When blogger friendships become real-life friends.

17 Oct

I’ve had this post in mind for a while now, and was hoping to snap a picture this weekend to accompany it, but someone was missing and it wouldn’t have been complete.  This weekend, as some of you may have already heard, was a 30-something-year-old sleepover planned with myself, Jjiraffe and Esperanza.  At the last minute, Esperanza couldn’t make it, and hearts from Bodega southward sank.  I did for a split-second think about not going because of the distance, but had been looking forward to it all week, so I decided to hop in the car and go see my friend.  I needed a night with someone who I can be myself with, someone who I can laugh with and talk endlessly with.

But first, let’s rewind a little bit.  Actually, let’s rewind a lot bit.  Growing up, I didn’t have the greatest luck with female friendships.  I was a part of a group of girls from the very beginning, except I was the low one on the totem pole for reasons I’m still trying to figure out.  If I had to guess, it would have to do with the fact I cared a little too much for other people and wasn’t willing to be the jerk that talked behind the other girl’s backs or laugh to their face.  When I did, it felt wrong and I was filled with instant remorse.  So instead, I was the girl the jerks talked about behind my back and laughed at to my face.  And yet, I still stayed friends with them because I felt I had no other option.  Of course I did, but I lived in an extremely small town in Maine, and these were, after all, the cool kids.  Why wouldn’t I want to hang out with them?   Oh peer pressure, why are you such a bitch?

If I could go back and tell my then 6- to 17-year-old self anything, (yes, I remained friends with them for that long, and in some instances, still am friends, as thankfully, people grow) it would be to stand up for yourself.  Because you have heart and a conscience, it doesn’t make you a lesser person.  In fact, it does the opposite.  Because someone thinks something you do isn’t cool, screw them.  Do you think it’s cool?  Well good then, that’s all that matters.  I would also tell myself to spend more time with that sweet friend of yours with amazing talent, or that group of musicians you felt a pull towards, but just didn’t have the guts to break away for.

It wasn’t until I met my friend Liz at 13 that I really understood what it was like to have a real friend.  Someone who would stand-up for you and didn’t care what others thought while staying true to who she was despite what was cool.  Then once I was a Sophomore in college, I made an incredible group of girlfriends who are unrivaled to this day.  It is because of these friendships – and very much the first set – that I have a difficult time making friends as an adult.

After I moved to California, I met a group of girls who had already known each other for close to 10 years.  They had the kind of friendship I had with my college friends, and no matter how hard I tried, I never truly felt a part of their group.  They professed their love for me and tried to make me feel a part of it, but as a direct result of my earlier years, I often felt I was the one left out and the one talked about behind my back.  (I have no proof that this happened, and most likely, it did not, but those scars from my youth run deep – it’s nearly impossible for me to believe it’s not the truth.)  We’ve since had a bit of a falling out due to the last two years and what I’ve gone through, and it has made me re-evaluate what it is I recognize in a true friend.

Fast-forward to meeting Jjiraffe and Esperanza almost a year ago.  I had just started seeking out other bloggers who had gone through similar loss as I, and found both J and E* through ICLW.  Once I figured out both were in the Bay-area, the stalking commenced.  We eventually met and hit it off.  I knew instantly we’d be friends because in the short time I had known them, I was completely myself – something I had never been able to be with the girls here.  I’m sure it had a lot to do with what we had in common, and the fact they had been reading me for a few months before we even met (so they were essentially already inside my head), but I instantly felt like they were it – I had made the girlfriends I felt I so desperately needed here.  If it weren’t for the distance between us, I’d be begging these girls for twice-weekly get-togethers.

A few months ago, J and E had planned to get together for a sleepover and wanted me to join them.  Unfortunately, it was the very same weekend my friend Liz (from above) was in town visiting, so I wasn’t able to join.  I haven’t yet told them this, but as happy as I was to be with my friend Liz, the whole night they were together without me, I thought for sure they’d bond so much in that one night, they’d decide to leave me behind from then on.  The pangs from youth creep in and it’s so hard to shake that feeling that I’m once again being laughed at and talked about.  In my mind, they were now the cool kids and I was, once again, the low man on the totem pole (even though they didn’t once make me feel like that, it was 100% all in my head).  If I hadn’t of been with my best-friend at the time, it would have been an even more difficult night for me.

Then skip ahead further to this weekend, tables were turned and I was the one there and another couldn’t make it.  We ended up having a fantastic time.  I got to know Darcy and talk to him about food (my favorite subject) and blogs, I enjoyed the incredible food he made pizza we ordered, and even danced a silly dance in the hallway for her sweet twins.  Yes, we laughed a whole lot, but not once did we laugh at E for not being there or talk about her behind her back; instead, we Tweeted and texted with her all night until all of our phones died, feeling like someone was missing and that we weren’t complete. Then the fact she was having such a horrible night while we were together having a great time, just wasn’t right.  We needed to cheer her up and give her love and support, and we couldn’t.  This is why I was never truly like those girls.  It just didn’t feel right having one of us hurting so much.

I’m not sure my hang-ups with friendship will ever completely go away from inside of me, regardless of the people in question. But I do know that I’m now a part of these girl’s lives and feel absolutely blessed to have found them.  This community has not only given me support and love and friendships all over the world, it has now given me in-the-flesh** friendships that I hold dear to my heart.  These are the friends that if something went wrong and I needed someone, they’d be the first ones I’d call.  Or if something fantastic just happened, I’d want them to know immediately.

I have a feeling if given the chance to meet all of you out there that I now call friends, it would be a very similar story.  Except in our case, I would totally know if you were talking about me because you’d blog about it and then I’d totally write you an anonymous comment about how you’re a jerk-face and should die and you would have no idea it was me because it would be ANONYMOUS and all.

Because, as you can tell from my past, that’s totally the type of person I am.

(And E, please know that you were greatly, greatly missed, and I wish you had been there….but lucky for you, we’ve got an entire lifetime ahead of us.  This is only the beginning.)

Updated an hour or so later because this post isn’t quite long enough already: I just realized I left someone out, and that was not my intention.  I’ve also been able to meet Starfish Kitty Dreams, which has been equally as wonderful.  Hers was one of the first blogs I found on RPL and she helped to introduce me to the information available at a South-Bay university.  We’ve since met up a few times and have enjoyed one another (well, I guess I can’t speak for her, but I’ve enjoyed her company) and I felt a connection instantly to her as well.  One of these days, we’ll have to all 4 meet up!

Updated 10/24/11: I have also met Marie  and feel just as much love for her as I do these other women.  Unfortunately, when I wrote this, my mind was focused on Bay-area bloggers that I get to see regularly, and I unfairly left her out.  I hope that she accepts my apologies and know that I feel like an asshole.

* Do you ladies realize how difficult it is to type both of your names together over and over?  You couldn’t have just gone with Jane and Sally?  So you may just be called J and E from now on.  Hope that’s okay with you.  

** That made it sound kinda kinky.  No, it wasn’t that kind of sleepover.  Sheesh!

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34 Responses to “When blogger friendships become real-life friends.”

  1. slcurwin October 17, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Aw, I’m jealous. Little green head poking up over hear. I wish some of you guys lived closer to me (move to alberta people!). I’m still kicking myself that I haven’t been able to sit down with Elphaba when we pass through each others towns. It will happen eventually, I’m determind.

    It’s great that you got your sleep over and bonding time. Sounds like it was awesome.

    • bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 11:55 am #

      I’ll move to Alberta! Liz is Canadian, so I feel like I’m kind of already Canadian as I grew up with her VERY-Canadian parents. I wonder if I can throw in the word Canadian any more times into this paragraph. CANADIAN!

      And I didn’t end up sleeping over, actually. There was a very good reason involving a positive OPK that made me want to go home to “sleep.” Ahem.

      • Rachel @ Eggs In A Row October 17, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

        I know what you did Saturday night!

      • bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

        Hahahaha. Sounds like a new kind of scary movie — all based on freakishly insane women who monitor their bodily functions and force their partners to do it because IT’S THAT TIME! IT’S THAT TIME!

    • Elphaba October 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      I know! It’s insane that we haven’t been able to hook up yet. We have to make that a priority in 2012!

  2. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row October 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    For all of the crappy things the interwebs have given us, (see: Facebook), I can’t get over the community here. Ex 1: this whole three way exchange. Let’s just say that when something like this happened (as in, when I was Esperanza) no one went out of their way to show me that I was still so loved! (As she is!) And 2: Elphie’s upcoming baby shower. I spent ALL morning writing her post and I’m ITCHING to post. Dammit. 🙂

    xoxoxoxox

    • bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      I know, it’s pretty incredible, isn’t it?

    • Elphaba October 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

      Oh my! I can’t WAIT to read it!!

      • bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

        Shhhhhh! Get out of here! You’re not supposed to know this! 😛

    • cablearms October 18, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      i’m a bit shy writing about E’s shower… maybe because i barely know her (but i stalk her mind via her blog). isn’t that weird?

      • bodegabliss October 18, 2011 at 9:07 am #

        I’m always baffled by how much I know about so many bloggers I read, and yet I don’t know them at all! Nor do they know I read them. Ha!

        Don’t feel like you have to write anything on your blog if you don’t feel comfortable, she wouldn’t want you to do that. You could just go to her blog that day and send her some love if you want. There’s certainly no pressure to participate…we’ll still love you and want you here. I know I will! 🙂

  3. Jjiraffe October 17, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    Oh, I love this post soo much. You really hit the nail on the head with this. Why our friendships matter so much in general but also why our trio is so incredibly important to us all.

    Xoxo

  4. Elphaba October 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm #

    This is a wonderful post. During my formative years, I was always on the low spot on the totem pole too and I always wonder why. I think it’s why I sometimes have a hard time to getting close to people now.

  5. Esperanza October 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    My friendship history is so similar to yours, except my college friends and I have struggled a bit more and while I’m trying to rebuild those friendships, I doubt they will ever be what you have with your college friends. Those sound like some amazing ladies and I’m so glad you have them in your life.

    I’m also glad you have me in your life and that I have you. I can’t tell you what it means to have you and J in my life. I really don’t have anyone else I connect with in the same way, not even my college friends. I was beginning to think I couldn’t find anyone I could connect with like that and just meeting you both gave me hope that not only will I have you as friends for a long time to come, but that I might even meet other women who eventually become important to me. That is a huge thing for me to admit.

    I’m glad you guys had so much fun. The whole time I was stuck at home I kept thinking, at least they have each other. That made me happy at least.

    • bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

      That’s how I felt before I met you two as well. I figured I was doomed to find anyone to be close with here. I’m so glad that we’ve given you hope as a whole, that makes me really happy.

  6. Kristen October 17, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    This is such a great post! You all are soooooo lucky to be having sleepovers! I hope when I move out of Western Colorado (where nobody here is like me…I am so in a town where I don’t fit in…the girls here all get married and have babies at 18…not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m not really at the point where I can bond with 18 year olds who get pregnant by accident, you know?)
    Anyway, I hope when I move next spring back to some sort of city I’ll be able to meet some bloggers IRL. And how awesome would it be to end up in the Bay Area (unlikely but possible)?!? (Assuming you all would have me, and as the new girl I wouldn’t get shunned…lol, that’s my childhood trauma coming out…) That would be beyond fabulous… 🙂
    XO

  7. luna October 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm #

    such a fascinating read from all three perspectives.

    why is it so hard for grown women to develop new friendships with others? don’t know, but it is. I’ve had the same experience, esp with joining an old group of established friends. doesn’t matter how close you become, you never really feel part of the group.

    • bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

      Exactly! It just feels like it’s not even worth it in the end. I want a group of girlfriends where I feel 100% a part of them, that each of us are equal…and if that’s not the case, then it’s just not worth putting energy into in my opinion.

  8. bodegabliss October 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    I am not surprised to hear that so many of you had trouble with girlfriends in the past. I was just emailing with J that it’s just such a shame that this seems to be a universal thing with girls. We have such an ability to create powerful bonds, that it really sucks we don’t take advantage of that more often. That’s what is so amazing about this group. Overall, I think we’re very good about letting anyone in. If you know even an ounce of what this is like, or if you know someone who does, please, come join us. We want to ease the pain of anyone we can. It’s incredible. Think of all the things women could accomplish in this world if we would just put all of the crap aside and come together?

    • cablearms October 18, 2011 at 8:58 am #

      i was just going to say… it makes me feel better that i wasn’t the only one who had issues with girl friends. that was why i was a little hesitant with ICLW… you’ve planted a seed that may make me write about this too, thanks!

      • bodegabliss October 18, 2011 at 9:04 am #

        I completely understand the hesitancy. It’s like we’ve been programmed to expect to be shunned by any group of girls we come across. And you know who is to blame for that? US! WOMEN! We’re the only ones who have created that for us. And that’s such a shame.

        (Btw, this was the 1,000th comment on my blog! Yay! And your prize is…knowing you were my 1000th comment! Hehehe.)

  9. Lori Lavender Luz October 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm #

    If I were Queen of the World, I would decree that immediately upon earning a diploma (other than kindergarten), such activity would be banished: talking behind others’ backs.

    I enjoyed this 3-point perspective, and I hope you 3 get together soon. Heck, if I lived closer I would love to join you!

  10. slowmamma October 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    This is such a great story. I love getting to hear all the perspectives. It seems like there is just something about blogging that brings out the best in female relationships. Too bad it’s not the same irl – except maybe when we meet through blogging first? Wishing you three many many happy get-togethers in the future!

  11. chon October 17, 2011 at 6:24 pm #

    I feel like I am being enveloped by a warm blanket of love! I am lucky in the sense that I have some amazing IRL but even so, those feelings of being left out and hurt definitely happen throughout the formative years. But my bloggy / forum friends that I have made – nothing can even come close to what they have done for me. They just “get” you on an intimate level that your IRL friends can’t.

    Good luck on the +OPK as well – I will look forward to that blog post 🙂

  12. Justine October 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm #

    Love these posts, which remind me so much of Mel’s post a while back about female friendships. And so interesting that all of you have the same worry about rejection/being left behind … I suffer from that stubborn nagging worry, and wonder, why is it so hard to get rid of for women?

    Glad you were able to get together in part, and will all together in the future!

  13. Mo October 18, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    Seriously – INVITE ME NEXT TIME!! I’ll get on a plane! I swear! Soo jealous. 🙂

  14. embracingtherain October 20, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Friendships can be such a tricky thing. So glad you have been able to connect with all three of them irl.

  15. Marie October 23, 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    Um, dude, you met me once TOO.

    • bodegabliss October 24, 2011 at 8:09 am #

      Oh Marie, I certainly didn’t mean to leave you out….when I wrote this my mind was focused on Bay-area bloggers that I’ve met that I now see on a regular basis. Please accept my apology. You mean just as much to me, and I should have specified where my mind was at when I wrote this, and why I felt I needed to include Starfish. I’m so sorry!

  16. Brave IVF Girl October 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Just found your blog through the virtual baby shower for Elphaba. I’m also a bay area blogger. 🙂

    • bodegabliss October 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

      Oh hello, Brave IVF girl! We should coordinate some kind of Bay-area ALI blogger get-together! Thanks for saying hello!

  17. loribeth October 28, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    This is just too cool, being able to read three different takes on the same event. And I can totally relate to your comments & feelings about female friendship. I’ve had some great ones, but I’ve also had some serious disappointments.

    Hope you get to do this again — all THREE of you! — soon!

  18. Kathy November 8, 2011 at 10:35 am #

    I am here from the near future via Jjraffe’s Time Warp Tuesday post about meeting up with blogging friends offline. I am so glad she chose the post that she did this week, as though I know I read all three of your accounts at the time, for some reason I never actually commented (sorry).

    Count me in to the chorus of commentors who also struggled with friendships over the years. I just gave a talk/witness on a women’s retreat at my church this weekend in which I shared in part about how my friendships and self esteem evolved over the years. I was always a people-pleaser, wanted everyone to like me and cared way too much what other’s thought of me. I am still this way at times, but not as much as I used to be. Like you I didn’t feel like I had a “real” friend until I got to Jr. High and my closest friends to this day are ones that I met in college and more recently in the neighborhood where we live and started our family.

    That said, I am still amazed that though most of my adult female relationships are fairly mature, supportive and filled with unconditional love, there are instances where I feel those childhood/teenage dynamics with the “cool kids/mean girls” factor in and allow me to question my self worth again.

    I am so glad that you J and E have found each other and share such a wonderful bond. It was so interesting and thought-provoking to read all three of your P.O.V. on that evening and I hope, that if you haven’t already since, that your next girls night in or out is close on the horizon! I would love to have the opportunity to join in sometime too, if I didn’t live so far away. But maybe someday?! If I am visiting the Bay Area? Which I haven’t in almost 10 years, but you never know… 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Time Warp Tuesdays: Blogging Besties « Stumbling Gracefully - November 9, 2011

    […] myriad people would be reading it along with the witty and reflective submissions by Jjirrafe and Bodega Bliss. My post was a ranting vent of a thing written in the throes of an intense and unrelenting pity […]

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