My Expanding World

9 03 2009

community-expansion

My darling husband turned 48 this weekend, which means, come August, I will turn 43. I enjoy our five-year age difference, because he’s old enough to make me feel as though I’ve married a “mature” man, but young enough for us to have shared certain generational milestones through the same lens.

We’re going on four years together and two years married, and one of the significant things he’s brought into my life is an expansion of community.

One of the hallmarks of my life is that I tend to connect to people from different backgrounds and walks of life. Every group or person leads to a different group or person. My world was most expanded through the people I met through High school, church, an entertainment industry group called Premise, Writer’s groups, Bible studies, the workplace, or friends of friends, who then became my friends!

Beginning with the friends from high school, this expansion altered my life and broadened my horizons, allowing me to see new places and explore a variety of situations and opportunities that I normally would not have had I remained in my box. And each of these situations gave me an opportunity to see how others reacted to me; much to my surprise and delight, it was always favorable.

To this day I am in the process of erasing old tapes, and disconnecting from negative labels that had been placed on me since youth. These expansions of community helped me to see that I was someone others noticed and were drawn to–quite the opposite of how I used to see myself: Ignorable and forgettable.

Lynn has continued that expansion by introducing me to the Amateur Radio (HAM) community, the phone community, and the variety of different people involved in them. A good majority of the “phone” people Lynn knows are blind, so I’ve had the privilege of learning a bit of what life is like when living without sight, and gaining new insight and admiration for people who live with and overcome disabilities. With Amateur radio, I am not only learning a new skill (which holds the potential for career expansion), but getting to know a plethora of really knowledgeable people from different walks of life who love communications, sharing their knowledge, and being with others who do too.

My Facebook page shows a portion of my sizeable community (82 so far). People who I have known through various stages of my life in Chicago and Los Angeles—and that’s only the tech savvy ones! There are a whole range of others who are a part of my world, who do not (or cannot) connect via technology.

While the junk from the past no longer hinders me from seeing myself clearly, interacting with my community is still revelatory in confirming or reinforcing who I am, and how others respond to me. Probably more so because in moving past the junk, you get to see and delight in things that you missed when initially walking through it.

My friend Andrea Wilson-Woods wrote something profound on her blog: ” As we walk toward the future, we carry our pasts with us….” I’m happy I’m at a place where this is a point significance, rather than of pain or regret.

As I build a future with my husband, our combined and expanding communities continue to bring us new horizons and opportunities, as well as deepened friendship. Thanks to all who make that possible!

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