When I started writing and blogging almost three years ago I thought it going to be a mostly solitary affair. As a lifelong introvert with a passion for writing, I thought that writing was something that one most often does alone, and that was the way I liked it. The idea of toiling away in a semi-lit room with just myself, my thoughts and my computer was appealing to me, and even seemed a little romantic.
Yes, I was writing to be read, but mostly, I was writing for myself. I was writing because writing has always been my favorite form of expression. It has always been the way that I order my thoughts, make sense of the world, and make other people understand me. I have never been very good at talking through what was in my head, but give me a pen or put me in front of a computer, and as if by magic, it all appears on the page or the screen.
So I started blogging. I started writing down all of those thoughts in a place that has become a kind of time capsule. A place where I document my life, the good and the bad. A place I will be able to return to over the years and remember exactly how it was when I moved to the suburbs. When I finished a half marathon and then another one. When really bad things happened in the world. When history was made. When my family grew. And blogging fit me like the proverbial glove.
But blogging is not at all the solitary activity that I once thought it would be.
Because once I started taking it seriously, I found an entire community of people who do what I do. Who write down their thoughts and put them out into the world for anyone and everyone to read. And I become a part of this community. And it became a part of me.
The women I have met since I started blogging are smart, thoughtful and hugely talented, and they opened their arms to me and drew me into their mysterious and wonderful world. They read my writing, and I read theirs. I learned about them and they learned about me. And they become my friends; friends just as real and true as any I have ever made in my life.
Their friendship has made me think, and has made me happy. And more than anything, it has made me brave. Brave enough to keep sharing pieces of myself. To keep telling my story. Because their friendship has also made me understand that there is a power in telling our stories and in sharing that connection with another person. Because, more often than not, there is someone else out there who has already walked the road we are walking; who can take our hand and show us the way.
These women have shown me the way.
Some of these friendships have stayed online with conversations on blogs, and e-mails, and promises to meet if we ever find ourselves in the same city at the same time. And some of them have jumped from the digital world to the real world, with phone calls and text messages and dinners with long, winding conversations. But all of them are special, and all are important.
And for them, I'm grateful.