The past few days, I’ve seen some things said about community. Or lack of it. People who don’t feel a sense of community are usually those who don’t deserve it. You have to be a good person for a community to envelope you. You have to GIVE to get.
Living in CenPho for 6 years now, I’ve always felt a sense of community. Familiar faces in the grocery store, the cashier at the local mini-mart, and groups like Yelp have shown me what community it. Out of that, I’ve become involved in branches that stem off everything else.
In comedy, there are a few different communities. There is a LOT of drama, but I’ve found a niche of people I enjoy performing with/for and I consider that a community.
Yelp has to be the first real community I have become involved in since moving to Phoenix 9 years ago. I’ve been a Yelper for 5 years now and have met some amazing people. During the kidney testing & surgery, Yelpers who I had never met came to fundraisers. The Community Managers showed support by helping to promote our events. Why? Because it’s a great community. Sure, there are assholes in that community, but does 1% really matter against 99%? Nope.
Facebook has shown me community as well. I’ve been getting friend requests from other kidney donors for the past several months. We’ve built a community by sharing ideas on aftercare, things to be aware of, and giving each other a pat on the back. It wasn’t an easy thing to do, but to have support from perfect strangers with the bond of saving another life built another community.
I’ve never been to India and I am not a religious person, but thoughts and prayers were sent my way. Hinduism is a very spiritual religion and I felt it, from a billion people, from half a planet away. Community.
And then there’s the monster community-builder for me: Twitter. Getting messages & follows from people around the world who heard our story, just because they wanted to show support to a stranger who did a good deed. You don’t have to donate money to our cause to show support. Showing up at a fundraiser and enjoying good food & entertainment are support enough. Believe me, seeing a friendly face made me get through terrible days more than once. Random, anonymous donations came in. How could it NOT be a community???
And then, there is Phoenix, and most importantly, the group of food enthusiasts & restaurant owners who came out in droves to show what community is. A restaurant I had never eaten at brought me food the day after I got out of the hospital. Three restaurants donated proceeds to our cause, and they didn’t have to. It’s a tough economy and the F & B industry is suffering, yet these people felt they had to do something. Countless products & gift certificates have been donated. By people I don’t even know personally.
As I write this, I am crying so hard I can barely see the screen. If it weren’t for ALL the communities I am so freaking lucky to be a part of, I wouldn’t have gotten through everything. It was an incredibly tough journey & I had to hide a lot of the pain so that my new brown family didn’t have to feel badly. My healing process was cut very short because of one thing: community.
So, if you feel there is no sense of community out there, you need to take a look at yourself. Blaming the outside world, constantly, is just proof that you have no idea what community is and you probably don’t deserve to be a part of it.