Saturday, December 11, 2010

#Reverb10 catch-up: Community & Beautifully Different

December 7 - Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

I feel a lot of tension with this question because, while I have discovered some community with the online weight loss blogging community, I still feel very much like an outsider and I’m wary of it.  So, I’m a part of it, I’d like to join or get more deeply involved, but at the same time I am reluctant to dive in completely.

There have been some fabulous people that I have “met” through this journey - readers and fellow bloggers alike - and I’ve been really glad to be welcomed, included, and supported by them.  I love that support and really admire the way they have endured and triumphed over their struggles in such a way as to give hope to others.  That’s something great that I want to be a part of.

Yet, as I mentioned in my weigh-in post a couple weeks ago, I struggle with it as well because there are times when I feel like I haven’t “earned” my place within the community and despite some efforts to get involved, in some ways it feels like it hasn't really worked out for me yet.  I wonder if I'm doing something wrong, but then I have to remind myself that some of these people have been doing this and have known each other for years, so it's unreasonable to expect being welcomed and included with open arms this early on, particularly given the number of people who start this whole thing and then drop off.  There's been some talk about this on the Fit Blog Guide which was helpful, talking about blogging cliques and the sometimes divide between the larger and smaller bloggers within the fit blogging community (which, let's face it, is just a fact of life.  it's how humans function).

I also struggle internally because I know that I have no intentions or desire for this part of my life to absorb me and I'm afraid that if I jump into the deep end of this blogging world, it'll seem that way.  I'm adamant about this - losing weight and working out are not all I want to think or talk about (and if I’m honest, I rarely talk about it at all in person unless someone asks me directly…. so my main outlet is here).  Yes, it is a part of who I am and what I’m dealing with right now, but as I strive to be healthy in all manner of things, I feel like being obsessive or anxious about my weight loss or eating would be counter-productive.  So I want to keep a balance.  I want you guys - my readers - to know that I have a life and I do other things outside of my weigh-ins each week to show that to lose weight doesn't require someone becoming single-minded, obsessive, and worried about every single thing they eat or the day that you didn't make it to the gym.  'Cause that's just annoying (even though I'll admit I still do that occasionally).  I want what I do to be real, accessible, identifiable, and inspiring for anyone else to be able to do in the midst of their own busy, conflicted, and sometimes stressful lives without adding to the burden.

December 8:  Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful.

For the most part, I have been proud of the fact that I'm different.  At times it can be a pain (like my innate refusal to start liking a particular musician/band unless I've 'discovered' them - not just by recommendation...I know, it's weird and impractical), but generally speaking, I find being different is an important part of who I am.

I had a crisis about 18 months ago when I realized I was feeling as if my life wasn't my own - that everyone liked what I liked, I didn't have anything that was solely mine, and I no longer felt unique or that I made any particular contribution to the world that was different from anyone else.  I think folks like me that enjoy being different find situations like this pretty scary.  I made some decisions and reasserted my individuality (mostly in my own mind) and things got better, but it was a bit of a rough patch.

So what makes me different and what do I do that lights people up?  I can't speak for other people and what I do that lights them up.  Perhaps Jim should write this portion of my post.  :o)  But, to me, what makes me different are many things including the following:
- I have been to or lived on 5 of the 7 continents and have moved and lived somewhere different about every 2-3 years, so my sense of place, home, geography, politics, world view, and what's possible are influenced by that and, therefore, unique.
- I love knowledge.  LOVE it.  Jim says I'm like Johnny 5, constantly declaring "Input!  Input!"  But I don't like knowledge just to have it - I want it to serve a purpose.  I want it to be put to use.  I want it to change the world.
- I can rope a cow, build a great fire, bake a lemon chiffon cake, tell you where to go in Sarajevo for the best pita, change a tire, piece a quilt and give you a treatise on the hermeneutical tools of a variety of liberation and feminist theologies.
My experiences have formed me into who I am - and they will continue to do so.  And, on the whole, I'm proud of that.


  1. I definitely am an outsider, too. I started my blog for myself and was amazed that anyone actually wanted to read it. I tried to join into some of the more formal fit blog type of things, but never "fit" in, I guess. And I am okay with that. It is typical of my whole life, if I am honest with myself. :)

  2. I read this yesterday, and I've been thinking about the idea of community ever since. I find it really hard to define who is "inside" and who is "outside" with blogging - how do we measure that? Is it page views, comments, followers? As far as blogger "popularity," I'm not sure where I'd place myself in terms of a rank - and I'm not sure I'd ever want to seriously map it out. I write for the sake of writing, because I want to and because I need to, and I'm just happy to have a few folks who occasionally pipe up with some advice or well wishes.

    I don't really care who reads mine - first and foremost, I am writing for me, to clear my head and sort through some of my weight loss issues - but in terms of reading others' blogs, at first I only sought blogs by people I felt were on a similar journey - so, no bypass/lapbands, no one at goal/maintaining, and no men!

    Eventually, though, I sort of realized that in spite of the differences, we all have one really big thing in common - we're all here because we need a little support, no matter what conditions got us to where we are and no matter how much work we have done or have left to do. And because not everyone is at the same phase or has the same goals, it stays varied, and everyone has little bits of advice I find useful here and there. Some of the best advice I find is from seasoned runners, or from people who talk about the challenges of maintenance, or even people just getting started in whom I see reflections of my past and present self - and these are blogs I might have skipped over if I had set "reading rules."