Friday, April 30, 2010

The Modern Friendship

Redefining my definitions.

Sewing 2009

Three years ago I started sewing again
after a near 20 year hiatus during which I studied, worked, did a few naughty things, travelled and the like.

Two and a half years ago I discovered an on-line sewing shop...
then its forum...
then the world of blogging.

I do have some real life friends.
I really do.
A couple of long term, close ones
and few others who are always a comfortable fit but more distant.

But what about this whole other on-line life that I have?
I have been an active member of the Crafty Mamas forum
for two and a half years.
It is an amazing place.
So many women.
Mostly mothers.
So diverse in age, backgrounds and day to day lives.
Yet similarly driven to create.
And above all accepting, supportive and helpful.
There is no judgement,
no hostility, 
no place for school yard bitchiness or arrogance.
Regardless of whether we are discussing the latest boutique pattern,
bottle versus breast
or the likelyhood that little green men are going to come and take us away.

Yet up until recently my turn of phrase was
"one of the girls on the forum that I hang around on said..."
"a mum on this sewing forum I know did..."
I couldn't quite come at using the word "friend".


Because even though we have shared stories,
laughed together,
given each other shoulders when needed,
encouraged to create,
helped out
and are in touch 7 days per week,
most of us haven't physically met
or even spoken to each other in real life.

I talk to this sisterhood more frequently than my fresh and blood friends.

As time goes on, more of us are meeting up in the flesh
and the bond that we feel from our on-line interaction makes such catch ups very comfortable.

Yesterday I got an unexpected envelope in the post.
Tracy over at the Mad Quilter
knew from the forum chats that I was struggling with an ongoing lurgy.
She is currently holding the fort at home while her hubby is away for work.
She has 7 children, the youngest only a few months old.
Yet she still found the time for a Random Act of Kindness.
She sent me a get well card and some crochet goodies.
Unexpected and heartwarming.

In the past few months,
after sharing the supprt and generosity of these women,
I do now talk about my "friends'",
even though there are a fair few of them that I would not be able to pick out of a line up.

I am also feeling the same way about my blog followers who drop by,
read a bit,
then take the time to comment.
There is a level of understanding and comraderie
not based on anything material.

The power of the Internet can indeed be used for evil
but it can also be used for the very, very good
and can make the world an incredibly small and comforting place.


Handmade homegrown said...

So well written Tas, I have goosebumps!!
I love returning home from an outing and checking out what is happening on the forum.
Long Live Crafty Mamas!!

Kate said...

I've never been on the Crafty Mamas forum and to be honest I think I need to stay away because blogging already takes up too much of my time (my hiusband is threatening to send me off to bloggers rehab), but I do know exactely what you mean by the word 'friend' and how wonderful and intimate online friendships can be.

Mandy said...

I so agree with every thing you have said Tas. I'm very grateful for my online Friends and I'm grateful everyday for Crafty Mamas. I would be lost without all of you girls and Tracy is a real GEM. :)

Tanya said...

Tas, that was a lovely post. I was in a tea towel swap and my daughter, who is 7 was trying to work out who they were from and 'how do you know them?' (and, well, why are they sending you tea towels). I sort of liken it to being in Uni with a mass of potentially like minded people around and you sort of have the luxury of choice with friends, which isn't really what life is like (particularly when you live in a small community) but with the blogging world and CM forum, it's like this intense place full of people who have similar interests. I am glad you got spoilt by Tracey, that's nice. I am still trying to work out who is who on the CM forum, I wonder sometimes if you 'oldies' get irritated by the 'newies' like me. thanks for a lovely well said post.

Sally said...

Fantastic post Tas. Wonderfully written. Online friendships that have developed through blogging and crafting have made such an impact on my life. I feel so lucky.

zofia said...

Wonderful post Tas. I feel like I 'know' you too. Think of all these people who are so far apart, yet can share a laugh or a tear together.
Strengthening and empowering stuff.

Carolyn said...

another one who thinks that was so well written Tas.
I have met a few people I chat with online- IRL, and its funny when others say "so how do you know them..." their look on their face when i tell them "a sewing forum on the internet.

Tania said...

What an absolute GEM of a post! Hear! Hear! To everything you said. Weirdly, I reckon I potentially give more of myself on a blog to people I have never met than to friends that go way back. I would never, for instance speak everything I wrote of a difficult birth story. Truly weird - now I think about it...

Karen said...

Awww Tas, such a lovely post :) Tracy is a gem!

And I'm so happy to count you and all the other girls at CM as friends.

The Handmaden said...

Great post and I totally agree with you, there is a bit of a stigma attached to having "friends" online but I think that is changing, particularly with the popularity of blogs. Now I'm thinking there should have been a full stop in there somewhere, but there you are, another part of blogging is acceptance of other blogger's grammatical imperfections!
How did your cornflake slice turn out?

Lola Nova said...

Wonderful post! Such an amazing community from all parts of the world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your words remind me how grateful I am to have "met" such wonderful friends.

Kat said...

lovely words Tas, hope you're feeling better soon my friend. Hugs Kat xx