Community Spaces

It’s raining here, today. The hood is definitely up. 

This is my second post today, too. Is that a faux pas? Or is that only on Insta? I’ll go ask my blogger friends. Cause I have those. 

Anyways.

Back when I was the Features Editor for The Dish Wisconsin, I wrote an article on a tea shop in Madison, Wisconsin. The name of the spot is MachaTeaCo. It’s a gorgeous little place, run by a fantastic couple. I’ll pop a link to the article here

In that article, I talked about how important community spaces are, especially today. Oftentimes I feel that, despite how constantly connected we are with each other, we don’t take much time to just be with one another. 

I believe that contributes, in part, to the gigantic rifts between different groups of people in the U.S. 

Sure, there are cultural differences, lifestyle differences, etc. Those contribute to the rifts as well, and differences will always exist. Life would be boring without them.

But It’s hard to get to know someone, to understand those differences, without sitting down and taking time to talk to them. 

How are you supposed to understand why I knelt with some of my teammates during the national anthem at my last track meet of college, without talking to me?

And how am I supposed to understand why it upsets you?

Instead, I often find myself and my fellow Americans separating and categorizing ourselves based on those differences, often unconsciously. 

So the rifts grow.

It doesn’t even have to be that serious, either. Lil Nas X and his song Old Town Road is a good example. 

Like many, I was ANNOYED when that song came out. As a lover of rap and hip-hop in general, I was honestly less bothered by the song than I was by the people who loved it. 

So I wasn’t surprised when, before you could grab your saddle and guitar, the internet had broken into a vehement battle between those for and against the song. Funny, that something so simple could separate us so quickly.

At the end of the day, despite how much we complain about polarization in politics, entertainment, and life in general, we categorize ourselves like mad. It’s kind of like our calling card as Americans, and we do it to ourselves. 

That’s why I love community spaces, though. They combat that polarization, and bring tons of different people together. They’re a place for us undesirables to get together, relax, and share ideas. There’s something about sitting across from someone, face to face, that makes it significantly easier to find common ground, no matter how serious the topic.

I see that happening all the time at MachaTeaCo., and have at every other community-centric space I’ve visited. 

Perhaps we should make a bit more of a point to visit those spaces and support them. Make more of a point to engage with people we know differ from us, and open ourselves up to it anyways. 

That’s how we learn, right? It’s all about perspective. 

If you need a selfish reason, the more perspectives you come into contact with, the more interesting you become anyways. So if anything, engage with others just for that. You’ll still learn a lil something. Probably. 

So, whether you regularly do or not, visit a community space this week. Go alone. Meet some new people. Have a discussion. Hear some stories. 

And pull up your hood. It’s still raining out there today.

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