When I first moved to my new home town over 20 years ago, I knew I was a “come here”. I was certain that the “been heres” wouldn’t necessarily like me so I kept my expectations about making friends to a minimum. My low self-esteem made me suspicious of why people wanted to be my friend.

Eventually I put myself out into the public eye as a shop owner and an artist and I made friends. But there was always reservation. I assumed I still wasn’t what people would need or want me to be. I was still suspicious of their motivation.

My backstory is that I grew up without community. My mother kept us to ourselves. People were there and then they were gone. From this, I understood that you were safer if you didn’t get too close. This understanding stuck for a longtime. People were more dangerous than necessary.

But once I began to see, based on how people reacted to me, that I must have something to offer people, I began to feel a little more comfortable about reaching out and telling my story. Everyone else seemed to have the same fears about being betrayed. My self-esteem was slowly raising.

I began to hold my communities tighter and nurture them. I began to risk reaching out and asking people to join me. I asked favors of people praying that they’d say yes. I grabbed scraps of my apparent likeability and stuffed them in my pockets. I basked in the belonging.

The other day, I experienced a communal euphoria, a communication high that I enjoyed immensely. I had a lovely complimentary conversation back and forth with an online connection and I felt lighter. A few moments that day, I lost track of where I was for moments on end.

I know that connection with community gives me a high. So does making art. So does listening to music. So does eating good food. If my happiness is something we want to achieve daily in the ways I know work, then I must mindfully incorporate these actions into my day. That sounds like a fine New Year’s resolution.

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2 Comments

  1. I so relate, I was also brought up to not trust, to keep to myself, don’t let anyone in and it took me years to get out of that place and be in community without fearing. Thanks for this. xoxo

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