It was a blog-hop prompt which inspired me to write this. Perhaps not the noblest reason ever, but nonetheless I think it bears saying. Because the concept of ‘freedom’ has been rolling around in my head looking for validation in words, and yet suddenly this weekend, the scales fell from my eyes and I realised that the word I really needed was ‘liberty’. Not because I take them, but because you granted it to me.
Let me explain
I’m a completely people-centric person, you’ve figured that out by now, I’m sure. As an extrovert, I thrive on interaction with others, and accordingly, this wonderful Blogosphere we share – the place where we first met – is a FEAST for me: a place of not only nourishment, but gorging, because what people put out there is (for the most part) designed for consumption by others.
And I do like to take my fill – input, input, input, input, until sated. Thankyouverymuch.
And so it was that I found your blog and we connected and I started learning about you. Your writing engaged me so much (still does) and gradually through comments and connections, we’ve become what I’d consider to be ‘friends’. And whatever people might say about the validity of friendships over the internet, I’m firmly in the camp that This Is Real.
I love your writing, I love the chats we have, I love the interaction, the support, the…just the everythingness of whatever wonderful new kind of thing *this* is. And ohmigosh it’s been the most fun getting to know you; talking about everything under the stars and hearing your thoughts and feelings on different subjects; getting a ‘behind the blog’ look at what goes on in your brain; piecing together the different parts of your character from interactions in various places across the internet.
But you see, I made a mistake (I think). Because although this is friendship – and I genuinely believe it is – it’s of such a different style, and in a paradigm I’m not used to dealing with, that I missed a trick and got hooked.
You started to matter to me, and I assumed (in my egocentric way) that what I was feeling and what was True, were the same thing.
Fie on me.
Like a guileless child wrapped up in her own world, and unable to see the viewpoint of anyone else, I’ve been seeing our friendship with the tunnel vision of my own perspective. I’ve taken you into my heart, put you in a little box marked ‘mine’, and I’ve failed you (and myself) by trying to keep you there. By being puzzled by your behaviour on occasion. By missing you when you didn’t write. By trying too hard to engage you and get that input and interaction. By trying to make it about ‘us’ and not realising it was about *me*.
By assuming *I* matter.
And yes, I’m not ashamed to say that the liberty stung a little at first, when I realised it had happened, because you released me so suddenly and so completely that my head spun and I had no idea what to do. I would have nailed my ear to the doorpost if I could’ve, but there just wasn’t the chance because in that instant, the paradigm shifted again, and the doorposts of the former you were gone and the goalposts had moved beyond my reach.
Whatever the quirks of the Blogosphere which allowed me to read the thoughts of your heart and some of the innermost workings of your precious mind, it’s all so cerebral. Even with the added delights of photographs and VidChats and vlogs and whatever else allows us to catch a glimpse of one another through the internet.
But here it is – that freedom: I don’t really know you.
I don’t know what makes you happy or frustrated or sad or joyful. I don’t know whose face makes yours light up when you see them. I don’t know the things you cry secret tears over. I don’t know your favourite book, colour, flavour of ice-cream, texture, piece of music, view. I don’t know your friends, or what you do in your spare time (when you’re not online). I don’t know how you dress up to go out on the town, or how you move, or the gestures you make while you’re talking. I don’t know the last time you hurt yourself or the next thing you’re looking forward to. I don’t know what songs you like to sing, or the cadence of your voice, or how you laugh when you’re absolutely at ease. I don’t know the things which make your heart shine, and which make you beautiful.
I don’t know the million little details that really *knowing* you entails. And you don’t know them about me, and as much as I might like to cling to the idea that this is something more, it really isn’t – it’s distant. Remote. Removed. Separated; by geography if nothing else.
And that’s such a hollow, dizzying, aching kind of freedom.
Not a freedom which can be changed, either. It feels kind of irrevocable.
But know this. Within these new parameters, I’m still here. I still call you Friend. I still cherish our friendship (now redefined in my own mind, at least). There’ll still be writing and learning and exchanging and chatting and sillytwinklysparklyfun and I still completely adore you, I promise. My heart’s still hardwired but the perspective has tilted to include a much vaster horizon.
Forgive my foolishness and selfishness. And stick with me, ‘kay? Cos this is still Good (and amazing and wonderful and I really do treasure it) – I just have to adjust.