I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about community, and fitting in, and trying to figure out some way to be able to explain exactly how to do it so that people can experience the warmth and wonder of finding a community.
For some people, that isn’t going to be in the place where they live, and that is difficult. Loneliness is no joke, and fitting like the odd one out isn’t any fun.
I can only speak from my own experience, but I’ve found a direct correlation between the amount of worrying about what other people think/making assumptions about what’s socially expected of me and feeling unhappy in a community.
The less I have cared about other people’s perceptions, the happier I have been.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I completely ignore social cues or certain expectations (not leading with very heavy conversational topics, sticking to small talk when socially appropriate, etc.), but more like spending emotional time and energy on thinking about other people’s opinions of me is something that I no longer invest in.
But how does one do that in a communal world (ahem, Orthodoxy) that seems to thrive on communal expectations and, even, should I say, judgments?
Well, again, I can only share my own experiences, but it seems that having close friends, being honest with oneself and staying plugged into Torah and seeking advice are all extremely helpful. But it’s also such a personal thing, and it’s helpful to be in the right physical, mental and emotional space and sometimes it just takes time.
I’ve written a piece about community over on Hevria today, and it is the reason I have not folded any laundry, prepped dinner, practiced and was nearly late to carpool, so I’d appreciate if you would pop on over there and let me know what you think about it!
Also, brief BuJo goal update, I actually did the thing where I stuck to my laundry schedule and even folded most of it on the days that I washed it and it was GLORIOUS. That was last week. Here’s hoping this week is as efficient in the housework department!