Sunday, May 13, 2007

On Meetings And Ruptures...

Have I ever told you that I live in sleepy little backwater? Maybe just the once or twice? I love where I live. I love being out in the Dales within a half hour’s car drive, walking my imaginary dog or cycling with the children. (I am allergic to proper dogs, but imaginary ones don’t make me sneeze or wheeze.) I love staring at the hills whilst I wash the dishes, and driving up through the mist in the valleys on winter mornings into the glorious sunshine which lights up the hues of green on the moors. I have spent the best part of twenty years living in cities around the country.

But I miss my friends. I miss having people to call on for a chat, or a coffee or a beer on a sunny evening. People who challenge and excite and stimulate me. I have some lovely colleagues who do all of the above, but none of them live near enough for a “let’s pop out for a beer” phone call.

I am astonished to find that blogging is replacing these kinds of friendships for me. Through blogging I have met the most stimulating people. People from all walks of life, who are a constant source of pleasure and surprise.

One of these people I have met in ‘real life’ and is fast becoming a dear friend (hey, BoBo!) Two of them I chat with daily via email or gchat and are fast becoming very dear friends (hey Stray and Caroline!) Many of them I email occasionally for stimulating and interesting discussions (too many to mention…..)

Sometimes it can be hard to make a relationship using only the written word. We rely so much on non verbals to aid our understanding of the other. A tone of voice, a slight look of shyness, a feeling of insecurity that silently passes between us, a teasing smile that indicates I was only joking really. With the written word we have only our words and our unconscious self to play clever tricks on our minds.

I am in my tenth year of working as a therapist. When I first began I wanted to soothe people, in the way that I had been soothed during my dark years by my therapist. But we cannot just soothe. That is not how relationships work. They are full of fractures and misunderstandings and our dear unconscious reminding us silently that people cannot be trusted, do not care for us, will never be there when we really need them. These ruptures form the very basis of the therapeutic process. It is through these fissures that meaning erupts, overwhelming us with its presence until our conscious mind can take a hold and truly make sense of them. I have learned, sometimes very painfully, that the rupture is the heart of the relationship. Whilst close, loving contact is beautiful, it is through the rupture that we really learn to be alongside each other in our painful existential aloneness. A carefully held rupture is an exquisite thing to behold.

We are all forging something new here, in this little blogging world we inhabit. We are learning a new way of making relationships. Friendships that can hold incredible value, but that need tender care at times because the rupture is so much more difficult to hold when we cannot be physically present.

And so to my lovely bloggy friends, and to those I am yet to meet, let’s hold the ruptures with tenderness. They are just as important as the times of meeting

37 comments:

Emma said...

I think the blogging world is an amazing place, there are some real special people out there and it's so good to be part of them and their lives..xx

Charlotte said...

What a beautiful tribute to blogging friendships. I have been stunned and delighted by this unexpected side-effect of blogging.

I also have an imaginary dog that walks with me. Much cleaner and less stinky than a real one.

paul said...

I don't know why it becomes harder to make "real" friends as we get older. Is it because we cease to wear our hearts on our sleeves; become more self-contained, more insular and dependent on family, reluctant to intrude into other busy lives?
Is it because our outer shells(and those of others)have become set; our attitudes, and views, and ways of behaving, hardened into a more rigid mask which says I am this sort of person and you are that?
I enjoy posting (occasionally) because no one knows what I look like, how I dress, how old I am, what car I drive, how much my house is worth, what I do for a living - none of the things that say who I appear to be, yet say nothing of who I am.
Our day to day lifestyle defines and confines us -"wearing a mask that he/she keeps in a jar by the door." The “ruptures” and “painful existential aloneness” were always there, but we have become reluctant to share them, as unsightly blemishes in this perfect world, without time to listen, or to try to help to heal.

lavenderblue said...

Nice posting,Paul.

Caroline said...

You have me thinking Ms M. As always.

I have blogfriends who I also know in the other world. I know their voices. I hear their voices within each comment and email. I know if I have annoyed them. I can tell if they are unhappy. Their words carry a need for less detail and explanation.

There are a few very dear blogfriends who I communicate with each day, through email and gchat. I do not know their voices. The communication gives us words. Words without sound and I am beginning to crave the sound.

Sometimes I feel that I lump my own cultural assumptions onto the words and the ruptures start to develop. I step back. I protect myself. It is how I react. Words often trigger and carry a personal context that the soundless weight reinforces.

I have lost count of how many times I have read a comment on a blog and wondered the reasoning behind it. The words. Just words. No paralinguistic clues.

I think that blogging friendships can go so far. Then you need the sound to lift onto a more intimate level. I crave the added dimension to somehow justify the depth of friendship that is felt. Perhaps it is only because of my physical need for touch. I touch everything. I like to feel.

Anyway. I will meet you (and some other most dear blogfriends) very soon.I am so looking forward to hearing your voice. (in a non-stalker kind of way).
x

trousers said...

Once again, very wise, considered words. Its amazing how the ruptures do give me pause for much thought.

From exchanging emails, texts, writing, photographs and music with people from the blogging world, I'm currently reading a book which was discussed in a thread. I'm amazed at how quickly I've come to take all this kind of thing for granted (not to mention the genuine concerns people have when they don't "see" someone online for a couple of weeks).

Perhaps its precisely because I've come to take such things for granted so quickly (easily done with all the nice things, however novel) that the ruptures do give the very real potential for added meaning in that they do force one to stop and reflect.

If I responded to all the other good points in your post I'd be here all day!

Mellifluous Dark said...

"We are all forging something new here, in this little blogging world we inhabit. We are learning a new way of making relationships. Friendships that can hold incredible value, but that need tender care at times because the rupture is so much more difficult to hold when we cannot be physically present."

Hello, Ms Melancholy, your blog has come highly recommended. It's good to find you.

What you said (above) is true. I'm amazed at how much I feel at home in our blogging world, and am glad to learn that there are so many superb people out there who share experiences without qualms, and so eloquently. It doesn't replace the 'real' world but, I am sure, enhances it.

anticant said...

The ‘blogosphere', like the real world, is a broad church. It takes all sorts to make a global village, and we sometimes have to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve only been blogging for six months, but already ‘anticant’s burrow’ and ‘anticant’s arena’ are very important places in my life – I would be lost without them, as like you, Ms Melancholy, I am largely bereft of human company although living in a city, being pretty well confined to my house by illness.

Blogging has been a roller-coaster experience, and I have been within an ace of giving it up a couple of times because of episodes of aggression and occasional ill-temper dumped on me by uncouth persons with a different blogging ethos to mine. But the freedom of the Internet allows one to move on, and to find more congenial companions, as I have now done – including you, Ms. M.

As Paul says, it becomes more difficult to make new friends as one grows older. Unless younger people are particularly interested in the elderly, they are too involved in getting on with their own lives to spare much time for those of us who are no longer active in the world but who have stores of memory to share. One of the rewards of blogging is that memories of my childhood, and of family history, have proved interesting to my blogging friends. I’ve also recently been contacted by someone now living in what was formerly a family house who just happened to see my references to it in my burrow, and we are exchanging a lot of information and memories.

So let’s blog on! Most of the time it’s refreshingly unexpected, and opens new doors upon the world out there. It also provides an opportunity to contribute one’s more serious thoughts on how the messy times we are living in might be cleaned up a little.

My imaginary burrow is an old 18th-century coaching inn somewhere on the Yorkshire Wolds, with a warm welcome awaiting you all in the Snug bar, so do drop by.

More power to the benign blogging fraternity!

nmj said...

A carefully held rupture is an exquisite thing to behold.

This is beautiful, Ms M, I love it.

After a year, I am still quite enthralled by blogging, it really is the most bizarre and lovely thing.

I love the democracy of it all, people are 'judged' on their words, nothing more, nothing less - and the usual stuff, that might enhance or impede a friendship, just isn't there.

It truly is a new way of being.

Still I think it is always wise to keep 'defences' up, otherwise you could inadvertently get hurt (but I tend to be overly cautious in these things).

I have sometimes wondered, what if all my blogging friends were thrown together in the same room and had nothing to say?!

x

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi emma, yes, it is an amazing world sometimes. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Charlotte, yes, it is an 'unexpected side effect' isn't it? I didn't expect it either. And so glad that someone else has an imaginary dog.

Hey Paul, wise words as always. Children are usually more open than adults, for sure.

Hi lavenderblue, nice to hear from you again. You behaving yourself?

Hey lovely Caroline

Perhaps it is only because of my physical need for touch. I touch everything. I like to feel.

You have really echoed here what I am thinking. I too like to touch. Or at least to 'feel' the relationship outside of the words, and that is too hard via email. We communicate so much without knowing it. I too am looking forward to putting touch and voice to words.

Hey trousers, in a way I like that we take it for granted. We are normalising it for the next generation.

Hi there md, you say It doesn't replace the 'real' world but, I am sure, enhances it. I guess I am starting to wonder where one ends and the other begins?

Hi again anticant, very wise words indeed. Is it too grandiose to say that there is something revolutionary about blogging? (And I would encourage readers to take up the invitation to visit anticant's burrow and arena. This really is what blogging is about.)

Hey lovely nmj, yes, isn't it both bizarre and lovely? I think we always have our defences with us, but there is something about being with someone in person that makes it easier to judge when we need them. But I am constantly amazed at how beautifully we all manage potential conflict and hostility in the blog world. Mind you, I rarely visit the political blogs and I understand that can be quite a different world indeed.

anticant said...

Thanks, as always, Ms M. Yes, folks, do visit my arena - antarena.blogspot.com - and in particular, PLEASE sign the Declaration against Violence I've linked to there.

Mellifluous Dark said...

Ms M, well, you've got me thinking...

I think the fact that some people refer to what we do as 'virtual' lends it an air of nebulousness. I know what you mean by perhaps not quite knowing where real and unreal meet or diverge.

Personally, I regard blogging as a very real activity. It brings me real pleasure, has put me in touch with people with whom I feel a real connection (even though I may never meet them). I do it as part of my 'real' life daily doings and it doesn't detract from anything else in my life. It has, in fact, expanded my horizons.

Blogging is also a real outlet – I feel better (why? not sure...) for having started my blog and when I received comments from people who 'got' what I was saying (regarding insomnia in my case), well, that was wonderful.

When I began blogging no one read my pages (I kept the fact that I am a blogger quiet for a while and to date haven't made much of an effort to broadcast myself), but the benefits to me were – are – incredible. I'm not quite sure why this is the case, but it is.

"Bizarre and lovely" is an apt way of putting it, NMJ.

swimmer6foot4 said...

"we cannot just soothe. That is not how relationships work. They are full of fractures and misunderstandings and our dear unconscious reminding us silently that people cannot be trusted, do not care for us, will never be there when we really need them. These ruptures form the very basis of the therapeutic process. It is through these fissures that meaning erupts, overwhelming us with its presence until our conscious mind can take a hold and truly make sense of them. I have learned, sometimes very painfully, that the rupture is the heart of the relationship."

Brilliant, well-considered piece of writing Ms M. (Though I would change one word: "the rupture is the heart" to "the rupture is at the heart".)

It reminds me of what a privilege it is, (although, as you say, a painful one) to work with a client who has been bereaved, to travel with them through that existential crisis, to suffer the ruptures and recognise that these are symptomatic of the human condition.

I've always loved Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem, In Memoriam, which includes the following:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

But I confess that I've also been tempted to wear this T-shirt when seeing some clients :D

P.S. Eh! Put t'kettle on, luv!

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi anticant, you are very welcome. And thanks for the heads up on Nanny Knows Best. Will comment when I find a minute!

Hi again md, yes, I agree that blogging has also expanded my horizons. I am so enjoying meeting people that I would have no way of meeting without it. Anticant being one of them. It is very real to me. Just as real as my 'real life' relationships. Thanks for dropping by again. Will check out your blog later x

Hey lovely Swimmer, I always look forward to your comments as you always have a lovely link for me! Funny t-shirt. I totally accept your amendment. Rupture is at the heart of the relationship. I think it is a privilege to be with a client after the rupture to contact, and to work with it gently to gain an understanding of both of your stuff. It is a very equal process, in my eyes. A very intimate process. It teaches us to be compassionate to ourselves and others, in our frailties and our inadequacies. After all, we are all of us only human. Lovely to see you again.

varske said...

Thank you for the tribute to blogging friends. Because I travel a lot, it's hard to make and keep friends at home, and most of my recent friends travel too, so blogging is the way we all keep in touch.
And now I am making blogging friends, purely from the blog, some of whom I eventually meet when our travelling paths meet.
And it does mean you can talk about whatever is interesting you at the time, without having to have an audience. When you are stuck in a hotel room in a country that is difficult to work in, it is a great relief to get to the internet and your circle of blog friends and let off steam or find things have gone wrong for them.

Dandelion said...

A lovely post, Ms M. But are you ok?

I send good thoughts just in case.

billie said...

I've just come across your blog and find this post a perfect synchronicity for me tonight.

What a wonderful essay!

I'll enjoy looking back into previous ones, surely.

Paul said...

Billie said "and find this post a perfect synchronicity for me tonight."
What do modern psychotherapists make of synchronicity (meaningful coincidence)?
Do coincidences sometimes happen for a reason, or do we look for the reason in retrospect, to give meaning to our lives?
The question seems relevant when we're talking about the unconscious.
I read somewhere that we make most of our decisions unconsciously, and that the conscious mind can only step in (occasionally) and disagree with what the unconscious has already decided.
Do we find the blog or does the blog find us?

Böbø said...

Ohhh lovely Ms Mmmmm, you and hubs are sooo popping round, when I have a place to pop round to, beer and potentially life-threatening home-baked soft chocolate mouse cake with cream and blueberries ... if you like that sort of thing.

NMJ is so right, "I love the democracy of it all, people are 'judged' on their words, nothing more, nothing less"

Just people speaking their brains with beautiful minds ... on a good day.

anticant said...

Don't know about synchronicity, but when I found Ms M it was serendipity.

Peach said...

how lovely.... the post and your surroundings and your thoughts...

Political Umpire said...

Hello Melancholy, I agree that one does meet interesting and varied people on the blogosphere, including people you'd _never_ meet in real life. Not just those who live in different locations, but those whose paths would not naturally cross with yours. I just wish I'd had the blogosphere as a teenager, methinks I would have appreciated it more then since, unlike your good self, I find it easier making friends in real life than I did when younger. I doubt I've become better looking. I can afford and appreciated better wine, though, maybe that's something to do with it. Or perhaps they all like Mrs Umpire and just accept me into the bargain.

Imaginary dogs - might have to try one. I don't have the space or the time for one any more, and I do miss my staffie/bull mastiff X a lot. Particularly as any dodgy looking people used to cross the street rather than walk past him, whereas nice people recognised the gentleness in his eyes.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi Varske, gosh yes, you can take your friends with you wherever you go.

Hey Dandelion, thanks hon, you read between the words! I am good - this post another case of thinking out loud, which always helps me work things through.

Hey Billie, glad you found me then...x

Hi again Paul, wow, too much to respond to tonight....but...I like the question of whether we find the blog or the blog finds us. I don't know.....what do you think??!

Hi darling BoBo, I'm afraid I didn't read any further than the food porn. I am much more shallow than you realise.

Oh lovely anticant, your words touch me x

Hi Peach, thank you. And thank you for visiting.

Hi P-Umpy, yes, it is about meeting people whose lives wouldn't normally cross with mine. That is the bit that I like. Meeting them and finding that we have much in common and much to discuss. As for the friends thing, are you sure it isn't about Mrs Pumpy?

Stray said...

Lovely Ms M,

I keep thinking about this post, and how it made me think about how I read somewhere - here? on this blog? I think? - about how when therapy is really working the client brings their whole world into the room. All of it. Past, present, future.

I was thinking that this is why relationships with people that are special are difficult sometimes. Painful I suppose I mean, and pain is difficult for those of us who are rubbish at tolerating it. I think in my superficial relationships most of my world is locked away, safely shoved in airtight containers. Padlocked.

When I am close to someone the padlocks are undone, which is wonderful, but also brings all that other stuff, the past, the future, the millions of other interactions I have had, the other selves I have been, in to the room.

And if the other person is also deeply involved in the relationship, I guess all their world is present too?

So, my interpretation of what you say, about the rupture being at the heart of the relationship, is that the rupture is the exposing of usually hidden unhealed parts of ourselves. Little grazes to big gaping wounds. And if we're lucky, and gentle, a chance to make them a little better.

Sx

Ms Melancholy said...

Beautiful Stray, yes I think that's what I mean. Bringing all of our selves to bear means meeting rupture after rupture. Painful but lovely too, if the experience can be used to heal rather than re-traumatise.

Random Reflections said...

I get frustrated with people who seem to think that those we meet in the blogging world are not 'real'. There are all sorts of ways to form relationships, meet people and to discover that people matter to you and you care about the detail of their lives.

I am often in awe of those I meet in blogging world and the sheer talent and insight that they show (amongst so many other things). I have also got to know some really nice people through blogging, for which I am grateful.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hi RR, my thoughts exactly. I know it is considered naive to blog about blogging, but sometimes these things need to be said. I have met so many interesting, intelligent and challenging people who enrich my life in so many ways. And people who don't blog just don't get it. Never mind. Soon they will.

ranger said...

Hello Ms.M,
Rapping lightly and stepping in through Anticant's door. A truly beautiful set of thoughts on this weird weird world and its special sort of relationships. Who'd have thought 15 years ago that these types of personal connections would be a practical reality? It is surely making everyday existence more interesting and the world itself a closer and more friendly place.
Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful ideas on blogging.
Cheers

austin said...

I've got to tag along on this line of thought! Meetings and ruptures....
Just come back from a meeting of the group of people who have made our little boat project possible and your words about ruptures encapsulate the wonderful, rocky road I have been travelling on with this diverse bunch of people.

I could fill you in on all the ruptures but, needless to say, it has been the worst of the ruptures which seem to have defined and matured us as a group and enabled us to develop a deeper union and sense of purpose.

None of that makes sense, except to me but suffice to say Ms M, you hit the nail on the head!

PS Haven't had the time to keep up with the blogging lark but I love it as a mode of communication. The link between a secret diary and an open space seems to be a creative one for so many people.

Eurodog said...

Hello, we have not met.
I enjoyed reading your blog and will return. You see I have been looking at blogs since I got up this morning and I really must take my dog out for a walk.
I'll be back.

Ms Melancholy said...

Hello there Ranger, you are most welcome. Any friend of anticant is welcome here.

Hey Austin, no, it made perfect sense to me. Perfect sense. And I love your description of blogging as a link between a secret diary and an open space. It really is a new way of making relationships, isn't it?

Well Eurodog, you are welcome back any time.

Janejill said...

Love this post - well that is not at all unusual.... I still just hate ruptures and I fear them as I always think they will not heal, although I know they can and do.(drama?) Your words always strike me . I think there is true friendship to be found in blogging; it might be strange to meet face-to-face but humour, wisdom ,quirkiness, compassion and kindness are the same wherever you find them,( and it is so easy to move on quickly and not be stuck in relationships which go nowhere - the ones which can drag you down in real life - hmmm, giving away rather a lot there...)

Ms Melancholy said...

Hey janejill, ruptures are not fun or easy. I do think they can bring a deeper connection, however, if we have the courage to work through them. Thanks for your stroke, by the way!

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