Thursday, February 03, 2005

Making the connection

I can be a pretty practical person. I try to think about the consequences of my actions. But, sometimes in life we just can't predict where our decisions will lead us. It blows my mind to think how this journal came about and the world it has opened up to me.

I had a friend who was sent to Iraq during the first days of the war. I was worried beyond belief and tried to find any news I could about what was going on over there. I stumbled upon weblogs written by people who were over there. It seemed like a cool thing, a place of your own in the cyberworld to express yourself.

By the time I got my laptop, things had fallen apart with me and my friend in Iraq. I had been surfing on AOL to see what kind of content they had to offer. I was trying to decide if I wanted to keep the service. Up until that point, I had only used it for email because I had messed up my browser on my old computer and couldn't access the 'net through it. I stumbled upon the journals and thought it would be a fun thing to do. I never really thought anyone would read what I wrote. I began treating it like I would a paper journal. I used it as a cathartic means of making sense of a relationship that went down the drain. I wrote about my perception of the relationship I had with my friend Mike, who had returned from Iraq, but hadn't returned to our friendship. I began recording my thoughts on other things too and reading other journals. Little, by little, my interactions with others in J-Land began to grow.

I never thought about meeting any of the people who I interacted with here through my journal until one day someone suggested we meet for tea. That meeting was the starting point of a blossoming friendship and meetings with other journalers have since followed. This past weekend a group of us got together, six women, seven really, if you count Cheryl. I do, she was a big part of the weekend too.

I wouldn't be true to myself if I lied and said the weekend wasn't without bumps. When seven strong-willed women get together, bumps are bound to happen. The first of which occurred thanks to my locking myself out of my apartment Saturday morning. It made me miss the trip down to San Diego to pick up Andrea and Carol but I was able to connect with everyone later that evening once they were back in town. In spite of the bumps, I think it was an enriching experience where we all had the opportunity to connect on a level much deeper than some had expected. Any time connections like that are made, I feel blessed and grateful for the experience.

Life seems to be whirling past me right now. I can't believe it has been a week since I made an entry here. It's like that for many of us. Having a weekend like I did with these beautiful women was a chance to stop and experience what is important in life to me, the connection with others on a deep, personal level, and a chance to learn and grow as a person. I'm grateful to these women for sharing themselves with me, and for my journal for creating that opportunity, and for a relationship that went bad that somehow was the catalyst for all this to occur. Everything in life occurs for a reason, we just have to be open to where it leads us. In the end, it's a good place to be.

29 comments:

screaminremo303 said...

It sounds like you're getting your money's worth from the journal experience. I appreciate the chance to read other people's POV on issues and then make fun of them. I really would like to see a West Coast J-Land conference take place, maybe in San Francisco or Las Vegas. I'll bring the sharp stick.

sistercdr said...

Though I've yet to meet anybody IRL froAOL-J, online journalling really has opened up a new world to me.  You're right, it is a good place to be.

mlraminiak said...

Remember the times we were all fretting that we were wasting time in a cyber-world where things were not real?  And that time spent in j-land was somehow guilty time spent away from our real lives?  It's interesting to see that the relationships formed in this "unreal" place can become solid parts of our "real" lives.  I've had the great privelege of meeting two other journalers in person.  I would love to have the opportunity to meet any and all of the women whose journals I read...I really do feel like they are my friends.  Planning a drive north any time soon, Robbie?  Lisa  :-]

yakima127 said...

I have met and played with some friends from J-land, too!  It is a great thing!  JAE

babyshark28 said...

I am glad you had such a positive experience.  there really is nothing than can replace the true connection you can make with people.    I love letters, I love long phone calls, I love email.  But, having that someone with you physically, to watch their expressions, and body language.  It's a gift.
Sometimes I get all caught up in thinking I am quite self contained and do well being by myself.  Then I get the chance to hang with an old friend or one I have lost contact with recently, and I am reminded that I DO need people. :p

I am glad you started this journal, maybe someday we will meet. :D

barebytes said...

Here's hoping that the good adventures never stop coming. Hugs Lanny

judithheartsong said...

lovely. I am so happy for you all. judi

readmereadyou said...

I wish I had a dollar for every time I said I'm quitting. I know I will one day soon but for now, every now and then, I feel the need to get an opinion out there. It's cathartic. It's getting less and less for me but it's still not over yet.
I'm happy you met some of journaland people and that you enjoyed it even with the bumps. I enjoy reading your honest journal. I love the way you just say what you feel and think and with such class and heart.
Angela

alphawoman1 said...

I'm so jealous.

diannevan said...

Oh Robbie...
You were by far the biggest surprise to me.  I always knew you were witty, entertaining and honest, but I didn't realize what a remarkable friend you could be, as well.  I'm so glad you were there.  You helped smooth the bumps and make everything good.  

sunflowerkat321 said...

I can't believe the impact that my journal has had on my life either...and it's been so possitive.  I've met wonderful people, and learned a lot....and I've also been encouraged to have so much more confidence in myself.  I almost didn't start one...I've never been a journal keeper and I didn't want to start something I'd quickly lose interest in.  But the people here make all the difference...I can't image not being a part of j-land.

I wish I could have been strong woman #8 for the weekend.  Maybe next time.  I'm glad you all had such an enjoyable time together.

deabvt said...

I`m happy you all had a chance to meet!
V

mcjerseygiri said...

Robbie sounds like fun to me! What is the picture in the upper right hand entry? I LOVE IT. Where is it? Nelle

hope5555 said...

Wow, that's cool that you got a chance to meet in person. I'm not surrised that there were some bumps in the road. I've had some interesting experiences meeting up with on-line friends and have frankly grown more leery than I used to be...

sanforized6 said...

J-Land is the place! Glad you got together, inspite of the "bumps". Sounds like a pretty neat idea. rich

coy1234787 said...

Robbie ... what a great experience:-)
There are a lot of us that wish we could have been there.
               *** Coy ***


bunny72483 said...

Where's the pictures of Andy with the fro??  (This is Mallette and Aunt MaryAnn)  He sent us one of you trying to catch flies. (lol)  

indigosunmoon said...

So glad you guys got to meet!
Love ya,
Connie

txsguinan said...

Hey ~ I don't remember saying you could post my picture up there! (*Note to self ~ in future, it's DAYTIME makeup when hanging off the side of buildings...)

I just loved connecting with you in real time!  And remember ~ Laguna Beach is ALWAYS a good place to be..... :)

andreakingme said...

Well, Robbie, I'm grateful that YOU shared yourself with ME! You're such a fun and witty girl. Smart. Interesting. And you drive such a cool car! Heh.

Things DO happen for a reason. I really believe that. I guess we were all just destined to meet.

Right on.

viviansullinwank said...

{{{{{Robbie}}}}},

What a wonderful experience for you seven wonderful ladies to meet and enjoy getting to know each other.  I'm glad you didn't have too many bumps :)  Isn't it amazing what great things have happened as a result of AOL Journals?!  :)

Vivian

andreakingme said...

Hey. I miss you, Robbie Girl!

robbush6 said...

It's like a forest fire. At first all we see is pain and destruction. But in the end, it is Nature's way of cleaning out the dead wood and allowing for new growth. The journal isn't THE THING. It is a catalyst. I'm glad mine led me to you, dear Krobbie.

redhdka said...

I think it's really great you are making friends. And sorry that You were such a good friend to mike but it wasn't returned

geminiwilder said...

thanks for sharing,  your words are eloquent, as always.  :)  phin

hillareeday said...

What a wonderful piece of writing this is.
I have been journal jogging to all of the journals of the J-land women that got together in CA. What a cool, cool experience. I must say I am quite envious of those of you that got together!
I too started my journal to express my feelings, not realizing that others would read it and more importantly....care.
This place called J-land is a really special community. Thanks for sharing your story!

slowmotionlife said...

One door closes, another one opens.  I, for one, am very glad that events brought you here.  And regardless of the bumps, I'm glad to hear you ladies had the chance to get together and have a good time. And a little jealous.  :)

msyahtzee said...

I am glad that you had a great time with everyone and thankful for your journal.  It is a bright spot for me every time I visit.  Even if you aren't feeling cheery!  Thanks!  -Kari

lamove04 said...

Glad you J-Ladies met, sounds like an interesting experience... but from the pic you added to this entry, I suspect that you were longing for your gender-confused SF pal to join you... hope you are well, Krobbie!  xxoo, Albert