Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Communities

The prompt for Wicked Wednesday this week was "Take a comment that was left on one of your blog posts and turn it into a new post"

One comment came to mind immediately, the one left by Molly on my post from last week. She wrote "Sounds like you have a really great group of people to learn and explore with. I think having a supportive community is such a great thing"

Before you read on I have to warn you: this is not a piece about sex, or erotica, or any of the topics that are supposed to be part of Wicked Wednesday.  It is about communities and why I think we should stop talking about them.

Fitting in

Ever since I can remember, I didn't fit in. In elementary school I did not fit in. I was not a very girly girl. I liked to hang out with boys. Then there was a group of girls that did not belong either that I spent time with. I did not really like them, and I don't think they particularly liked me. We had very little in common. The same was true with the field hockey team I was part of. They liked me in the team because I was fast. But I did not fit in with most of them. In high school the same thing applied. I did not really fit in with a specific group. In fact, a couple of years back at a reunion, one of my classmates told me "You were always different, you were part of our group and at the same time you weren't". I think he hit the nail on the head with that remark. Mind you, I had friends. And I was not unhappy or being bullied. I got invited to parties, had my first sexual encounter, threw parties and went on vacation with my friends. I was just a little different. Being part of a group was not really an issue in college: there were a lot of students. There was a group for everyone, so to speak. Or if you look at it from a distance: no distinct groups. I hung out with people I liked. People from my old high school class and some new people I met during class, at parties, at the paper or through other friends.

Communities

When we moved to the US I became part of the expat community. Not because I wanted to be part of that community, but because I was an expat and I needed people to talk to who would understand my position. After a while we also got American friends or acquaintances. I went back to school, Mr Reg worked, and we were part of both the local community and the expat community. As I wrote before, we started with BDSM a couple of years ago. We started to meet with other people that share our interest in BDSM. We created a profile on Fetlife and met some wonderful friends that we practice bondage with every other week. We sometimes go to a party or a munch. Apart from people that practice BDSM, Mr Reg and I like to meet other people. For sex, love, friendship, dinner, talk or whatever is appropriate. One could say we have become part of the BDSM community.

Distancing 

Since we started this journey, I have met several people who have distanced themselves from 'the BDSM community'. When they tell me that, I always wonder what that means. Are they distancing themselves from me? From my friends? From the groups that hold munches and parties? From munches and parties? From a set of specific people? From 'bad people'? People they don't agree with?

The other day I read a post by Franklin Veaux on Poly identity and the poly community. His post is a reaction to another post that was venting critique on the poly community in the UK. They are both talking about the poly community like it is something that you can identify or point to. And complain about the people in it. Franklin states that he has distanced himself from the BDSM community but still practices BDSM. He has not distanced himself from 'the poly community'. At the same time he makes a distinction between being polyamorous and being part of the poly community. It confuses me.

Online communities complicate matters even further. Distancing yourself from the online BDSM community... what does that mean? You delete an account? You don't play online? You don't talk to people online? What if you know them in real life? Or...or... well.. you get my point.

People

Now back to the original comment by Molly. The group of people we see every other week have become very good friends. We have met a number of wonderful people since we became 'kinky'. We have met people at parties, at our bondage night, at munches, and there are people that I have met online. Some of the people I have met online are now friends 'in real life'.  I have started this blog and twitter about our kinky life. Now does that make me part of the BDSM community? Or of the sex blogger community? Or of the poly community? And which one? The Dutch one? The online one? I guess communities are convenient because they give us a way to meet like minded people. And to make you feel like you fit in. But as my experiences in school, college and the US have taught me, there is no group of people with whom you ever have a perfect fit. There is no such thing. We are all different, even if we have something in common. And sharing one character trait or interest, does not mean we share political views, ethical values or even have to like each other. That is why we should stop talking about communities. We are wasting our energy talking about groups of people, generalizing about their beliefs and behavior (good or bad). All that counts is the people. The people that have become our friends. The people with whom we share an interest. That laugh with us when we have something joyful to share and that cry with us when sad things happen. People who have wonderful stories and bodies and minds to share themselves. With whom we laugh when something good happens to them and with whom we cry if they hit a rough spot in life. I don't care what their designated community is. I don't care if they consider themselves part of that community or not. To me they are just great people. And I am very happy they are in my life.



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9 comments:

  1. At the end of the day, a group of people who truly get you and are always there for you is what really matters. Glad you found that. xxx

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  2. I'm not so sure I would discard the term so quickly. Humans have a need to be social, to gather together, share common interests, and cooperate to work toward common goals. You may be "different" ~ I think to some extent we all are ~ but you are still a functioning member of society. People may choose not to participate in a certain facet of society even as they keep practices up, but they rarely isolate completely and may still use common resources.

    ~Kazi xxx

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    Replies
    1. I totally agree with you that we need communities, and other people. I like people and I love my friends. What frustrates me is that people spend time and energy in analyzing, bashing, talking about (ill defined) communities to handle their frustration of not fitting in instead of using that energy to do something constructive and meaningful.

      Thanks for your reply :)

      dedi xxx

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  3. labels and tags, some people seem to be obsessed with it. As for me I could care less what "community" people associate me with because (to quote Popeye "I ams who I ams."
    Even inside the lifestyle community you can see so many subdivisions. Am I a leather or a Furry? Hey you seem to like the steam punk group. Well for me I like a bit of each and I adapt what I want to enjoy my own version of kink.
    I think Kazi is correct but remember it is in our differences that we grow and challenge others.

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    1. couldn't agree more :)

      xxx dedi

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  4. Community is just an over arching term. I find that I never really fitted. I have a quirky and very dark sense of humour. However, over time (as I have matured)I have found people who accept me for me and I hold those people dear, be them kinky, vanilla, online or real life it does not matter. These people are MY community.

    Great piece, thought provoking. Thank you for publishing it.

    Rachel x

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  5. Just like you, I have never had a group where I perfectly fit in. Yet, I do talk about communities. Why? I guess because it is easier to just call it communities, whether I feel like I fit in perfectly or not. I participate in the communities, but I am still who I am. Like you say, in the end people is what is important and I totally agree with you, but I think the different communities out there help us with our own development and understanding too.

    Great post that will definitely linger in my mind for quite long, I'm sure!

    Rebel xox

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  6. Again I think we are back to labels and language. I find myself identifying with much of what you have written here and ultimately I agree with you, community is just a word and only as good or a valuable to you as the PEOPLE who make them up. It is the individuals we find there that make them.

    Mollyxxx

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  7. I liked the 'community' where I met you and Mr-Reg ;-)

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