina's hanger-on. I was somewhat pretty. But I was not sexually alluring the way that Gina was. Gina was always very intrigued by anyone who was more interested in me than her. This was not an issue for me at the time, since I already disliked people and hated attention from them. (I naturally attracted attention somehow then--I was standoffish, had strange taste in clothes. Or maybe I only think this since I was so disturbed by any attention I got. So Gina was as good for me as a more powerful attractant I could hide behind as I was for her, someone to be a companion for her while she tended her flock of men.)

I was so unmoored from any sense of myself that I would wonder: Am I being Gina? Is she being me? It certainly felt that Gina was being me. All doubt was removed when Gina came to visit me in my home town and my friends were horrified at Gina's successful appropriation of my personality. This verified that I had not dramatically changed into Gina. Gina also hit on the boy who was in love with me. This also did not bother me as I did not particularly want anyone to be in love with me. But it did bother him and suggested a peculiarity about Gina's interest in me. She would go on and on about how amazing and brilliant and special I was. It was as if she was my ardent admirer and the form her admiration took was simply to have everything about me become something about her.

Later, Gina dropped out of school to follow the Grateful Dead. I saw her one more time after that. What had happened is that she had found a woman named Star and she had begun appropriating all of Star's personality. In fact, she started to believe she was Star. So she sought some kind of medical treatment and she may have been hospitalized for a time. When she was explaining that she had this problem of losing herself in other people, I did not mention that she had done that to me. I only realized that I had resented her more than I had known.

I never saw her again after that.

Here is a terrible part of the story: Sometime during the first semester, Gina was raped by a football player. He came over to get some kind of homework from her and raped her in her dorm room. He was never punished. I think, after he raped one more woman, he was required to leave campus and not return until the particular women had graduated. In fact, he was only one of several rapists on the campus who had this deal. They got to come back later, and rape more women but their current victims were supposedly spared their harm. I remember that one of them hostilely stalked me at a party and began insulting me but somehow my response did not attract his later rage. Some other woman--who I met later--was the victim that time.

This is a big part of why Gina dropped out of college. This may be the primary reason. I do not think it was the reason she appropriated other women's identity because I had met a friend of hers from high school early on and discovered that Gina had actually taken this woman's handwriting. They had the same handwriting and it was pretty clear to me why that was.

It is hard to remember but I worry now that I was not a good friend to Gina about the rape. If this had happened even a few years later, I would have raised the roof. I would have fought for Gina. But then, I was paralyzed and confused. Of course, I was on her side. But I did nothing for her.

God, I hate to think any girl on campus would have this same experience now and her friends would be so unknowing. I'd already been sexually assaulted by a stranger in my hometown (and had escaped) and had not done anything about it. I had only told a random group of kids at school and they had just said something like 'Oh. Weird.' And I told no one else for years and years. I think that this was what women often thought (God forbid they still think) they should do when sexually assaulted--they should pretend it did not happen.

Of course, I wonder what the hell happened to these various predators. I can't google them. I don't remember their names.

Gina was off the grid for a long time. I did find mention of her on a Deadhead board. Some man, of course, talking about her beauty and whether anyone had ever seen her again.

I finally, after many google attempts, found someone I think is Gina. She's working as some kind of environmental liason in a county where a lot of former Deadheads live. I can imagine how things might have gone for her later--she must have kept in with the Deadheads. Back then, I did also, but primarily because they had the best acid and other drugs. I wonder if she is still smoking lots of weed. I imagine she must have gotten plump. She loved to eat.

I am so far from this world I lived in, the Gina world. It might as well have happened to someone else. Her email was available on the website I found through google. I will not contact her. I hope that she is happy though.

I am googlable, very easily googlable. With a picture even. So Gina can easily find out about me.

Drop in for more of Ozma's Hah!.

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