The "C" Word and the "B"
by Tamar Kay
Copyright © Tamar Kay.
"C" is for "Community,"
a word that many of us believe can, and should, mean more than
our shared interests and occasional gatherings.
I would like to believe community
means respect for each other, for the courage it takes to be
who we are, and to live the way we are called to live. Respect
for those who do not share our kinks. Respect, even, for those
we don't like.
"B" is for "battle."
There are times to question anther's
actions, times to object to what someone has said or done. There
are times to take friends aside and tell them that what they
said maybe didn't come out the way they meant it to. There are
times to talk about what someone has done -- as factually as
possible -- in order to try to save someone else from getting
There are even times to complain
about individuals and groups, to say how much better things would
have gone if only we had been in charge.
And then there are times when
discretion is the better part of valor. Times to turn from harsh
words to respectful silence.
This community is like an extended
family, and as much as we might wish, not everyone in the family
acts the way we want them to. At the family reunion little Bobby
draws on the walls, grandma thinks it's cute, and Aunt Sally
screams at them both. We don't always get along and it's likely
we won't. But we can try. At this family reunion, would you stand
in front of the family and yell out that grandma is a stupid
old woman, or that Bobby is a worthless child?
Is the issue, whatever it is,
worth that much pain? Is it worth starting a battle?
Maybe, and maybe not. A battle
can last a long time. Ask yourself if it might not be easier
to solve the problem yourself, one-on-one, instead of drawing
lines and involving others. Ask yourself if a community this
small can afford to splinter into bitter, resentful camps. Ask
yourself if you could do it another way.
When you stand on stage, you
represent our community. In those moments think carefully about
what you say and do because your actions speak for all of us.
Whether you're leading a march, teaching a class, giving a demonstration,
or simply being yourself in a public place, you represent us.
If you treat the community with honor and respect, it will treat
We all make mistakes. I have
some advice for you if you do: say so and let it go. If someone
else does, say so -- as kindly as you can -- and let it go. Let's
all work toward living more in the present than in the past.
Maybe you think this article
doesn't apply to you, and maybe you're right. But things sometimes
sneak up on us when we least expect them.
I ask a few moments of your time.
I ask you to think about what I've said here, about how you can
put more of yourself into the "C" word and less into
the "B" word.
This is our community. It is
what we make of it. Respect begets respect.
Copyright © Tamar Kay.
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