Who are you caring for? Who is checking up on you? Who is your solace, who comes to you when they need support?
The relationships we build now are what will keep us alive in the years to come. The love, the care, the empathy, the resilience that comes from community is paramount.
We have to unlearn individualism to survive collective tragedy.
I had a conversation with Jack (my housemate and best friend of 8 years) about the CDC shortening their isolation guidelines to 5 days. We spent the evening together on the couch, leaning on one another, and before we turned in, I stood in his doorway and said:
“This sounds dramatic, but I’m so grateful that whatever the future holds, I know that we’re going to face it together. Till the end of the road.”
He said, “The end of the road… I like that.”
Find your family for that journey.
My culture has been shaped to value nuclear models where your “one and only” is a single sexual partner.
Build a community and make a commitment to them. Strengthen your bonds with people who share your core values, who believe in and will commit to following the same code of conduct as you. Unlearn individualism and share your resources. Learn how to ask for help.
We cannot weather these storms alone.
A paradigm shift came for me this year after I read an anarchist zine that had the line “an affinity group of 2-3 friends cannot be infiltrated by outside actors”.
This zine was ostensibly talking about revolutionary anti-establishment action. But it clicked something for me on the opposite end of the anarchist spectrum.
A commitment forged between a few friends to care for one another regardless of circumstance or tragedy is a powerful thing. And these affinity groups have resilience.
If you have a friend in your life whom you would let live in your house indefinitely, tell them that. Talk about plans to support one another should they lose their job or fall ill. Share skills, share resources, discuss plans for the future.
You don’t have to face the future alone. None of us do.
And those we choose to build community and family with don’t have to be the same people we find romantic or sexual relationships with.
What we need is to open these discussions with one another candidly. Talk about our needs, our values, our plans. So much of western culture centers being opaque around what we need to thrive, and that shame and silence is poison. You have to build mutual trust to truly support another person.
Once these relationships have been forged and tested… strengthen yourselves with them. Rent a house together. Share bills. Feed one another.
If someone loses their job? Help them write a new resumé and help with rent and bills. Someone’s car breaks down? Drive them to work and save with them to go to the mechanic.
So many of these values already exist in non-Western, anti-hierarchical structures. The pressure to value individualism is a facet of capitalism. And mutual aid, be it a meal for your neighbor or a sofa for your friend, is anticapitalist praxis.
@bee "To each what they need, from each what they can give" is more than just a catchy phrase, it is a philosophical paradigm shift.
One thing Antro has taught me, maybe the most important thing you can take out of that incredibly flawed discipline, is that humans are social creatures to our core. We cannot function as individuals, we need the group to survive.
@bee you’re putting in words so much of what I’ve been feeling bubbling up over the last couple of years. And it’s such a hard thing to unlearn, that engrained individualism. I feel like I haven’t even started, despite the will.
honey.town is a small hive of 6,001 bees, most of which are in a trenchcoat, and one that's simply buzzing around.