What is friendship? How do we get to know each other? How do we "show up" as my therapist says, in the world and make connections? I know I've written about this in some ways previously, but an e-mail today from a friend got me thinking about it again. She made some really important points that writing on a blog is in many ways impersonal and distancing and that she doesn't feel special when I write for the internet and that the real me doesn't show through.
I'm really not sure about that. I certainly write with every intention of being fully present in what I write. And for me, an introvert with health problems, the internet has been a real blessing, allowing me to interact with people in genuine ways, people whom I never would have met otherwise.
However I do see her point. Certainly there are folks out there who put up false personas for whatever reason, or if not false, at least partial, and that is fine. Time will allow these relationships to develop or not as they are meant to be. But I know have friends all over the world in a richness I've never experienced before.
I live alone as far as other humans are concerned. I am not alone as I have five wonderful companions, two dogs and three cats, who love me and shower me with affection. But their conversation is limited and I do get lonely with no family close in meaningful ways and with a best friend dealing with her own health issues who also is working 7 days a week running her own business on our island in a less than robust financial climate.
I am now reaching out in a variety of ways for the connections which we all need, one way or another. I don't think I'm deluding myself when I think that I'm richer for these contacts. Sure, not every post generates comments, but that doesn't mean that the post hasn't reached others or even touched others in genuine ways. I too read a lot more blogs than I ever comment on, so I know that is true.
And then there is the whole world of Twitter, which has rather taken over my life at the moment and I do need to find a way to tame that, but at the moment I feel I know a lot of very fine poets who are encouraging me and I am not only learning a lot, but enjoying it as well. I am inspired and amused by many of their posts and I retweet them as a way of sharing with others.
I started with Twitter as a way to follow my son and his running activities as well as occasional posts about his family, especially my granddaughter. I don't see him except for twice/year brief visits even though he lives in Seattle. There are a variety of reasons for this which I shan't go into here, but when I read one of his tweets I feel a connection. Is that real? Was he thinking of me when he tweeted? I don't know, but I choose to think so, especially when the tweets are family related. Am I deluding myself? I honestly don't know, but I'd rather think positively that there is a real connection there.
And the same is true for my other internet friends. I was touched to receive a comment on my Tanka Diary (link at the top of the page) when I had a rough day at Study Zone. It meant a lot to me to have that contact. I love it when my poems are "liked" on Facebook or re-tweeted on Twitter. That encourages me in my new creativity as a poet. Does this have any meaning? Well, I can only go by my own actions. I only like or re-tweet poems or posts that touch me or move me or amuse me, so I have to assume others do the same. What ulterior motive could they have, after all.
However, I'm straying from the point of this post (hey, there was one when I started anyway). Am I making real connections? Am I showing up in authentic ways? I have to believe that the answer to both is yes. I can see how my internet friendships have changed and enriched my life, and so I am very grateful to each and everyone of you, my readers! Would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this! How do you make connections and find kindred spirits?