This is a question I am sure my self of a couple of years ago would be asking right now. And perhaps a few other people too. There are also some of you who have have a fair idea of why I’m writing a blog as you’ve encouraged, suggested, supported, and patiently waited for me to do this, and you may perhaps wonder why it’s even a question? Let me explain…
Firstly, I’m not a writer. That might come as a shock to anyone who has exchanged emails with me, but by nature, as a creative outlet or means of expression - writing has never been my thing. Writing has always been my sister’s love, something other people do, and something I did only if I had to. It was also something my therapist suggested I try on a number of occasions, which I responded to with less than luke-warm enthusiasm, emphasizing my previous points. Until I found myself in the unfamiliar situation of having a swirl of thoughts in my head, yet being unable to verbalize a single one of them. Before I knew it the cyclone in my head was a flurry of words on paper, and somehow they seemed to align themselves in a way that made sense, where previously I could find none. Gradually I have come to understand the value of writing as a tool of communication and expression; a way of clarifying thoughts and ideas. In a purely creative sense, I will always favour pens, pencils and paintbrushes - but I now also appreciate the power of words in the written form.
The second thing you need to know is that I’m not by nature an online person. Something that you might find that hard to believe knowing me now, but stepping back just a few years I didn’t even have a permanent email address! The internet was simply a tool that I had little time or use for. As different things in my life changed, so did the purpose I found in the online world. Today it’s plays a part in everything from my work, to my creativity and inspiration to staying in touch with friends all over the world.
The internet cops a fair bit of flak where friendship’s concerned. And not without reason. When we count friends as a number, and refer to ‘real life friends’ and ‘online friends’, as though there isn’t actually a person behind a screen typing away, we instantly devalue these connections and invest less in these friendships we don’t call ‘real’. There can be a frightening disconnect from words and actions online, but just because someone isn’t standing in front of you, it doesn’t mean that what you say and do and the way you treat people doesn’t matter. The truth is that the internet at it’s most basic level is just a communication medium – NOT a measuring stick indicator of friendships. The value is in the content of communication – NOT the medium over which it’s communicated. And when there is value in the content, the internet also becomes the facilitator of connections that distance would otherwise make almost impossible.
The things through which we form connections online are not so different from the things that connect us offline: The music we love; the art we create; the words that inspire us and so much more. The difference is that the internet is boundless; yet at the same time, it can bridge the distance that may separate like-minded souls who in the physical world may never meet. In sharing the things that move us most, we share parts of our story – who we are – and this truly is the heart of connection.
And that is largely what this blog is about. Through the things I love, the experiences I’ve had, and the beliefs I’ve come to hold, I’ve stumbled across universal connections with people I’ve never met, yet almost feel I might have known my entire life. All of these things that make up my unique story, are also what connects me to countless other people on this planet; this is a space to share and grow that connection and inspire life, because as the amazing Brene Brown says, “Connection is why we’re here; it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.”