On the Idealism of Community Building

A friend who if I am being honest, knows me well, told me that I am idealistic when it comes to community building. If you’ve listened to the podcast, you know I often talk about community building. I was quite taken aback. Being who this person is, I knew a solid conversation would happen. And it did.

Let me come out and say that in as far as community building is concerned, I’m wary of it devolving into pop psychology. I don’t want to be talking about bonding and camaraderie and forming a family of choice and yet it is all talk, all trendy, a fad.

Do I believe what it is I am preaching? and even more so, am I practicing what I am preaching?

Community is people. And people are awesome and they are flawed. People want what they want – and that may mean that they don’t consider you part of their community. I don’t hold onto a dream that communities don’t or won’t break. I am well aware that they might dissipate. I know that it takes work, grace, forgiveness, affection and care among other things to make a community a thing, a real thing.

Listen, it is easy to laugh with people and have fun times and that is all well and good. We have to make space for fun and frivolous things – and I am here for it (Listen to the recent episode of the podcast for more on this). But there is more to the foundation of relationships than this.

I think what it is more important FOR ME is:

  • That the people in my community know that they are part of my community – that they want to freely be a part of my community – that it is something we have talked about. That there are no assumptions about our relationship including loyalty and expectations. That I remain aware of the changing waves of particular relationships and how that affects the community I am creating.
  • That I am always working to be a better version of myself. That I am not performative in the relationships that matter. That I continue to have a strong sense of self. That I share my boundaries with clarity. That I never shy from telling my people that they are appreciated, loved. That I am continuously unlearning harmful thoughts/ideas and habits.
  • That I am not delusional about the role people play in my life. Sometimes I imagine a closeness that doesn’t exist or I imagine that there are things/issues people should feel that they can come to me with. That I am not inserting myself in spaces where I am not wanted. That I am respecting people’s boundaries etc.
  • That I am holding space for the people in my life. That I am being intentional, conscious, sharing and holding myself and others accountable.

Listen, I don’t have all the answers. It has taken a lot of energy to even write this. But I know what I want.

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