Thursday, October 25, 2012

We're not in Kansas. Or maybe we are.

As I mentioned, I went to the Aiming Low Non-Conference.

It was my third conference in 7 months.

I ended up going to one this past weekend, too.  A one day writer's conference near me.

I think I may have an addiction or something.

Non-Con was an interesting experience.  As Leslie from The Bearded Iris mentioned, she wasn't feeling great, but was a trouper and came anyway.  She had lost her voice, which made for a weird, unsettling time for her.

I had that panic attack going home, but I also panicked when I got there, which necessitated Leslie stepping up and being a great friend so that I could be comfortable and enjoy the weekend.

I cannot explain to you how much of a difference it made to know that I could be completely honest ["Hey, I'm completely freaking out here, and if you want, we can bail and I can sleep at your house or at the airport. Either way, it's fine."] and it was o.k. I didn't have to be the strong one, or the one in charge, or the one who made all the decisions all the time.  I could fall apart and it was fine. I had someone I trusted to watch my back.

And the brilliant thing was, this was someone I met OVER THE INTERNET.  A friend who knew me.  The real me.  We leapt past all that getting to know you stuff, quickly dismissing the "I'm just fine and normal, thanks!" that we all [or at least I] put up for everyone else.   How freeing is it to move past that? SO FREEING. I can be me and know that my friend is my friend and isn't going to stab me in the back - literally or metaphorically.

Because Leslie was so great, I was able to spend time with her, eating Doritos and watching Stephen King movies - did you know that they made Pet Sematary 2?  They did. I think it may be Anthony Edward's finest role.

And I also met people I wanted to meet, and others I didn't realize I wanted to meet.  I talked and listened and learned. I heard one person - I wish I could remember who - say that she's stopped delineating between online friends and real world friends because her online friends are her real friends - just as real as the people she sees in person. 

I think that may have been the best part of Non-Con - realizing that this stuff? Is valid.  We may be hiding behind our computers - and in my case, anonymity - but we are ourselves and we have built solid relationships with people who cheer us on.

Or maybe this was the best part of Non-Con:

This is going to be the girl's senior picture.
I can't decide.


  1. Wait, there's a Pet Sematary 2? I must find said movie immediately.

  2. You know, it's easier to give the real you behind the computer, say the things you want to say and not be judged than it is oftentimes to give it out real to the people who know you IRL, in person. Sometimes. I'm glad you found that with Leslie. Also, wingvagina.

  3. So true.

    The freedom in saying, and having someone understand, when you need to go hole up in your room for awhile.

    It's wonderful.

    And it is the people who are not online who feel it's important to emphasize "OH. an ONLINE friend. I thought you meant someone real."

    Yeah, they're real.

    You're real to me, Suni.


  4. My online friends have enriched my life, adding dimension in so many ways I can't begin to describe. Most of my family has come to accept that I have friendships with people I have never met. And like that person at the conference, I no longer delineate between friendships. They are friends, period.

    I guess the reason I slipped so comfortably into online friendships was because of the example set by my grandmothers. My dad's mom and mother's mom never met in real life. But they wrote to each other, exchanged beautiful hankies, and talked on the phone, and loved each other until they died. I have given a select few of those hankies to some special online friends over the years (grandma's part of the collection that she gave to me) as a way of sharing the legacy of their love. Because you can connect in so many more ways with people than just those immediately around you in real life.

    Thanks for sharing this post. You say so much in so few words Suni.

  5. I still make the distinction between "online friends" and "real life friends" if only because I want to knock the wall down between the two. See, someone is a real life friend only after I've managed to see them.

    So I'm very glad you're in the latter camp.

    I know there are some for which that is an impossible target (schedules and national barriers are assholes), but I really, really like meeting people . . . especially people that I already know.

  6. I swear, your "online" friends really are the best friends you can ever make. And you make them quickly, freely, with no pretense. That's the way all friendships should be. I'm so glad Leslie was there for you. Now you know for next year that NonCon is one of the conferences you don't have to get anxiety over. And if you do? Most of us have the meds to help you out. Ha!

  7. This just makes me smile. (not the bad shit - but I don't have it explain that do I?

  8. Sometimes I don't think I realized I was missing something in some relationships until I found myself here in this blogging world. I think Facebook often stands as just a horrible example of friendships, and I wonder if that is why some folks doubt all online "friends". Reading posts like yours help me feel strong when I say "my blogging friend so-and-so"...I might even be able to leave off the blogging part soon!

  9. When I met Bon Stewart (who is so flagrantly delectable it's hard not to nibble on her) at BlogHer she said "nice to see you", and explained that she doesn't feel that it's right to say 'nice to meet you' to people she already knows online. I feel the same, particularly after meeting so many people in real life that I've known first online and finding out that it's rare (unheard of so far, for me) for someone to be awesome online and NOT be equally awesome in real life. My blogging and online friends have saved my ass and lifted my spirits as much as my real-life ones.

  10. I love that immediate comfort level.
    The first time I met Leslie face to face, I saw her from across the room, marched over, stodd in front of her grinning, and when she looked at me she just knew. Then we hugged, started swearing at each other, she felt my ass up, and away we went. As you know. ;)
    I love the internet friend. I have many. Again, as you know.

  11. Wowza. That is a photograph!

  12. Yes. Friends are the best. Whatever we they come into your life. It's worth the effort to keep them in your life. Now I feel guilty. I have a few phone calls to make. xoxo

  13. Pet Semetary scared the shit out of me. Poltergeist(sp?) Did too. I prefer my scary movies campy.

    I'm glad you're my friend irl too. I think my husband thinks you are imaginary!

  14. It was nice for my kids to realize there were"real" people behind the monitor. But you've always been real to real to me.


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