Staying Connected to Your Community and Yourself

The following was written by Laura Gaaysigaad, RADIUS activator, Fellowship co-host and Social Innovation Canada Weaver.

I’ve continued my community work at RADIUS, most of it is activating our network. It has been hard to know how to keep up with them during this pandemic. I’ve struggled to separate work and home, and also know that many people in my community don’t have the privilege of that struggle. To keep going, I ask myself a few questions at the end of each day:

Who is missing from today?

Reach out. You don’t have to get everyone, there is still tomorrow.

How are we connecting and who can’t access that? 

Reach out, or give to people who can.

What amount of capacity do I have? 

Reach in. Lift where you can.

Who cares about me? 

Reach them. This is not selfish.

All of this is a revolution.

I just got off a call with four close friends, we chatted over lunch for an hour and a bit. Last night, I spoke with the same friends until two, I fell asleep on facebook messenger surrounded by their warmth. Their voices made it into my dreams and I thought about them all night. Likely because they kept talking until five. We have these calls at least once per day, usually three or four times. In the evening they go for hours. In between, our chatter is constant.

The content is not interesting nor provocative—but the words are still a revolution.

The other night, we went through the entire $1800 online shopping cart of a friend, got the items down to $350 and didn’t purchase any of them. The night before that we watched the fourth movie of the Twilight Saga, it was terrible. We’ve all started playing the Sims 4. On March 31st, we celebrated Quarantineowe’en—my wife and I sent surprise bubble tea. The drinks arrived at the same time in our four separate homes, a quarantine style trick or treat. We also rarely ask how are you? 

Because in all of this, three of five of us have lost our jobs. Two of us have lost close family members. Two of us have lost friends. Three of us are taking on the main roles of caregiving in our families. Two of us are employed full-time and have to adapt from home. One of us can’t access the CERB and doesn’t know where their next pay check will come from, we are all supporting other large community survival networks and are deeply concerned about other friends. We talk about these things in bursts but the work is constant. Because community support is the revolution.

Try out the questions tonight, when you get to the last and you know who cares about you, reach them but don’t ask them how they’re doing. Instead, send bubble tea and watch trash movies. Online shop and try not to buy. Spend way too much time talking and you might find that it was just enough to know how they really are and feel a bit more yourself too. 

All of this is a revolution.