Written by: ViR
Friendships simply do not come easy for me. This isn’t only due to lack of trust, but my basic personality is extremely independent and doesn’t want for many around me. I could share that I had an extremely hard time in middle school (like MANY other people) with bullying, boundaries being crossed, and me withdrawing from females as a go-to for friendship, trust, love and support. I could share that I have had a few loyal friends around me at a time, and that they have come and go, and some have come back in new ways. I could share that I am cautious with new people, and honestly feel protective of my inner circle. I could share that I don’t “need” people around me; that I like to rely on myself, and don’t need a support system. All of these are true in ‘small’ ways, however, not entirely the entire picture of how I view and approach friendships, support systems, and a sense of community in my adult life.
I entered recovery and decided I would approach friendships and support systems very differently than I had in the past. I decided I wanted people I could respect and admire, who inspired me, respected my boundaries, and understood and accepted who I am (NOT accepting any bad behavior! There is a difference). Since moving to Boston, I left all my friends, family, and support systems I had in place to start a new journey, to a new place (a new world) with a man I had only dated for a year. As an independent person this didn’t freak me out, I am not needy in friendships, and knew the friends that mattered would keep in touch (and I with them), and those who did not were wonderful for a period in my life, and I would be grateful, and let them go as they approached their own journey.
Once in Boston, life became very different, busy, challenging, and often isolating. Having only my guy to go to, this put stress on me and our relationship. I needed something more. I started “tweeting” as a way to connect with other people in recovery, and it soon developed into ViR.
I have learned MANY lessons from social media and friendships I have made:
- It is very challenging to read tone, expression from written words (especially under 140 characters as with Twitter) – you will never “see” peoples’ reactions to a tweet you sent
- It takes WORK, investment, and time to build relationships
- There is so much hope, inspiration, lessons to learn, and passion in people
- I have had to “think before I speak” – which is very different for me in real life. I have learned the invaluable lesson of the importance to take a second, collect my thoughts, and decide if that is really something I want to say and put into the Universe
- I am human, and make mistakes, and have to express apologies, clarification on comments; feelings are real in social media as well as life
I am SO GRATEFUL for so many people I have met through Twitter, Facebook, E-mail and other social media avenues. I want to take a moment to thank a few special people, whom I consider a part of my lifeline of love and support on the last (almost) two years in my life. I know this is probably not interesting to those who do not know these people, but I feel it is really important to take time to thank these wonderful people for everything they have given me.
Andrea Owen: She is a wonderful Mom, Wife, Life Coach, Runner, Blogger, Entrepreneur, Loudmouth (all of this comes from her FB page so I am sure it is ok to use lol). She is my virtual best friend (VBF). I have e-mailed her about every drama my life has faced, and vented in annoyance, anger, sadness, happiness, and through it all she has accepted, loved, and supported me. I could not ask for a better cheerleader.
Jill Sharpe: a fellow mental health/eating disorder advocate whom I met last year at NEDA and have come to absolutely adore. I can text her at any time with a vent, gossip story, frustration, etc. Every time I see her I instantly feel as if we have known each other a long time, it is easy, and not forced. I feel accepted, loved, challenged, and always can count on her.
Julie Parker: A loving blogger, Counselor and coach for self-esteem, self-confidence, body image, size acceptance and eating disorder issues in Australia. She is beautiful, and caring, and every-time I see a tweet from her I smile, because she inspires me. She is a wonderful support and I have come to admire her fight for body image issues. I have e-mailed her SEVERAL times just to talk about current issues, and see if my thinking is biased, judgmental, flawed, etc. She is a very real, honest, loving spirit of a woman and I jump up and down in excitement knowing I will get to meet her at NEDA this year!
Mara Glatzel: a body image blogger who is just super bad ass awesome chic I adore!!!! I love every single post she writes because she puts her heart on her sleeve, and for me as a blogger she constantly inspires me to keep trying, never give up, and write what I know, struggles and all.
My Mom: she is my rock
My Dad: Who sees me now
My Guy: the most stable, supportive, loving, stubborn, independent man I have ever known. Continues to inspire me daily to go for my dreams, and never give up.
There are of course MANY others who I have not named here – and that is NOT because I don’t adore you! It is simply because there are already too many words in this blog post, and I KNOW people stop reading at 800 🙂
I am grateful for each person here because without them, I would NOT be where I am.
So thank you all. XOXO