Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Community & Beautifully Different


I'm again catching up on posts/prompts but this time for a very altruistic reason.  My twin is in marking and report card hell, and I decided to offer her the gift of my time (since I can't buy her anything).  She took me up on my offer last night and I marked until 2 am.  I feel a sincere pang for her and teachers everywhere right now.  What a lot of her own time is spent on school stuff.  This year her one job is putting my two to shame when it comes to hours logged.  Ugh.

A nice thing about helping someone else out in a pinch is that it reminds me of how lucky I am and how good I have it.  But don't worry.  I'm human.  I'm still complaining regularly enough that my poor purple "Complaint Free" bracelet Momma got me in September has been having more or less zero units of success.  I still probably complain/gossip/criticize once or more on an average day. But on the bright side, how much more would it be without my purple, rubber reminder?

I'm going to get on with my Reverb10 writing prompts since they are a fun way to reflect on my year.  I'll also be doing some of my own stuff in December to figure out 2011 plans and wrap 2010 up in a nice red bow.

December 7th Prompt: Prompt: 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?

I've discovered community in a lot of places this year.  In some ways I can get into my own solitary working drone groove, but these are the communities I have connected with this year that have been interesting, revitalizing, liberating, healing or fun (if I think of more later, I'll pop back in to add them):

  • My clan/family.  Being from Newfoundland IS different and is bonding.  Like Kyran Pittman says, it's Utterly Unlike anywhere else. We've bonded over losses and also just hanging out together.  I've gotten a little closer to some siblings and cousins and parents and steps and greats, etc. in different ways.
  • My wife's family.  Being married makes you even more seriously connected to people you already love.
  • Our queer & comedy communities.  I even tried out a comedy class one-off recently.
  • My old work pals.  In fact, moving on from working directly with people has made me do more 'friend outreach' and forge more connection in other areas with some important former coworkers. Shannon, Anne, and Mark are all very different examples of this loveliness.
  • My new work pals. Of course I want them to like me, and I'm trying hard, and I really like them, so it seems to be going okay.
  • My part time work pals. In fact, the definition of this job is 'community development', but still, I feel like they are there for me and we have each other's backs in a nice way.
  • My online pals, including the ones I follow, & the ones who pop by this blog to check it out.  I've really enjoyed reading things that are 'up my alley' immensely this year.  It's as if a whole new world opened up to me recently, and I am grateful for the sense of fun, pleasure, and camaraderie it's provided. It has also given me a sense of myself as a doer, & a creator, not just a consumer.
  • My end cancer walk women.  We definitely created and built a sense of community doing that 60K walk.
  • My IWD fellow volunteers.  I do an event annually for about 300 homeless women for International Women's Day, and this has become a big repeated and increasingly positive opportunity to build community.
  • My book club.  I want to be MORE involved in this community.  I've been a 'lazy/lax' member, but still love being involved, albeit marginally.
  • My Stitch & Bitchers!  Big time this group of tattooed, smart, funny, crafters has brought a much needed sense of community, creativity, and meaningful occupation into my life.
  • The people in my mindfulness class.  A strange brew of different types, but coming together for this common goal.  I like it.
So 2011: More: book club, more creative community (sewing, knitting, writing), maybe venturing into something physical like yoga etc.  I'll put more thought into it.  Oh, also, the conscious consumption group, related to this year's goal of nothing new.

December 8th Prompt: Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

I often get to discuss in my working day how hard it is to sell ourselves.  Describing what makes ourselves beautiful is akin to writing a resume or answering one of those cringe-worthy questions in a job interview.  But, it might be easier if I think 'different' and 'light people up'.  I would have to say that some of these things (like me!) are works in progress, but here goes:

  • I am a bit unique.  I look a little different from other people.  Not sure what I mean by that, but I feel it.
  • This is a funny one, but I have giant, sometimes fabulous, always noticeable, eyebrows. I mention them because they have often been used as a descriptor for me.
  • I am calm and a good listener.
  • I express empathy and I try hard to be present.
  • I support local comedy.
  • I keep trying to improve myself but hopefully not in an arrogant way.
  • I can occasionally give myself (time, focus, effort) to people I care about to help them through something tough.
  • I'm a moderate nerd.  Read: 'enthusiastic hobbiest'
  • I keep slogging away at it.
  • I'm fairly optimistic.
  • I can make a meal out of thin air.
  • I like to do well.  My wife calls me an 'A student'.  She also calls me 'Wonderwall'.
  • I listen well and try to make people feel safe.
  • I do not stigmatize against people who have had mental illness.
  • I'm a minor activist.
  • My sense of self is relatively solid.
  • I like to try new things.
  • I'm trying hard to grow and be more creative.
  • My friend Tyler once described me as 'Full on'.
  • My friend Shannon said that I brought my humanity to my interactions with people and that I work 'with them not on them'.
Okay, that's about all I have in me tonight.  Hope it's sufficient for the goal.

xo Tara


Tena Laing said...

Wow! You are the best sister ever. Love your list and thank you for everything a million times over.

No New is Good News said...

I just noticed the 'blank' bullet point. It's like the empty petal on Pat Deegan's flower. It could mean possibility. It could also mean I'm so tired I blanked out :) thanks Tena :)