I went on the women's retreat with my church last weekend. Pisgah Forest, NC. I stayed in an old, rustic log cabin. Fog veiling the mountains in the morning. Crisp air. An almost secret back porch with huge, thick wooden chairs and table for reading, writing, and tears. And lots of people I don't know any better than your mother and some even worse.
I'm so backwards, I know! I had that discussion with the strangers in the car on the way up - that most women would only go to such a retreat if they knew a bunch of their friends were going. I'm much more likely to go if I know that no one is going to try to talk to me! It was weird once I was there, though. By the second day, I felt more like myself than I have in a very long time and I didn't know why. But since I've been back, I think... there's a lot of freedom in being unknown. In knowing that the person you're talking to doesn't know enough about you to judge or misjudge you for what you're about to say.
On the other hand... if you can embrace it, there's even more freedom to be found in knowing that the person before you, on the other end of the line, or sitting at the other computer knows you so well that what you are about to say comes across the way you meant it... and even if it's terrible, they don't hate you for it.
I have friends like that. I treasure friends like that.
(pictures soon... I promise)