I’ve been thinking a lot about community lately. And the beauty that comes when you open up and allow your world to grow and expand to include more people.
For an introvert like me who grew up surrounded by people with a serious penchant for drama and personal conflict, opening up is scary. My middle school and high school experiences with mean girls and cliques left their scars too (and that is a story for another day). So, at some point, I decided to keep close. Not open up. An acquaintance here or there but no close friends. I kept my world small and simple. I did a lot on my own. Quietly and privately.
But now I’m on these paths that aren’t meant to be walked alone. And now I’m beginning to realize that maybe no path is really meant to be walked alone. Yes, I believe in the strength within me and my ability to do whatever I set my mind to do. But the support of other people – it’s a beautiful thing. And it pushes me further than I’d go on my own. And I’m beginning to realize that I am not weak because I accept that support. I am stronger for having accepted it.
I’ve written before about how, when I started blogging, I didn’t really realize that it was not a solo activity. That there is a community out there. People. Real people who read my words, not because they are related to me and lived through the stories I’m writing about, but because they actually enjoy it. Because my words make sense and reach people I’ve never met in person. And because of you, because you read and write and converse and interact with me and with my words, I am a better writer.
I could say the same about motherhood. The ways in which my motherhood and my approach to my children has changed based on a sentence in a blog post or the smallest passing comment of a conversation amazes me. Motherhood isn’t just about the things I think I believe and the things I do. It, like childhood, is about taking it all in and blending. Because of other people, because we all talk and explore and weave our way through together, I am a better mother.
All of this was specifically prompted last week, when I saw my words up at Literary Mama, a site I was thrilled to be at, and then I saw you all over there too. Reading and engaging and sharing and supporting. It sort of hit me, then, that this community is powerful. We follow one another and support one another and we make this thing worth doing. And I wanted to reply to each comment on that post over there. But I also wanted to make sure you saw my thanks. So I’m here. To say thank you. I love to have found a community here. I love that we all bond over stacks of angst filled journals and squeezing in writing between changing diapers and packing lunches and all the rest because we simply must write. And that we can write now, not in journals that are destined for high shelves in our closets, but out in the open, to be read by a community of people who support and encourage and understand… That is a blessing.
Thank you for being part of this community with me.