So, Thursday was RUOK? day in Australia.
Basically the idea is to get people talking about little problems before they become big ones. To prevent suicide attempts by making it easy for those who are struggling to ask for help. And sharing the knowledge that often, just asking the question: Are you okay? gives a person the chance to admit, that no, they are not.
We all know how easy it is to connect over a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Okay or a fizzy drink. Whatever is your poison.
I guess it was only fitting that the lovely people at Gloria Jeans sponsored RUOK day.
In Brisbane, the Gloria Jeans franchise at Indooroopilly Junction, 100 Coonan Street, Indooroopilly, opened their doors to bloggers and twitterers so we could meet to talk about our posts, check that we were all okay, and tweet and FB live throughout the morning.
They were truly wonderful.
Not only did they offer us way-too-comfy lounge chairs, wi fi, and unlimited tea and coffee (with babycinos and/or hot chocolates for the kids), they fed us and made us feel completely at home. (Actually, better than home. Because at home I have to make my own coffee and snacks!)
During that time we were able to tweet and reply to tweets. Some of those were questions from people in crisis. At least a few people needed to know what to do for their loved ones who were not okay. Or where to get help for themselves.
(I must add here that RUOK day was confronting to many. Myself included. Often it involved going back in time to periods when we were at our lowest, or struggling. That was emotional at times, and confronting to think about let alone write about. Luckily, there were also times when people in our lives had asked the question, and followed through and offered help. And it was healing to talk about those times too.)
On RUOK day, it was perfectly okay NOT to be okay. Many were not. That is where the blogosphere can be so helpful, because although an internet hug is not the same as a real-life one, a show of genuine sympathy, a link to helpful advice, or just understanding and support is just a click of a mouse away.
With that in mind, I hope that RUOK? will become a question we will all ask year-round, not just on one day of the year.
The girls who attended the Brisbane meet-up - because we were all female, although men were welcome - have all had periods in our lives when we were not okay.
All of us found it stressful to throw on decent clothes, and get to an unfamiliar destination, to talk about a slightly uncomfortable subject.
And I thank everyone so much for making that effort and joining in. I especially thank @Tutu_Ames for being there at the start when a film crew arrived, and stopping me from feeling like a total loser!
A huge thank-you goes to the staff at Gloria Jeans Indooroopilly Junction for providing the venue and the refreshments.
Thanks to all of you, RUOK? in Brisbane was a success. I am pretty sure we all went home feeling better than okay.
As for those who couldn't make it and had to cancel at the last minute: It was totally okay that you couldn't come. Life happens. People get sick, kids get hurt, work gets busy. You didn't let anyone down.
Here are a few of the highlights from Brisbane's RUOK day even at Gloria Jeans, Indooroopilly Junction.
Hmmm, what to order? In true Mummy Mode, in our morning dash to drop off kids and get to the event, we all missed breakfast and were starving!
Our friendly barista tried to write RUOK on my coffeee ... bless
The pumpkin and ricotta roll was seriously moreish
Some seriously delicious snacks ...
Sustenance you understand?
Siphon coffee, the latest thing for coffee connoisseurs
You've got to love a gathering where tweeting, texting and emailing is encouraged!
And a little bit of real life chatting too...
So dear readers, are you okay?
I hope so!