On Community, Hope, Fear, and Responsibility

I get to ask people to meet my needs, and to be better to me.

I get to ask once, or twice, in good faith – in good faith because I deserve to trust people, to practice trusting people, to reach out humanly, humanely, without my guard up, to actually trust that people will honour my vulnerability – which means believing that they do honour it. that they are honouring it. That people are working with me and not against me – so I get to ask once, or twice, in good faith.

(And ok, I get to ask maybe three times, because we’re all human, and maybe once I get to ask once with some skepticism around if they’ll meet it or not)

And then, if it’s not working, if the balance isn’t there, I get to leave to tend to myself, my needs, and find people who will meet them. I get to leave with dignity, with self-esteem, with kindness. I get to leave knowing I tried, that there is strength in my vulnerability, a strength that isn’t the brittle nature of armor. Armor can be pierced – and inevitably *always* gets pierced. yes, always! There is no armour strong enough to shield anyone from life. I get to know the nature of my strength – an intimate strength that is woven through my core – a rooted strength, a strength that flows, that is, that heals from the inside.

I get to self reflect as well on how I could have done better by others – and how I could have met other people’s needs or been more honest about how I maybe couldn’t meet certain needs. I get to self reflect on how people tried to meet me, but couldn’t. I get to have compassion for them while I have compassion for myself.

I don’t get to stay and berate and barrage and harass in the name of accountability.

I don’t get to equate validation and support with uncritical agreement.

I don’t get to equate disagreement and differing perspectives- esp with other super marginalized people – with racism or sexism.

I do get to give super marginalized people, including myself, leeway – to be wrong, to be understanding, to allow for room to grow and heal.

I do get to have community – good close friends who know me – compassionately critique my coping mechanisms in my moments of pain, frustration, and deep hurt: “Hey, this looks like it’s harming you. Are you sure this is working? Hrm… can we try this way instead?” – and when they do, if I don’t like the response, I don’t get to always chalk up my dislike to abuse or dismissal of my feelings.

Love isn’t always agreement, so I don’t get to leverage language to equate critical, crucial, compassionate support with abuse.

In fact, I count on my community to call me in and call me out compassionately, and with love.

This is what community means to me. I’m not here to be right. I’m here to grow from where I am.

I hope you are too. And if you’re not here, I hope you get here. 🙂  I really do.

Because at the end of the day, I get to have hope.

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