by jess lewis
if you had told me five years ago that i would get to know a slew of amazing people online and actually meet a handful of them in person (and make it an annual thing) i would have said you were off your freaking rocker. THAT is not normal. normal people don’t just meet other people on the internet and get on a plane to hang out with them for a weekend! what if they’re psycho? they could really be a sixty year old man pretending he’s a thirty somethingish woman! (don’t ask). you could go out for drinks and then they might stuff you into the trunk of their car! you may think you know these people but you could end up putting the lotion in the basket if you know what i mean. (why does that sound dirty? or is it just me?).
funny thing those interwebs. they’re full of so many communities with their own little niches. it totally makes sense that you would find people you share common ground with. it’s as easy as typing whatever your interest is into the google search box and hitting enter. so you spend some time floating around, maybe lurking in said communities, for me it was knitting blogs which led to flickr, and eventually dialogues start happening. comments get left on blogs, photos get the mark of the pink star, nice things get said about photos, emails start to go back and forth, etc..you’re forming some bonds, you feel like you’re getting to actually know some of these people! so, plans get made, flights get booked and your family may think you’ve temporarily lost your mind and are secretly wishing they had implanted a tracking device in your neck while you were asleep. just in case.
for me, the first time i made that leap into the world of turning virtual friends into friends IRL i thought maybe i had lost my mind. i tend to be kind of shy, so i was really anxious. i was terrified of discovering we had nothing in common (you know, besides being female, mothers, wives, sisters, knitters, picture takers or whatever), that i would offend somebody or that we’d be sick of each other after the first day. (that would have sucked). instead, i found that my nerves abated instantly. now, each year the conversation flows more easily whether we are talking about parenthood, fake flare, the awesomeness of white vignettes or just gossip in general. laughter often abounds to the point of bringing me to tears (just picture a minivan full of mothers passing around a tub of fart putty and losing their shit over it. hey, i never said we were mature.). we walk the streets of whatever the town taking photos, eating good food paired with good beers and enjoying each others company. chances are at least one person will arrive home after the weekend with a new tattoo or a piercing. i don’t think it was planned, but in that first group meeting a bond was forged and a routine was being set. we started discussing where we should meet up next and could we please find a way make this happen quarterly instead of annually?
now, each year we try to get as many of us together as possible to cram as much fun as we’re capable of into one weekend. and each year i now look forward to these weekend getaways because i’ve found a place in a group of fun, crazy, compassionate women who love to laugh, take amazing photos and tell great stories, are great listeners and true cheerleaders, curse as much if not more than i do, appreciate a good beer, think nothing of drinking wine from a box and know how to work some
pussy fart putty. i have a circle of friends that i don’t see often enough (some i have yet to meet in person), but i know they’re there if i need them and vice versa. friends with whom i can be honest, vulgar, snarky or vulnerable with. all because i took a chance to meet a few people i got to know online.**
have you taken that leap yet? have you turned virtual friends into friends in real life?
* IRL is a term i just recently learned and i won’t lie, i had to verify it’s meaning on urban dictionary before i posted this for fear that it meant something entirely different. the internet likes to play jokes like that on me.
** and no one has tried to
get me drunk and stuff me into a trunk.