Sunday, January 8, 2012

It Comes Back to This

 I've been tossing around ideas for new posts to tell you more about myself, mainly because that's the kind of writing that draws me most to others. I love getting to know people and learning whatever they care to tell me about their lives; because of this I find it hard not to talk about myself on my blog without also mentioning the influence that you my friends and readers have on me, since it's been a significant part of my life the last few years. It often comes back to this it seems.

  And so I've been having this inner conversation with myself for weeks; wondering what I should write, when and even if I should write it. At first I felt I was being evasive, writing about other people. But then I realized that in many ways this is very much about my life because it's a reflection of what holds the most meaning- my relationships and a shared ability to connect in a very real way despite, in this case, being separated by computer screens and hundreds of miles. These connections aren't secondary to me, they're not some happy by-product of blogging. They're the reason I began in the first place.

  In late August of 2010 I received an e-mail from someone I'd never spoken with, a young student (I'm re-reading her e-mail now as I write this to make sure I get it right). She told me she discovered my site the month before and it had been a big help in her life, that she was struggling with depression and reading my blog had been an inspiration to her. She said she was slowly starting to make some changes in her life and become the person she wants to be. Then she ended it by writing, "Thank you for your inspirational blog, because of it I'm gradually discovering myself."

 This person came out of nowhere, I had no idea she was reading me. It was one of the most unexpected, amazing things that has happened and for the first time really made me realize the impact we all have not only on each other as regular readers, but on those we're completely unaware of. Somewhere out there, reading your words on their computer screens, are people who feel the same way about you.

 It's hard to explain the affect people who share of themselves so willingly can have on me. Especially those of you who are obviously struggling internally with certain area(s) of your lives and yet are so uplifting to me during conversation, or others on your own pages. It's tremendously powerful and selfless.

 One of the biggest things I've gained from all of this is realizing how much I still don't know about myself. I've learned a lot from people younger than me; things I've held so steadfastly to have been challenged and shaken by differing points of view and it's been an amazing experience rethinking some of the ways I approach life.

 A couple years ago I wrote that we don't stand alone uninfluenced or unaffecting. Today I believe this to be true more than ever; who we are is very much the sum of who we meet. 

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  1. You are the loveliest thing; and I know you've impacted many more than you'll ever know.
    You save me again and again, and I'm sure you're doing the same to others without even realising.
    Thank you.

  2. I feel the same way that girl did towards you. I do mean it when I think of you as like a big brother to me, a very close person in my life. Whenever I do a blog post, honestly, I always wonder if you would read them and what you would say.
    Thank you very much for always being such a welcoming person. I feel very blessed that I came across a person like you in my life. =) Thank you.

    I also very much agree that the people around you become parts of who we become. I'm proud to say that you are a big part of me.

  3. How wonderful Barry. It must be such an amazing feeling to know you've helped someone you don't even know, and so tremendously. Keep up the good work! You clearly have a valuable piece of the internet :)

  4. Wow. As bloggers, I don't think we realize that we can be influencing lives, silently or not so silently.

    Thanks for your comment on my last post, it means alot. I liked the poem, it was comforting.

  5. @ Heather, anytime.

    @Bella, hard to put into words what knowing you means to me. Anything I do, I do gladly.

    @Shula, how amazing is this? You're wonderful to me, it's so great knowing you. Enjoying your drawings more than ever, BTW.

    @Lauryn, thank you. I've certainly seen the impact you've had on people along the way, not only by your words but through your photography.

    @Jill, you're very welcome. That poem is incredible and says it better than I ever could.

  6. i've had similar emails with my posts. it is always nice to know that even though you don't post it to affect other people, per say, it still does? that is one of my favorite things about blogging.

    love your blog barry.