The word “we” makes me anxious.
My gut reaction to “we” is to feel left out. I’ve been part of that magical twosome, whether romantic or otherwise, that gives me a rant-listener, a breakfast partner, a perpetual plus-one, and a person who will call me out when I’m siding with the melodrama in my head. I also know what it’s like to go from “we” to “just me…again.” It’s not pretty, even when it’s for a good reason or for the best. That transition makes me want to make friends with more of these:
But then I breathe and look across the table.
There’s always a new “we,” and if I don’t remember to say that, I am only telling half the story. God always gives me a new “we.”
I am a textbook introvert. Read any list on how to approach those who need solitude to recharge their energy, and you’re pretty much reading a manual on how to get along with me. But I also have a pesky characteristic called connectedness. I see patterns in everything, and I see how they work together. Give me a minute, and I can tell you how everyone’s actions affect everyone else. This can make me annoying at parties (or at work…or to the unfortunate soul sitting next to me on the bus when I first read the article that is going to piss me off that day…). I was once given an actual soapbox as a gift – partially as a nod to my fondness for standing upon them and partially as a jab at my physical shortness (to which I replied, “I don’t need height – I have minions.”). Connectedness is inherently communal. So while community may not exactly energize me, it does seem to be a habitual, necessary occurrence in my life.
I have a lot of “we’s” –
- Online writer communities – I can never get away with not writing, not with Story Sessions and Andilit on the prowl.
- Supper Club – Bonded by our love of food, reading, and TV, this is a group who is not afraid to hear what I really think and is not afraid to tell me what they really think.
- Christ the Servant Lutheran Church – I’m new to them, so we’re still figuring each other out. But they couldn’t be kinder or more welcoming, and I am learning a lot. It’s nice to find a place where I feel both safe and challenged. Also, they let me be on their outreach team. My first task? Taking inventory of our current coffee supplies and figuring out a budget for us to move toward being more intentional with fair trade purchases. And when I said no to working with the children (I love many specific children individually, but in packs or running about in public, they kinda freak me out. I blame working daycare.), they listened. The first time. I’m so happy.
- Various friends I met through Christ Fellowship and The-Church-Formerly-Known-As-Normal-Street (after all this time, I still don’t know the current name of the group. Wow.) – Even though I am no longer meeting with them on Sundays, these are still the people I would call in an emergency. When I think of my very best friends, in Denton and beyond, I can trace almost all of them back to one (or both – love you, Steph) of these groups.
- Maggie and Michelle – They get their own space. They are often my first sounding board and my first readers. If you looked at the text messages on my phone, you would see that over half the total messages I send are to one or both of them. If I ever become obnoxiously wealthy, the first thing I’m going to do is pay off my student loan. The second thing I’m going to do is buy each of them a house and hire Maggie as my personal assistant and Michelle as my social media coordinator so that they can move back to Denton. So, start making plans, you two.
- My family – This is the part where I get weepy with gratitude. My family is my greatest support. My family is the reason I can’t say mean things about Republicans in general (even though the loud, extreme ones in the media really have it coming). My conservative parents, sister, and brother-in-law are the most generous, most helpful, most supportive, most responsible, kindest, bravest, funniest, and just all around BEST people I know. I am who I am because of them, and I will be who I’m becoming because of them. I am lucky, lucky, lucky.
I might not have a plus-one right now, but that’s okay. Because I have a plus-twenty.
I have the community I need.
Who’s your “we?” I’m linking up with Marvia’s Real Talk Tuesday – join us!