Before this summer, I never had much interest in strangers on the Internet.

Before you let your mind go swimming in the gutter, let me clarify. Despite the fact that I grew up with social media and have worked in it deeply for my whole career, I have never been interested in becoming friends with people online. Instagram idolization drives me crazy. I used to wonder why on earth a total stranger would leave a comment on someone else’s page. “Don’t you have real-life friends?” I look at my old judgments and compare them to where I am now, and that old me looks like a petty teenager.

Where I am now, is survival mode. Making it one day to the next doing everything I can to remember that I’m not crazy. That I’m not alone. That people are surviving this tragedy with me, every single day. I experienced my own personal nightmare when I lost my baby girl at full term, and strangers on the internet are saving my life. We’re hanging out in private messages and support groups, validating each other’s feelings, commiserating over how awful this experience is, and lifting each other up in our moments of weakness. Women I’ve never met in person are showing me the deepest level of compassion and understanding I have ever known.

People harp on social media all the time. It’s fake. It’s “me” culture. It’s trashy. And sure, that might be true in many pockets of the web. But social media is also saving lives. It’s carving out micro communities for every experience you could possibly imagine. Baby loss. Terminal illness. Autoimmune disease. Divorce. You name it, there’s a hashtag for it. And I have met some of my very best friends through one of those hashtags: #stillbornstillloved.

One of the most therapeutic outlets I’ve found in my grieving process is writing and sharing about my daughter and the experience of parenting a child who is not here on earth. In putting my heart out into the world, I have received so much love in return. From moms going through the same thing, acquaintances who have related in their own way, and friends from my past who feel reconnected to me through the lessons my daughter is teaching me. So here is the lesson I want to share with you: you don’t need a tragedy to happen to you to let down the walls you’ve put up around your heart. Your people are waiting for you, maybe in the cubicle next to you, maybe in another country behind an iPhone, and maybe in a friend you already know. Life is happening to all of us, every day, in all of its beauty and ugliness and triumphs and challenges. And someone out there needs you just as much as you need them. I held back so much of myself before I experienced my tragedy, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

Ask yourself: am I leading with my heart? Am I showing up in the world as the person I need to be? Am I opening up when I want or need support? Am I giving the best of me to the people I know I can help? All of this can manifest in different forms - sharing online, reaching out privately when you sense a connection, being a shoulder for a friend to cry on, allowing your truth to flow in a conversation instead of sticking to the script of pleasantries and social graces. Your most important and impactful connection might just be with one single person. It might be with hundreds or thousands of people. Whatever that connection is, go find it and embrace it. Workshop it, test the waters, and figure out your niche. Seek inspiration from within, and open your eyes to find it around you as well. We have the perfect place for you to start...

We feel so ready to dive into our first supported, group lifestyle challenge through Moderna Muse. For 30 days, we are going to foster connection and inspiration between women seeking more out of life, all through the private, safe space of our Tune In Facebook group. Sense of self, identity, health, nutrition, personal development - we’re going to touch on all of it. We’re going to connect with each other. We’re going to help you see that you are never alone, in any struggle, big or small. We’re all going to help each other turn those struggles into triumphs! 30 days to ride your flow and elevate your life, all for $1 per day. The challenge runs from September 5th to October 4th. Get signed up here, and get ready to find your flow - and maybe your new favorite stranger on the Internet.

Shannon Pike
Executive Brand Curator | Moderna Muse