The Real Her

Sometimes I post words that are in response to a prompt. This Finish the Sentence Friday idea is “I love technology…” – no limits or further instructions.

“Just write about tech.” So, here I am.

Truth be told, I really don’t know how I feel about it. The expensive equipment, programs that suddenly become critical to my existence, the unnatural convenience of carrying a computer, phone, calendar, game, diet and step tracker, and who knows what else in the front pocket of my purse.

It feels there is an expectation that I will have all of those conveniences in my pocket and remain continuously available to anyone with my cell number.

The urge to check and recheck email and messages and social media – and with an embarrassingly low level of self-discipline, those rechecks happen all too frequently.

And Zoom.

Ugh… I just H.A.T.E. the way I look on my laptop camera – the lighting in my studio is just not photo-compatible, so the shadows always hit me right where I need lightening up – and vice versa. And I’m not 30, so there’s that.

And yet, Zoom has been a lifesaver for so many. I’ll bet that for every one of us who hate how we look on camera there are hundreds for whom the virtual, digital connection to friends and family has kept their hearts alive and their spirits high enough to endure isolation and the fear of being alone and hidden.

My blessing, however, comes a bit round-about, and Zoom was only the first step.

On Monday nights, since January, a group of us collage and paper artisans have been Zooming – not in a formal meeting or class or demonstration. We just switch on technology, gather our supplies and projects, and chit-chat while we work. Kind of like the old school quilting bees, only on a screen with microphones — and we’re not working on one quilt, but on paper with paints and glue and markers — from all parts of the country — sometimes even the world.

We share what we’re doing in our artistic endeavors, talk about books and movies, ask questions if we are stuck on a technique or failing miserably using a new gadget, or just work in silence, savoring the company of colleagues. People who get us.

Sometimes the host, an entrepreneur who owns and runs a business (that keeps her a little too busy for her own good, I believe? Just IMHO, AWOH…xoxox) will simply facilitate the time, not working on anything of her own. She just unlocks the Zoom Room, gifting us the luxury of being together. Sometimes she starts conversations or offers a spur-of-the-moment mini-tutorial. And sometimes she just enjoys the view: people she has inspired, looking down at their work, sinking into the flow.

It was through this unexpected media that I met Her, another artist who often attends the weekly Zooming. I loved hearing Her speak about artwork or projects – especially when She showed us Her work (even if our laptop/technology cameras are woefully inadequate for the beauty in Her art). Even though I can’t recall exactly even one of the comments She made, they were always encouraging or helpful or both.

I follow Her Instagram account, as well as others on “the call” and was completely unprepared for Her words a little over a week ago. She told us, those in her Insta world, about going through a really rough patch she is navigating – and has been for a long time, and about Her decision to ask for serious help.

I did and still do choke back tears at the thought.

Because my perception of the Screen Her was a lovely, fun-loving, smiling artist who really had a lot of everything all put together, including talent and passion.

What I couldn’t see through that lens – only a snapshot of Her in Gallery Mode with an occasional spotlight when She was sharing – was the Real Her.

The Struggling Her. The Not-Always-Fine Her. The Real Her.

So, technology. A mixed bag to be sure…

  • Sometimes the very best and perhaps only way to link our souls with those we love during times of isolation, distance, or illness.
  • Sometimes the very best way to be “fine” when we are not fine at all.

Not the highest praise for a $$multi-million/billion industry.

But here’s the good part.

I sent a little message to my artistic colleague, letting Her know that I was thinking of Her, praying for Her. Wishing I could do more. And I asked for Her address.

As it turns out, we are planning a day trip to a little store not more than 10 minutes from where She lives. I learned that because the small bit of technology that fits in the pocket of my pants, my purse, and the palm of my hand made a little “ping” when She answered me.

I was a little giddy when I read the street and city – and knew I was going to be there very soon.

Yesterday, I sent a card, inviting her to lunch with Tim and me in her hometown. I have no idea if she’ll be interested. And I can’t say I won’t be disappointed just a little if she declines.

But even the possibility that

advanced technology
+ a Zoom call
+ Instagram
+ private messaging
+ a cell phone
+ truth telling
a New Friend

is no less than remarkable.

Perhaps even a miracle.

And until we meet again, my friends and readers, I pray for you

Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash

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