The Internet has been, almost literally, a lifesaver for me. I first started "surfing" way back in 1998 and have to admit to being rather disappointed. There was no Google, the search engines in existence back then were slow and incomplete, there were very few "services" available.
Gradually, of course, the Internet has taken over my life. I'm totally addicted. As someone who is, most likely, profoundly anti-social, it has allowed me to become a virtual recluse. If I can avoid going out of the house, I do, and the Internet makes that so much easier. I can buy just about anything I want or need on line, I get my food shopping delivered and almost all my work is conducted via e-mail (I've never met most of my clients; in fact, there are a number I've never even spoken to on the phone).
Since D left me 15 months ago, the online community has been my support system. First, through my real life best friends, the ones in Britain and the US, people I've known since I was 18... I'm not a phone person (I'm sure that doesn't come as any kind of surprise) and e-mail and Facebook have allowed me to keep in touch with these great friends. Their support in those dark, initial days was what kept me going.
And then there are the "virtuals" - people whose work I have read for many years, people who seem to think the way I do, people I like to think I could be friends with in real life if geography were not such an obstacle. I read a great many blogs (though not as much as I used to - Facebook and Twitter have snapped up a lot of minutes in my day!), comment from time to time and take great pleasure in the writing of these people.
To my utter amazement, several of these "big name" bloggers have commented on my blog, or via Twitter, or e-mail and have provided me with support and advice and encouragement, above and beyond the call of duty given that they've never met me. This kind of support touches me in ways you would not believe. Receiving e-mails from people who are, to me, the blogging community's A-listers boosts me, makes me realise that maybe I'm not as worthless and insignificant as I've been led to believe. It bolsters my fragile ego to think of these wonderful writers reading my drivel, putting up with all my ranting, hearing my voice.
So, down to the nitty-gritty. I'm starting to sense that there might, indeed, be light at the end of this tunnel. Yes, I'm still hopelessly broke, despairingly single, heartbreakingly lonely... but I don't actually think I'm unhappy any more. I know I'm stronger than I was, I know I can face just about anything now. I'm getting there.
And it's thanks to you. All of you. I know in most cases we've never met, but I sincerely hope to make it to BlogHer one day and, when I do, I would love to thank each and every one of you, individually, face-to-face, drink in hand, for being here for me in these dark, dark days.
The Internet has saved my life and has given me hope. There's still a long way to go, but I truly feel that I'm on the right road at last.
My "circle of Internet friends" may be virtual, and I may attach more importance to it than I should, but seriously, guys. Thank you. Truly, truly thank you. You guys are the best.