Today's Connections post features two lovely, crafty ladies named Val and Renee. These two are seriously sweet! They had so many nice things to say about each other, and sometimes they were saying the exact same thing without knowing it!
Name/Age: Val, 29 and Renee, 37
Blog or website: http://allthingschula.com/ and http://renislostinpaper.blogspot.com/
1. How long have you known each other? How did your friendship begin?
Val: We first met each other on scrapbook.com through various swaps we were involved in. After a while of swapping in the same swaps we got to know each other better and would start to request each other in swaps. We would sign up together for Christmas swaps so we could send each other fun gifts and handmade items! (I was really impressed by her crafting abilities! This girl is über talented.) We would chat sometimes online and send each other gifts, and she would always (and still does) send me a card on special occasions or just to say hi. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that we really became close and started talking on a deeper level, and more often. I was going through a rough personal situation. I felt like I had no one to reach out to, like my world was caving in. I reached out to Renee. Our emails started then, me pouring my heart out to her about what I was going through and Renee knowing exactly what to say to help me through. I found it truly amazing. I have never met this lady, I don’t know much about her. But yet we were clicking. She undeniably understands exactly what I’m going through and cares enough even though we have never met to talk to me about it. I will never be able to thank her for helping me through that. It was amazing! Life changing, even. And she was with me through it all. That for me was the start of an amazing friendship that is so special to me!
Renee: I was trying to narrow it down to the exact date because I love details. The closest date I have documented is June 3, 2009 when our friendship really began. There was something tragic that happened in Valerie’s life and she was leaving our swaps and forums that I would check into and chat in daily. I was really starting to miss her and I needed to reach out to her and see if she needed anything or just an ear to listen. I emailed her and the rest is history. There are not many people you meet in this world that you can call a “friend” but Valerie is my true “best friend”.
2. How do you two normally communicate?
Val: Usually we email, although I must say not normal emailing once in awhile! No, we are power emailers. It’s constant. We email more than 10 times a day, and almost everyday! We never run out of things to talk about, especially now with me planning my wedding because Renee has been so helpful with it! It’s amazing to bounce ideas around with her and get her input. We did talk on the phone once but neither of us likes to talk on the phone much. We do text a lot though, on weekends when we are out running around and see something funny we have to share, or I make something for the wedding I text her a pic!
Renee: Valerie and I communicate mostly by email and texting each other. We have talked on the phone once and it was fun listening to Valerie’s Minnesota accent! But I really dislike talking on the phone and I know she doesn’t mind. She has always accepted me just the way I am. But no doubt if she ever needed to talk to me I’d be right there for her.
3. Have you met in person? What was it like to meet that person face to face for the first time? If not, do you plan to?
Val: Not yet.... but..... we will meet in September!!! When Renee and her family fly to Minnesota from LA for my wedding! Renee is going to be my maid of honor! Now some may find this strange that we have never met and she’s flying halfway across the country to be in my wedding for us to meet the first time. For me it’s not strange. It feels normal. Not once did I even question the thought of who I would ask to be my maid of honor. No doubt it should be your best friend? Well that’s Renee. The one who knows me best. I know that when we meet the first time when they unboard from the plane it will be amazing! Our time together will be perfect because it will be whatever it wants to be. There’s no pressure with us! She’s the other pea in my pod and I cannot wait see her in September! I feel so blessed that she’s willing to do all of this to be with me on that special day! She’s an amazing friend!
Renee: We have not yet met in person. I believe in October of 2010 Valerie asked me to be her maid of honor. So, September 15, 2011 we will meet for the first time as I stand right next to her the day she gets married to the love of her life. It will be such a happy time to meet and have a great time. When she first asked me I was shocked and I went home and told my husband he was so excited and was like “do it!” Of course I was unsure because of the financials but he said not to worry so the next day I accepted the honor. It’s hard cause I wish I was there now during all the planning but I try my best to help across the miles.
4. How is your internet friendship different from friendships you have offline?
Val: Well I have never had good girlfriends that stuck. I don’t want to sound mean but a lot of girls can be sorta catty or jealous around here... In my experience it’s hard to be friends with girls. My only other good friend is a boy. I love him to death and have known him since I was 7. We are close, but it’s different with girls. With me and Renee meeting on the internet I think it was less stressful. No judgment, no awkwardness, no lies. It’s a lot easier to be 100% yourself if you’re not worried you are being judged which sometimes happens in person. And sometimes its easier to talk to strangers, outsiders who can give you perspective. I think that was a big part of how we got started. I was not ashamed to tell her all that I was going through and because of that, that we were able to be fearless and share, we now have built a strong foundation for a great friendship. A foundation built on trust and total understanding.
Renee: I have always had a hard time getting close to people stemming from abuse that happened to me as a child. Hence, I always only had a few friends. With Valerie, we just really clicked. She was like my long lost sister and the fact that we both loved being crafty was the cherry on top. I have always been able to get things down on paper easier than talking and with her everything just flowed out. It felt amazing to let go and be free with Valerie. The only other person who knows all about me is my husband. So it’s amazing to have Valerie in my life.
5. What drew you to the other person initially? What do you love most about them?
Val: Well like I said before we met online at scrapbook.com. Initially I started talking more to her because of her craftiness. She’s an amazing artist. She created these amazing altered art pieces that I wanted, lol! So I started requesting to be her partner in swaps so I could exchange art with her! I still have the stuff she’s sent me! I display it in my craft room! What I love most about Renee, is that I can be 100% me and she’s 100% okay with me! She’s the most honest, sweetest person I know. I love that she thinks of us and my family how she really let’s you know that you’re important to her and that she’s thinking of you. I also love how honest she is! Her honest opinion of some stuff has really gotten me through some sticky situations! I appreciate that more than she knows. I feel so lucky to have such a thoughtful, sweet friend and I’m not sure I can ever repay some of the kindness that she has done for me. But I’m gonna try! Sometimes it’s like we're the same person, we go home and make the exact same thing with out knowing and come to work the next morning to email the other only to find out we did the exact same thing! It’s really strange how much alike we are sometimes! If I only had one wish I would wish for everyone to have a friend as sweet and loving as Renee in their lives. Someone who understands them and will stand by them no matter what! Someone who’s the same as them, someone to be the other pea in your pod! I’m thankful to have found that with Renee!
Renee: There are so many things I love about Valerie but the one thing that stands out the most and what drew me in to get to know her better was the incredible artist she is. I love the fact that she is not just a scrapbook artist, but an artist of all sorts. She can make an ordinary object into something so beautiful. Her mixed media art is amazing and have yet to try it with her but I plan to soon. She has been my inspiration to try a lot of products I would have not tried if it was not for her. I love that if I want an honest opinion all I have to do is turn to Valerie and she lets me know. I love her ability to tell it like it is and is never afraid to say it. I love the fact I can be “Me” and it will be okay with her. I am the way I am and Valerie accepts me that way. I love that we share the same passions. I love that when we get something new we always share just like sisters. It could be as silly as Bakers Twine or Washi Tape to a huge Pink Paislee prize Val won on Facebook she shared with me. How sweet is she? Valerie did not have to do that but that’s how we are. I am so glad after all these years I found someone that I share the same interest with and the same passion for love with she is truly an angel sent from above.
6. Do you have any other thoughts about the role the internet plays in building new relationships?
Val: I think it can be an amazing tool to meet now people. Granted, it is still the internet and bad things can happen and people can lie and people can still be mean. But if you are willing to be positive and look beyond I think it holds the possibilities to start real meaningful relationships. With online meet-ups, there’s no drama, no gossip, no judgment. You’re honest and open, not afraid to be yourself. Not worried of what others will think, ya know? I still like to get out and meet people but I've found in my opinion you can make long lasting honest friendships online if you’re open to it. I know besides, Susannah and Kaelah, there are many others through out the blogging community that have made some real friends. I think another thing that helps is that you already know you have things in common due to the fact that your hanging in the same places online. I would say to be people don’t be afraid to email or start a chat, or send a letter to someone you think is interesting! You just might find out they want to be friends too!
Renee: Despite of all the bad things that you may hear about the internet and all the things to be aware of I think the internet can be a great way to meet people across the world that share your passion, whatever it may be. Valerie and I come from two completely different lifestyles yet we are so much a like and can finish one’s thoughts through email! Valerie has shared ideas galore with me through the internet and things we both want to create and have fun emailing back and forth, like ‘did you see this blog post, I want to try this.’ The internet has been a great source of communication for Valerie and I. Sometimes I cannot wait to get to work to email her or share pictures or find out a new wedding idea. I am so grateful to Scrapbook.com for the chance to meet Val she is truly a gem!!! And I cannot wait to meet her and hang out before her wedding! Now that is exciting!!!
Thank you so much, ladies! I loved reading your story. Aren't they great?? I think it's so great that Val and Renee will meet for the first time when Renee flies out to be Val's Maid of Honor! Would you ever have a best friend who you haven't met in person as your Maid of Honor? Does the fact that you might not have met that person face to face affect how much you trust them?