Real hugs vs virtual ones


HouseGoesHome has been part of my life for more than three years now. And it’s generally been a force for good, not evil.

I’ve met so many wonderful people, made so many lovely friends, as a result of blogging.

I haven’t been trolled by mean freaks. (Knocks on wood.) I’ve made people very cross on Twitter, but I think it’s far too easy to do that.

No-one’s gone totally nuts and tried to hunt me down with pitchforks or anything.

There’s only been one ugly comment on the bog. (Knocks on wood again … and hopes there’s actual wood in IKEA desks.) It came from someone who felt HouseGoesHome was the reason my marriage broke up.

An extract from the vitriol: “No sane man will want to date you. It will take two minutes of talking to you and they will say they need to go to the loo but they’ll be out the back door. You have a mental condition akin to anorexia. You think you’re SO interesting but you’re as ordinary and dumb as they get. Pull your head out of your ass!!! YOU split up your family. YOU ruined your marriage.”

I read their words with academic interest rather than hurt, because the person had no idea why my marriage really ended. They didn’t understand that it was already dead in the water long before HouseGoesHome could inflict any fatal damage.

The blog became a source of angst between Husband and I – just about everything did towards the end – but we’d have broken up regardless.

HouseGoesHome was my therapy as life imploded. And I think it’s been therapy for other people too, who post comments about how it’s helped them to feel they’re not so alone.

As for the lovely friends I’ve made out of writing the blog, I drove to Newcastle yesterday for a first lunch with two of them: Geoff and Leanne.

Leanne and I worked together at The Newcastle Herald when I was a petrified teenager, but the years have blurred those memories. Geoff and Leanne went to high school together, coincidentally the same one as me, but they were about 10 years above. so our paths never crossed in the quadrangle.

Geoff and Leanne started out as HouseGoesHome readers, then commenters, then Facebook friends and now real-life friends.

Geoff has done plenty of virtual hand-holding for me through the traumatic events in my life over the past year, so it was great to finally give him a real hug. But it was weird for him to get a hug because he’d presumed from stuff I’d written in my blog posts that physical contact wouldn’t be part of the deal.

That’s the problem with someone knowing so much about me from the words I’ve written but not actually knowing the flesh and blood me.

The flesh and blood me has been working on the hugging thing. It’s become an essential succor during the hell of my separation from Husband.

I’ve realised I needed to embrace people, both physically and mentally.

HouseGoesHome has given me so many more people to embrace.

As I mentioned a little while back, I think the blog might reach a natural conclusion at some point, but right now it provides a sweet centre to my days.

Thank  you Geoff and Leanne for those warm, happy few hours together yesterday.

Song of the day: Bruce Springsteen “Tunnel of Love”






10 thoughts on “Real hugs vs virtual ones

  1. Phew I was getting a bit nervous that you were about to bid your blog (and your loyal followers) goodbye…your blog today had the sense of a swan song about it. Very relieved you’ll be sharing with us for a while longer. I know you’ve helped a lot of people through your ‘oversharing’ and for others you’ve become a part of our daily lives. And I’m so glad to hear that you DO hug, hugs are wonderful!

  2. Wow, like farranna, my first thought was, “oh no, this is the end” but so relieved to discover that it’s not!

    No, it was not “weird” to get a real hug…it was just funny, and worthy of comment, because you hugged with such enthusiasm, contrary to your earlier writings on the subject! All that practice is paying off! 🙂

    Thank you Alana, for joining us for lunch and for sharing all that “stuff”. I’m chuff’d to be counted as a “friend”.

  3. I’m so sorry someone would be so nasty. Love reading your blog. I guess I know the ‘blog’ you. ‘Blog’ you is a great person and amusing. I imagine Geoff would have felt awkward at first. I’m sure he soon got over it. Sometimes it is awkward when you partly know someone. There’s always the change in friend relationships, from shaking hands to hugs to a peck on the cheek. Interesting.

    • You may have just given me a blog post idea Gail – how you can be different people in different mediums. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I always love hearing from the people who follow my journey.

  4. Phew! Like Farranna, I also froze for a split second with a “Nooooo!!!! She can’t be winding up?!?!?!”
    You give strength where you don’t even realise. Since reading your blog, I have gathered strength to crawl out from under my mushroom, where I have stayed for soooo long, for one huge reason. I don’t believe I would have begun to put myself ‘out there’ without your blog playing its own little part.
    I for one, am glad its not reaching its ‘natural conclusion’ yet. Xxx

  5. Wow. I wondered if the towel was about to be thrown. Then it was hugs. Good! Hugs are better than throwing towels. Rings or otherwise.

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