I have a love affair with this town and everyone in it. Several years ago we considered moving to Atlanta so Tom could go back to school and become a chiropractor. Tom’s brother and his family live there, and Tom’s parents live within a three hour drive. It was a tempting thing to be close to his family. However, when I was totally honest with myself, I was realized I was terrified of leaving Seattle.

For the last 10 years we have worked hard to become a part of our community. We have finally gotten to a point where we can go out into West Seattle, and sometimes other neighborhoods, and run into people we know. It’s a great feeling and makes life a lot more fun. Like a sturdy chair, my community is built from four pillars.

The First Friends
When we first moved to Seattle before we got married we lived in a shared house. Our roommates, their friends, and the friends of those friends who we met in bars, at parties, and at rock shows. Some have moved away, but others have stayed a constant in our lives. We also have friends and family who live here, that we knew from before we moved here. They come out to see Tom play music, and invite us to parties. This group crosses over with another community – The Seattle Rock Scene, but that group belongs more to Tom than me.

The Design Community
When I first moved to Seattle it was just after September 11th and we were in the mini-recession. No one was hiring and I was freelancing for Non-profits. I was totally isolated. I had been to a few AIGA events in New York and sought out the local Seattle Chapter. I went to the annual membership party. It was packed. I met two people. One was Brooke who was president that year and the other was Sheri. Brooke encouraged me to join the board and connected me with my latest job, and Sheri and I are so close, she is my daughter’s Fairy Godmother. Through my relationships with other board members, I got a freelance gig that led to my job at Fitch. All of the creative people I met at Fitch have moved on to other companies, and sometimes I feel like there are few people in the business in this town that I don’t know.

The Parent Peeps
When I was pregnant with Melody we heard about an organization called PEPS – Program for Early Parenting Support. We signed up and were assigned to a group of families who’s children were born at the same time as Melody and we bonded over our status as new parents. We saw each other weekly for three months and then continued to get together beyond that. We still celebrate holidays together and I know I can rely on them if I need anything. When Melody started daycare, we bonded with the parents in her age group who live in West Seattle, and since she went to two other schools after that, I have added more kids and parents we run into at fairs and parks.

The Non-profit Social Media Community
Between working at design firms, I had a two year stint at the YWCA. From 2009 – 2011, social became a serious channel for non-profits and I was it’s champion at my organization. It was officially in my job description. I knew the organization was too big to do it alone, so I started a committee and drafted policy, and got the restrictions lifted so all employees could access Facebook and Twitter at work.

Twitter was new territory at the time, and I was going to Seattle Social Media Club events to learn more but it was  commercially focused. It occurred to me that it was so new that the only people we could learn from was other non-profits using the platform. I created an Evite for a happy hour and titled it “Faces Behind the Tweets” and sent the url via twitter out to some of the non-profits I thought were doing a good job. The event was extremely gratifying so we had more of them – one per month for over a year, defined by the tag #NPFace. Even though some of us have left nonprofits our friendships have persisted. In fact, two of those friends are blogging with me this month. One of them wrote the prompt that inspired this post. 😉

2 thoughts on “My Four Pillars of Community

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