If You Build It

I had a shit week last week, just truly awful. There are external things that happened that probably encouraged it, but often a shit week is kind of out of my control brain wise, that spiral is hard to stop once it starts. There are often a lot of mysteries when it comes to my brain, but how I handle the situation is in my control. This time it went better than it usually does, a little bit because I’ve become less stubborn and more attached to my life recently, but mostly because I have a small army of people who don’t look away when it gets really ugly, who answer the phone, who make sure I eat, who check up on me when I disappear. For that I am beyond grateful. For that I am still here.

I say all this because I have been thinking intensely about community since I moved into the Pronoia House, for those of you who don’t know, that is where I am living now, a community of people who are very different from each other, but who also care deeply and fiercely about each other. Of course it’s not just the housemates, it seems to be everyone who passes through here. I’m not going to pretend any of it is easy, with five different personalities and all of their friends it is sometimes really really hard, but the overall consensus is that we really love each other.

Sunday was our first house concert, and I’m still kind of on top of the world, and I’m going to break some tradition here at my blog and just talk about the day. It was probably one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life, and the idea that I can do it again has renewed some of my long forgotten energy. Afra Loskor opened, and she was really wonderful, I am so excited to see what she does next, she’s so talented. Carolann Solebello and Joe Iandaza were the main act, the amount of respect that I have for the two of them is special. They get it, they get why it’s important to have a space like this, and they know how powerful community is. I could probably write a novel on the kindness and generosity that we were shown, but I’m going to spare you that sappy piece, maybe in my memoir. After the show the housemates and our guests jammed for hours. Josh put on a fire spinning performance, Nick led the band, people got up to sing and play. Friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time came together, new friends met old friends.

Before the end of the night someone asked me if I played music, and I said no, and the follow up was so you create a space for people to get to just be? I answered yes, and to be honest it’s one of the more flattering things ever said to me. I think part of that is being a photographer and writer, I think my art directly influences that fact. I really like to watch people. Mostly I really like to watch people loving what they are doing. Nothing brings me more satisfaction than photographing or writing about genuine emotion, and why not have that emotion be joy? I am not the happiest person on this earth, nor am I the most positive, in fact I usually have a pretty bleak outlook on society as a whole and more than usually I have a pretty bleak outlook on myself. I’m working pretty hard on the latter, society has to earn it back though.

Despite the fact that I’m kind of a grouch, I have been shown the power of community over and over and over again. I have been shown how important it is to be able to make a phone call or show up at your parents place somewhat unannounced or receive a text that brings a little clarity to a very foggy mind. I think trying to bring all of that into something with the potential for so much more growth and adjustment is where I should be. While I’m never sure of where I’m going to land or how my brain might be treating me a year from now or even a week from now, I can be sure that what we are building here is something so much bigger than we can anticipate.

It is special and scary, and of course I don’t trust it, but I think that’s mostly the grouch talking.

until next time,
bri