Community Building: Say Yes

I’m coming up on a year since I started this writing project, I’m also coming up on a year since my grandmother died. If I look back on the past year the transformation has been unreal, and I suppose on the actual anniversary of those two events I will write about those things but I want to write about the big lessons this year. In all honesty the really hard parts of this year set me up for the change that came within the last month and a half, it’s not often that I feel at peace, it’s even less often that I feel completely comfortable and safe, and for the first time since college I feel both of those things.

I was speaking to a friend yesterday about the post college slump in creating things, and how long it’s taken me to start wanting to make stuff again. I graduated a long time ago, and I have no series to show for it, I have a lot of images, I have a lot of individual work, but I feel like there should be more. This friend is going through the same thing that I was, but they are a little younger so I am a little bit further along on this extremely frustrating journey of wanting to create but not being in the right environment or headspace to do so. This conversation reminded me that I have to approach the people I love with as much compassion as been shown to me, and it also reminded me that sometimes I can be a dick, and sometimes I do not listen to other’s pain when there is pain in my life. I love this friend unconditionally, and I’m glad that despite my being a bit of a dick, we can hug it out and be fine. That’s community.

It’s taken me years to realize that as long as I’m creating something (anything) I’m on the right path, and that sometimes it takes artists years in between creating things to do something else. It’s time to stop making excuses though, I am surrounded by passionate, creative, and wonderful people which feeds my creativity in a way that the art school environment did. Without deadlines holding each other accountable has done wonders even if it’s indirectly, just being around creative people makes it easier to create.

I don’t think we are meant to do any of this alone, I’m really good at isolating myself, but judging by the amount of work I’ve put out since graduating that’s certainly not working. Community building is a reignited passion for me, when I was in high school I started a small music venue, I never felt better bringing people together to share a passion, and now I get to do that again, this time with a group of people that feel it’s just as important as I feel it is.

We live in houses with closed doors and fences and walls between us, we say hello to our neighbors, but how often do we get to know them? Do we still bring them fresh tomatoes from our garden? Do we still host events at our house that create community? This new home that I’m in we do, and I cannot speak for the housemates or the people who come and feel comfortable here, but it has changed me. It has changed me into a more conscientious person, I feel more like a child and more like an adult all at once. I am amazed sitting on the deck each day watching the trees change and light shift. I am delighted by putting my hands in soil and will be even more delighted when we have food that we’ve grown ourselves. It is incredible to have a group of people who say yes to things and follow through.

Passion makes the world go ‘round, and maintaining that passion is so difficult in a world that really just wants to beat you down. Having a healthy thriving community changes that. So the goal for the next year is to keep fostering that community, keep making this place incredible, keep combining our talents and skills to continue making this a place where we all feel at peace and safe.

So say yes, and follow through. It’s an improv rule, and when used correctly it can make something magical.

With love