No Shit, There I was

L-R Sean (@iamunafraid), Emily (@crzegrl15) & Mike (@drmikesevilla)

When I was in the Army, the best stories began with:

 “No shit, there I was . . .”

When that slid off of a soldier’s tongue, you knew you were in for a whopper.  The story, if told by a FNG (f’ing new guy), was usually one of boasting and exaggeration, which no one was expected to believe.  We would listen anyways out of simulated respect and only groan when it was the 5th time or the 100th time we heard the same old thing.  If, however, an old crusty sergeant uttered the same statement—the type personified in old John Wayne movies, we knew to sit down, shut up, and hang on for the ride was going to be a good one.

No shit.  There I was . . . in Cleveland at a bar in the she-she Ritz Carlton, paying too much for my dirty Belvedere, on the rocks with a string of olives.

And so it began.  The evening of one long conversation of serious revelations broken by stare inducing laughter.

And the three friends finally met.  Conversation without the aid of a video camera or a keyboard.  No Internet required.

And @iamunafraid, @drmikesevilla & @crzegrl15 became Sean, Mike and Emily.

Mike captured the evening with a blog post that night (or early the next morning as it were).

Sean wrote the next day and then went on to write a blog post in the true long form capturing the nature of what old school bloggin’ is all about, in over 3,000 words.

Me?  I’ve taken the slow but sure path to relating my evening of epiphanies.  It has officially been nine days and Sean won’t leave me alone until I post.  So, this is going to be a bit fragmented.  A version of diarrhea of the fingers . . .

What is so gripping that this story should begin with “no shit, there I was?”  For you, maybe nothing.  For me, the conversation and ideas helped to shape the world of things to come for me and social media.  I have stated over and over throughout the past 4 or so years that I would blog more or be more involved.  By talking out loud that night with Mike and Sean, I realized that my not being true to my word was a result of many different circumstances both professionally and personally, but also involved the evolution of social media.

Originally when we old-timers began blogging, it was anonymously or semi-anonymously.  We hid in the blogging closet where it was safe and quiet.  Then the social media world became one in which the whole world was involved and the art form of the long blog post was reduced to the abbreviations and hashtags of Twitter.  During the evening we discussed the ugliness of what we have become as an online society and how mentally devastating it is for those who began before Twitter and Facebook existed.

We came to term this as “Get off My Lawn!” Syndrome.  Mike described it as feeling like the crabby old guy who sits on his porch and yells “GET OFF MY LAWN” at anyone who ventures onto his property.  In short, we old bloggers feel like the old crotchety elderly neighbors who do nothing but complain and yell at the neighbor kids.  But, after us old heads finished spending time longing for the old days of the Internet, we began to progress the conversation to the good that has come of it.  For me, it is the exciting world of #FOAMed (Free Open Access Meducation) and the subset of FOAMed that includes Retrieval (aka Transport) Medicine.  For Sean, it is a love for the student and new RNs.  For Mike, it is the Family Medicine Revolution.

We determined that blogging and social media is becoming subspecialized.  It used to be that you blogged about your personal life and the many things you were interested in but the stories were personal.  I named my blog “Crzegrl” because it was a nickname that personified me.  As time has gone on, blogs created by individuals became topic focused and much social media presence is now based on that particular topic.  You know, “Hello I am Emily and I blog and converse about X.”  Throughout the discussion we concluded that this is the new future of the world we love and have helped shape.  So, over my third Yuengling of the evening, I re-raised the idea which I had attempted about 18 months ago.  

Should I do away with my blog crzegrl.net and become something related to transport medicine?  

There wasn’t hesitation in Sean and Mike’s response:  both of their heads snapped up and they almost shouted “no” in unison.

I didn’t realize how much of a “brand” or person I had become online.  To lose crzegrl would absolutely be to lose part of myself, but it took their opinions to make me understand who I had become to others as well.  

So, No shit, there I was . . . in Cleveland to meet two strangers who really weren’t strangers.  I began with dirty Belvedere on the rocks with a string of olives and finished with Yuengling.  I started with a confused sense of who the Social Media Emily is and ended with an undefined but percolating sense of who I was to become.  My previous blogging success was based on brutally honesty.  It was based on not being afraid to talk about the difficult and the painful.  

I am Emily Bennett.  I am a flight nurse, and a life long adventurer.  I am one who cringes at the thought of conventional professionalism and is passionate about being the best—because why devote time unless you are fully committed to giving that one thing you can never get back? I love to be a bit of everything and know a little about a lot.  I am passionate about skydiving, my friends, my family and my writing.  I am in love with resuscitation and transport medicine.  

Do not tell me a day exists where I will no longer fly with the birds or swim with the fish.