I have some thoughts about community and finding people, which were sparked by last week’s anniversary post and some of the comments on it. I mentioned this on Twitter, and wanted to make sure I came back and actually talked a bit more about them.
So, I have a number of close friends from the blogging/online world who I’ve known for a long time now. Most–if not all?–of them came via the Sounis Livejournal community, so we’re all Megan Whalen Turner fans and we’ve hung out in the same small corner of the internet for a long time.
I love this, and them, so much.
At the same time, in the last maybe two years, I’ve started to actually take myself seriously. This is definitely a process and a journey rather than a done deal. But what I’ve noticed is that when I started to learn to take the work I produce here (and elsewhere) seriously, I started to find new people. People who in several cases had been there all along.
(How I managed to Live On the Internet, loving the same things, knowing the same people for this long without already meeting them, I don’t entirely know.)
Maybe it’s simply learning how to look outward rather than inward, maybe it’s learning how to have confidence that reaching out won’t be rebuffed. Whatever it is, I’ve found recently that although my long-term friendships are as important to me as they ever were, I’m also hopeful about the future. I feel almost as if there’s a never-ending well of new people to meet and share excitements and criticisms with.
Whatever it is, it seems like it’s taken some sort of internal shift which isn’t and perhaps never will be complete. Which is the sort of thing that would really annoy me if someone said it to me. If you’re struggling with community, it’s not your fault. And yet at the same time, it’s true. I’m always surprised and grateful that anyone’s interested in my words, but these days I’m also more sure of the value in them. (The surprise comes when others recognize it too.)
So, I suppose what I want to say is thank you. And also, I hope we all keep looking for new people to connect with; I hope you keep finding the friends that enrich your lives.