One of my favorite sessions at Blissdom was a writing session by Jeff Goins titled How to Fall Back in Love with Writing and Create Your Best Work Yet (you can find a very good summary here). It was what inspired my “State of the Blog” post and at the same time has me quaking in my boots.
You see Jeff ended his session with a challenge. He asked us write something dangerous, something you’re afraid to write but feel like you are meant to write. Then we were to link up on his site.
I immediately panicked because I knew exactly what that post was going to be.
It may sound crazy but this post has been trying to claw its way out of me for awhile now. But I am not a big fan of vulnerability and feelings and such, so I have stuffed it back down to its rightful place. Apparently my stuffing has been in vain. Because it appears this post is coming out anyway.
To start, we must go backwards quite a bit. I feel like I am about to lay down on the therapist couch. Won’t you join me cause we might be here awhile.
In elementary school I had a best friend named Jenny (see we are going way back). We were inseparable and although other friends were in our circle none were as close and Jenny and I. She was as loyal as a friend could be.
But loyalty isn’t a treasured commodity once you hit junior high. Popularity is. And Jenny wasn’t popular. So I ditched my loyal friend when the popular girls came calling. It is a decision that honestly haunts me to this day.
The problem with the popular crowd is that they are a finicky bunch. One day you are right in the thick of it and the next you are on the outs. These girls were most definitely my friends and at times I may have even been on top, but the further you climb, the faller you have to fall. And so I learned to grow a thick skin. I also learned over time that female friendships were not to be trusted.
As friends in high school and college disappointed me the walls grew taller, the skin thicker and the mistrust deepened. If you knew me during those days I think you would have said I had lots of friends (at least I hope you would have said that) but I really kept everyone at arm’s length.
This trend continued until I moved to Chicago. There I met some women who just weaseled their way in my life and wouldn’t let go. I am so grateful for that because little by little they broke my walls down.
But then we moved. I dug my heels in against moving because moving would mean leaving this community that was life changing for me. And I knew, that even with best intentions, those friendships would never be the same. Although those women are some of the most treasured people in my life, today it isn’t the same.
Blogging has been a double edged sword for me. On the one hand it has brought the most amazing women into my life. I had no idea I could develop such strong relationships with people who essentially live in my computer. Anyone who doubts the “realness” of a friendship that you make through blogging is probably someone who hasn’t’ been in the blogging community very long.
On the other hand, making friends with people online is an easy save for someone who guards herself against going deep. It isn’t hard to hold people at arm’s length when they are many states away and only available in 140 characters. I don’t mean to lessen the importance of these friendships because they are honestly some of the best friends I have known, but I still have managed to distance myself from all the messiness that “real life” friendships require.
Again, if you know me you probably think that I have a lot of friends (again, I hope you think that). And I DO have a lot of friends. But I can no longer pretend that they are the deep, meaningful friendships that my soul longs for. Which also means I have had to admit that my soul really does long for something more. Perhaps those walls I have built aren’t so solid after all.