The word ‘community’ brings images to my mind of people stood talking over garden fences, children playing in the street together. It suggest to me people who share a common locality.
Community though, has become a lot less about locality, in the era of the internet, hasn’t it? It’s become more about common interests, or shared beliefs, or even just kindred spirits. It no longer matters where you are in the world, you can still find people who share the same outlook as yourself, and become part of a community with these people.
When I started Any Other Wedding years ago, I had literally no idea that it would grow in the way it did. I had not a clue that I would get so lucky, and that some how, this amazing community would grow out of this tiny blog. All of you who read here, and comment, and get involved are what makes it worth us keep AOW going.
The fabulous, and quite frankly, inimitable, Bex and Bella (and Nik and Fiachra, the respective husbands) came to visit me a few weeks ago. In KL. That that happened blows my mind a little. I know a lot of you meet up regularly. So many of you have met Anna and Aisling, but other than the very first AOP I’ve not met any of you. Being over here, in Malaysia, has its benefits, but it also has its downfalls, and one of them is that I can’t just nip over for a cuppa, or even pop to a wedding for a weekend.
I didn’t realise what I was missing out on. I mean I always really wished I could meet more of you, but meeting Bex and Bella showed me how stunningly lucky we got with this community. They are some of the kindest, most fun, most genuinely lovely people I could ever have hoped to meet. They came into my place, nosed around the apartment, played with Emmi, and we ate Anna K’s (via Smitten Kitchen) Baked French Toast, and drank All Of The tea. Just like seeing Emmi with Anna, Aisling and Lucy at the last GIAT meet-up, seeing her with these guys made me appreciate so much what you all have to give, and how having strong women like all of you in our children’s lives can only be a positive thing.
I know that some people still can’t get their heads around becoming friends with people on the internet. It’s still a bit taboo (I think?) to admit that you have friends who you only know through the internet. I know that the first time I announced I was off to meet ‘Anna, Aisling and Lucy, my friends from the internet’, Andy was vaguely concerned that they might not actually be Anna, Aisling and Lucy, but instead some dodgy truck drivers, named Bert and suchlike. Luckily, they weren’t dodgy truck drivers, and have instead become some of my very best friends, and I am so grateful that I made that leap, got on the train, and met those girls that day.
I’m genuinely convinced that anyone who reads and enjoys AOW could meet up with someone else who reads and enjoys, and get on well. Well enough to sit and have a cuppa and while away a few hours. I think that so many of us have come from a similar life story. Clearly we all have our own stories to tell, the things that make us different, but so many of us were not the cool girls at school, but have somehow blossomed in our own way as we’ve become adults.
So all of you lurkers out there, honestly, join in. The women who read this blog are some of the most open, genuine, warmhearted people that I have ever been lucky enough to meet. They are not cliquey, or bitchy, they welcome anyone. People here will attest to that. Not all of the people who you see chatting on twitter, or in the comments have been around since the beginning. Each one has individually been brave enough to come along to a meet up, or join in a conversation on twitter, and they’ve immediately been accepted into the group. Parties have been arranged. Presents swapped. Best friends have been made.
It floors me that we have been a tiny part of the process of introducing so many brilliant, wise, wonderful women to one another. If AOW has done only that, and nothing else, I think we can be proud. We are all so lucky to have this little place on the internet where we can all feel at home. But wouldn’t it be even more fun to meet more of each other in real life? Well watch this space… Bex has an idea, and we will have a post coming up about it very soon….
PS – We’re back to posting six days a week again from next week, so you can all go back to looking forward to your regular AOW with your cereal/on the commute/in bed every day.