Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

When Online Friends Meet In-person

Filed under: Blogging, Living with a disability — by Glenda at 4:16 pm on Thursday, June 19, 2008

Todd and Sharon from St. Peters, Missouri

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting my Twitter buddy @tojosan, aka Todd Jordan, and his wife Sharon from St. Peters, Missouri. They were visiting family in the Seattle area and came across the border “to meet a few friends they had only met online”. (Nothing suspicious there!) It was Sharon’s first time to a foreign country. She was amazed to see so many American chain stores. (I’ll save that topic for another post.)

Darrell, Todd and Glenda

Meeting an invisible friend face-to-face to the first time always causes me a little apprehension. Will the real me live up to my online personae? Or will my cerebral palsy in person disappoint? But, I soon discovered I had nothing to fear with Todd who, in @conniereece’s words, “is a big ol’ teddy bear of a guy with a huge heart.” I totally agree! Having Darrell there to translate Glenda-ish definitely helped. Although, with more time, I’m sure both Todd and Sharon could master that foreign language!

Hanging out with friends, talking about blogging, social networking and such – what a great way to spend a nearly-summer afternoon (that’s why we’re all wearing sweaters!).

Reader's Question

Awhile ago, I told readers to go ahead, ask me anything. Now is a good time to answer Todd’s question, “How are you able to stay so busy with your extensive disability? Is it a matter of not accepting that you are significantly impaired? A high energy spirit? Your uplifting voice is just amazing.”

Glenda's Response

Thank you for your kind words.

I am often curious to know how people think I should being spending my days, living with my days. Spending my days watching television? Have you seen what is on tv right now? Boring! Or, sitting around, feeling sorry for myself? Double boring.

But, seriously, you ask a good question, Todd. Perhaps it is because of how I was raised: my parents did not allow my disability to be an excuse. They expected me to try and to do my best. Perhaps it’s focusing on the cans rather than on the can’ts. Or, perhaps its because I see opportunities all around and I want to experience as many as of them as I can squeeze in.

The bottom line is to focus on what I do have and what I can do, and to make the most of that and to be content with it. William Wordsworth’s sonnet Nuns Fret Not holds a special place in my heart (see pages 52-53 of I’ll Do It Myself for the full story):

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
   And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
   Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
   High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmer by the hour in foxglove bells;
   In truth, the prison, unto which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is; and hence for me,
   In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;
   Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
   Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

~~ William Wordsworth, 1806

Sharon and Todd, thank you for crossing the border. It was so great meeting you both. I hope we can do that again next time you come north to visit your grandbabies. Todd, I’m looking forward to seeing you again at SOBCon in Chicago next May.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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12 Comments »

Comment by Connie Reece

June 19, 2008 @ 4:55 pm

See? I *told* you he was a teddy bear. I’m so glad you enjoyed the visit. I met Todd and Sharon when they came to Austin on vacation. If I ever get to that “foreign country” on our northern border, you can expect a pink-haired woman to be knocking on your door. :-)

Comment by Glenda

June 19, 2008 @ 5:15 pm

Yes, Connie, he is a teddy bear, a big softie. Looking forward to finding your pink hair at my doorstep, lady!

Comment by Karen Putz/ DeafMom

June 20, 2008 @ 5:37 am

I love it when internet collides with real life! Can’t wait to meet you at the SOBCon next year!

Comment by Todd Jordan

June 20, 2008 @ 6:31 am

Hey there! Sharon and I really enjoyed our visit across the border, and lunch was the best. We enjoyed your company very much, and the brewery was a wonderful choice.

It’s been wonderful this year to meet my online friends in person, from Connie Reece, to AnnOhio, to you and your husband. Sharon’s been along for the ride as well, and that makes the experience even better.

Sharon and I are reading your book. It’s been interesting learning about your ‘origin’.

And I love the image of myself as a teddy bear. Ha. Thank you and Connie. :)

Comment by Isis

June 21, 2008 @ 3:14 pm

It’s really much easier meeting online people in person when you relate to them as more than “invisible friends”. I have a disability myself that’s not apparent and my big issue was that I didn’t want people to see what I looked like from the chest down. I thought they’d all judge me but it worked out that most people who get to know me from the inside out are much kinder.

Can’t wait to read your book!

Comment by Jana

June 23, 2008 @ 11:40 am

I think everyone is nervous when they meet an online friend… it’s one thing to chat online, but a whole different when the person is RIGHT THERE… so close you can see them, touch them…

As someone with mental health issues, I worry about what people will think of me in person… they see my strength online… but what if they see my weakness when we’re too close for me to hide it? Scary stuff.

That said… some of my online budds have turned out to be absolutely great real-life friends! I had an absolute BLAST last time I met friends online!

And if I ever make it to Seattle (like I’ve been promising my friend Dyana I would since the day she moved there 4 years ago) I’ll make sure to take a trip across the border… be watching for a 4′11″ cute-as-heck person to show up at your door! LOL

Comment by Lorelle

February 2, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

Meeting online friends in person is the best. It don’t get much better.

Comment by sophie

February 7, 2009 @ 11:58 pm

It always amazes me when people say things like the question Todd asked. Honestly, I find it insulting. It’s as if to say, ‘wow, it’s so horrible, how do you……….?

But it’s not so horrible to have cp and having it doesn’t mean having less drive to live. It’s true some people with CP complain and/or don’t do much. That’s a function of who they are, not of having a disability.

Why don’t people get that?

Comment by Glenda

February 8, 2009 @ 9:58 am

Hi Sophie, I can appreciate your frustration with such questions. Some get to me too. However, I cherish that my friends and readers feel comfortable enough with me to ask such questions. With that level of honesty and openness, I believe that is when understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. Isn’t that we are aiming for?

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