Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Community - The Saga of Lyndsie - Part 2

In order to maintain consistency, I will briefly sum up the points from my last post before I get into the meat of this post.
1. My paycheck stuff is getting worked out (hopefully) though I won't know until next week.
2. My car is fixed....good thing I have a credit card!
3. All other household accounts are finally falling into place so I don't have to call assholes so often
4. Health - I am getting my minor(ish) health worries taken care of and now I just need to work on my shoulder. But, talking about how I'm feeling physically just sounds like whining and typing it all out at this point is not really going to make me feel better. Fixing the issues will feel better.

But tonight...I want to talk about community.

Back in high school, I had a Lionel...and Lionel had a house. Lionel's house was where all the kids of the city in my group would hang out and play video games, watch movies, drink and other things. I always wanted to be part of Lionel's house crew, but living in the mountains and not having a car made it difficult for me to go hang out there. Also, I didn't fully realize this at the time, but I remember always feeling kind of like I didn't belong. That I didn't deserve a community like that.

I didn't realize then that what I really wanted, needed even, was a community. Desperately. Now let me explain, I am a social person by nature, and very extroverted. However, I've realized in recent years that I'm not extroverted in the sense that I love to be surrounded by a shit-ton of people. On the contrary, crowds make me feel stressed out and anxious. But 10 of my closest friends, crammed in a room, drinking and bullshitting? That's exactly what I love.

During high school & college, I sought that community through house parties and roommates and the SCA. And over the years, I had varying success. For a time, I had Lionel and Luke and all the other SAC-ers (people who hung out in the Senior Activity Center/the lounge in high school) that hung around Boulder after college. We had adventures like my Super Hero, Black-out Drunken 22nd Birthday Party and hot-seating Heroes of Might and Magic till 4AM. There was the party where Lionel climbed on top of the fridge, and the time we all stayed in bed for two days (it seemed) over spring break watching crappy movies and laughing maniacally. At one point, however, they started drifting away, moving, breaking ties, dissolving.

After that there was my Linguistics crew: Andrew, Londyn and a crew of people who Andrew went to high school with. We also had crazy drunken adventures, field trips to Fort Collins, picnics, movie filmings, art walks and Beatles Rock Band. Then again, after graduation, there was the moving. The getting of jobs. The grad school. The getting of more jobs... And Now I'm lucky if I see Andrew and Hawk a few times/year. And Londyn once in a blue moon. (I miss you guys!).

Then there was the SCA, I worked hard trying to build and grow the community of my barony. Holding the position of Newcomer's Officer, I tried to grow our community with creative and interactive events. With a welcoming attitude and open arms to everyone.  But there was in-fighting, negativity, disagreements.  Everyone thought they knew what was best, but no one listened to each other. No one listened to me. No one really understood the good ideas I had, and no one took me seriously. The support was only half-assed. Just enough to make it look like they were trying, but inside, I knew. They didn't care, and the more I tried to do, the less actually got accomplished.

So I decided to leave for a few years, hoping that the people who saw me as a child or teenager would forget and that new people would come in and we could grow once again. During that 3-year absence of the SCA, I met a boy and got engaged. We formed a type of community ourselves around game nights and potlucks, and it was good. Until it wasn't. Then it ended. Everything. So spectacularly.

I began getting into the SCA again, hoping this time to form the community that I had always desperately sought. In my first period of the SCA, I had that community - My don and his circle. We would go to events together, camp together, cook together,party together. We would also get together outside of the SCA - sometimes for SCA-related activities like soap or book making, and sometimes for other things like movies, costume parties, birthday dinners, clubbing (not baby seals). And while we were not an official household* (we were part of Tygershark and part...other?), we were driven together by shared interests and mutual amiability. We were centered around Max and Yaz, the charismatic couple that people flocked to. I was still pretty young then, still in awe of the community and the ability to build one around yourselves. And the ability to lead people in a positive direction.

Then these  things tend to do. I'm not sure exactly what happened with this one. I know a few reasons: SCA  burnout, job changes, travel, but ultimately we just stopped doing the things we did. Or, rather, I stopped being included. Did I do something to piss people off? Did I change too much? Or had I become so entrenched in my own adult life, that it didn't puzzle-piece in with others'? I may never fully know the answer to these questions. 

In my second SCA period, I tried building a community again. First, with my barony as a whole, but again, that didn't work so well. (Maybe a barony is too big to do the thing I need for a community). So I started looking into households. 

Instead of trying to become part of an existing household, I talked to a couple who already had a community of people around them. (I actually talked to two couples, but the first couple was like "HELLS NO!"). To this second couple, I suggested that they formalize their social groupe into a household with a name, badge, meetings and a plan. I offered to do the admin stuff like organize meetings, take notes, and help plan meals for events. I have invested a lot into this household - time, money and heart. 

Now, I am struggling to keep this community that is full of very independent, opinionated, busy people that I love, together. And I feel like I am failing...because part of me wants to jump ship. Well, if we had a ship...

Part 3 will explain why.

Image result for steampunk people


*For those that may not know what this is exactly, i'll explain: A household is a group of people in the SCA who hang together, camp together, go to events together, and build their involvement with the society as a whole on the foundation of this community. The have varying levels of formality: rules, membership requirements, costs to participate, even attendance....etc. 

There are some fairly established households in this area, with set rules and membership requirements of one form or another. A lot of the time, to become part of one of these households, you need to become a student (in any form) to a master. Other times, you're brought in from the outside by your close friends who are already part of it, or you just apply/ask. (This would actually be an interesting post on it's own, though I wonder if i could interview some ppl). 

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