The Liberty of (not) Knowing You

Dear You

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.

Huge love,

Me xXx

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65 thoughts on “The Liberty of (not) Knowing You

  1. You know, before we got to know each other, Dyanne freaked out and thought I was a 50 year old man, potato farmer, from Idaho. And I still tease her to this day 😀

    And if you were out there on my grass, well you better be going to at least stop for a visit (and, like it's raining and muddy, so why would you ever want to roll around on the grass when you could come on into the warm and dry…you nutter!)

    DITTO. To the holding up. Abso-completely-lutely. I like that line “we listen to hearts”. That…that counts huge. And it's different, and less detailed but more…connected. I don't think I feel this level of connection often in face-to-face life BECAUSE the physicality of it all gets in the way.

    I like knowing things about my friends though, to build a picture in my mind of what they're like. So thank you for those snippets.

    Sounds like you need sleep, m'dear! It's 6.28 British time. And I've been up talking. Should sleep soon! #SilverLinings

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  2. I'm actually a man and I like to roll around on your grass when you're sleeping.
    Some of the most amazing people that held me up when I was down was my online friends. Yes, the friendship is on a different level, but we listen to hearts. We may not know each other's quirks like I am a master at picking things up with my toes…I have a bad back…you learn how to adapt…but in between the lines, we are riding each other's creative journeys. Think about it.
    This made no sense.
    It's 12:45 Canadian time.
    Also has no relevance to this comment.

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  3. I get too lost in my own perspectives sometimes, I think. I like yours better. Far better.

    And yes please to being friends 🙂 You're *awesome*. And thank you huge for the Things of Knowing – I shall squirrel them away. I never really liked the killers song (though I couldn't tell you why) but 'The Funeral' is good 🙂

    So glad that my little message had such an impact. I really enjoyed reading your writing and missed it because you hadn't updated for aaages 🙂 So it was a little self seeking but I'm so glad it worked because I LOVE what you've been writing.

    Thank you so much for your viewpoint, and how clearly you see this 🙂

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  4. I just came by here and read it again…STILL got me misty. WTF?
    Great piece and looks like it genuinely rang with lots of other bloggers. I think this “realization” happens to all of us from time to time.
    *CAN YOU FEEL ME VIRTUALLY HUGGING YOU?*

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  5. My favorite ice cream is Ben & Jerry's Half Baked. My favorite kind of music is all kinds of music. My current favorite song is “The Funeral” by Band of Horses, and I will never stop loving “Human” by the Killers. I love red wine…probably too much sometimes, and I hate shopping and clothes and usually wear the same jeans and black sweater anytime I have to “look nice” but on any give day, I'm usually in yoga pants, sports bra, and tank top.
    Ok, can we be friends now? I love all of my new “friends” I'm making in the blog world. Last week, when I felt down and completely insignificant and unqualified to write anything, you reached out to me and said in not so many words, “write something,” and I felt inspired and very much like I had a new friend. So maybe my parameters are different because I don't have to touch you or see you in person to hear that you *care* even if it's just a simple private message. Because you show me you care with your words…and that's enough for me.

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  6. Hard to believe someone so silly is also so sage. That's why we love you, Lizzi! You're a compassionate heart and a cleverly insightful brain all wrapped up in goofy hats and a wicked sense of humor! We HEART you!

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  7. Yeah, me too. I try to tell Husby but he's so not interested in the Blogosphere. I just tell other bloggers, or talk on the VidChat with them about the stories of other people's lives. It's such a beautiful, self-contained world in many ways.

    Learning the nuances is hard. This one 'got' me for a bit, but I think I'm better for it.

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  8. It wasn't a bad thing. It was just a shift in perspective which needed to happen. I think it's healthier for me because I was in grave danger of becoming a jealous little tyrant with no concept of the Other Worlds to which people belong. Which they rightly do. And have done forever, it just never STRUCK ME before. And when it did….wow! Such a shift! It's shifted everyone. For better, I think.

    And I think you're right. We can still build genuine bonds and enjoy really True friendships though this. Definitely. I'm just gonna be less egocentric about it. Nothing else has changed 😀

    Like

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