I realised another 4 weeks have gone by, and I've not written. Yes, I've been busy as life has been returning to some form of normality, but that's a bit of a lame excuse. There is always a quiet moment in the day. I've sat and looked back at my other entries and when I first started this blog I was in a bad way emotionally. I had so many thoughts and feelings flying around that I found putting fingers to keys or pen to paper was the best way for me to deal with it. Now I'm in a much happier place, I guess I haven't found the need to spill all.
Last night my Facebook group that I started as a bit of a joke 9 months ago reached 1000 members. This morning, a further 20 people have requested to join. I can honestly say I felt really emotional when it hit that number. It may seem stupid to some that a Facebook group means that much, but to me, it means the world.
I would never have guessed that writing about my daft and dire dating experiences would have opened my world up like it has. My group, as I've said on here before, really has bought people together. I thought that maybe once lockdown ended and people went back to their busy lives that the group would dwindle, but the opposite has happened. I'm still receiving so many messages from people saying the group has helped them or what a fun thing it is to be a part of. The number of new friendships and even relationships that have formed as a result of perfect strangers chatting online is fantastic. I have been privileged to meet several of my group members and have formed some great friendships with many, and more to meet in the future.
This feeling of achievement and knowing how it has helped others and not only myself is fantastic, however it is marred with sadness. On Tuesday, I was notified that one of my group members had passed away. Steve had been a very active member of the group, was very witty and entertaining. Although I had never met him in person, we had chatted, and he had recently started to develop a relationship with another of the group members. I knew of his demons in his past, but was still utterly shocked to learn of his passing. Details are unclear around the circumstances, but I was completely humbled when one of his friends contacted me to say they knew Steve had been a member of the group. They just wanted to thank me for the joy it bought him and what it meant to his family to know we saw him as they did. Steve leaves behind 4 young children, and already my amazing group are looking at raising money to give a little help.
I know I'm a pleaser and fixer by nature, and Wednesday I struggled with the what ifs. What if I'd messaged him to check in as he'd been quiet for a few days, something I've done in the past with him and other members. The reality is I'll never know.
I've learnt a huge amount over the months since I started writing this and part of what I've learnt is that I cannot please everyone, I cannot fix everyone and I can change none. I can only please, fix or change what I do or feel, my own behaviours and actions. I've learned to remove myself from situations where it is detrimental to my happiness. I'm always being told I'm too nice or care too much, and I never understood how anyone can care too much or be too nice. Now I do!
I've had group members say the group 'saved' them. Truth be told, it saved me. It has helped me to open my eyes and mind, to accept who I am and who I want to be. It has been the light in my dark and has given me back something I lost. A sense of pride and achievement.