I took a class in graduate school called “Internet Communities.” In this class, we examined how the Internet had the ability to form communities regardless of geographical difficulties. My own research in this class examined Fantasy Football leagues. The small sample I researched suggested to me that Fantasy Football leagues did not form true communities.
However, some of my peers found that certain online forums actually form true communities. Dieting websites, where people share struggles of healthy living, are often communities. People on these sites form true friendships, albeit via a virtual medium. My mom is a member of a Cricut forum, where she has formed online friendships with women who share a common bond of crafting. A blog I read daily, Feminist Mormon Housewives, is also a community of more liberal-minded LDS men and women (and many non-LDS men and women) who wrestle with reconciling personal opinion with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They share an interest in the LDS faith and in what it means to be Christian. Often, members of this online community actually meet in real life for “snackers,” where faces and names are put together, and friendships are made stronger. It is a community, a place where people of like mind (and sometimes unlike mind) can gather and share and cry and lament yet also find joy and solidarity and resilience.
While posts on this blog are not written daily, the writers provide an invaluable service—an online community for single LDS women who are wrestling with reconciling a Gospel perspective of what it means to be single with the world's perspective of what it means to be single.
My life is incredibly fulfilling. I'm happy. I'm busy. I'm successful. But in quieter moments, like Sunday afternoons or late Thursday nights, I think of how nice it would be to have a companion. This is not an experience limited to LDS women—last night I chatted with a friend who is not LDS, in her 30s, single, and she shared identical frustrations and fears. She is also busy and successful and happy and fulfilled in what she is currently doing, but also desires a companion. That's just the human condition, regardless of religion.
My day-to-day life is not a “painful struggle,” but just as my sisters have painful moments with their husbands and kids, I have painful moments of being single. Posts on this blog give me hope, if for nothing else, by letting me know that the dark moments are not mine to bear alone. For more often than not, the posts here are grounded in a knowledge of a loving Heavenly Father and a Savior who atoned for the sadness we sometimes feel at lives that didn't turn out the way our Young Women leaders promised they would.
So don't pity us, but don't deny us the human emotion of sadness and longing, either. I've seen parents cry at choices their children make—do I tell them to man up and move on with life? No. I comfort those in need of comfort, for I am willing to bear their burdens as my own.