Sunday, April 11, 2010


I talk a lot about finding community.  I think community is so very important, both to each individual, and to the overall well being of the world (keeping people separated, if only in their minds, is a good way of making sure they never get together to change things, in my opinion.).

But I think when I say I need community, what I picture is "community" suddenly appearing, fully formed, out of nowhere.

And now that I've realized this is the image in my mind, I also realize that's a bit unrealistic (just a bit.).  I'm bemoaning the fact that something pretty much impossible isn't happening, and letting that negatively affect my life, and my happiness.  And now that I can see that, I find that I'm already finding community.

Every single time I talk to the nice woman selling vegetables at the farmers market, or arrange to meet a new person (or randomly meet a new person), or attend a talk at the local health food coop, I'm building community.  Community isn't something you find ready made, straight off the rack.  It's something that you find, bit by bit, in smiles and tentative first conversations and in being brave enough to just GET OUT!  Out of the house, out in new places, out of your comfort zone (it doesn't have to be far.  Just sticking my toe out of my comfort zone feels good.  Edging past the invisible lines I've drawn.  Not enough to terrify me, but enough to feel pride in overcoming the small rush of fear.).

I've been feeling so optimistic lately, taking such joy in the Spring.  I feel like I'm moving in the right direction, if slowly, and that things will work out.  They'll be okay.  I hope those feelings are right!


P.S. There's a new poll on the sidebar, open for a bit over a week only, so vote now!


  1. Idzie,
    I have been doing the same thing. I attended a DIY fest my school put on and was shocked with the number of interesting people all caring about their lives and the environment. I learned how to make my own dish detergent, how to garden in urban spaces, and spent 3 hours in direct action training (I can send you my notes on that if you like). Community is something you have to build, and it's something great to work for.

    -Amanda from Symbiogeneis

  2. Yup, you're building community in your local area. And you're building it online too. There are many different ways of looking at "community." And all of them require an open mind, a spirit of sharing, and a tiny bit of bravery. Community building is a great way to decrease feelings of alienation, increase social justice, improve our environment, and just have fun! I have always thought that it's key to a sustainable future. But I think that our use of the word "building" indicates that it's work. ;-)

  3. After I read your previous post, I thought about the fact that if I wanted all my friends to be clones of me, I wouldn't have any friends. So yes, I did think that you were being a little unrealistic (I didn't need to tell you though). My community is very broad. Some of them are homeschoolers/unschoolers or parents of these, some of them are fellow LLL leaders or friends I've met through this organisation. Some of them are people I've just bumped into and got chatting to and realised that we had a certain chemistry between us that led to friendship. Some of them have been neighbours who might not have had much in common with me at a superficial level, but we've enjoyed our cups of coffee or tea and chats or walks and have supported each other in our everyday lives as well as through some tough times. Some of them have different views on religion or spirituality to mine, some of them are on a different part of the political spectrum to me, some of them might have made more mainstream parenting choices, in every respect, to the ones that I have made. What matters however, is not what makes us different, but what draws us together and that is what community is to me.

  4. @Amanda: Wow, that sounds so cool!! I'd love to see your notes on that, and I hope you blog about the experience, as well. :-)

    @Wendy: I do love the online community I've found, I just really feel a need for a regular in person community as well. Haha, and yes, it does seem like community building, of any sort, is work!

    @Scatty: I think maybe you misunderstood my previous post? Hell, I don't want clones! I want people who don't judge me negatively because of my opinions and the way I choose to live. I want people I connect with. Maybe I phrased my last post badly...? And what I've realized is unrealistic isn't that I want to find more people who are non-mainstream, it's that I now realize it won't happen *all at once*! I love making friends with a variety of people. But the fact remains I've felt the most excluded, the least accepted, by those trying hardest to be "normal", so I still definitely want to meet more people who've chosen to live outside the mainstream in some way or other... That doesn't mean I won't happily make friends with the new neighbor if we seem to get along, no matter what their opinions are, but it does mean I still really want to meet at least some local people who *get* why I choose to live the way I do.

  5. I voted in your poll, but there wasn't quite a category to fit me... I'm a conventional schooling parent for the time being... planning not to send my kids back to school in the fall, just have a few financial and childcare logistics to work out :) If I manage to get it sorted, I'll take them out in May (my boys are gr 1 and 2)

    Reading your blog is a big part of what is giving me the courage to take this radical step :)

  6. Hi Idzie, I guess this is the part of your post that gave me that impression: "I want people who get unschooling, but I also want people who share my other views. A bunch of different people. People who can talk about anti-civ stuff with me, people who can talk about peaceful child-raising, and about consensual living. People who are into freedom, and animal rights, and *truly* sustainable living (not just all this "green" crap)." It sounded a bit to me like you're yearning for people who tick all these blocks. When I read it, I didn't comment because I thought that you have to work out for yourself where your community is. But the "not clones" thought is one that has been with me for a long time, every time I've thought about how diverse my friends are, from me and from each other. :-)

  7. @Alison: Haha, yeah, that doesn't seem to fit an answer in the poll! I included an "other" 'cause I figured I wouldn't be able to think of an answer that would fit everyone who reads this blog...

    And by the way, knowing my writing is helping you feels really, really good! Thank you so much! The best of luck to you. :-)

    @Scatty: Thanks, I understand better now! Guess that was my bad phrasing. I should have put an and/or between each of those things, because when I wrote it, I was thinking LOTS of people who share *some*thing in common with me: some common ground. I wasn't thinking only people who shared ALL those things!! That would be hard to find. :-P

    It is cool having a diverse bunch of friends. :-) It's cool sometimes just thinking of how you're connected to different people, for different reasons!

  8. Community is so important on so many levels. I've recently come to know that I thrive on it. I am a bit of a I need to force myself to "get out there." But it feels good to belong somewhere; where people know you and care about you. Where we can share our goals and visions for the place we live and beyond and, as you said, not be judged...just accepted. This is what I want for my family.

  9. I understand what you mean about stretching yourself, being brave enough to do something out of the usual to build a community. Good for you! Some of my closest friends I've met by taking steps I never imagined I would.

  10. Idzie,
    I just posted something about communities vs. networking not that long ago. So I of course had to read what you posted about community.
    My post stemmed from John Taylor Gatto's book 'Dumbing Us Down' and some personal things going on in my life. You might like to check it out, or not.
    Enjoy the rest of your wonderful Spring!