Being in a town of 297 people in the middle of the deep, rural South means the Internet is often a lifeline.
I live in the Bible Belt. The style is modern Redneck chique. If I don’t want a camo dress featuring the RealTree logo or some kind of Jesus reference, I have to shop online (or travel).
If I want to find a specialty food item or vitamin, I go to the Internet.
Music? Oh yeah definitely Internet. There will be no Jason Aldean in this motherfucking house, no songs about sexy tractors or honky tonk badonka donks, no whiny tunes about dogs or songs referencing baby’s blue jeans. No.
Movies? Internet. I think online sources are pretty much a staple for everyone when it comes to movies.
Current events? Let’s just say I’m not going to depend on the local news outlets for anything major. I mean, it’s news here if a squirrel makes a nest in someone’s attic. So, I go to the Internet for that as well.
I also research for information, arrange travel, keep track of the weather, and pay bills online. Almost everything I do even down to the recipes for the cleaners I make is connected to the Internet in some form or fashion.
It is the ability to socialize and maintain friendships that has become the most important aspect of all my time online, though, even as much as I use it for daily tasks. So many people get on their soapboxes about how much time we spend online or on our phones and like to complain that people never really get out into the world and spend time with one another, and, in a way, I get that. But, when you live in a place like I do, it’s pretty fucking hard to get out in the world and meet people you connect with that you can stand to be around for more than 10 minutes. I don’t have a salt life or a river life sticker on the back of a too-big truck I drive to make up for my small personality. I don’t believe in Jesus. I don’t watch football (or any other sport). I don’t hunt, and I don’t worship America. I don’t go mudbogging (euphemistically or realistically), and I don’t listen to country music. In fact, if anything, I’m the opposite of all the things that seem to be essential to fitting into this local Southern culture.
If it weren’t for the Internet I think I would go insane from isolation especially since social media has even become essential to meeting like-minded others in the area for me to hang out with when I can stand being outside of my own house (ha).
Coming from someone who is part of the partnership of masterminds behind a site like DoucheArt, it may be hard to believe, but quite honestly I have met some of my closest friends online…some of the most caring, good-hearted people I know are those I connected with on the Internet. There are some people I have been in contact with for years that I know solely on an online basis and despite the distance between us physically, I consider them no less friends than those people I can actually get a hug from on a bad day.
Friendship can come in many forms and while I do have friends I can actually hang out with in person without traveling hundreds or thousands of miles (or across an ocean), the Internet has afforded me an opportunity to connect with so many more people on just a deep a level as those I can see on a regular basis, and I’m quite thankful for that. In my hardest times, it is often someone I’ve met online that I feel most comfortable actually turning to when I need to vent, and I try my best to be there for them that way too. It’s been people I’ve met online who’ve reached out the last year when I’ve been out of work to help me financially and to try to help me build my confidence in myself back up after so many turned-down applications. We joke and share experiences and ask about one another’s days. I get concerned about their family problems or sick relatives. There’s a true connection there in spite of the miles between us and the “sterile” way of communicating with typed words in black and white.
People tend to get amazed by the fact that I live in such a small town and ask me how I can stand it, and the answer is simple, the boundaries of the town do not limit my ability to interact with people from all over, of all cultures, with any myriad of beliefs. My ability to connect to others is only as limited as I make it and thankfully by being open to meeting people and befriending people online, those limits are small.
Even at my poorest, I am rich. Even when things were going to shit all around me here, I have still been lucky.
High-fucking-five, Internet. High-fucking-five.
This post, as every Sunday, is part of Sunday Confessions with someone I am very thankful to call a friend--Hot Ash over at More than Cheese and Beer. Stop over and read her confession as well as all the other bloggers who linked up.
When we have true friends we have everything we need.