The Olympic Mountain Range - G.Cornwall, 2011.
I believe there may be a correlation between mental and physical illness and insufficient kindness and contact between our fellow beings. At times, my heart breaks with the knowledge of the isolation of many people who either have no access to technology or never deal with people in person as a result of it, myself included.
I love social media for the opportunities to come together in the moment for a laugh, to share an idea and to say a quick "Hello out there!" but I find that I see so few people in person.
I wonder how many people feel sad and lonely and are afraid to say so? For my part, I long for more human interaction - just to go for a coffee with someone on the weekend, learn something new and have a chat, but everyone is caught up in the idea that they are busy. What the blazes is everyone doing that makes them so busy?
Last weekend, two of my Twitter friends and I got together for a coffee. Not for lack of trying, this is the first time in over a year of active tweeting that I have met up with folks from this social media platform. I am so grateful to them because they took the time and showed the interest in having an in-person interaction - just because. They are both wonderful, intelligent, kind and engaged people in my town and I feel so blessed to be getting to know them. This post is dedicated to you, Angela and Sean. You help me to keep the faith in the potential of the #YYJ.
I wonder if people who haven't met me in person don't accept my offer to go for coffee because they are making assumptions about my intent. As someone who has been in relationships with women, I have dealt with this as an adult for 30+ years. Many straight women assume that because I am gay, if I ask them to go out for coffee, they believe that I am asking them out on a date.
The truth of it is, folks, how the heck would I know if I wanted to go on a date with you, male or female, until I met you and spent time with you? If I did eventually ask you out, why wouldn't you be honoured that someone as awesome as I am was interested in getting to know you better? If it turns out you are not interested in me romantically, then just as you would with a man, you would say "Thank you so much but I would prefer to be friends." ...and life would go on.
I guess what I'm saying is, isn't life going to be more interesting and aren't communications going to be better, if we discontinue our assumptions and fears and allow kindness, curiosity and friendship into our lives.
My cell phone which was kindly given to me by an amazing friend (thank you Sandra!) died an untimely death this weekend and that is problematic as it is one of the only ways that I have to feel connected to people in this day and age. I will get another one when I can figure out the best approach, financially and in terms of how I want to use it, but the whole process has triggered something in me and I really want to say this:
Dear people with whom I communicate through my phone and on social media, THANK YOU! I know each of you have lives that are packed with difficulties and traumas and joys and the stuff of everyday life - work, kids, spouses, volunteer work, social engagements and chores. Everyone of you who takes time to read this blog, my gratitude is immeasurable and I am always interested in your thoughts and feelings about it.
To those of you that check in to see how I am doing once in a while, I see you as my angels. It would be a far lonelier life without you in it. To those of you near and far, let me know if you want to go for coffee or if you are in town for the day. I love these tools we have and they do bring connection among us, but I (and I'm sure other people out there) love to see folks IRL (in real life) and I do enjoy getting to know people.
Wishing each of you every blessing of joy and kindness and love,
-Gillian Cornwall, February 3, 2013.
Reminder: Bell Let's Talk Day - February 12, 2013
Victoria, From Up Here - G. Cornwall, 2011.