I've said before that I don't think that the blogosphere is like high school
, or, at least, that the corner of the blogosphere that is populated by parents is like high school. Hell, I just said it just the other day, on public record
, in front of a room full of bloggers, some of whom who were probably thinking that were it not for the facts that I wore no scrunchie in my hair and was not running for school president, I would otherwise bear an uncomfortable resemblance to Tracy Flick
, and possibly also one or two Heather
(You may, in fact, be thinking that now. That's okay. I understand. But hands off my virtual scrunchie.)
I stand by what I wrote last year, and what I said at the Momosphere panel
at BlogHer: the momosphere is not like high school
. It's not like any high school that I ever attended, anyway. Nobody actively shuns or excludes anybody else. Nobody's getting pantsed in the locker room, or spat on in the smoke pit, or shoved in a locker. Nobody is prancing down the hall, looking down their noses, swinging their hair and letting their purses knock the glasses off of freshmen who don't know well enough to get out of the way. It's not high school here. It's really not.
But I have to concede that it might, for some people, feel
that way. Especially now, in the wake of the party of the year - BlogHer is prom and Homecoming and grad night (and more than a little bit of band camp) all rolled into one - when everybody is talking about who did what and where and who slept with whom and why and omg were you there when they put panties on HBM's head
It's feeling that way for me, a little bit. I'm saying that, obviously, as someone who was there, as someone who was in the thick of it, as someone, maybe, who swung her hair a little bit as she pranced about with her girlfriends (and - it must be said - with their babies. And their moms
. Which would have cut down whatever sliver of glamour we were hoping to exude, were it not for that fact that those babies were so heart-burstingly adorable and that mom so super mega-awesome.
) But I'm saying it because I felt it; because I am feeling it, now, in retrospect.
I did a lot of huddling. I didn't
circulate around a great variety of tables. I wanted to maximize time with some women
that I really, really love
- heart-friend love
- women who I don't see often enough, women whose friendship pushes past the boundaries of the Internet
, women whose distance I keenly feel even as we text and e-mail and chat and (ever more rarely, ironically) catch up with via blog. (My Toronto girls
, my real
, are another story - I missed being glued to their sides, but had the consolation of one of them in bed and the others on our Thelma-and-Louise adventure
and all of them, all of them, here, today and tomorrow in the park and around the table to hug and to kiss and to share.) And so it was that I might have breezed by some of you in the hallway, not noticed you in the washroom, only shared a word or two or three before rushing off to link arms with a BFF
, or catch up to a girl-crush
, or put up another election poster, or whatever.
And so it is that as I write this, even, some of you are cruising the halls of the Internets, listening to the whispers and giggles and feeling left out, feeling excluded, even, from the experience of not getting to know someone that you maybe wanted to get to know better. I wanted to get to know so many of you better. I missed getting to know so many of you better, so many of you who were there, in addition to the great, great many who were not. (Don't even get me started on linking you all. CANNOT DO IT. The potential for missed-link angst is far, far too great. Also, my poor tired fingers. Many of you know who you are, most of you don't, but I just can't go there. Someday you'll hear it from me personally.) So much so that I can say this in all honestly: I feel a tiny bit of relief that some of you who couldn't make it, didn't make it. That you weren't there.
Because - because you weren't there - I can't feel that I missed an opportunity that was right in front of my nose, as I did with so many. I can avoid feeling guilty about not having spent enough time with you, about not having slowed down enough to exchange more than a few words. About having chosen to have lunch with someone other than you. About having not had the time to discover whether you and I could be heart-friends, too.
Because I really think that we could, you and I - the yous who were there and the yous who were not. Be heart-friends. But there are so many of you, and so little time and so little space in this world that we call real life. In the long, tight hallways and crowded lunch-rooms of real life, where you'll notice if I don't look your way. Where I
notice if I haven't looked your way.
So. I cried a lot upon my return. I cried because I felt torn by conflicting emotions. Gutted at having said goodbye to some of the dearest friends I know, some of whom are moving even further out of my real-life reach. Rueful at not having spent enough time sharing this adventure with my really-real-life girlfriends
(who, it must be said, barely noticed that I was not in my usual place at their side, so much was the fun being had with the rest of you). Heart-sore at having missed so many opportunities to deepen existing friendships, and to make new ones. And this: relieved to be back in the wide-open spaces of the Internets, where the lunchrooms are bigger and the hallways wider and there is so much more room for everyone. Where you all are, always, and me, too, always, roaming and talking.
And never, ever getting lost in the middle of nowhere.
Where the whispers and giggles carry further, or can or should carry further, where we have all the time and space in the world to be, maybe, friends. Where you'll forgive me if I sometimes seem to huddle, if I sometimes seem to not notice, if I sometimes seem to breeze by in the hallway. Because I don't mean to. I don't want to. It's just, sometimes, there are so many voices, so many stories, and my heart can only stretch so far at once. Our hearts can only stretch so far at once.
At least here, in this space, there is room for stretching, and the will to stretch. That's why it's not like high school. Not in the ways that matter.