Friday, February 20, 2004

You can't choose your family....

... but you can choose your friends. And, in many cases, friends become better than family.

I'm thinking this because of conversations that have been going on as a result of something Shelley Powers wrote about "community" and that Jeneane Sessum took off on.

I'm thinking this because, surrounding the quilted piece that a friend made for/about me, I've hung photos of family and friends -- my community. Together they make up my "wall of power" -- of which I'll post a photo when I get back to my regular weblog.

I'm thinking about this because my family of origin includes too many narcissists. They wear me down, weary me, stir worry. So it's my friends who help to keep me sane.


Some people seem to need the support of a close -- and often closed -- community. They feel protected by norms, rules, limits which they are not supposed to cross. "Beyond here there be dragons" the old world maps used to say. Stay where it's safe.

Then, there are others, like me, who are more comfortable walking the rim. Not really outsiders, because we tend to keep our fingers on the other pulses. And not really loners, because we do form friendships. But we don't really join or participate in large group-think. We like the freedom of the range, dragons or not. It's not that we particularly like dragons, but we'd rather risk incineration than accept the confinement of rigid community. Rim Walkers. Warriors. Dragon-riders. Mythology is full of the glory of such lifestyles.

Somtimes it's nice to be nice. But spice is more alive, and also a lot more fun. You just have to make sure your skin is thick enough to withstand the heat.