I'm taking a one day break from my There's More Than One Way to Be a Mom series to join up with a Blog Carnival on social media, the internet, and friendship. The other carnie bloggers are listed at the bottom of this post. I'll resume the Mother's Day series tomorrow!
One day Cari Donaldson made the comment that it didn't matter if she only knew you through the internet. If she talked to you every day and thought of you as a friend you were a friend. An in real life friend.
Her declaration allowed me to let out a sigh of relief because suddenly I didn't feel like a weirdo - the only one who felt that way about her online friends. These women who I chat with and pray for every day, who happen to live in other states and time zones and countries, whom I had never actually met in real life: THEY WERE MY FRIENDS! Because Cari said it was okay! (Thank you, Cari, my friend.)
People who are not active online think it's peculiar that I cut short family gatherings to host a woman from New Jersey and her large family when I've never met them. They think it's strange that a lady from California would want to pack up her kids, make a bunch of meals, sew my newborn a baby blanket and bring all of them to me when we'd never even spoken on the phone before. They think it's creepy that one day a woman whose blog I read said she was publishing a cookbook and I was like, "eek! That's so great! Call me so we can squeal about it!" And then she did. And it was fun and felt really... normal.
|Molly Makes Do, A Knotted Life, and Catholic All Year - representin|
The women who I know from online, well those relationships are very different.
I think that for me, as a woman who is very insecure, one of the beauties of the online world is you can't tell how overweight I am by looking at that small picture of my head on your Facebook wall and if we're both in a Catholic women bloggers group on Facebook then we're peers. I know that in creepier ways these can be seen as bad, but for the purpose of me chatting with some women I know through the Catholic blogosphere it's a very good thing. I don't have to stand in front of you as we meet for the first few times and worry that you're thinking about about how fat I am or that I'm a crazy Catholic woman ready to have ten more kids and judge your good time.
On an average day there's a fifty-fifty chance that I will not gather with the other moms at school pick-up but will instead stand off to the side by myself. But put me in a conversation on a FB wall filled with my Catholic blogging peers and I'll ask bold questions, heartily disagree, excitedly agree, and made dumb jokes about being the future empress of the world.
Maybe it seems like cheating - like taking the easy way out - because I'm not working as hard or for as long on these online friendships. Maybe it is, but I like to think of it as a shortcut. An awesome shortcut that gets me right to the point. The foundation of most of the difficult stuff has already been laid: because we're devout, pope-lovin', orthodox Catholics we like babies, don't bash our husbands, celebrate feast days, need meatless meal recipes for Fridays, have political views that don't perfectly align with either US party, try to be charitable towards people who drive us crazy, try not to gossip, don't promote porn and Fifty Shades of Grey, and are always good for a prayer request. Because I can assume all of that and not really make an ass out of anyone - well there's so much room for uplifting, interesting, challenging, encouraging, funny conversations. Iron sharpening iron, shoulders to cry on, wholehearted LOLs.
I am grateful for the friends I have made through the internet and I am grateful for the ways social media has strengthened all my relationships. Facebook and blogs really are a well for me. I may occasionally drink too much (spend too much time online) and become bloated some times but they are truly a great good in my life, because they are key in so many of the friendships in my life that are great goods.
|She's hugging Facebook. Get it?|