In my life I am part of, or on the edge of, a variety of ‘underground’ or previously unseen worlds that exist within our society.
I am in the world of people with mental health difficulties; the ‘underworld’ of parenting a child with additional needs; I belong to an exercise class where everyone greets each other by name; I have my much loved friends who provide me with much support, love and acceptance; I belong to a therapy group where we find common ground on tiny nuances or catastrophic breakdowns; I am on the outside looking in of the parents by the school gates; I am in the community of people who can extend a single cup of tea last 2 hours as I sit reading or scribbling in notebooks in local coffee shops.
Some communities you elect to join, some you pay for the privilege and others you accidentally find yourself in. All are important parts of our lives as we live – supposedly we are social creatures although I have days/weeks/months when I feel anything but.
The importance of communities was bought to the forefront of m mind this week when one of my Mothers friends did not show up at church and the church community kicked in offering support, aide and simply being there when the unexpected occurs.
I hope that I have a community around me that recognises when things aren’t going well and also enjoys the good times with me.
The benefits of the being part of a community are wide ranging, from human relationships to having different inputs in your life and giving you an opportunity to contribute in something. Even an online community can offer these aspects and probably involves less of the awkward hugs and air kisses than casual ‘real life’ acquaintances require….. thinking about that, that alone is quite a persuasive reason for an online community.
On the negative side communities can becomes closed minded, excluding and demanding. All of the negatives could be viewed as positive and vice versa, I guess it’s how you see them at the time.
In the past I have, and sometimes now, find certain communities stifling. I remember growing up in a town full of identical houses and swearing to myself that I’d move away as soon as I had the chance – go somewhere where people and houses were less uniform and much of the sameness.
Of course I now live in a semi detached house 7 miles away from where I grew up; in an area as close to the one I grew up in that I can afford. It turns out that what I found suffocating as a child is what I want to give my own children…. well mannered school friends; kind teachers; clubs and communities each week; and my children are thriving. Thank goodness.
What communities do you belong to? What do you find positive about different communities? Do any of you, like me, regularly choose to close the curtains on even your most valued communities so you can survive the onslaught from the real world?

We all belong somewhere.
We all belong somewhere.

2 thoughts on “Community

  1. Loved this post and can relate to much of what you say here. I feel like I’m part of a good community in South London, mostly people I know through my housemates and from the local church, and a few arts communities I’m part of (although these are more inchoate and spread out). I suppose the Library I work for is an arts community too. Nurturing community — particularly in the arts — is something I feel strongly about but I think we all need the right balance of company and solitude (and definitely need more retreat space from some groups than others!) L x


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