One thing I have discovered in my life, about me, is that I crave a sense of community. To be part of something greater than myself. I can see that in a few things that I do.
As you know, I am a runner. The running community is wonderful. I have a friend that I made by running and training together. When I meet another runner, there is an immediate connection and an ease of conversation and sharing of stories.
This sense of community also exists in my volunteer activities, those that I enjoy the most. That existed in my church. That exists in places that I frequent, like my Third Friday visits. That exists with my friends and my passion for music. That exists in my yoga. That exists now in playing pickleball. Men and woman, young and old, rich and poor, working and retired, just having fun and competing in a very friendly and supportive fashion.
I guess why I have not been able to wrap my arms around my job, there now for soon to be nine years, which puts food on my table and gives me a very favorable work schedule is that I am a disposable asset. I am not a part of the team as I am a self-employed subcontractor. I am a key component in the supply chain, my function essential. But I am considered more a cog in the machine, not valued, disposable and easily replaceable. No sense of community. No sense of belonging. Co-workers that I have worked side-by side with for years have lunches, cookouts, holiday parties, etc. I am not ever invited. It’s not bad, please don’t get me wrong. It’s just not good either, simply it is what it is. When at work, I am in some form of personal limbo, just biding my time, getting through. It gives me zero sense of accomplishment. In any other endeavor, I enjoy the “job well done”. Not here. For example, when I cut the lawn, afterward I like to admire the job well done for a few minutes. It wasn’t hard, it wasn’t difficult, but I feel like I accomplished something. My job? Show up, produce, go home.
As I reflect on my life, it’s that feeling of belonging that makes the things, places, people, organizations valuable to me important. Being Kandi is no longer a “feminine experience”, that feeling is long since gone. It’s being someone many want to be around, get to know, being unique, loved. We all evolve, I have and it’s different than it was before. Kandi remains important, she just isn’t my everything.
This lack of community is what I have discovered and has disappointed me on the LGBTQ community. There is certainly some of that there, but there it is missing much more than it should. It is a broad umbrella, not necessarily a community. This is why my volunteer activities have moved much more into the mainstream that it does with LGBTQ causes. I just get that feeling of belonging. You can see that in recent posts, the Go Red events and that evening for Destination Cleveland. We all want to belong to something.
Now next week we’ll talk about my Keystone experience and I went there for a second time because I got that feeling of belonging last time. I have gone to other similar functions and did not get that feeling. Our attire means little, it’s what is in our hearts.