mandag den 21. oktober 2013

Why my local community is a blessing

Original picture from google
When I first started out in lolita, I was a young and naive, socially awkward girl who had a very difficult time making new friends- Frankly, I didn't want to make friends with "mainstreamers". But I was lonely in my special snowflake bubble, and like most naive, awkward girls who suddenly find themselves as part of a subculture that gives them the opportunity of starting a-new, getting to know new people and meeting up with other people that they are totally certain will be little copies of their own awkward self, I had no doubt that my first meet-up would be a gathering of princesses with whom I would get along with immediately (From what I've seen on the internet, new lolitas tend to be especially prone to these expectations). We would be best friends forever, go out shopping, gushing about new prints together, eating french pastries and giggling and looking picture perfect, and life would be beautiful.

I'm sure you see where this is going- My little fantasy was crushed, and I found myself sitting alone in a corner. I found it difficult to take part in conversations, as everybody else already knew each other, because of course people naturally tend to talk to their friends when they meet up! There is nothing strange about that.
I see that now. 
But back then, I was sorely dissapointed. My first meet-up was not the magical, instant-friend-making-party that I had hoped for. It was a lonely, depressing experience, and not a memory I look back on with anything but an awkward, grey-clouded pull at the corner of my mouth. 
I'm sure the title makes less and less sense, but don't worry- it get's better.

For some reason, and I can't explain it as anything but the loneliness of being a strangely dressed teen, that first meet-up did not turn out to be my last. I kept coming back, even though the next couple of meet-ups turned out to be perfect mirror images of the first one. But I kept going- I pretended to have fun, I made happy comments on the meet-up pictures that were shared with the internet community afterwards, and I kept telling myself to have fun.  Of course I was gonna be part of this community, even if those people didn't exactly open the door for me or tried to pull me inside. I insisted on having fun, no matter what! And one reason I really, really wanted to elbow my way in was this: Those girls were so amazingly sweet, fun and talented! I had nothing but admiration to offer. I never held it against them that I had a tough time getting "in there".

And you know what? I finally did. I got in.
 And that was a very important lesson to me, that I think is important to share with other lolitas who want to become part of their local community; Or any close knit group of people, for that matter.

It is not easy. From my experience, groups of people that have stuck around each other for a long time get into certain habits; They get comfortable with each other. They know exactly what needs to be said, what to talk about, how to joke and laugh with each other. Everybody has their place- like the instruments in a band, and the music plays in perfect harmony! But what happens if you suddenly add another instrument?

It takes time and effort for everybody to adjust. People aren't mean- it might feel like they aren't making an effort to include you, but they just have to get used to you- and suddenly, if you keep coming back, keep trying to strike up conversations, you'll become a natural part of the picture. 
They will find room for a xylophone in their musical band. At first your instrument will get a couple of notes- slowly, you'll get more and more space. You'll be included in conversations, they'll learn how and when to joke around you.
Don't give up before they even get the chance to notice you! The least you can do is offer them time, and show that you really want to have a good time!

Now I look forward to every meet-up. I get to know the girls better and better. Every time I get to know yet another person even better! There are such a huge variety of different people in even a small community, and every single one is sweet, funny and incredibly kind and patient, in their own way. Even though I've moved to the other end of the country, they keep inviting me back. Not just for meet-ups, but for parties and gatherings outside of lolita as well.
One of the most important things lolita has told me, is how to be social. How to get to know new people, and what to expect when trying to become part of something. 

So, moral of this?
Give your local community a chance. And another one. And another one. Slowly but surely, you might be digging closer to a real treasure.

Oh, and I can't wait for Friday! Housewarming with my lolita pals and more. Yes, please!

1 kommentar :

  1. First meetups are very intimidating! Especially if you're going to a megameet where everyone wants to catch up with old friends from far away. I'm lucky that I can afford to go to monthly meetups and get to know a lot of people in my small community. I definitely agree that if you can't go to a ton of meetups, make sure to solidify your presence online! There's been a few lolitas that I met once but they never showed up again - in person or online. Thanks for your thoughtful reflection~


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