Tuesday, October 9, 2007

define community

There was a fund raiser Sunday for our friend Maggie, who is battling ovarian cancer. The woman who put it together owns a Health Collective here in town that offers massages and the like, but also takes a more holistic approach to women's issues. The setting was an old, beautiful house downtown that has been set up almost as a retreat, and, while they have both men and women as clients, it is very much a woman's place. Designed for comfort, beautifully lit and smelling like heaven, it's difficult to not calm down as soon as you cross the threshold.

Several massage therapists in town donated their time for this fund raiser. Anyone who wanted to could book a massage and donate whatever they felt like giving. In another area, you could get your nails painted teal, the ovarian cancer awareness color. Most people went with their toenails, but a few brave souls got their fingernails done. I did a one hour shift painting nails and let me tell you that it's a good thing my living doesn't depend on my manicure or pedicure skills. On the other hand I have bright teal toes that can't help but make you smile. It is not a color you can ignore. It demands your attention.

It was such a wonderful experience on so many different levels. Maggie is four rounds of chemo down, hairless but feisty as hell, which makes us all happy. Two rounds to go. And just the pulling together of all of the people who participated in this was amazing. Entire families worked as one, kids got nails painted, people donated food and expertise and a precious Sunday afternoon, old friends caught up and new friends were made. It was community pulling together in the best sense of the world. It made me proud just to be there.

I've been thinking of this as I read my comments from Monday's post, where I whined my butt off and got comforting comments in return. No one called me a whiner, no one told me to quit my bitchin' and get a life. People sent hugs and good thoughts and reassurances that this too shall pass. Everyone who thought I was a whiner and should take a chill pill kindly refrained from saying so. I do appreciate that. Trust me.

I've been thinking about the whole blogging thing a lot as I approach my 200th post. And it all comes back to this - the community aspect. You don't have to have a specific skill, you don't need to venture out into the world to do good, you don't need to be anybody other than who you are. All you have to do is turn on your computer. And with a couple of mouse clicks you're in the midst of friends. Friends who live in various parts of the world. Friends who may be in very different places in their lives. Men. Women. Young. Not so young. Friends with children. Friends with animals. Friends whose children are animals. Friends whose animals are children. Different circumstances. Similar circumstances. Friends nonetheless. Friends who support and encourage and occasionally kick you in the butt when you need it.

I think that's pretty cool. It makes me proud just to be there.


my two cents said...

Ok, now you've made me all weepy. I LOVE that I can turn on the computer and there you are! (And there are so many other friends, too, both new and old.) I couldn't have said it better - which is why you are the one with the blog! Tell me in addition to having your nails painted, you had a massage also - you deserve one.

Kaycie said...

Very nice, RC.

Sweet Irene said...

Yes, RC, you are so right, there you are in the middle of friends, how lucky we all are. I guess we must never forget that and become complacent. It's a hell of a battle fighting cancer. How lucky we are for being here and healthy. Thanks for the good words. I'll remember them.

ciara said...

very lovely post, r.c. my eyes are a bit misty. you're right...it's so great that ppl just 'come together' whether it's your neighborhood, your blogs, school, etc. caring and compassion aren't truly dead, are they? :)

and your friend maggie sounds like a total 'kick ass' girl to me! :)

Altaglow said...

I've heard the opinion that the Internet caters to folks who are reclusive at heart and because of that promotes isolation. I'd like to offer the opinion that the internet has given us the ability to develop and sustain friendships and a sense of community that has added great joy to most of our lives. I LOVE it when you're there when I turn on the computer.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post! I am very sorry about Maggie's illness, and I hope the rest of the treatments go OK. What it all comes down to is how lucky we are to have our health, but to also have each other. Our connections with people is really what life is all about. I know I am so thankful for blogging, it has made my world a whole lot richer!
Thanks for this post and its wonderful message.

PixelPi said...

I often hear people say that internet relationships (blogging, whatever) aren't real because you don't know the person on the other end. They could be an axe murderer, or a scam artiste from Taiwan telling you you've won the Irish Sweepstakes, or the Taliban trying to recruit you. I often wonder what internet these people are on. It's certainly not the one I'm on.

I admit that I'm a naturally asocial person. Not isolated, not antisocial, but I like spending lots of time alone. I also like quality friendships. This is where I can have friends and participate in activities and yes, even help others, while still being my little ole asocial self. Even more importantly, I get back support, and kindness, and friends, and kicks in the butt (as needed) too. Not to mention several daily hearty laughs and feelings of love.

I must be tuned into the right blogs because I've found some fine people. And RC, you are one of them!

Mya said...

Just catching up with you, RC. Sounds like you've been having a bit of a chaotic time. Sorry about Ratfink.
I was wondering about your friend just the other day - I remember how upset you were when you found out. So pleased she's keeping her spirits up.
It's funny how 'real' internet friends become in your life. I'm always mentioning things people say or wonder how so and so is getting on with their particular problem...I only wish I'd found you all sooner!

Mya x

Flowerpot said...

that's made me feel a whole lot better - well put, RC!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Spooky! Just yesterday a friend came to my house and said she was planning four fund-raisers for Ovarian cancer research in four different countries. I volunteered to help her with the local one. She wants to do this because a good friend of hers died of this disease recently, and she hasn't coped well with the loss. You're so right, RC. There's so much more to life than bitching about our dirty houses, etc.

By the way, there's an award for you at my place.

laurie said...

well said. some of you--you, in particular, but others, too, like flowerpot and kaycie and pixelpi and oh let's not name names because there are so many of you--have become a huge part of my life. if i don't hear from you, i worry. (and then i hear from you.)

i look forward to seeing what you have to say each morning.

it's better than the old-fashioned penpals, because, as you say, it creates a community--we all chat together.

that ovarian cancer fundraiser sounds excellent.

laurie said...

ps i'm pretty sure that none of us in our little online community is an axe murderer. probably not even willowtree.

Jo Beaufoix said...

RC that is lovely and so true.
I see you as my friends, as people who do genuinely care, and it's so good knowing we can rant, laugh, cry and try new stuff, and that good people will be there and be interested.
Glad Maggie is hanging in there and that you all did that fantastic thing and had such a fab time doing it.
Sending big squishy hugs that taste of chocolate but have no calories.

CableGirl said...

What a great story. It is really inspiring to see so many people come together in aid of someone loved.

Diana said...

You said it. You said it all. This is why, even though I go through my spates of not wanting a damn thing to do with the blog I continue on because I do not want to miss my friends.

My best wishes for your friend and her fight.

exskindiver said...

hey rotten.
yes it nice to be able to socialize without even having to brush my teeth or get out of my pajamas.
(but i do brush, and eventually i do change out of the sleeping clothes)

belle said...

Lovely post, RC, and so true. I've made some really good friends thanks to the internet and definitely see it as enabling rather than isolating.

ped crossing said...

Thanks for the reminder that there are worse things than kids sick with colds, messy houses, chaotic lives in general. And that there are really fabulous people out there to support us. There is a reason I am becoming addicted to blogging.

Hope Tuesday is an improvement over Monday. From a fellow surface abuser, those piles are useful and you will get them sorted out in time. Good luck!

Akelamalu said...

What a lovely day that must have been - all that giving!

You are so right about the blogging community - it rocks. :)

Kimberly said...

Those are the kinds of friends worth having, alright.

Worker Mommy said...

I love what you wrote about Maggie...reminds me of my own mom in the midst of chemo (feisty as hell).

Amen on blogging! Oh how I love it and the friends I've made.

Swearing Mother said...

RC: Very, very true re virtual friends. When I started blogging, I knew I was looking for something but didn't know what. Now I realise I've found something good. Sounds cheesey (low fat of course) but I guess most people who blog or comment know what I mean.

We're lucky aren't we?

Anonymous said...

My hat off to your friend with cancer. A shitty disease that desperately needs a cure.

And my hat off to you. If you have so many friends online it is because you made them. They, including me, are people who want to be associated with you because you are a lovely person.

Crystal xx