I’m incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to draw inspiration from and watch so many people do cool things in their communities. Before I got tangled with the TorCamp folks, I really didn’t have much of a sense of what community was about, why it was important or why I’d want to have anything to do with community, though it dovetailed nicely with some of the values I was learning and activities I wanted to support, such as dialogue, intellectual curiosity, openness and bottom-up and consensus-based decision making.
My experiences with community are fairly few and far between, which I’ve often taken as a positive sign: not being as much of a fish, perhaps I can shed light on the water that everyone’s swimming so happily in. I now realize that it’s only slightly less elusive even for the people who I think are good at it, and that its practice is just like most of the little things that the people admire do: carefully acquired, honed, and crafted habits done with certain values in mind and in place. The actions that go into ‘doing community’ are not second nature to me yet, and though I have some ideas why, I think I’m committed enough to it that I want to be able to become more adept at it, as well as confronting (carefully, publicly) what about ‘doing community’ feels weird.
It’s all still quite foreign and alien to me though, so I’m trying hard not to get down on the fact that I’m learning.