When I try to explain to some of my 'in real life' friends (and family) about the friends I've made through blogging, I get blank stares back. Crickets. Maybe a 'that's nice'.
To be quite honest, before I got into blogging, I probably would have reacted the same. In fact, I KNOW I would have been skeptical.
Over the last two-ish years, I can honestly say I've made some of the greatest friends online. Many of whom I've gone on to meet in real life. I've actually gotten on a plane and flown away to stay with people that I know nothing about, save our email conversations and what I've read on their blogs.
Thankfully, they were not ax murderers.
In my former life - meaning the life I had when I worked out of the home from 9-5 and didn't have time to email, let alone blog - the whole concept of online community was foreign,. and let's face it, WEIRD to me.
But strange things start to happen in your head when you're suddenly laid off and a stay at home mom. You feel isolated. Adult conversations are few and far between. And in real life? I'm a little shy. So meeting other moms, or even women I could relate to at all, was difficult. I'd go to the playground and try to strike up conversation, but that would usually go nowhere. My son and I had fun at playgroups...but playgroups usually consisted of me running around like a madwoman after my child. So there's not a whole lot of opportunity for meaningful conversation.
Online? I'm free to jump around to different sites. Meet people that have common interests. Have long email exchanges that fill a bit of the void I sometimes feel socially. So now, what started out as a way to feel less lonely, has blossomed and grown into some true friendships. Real life friendships.
It's pretty awesome.
This week has been stressful. I've been struggling with being super uncomfortably pregnant, tired, stressed over being prepared for baby. Things were not coming together in a fashion that was making me happy - meaning, perfectly.
On Friday morning, I was running around like a madwoman and I got an email alert on my phone. I opened it up and started crying.
My girlfriends, my online girlfriends, had gotten together and sent me the BEST baby gift ever. A gift certificate to Dream Dinners.
Why was I crying (happy tears of course)? Because these women, some whom I've never laid eyes upon, know me so well that they knew WHAT I needed, even though I had no idea.
I needed something taken off my plate. I needed to be taken care of.
And more than that, I know they put a ton of thought into that gift.
More than the gift itself, can I just say that knowing I'm loved is the best? I needed that too, so much.
I am not discounting my wonderful, long time, real life friends in any way. Because I adore them more than anything. They are my family. My sisters.
But it is so beautiful adding to that family. And I truly believe that in the last few years, the love and the friendship in my life has expanded exponentially. And it's real.
So when I get the skeptical looks over blogging and 'online' friendships, do I get upset? No. Because I know what it means to me and how it's brought so much good to my life.