Finding Your People

#reverb10 Day 7: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or
otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more
deeply connect with in 2011?
(author: Cali Harris)

I found two communities this year. The Moms and The Writers.

As anyone who has become a parent knows, just having a squalling baby wrapped in a receiving blanket does not mean you are going to be super awesome blood sisters with other people just because they have squalling babies. For one thing, the other person probably thinks receiving blankets will give your baby Squishy Face Disease. For another, in your lives pre-child, your new friend might have been the girl dancing on the bar in Coyote Ugly whereas you were the one dressed in plaid flannel, shooting pool. You don’t know that until you talk to people, of course, and you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you connect with your prince. Uh, princely friends. Uh, friends who are awesome. There.

Maybe if I stopped kissing strange moms in the park I’d have more friends!

Note: I do not actually kiss strange moms in the park. Only the ones who wink at me.

This year I did meet and connect with a number of like-minded, somewhat foul-mouthed moms in my neighbourhood and it was awesome. To feel the commiseration, to share the Goldfish crackers, to have a bunch of two and three foot tall kiddos bobbing by and knowing that everyone was watching everyone else’s kid – it was all very Village-Like. No mother is an island / no mother stands alone / each mother’s joy is joy to me / each mother’s grief is my own. We sang that a lot and then we meditated. No, not really.

All of those women, though, are women I met online first, through this blog. The online parenting community is vast and a little maddening at times, and prone to Extreme Drama, but because it’s in your computer, you can select for your own comfort level. You can go through thousands of blogs and twitterers and find your people. And then, if your people live two blocks away from you, go for donuts and beer.

And if your people live farther than two blocks from you, you wait patiently for them to move closer. And sometimes they do!

I like to meet real, live people, too. Don’t get me wrong. But I have a limited ability to make small talk. Some people are really good at small talk but I think I kind of suck at it. Unless the person I’m talking to is at a bus stop, alcohol-soaked, and talking about how the government is going to make perogies of our brains by injecting us with alien fluid. That person I can talk to for hours.

So, the Internet has been good for me. I have said this before. I am saying it again. The Internet: Good for People Like Me.

And: the writers. I joined a local writers group last January. (I found out about the group on the Internet. Just saying.) They are tangible people but they function like an online community in that they are specific to my needs. Only a couple of them are people I would hang out with In Real Life; the rest I just don’t have a lot in common with. Other than writing. With writing – even though our group is very diverse, style-wise – we have the same needs; to be read, to be offered criticism and praise, to offer our own criticism and praise, to have our ideas and our babies displayed in a safe space, kissed and cooed over, slapped and sent home for more revision.

Even though I haven’t been to a group meeting in over a month, I put in almost a year of regular attendance and that feels good. I feel like I contributed as much as I received and like I have built relationships that are important. I don’t think anyone will have forgotten me by the time I go back.

***

For 2011, I am feeling the itch to learn again, to take a class, to explore parts of me I haven’t. I feel drawn to movement, and to that blissful rush that comes from physical exertion. This time of year is always a lazy one for me. I would love some people to run with. Some non-lululemon’d yoga people. And then, this will be a working year for me. At some point this year I will have to start making some money. I hope I can do that in a way that fosters community. I hope I can find something, or some way of doing, that feeds more than my bank account.

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9 Responses to Finding Your People

  1. Sheila says:

    This post made me want to join hands and sing Kumbaya, in celebration of the universal sisterhood. That’s what I’m doing at home, right now, by myself. Is the Internet good for people like me? Maybe not. 😉

  2. Jen says:

    I don’t own a single lululemon thing. I’m with ya – let’s go jogging. Although you’re really tall and I’m not so it could be like the kibbles and bits dogs. But hey, yes. And, um… so is plaid flannel cool again? Dope.

  3. This post was very much me which is great cause now it’s out there and I didn’t have to write it. I can just send people over here instead.

    I’ll have to start winking at other moms in the park and maybe one will kiss me and we can be friends. I am really gawd awful at making friends the “regular” way. Thanks be for the interwebs, otherwise I would be totally alone.

  4. Perpetua says:

    I can’t tell if I’m worse at making friends because the internet makes it so much easier, or if I wouldn’t have any friends at all without the internet. Or maybe the problem is that I don’t know what lululemon is.

    • cheesefairy says:

      Lululemon is a yogawear company, it started locally, it sells $85 yoga pants and, in this context, is slightly unfair shorthand for “people who spend more time figuring out what to wear to yoga than actually doing any.” Not that everyone who wears the pants is superficial but a lot of superficial people wear the pants. Anyway, no problem, you’re cool.

  5. eva says:

    Community is so critical to enjoying motherhood. Especially for those of us not working, even if only for a year – I love love love that feeling of knowing I can leave the room at a drop in, or go to the bathroom at a playground, and some other momma will watch my kid without even being asked:)

    But, dude, I wear lululemon (there is a store very close to my house! the stuff lasts! the designs make sense for their designated activities!) AND do yoga so … yeah… am superficial and cool?

    • cheesefairy says:

      Nope, you’re just cool. Because you do the yoga. And when i showed up at the yoga wearing the clothes I have handy, you wouldn’t be snooty at me.

  6. Megan says:

    I think I need to get better at using the internet to find a real-life community. I honestly cherish the blogging and Twitter community I’ve found in the last year or so, which is weird for me, because I used to scoff at internet “friendships.” But, now there is this handful of people I’ve never met, most of whom live hours if not states or even continents away, that are really important to me.

    But, it isn’t a substitute for sitting at the park watching each other’s kids or going for a jog. I don’t have that. And, I don’t know how to get it. So, that’s sad for me.