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 realized...wow, 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.