Sunday, January 8, 2012

Occupy Isolation!

The Occupy movement gets addressed from a lot of angles, but the one most relevant to this blog is community-building. I sort of wanted to get involved with Occupy, but the groups in bigger nearby cities seemed really overwhelming. The prospect of being smooshed in a huge crowd of strangers made me feel too unsafe. So, idly, I searched for "Occupy [my town]" online, and found that we were actually having a meeting. I was truly surprised, because this is a small, boring, apolitical, relatively conservative suburban town. Since then I've become pretty involved with our small occupation, even though we only meet for a couple of hours each week. And at this point, the most notable result of our occupation has been a burgeoning sense of local community.

I'm not saying that everyone in the group is my new BFF, or that we're all going to get along 100% of the time (that's not what community is, anyway). Nor do I know what this occupation is going to look like a few months from now. But the fact remains: This is the first time, in the 3 years I've lived here, that I've ever experienced community in my town. Through Occupy, I'm able to sit down with a group of people who were strangers to me in October, and work with them to try and change things for the better. I've met neighbors, and around town, I've ran into people that I know. This is a big deal, because it's something that I doubted would ever happen. I've always felt very isolated here, like the world was happening outside my town, and I was missing most of it. Occupy gives me some hope that this is not the case. If we can create community here, of all places, then maybe change is truly possible.

Although there is that asexual issue...up next.

(And last, here is some utterly shameless self-promotion for my zine, because it's been a while. If you're ever thinking, "Well, I'd sure like to hear what Ily has to say on some non-asexual topics", here's your chance. It's both serious and funny, like this blog tries to be.)


Anonymous said...

Wow. I guess I take it for granted that, if you live in a place for at least a couple months, you will get to know enough people that you will sometimes run into people you know in the street. That happened even in a place where I only lived for four months, and I often run into people I know around here even though I've been living here for less than a year and I have not been putting any effort into meeting my neighbours (though many of the acquaintances I run into in the street are people I know through my job - my workplace is a 5 minute walk from my apartment - best commute ever!)

I think the only place where I lived where randomly running into people I know in the street did not happen regularly was when I lived in Mountain View, mostly because people drive instead of walk around there. However, I didn't feel a lack of community when I lived in Mountain View - that was actually the period in my life when I got invited to the most parties and did the most visiting of other peoples' homes.

Ily said...

@Sara: Hmm, I'm surprised at your level of surprise. Although, the stereotype of the disaffected, lonely suburbanite does come from somewhere. I'm glad it's not a universal experience. "American Beauty" should have ended with some rousing chants about banks. Maybe. ;)