Holding Each Other Up: A Story

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops paper doll chains to illustrate her inspirational stories about loss and online support groups.Once upon a time, a sad one wrote on her Facebook page, “Too miserable to ever go out dancing again.”

Then her crazy godmother lent her clothes and made her look beautiful. So the sad one went to a dance and had a magnificent time. She came home late with only one slipper. Sound familiar?

In this story, however, nobody showed up knocking at her door with the lost slipper the next day. So she set out, wobbly on her single shod foot, to find it herself. Or to find a close match. But instead, she found lots of other stumbling people who had also lost a slipper. Or a sneaker, Or a boot.

So she limped around with them. Online. Their names, faces, and stories became familiar to her as she bumped into some of the same ones on several different support-group sites. And soon she discovered they were holding each other up, walking hand-in-hand, talking heart-to-heart. As they traveled, they gathered more and more dazed, floundering, teetering people. There were thousands of them. They held and hugged one another. They grew stronger and steadier. Soon these sad strangers started leaping out from their Facebook pages and into the sad one’s life, and she wasn’t so miserable anymore.

Then she knew they could all journey like this forever, finding new hobbling friends, all over the world. And that one day, maybe, together they might even dance.

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10 thoughts on “Holding Each Other Up: A Story

  1. Kim Kluxen Meredith

    Lovely words. Lovely image. It took me back to my paper doll days as a child. Often I folded the paper incorrectly and my dolls fell to the floor unattached. I finally mastered it. Today I focus on connecting hearts with whispers. None have fallen apart so far.

  2. Annette Corth


    What a charming, lovely, heart-uplifting story! To say nothing of the perfect illustration for the story. You keep outdoing yourself.


    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Cheers, Susan. I’ll take “pretty darn awesome.” Maybe I’ll even repeat it outside tonight, under the stars, where I’ll be talking to my daughter about how good it feels to get praises like this. Thanks.

  3. Elaine Mansfield

    I love your image, Robin. I imagine you with scissors and then with your camera. All those dancers under that single pink sun. Or is it a moon? Or either. And your tale feels just right. We hobble along, leaning into each other for support.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Well, there’s no way I was going to use YOUR word ‘leaning’ but that’s exactly what we do, yes. And yes, it was quite a project, all that cutting and shooting. Moon. With me it’s almost always a moon. To me, the sun is so great and warming that it cannot possibly be represented by a simple ball in the sky. Cheers, Elaine.

    1. Robin Botie Post author

      Thanks Annie. Still eating that cauliflour cake of yours, after a whole week. So I’m thinking of you a lot lately. Maybe I need to start cutting those recipes in half. Your own photo-illustrations are so inspiring and tempting.


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