Wednesday, March 16, 2011

How Hooping Has Made Me a Better Person, and I Didn't Even Notice Until Last Night

Last night I was on a website that was part of my regular rotation of browsing about three years ago, but I hadn't checked it in some time. It covers fashion, new music, art, and all sorts of awesome stuff that is right up my alley. But, as I was looking, I, this website sounds straight up mean.

It was trying so hard to be cool. Hey, that's fine - I get it. We all want to be cool. But it was exploiting that desire by excluding others to create a sense of community among it's readers. The whole structure seemed "us" versus "them." The odd part is that there was a ton of awesome stuff on the website - why not just build community over a bunch of people liking the same style of music, fashion and art? Nope. People are randomly called out as being uncool, and then the comments just keep it coming.

Remember to look right so we're
allowed to like you.
Now that I have been a part of a community that is extremely positive and welcoming this sort of arbitrary meanness was a bit weird, really. It's like being friends with "Mean Girls" throughout high school and then meeting some smart, welcoming and encouraging friends in college - then going home for spring break and realizing that you don't really like your friends. 

And they don't really like you. It's simple, being in a group that encourages you builds trust and confidence, meaning there is less of a need to create an "other" or an outsider to feel like you belong. You're okay with you, so who cares about picking on someone else?

I knew that hooping was a large part of my identity, but I hadn't realized how much more positive of a person I had become. Thanks hoop community for being tirelessly kind and genuine, and for passing that along.

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