Community

Last night Lesley and I got one of our rare date nights and went to see Ani as she stopped in town. (Someone on my facebook page asked, “Difranco?” but I assumed this community of mainly lesbos knew what I was talking about.)

It was an amazing show but also nice because we ran into so many people we know. Someone I know from my old job, Lesley’s old boss, the woman who made our wedding cake, parents from the gay parents group, friends of friends we haven’t seen in a long time – a lot of our hippie town was out last night. I realized that in my often loneliness that what I miss is really casual relationships. I miss having friends, sure, but I really miss having a community.

Lesley and I met at the lesbian bar in our midwest town. We knew all of our friends from there. Everyone played bingo on Thursday nights and danced on Saturdays. If you went to the bar on other nights you would be sure to know other people there. On Friday nights someone would have a party. We spent our weekends with the same people and while some of them were our close friends some were just our community. I’ve never experienced anything like it and while I think I’ve been searching for it since the bar closed and we moved away I’m not sure I will ever find anything like it again.

While we do have friends here (as much as I sometimes downplay it) it’s not really a community. Our friends are not friends with each other – we have no core group. Lesley and I talked about how to find this community again and we both kind of thought we would find it with moms but it’s just not there. I think it is slightly different if you have the community before moms but also I think this is where stay at home moms have a big advantage. It was so nice last night to see familiar places. To stand on the street and hug old acquaintances and wave hello to people we know in passing. I long for that.

I’ve lately been thinking about the purpose of my blog and if I want to continue blogging. Sometimes I feel like I am very whiney on it and I hate that. I also have people I know in real life who read that now I would rather not read and you can’t undo that. I think about what I hope to offer and what I hope to get out of this and then I realized – this is my community.

My best friend of 13 years is here. Tracy is one of my closest real life friends. R and L (I don’t remember if y’all use real names on your blog) are close friends that live about 45 minutes away. But beyond these people and the few other real life connections I have here I have all of you. There are people I know from the blogging world who I talk to every day. There are people we are planning a trip to go meet. There are people whose lives I follow and who’s kids I love. There are facebook connections and comments shared and conversations had. Y’all are my people and I kind of suspect we’re all each other’s people. Any maybe my blog doesn’t need a bigger purpose. Maybe it’s fine that sometimes I am whiney because this is my safe space where I talk to friends. This is where we come for support, for communal strength and understanding – to belong. And here we do. We are a community of bloggers and while I still wish I had a stronger real life community (and hope you do) this community is pretty damn important too. And I’m pretty sure that if you all were with me last night you would have wiped away tears as Ani unplugged her guitar, stepped to the front of the stage, and played an acoustic version of Little Plastic Castle.

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Posted on March 4, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.

  1. She’s always phenomenal! Is there a new CD out? I live under a rock. I got to see her (4th or 5th time) shortly before I got pregnant. We were right up front.

    On community, I totally get what you mean and forget about that casual community too. I had a great group of mutual and casual friends in Denver and a few closer friends. It took a while, but I developed a community here in Michigan after Wallace was born. I did not find it in Chicago and since moving back here I don’t seem to have it anymore.

    On your blog, we all feel a little too whiney or negative sometimes. I promise that you don’t seem that way to me.

    • She played new stuff so there must be a new cd. πŸ™‚
      The casual community is strange. It was so nice to see people and remember that we have those minor relationships. I wonder if part of the funk I have been feeling is due to being inside witha new baby and then the winter. When the sun is shining and we can be out we run into people and things feel a bit brighter.

      • I always feel better with those minor interactions but forget about them. The winter definitely doesn’t help.

        Going to look up tour dates now…

      • Yeah, those small things don’t help to sustain you long term but are so important at the time.

      • I don’t think they take the place of long term more in depth friendships but are important in their own way. Well, she will be in A2 on april 2nd but I can’t afford that splurge on the ticket plus gas plus convincing my dad to babysit at bedtime (he grumped about an hour today).

  2. One of the things I’ve been working on is not trying to take pictures of every moment with my kids and just focus on being IN the moment with them. I sometimes wonder if my blogging is analogous to that. I don’t really think so exactly, at least not at the rate at which I blog, but I wonder.

    Your comment about at-home moms rings true for me. I’ve never had a core friend group, just tagged along on the outskirts of many, but part of the reason I started blogging was because I was jealous of my wife’s online PCOS community and at-home moms group. I’m getting closer and closer to friending blog folks on Facebook but can’t yet bring myself to pull the trigger. As you say, it’s a connection that can’t be undone.

    Glad you got out in any case. Yay date night!

  3. You’d better keep blogging because I would miss you! (Even though I see you on Facebook!) Someday, we’re going to sit down over a cup of something. I’m going to have to suck it up and visit my oregon family one of these days. You could be like a breath of fresh air in the midst of conservative republican insanity.

    • Yeah, I’m not going anywhere. It’s funny, whenever I feel emotional about something I blog here and get so many “I feel that way, too!” responses. It’s a huge relief to have a like minded community.

      Yes! Come visit. I often think about coming down to see you – we will some day.

  4. I just might be the only lesbian in the world who can’t stand Ani’s music.

    I love this little blogging community. It has enriched my life beyond measure and makes me wish we all lived in the same area.

  5. I like the idea of blogging to maintain community. It doesn’t matter if you’re whiney or not. We’re at an age where there just aren’t that many lesbian bars, and my straight friends are accepting enough that I don’t really need or have a real in-person community, and I suspect a lot of others don’t as well. If online feels safe and it feels like some kind of community, then it serves a purpose for you and don’t worry about the whiney-ness. This is your space.

  6. (Also to be clear, I don’t see it as whiney, so that’s all you πŸ˜€ )

  7. Aw, shit. I want to hug you right now!
    As we’ve been considering this move, one of the factors that has played into it is the connections I have via blogging. Laurie said, “aren’t the cool lesbos in Olympia?” and I had to clarify that no, you all are in Eugene, but it’s not too far away. πŸ™‚ So, Laurie thinks you’re cool.

    • 3.5 hours from us! That’s so close! It’s totally doable to drive there during nap time! We would come visit for sure. And you’d be halfway between us and Shawni and Cade. All around this is a winning idea. I think I’m pretty cool, too. πŸ˜‰

  8. I enjoy your blog, I hope you keep it! It doesn’t come off as whiney to me either, from my perspective it is a place to vent on occasion and a place to process some stuff on occasion.
    I had a community like that in my hometown before moving, and I miss it sometimes too. It’s kind of impossible to create friendships like the ones you started as a teenager or in your early 20s, but I’m mostly ok with the way things are for me now.

    • It’s funny, often times I write about something and then I post and then am like, “Oh, that is why I feel that way”. Lesbian bloggers – we just need more venues to process.

      • Yes, we love to process everything to death. Then bring it back from the dead and process it some more πŸ˜‰

      • I got a comment about how I process personal things here and how some things are private/why don’t I talk to people via email about it. Because duh, I want to process with all 25 regular readers here at the same time about everything.

      • “It’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to!”
        No one I know in real life knows I have a blog, so that part doesn’t matter. Well, Jen does but I imagine there would have been some fights after certain posts if she read it, so I’m pretty sure she doesn’t. Hehe…

      • There is a small number of people I know in real life who read but I think it is way different from someone to read a blog when they are not part of/don’t understand the blogging community. Most people I know in real life who read are good folks though.

      • Yeah, everyone spill all their beans on their blogs, that’s what it’s for!

      • I think you’re totally right. I was kind of weirded out by how invested Rachel (yeah we use names) got in bloggers lives and stories until I started blogging and it made more sense…

      • It’s a strange place for sure. I was baffled when someone insinuated that I should not talk about personal things here- this is my Saturday night at the bar these days.

  9. twomamasonebaby

    I really wish we had the opportunity to hang out more, friend. But rest assured, I think you’re tha bomb and I love your family.

  10. Hehe, we do use our real names while blogging. We thought about being more anonymous, but let’s face it. We’re lazy!

    I haven’t seen Ani since we lived in Indiana. It was magical. We should have made a point to get down there once I realized I was not going to be spontaneously unemployed at the end of June, but…energy.

    Your thoughts on community are all the reasons we want to build a commune. When community is hard, whether because of distance or bedtimes or different expectations or any number of other things, it doesn’t feed us, and so it tends to lapse. I think in our culture we’re at a point where, especially families, often have to be intentional about creating community spaces with common expectations and shared physical space. I’m still working on how this is going to happen. First I have to convince Leah to stick around after her PhD…

    • I have many many many dreams about buying a farm with two houses on the land so we could live with another family and work the farm together. Not only for our actual farm but also I feel like farmers have this community set up by shared interest. Maybe we can convince Leah to spend her life researching and writing about rural birth options/access and how attitudes about birth are different in homesteading communities? There’s got to be something in there that we can sell her on, right?

  11. I really appreciate the honesty of your blog (not whiney at all); it and the comments from other bloggers make me feel less alone. I wish my blog could be more about real life stuff, but it started out as a log of our honeymoon that family and random coworkers follow, and it has since morphed into a substitute for a baby book.

  12. “And I’m pretty sure that if you all were with me last night you would have wiped away tears as Ani unplugged her guitar, stepped to the front of the stage, and played an acoustic version of Little Plastic Castle.”

    YUP.

    You know, Ani’s Little Plastic Castle tour was my first ever concert. I was in 8th grade.

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