Is there any room for me?

I was having a discussion online about Twitter and whether it's frivolous or not. This sparked again this frustration I'm having with people online talking about how stupid different medias are because they aren't real communities, or that they are but they're not as "real" as face to face communities. Several bloggers I follow and a few people on Facebook have stopped completely, because their online life was overtaking their life life and they didn't want that to happen. I mean I get it, I was thinking this morning about cancelling Myspace because I'm hardly on it and just copy/paste blogs from here for the most part.
But what frustrates me is a lot larger than just the online thing. What frustrates me is this idea of partnering up or shutting up.

I was talking to my friend Joan the other day and she said she wished she had things to do like I did because it's just her. There's not much else to do. She is single, older, divorced. There's this perpetual aura of loneliness and partial satisfaction surrounding single people. I'm neither of those things really, but I am a little dissatisfied with the interaction I have with people sometimes.
I'm not uncomfortable being the 3rd, 5th, 7th, or even 9th wheel. I am friends with a lot of husbands and wives and I (for the most part) love the glimpse inside of such intimate relationships it allows me. But I don't really want one.

Almost all of my friends are married or coupled up in some way. Most of those couples also have kids. I attend a church of almost entirely young families or empty nesters. I work at a company of mostly married people or people that I just don't hang out with. I work really hard to be flexible to all of these schedules with husbands/wives/kids so that we can spend time together. I'm also trying to spend more time at home, it just happens to be alone because everyone has their families and their own homes to go to. This is all ok.

But in addition to all of that I am on a few forums, Facebook, and Twitter. I follow way to many blogs but they're all organized neatly in Google Reader so I can keep up without breaking a sweat. Through all of these places I have met people who are married, single and all levels of in between. I met Pete (whom I love) through Myspace after pinging onto his page through Dan. He is now working to move to Cincinnati and live in my basement. I met Katy, Melissa and Angie on a Don Miller forum and have met them all face to face, they are some of my closest friends (and coming to Cincinnati to see me in T-Minus 3.2 weeks!) Some of the people whose blogs I follow I've jumped to following them on Twitter, and maybe someday we'll meet face to face.

In all of this gobbly gook is a place for me. Because don't we all really just want to belong somewhere? I belong all these places, my house, your house, church, work, online and offline. When people talk about how these places are just distractions and wastes of time I take a little bit of offense to it. In a partnered up world it's really difficult for a happily single girl to feel like there's still room for her. It's hard to convince people that I'm really ok when they give you puppy dog looks and decide that anyone with a penis and a pulse is clearly husbandly material for you. It's hard to find your way in the sea of strollers when you can't relate to 2am feedings and the terrible two's. (Luckily I have 2 beautiful nieces and a handsome nephew to help a bit in that area). It's hard to type this out without making the couples and the parents in my life feel alienated as if my desire for non partnered up and parental conversation and hanging out is somehow a slam on their life. Because it's not, anymore than their desire for a partnered up parental life is a slam to mine.

Sometimes this happily single girl just feels a little squished between the parents and couples in her life, wondering if there is any room for her.

So maybe a lot of the stuff I post on Twitter is a distraction, but so was a great deal of the conversation I had with some of my closest "real" life friends when we were first getting to know each other. That's how you build a relationships, online or off.


Pete said...

:Clapping standing ovation:

THANK YOU!!! You finally put to words the frustration of the forum today!! If I heard one more person tell me time online is a waste of time I was going to scream!

I have met some seriously awesome people because of this "waste of time" like you! (love ya too!) and I also reconnected with people I have missed that otherwise would have been lost forever!

I sometimes prefer my online relationships because they are more real than many of my "real" relationships. I wouldn't have grown as much in my faith as I have over the last few years if it hadn't been for these relationships, and so much other.

I do agree there is a line between too much time online and not enough face to face time, but I for one love reading tweets about every day ordinary average things that make you laugh, or whimsical notes from Bob and Katy, or just random status messages to know what someone I care about is doing at that moment.

You just keep on keeping on because I for one love our internet time. :)

James said...

Beth, I like the online friendships I have had, but I think you are misunderstanding what those anti-twitter/FB comments were really saying. I think I'll post on the thread itself.

ellenjane said...

I agree to an extent MT, I'm definitely reading more into what Bob wrote in the thread and on some other places. But there are people that are calling the online community fake and telling people not to be on them other then themselves. More so I think this was an issue for me about figuring out where my place is relationally both online and off as my friends and I get older and they all marry off and kid up. It's the same issue a lot of single people over 25 have had for a very long time, I'm just jumping into the fray :)

James said...


Shaq found out he was being traded to Cleveland...from Twitter.

Katy said...

Did Pete call me whimsical?

jake - aka the comment novelist said...

I've been pondering this one since you posted it. I actually felt a little ridiculous because it was so soon after my post where I mentioned giving up myspace and twitter. I kept reminding myself the world didn't revolve around me and that it's not all about me. There were a lot of other things going on with you at the time to indicate your frustration was of the compound sort and provoked somewhere else for the most part.

Truth is, I gave up myspace because it was consuming too much time for basically nothing since most of my friends tend to use facebook now. It had served its purpose and it was time to move on.

It had a lot to do with being able to spend more of the time I allow myself to be online (I have to check myself regularly to keep from being "that guy") as quality time where it mattered rather than checking a site regularly for what amounted to nothing.

But I can't and won't bitch about myspace in general, because it's what got us here. I credit that site with re-connecting us after all those years in a "safe" environment, and look how far we've come since then.

You played a big, huge influential role in getting me back in touch with God and the Body of Christ.

That was facilitated by myspace.

As far as twitter, I still get your updates. I just get them on facebook now. And I still love them.

I think you fit perfectly in all the communities you're a part of. There's room for you wherever you go because we all scooch (bite me spellcheck, that it SO a word!)... we all scooch over to MAKE room for you because we love you and WANT you to be with us.

For what it's worth, since I don't know the whole story with the forum, I think it's ridiculous that someone could spend a big chunk of time online telling people they spend too much time online or take things to seriously. Ironic and hypocritical come to mind.

Love you.

wv= efsjypne

Seriously? I got nothin' for that.