Nicki wrote a blog post titled “How the internet connected me …“, touching on the friends she’s made, the support she’s had access to and Unlocking the Power of the Internet, and whilst I was reading it there was so much that resonated with me that I was making notes in my head about writing my own post on the subject.
And then I discovered there’s a prize up for grabs too!
When I started my blog WAAAAY back in 2005, it was the realisation of an idea I’d had for years. My own space on the internet! I had always wanted a space where I could share my story of single parenthood and raising a child with AD/HD. Blogging gave me that space, but I never dreamed it would be so much more. When I eventually told my parents and family I was blogging and how it worked my parents especially were horrified and my dad was convinced I would be stalked and murdered in my bed! For the most part my friends and family didn’t understand why I would want to share so much of my life with strangers on the internet, but there was no way I was giving it up.
I started finding and reading and commenting on other people’s blogs (I was never just a reader, I loved that I could leave my opinion or a word of encouragement on what was essentially someone’s personal diary). And not only did I get to share my life and experiences with people on my blog, I got given some incredible advice and support when I felt like I didn’t know where to turn anymore! I got to use the people in my computer’s “out of the box thinking” to help me out!
I joined a USA-based email support group for parents of children with AD/HD, and I got so much support it was like the sun had come out at the end of a monsoon of drama and battles! Their support planted the seed in my head of supporting other parents of children with AD/HD and it became a campaign in my life.
After a few years of being electronic friends with the bloggers I had gotten to know so well, we started meeting face to face. It was nerve wracking and terrifying and wonderful all at the same time! I formed a special bond with a few of those bloggers and we are now close friends in real life- sharing special occasions, milestones, whiny 2am text messages, desperate phone calls and really good friendships. They are the friends I spend time with, without hash-tagging the occasion to death on Twitter or feeling the need to blog about it before and after, because our relationships are bigger than that.
And then I met The Glugster. He’d started blogging to see if he could make money, and we started reading and commenting on each others’ blogs. Soon Glugster, SweetStef and I were chatting on Skype until the wee hours of the morning and eventually decided to meet face to face. We planned a lunch which I missed, but he and I met for dinner a few days later when both of us had had unbelievably crappy days… What was supposed to be simply a chance for us to finally meet face to face very quickly turned into a date and we were still laughing and talking at 2am the next morning with the restaurant staff packing up tables and chairs around us! He was a perfect gentleman and when we parted ways I felt like I was walking on a cloud! I was completely smitten and spent hours online with SweetStef having the equivalent of a 15 year old girl’s conversation with her “OMG do you think he likes me oh I think I like him but I don’t know what to do I’ve been single for so long and do you think he likes me and oh I think I like him but I don’t know what to do“! I didn’t know it, but he was having the same kind of conversations with SheBeeGee! A few days later we met up again and after I gave him a runaround he refused to accept, we started seeing each other and announced our relationship to the world.
Two years and seven months later we got married! Our wedding was streamed live online so that our friends around the world could share our wedding day with us and we even had our own hash-tag on Twitter: #AnGlugWedding!
And with the aid of blogging, Facebook and Twitter, I have been completely self-employed for over two years now and my alter-ego The Cupcake Lady is very nearly a celebrity!!
I reckon I have successfully “unlocked the power of the internet”. I get to support parents who are raising children with AD/HD, I have my dream career, I have a killer social circle and I have the most incredible husband on the planet!