You, right there. The woman in the car, reading this blog post on her mobile phone and wishing she had a new life.

You, the mother in the living room who has 1,342 children and only two arms.

You, the man who is married to the woman who has 1,342 children and even with your two arms involved, you’re feeling like your life is 1,338 arms short.


Any person who is alive, I am speaking to you.

I’ve been carefully watching everyone lately and I’m seeing a recurring theme: everyone is stressed out. Everyone.

It looks like the person next to you has everything together and they’re dancing through life like a hippy in a field of flowers. Carefree, money in the bank, and having an excellent hair day.

Meanwhile, you feel like life has chewed you up and spit you back into that same field and the hippy is about to accidentally stomp on your face whilst she prances among the flowers. But you’re too exhausted to get out of her way, so you lie there and wait for the delicate sandal to the eye socket.

But here is the truth– all your friends probably feel the same way as you. Oh, sure– they might be having a good day. It’s possible. But in general, they’re probably worried about the same things. There are no perfect families, there is no perfect health, and there will never be enough money in the bank.

But we’re not fans of giant crybabies, so we all put on our Adult Panties and go about our business, pretending everything is fine. That’s why you think your friends are fine and dandy– they’re fakers.

I said it. Fakers!

I’m a faker. Maybe you’re a faker too.

What if we tried this instead:

  1. Stopped faking.
  2. Reached out to our friends and family and shared our real issues.
  3. Asked them how they are really doing. And then listened.
  4. Repeat forever.

We might eventually have a community where all the grass looked just about the same, and maybe we’d all be sitting on it having impromptu picnic lunches. Together.

A photo by Aranxa Esteve.


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10 Comments on Four easy steps to building your authentic community

  1. Beth Ann Sowles
    February 9, 2016 at 6:24 pm (2 years ago)

    Love this. And how true. It’s amazing how the grass is the same when you actually listen to people.

  2. cherifields
    February 9, 2016 at 7:27 pm (2 years ago)

    Very true! And, as we get real with each other, not only does the grass stop looking greener next door, usually you are seriously relieved not to have to deal with the grubs and poo they have to every day.

    February 9, 2016 at 8:25 pm (2 years ago)

    It sounds like you are prescribing friendship. After all a friend reaches out and is wiling to hear what the other has to say and is ready to share his/her issues.

  4. David
    February 10, 2016 at 10:49 am (2 years ago)

    We had a family picnic in Wales after Christmas. It was a bit cold. And muddy. Stress reducing? I wasn’t stressed because we were outside, together, I’d had a good walk, the scenery was beautiful, and being with the kids, daughters-in-law and grandchildren was fun. The drive there was stressful with one grandson humming the Star Wars theme constantly, but I turned up the volume on the car stereo to shut him up. He slept on the way home. It is half term next week. Perhaps, weather permitting, Marilyn, John and myself can cross the border for another picnic.

    Oh .. and my grass is very green, very long, and far too wet to cut. That’s what you get for a mild winter.

  5. Jessie Clemence
    February 10, 2016 at 11:11 am (2 years ago)

    My mother used to turn up the volume on us when we were little, and it’s a fine option. I do it frequently myself!

    Good luck with that wet grass situation. Maybe you could borrow a local goat!

  6. Jessie Clemence
    February 10, 2016 at 11:12 am (2 years ago)

    Yes, and too often we just hide behind our “fines.” I’m fine. Everything’s fine.

  7. Jessie Clemence
    February 10, 2016 at 11:13 am (2 years ago)

    YES. Other lawns are considerably more gross sometimes. 🙂

  8. Jessie Clemence
    February 10, 2016 at 11:14 am (2 years ago)

    Thanks! And yes, it’s amazing what we discover when we listen.

  9. David
    February 10, 2016 at 11:53 am (2 years ago)

    Yes. Fresh goats cheese might then be an option!