Another article post, which is related to the one below in that community is part of sustainability, but this one has a deeper message. A more personal message.
This post is mostly aimed at the LemiCelliLyon circle, if you were invited to turkey day and know who I am then you’re it.
The SMH published an article entitled “Welcome to the selfish city” last Friday about a UK academic’s impressions of Sydney, its obsession with material wealth and a sadness that is the result of “living in a society where you feel valued for your possessions, status, house and looks. The accumulation and maintenance of these things keeps you on a treadmill that leeches life of real meaning.” The antidote espoused by the article involves finding meaning apart from your possessions. “That meaning might involve reading a book, teaching a child how to thread a daisy chain or helping a friend move house. They are things that don’t lead us to “achieve anything”, and do not provide money or status.”
Someone said to me on the weekend “you’re not allowed to leave, you are part of the clan, the family. Despite the recent changes in your situation. We love you for you.” Or something similar, I was too busy listening to the sentiment to remember the exact words. This was in relation to the fact that I may not have been around as much recently, and have been exploring and building other friendships. Or maybe just an assumption that the change in circumstances means that I don’t feel tied to you lot and I will drift away.
So it appears I have some communicating to do, and here, after reading that article, is as good a place as any to start.
I’m not going anywhere, at least not in my affection for you all. I reserve the right to move away from Sydney if I choose to.
One of the things that I spent most of my teenage years and early adult life looking for was a sense of security and extended family, of a group of people that I was comfortable with, who I could share the good times and laughter with as well as the difficult times and the tears. Where there were children, not mine, but with whom I could have an “aunt” type relationship if they wanted it. Where there were rituals and celebrations (see this post for the rituals and celebrations we have). Where there was just a simple knowledge that you were accepted and loved (for want of a better word) and there was no politics around this. Where service was given to the community as needed, and meals were shared and “I’m coming over for a cup of tea” was accepted practice. Where people cared about what was going on in your life, and you cared about what was going on in theirs. A group of people that were socially-conscious without being rabid about it, and that were intelligent and engaged in the world and were happy to debate this in a friendly respectful fashion.
This I found, and you guys are it.
I am proud to be a part of a community/clan/kith/group/friends (use whatever word you want) that is as strong and caring as ours. That can survive all our recent upsets with grace and concern. I’ve watched the way you have all dealt with Aveline and while I didn’t know her at all it has touched my heart and I wish that I had met her. I am proud that once a year we come together at Festival and see parts of the group from all over the country and it’s like we were never apart. I will always remember the offers of a place to stay when Fitz and I broke up and we weren’t sure what the living situation was going to be. I am especially thankful for the graceful way that you all accepted the “irreconcilable differences” explanation and didn’t ask for more information, this made it so much easier. I am grateful for the cups of tea that people have fed me over the last couple of months and conversations around kitchen tables, or on the kitchen floor, which let me know you noticed and cared and helped me process what was going on such that I am now happy and comfortable and hopeful and “stuff”.
I love the teasing and the laughter and the in-jokes. I’d feel lost if there was no-one calling “bunghole!” whenever “geordie” was said, or no more “jam!” and the ones we haven’t even come up with yet. I love the themed parties and the fact that as a group we dress well in that theme, as it is fun but also it is the accepted thing to do. I love that at those parties, later in the evening, the crazy cocktails and silly photos make an appearance. I love the discussions of life changes and the way that we are interested, and concerned, about them. I love reading For Battle and the other blogs people have and looking at the photos so that I can keep up with where people are at and remember what went before and giggle at the silly comments, and also be reminded you are all there when my head is stuffed full of things at work. I love the creative side of the group, the sewing projects we do, the crazy engineering stuff that Tops and Nw and Ob come up with and the Lemmings dive wholeheartedly and excitedly into (although I’m still not drinking any Lemming wine). I love the unquestioned service that is part of the group, the knowledge that if an event needs running and no-one else has put their hands up that we will do it, and that the entire group will offer whatever support is needed. I love that when someone is sick, or needs to move house, or there is something in their life that they need help with, that this help will be forthcoming for as long as needed. I love the loyalty that this group has to its members and that protection and support from any that would attack a member of the group is automatic. Also, I love the capacity for forgiveness that this group has that only comes from long association, acceptance of other’s flaws and love.
So what I am trying to say, and getting teary at work is an interesting look, is that things are changing in my life. I won’t always accept the invitations to the pub, or to dumplings and I may not attend every SCA event, but you are all a big part of my life and “I luv youse all”. I need to, and have the chance to, go out into the big wide world, foster a career and hopefully make some changes for the better, but I can’t do that without knowing that you are all there. That there is a cup of tea available when I need it, and that I can give the gift of a cup of tea whenever anyone else needs it, that the rituals that give my year meaning are there and that I will see you all at that time. That there will always be someone poking fun at my seriousness and telling me “it’s not cruel if it’s funny” with the affection that always accompanies that statement.
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