Friday, February 24, 2012

the answer man

Meet my new advisor. He's only a couple of inches tall but that's okay - it just makes him more portable. The boys and I were having some random craft time last week - you know, time where you just get out a bunch of supplies and have at it. It's totally fun if you can deal with the mess. Anyway, that's when this guy emerged from a blob of polymer clay - and a wee bit of wire.

It was a week full of questions that I was so hoping could be answered somehow even if it meant I had to make my own answer man. Most of my questions stemmed from a blog post I read late last week. I have read so many blogs with varying degrees of regularity over the years. There is one that I started reading way back before Peter was even born and I tend to just 'check in' every few months to see what's new there. When you read and follow someone's life for that long - watch them through their struggles and their successes, the births of their children etc. etc., you tend to grow attached as you all may know. So, last week I decided to check in only to find to my horror that she lost her husband suddenly and tragically last Summer. I nearly fell out of my chair as I read it. It's still so hard to believe. So often reading through blogs feels like you just skim the pretty surface of life. The 'real' stuff doesn't rear it's ugly head very often in that realm. When 'real' life happens - as it always does - that is so often when bloggers retreat and regroup - and I am guilty of that myself. This was a reality so rare that I could hardly recognize it as real at all. It almost felt like I was reading the sad chapter about a beloved character in a book.

That's when the questions started. You feel like you want to somehow help this person who you don't really even know. To crawl out of the woodwork (is there wood in cyberspace?) and approach this person that you have just been watching for years seems weird - to not say anything to this person you feel like you know seems weird as well. These 'relationships' are unlike anything in real life and I am so confused about how to handle myself within them. How can a one sided conversation still be so intimate? Part of it is in her writing. She really doesn't hold back and is willing to share thoughts and feelings of all kind and degrees. I think it's so very brave and it's A) what makes her blog so readable and interesting and B) What makes my heart break into pieces when I read about what she is going through.

So far the answer man has been pretty quiet. He has no answers about what a blog really should be, how to define the different kinds of online relationships we develop, how we express humanity through a medium that seems like the opposite of that. My only conclusion at this point is that if you do put yourself out there and are brave enough to share the painfully real moments of your life online you can be sure that there are people - quiet and invisible as they might be - who are moved by your experience, inspired by your bravery and last but not least, rooting for you.


Deb Robertson said...

Thank you for writing this. In the last 18 months I've been sharing my fears and worries online and as we have lived through 10000 earthquakes and aftershocks. It's been hard to know how much to share and not to make the blog to morbid. Someone commented the other day they hoped I'd get back to the cheerful posts again!!!!

A little faithful group have continued to comment and my goodness it helped. It helped a lot. Sometimes you can feel so alone in your struggle (even though here in Christchurch we are all going through it) and then suddenly an encouraging word will pop in your inbox when you least expect it.

Blogging is great, although more and more I am aware of the great silent public out there (i am part of it), who read but rarely comment. There are so many blogs. I am making a conscious effort to gradually work away at my reading list, to have blogs that I feel connected with in some way and to be part of the conversation.

Sorry this comment has gone on and on (and a little off track) I just wanted to say thanks. It's great to know people are out there, but don't be afraid to stop by just to say "I'm thinking of you". It is enough and it does count, and it might be all you have that day.

Love and hugs deb xxx

Mary Ann said...

I read one blog where the blogger has had life altering circumstances happen to her recently and she has blogged about it. I don't know if I could do that personally but I respect her for telling it like it is and sharing her pain. It certainly makes you take a good look at yourself and your life and really appreciate what you have.

Glenda said...

Your answer man is cool looking; love the texture in his beard :-).

Do you read Alicia Paulson's blog? Her blog is one of the very first crafting blogs I began reading, and it's one that I've never stopped following. When their dog died, I cried. When their recent adoption fell through, I cried. I seldom comment on her blog, but I made a point to in those instances. And I appreciate that Alicia makes a point to tell people how much those comments matter and help. I feel like if I met her in person, she'd be someone you could sit down & immediately be comfortable talking to. But then it'd also feel weird because I know more about her, because of her blog, than she knows about me (I'm pretty certain she doesn't read my blog LOL!).

I'm more inclined to comment on blogs of people who have a smaller readership, or rather who have a smaller commentorship -- I don't feel so lost in a sea of comments, and I feel like my comment matters :-).

Corinne said...

Thanks for chiming in ladies. Your insights are certainly more helpful than my little answer man has been :). Deb, your advice is just what I needed to hear.

Yes Glenda, I do read Alicia Paulson's blog from time to time (I sort of do a 'check in' there too. Her writing about her real life struggles makes her much more 'real', don't you think? If we only saw her gorgeous work she would surely take on a kind of Martha Stewart status (you know - we would all love to see what beautiful new thing she is making but we certainly wouldn't want to sit down and talk to her!) Because she does that it feels like we know her and I really admire that.

Julie said...

A similar thing happened to me recently - not quite as tragic, but a blogger I read (and rarely comment on) went through something bad and I didn't know whether to speak up or mind 'my own' business. It's a funny thing, this blogging whatsit. We do it because we *want* people to be part of our lives - to some degree, anyway. But then we're shy about being too personal - both as bloggers and readers.

In the end, I didn't say anything, but I did resolve to leave more comments and speak up to the people I read and enjoy, and to be more personal on my own blog (where appropriate - there hasn't really been occasion to share anything personal yet, and I don't just mean tragic, just anything that's *me*). I don't plan on gushing out my deepest darkest secrets all of a sudden, but I do have a natural tendency to hide behind stitching and knitting as if that's all there is, and I'm trying to be a little more me. It's, weirdly, not easy, but I'm working on it. After all, I'm doing this to be part of a community.

Your answer man is wonderful, I wish I had one!