My Friends Who I Haven’t Met

I follow 49 blogs. I don’t know if that sounds like a lot of blogs or like I’m not really trying. It is tough to keep up with everyone but I regularly review the list and cull the ones I don’t read, which typically results in my following and reading blogs that I really want to read every day.

I was out of town this past weekend so had a ton of catching up to do.

According to WordPress, I followed Magically Mad 6 days and 18 hours ago. I also followed her other blog, A Little Kid in Boston 6 days and 11 hours ago.

I know Magically Mad’s name is Jill. She has been married since she was 17 but I don’t know how old she is now. She has five kids. She has at least two teenage daughters. Magically Mad Jill had a horrific childhood and suffers terribly from the demons in her head. She’s funny. She’s smart. She’s recently been in a hospital for psychiatric care.

Yesterday morning I was reading Magically Mad. She had an awards post and she had told me I was going to get one so I had to go check and I did! I kept scrolling through her posts I had missed and I realized something wasn’t right; the tone had changed and she was quitting. I was puzzled and nervous. I thought maybe for the summer? or she didn’t want to write anymore? And then she spelled it out for her readers, Sunday Jill tried to kill herself.

Yesterday I sat at my desk reading her lonely, angry, despairing post and I cried. I cried for Magically Mad and her kids and her husband and her lost childhood.

I don’t know her. I know her writing, at least as much as I have read in less than a week. I know her words. I know some of her stories. Magically Mad is an overwhelming and frightening blog, but it is mesmerizing. I physically recoiled while reading A Little Kid in Boston. Jill has a gift and she has a curse.

Yesterday, I kept going back to Jill’s post and checking the number of comments and it didn’t change for hours. Where had she gone? When the comment number went up, I went and checked but it wasn’t her; it was someone else reaching out to her. I prayed she hadn’t finally succeeded in ridding herself of her pain but I would understand if she had. Nothing. I don’t know her but I prayed for her and I cared what happened to Magically Mad Jill and her children. I dreamt about her.

I’m sure there are plenty of people out there reading this thinking, “Jeez Maggie, get a life. Stop cyber stalking a blogger on the other side of the country.”

Oh well, that’s what I do. I haven’t met Magically Mad but I have lived in Boston and she is from Boston and lives in the ‘burbs somewhere. I am a mother. I’m Irish. We have things in common. And I read her words and her pain and I felt for her. Her writing makes me care about her and I’m not the only one.

I teared up with relief this morning when I saw she had posted.

People tease me about my little blog community but it is what it is and I like us. People tell me, “You know if you really met them, you probably wouldn’t like them, have anything in common, etc.” I get that. But maybe we would.

When I was in grade school, I had a pen pal in Ireland named Brona Conway. I have never met Brona but she was my friend for years. I still have the letters.

So what is this community? Aren’t we like pen pals?

We are all writers, perhaps not published but we need to write and so we do. We write stories. We write our truths and our lies. We write the good, the bad, the funny, the sad, the boring, the new, the old. We write words, we play with words, we speak as we type, we read and experiment and savor words. We pick our favorites. We have our cliques. We play games. We give, receive and create awards.

We support each other on bad days and celebrate the good ones. Marriages, careers, children, binges, purges, parties, funerals, gay, straight, young, old, black, white, left, right, mad, “sane”.

Sure, to some, it’s just a silly little blogging community but it is also just friends who haven’t met.


62 thoughts on “My Friends Who I Haven’t Met

  1. Maggie,
    I am back. And I couldn’t pass beside this post without saying anything… Love, love Magically Mad. That’s all. Have a good day. Cheers. Bye now.
    Le Clown

  2. This says it well. I think would be genuinely sad to lose contact with some people from here. It makes me want to be creepy and add them on Facebook just incase anyone gets any big ideas about drunkenly deleting their blog (I almost did because I’m crazy haha).

    Don’t go anywhere, future me!

  3. I just went to her blog and read that post and all the comments. Heartbreaking and very upsetting. Struggling with mental illness has got to be one of the toughest things there is, and I admire her honesty, as chilling as it is. This is a community for sure, even if it isn’t face to face. And really, how many of us see even our “real life” friends face to face that often? I probably will never meet the vast majority of bloggers I see around here but I’ve grown to care about them or what happens to them and their families too. I like the way you put that—they’re just friends we haven’t met yet.

  4. At the end of the day, we are relating to people. We may not see one another face to face, or hear one another’s voices over a phone. The voices we do hear, however, seem clearer and nearer. Thanks for caring, Maggie.

  5. Sometimes I’ve heard a blogger’s voice and then was slightly disappointed because the voice I gave them in my head was sooo much different. But I’ve met a few and was immediately comfortable with them…as if all the awkward ice-breaking didn’t exist.
    I feel the same way when a blogger disappears…I worry.

  6. Maggie, I know exactly what you are saying …. and I have to say when you “checked in” with me last week, I was so heartened in a big and positive way! I so appreciated your little note of “where are you”? We do develop relationships here in our cyberworld – friendships, whatever you want to call them, because we DO connect with other people on different and personal levels …. happy 4th to you and everyone out there in the blogsphere!

  7. Wow, that is very sad, Maggie. I know what you mean about having all these friends — it’s kind of strange the way we all reach out to one another, talk, laugh and kid around. I’ve not had this experience you had, it must feel very disconcerting for you. But it seems like since you’re expressed all this, you now have a huge circle of “friends” who are thinking good thoughts for this friend of a friend of a friend, so I’ll just bet (and not trying to make light of this or anything), but good thoughts and prayers work, so I think that’s what this is and it does make a difference! Show your kind spirit and the kind of “friend” you are. Glad to count you as one of mine. (I had a penpal when I was little too). Glad to know your blogging friend is okay.

    Hope you and yours have a wonderful 4th. :).

  8. Maggie, I don’t even know what to say, I am overwhelmed by your mental & emotional generosity. I am so touched, & I also feel so terrible that I hurt so many of my online friends with my “style”.

    You’re absolutely right, well, I guess that was the point of my award post but also I feel like WordPress is a place more than anything else. A place where we encounter all kinds of things that we otherwise wouldn’t, and strangers who enjoy one another’s company & care about each other whether they’ve met in person or not. And that’s a dynamite thing.

    I’m really sorry I scared you. I had SO many comments that I would log on & respond, & then log on & not bc no words would come. Thank you so much for caring. A bunch of people are now following the other blog – thanks to you – so I had to just make it password free. Thanks for the press!

    Really giant hugs – you lived in Boston? Where? My family is from JP. I am 38, married 2x. I think that’s all. A ton more on FB if you want to add me, I put the address up above, but here it is again:

    One of my clans is Conways!!!! Hooray!

    Thanks again & more apologies & many more hugs.

    Love, j

  9. What can be more natural than forming attachments to people you get to know, whether face-to-face or word-to-word? We all give little bits of ourselves every time we write, whether intentional or not, and it’s human to understand that. I feel for the people I follow, and hope that people feel for me. We’re all human, after all.

  10. It’s funny I never really thought about it this way, but it’s totally true. Ever since I started doing this, I’ve really got to know a lot of different people via their blogs. And they say the internet is slowly making us less social. I guffaw at that. Thanks for writing this.

  11. I LOVE this post. Why? Because you basically summed up everything I’m feeling. I really think that relating to each other in this way is very raw or pure, for lack of better words. Maybe it’s just me, but I honestly think that the people I’m drawn to are people I would like, outside of blogging. I feel like I can see the essence of who everyone is. Their spirit. The idea that people would create a false persona, being phony or fake, is possible, but wouldn’t that be a lot of work? What would be the point?

    I think we cross each other’s paths for a reason. C.S. Lewis said, “We read to know we’re not alone.” I think we blog for the same reason.

    I’ve been a mental health therapist for many moons and I can tell you that this is a wonderfully therapeutic tool for someone who needs to safely air their nightmarish childhood and a great place to feel loved and get validated. So many of my clients feel they’re all alone in what they’re thinking and experiencing – blogging is a great place to safely “get it out” and then be positively reinforced for having done so.

    I know, I’m rambling. My husband endured a terrible childhood and became a writer. He says he needs to “rage on he page.” I know it’s helped him tremendously.

    I’m glad your friend is okay. Maybe encourage her to keep writing, as it will continue to be a safe outlet for her to express her pain– with the added bonus of having a quality person like you care deeply for her : )

  12. Beautiful post Maggie! Everything you said about the blogging community is true, at least for me. I’m compelled to write but I know I wouldn’t still be blogging if I had not found so many kindred spirits online.

  13. I feel so strongly about this blogging community!!! I don’t follow nearly as many blogs as you, or as many as I want to, but I’m already finding it hard to keep up with reading every single post from everyone, and feel generally bad when I miss one. Since moving, I feel like I haven’t made that many friends yet, but then I think back to wordpress and I feel like I have so many amazing friends. I don’t know about you, but what started for me as a personal project has turned into something so much more due to the amazing people I’m connecting with.

  14. Pingback: Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: A Braggadocious Friday | ROAM ABOUT MIKE

  15. Lovely post. And you’re so right about this strange and alluring and rewarding blogging community. I am new but already feeling the warmth of writing and reading. I will check out more of your blog, as Roam About Mike had some great things to say,…

  16. Great post. I’ve only been blogging a short time, but people do share more of themselves like this, and you can get to know people and make friends you never would otherwise. Thank you for your thoughts~

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