Finding new people, finding my value

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.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Finding new people, finding my value

  1. I totally get what you mean. It’s such a pleasure to meet new people online who share the same interests that I do.

  2. Again, I relate to what you say here so much. I tend to react badly too to “change your attitude/try harder!” as a response to having difficulty finding community – it’s not always true, and it can veer into victim-blaming much too easily, and it often erases real experiences of rejection and the hurt and all too understandable fear they cause. But at the same time, yes, something in me shifted that has made it easier to put myself out there and find people without letting fear of rejection stop me before I even start. I think it was partially about coming to understand my personal history, and how certain life experiences have made trust and confidence very fraught for me, but at the same time realising that the patterns that have caused me so much trouble are not inevitable.

    It’s like… this shift required a basic ability to trust that people could find what I do valuable and that they could want me around as much as I want them, but at the same time, that trust becomes more solid the more I have positive experiences with community and belonging. And it’s the same with the sense of hope and possibility this brings me. I need to have hope in the first place to be able to reach out, and tell others I see them, and allow myself to be seen – but the more I do it, the more hopeful I feel.

    Thank you for writing this. ❤

    • Maureen Eichner

      I think it was partially about coming to understand my personal history, and how certain life experiences have made trust and confidence very fraught for me, but at the same time realising that the patterns that have caused me so much trouble are not inevitable.

      Yes, yes, yes. Your whole comment resonated with me (which is not surprising as I think we have similar backgrounds growing up), but this part especially.

      I need to have hope in the first place to be able to reach out, and tell others I see them, and allow myself to be seen – but the more I do it, the more hopeful I feel.

      ❤ This is also so much how I feel.

  3. Pingback: May 2016 round up | By Singing Light

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