Fender benders, stars, cows in the road, and small town belonging.
I grew up in a very small town. What I really love about this is…
…that you have an extended family that doesn’t happen to share your DNA.
…you always encounter a smile and a greeting by someone you know wherever you go.
…support comes from all places and people, expected and unexpected.
…the big shots (the restaurant owner, the school administrator, the board of education, the mushroom plant family that sells internationally, the family doctor, etc) are your ordinary parents and encouragers. There’s nothing elite about them. They need you as much as you need them.
…there’s so much space, room to run, ground and sky to wander.
…SO MANY STARS!
…you can leave and come back and nothing will have changed.
…people find you important and special, giving you a sense of belonging. Even if you keep leaving and returning.
What I find neat about tango is that I experience this small town warmth everywhere I go. Tango is a relatively small community compared to other hobbies or activities in one geographic breadth like Philly. If you are a runner, you could go for days without recognizing another runner that passes by you. It’s nearly impossible do the same with tango; there is a very slim chance of going to a tango event in Philly and not be recognized or not recognizing a friend. Which, ya know, means you’re screwed if you’re trying to keep something a secret. It also means you can count on support and a hand to hold if you need it, which I find incredible.
Even though my small town and my tango community are so very different in their interests, hobbies, practices, pastimes, opinions, and options for food (haha – turns out there’s not that many vegan farmers and there’s really only 2 restaurants in town), it strikes me as something amazing that they have a common core that celebrates individuals and who they are.
The feeling of familiarity, comfort, and encouragement in taking opportunities to grow are all part of the makeup of the kind of community I want to be a part of. As a community leader, I want to create those things. As a community participant, I want to experience these things.
Very glad to have had the experience of growing up there. Even if that means everybody knows about that embarrassing fender bender (that didn’t even happen in that small town!!)…