Wednesday, June 16, 2010
For someone who was so skeptical when I started this blog, the very real community I have found online boggles my mind. I will be talking to a 'real life' friend, and inevitably I'll rattle off someone's name (or blog handle, or whatever they are called) and the person will look at me quizzically and say, "What? Did you just say Heather of the EO? Who is that?"
You other bloggers out there will know what I'm talking about. Those of you who don't have the slightest clue can keep on looking at me quizzically, because I can't find adequate words to explain what these connections mean to me. I'm beyond excited to go to BlogHer (an annual women's blogging conference) in New York City in August and meet some of these people in the flesh.
The online culture reminds me of recovery meetings. I don't know most peoples' last names. They are factual strangers, for the most part, whose words move me to my core, change my world view, help me in countless ways. Like in recovery meetings, oftentimes it is the comfort of strangers with a shared purpose who are the most helpful, because they aren't woven into the complicated fabric of my day-to-day life.
They aren't a replacement for real world friendships, they are real world friendships.
With a click of a button I can find people who share the same struggles and triumphs I do - whether it is parenting, staying sober, fitness or creativity.
Because I blog openly about my addiction and recovery, I am approached frequently by people who live in the real world who need help, guidance, insight or a shoulder to lean on. I don't know most of them. They are the same faces I see in the grocery store, at kids' activities, at church. I'm grateful for the opportunity to help, to meet new people and make new friends. Without this blog, there are countless connections I would have missed, because I would just be another face in the sea of faces we come across every day.
It's okay, though. Those insecurities plague me in everyday life, too. And the best part about blogging, at least the way I try to do it, is that I don't need to mess with the posturing of real life. I am authentically me on my little acre of the internet, maybe more so than I am at a kid's school performance, or on the sidelines of the soccer field.
Besides, I'm looking forward to prattling on about blogging without getting quizzical expressions. I know I'll leave there with new connections, new friendships. I know I'll have the awkward-in-the-corner moments, too.
Because it's like that, in the real world.