Friday, February 24, 2012
the answer man
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.