Independence - this country was founded on the idea that we were better off making decisions for ourselves rather than by the oppressive and controlling British crown. A fine idea. No person or peoples should be subjugated by another.
I raised my children to be capable and independent –especially important for our girls. And yet, independence is not really the way humans are wired to be. We are meant to live and work with others. Our species evolved for interdependence rather than independence. Our collaborative hunter/gatherer ancestors knew this, as did John Donne who wrote in 1624 that “No man is an island.”
We all want to belong – it’s one of the basic needs in Maslow’s hierarchy - right there in that third layer between safety and esteem. It is the need to feel loved and accepted and that we are part of a social group. Strong healthy connections to other human beings is tied directly to our physical health, and feeling isolated or having unmet belonging needs has negative consequences for both our physical and mental health and well-being. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
Although knitters seem like superheroes the way we make garments appear from sticks and string, we are people with the same belonging needs. The first thing knitters do in a new place is find the yarn shop. We are looking for our people. Sure, we might say that we just want to see what they have and we maybe need a souvenir skein, but the truth is that we want to find the community where we can belong. We want to find those people who speak our language, understand our concerns, and share our passion.
At Crazy for Ewe, we talk about community a lot and we work hard to create it, but the truth is that we don’t create community. You do. Community feeling happens when people come together for the good of the whole and all of its members. Community exists when there is trust and cooperation, and safety.
Some say that Ravelry, Facebook groups or other social media are community, but I do not. It’s nearly impossible to develop real trust or feel safe being vulnerable when our words are out there for the wide world and responses can be sharp and swift shielded by the anonymity such forums provide.
Real community happens through real interactions. It grows slowly with time as we trust a little, share a little, trust a bit more, and finally get to that place where we can, as Brene Brown puts it, “show up whole-heartedly as our true and authentic selves”.
Being in community at that level is such a gift. When we’re able to show up fully, it means that we’re seen and heard and understood. It means that we can be vulnerable. We can take down that protective shield we wear most of the day and just be who we are. We don’t have to try to be perfect or impress anyone with what we know. We don’t have to pretend we know what we don’t, and we can actually learn from one another. What a powerful space that is!
I am so happy to begin to welcome knitters again to our in-person community. But I’m also beyond the moon about our very real and trusting community at Club crazy for Ewe. While it evolved in response to the challenges of the last two years, it has helped us bring the warm and wonderful Crazy for Ewe community up to knitters around the country. Through shared projects, classes, chats, and our forum, we have gotten to know each other at a deeper level, more quickly than we might, even around the table in the shop. Because you can log in wherever you are, everyone does. Because everyone is on screen and part of the conversation, everyoneis part of the conversation.
The world is a different place now, and lots of us are staying home more. I’m just so glad to have a way for us to connect, to learn, and to have face-to face interactions whether or not we’re in person.
Wherever you are, whoever you are, and however you are, you are always welcome here.
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