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Rest in Peace Sounds Dumb Even to My Ears

I found out that I lost a friend yesterday. She was one of my first friends in the BtVS online fandom and she’s the first online friend I’ve ever lost. I don’t even know how to explain the feelings I’m having right now. She was a lovely, talented, wonderful human and I feel like I was blessed with her as a friend. She’d just given birth to a baby girl, her third child, the week before and I can’t even imagine what her family is going through.

As we, her internet family, also grieve I can’t really figure out what to do with these feelings. I’ve never met her in person. I’ve never hugged her with my arms. I’ve never sat down and had a cup of coffee or physically been in a room with her… but I have sent hugs across the internet to this person and she to me. We have shared stories and fandoms and our triumphs and losses.

I loved her very much even though we rarely spoke outside of our interactions on Facebook after Livejournal stopped being a main road for communication. That didn’t mean we weren’t still very close. I knew about her family. I knew about her life. We were still friends and still messaged each other often. This is something that’s hard to explain to people who have never known and loved a friend from the internet. You hurt when they hurt just like a traditional “in person” friend. You ache when they ache and you cheer when their lives take happy turns.

My heart is broken for my dear Emmy. My heart hurts for that time in fandom when I met her and when we were writing buddies and when I first found fandom as a whole and she made me feel welcome and awesome and wanted.

I was driving home from Atlanta when a song came on and it made me think of internet friends, of Emmy, of my first Buffy friends from the Willow/Spike group, of those people who first got me to conventions, of the people who keep me alive every single day on twitter, tumblr, and facebook. These people, some of whom I met in childhood or at conventions and some I’ve never met in my life, make my days feel less lonely, more lively, more lovely, and more whole. Since music is my language and it’s the language of someone else’s words… here’s my/their words. Predictably, I started crying in the car…

“Alone Together” by Fall Out Boy

I don’t know where you’re going
But do you got room for one more troubled soul?
I don’t know where I’m going
But I don’t think I’m coming home and I said
I’ll check in tomorrow if I don’t wake up dead
This is the road to ruin
And we’re starting at the end

Say yeah (yeah!)
Let’s be alone together (yeah)
We could stay young forever (yeah)
Scream it from the top of your lungs, lungs, lungs
Say yeah (yeah!)

Let’s be alone together (yeah)
We could stay young forever (yeah)
We’ll stay young, young, young, young, young.

Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh
Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh
Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh
Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh

You cut me off, I lost my track
It’s not my fault, I’m a maniac
It’s not funny anymore, no it’s not

My heart is like a stallion
They love it more when it’s broke in
Do you wanna feel beautiful?
Do you wanna? Yeah!

I’m outside the door, invite me in
So we can go back and play pretend
I’m on deck, yeah, I’m up next
Tonight I’m high as a private jet

‘Cause I don’t know where you’re going
But do you got room for one more troubled soul?
I don’t know where I’m going
But I don’t think I’m coming home and I said
I’ll check in tomorrow if I don’t wake up dead
This is the road to ruin
And we’re starting at the end

Say yeah (yeah!)
Let’s be alone together (yeah)
We could stay young forever (yeah)
Scream it from the top of your lungs, lungs, lungs
Say yeah (yeah!)
Let’s be alone together (yeah)
We could stay young forever (yeah)
We’ll stay young, young, young, young, young.

Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh
Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh
Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh
Uh, uh, uh, uh-oh

My heart is like a stallion
They love it more when it’s broke in
Do you wanna feel beautiful?
Do you wanna? Yeah!

I’m outside the door, invite me in
So we can go back and play pretend
I’m on deck, yeah, I’m up next
Tonight I’m high as a private jet.

Yeah (yeah)
Let’s be alone together (yeah)
We could stay young forever (yeah)
Scream it from the top of your lungs, lungs, lungs
Say yeah (yeah!)
Let’s be alone together (yeah)
We could stay young forever (yeah)
We’ll stay young, young, young, young, young.

I don’t know where you’re going
But do you got room for one more troubled soul?
I don’t know where I’m going
But I don’t think I’m coming home and I said
I’ll check in tomorrow if I don’t wake up dead
This is the road to ruin
And we’re starting at the end

“I don’t know where you’re going But do you got room for one more troubled soul?” - If that’s not ALL of fandom, online or otherwise, I don’t know what is. (It also reminds me of how I felt in high school theater incidentally.)

When it says “I’ll check in tomorrow if I don’t wake up dead” is when I first started crying. I’ve had quite a few of my online friends sound off on their twitters to let us know that they were still around after tornadoes or other disasters. With Emmy having died so suddenly and basically her husband woke up and she was unresponsive… it hurt even more.

“Let’s be alone together. We could stay young forever. Scream it from the top of your lungs…” I love the idea of all of us being alone but being together. I love it. We are alone on our computers but all together online. Some of us may see each other in person once or twice a year, some of us never, but we see each other daily online and that interaction is a saving thing for so many of us.

“It’s not my fault, I’m a maniac” – I know more than one fan person who has been called this because what we love isn’t sports or whatnot. Online though, we can find people who love what we love, those people who want to talk endlessly about the genius of River Tam or about the logistics of travel in a space ship. We have people who will read our writings, adore our art, cheer on our vids, and just generally inhabit our corner of the internet bringing with them the joy of co-loving something. You give birth to a kind of energy when you dedicate yourself to a fandom. The people who share that fandom almost become like a village raising that child. (Maybe that’s why the drama in fandom hurts so much.)

“My heart is like a stallion. They love it more when it’s broke in. Do you wanna feel beautiful?” – I feel like one of the things online fandom does well is to allow for the people in it to find a strength about loving their thing, about loving something so much that they can’t stop thinking about it. When you find lots of people who have the same level of feelings it’s freeing. It’s like feeling like your freak flag has many many constituents, and that’s beautiful. There is also this wonderful thing about the internet that means you can be anything on any day if you want to. If you’re feeling Jessica Alba, slap on your Jessica avatar and roll it out. Next day feels a bit more like Duckie from Pretty in Pink… roll with it. Your identity online changes as your insides change no matter what’s going on with your outsides.

Honestly the whole thing is just feelings, has been feelings since the album came out. I’ve thought about it as being the people at shows and such but this just feels SO MUCH like the people we surround ourselves with but don’t get to physically hug, that frustrating moment when you know your friend’s crying and you can’t be there with chocolate or a pizza. But at the same time… there is something truly amazing about being able to put your feelings out there without having to look at people’s faces when you’re doing it. Sometimes it’s easier to be honest that way. Sometimes it takes too much energy to be in the room with people. Sometimes the person who loves your show as much as you do lives in England and the only way you can geek out together is to do it over twitter or IM or what have you.

Anyway. I’ve rambled enough. I miss my friend. I love that I got to know her. I love that she was part of my growing process in online fandom. I love that she was one of my ambassadors to fandom. I hope that wherever she is that she’s happy and I send so much love to her little family and to all of her friends who are also grieving.

“Let’s be alone together
We could stay young forever”

12 Responses to Rest in Peace Sounds Dumb Even to My Ears

  1. snogged says:

    Oh Mary. My Mary. I know we’ve never met in real life, but you are as close to me as a sister. I love you and I love this tribute…even if makes me cry.

    Love you lots.

    • marymo says:

      I love you so much, girl. It’s amazing how much we’ve been through together even though we’ve never met. Years and YEARS. We’ve been friends for over a decade and I feel lucky every time I think of you and that you’re my friend. I love you.

  2. Feen says:

    And now I’m crying again too. This is a beautiful tribute to both Emmy and our group of friends. We went through so much together; got each other through so much. I’m hoping that together, we can make it through this too.

    I love you, Mary. More than you know.

    • marymo says:

      Yep. That group. I just can’t even. It brought me so many happy things and so many great people. If it weren’t for you and Dreamy and Ann… I wouldn’t have Dragon Con. If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have gotten through so many nights. SO. SO. Sooo many nights. You’re like a friend, a mother, and a sister all rolled up into one, but with a size of evil genius.

  3. Gabrielle says:

    I know it’s been a long time, but I thought it would be okay if I commented here and told you that this is really beautiful.

  4. Shannon says:

    Wow, I never cry, but this made cry. You summed it up so beautifully. How much more all of you mean to me than just “online friends”. Even if we haven’t talked in a long time. Miss you.

  5. Elisabeth (dragonydreams) says:

    While we haven’t really known each other personally, I’ve seen your name around the fandom – mainly because of Emmy. You just wrote out everything I’ve been feeling since I heard about her sudden passing. Days later I’m still numb with disbelief.

    Hugs,
    Elisabeth

    • marymo says:

      I keep randomly bursting into tears. I keep thinking things are going to be okay and then people post crap about how we need to pull ourselves out of the evil internet because it’s not “real interaction”. Those people obviously have never lost a friend online before.

      • Elisabeth (dragonydreams) says:

        90% of my current friendships started because of fandom and LJ. I hold my online friends with the same, if not higher, regard as the people I met originally “IRL”. It’s all real life to me. Our commonalities and friendships have no less meaning because we’re not sitting in the same room talking to each other. Heck, I think a lot of these friendships are stronger because we’re NOT sitting in the same room talking to each other. It’s much easier sometimes to share yourself with someone when they’re not staring at you – especially if you’re shy.

        Sorry for the rant, but I’m sure you feel the same. Emmy was the person who showed me it was okay to be myself with other people online, so this all just brings all those feelings to the surface now.

        • marymo says:

          Oh no, man. This is RIGHT ON POINT. I have old friends who I initially met “IRL” who are now online friends and the internet has allowed us to stay friends. I have internet friends who have become “IRL” friends and everywhere in between. If a person loves and supports you it shouldn’t matter where they do it.

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