I carry your heart with me

I have been giving this a lot of thought ever since I started getting readers/commenters who, more often than not, became friends:

Why do the relationships I have forged online with people I have never met often feel a lot more authentic, real and immediate than those in real life?

This was what Wicked Shawn and I talked about yesterday when we met for the first time.

Me: We have just met. Why do I feel so close to you already?

Shawn: But honey (in her sweet sweet Kentucky twang. *melting*) we have known each other for a long time!

She’s right of course.

Just because we communicate by words, over the Internet, it does not make the connections any less valid. People used to have pen pals. Did they feel embarrassed when they told their family and friends about their pen pals? Did they worry about being mocked when they traveled to meet their pen pals in real life?

In fact, y’all know me, what I really think, what I value, my fears, my aspirations, and yes, my neurosis, a lot better than 99% of the people I know in real life. You may not know the names of my husband and children, you may not know where I live or what my house looks like, but you know the “real” me. I am not saying that in my “physical” life I am walking around faking or pretending. My existence here as words in the Interwebs is the essence of my being. Stripped of all adornments.

Well, I am going to contradict myself: sometimes when I think about this whole thing, I see this as my essence being digitized and so I am seeing all of us running around like Tron… So maybe not stripped of ALL adornments because you know, we’d be all carrying a flying disc…

Here, I am not so and so’s wife. So and so’s mother. Weird Asian lady who lives next door. My odd co-worker I have to put up with. The woman who works for/with me. The person who could not pronounce “Doug” (Thank you all!). The person who also apparently cannot pronounce “Don/Dawn” but somehow can “Shawn”. etc. etc.

You get to know me before your judgement/impression/evaluation/or whatever it is that people do when they meet a person of me is influenced by any visual or audio cues.

And this is why when we finally met (and hopefully meet) each other, after the first 30 seconds of awkwardness, we are going to behave as if we have known each other, like, forever.

I just want to thank each and every one of you that has ever visited, commented or emailed me; you have contributed to my improved mental health and self-esteem. The therapy sessions are working, and they are free! Thank you for letting me mooch off of you… Sometimes when life gets me down, I think to myself, “Hey there are people who actually think I am fucking awesome!”

Case in point: Attending conferences by myself is one of my worst fears. Today I had to do so for work. First I was afraid / I was petrified/ But then something clicked: I remembered my “secret identity” as the coolest awesome ass-kicking hot babe that you somehow led me to believe. (Fine. So what if I made the avatar myself? You are a bunch of enablers a girl can ever ask for!) So I behaved as one.

I carry with me your blind faith in me like a protective shield as I go about my daily life.


happy birthday, e. e. cummings.

Disclaimer: I look nothing like the avatar I made.

Article by Absence Alternatives

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{ 58 comments… add one }
  • MacDougal Street Baby October 15, 2010, 5:06 am

    Is that an ice pick your avatar is sporting? Very intriguing.

    As it happens, your blog is the first one I came across when starting my own. I like your presence. I like your kvetching. And I like your anonymity. So, while I’m in no position to say, “You’re Welcome,” allow me to be the first to say, “Thank YOU.”

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:09 pm

      It is a shank. 🙂 And of course it is all in my head. In real life I am this sweet sweet cherry blossom. Oh wait. That is in my head too.

      Thank YOU!

  • Andrea October 15, 2010, 5:11 am

    And to know you is to love you, like I do. 🙂

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:10 pm

      You know what I have been humming for the last 5 minutes right?!

      Ear worm. Thanks m’lady. 😉

  • Wicked Shawn October 15, 2010, 6:59 am

    There is nothing you cannot accomplish when you know there are people who believe in you. You know there are people who believe in you. A large group of individuals, both in your daily life and here, who know your thoughts, feelings and inner workings of your mind, and know your for the beautiful, thoughtful, and brilliant woman you are!!!
    You totally carry my heart with you!!!! I knew there was a reason I couldn’t find it around here anywhere!
    Wicked Shawn´s last blog post…It’s a Beautiful Fucking World

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:11 pm

      If not for the luck of the draw, I would not have come to know all of you. I am blessed and I am grateful.

  • Robin October 15, 2010, 7:26 am

    That poem always makes me tear up, I have so many online friends I adore in a way I don’t many friends that live down the street.
    Robin´s last blog post…Going Fishing

  • Tom G. October 15, 2010, 7:48 am

    Aw shucks… you got me all teary and sentimental this morning. Wonderful post, and terrific question. I ponder this all the time. Mrs. 20 Prospect doesn’t blog or use social and she can’t understand why I feel such a need to share with the people I connect with over the Interwebz. I haven’t been able to explain it to her. How it somehow gives me strength and self confidence to know that people I have never met, like me and value me for who I am, just by sharing silly notes, and raw emotions in little typed messages. Now I think I’ll just have her read this post!
    Tom G.´s last blog post…Bella Ragazza

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:14 pm


      Thank you so much for this comment because my huab does not get it either. Although he quickly stopped complaining as soon as he realized that the craziness in me has been largely contained ever since I started blogging… LOL

  • dufmanno October 15, 2010, 8:05 am

    I love the fact that you turned out to be even more spectacular than I ever imagined.
    The person behind the words is a supernova and you KNOW I wouldn’t blow smoke up your ass and top it off with a freshly picked daisy so that’s the truth.
    p.s. I now officially need to meet Wicked because she should have been in NY with us. This is a tragedy I need to rectify.
    dufmanno´s last blog post…Accidental Recovery

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:15 pm

      *blush* The same thing could be said to all of you that I have ever met!

      p.s. Yes. Mush!

  • Technobabe October 15, 2010, 8:46 am

    Just being yourself online and letting it all hang out is so freeing. And there is something solid about the friendships made online in blogland.
    Technobabe´s last blog post…Polishing My Toenails

  • TheKitchenWitch October 15, 2010, 9:15 am

    I need your attitude–and maybe an avatar that I can use as my brave alter-ego when I’m stuck in a corner at conventions, terrified.

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:19 pm

      I am not sure conjuring up a cartoon figure is a recommended practice by mental health professionals… But it works for me!

  • Jack October 15, 2010, 9:28 am

    Time for a group hug. Those conventions are all sorts of fun.
    Jack´s last blog post…A Better Way To Commute- The Human Monorail

  • Elly Lou October 15, 2010, 12:16 pm

    I carry you with me every day, around my neck. Not like an albatross though. I love my necklace. When I have four readers, I touch it and think, “Someone wonderful and smart and passionate values me. Someone I’m proud to know.” And I feel better. But that could because I’m usually drinking at that point.
    Elly Lou´s last blog post…Hello My Uke Time Gal

  • pattypunker October 15, 2010, 12:48 pm

    truer words have never spoken! these connections are more genuine and valuable to me than many of my RL ones. i’ve never met so many like-minded people who give me strength, make me laugh from the gut, tickle me pink, inspire me, and who i’m dying to meet and spent time with regularly. i want to trade in all of my RL friends for the glitter gang bangers. i want to marry all of you.

    i pinky promise that i’ll love you forevs. and you are the epic epicness!
    pattypunker´s last blog post…corporate executives can blow me

  • Randa October 15, 2010, 2:36 pm

    That’s all.
    Randa´s last blog post…Writing for the Sake of Writing

  • Meg at the Members Lounge October 15, 2010, 3:44 pm

    What a nice tribute! I think you posted a few months back about being on vacation and missing
    your blog. I always feel like it’s a friend I miss when I am away, and I can’t wait to get back to it and find out how all my friends are doing! I’ve been lucky enough to meet a few people in my little blog world, and it’s always been a complete joy. As was meeting you “on-line”!
    Meg at the Members Lounge´s last blog post…I Can’t Help Myself Friday The Co-Worker Edition

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:28 pm

      Same here. I don’t have the mental analytical power to write a real post pondering why there seems to be a “prejudice” against friendships forged over the Internet when people used to go ooo and ahhh over pen pals. I just want to say “Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning!”


  • SisterMerryHellish October 15, 2010, 5:13 pm

    I loved you before we ever spoke via comments and before you became Lin, the awesome ass-kicking hot blog-button tutor! WHEN we meet, because I’m sorry, that just has to happen, if you see me hesitate before hugging the crap out of you, that’s me being in awe…of you.

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:30 pm

      *blushing* *really blushing*

      Wait. Do you mean that I should make sure to wear an adult diaper when we are going to finally see each other? Note to self…

  • secret agent woman October 15, 2010, 6:06 pm

    It’s really true, we do all know each other already.
    secret agent woman´s last blog post…Youre getting sleeeeeeepy

  • Unknown Mami October 15, 2010, 6:08 pm

    I love that poem.

    Just so you know, I carry your heart with me.
    Unknown Mami´s last blog post…Fragmented Fridays On Dreams

  • jen October 15, 2010, 9:33 pm

    love that poem, and growing to love you too! thank you for your words of kindness.

  • Nina October 16, 2010, 6:22 am

    just because i don’t always leave comments doesn’t mean i’m not waiting for your beautiful writings. and i carry your heart as i live my life here.
    Nina´s last blog post…Kita- Anak-Anak dan Dunia

  • writerwoman61 October 16, 2010, 6:35 am

    Thanks so much for this piece, Lin! I think it’s true for most of us, especially women (although I have some kickass male friends too!). I continually marvel at my amazing blogger friends…the support they provide for me and my writing is constant and immediate. Of my almost 200 Facebook friends (who are all people I know in “real life”), probably not more than 10% of them read my blog regularly…this hurts! My thought is, “If they really cared about me, they would read it!”

    I would love to meet you some day, Lin…I’m sure neither of us would be at a loss for words!

    writerwoman61´s last blog post…The Things I’ve Done For Charity…

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:43 pm

      Would love to meet you too! I already have it all planned: Your bookstore. Me “guest” working there for one day. LOL.

  • Diane Laney Fitzpatrick October 16, 2010, 5:07 pm

    Thanks for the e. e. cummings fix! I haven’t read any of his poems for some 20 years. A blast from the past. Appreciate it.
    Diane Laney Fitzpatrick´s last blog post…Lets Get Physical

  • Mary Lee October 16, 2010, 8:56 pm

    It’s strange… just today I was looking at birthday cards in the bookstore and the message on a card by someone named Flavia said, I KEEP YOU IN THE COMPANY OF MY HEART.

    I thought that was so lovely that I bought the card and now here you have expanded on that thought by writing this lovely post.

    I’ve told you before… You are such a sweetheart!!!! Hugs!
    Mary Lee´s last blog post…Bare for a Bear in the Woods

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:45 pm

      I was all “awwww” then I noticed the name Flavia then I was like “What the…?” than I saw the last line and then I was all like HUGS!

  • A Vapid Blonde October 16, 2010, 11:21 pm

    I am still miffed that I missed the mini conference you and Shawn had. But Holy Hell woman you are so damn right. I felt so at ease meeting you and the entire GGB’s it was such a complete revelation. I thouht I would be hiding in fear wearinga jet black wig…but nope!

    Shawn is right. We have all known each other fo a long time.
    A Vapid Blonde´s last blog post…The Worries Inside

  • vanilla north October 17, 2010, 7:27 am

    One day… one day I will meet you all…
    I dream about it sometimes, and it feels right, and it feels good to have you around.
    vanilla north´s last blog post…thursday night quotes

    • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:47 pm

      Yes one day! For sure your company could send you here for some sort of business meeting or even conference some time, right? And soon?


  • Nance October 17, 2010, 5:41 pm

    Boy, this was good for me to read today. And I’m late showing up for it, but the timing couldn’t be better from my perspective.

    You see, I’ve had a couple of relatives scold and/or shun me lately for my religious and political proclivities. And, last night, my dearest cousin, who has been like my sister since we were tiny, absolutely let me HAVE it for focusing on politics lately, for choosing to be vegan, for…well, for not being more like her, I guess. And I responded sweetly but it stung. ‘Cause I’ve been supportive of her always, no matter what.

    So I couldn’t agree more, dear. My blog buddies know me for what I write and they show up for it. That means that sometimes all these ones and zeros really are as “thick” as blood. And for the shy ones like you and me? Like water in the desert.
    Nance´s last blog post…Cool- Cooler- Coolest

  • Absence Alternatives October 17, 2010, 10:51 pm

    That was my fear and why I started blogging and why I had to go anonymous. I cannot even post too many links to HuffPost on my personal Facebook page…

    Perhaps it is true that in real life I am just not cool enough… Because I do not know anybody as cool as you guys in real life! And of course, as soon as I have met some of you, now yes I do know cool people in real life. YEAH!

    So m’lady, after your trip to the Restore Sanity Rally in DC? I need to meet you in real life so I can say, I know somebody who went to the asskicking rally!!!!!

  • Vodka and Ground Beef October 17, 2010, 11:45 pm

    Just know that I will be like your personal bodyguard. True, I’m not very physically strong, but what does that matter when I’m gifted with words? I will just repeat the classic, “Sticks and stones . . .” if anyone ever messes with you.

    That’s just who I am – a fan of you.
    Vodka and Ground Beef´s last blog post…Why I’m a Youth Mentor

    • Absence Alternatives October 25, 2010, 1:31 am

      (I don’t know why my first response did not show up: probably too mushy and broke Wordpress…) Thank you for the offer to be my personal body guard. THAT WOULD BE SO COOL because I am totally imagining you wearing Lady Gaga’s meat suit!

      I am competitive so Imma gonna say this: I am a BIGGER fan of yours. So there!

  • Jane October 18, 2010, 11:04 am

    You are, without a doubt, one of my favorite blogging buddies ever! And this post has wrapped up so beautifully what I have thought a million times. Ending it with my favorite poet – and one of my favorite poems? Perfect! I heart you!
    Jane´s last blog post…10 Ways To Avoid Writing A Blog Post

  • Justine October 18, 2010, 1:40 pm

    Only you would come up with a post like that in honor of the fabulous e. e. cummings. Many people adopt a persona for their online life and I somehow imagine that you took the opposite route with your blog here. What we read here is the real you, and it’s no wonder that I felt so comfortable talking to you when I met you. Like you (or Shawn said) I’ve known you longer than the few minutes we shared in conversation that day. And it was wonderful to see that person, so genuine and authentic online, is the same in real life.
    Justine´s last blog post…Things that make you go hmm…

    • Absence Alternatives October 18, 2010, 11:05 pm

      Thank you. Same here. ONLY you don’t talk about how gorgeous you are. No matter, I’ll do it for you. 🙂

  • Kernut the Blond October 18, 2010, 1:57 pm

    Awww shucks, you made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I *heart* you, too, my bloggin’ sister! Much love and bloggy goodness! 🙂

  • dbs October 18, 2010, 9:33 pm

    There’s no one like e.e. cummings. I first read e.e. cummings in Grade 11 and I still sign my name in lower case. If a poet can have that much affect, so can our fellow bloggers.
    dbs´s last blog post…Memory Lane Meanderings

    • Absence Alternatives October 18, 2010, 11:07 pm

      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting! Exactly: no one quite like e.e. cummings.

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