We recently recorded a round table for The People of Kink in which we talked about service to our community and what it meant to us all. It has really gotten me thinking about this and coming to the conclusion that it is very important to me. There was a time in this lifestyle that I didn’t do anything extra or help anyone. I figured there wasn’t any need as there were people already doing the work. All I wanted to do was to attend the events and have a good time. There is nothing wrong with what I was doing but that changed when I started to form opinions about the things that were going on. I quickly realized that I had no right to complain or criticize these people or their events. If you look up the meaning of criticize: to express disapproval of (someone or something) : to talk about the problems or faults of (someone or something) : to look at and make judgments about (something, such as a piece of writing or a work of art) it really doesn’t have much of a positive meaning to it. How could I judge these people without at least helping or seeing what it was like to walk in their shoes?
It didn’t take me long to understand that I had been pretty selfish and that needed to change. I began volunteering to help set up at events to see what it was like. Setting up a play party is a lot of work and within minutes of being in the thick of it I realized that these people were working their butts off for nothing more than the fact that they wanted to help. I had walked into this party many times and had a great time and never thought about the hard work that it took to even get the venue ready. There is equipment to move around and existing things at the venue to move. Lighting had to go up and garbage pails put out. Signage had to go up. The list went on and on. Being in the middle of this began to shift my thinking on events and the people that put them on.
I am not writing this to prop myself up. I am writing this to say that I love my community and above all else I love serving my community. Every year about this time I take a look at my life and what I am doing. I think it’s a very healthy thing to do. I take stock of what’s important and what I would like to focus on. Right now and for the foreseeable future it’s service to my community that drives my life. I don’t do the things that I do for glory or to be called a “Pillar of my community” In fact I don’t think we need “Pillars” or “Community Leaders”. What we need is to care about our community and the other people that are in. We can all effect change and help out if we choose to. It is a choice for everyone. I’m not even saying someone is a bad person for not doing service in their community. Everyone is entitled to do as they please. I would just encourage them look around and know that their help is needed and appreciated.
I looked around the room yesterday while we were doing the round table and I realized that these people were my choosen family. They all did service for the community in one way or another. In fact they all went above and beyond what was ever expected of them. Whenever I ask them for help it’s always a “Yes”. They show up and work their butts off and never ask for anything in return. This family has become my staff for TPOK parties. The parties are as good as they are because they truly care. They show up and work for every party and do what needs to get done. Our community is better because of them and I am proud to call them my staff, my friends and my chosen family.
So as I ask myself “Are you doing enough?”. I ask you all the same question. What can you do to help? Is there a party out there that needs DM’s? Is someone having a house party and needs help setting up? Can you greet people at a munch? There are so many things that you can do. If there is a need, can you fill it? Can you be unselfish and giving and know that You are doing something good and needed.
On the other hand can you appreciate the people that are doing the work? Can you walk in their shoes for a day, a week, a month? I encourage you to try. Ask questions, be helpful. Instead of causing drama or whispering things in other people’s ears try and remember that these people are doing the best. If you think it’s broke…offer to help. If you want to see it become better then help to make it better. I encourage you to get off the sidelines and into the game. Find the joy that can be had from helping your community and making it better for the next person. Don’t do it for the glory because the glory does not exist. Do it because its the right thing to do.
We always have a choice in our lives. Long ago a chose to go down the path of service. You don’t have to do as much as the person beside you or even more than them. Just choose to do something. At the very least open your mind to possibility of service in the future. Most of all when you see someone helping your community remember to say Thank You. Remember to have compassion when it goes wrong. Be willing to be the solution instead of the road block.
This is YOUR community. Help or hinder. It’s completely up to You.