Starting this blog was preceded by opening a twitter account which was preceded by opening a Facebook account which was preceded by learning to text and email and IM and gchat. Many of these things I do to some capacity each day. I have some amazing friends that allow me to stay connected to them in all the ways that are possible and unfortunately in this often confusing world we live in, staying in touch by phone or by physical contact is difficult.
I work with an incredible group of women. They are intelligent and funny and out-spoken and crusaders and really good dressers. We spend a huge amount of time together. We share an office, we talk about work, we go to lunch, we attend parties and functions and we text and email and Facebook (and sometimes they sneak over here) — we spend a lot of time together. And then… we’re done. We reach our limit and we need to step away from one another. We need to separate and we need a space to take a breath. And when we return to each other, we can laugh again and love again and be together. They fill my soul each day whether I speak to them or not.
I used to think that the people I communicated with online were “not real”. I used to think they were just pretend people who didn’t really exist — I could come and go as I pleased. Even the people I knew from years past — I hadn’t seen them in so long, it was easy to dismiss them as “not real”. What I said or how I acted would have no effect on them because… they weren’t real. But then I made some incredible connections that led to people I am friends with now and forever, really. Recently I’ve had some incredible moments with a friend I know only through this keyboard. We spend time together, we greet each other in passing, we have long talks about boys and work and life. We step away when we need to, but I have no fear that she’ll be there when I call and I will be here for her — she fills my soul.
I often wonder about the people I’ve met strictly online who say they need to step away from the online world, they say they spend too much time there, they say it’s addicting. I do understand this to a point. I wrote here of my often confusing feelings about the ether world. I realized recently though, through a conversation I had online with my dearest and oldest friend, that without this keyboard… without the online world, we would never connect. I think the way we communicate through social media is, or should be, reflective of the way we communicate in the physical world. Those of us who are closed-off — will most likely revert to that, those of us who are self-absorbed — will most likely revert to that, those of us who are insecure — will most likely revert to that — or will we?
I’m asking. I think having the security of a keyboard to buffer a new relationship can be very freeing. We can overcome our shyness, our awkwardness, our disconnectedness. We can be the friend we want to be — and we can expand our friendships to venture in to the physical world, when the time is right.
I have good friends I’ve never met. I have good friends I never get to see and touch and hear their voice. We text and email and instant message and gchat and Facebook and blog. And when we need to step away and allow space between us to take a breath… it makes coming back together even more special. My friends are my friends because they fill my soul — sometimes while holding my hand and sometimes while typing on this keyboard. And that is very real to me.