I joined a 9-day blog challenge during which a writing prompt is given every day. I thought it would help me explore the blog in different ways.
Today's prompt was "connect."
The host of the challenge - Caroline - suggested perhaps talking about our first blog post, what made us connect to do this, or social media platforms. And quite honestly I was stumped. How do I connect? Why did I start this blog? Well, for some selfish (and unselfish) reasons really.
I brushed it aside because I had a lot of work to do today. During a short Instagram break, I fell on one girl's post. Details aside, I reached out to her via direct message to let her know that if she needed anything, I am here to listen at anytime. I've never met the girl.
As you probably went "oh well there you go Rux," so did I when I saw her reply.
I started my blog in an effort to remember how depressed I felt at that time and why. Before you think that I'm being self-deprecating in many ways, let me explain: We often forget how sad, bad or depressed we felt when we start feeling better. We remember we were there, in that deep hole; we remember not feeling well; we remember why we didn't feel well. But we don't remember the specifics. And over time, all of these get distorted by hindsight, knowledge you learned following that depression, the silver linings that you only saw after you felt better.
I wanted to remember all the gritty, dark details so that if it happens to me, or someone else, we know that it gets better - but we also know that it's normal, it happens, and we're not alone.
So, yes, I started this blog to connect with myself and with others. But what really made me realize how much this could help me connect with people I've never met and would probably never meet was the blog post about ankylosing spondylitis.
I clearly wanted the post to reach as many people as possible so, for the first time, I posted about the blog across all my social media platforms - including my LinkedIn!
That's when I connected with the girl I mentioned above and others - they have the same disorder as I do. And it is amazing to know and see others who deal with the same thing. That was my initial goal, right? I never actually thought that by posting the post, I would be the one to benefit.
We often use social media to "connect" but we're not really doing that, are we? More often than not, we seclude ourselves. It's funny because 2 days ago, during one of my final edits for the upcoming chapter of So Far, So Bad, I added this bit (pictured):
So, earlier today, I thought to myself, "you want me to talk about connecting with people? I just got unmatched on Bumble by 2 different guys because I didn't answer their messages within a day." (SIDE NOTE: You were right to un-match me because who answers "obviously" to "That's a big forest behind you," especially if you're drunk? Your logical answer to my nonsensical opener was the biggest turn-off ever.)
And I'm right - let's be real about this. Alex - whom I help with his company - asked me to meet today but it was a bother so I didn't. I instead spent the day texting him across 3 different messaging systems. I'm not kidding: our team formally uses 2 apps to "connect" and I use FB messenger with Alex because it's how we got used to talking across the oceans when we weren't in the same cities, let alone countries and continents.
But that's also the beauty - Alex and I did keep in touch throughout all these years, and more so than with any of my other friends from that same circle.
Yet, we live in the same city now. So why did I resort to apps that we used when we were on opposite sides of the ocean?
Why did it take 12 hours for the guy to un-match me when back in the day, you'd send a carefully-crafted letter via a horse courier and it'd take days for the letter to reach the person? (Sometimes it'd be a mule, but that's besides the point.)
But the same thing that I'm calling out helped me out - and hopefully that girl today too. Hopefully I sent her some bits of light. That's all I was going for.
I'm all for connections - however it does seem that we're not using social media to connect but instead to impress and further distance ourselves from who we are and what we truly want, which is: to connect.