Saturday, 17 August 2013

to connect

I just read a blog (single dad laughing) entry called the disease of perfection. The entry was beautiful, and inspiring, and encouraging. But I was most struck by the comments and entries after the blog. People shared their truths. Shared their stories and struggles and fears in a very real way. There was a lot of sadness and fear expressed. And there were responses of love and acceptance and validation. And it broke my heart a little. Because there are so many people hurting in such very real ways, writing to strangers. And perhaps many people only feel that they can reveal the hurt in online forums. And you know, in a way, it is so wonderful that there is a place for people to reach out, to express, and to receive virtual validation. And I have to say, as a believer in energy and shared consciousness, or  whatever you choose to call it,  we can feel love and encouragement from people, even strangers, from a distance. I suppose the internet allows that to be expressed in an immediate way. And if those words of encouragement and support bring strength and a feeling of being supported to those who are struggling, it is a lovely thing.
But it does make me pause and think of the issue of being disconnected from our own communities and families in such a way that people feel they have to reach out for compassion and support from strangers on the internet. Why is that? Is it that sometimes we are struggling with things (mental illness, guilt over certain issues or situations, etc) that sometimes those in our immediate circles simply can't relate to, and we can find others in the same situation who can deeply empathize and understand, by tapping into online communities? In that case, that is a gift.
But is it also that we have become so disconnected from our families, our communities, even our friends, that we don't know who else to talk to? There is anonymity online - I can sit behind my computer and type and weep and say all kinds of things, because there is no one right in front of me to feel embarrassed and vulnerable in front of. OOOH, but what if we could learn that it is ok to be vulnerable and awkward and weepy in front of those we are close to? Wouldn't that be amazing?
I'm going to digress slightly here, and talk about Facebook, but I will come round full-circle, I promise. Facebook is such a fun social media outlet for sharing photos, sharing stories, connecting with friends and family who aren't close by. But I have to say, Facebook fucks me up a little. Or brings to light my fucked-up-ness. For me, there is a strange desperation to share. to show people out there that I am living a fun, vibrant, adventurous life. Because of course, we don't post when we're having lazy, stay-at-home days, doing laundry, sitting in front of the TV, doing the simple and often boring acts of living. Even though that's how most of us spend most of our time. That's life! But still, the urgency to prove is really strong for me. I see what others are doing, and a terribly dark sense of jealousy and inadequacy flares up. oooh, it is ugly. But I can see it and accept it. I notice now when it flares up. and when my need to share and prove my fabulousness flares up. I think the desire for connection is perhaps one of the roots of it all. Maybe I need to spend a little more time connecting with myself, and connecting with those who are near and dear.
And really, what is this blogging thing, but a desire to connect, a desire to put thoughts and ideas out there, to somehow connect? A journal entry that others can see. A rambling philosophical monologue with no one in front of me to argue with or interrupt me. Thoughts and ideas and passions put out there, without an editor, publisher, etc. 
Is this just a different way of connecting? I can have fun and serious conversations with friends of mine spread across the globe. I can have a sense of connecting with my amazing traveling, journeying, adventuring friends, even if we don't see each other for a year or two. And it is connection. It's not the same as daily visits, daily interactions, daily tea or coffee visits. There is no touch. There are no hugs. That part saddens me. There isn't the spontaneity and silliness and in-the-moment foolishness and shocking rawness that exists when you're face to face, and that builds intimacy in close relationships. But there are opportunities to connect, to learn, to laugh, to play, to flirt, to inspire, over a keyboard. And, returning to the beginning of the post, perhaps, I can be more vulnerable and share things more freely, with technology separating me from the immediate worry of rejection when I share my true self.
And yet. I do desire relationships, face-to-face, where the true self can be shared. The silly, funny, sad, ugly, awkward, hurting, rejoicing, laughing, crying, raging, solid, weak self in all it's glory, with others in close proximity.  

Well, anyway, I am glad that people are able to share their hearts and hurts in a way that is accessible for them, and that others freely respond with love and compassion and words of encouragement and life. That speaks to the loveliness of humanity.

And I'll still enjoy my connections however they happen. Who am I to question the hows and whys and beauty of human connection?

but maybe I'll call my mom and dad more often.
enjoy your connections