Building Community

I will never forget being at my parent’s house once and my Mom saying to me:

“You are very demanding of love.”

I can’t remember anything about the context — what we were talking about, what her tone was, but it was a moment of truth. Ask anyone who knows me and they would agree. It’s not that I am co-dependent or obsessive but I am very demanding of love from those that I love. I want the relationship to be taken care of and I want us both to be loving of each other.

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about building community. I live in an apartment complex with 700+ apartments ranging from 1-3 bedrooms. My dream is that everyone I loves moves into a building in the complex and is thus within a 3-minute walk of my own apartment. We can have dinners, get together casually, be there for each other when we are in need, but not have to live together with the pressures of communal living.

I have twice been lucky enough to live in the perfect community universe. Once when I lived with my college roommate and best friend, we were both single but we were basically both also married (to each other). My sister bought us a poster that said, “No beer / just wine / in bed / by nine.” It was a very accurate poster. We would plan our weekends so we could go to all the same activities — I would go to dinner with her high school friends, we would both do 10 AM yoga, etc. The only divergence which was also lovely in the space it gave us, was that I woke up early and had the apartment to myself from 6-9 AM and she went to bed late and had the apartment to herself from 8-11 PM.

Eventually, we both coupled up (she introduced me to my partner!) and moved out.

During that time, and after, I also, coincidentally, lived in the same neighborhood as a high school friend (and my one blog reader! hey you:)) A mutual friend clued us into it and we met up for a dessert date around Valentine’s Day. We weren’t super close in high school, but we were very friendly and the date sparked a full-fledged best friendship, almost more of a sisterhood. She was dating a terrible guy and we navigated a few years of not dating/dating/early dating/bad dating together. We have a totally effortless relationship in that the activity we are doing never matters. We can go out for dinner, stay in for dinner, make dinner, do homework next to each other, run errands, lay in the park, meet up early, go to the steam room, etc. etc. etc. and it’s always fun and it’s always comforting because the relationship is there.

This post turned into more of a love letter than I intended, but I’m good with that. A Part II to follow re how and why to build deeper community.

Book Review: Ikigai

Book Review #13 –  Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life

*

This is a truly terrible book. Disjointed, superficial, a book that was made exactly to profit on people’s anxieties without offering anything of substance or value. I read it because I wanted a primer to Japanese psychology (Naikan, Moria, and Constructive Living) but it would have been easier to just stick to Wikipedia.

 

 

Book Review: A Different Drummer

Book Review #12 – A Different Drummer (William Melvin Kelley)

****

This book reads as a bit academic, but perhaps because it is older. It describes the voluntary exodus of all black people from a confederate state. Told from the perspective of various related white people observing, but not fully understanding, the exodus, it offers a haunting perspective on race relations, the South, and segregation.