The slow taunting sound of the clock tick-tick-ticking away echo’s in the early morning silence of my apartment. I grind my teeth together and clench my jaw in frustration. I know what I want to write, yet every time I have attempted to put it into words I fail. As a result of my repeated and failed efforts to put my thoughts on paper, I revert to avoidance mode.
So, here I sit—examining my legs wondering when it was I last shaved—trying to avoid the inevitable.
I’m not sure why this is such a hard topic for me to formulate sentences for. Perhaps, it’s because it is something that I am currently struggling with, and while it is hard to open up and share my struggles, that’s kind of what I signed up for with this blog. But that doesn’t make it easy.
Or, perhaps it’s difficult to formulate because I don’t have the answers yet, only questions.
While it may not be easy for me to write about it (I honestly don’t know how to say what I want to say), I do know that I am not the only one who is struggling with it. I have had SO many conversations with others about it in the past few weeks. And that is why I feel must struggle my way through writing this.
Growing up my mom told me that I should hang out with people who are good influences in my life, because the people you hang out with are the ones that will have the greatest impact on the person you become. You know the whole “you are who you hang out with” thing.
Honestly, I never really bought into that. I thought that I was strong enough to withstand outside influence and remain true to myself no matter who I was around. However, I am fully beginning to grasp the merit in being careful with who you spend most of your time with.
I’m not saying that you should only hang out with “good influences”, because that doesn’t really make sense. However, what I am saying is that you need to have a good community that you surround yourself with, so that you have people to ground you and encourage you when you start to lose sight of yourself.
I recently removed myself from a community that was toxic for me. Not that the people individually were always toxic, but the community and the culture were not a place where I could grow or be my authentic self. I had very few people around me that I could turn to for support, or who would remind me of who I really was. I was lost for a while. I can look back now that I am no longer a part of that community and see how much I had changed throughout my time spent there.
I cant’t deny that my spirit was crushed. I was confused about who I was and what I wanted with my life. Thankfully, I feel like God forced me to leave that culture/community, and since leaving I have slowly felt a fresh flow of life awaken within me.
I had to spend countless hours alone figuring myself out, becoming strong in my identity, and re-grounding myself. I believe that a period of aloneness (not isolation, but a lot of time for personal reflection) is fundamental for growth. We all need to deeply reflect on what is important to us, where we want to go, and how we want our life to look.
However, then comes the hard part: finding a new community.
This is where I am at now, and I can’t lie, I’m having some struggles with it. I tend to be an introvert and find it hard to put myself out there, even if I desperately want to.
I thought that I was struggling finding community because of my own faults. However, I began to realize that a lot of people I know are also finding it hard to surround themselves with the right types of influences. It is so difficult to find a new community, let alone to integrate into a new community.
Let me just pause and say, if you are feeling like you were the only one struggling to find a community, you definitely are not alone.
We all yearn for it, and it is so important that we do have a community because we need to have people around us that we can share with, reflect with, have critical conversations with, and who force us to grow into better version of ourselves.
I have been spending a lot of time in prayer asking God for a good, solid community. A community that celebrates differences, and also challenges and pushes each other to grow. A community where I can be surrounded by people who are different, but are still all chasing a similar goal.
I really find that there is a lack of communities that help you flourish into your authentic self, and that help you use your unique differences and talents to their full ability.
I sometimes feel really isolated. I want to write and I want to help make a positive impact, but I often feel as if I am in it alone. I don’t have a community to turn to and to discuss ideas with, I don’t have a community where I feel comfortable sharing my dreams, I don’t have a community where we can work on things together and encourage each other.
I don’t really have a community of people who are also pursuing what I am pursuing. I also have never had a strong community of women around me genuinely encouraging me to just be me! I do have amazing friends and family who support me and encourage me, but it’s not the same sense of community that I am talking about here.
What I mean by community is defined by the dictionary as:
- A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
- A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
I agree that definition #1 is SO important, but I am definitely resonating more with definition #2 here.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not looking for sympathy and I don’t mean to come off as whiny. I am honestly wondering why it is so difficult to find community?
Why are we feeling so disconnected?
What is going on that we have such difficulty finding genuine connection with like-minded people?
Why is it so hard to surround ourselves with people who genuinely want to see us flourish and encourage us to do the hard things, and to be our authentic selves?
I want to see people coming together and empowering each other.
For me personally, I dream of a community of women being unapologetically themselves, lifting each other up, encouraging each other, and being fierce friends. I dream of having a sisterhood of women who want to make a difference together.
How do we do this?
What changes have to happen?
I’m not just asking this for the sake of it; I genuinely want to know.
You guys, please reach out to me with your ideas.
Reach out to me if you feel the same way.
Reach out if you want to hang out, get coffee, and discuss things together.
Let’s work to change this lack of community.
We all have our own talents, gifts, and passions that we feel called to. However, so many young people I know don’t feel confident in stepping out in those things for different reasons. One reason being that they don’t have the right community surrounding them, giving them support, guidance, and different perspective.
Things are easier when we all work together.
In all seriousness this is an open invitation for anyone who wants to hang out and start forming a community to message me, and let’s go get some coffee (the more the merrier).
Let’s remember that we were not made to do things alone, we are meant to be there for each other!
“Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14
(aka be a community)