I chose to share those pictures with potential suitors because they were true to who I was, not because I expected the internet to be nice.While I was out in public, people were abrasive to my face — more than once I'd been asked if my scars were the result of sexual activity, as if my sex life was open for public consumption. Certain members of my family urged me to cover my arms when I went to functions with them.
Many of us wanted to put ourselves out there because the people we interacted with everyday didn't create a functioning dating pool.
We all had fulfilling, demanding jobs but we self-identified as nerds who happened to outgrow our glasses and braces but never lost our adolescence gawky-ness.
On the eve of my 29th birthday, my friend Memphis gently nudged me in the direction of online dating.
We were at a Waffle House in East Nashville because I happened to be in town on assignment and at 2 AM in the South, that's where you go. Instead of talking about the loneliness that occupied my waking hours, I talked about work. That's part of the reason we've been such good friends for the last decade; None of the women in my friend circle talked about online dating openly, except her.
A few could relate, or knew someone that struggled with self-injury.
A couple of guys I traded quips with faded into the background but I learned that's the nature of online dating.That night we went back to her place and she helped me set up my profile. The goal was to be honest but intellectually scintillating. I was fine until I had to pick out my profile pictures.Memphis told me I would get the best reactions if I highlighted my curves and my face.During my sophomore year of college I'd run out of room to cut on my arms, so I moved to my thighs and stomach, carving the words "fat" and "monster" in places I thought no one would ever see.My dean called my parents and doctors told them I'd never be normal again, even if I didn't commit suicide or have a heart attack by the end of the year.I started throwing up in secret when my parents forced me to eat.