One of my talents, before and after, has been making connections. Bringing people together, fostering relationships, maintaining them. I’ve been thinking about connections this week, both personal and professional, both IRL and virtual. I’ve been exploring social media for business promotion purposes. I’ve spent a bit of time online over the last few years – try to contain your shock – and I’ve seen the way communities, friendships and relationships can grow. I’ve been an early adopter of most forms of social media and can see how they can be utilised for promotional purposes. For the small business owner the beauty is there are heaps of things you can do with no outlay except an investment of time. I’ve been working on some things for the owner of the cricket coaching facility that my Son Number Two attends each Saturday. The cricket guys and the involvement with cricket has been so positive for Son Number Two. The guys there are all great and working on this has been fun and reminded me that I have skills I can use. Watching word spread, and more and more people ‘liking’ the fan page I’ve set up is almost as cool as seeing how many people read my ‘Whatever gets you through the night’ posts.
On a personal level I’ve been connecting online with a group of ex-service men and women. They are a tight bunch but very welcoming and we share diagnosis’ of PTSD and related issues. They are funny and super supportive of each other. Our individual roads less travelled, our highways to Hell, may have been different but we have all ended up in similar places. Talking to someone who knows how you feel cannot be underestimated, nor can sharing with someone who gets the associated black humour. The thing is though, is that they have left themselves open to connecting with people. With a lot of mental illness it is an uphill battle against detachment. The temptation to isolate yourself, to curl up into a little ball and shield yourself against a world that is too harsh, too noisy, too in your face is huge. After my Daughter Number One died it was a conscious effort not to live in anger, hatred and bitterness. I felt that would be giving more power and allowing more to be taken from me by someone who had already taken so much. Fuck, it’s been hard though. To trust, to make friends, to love. The effort cannot be underestimated. Because if you do leave yourself open to the good you also leave yourself open to the bad, and no one’s life is completely plain sailing. You always hurt the one’s you love and they you, because those are the people you leave yourself vulnerable and exposed to. The point though, is that the payoff is so worth it. To have someone know you as well as anybody could, to have someone who understands you better than anyone else, to have someone who hears you when no one else can, to have someone who sees you as you truly are and have that someone love you anyway. With all your faults, your imperfections. Through good times and in bad. For me, that’s absolutely worth the risk of hurt. Because for me, that is what life is about. Living is loving.
Not everyone can do it. I understand that. For some it’s just too big an ask to let anyone ever be that close to them again. You can only do what you can do. My very special friend, who introduced me to all his special friends has found a new love and they have been very open about their affection for each other. Being privy to that has been so cool. It makes my heart so glad. It is a privilege really. It’s all about hope. And how lovely of them to share that hopefulness with their happiness. For me, hope is what you need to carry on through the tough times. Hope things will get better, easier. Hope that the good times will return. Hope things will work out. Without it there is no reason to get out of bed in the morning, no reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
The kicker is, though, is that you have to find the energy, and the guts to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and soldier on. There’s a whole wide world out there and in spite of many indications to the contrary there are lots of good people out there too. You just have to be open to it. It’s like using the world-wide web for small business promotion. The potential is there, but the fact is unrealised potential is the same as no potential at all. Maximise your potential. You are the only one who can.
Travel safe guys x