It's always interesting on the first day back. People get all over the place concerned about really random stuff. You see the parents freaking about about their babies growing up and taking another step. You see the kids freaking out about the year and how things are going to work out. You see the new kids feeling like they don't know how to fit in or how to define themselves. It's this crazy hustle and bustle that is pretty much exactly the same every year. It's this flailing attempt to figure out who you are, who you want to be, who your friends are going to be, what you're going to do, where you're going to go. It's a feeling that's rarely replicated but it's really interesting to see. People are very very desperate to latch on to community in that sort of situation. They want to find people who they can really connect with and who they can truly feel safe with. What's interesting though is that it's incredibly insulated. It's this sort of... whew I found my friends, they're mine, I'm safe, now I can make it through the day. It's going to be ok. I really don't have to worry about anything too much. What's interesting about this is this is basically how I view all my groups of friends, but I don't have an annual reminder to show me that I'm doing it.
I do the following with community A) Acceptance. I'm let in and find that i'm fairly compatible with the new group of friends that I've found. B) Entrenchment. I try to ensure that this is a group of people that aren't going to ditch me, that aren't going to leave me high and dry C). Fortification. I render myself passive and immune to any who feel isolated or feel like they don't have a place where they fit in. Sucks to be those guys. I do this because there's something of a genuine fear that new additions upset the delicate balance of things, they make it a very real and very frightening possibility that you will be abandoned, that you the new dynamic will screw up the thing that you consider to be home, the place that you feel most safe. That's terrifying and why would you want to mess with that. Why would you want to surrender the place where you feel most secure. That's your home, your refuge. What sucks about this is there are so many people that are being abandoned by this process. There are so many who don't have that sense of security and optimism. They're just screwed. I don't know that I've got the confidence to change the ways that I'm doing this. But I feel like I have to.