The internet is a way of communcation that throws out the physical (if it's the good kind of internet, that is) and focuses on the essential. I've made some very real friends over the internet -- jed_i_diah being one of those. He's not an active LJer, unfortunately, but some years ago he and I developed a wonderfully close friendship via IM (back in those days when I lived with my parents and used AOhell). We listened to each other, shared our hearts, prayed for each other... then his girlfriend (who had apparently had a very bad experience with an online 'friend' that she met in real life) told him not to talk to me anymore, and so we lost contact for a good while. We got back in touch after I got engaged to Ben, and he ended up flying down to ATL from CANADA (the Wynnes let him stay in one of their spare bedrooms) for the wedding. Meeting him thrilled me! If I had gotten back in touch with him after he'd broken up with Michelle and before I got with Ben, well, my life would be very different. (I'm glad things happened the way they did though) He's such an incredible guy, really. I wish I could hook him up with one of my friends, 'cause they're the only ones I think are good enough for him. ;-) (actually, he has a girl now, but I haven't gotten a chance to ask him about her)
Other than Jed, I had a friend named Dominic who I was pretty close to for a time, but I've since lost his contact information.
Recently, there's been you guys. There are quite a few of you whom I'd do every bit as much for as I would for a friend that I know in real life, and while we have not had a conversation as such, commentations come close. I think I'd find it pretty easy to carry a conversation with Aubrey or Kate or Kyra (I know your name is really Kimberly, but I like calling you Kyra, so I'm gonna keep on), just to pick three. I feel like I understand quite a few facets of who you are, I feel like you have a good grasp of who I am, and isn't that what a relationship is? You're an important part of my life.
I don't understand how people can take LJ so casually, when you can be so real here. LJ has made a profound impact on my life -- I am so incredibly more open than I used to be, so much less ashamed of who I am. Now I know some of that is because I've been through a lot of counseling in the past year, but I think LJ counts for about half of my change. I would feel no shame or hesitancy explaining my past and myself to a stranger (as long as they asked, of course, I don't go around telling everything to everyone). That, from the girl who used to hate to tell people even the most casual things about her, because it gave them too much power over her emotions. Now I've been open and discovered that there are indeed people who will mock and disrespect and even attack, but they are much rarer than I thought, and people who want to understand me (or at least people who find me moderately interesting) exist. To the spiteful ones: thank you for making me stronger. Your animadversion, combined with the support of people I greatly respect, has taught me that being nakedly honest will cause trapped people to hate me, but open-minded people to respect (or even admire) me. I've always wanted to be one of those people you either love or hate.