Spending time over last weekend with a group of women all with the desire to write a book and supporting each other to share their gifts and talents with the world, got me thinking about who I choose to surround myself with on a daily basis.
I have always enjoyed being part of a community.
And, it started early for me.
I grew up in a wonderful neighborhood and in particular, lived on a street where in the house next door, across the street and further down the street lived kids exactly the same ages as my brother and I.
We were a “pack” and spent endless hours playing outside together. Us “girls” formed a secret club where we spent our time making secret handbooks and holding secret meetings. It was a special group and we remain in touch even today.
As I grew older I continued to find myself part of all kinds of communities.
Eventually all of us on the street grew into our own passions and activities, spending less and less time together as a “pack”. However, soon after I found myself part of a talented group of girls, my ballet performance troupe, and it was in this incredible community that I spent most of my youth.
Through high school, and college, my interests, areas of study and roommates provided me with safe, welcoming and comfortable communities. Being part of something, belonging, allowed me to enjoy my life.
When I got married, I moved back to my hometown, where although comfortable having grown up there, I didn’t really know anyone living there as an adult. So, I immediately got involved in my Synagogue and Jewish community. My ex-husband is an avid golfer and we found ourselves joining the country club where we did much of our socializing. When my children were born, it was easy to connect to communities. There were all of the parent communities…pre-school, elementary school, athletics….it was easy to connect around these shared experiences. I even had a book club with a bunch of moms from my kids’ elementary school.
But then came my divorce.
And I no longer seemed to fit into these communities anymore.
And the people vanished.
They didn’t call anymore. Invitations to social and special events stopped altogether. I felt like I was no longer welcome.
But, where did they go?
I was still a member of the synagogue.
My kids still went to the same schools.
I still shuttled my kids around to all of their activities and sports.
And I still liked to read.
Yet everything was different. I felt completely alone and isolated from any kind of community. I felt like I didn’t “belong” anywhere anymore.
Have you ever felt this way?
I hated feeling isolated and alone. I am a person who thrives on relationships and community and now all my relationships were changing and I no longer fit in where I once did.
What I learned is that divorce, unlike death, job loss, or parenting issues, does not build or invite community, rather it can break it down. We come together in support of someone dealing with the death of a loved one, we surround people who have lost their jobs with support and we reach out to comfort parents who are dealing with difficult parenting issues.
But where is the community when we announce that our marriage is ending?
This loss of belonging is one of the major reasons that I started the D Spot…to create a community of women who all have the shared experience of divorce, whatever stage they are in.
Looking back I realize that I truly didn’t belong in some of those communities and although at the time I mourned their loss, I am grateful to have been set free to create new, empowering and supportive communities for myself.
Surrounding myself with groups of friends, family and colleagues that are founded on consistent, honest and authentic relationships is critical to my journey as a woman.
I love the many and varied communities that I am a part of. They each and all nurture me in different ways. Some are personal and some are professional. And because of them all, I know that I am never alone.
What communities are you a part of that no longer serve you?
Do you open yourself to opportunities to create or join new communities?