The Parthenon

LET ME BE FRANK: ON COMMUNITY

Franklin Norton, Social Media Manager

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It was a couple months back, and I was just feeling blue. It had been a rough couple of weeks, and so in an effort to alleviate this intrusive sadness, I stopped at Kroger one night and bought myself a birthday cake. No, it wasn’t my birthday, but birthday cake is just simply better than ordinary cake. After my purchase, I drove home, walked inside and, with tears in my eyes, looked at my friends and said, “I bought a birthday cake. Will you please eat with me?” So, we sat at my kitchen table, late at night, and ate birthday cake together. It’s good to be together.

We are designed to connect, wired to be a part of a community. When we cry, we hope someone will sit on the floor and cry alongside us. When we celebrate, we wish for our friends to celebrate with us. That might look like a kitchen dance party, if you’re anything like me. As we navigate this unsettling and unsteady phase of life, a search for true, authentic community sits at the top our priority lists. It’s the reason we join clubs, rush fraternities and play on sports teams. We crave to belong to something bigger than ourselves. We need to belong to something.

It is when we are together that the darkness of the world doesn’t seem so dark, and the sweet things are sweeter.  It is essential for us to let people into our lives. It is vital that we are transparent and vulnerable, that our walls can come down, and we can breathe and be known and be loved fully. It’s time to drop the act. It’s time to be honest with ourselves and with others. What if when we are asked the common question: “How are you?”, we replied, “I’m actually not doing so well right now,” rather than the socially accepted answer: “Fine. And you?” How different would our lives be? How different would our communities be?

What if we really did weep with those who weep and celebrate with those who celebrate? Let’s listen to each other and know each other and remind ourselves that it is human to connect, and that we are wired this way for a reason. Let’s see each other. Let’s notice each other. Let’s eat birthday cake with each other when we are sad and dance in kitchens when things are good. Let’s remind ourselves daily that it is good to be together. 

Franklin Norton can be contacted at [email protected]

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