Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Tears of joy.

I lay in bed last night unable to stop the tears coursing down my cheeks and neck and seeping into the pillow. These were tears of sadness and joy.

I always knew what I would do if I had internet access and perversely resisted early suggestions that we get hooked up at home, I was fairly content just using it for music and photographs…

I had not a clue about the net when I started but just bungled around tapping in a few search terms and started to learn that I really was far from alone with my lifelong problem and that the world had moved on in the decades since my youth. Lets face it, just reading and watching popular media you would hardly have thought so! It took me a while to discover blogs and felt wrong just reading so signed up to be able to comment and make my voice heard. That was on Livejournal which though it was where I found all the early blogs didn’t really take off for me.

Having an online identity it seemed the obvious thing to do to start and write a blog myself. I say obvious but apart from signing a credit card slip, and they were becoming obsolete, and writing an occasional postcard or shopping list this dyslexic blogger had not written much in half a lifetime! As unpopular as my blog was I did get several followers and the very first changed my whole online experience in ways I never imagined.

She was a fairly experienced old hand online but somehow got in contact with this raw beginner, so much so that she suggested that we chat which neither of us had ever done. Back then it took more manual setting up unlike the automatic systems on every site these days, somehow we muddled through and set it up and got to know each other. We really clicked… With her job she realised that sometimes she would pass near where I lived which was amazing considering that I am at the opposite end of the country and on something of a dead end peninsular, she asked if we could meet up. Plans started to form about finding somewhere half way between her meeting and my home but in the end I said why not just come and stay. Clearly neither of us realised that meeting someone off the internet was supposed to lead to a gruesome death so must be avoided at all costs or conducted like a cold war prisoner exchange with dozens of witnesses in a busy public space. She drove up and it was as if we had known each other all our lives! As it turns out this is much how all my subsequent meetings of net friends has gone…

She stayed over night with us and we have been meeting up once or twice a year ever since to really see how we have changed. Soon after the first meeting she briefly flew out with another net friend to join us on our holiday in the south of France. I can still clearly remember her sitting wistful on the beach wondering how on earth she was going to be able to face going back to face working life in the UK because at that time she was still working as a guy. Everyone who met her on that trip thought that she had been living the role of woman or an age but before boarding that plane outings had been few and far between!

Last night I read her farewell post, the end of our blog life together. She had mentioned her plan to do a final update and fade away for some time so it was hardly a surprise. We have both come so far since our first contact, further than either of us probably seriously thought possible at that time despite our tentative first steps along the way. It has not been all easy going and smooth and prices have had to be made and risks taken.

I guess that many of the tears must be of relief that we both were able to make the crossing and survive. This week being the one where we remember those who have perished along the way. Lisa’s last post has to be read by those still on the path or wary of jumping into the maelstrom of transition for it’s message of hope.