Recently I've been thinking a lot about the idea of community, and how they say that a sense of belonging can help decrease one's feelings of depression and anxiety. Since my last blog I've continued to be in a good mental, emotional, and physical place, and I attribute it largely to the communities I've joined or nurtured in the last few months. Feeling like a contributor, and more importantly that my contributions are seen and valued, has transformed the way I view and experience my life in LA.
It took almost 4 years, but I finally have a regular yoga class schedule and know the names and faces of the regulars at the classes I frequent. I've dropped my guard a little and developed closer friendships with my coworkers, which has been a unique experience since I'm a remote employee and only see the people I work with once in a blue moon. And now that I have a stretch of uninterrupted time in LA, I've resolved to spend as many Sundays this summer connecting and practicing with the acroyoga community.
Last, but certainly not least, I've started taking pole classes regularly, which is perhaps my favorite of all the communities I've joined so far. I love that pole emphasizes feminine energy, sexuality, and strength, and though my body is covered in bruises and burns, I find myself eager and excited to spend more time with such a badass community of women - women who are fearless, confident, and unapologetically sensual, yet strong.
I can see why so many people turn to religion, to attribute the circumstances of life - both positive and negative - to a bigger master plan and purpose. I can also see why so many people fall into the trap of thinking that loneliness can only be solved with romantic love. Perhaps it's easier to think that our happiness falls into the hands of some master orchestrator or great love, and if only we find and surrender ourselves to them, then all the pieces of our lives will suddenly fall into place, all questions of the universe answered.
Personally, I've never been convinced by religion, and I've already learned the life lesson that sacrificing myself for a relationship does not yield lasting happiness, so neither of those scenarios appeal to me much. Instead, I've learned how to find communities that I identify with, and to carve out pockets for myself within them. I've learned how to fill spaces with my presence, and how to balance giving and receiving attention. I've learned that warmth and connection is something you can cultivate irrespective of a romantic relationship.
There is just something to be said about the satisfaction that comes from investing in something that invests equally in you. I'm grateful for the people I've met and the networks I've built over the last few months, the past year actually, because they've all contributed in one form or another to the confidence and stability I feel pretty consistently today.
Feeling seen is a powerful thing, and I don't take it for granted.