My Voice — In Response to Rainbow

In order for this to make any sense, you need to read this article — Rainbow:  Online Friendships Have Unspoken Language.

Okay, I know some of you — probably most of you — won’t bother to read that so I’ll summarize.  Rainbow postulates that our instant connectedness via social media (Facebook, Twitter, and the like) can indeed build some genuine and real relationships, contrary to what some are saying, that is, that social media “is making us bad at friendship.”  She writes about a friend named Bethany and their relationship.

There you have it, in a nutshell.  I still think you should read the original article.

In a Facebook discussion of the article, my name was thrown into the mix, saying that blogs allow us to build community with one another even though we are miles apart.  Oh, how true that is!  I have found, through the internet, a passel of people walking the Alzheimer’s Road.  Through the internet, we can walk together, encouraging one another, being encouraged by one another.

A funny thing happened though, in the catharsis of writing about my mother’s Alzheimer’s;  suddenly, I found a voice.  I found a voice that could speak of so many things that had been locked inside my heart and mind.

For fifty years of my life I struggled to express myself.  I can count on one hand the people, outside my family of course, that I can talk to without my heart pounding and my mouth going dry.  And even then, even with my dearest of friends, I get tongue-tied.   My poor husband, having spent thirty years with me, struggles to understand me.  Since I started to blog, he has said more than once that he feels like he knows me so much better having read my thoughts.

I think we all have different voices. Some people verbalize very easily.  They can be quick, witty, pithy, succinct.  If you ask them a question, they answer.  No big deal.

But expecting everyone to be able to verbalize like that is like expecting all children to read at the same age.  Or learn calculus.  We are all different.  While most people will eventually learn to read, it definitely comes easier to some than others, and some of us may never learn calculus.

Madonna and Child With Saints by Girolamo dai Libri
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Writing is my voice.  When I watched Jill Phillips sing at Hutchmoot last year, she poured herself into her music.  I remember thinking, this is her voice.  When I visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art last spring, I sat for nearly an hour in front of a painting of a laurel tree.  It spoke to me of peace and wholeness;  the artist, Girolamo dai Libri, used canvas and paint for his voice, and could speak through centuries.

Some people may never find their voice.  If I hadn’t started blogging, I would have kept a journal, but a journal is a one-sided conversation, and I would have missed out on the community.

All of which brings me back to Rainbow and her friendship with Bethany.  It may not look like a friendship that Laura Ingalls Wilder would have had, or even that Tolkien and Lewis had in the original Rabbit Room. But it’s real.  And for some of us, it gives us the opportunity to finally be part of the conversation.

15 thoughts on “My Voice — In Response to Rainbow

  1. Thank you, Sally, for expressing so well my feeling, too. Different problems, but the result is the same-love, comfort and understanding from people who are walking the walk or been there, done that. Having the support of people on FB, no matter how far away, kept me calm through the open heart surgery I had last February. It was a vast improvement over the anxiety attacks that hit me over the course of my botched hysterectomy six years before and the subsequent surgeries to fix that. Your feeling is mine, exactly; I’ll take the chance to talk it out with people who understand any old day.

    • Oh, Alyssa — I had no idea you were going through those things! Yes, the support we can get on the internet from people who have had similar experiences is invaluable.

  2. So true..I, too, found a voice in blogging, despite already being verbal – although sadly, pithy doesn’t describe me very well:-)

    Blogging is indeed a conversation. I’ve never thought of it that way, but it’s exactly right.

    Thank you, Sally!! I had no idea about your heart pounding!!

    You are so dear.

    • I think, Susan, that my anxiety has gotten much worse the older I get, so maybe my heart wasn’t pounding too terribly much 28 years ago.

  3. I agree! Social media can be a drain and substitute too much for real-life interaction, but I’ve met so many wonderful people like yourself through blogging. It’s been very rewarding as I’m much more comfortable communicating in writing than verbally.

  4. Sally–thank you for the article (yes, I read it, and yes, I loved it–and, yes, I was not going to read it until you mentioned I should a second time! What you say here is so true, so beautiful. I rediscovered my voice, after having lost it for a long time–and I am also honored to have found your voice (and other wonderful voices, and the people they belong to) through blogging on this site!

  5. I’ve met some great people through blogging and social media networking. It’s a different kind of relationship from more conventional friendships, but it’s a great support at times.

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