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Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Small Community of Close Friends

Since my post earlier this week on the Chicken Funeral, I've been thinking: Why am I such a whiner? I have wonderful friends and know really good people? Why am I so pissed off that nobody wanted to participate in my chicken funeral. I mean, it sounds like tons of fun, right?

After I performed the solo chicken funeral (in which even the chickens refused to participate), I went to a work meeting. And as I was arriving, a married couple who have a farm were dropping off their 1st official produce delivery EVER. They had two friends with them who were making a documentary about their farm and were taping this milestone in their farming business/life together.

For some reason, this added insult to injury. These people have a whole group of people who care about what they are doing and all support each other in doing it. They are making an official documentary about what they are doing and I am a one woman chicken grave digging idiot who props a camera up on a fence to document the death of my pet because nobody else is there to witness it.

Why am I not simply single, but SOLO is so many of my endeavors? "Wah wah wah! Why am I always alone? Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I guess I'll go eat chicken."

Well, the pity party ends here. Because after further thought I realized that I do have community. But my community isn't based around one interest. I know a lot of wonderful people all with different lifestyles and callings and professions. There is a backyard chicken keeping organization in my town that I am 100% inactive with although I do check their bulletin board on a regular basis. However, I've never been to an event or contributed. I don't have time and honestly, I'm not THAT interested in having my chickens take over my life. If I were a more active member of the group, I would have a serious chicken community of live chicken lovers and dead chicken mourners.

Then, I received a video from my friend that her sister, sister's partner and their friends had made. The video is funny and slightly like unto the funeral video except that they behead one of their chickens and prepare it for dinner. There are several people active in this video and there is more than one person to hold the camera, and a person to hold the chicken and another person to wield the axe that chops off the chickens head.

They all decided to do this together. This is their life and their friends and this is what they do for fun (make a video about killing and eating their chicken -- not the actual act of killing the chicken).

THAT is what I want (just the vegetarian version).

This seems every obvious to me now.

I've always been pursuing groups of people and volunteering my time and getting involved in community hoping that I'll find a community of my own. But the truth is that all I need are a few good friends with an inclusive attitude and a long-term commitment to our friendship.

I moved far away from my hometown (where the friend with the chicken head chopping sister lives) and in doing so, left behind many of my childhood friends. But I've been in my new city five years and I've put down roots. At the same time, I've been so busy building community for other people (through my meetup or my dog rescue work or through volunteering my ass off for one cause after another) that I haven't really taken the time to build my own individual, long term friendships. My roommates tend to be temporary and so I have quit letting them too much into my life, knowing that in a few months they'll move on. I've quit seeking new friends because so many of my friends disappeared once they got into a relationship. At some point I gave up on friendship.

I'm seeking people (not just one person) to live life with and share in the victories and failures. The community doesn't have to be big and it doesn't have to be centered upon ONE mutual interest. Maybe we enjoy each other's humor or maybe we enjoy the same activities. But we somehow commit to being there for each other as a small group and holding the camera for each other whenever it is needed.

I see how the friendships that I have continued to nurture are not practical ones, mainly because these friends live far away or are married and have children. What I need to allow myself to let into my life are friends with a similar mindset and lifestyle who live where I do and are available to support me as I support them. What I am looking for is not only a partner, but a small community of close friends (of which some may also be lovers).

Instead of welcoming people into the city and helping them get adjusted and saving dogs and film and blah-de-blah. I need to save myself a little space to make a life in. A life filled with friendship and caring and community to which I contribute, but also receive.


Josie said...

Good luck finding the community. I found that in the people I work with- an amazing bunch of people. I have found being single again, though, that i do miss having my partner as that big support system in my life.
I was going through the same stuff as you and joined some groups- a hiking group in particular. Most people were nice but not going to be a close friend but i did meet one lovely woman who is in a similar situation to me and shares my views and values. So am lucky enough to have found another friend that would attend a chicken funeral if I needed one.
I think you just need to hang in there. There's no magic formula.
BUT anyway, look at the lovely on-line community you have created!
Good luck!
Josie x

hebba said...

ummm...yes. everything you said. exactly. me too. (except I do triathlons, not raise chickens. But otherwise, exactly. me too.)

Debbie(single;complicated) said...

Great post! I think most of us doing life alone, can relate!!

Special K said...

We need thick and thin connections to others. Those that challenge and sharpen us, those where we are superficial and barely touch. At the end, we are linked. In whatever miraculous ways, in order to learn how to love more fully, with kindness to ourselves, each other.

Onely said...

"I've always been pursuing groups of people and volunteering my time and getting involved in community hoping that I'll find a community of my own. But the truth is that all I need are a few good friends with an inclusive attitude and a long-term commitment to our friendship."

Spot-on... I have been disappointed by various friends who I thought were close -- and I usually get caught up feeling angry or sad that I was let down. But then, inevitably, I turn to other friends who I realize have been there and will continue to be -- and it makes me appreciate them so much more. And occasionally, someone who I didn't know would/could be close becomes a friend, unexpectedly. Just have to keep an open mind and heart for that to happen.

-- Lisa