There have been several events over the past year that have really changed my heart on the matter of community. I have always been social, but since moving to Houston, I have recognized the true importance of humans coming together. To understand each other. And support each other. To let someone else know you’re just as weird as they are.
And at the same time I began recognizing the importance of this was about the time that I realized that everyone is terrified of community. You get older and this world becomes a place that’s not safe for your story to be told. So we hide behind our jobs and our computer screens because it’s safer than saying “this is me”.
I am strange bird. But I remember going to Circles Conference last September and feeling truly understood in those weird spaces of my brain that make me want to create things. We were all made of the same stuff and we were all strange birds together.
Since then, I have set out to intentionally connect with strangers that I think might be a little like me. I am floored by the amazing people I’ve been able to meet through social media. Like Maggie from Type and Title, a branding wizard, who I met up with in California (more on this creative fireball next week). Aric Queen, a writer for National Geographic (who has an inspiringly raw book out called Shanghai Exile Diaries that you
should NEED to read). He helped me with my travels through Europe in a way that was so completely touching. Sam Melton who shoots film for West Elm and really encouraged me in quest for connecting people. Rebecca Rebouche, a woman after my own heart- a designer for Anthropologie and one HELL of an artist. Seriously, check out her stuff.
To call these people friends now is an honor. And makes the world feel like a lot cooler of a place.
Anyone who has lived in Houston knows that it’s not a place where creatives jump out at you. It’s a big ole’ industrial melting pot where artists are a little more underground. So I set out to connect these individuals. I called up a friend in Houston and told her I wanted to host a meet up for all the various photographers, designers, painters, sculptors, writers, and filter obsessed people in the area.
So with the help of a new friend, Edi (find him on @htx_), I rounded up a bunch of people and asked them to email me if they’d like to all grab some drinks and share stories.
Here’s where I am going to be honest. I was pretty scared it was going to be a huge flop and I was going to be the idiot with the idea of herding strangers on instagram. And then 30 freaking awesome people came.
Well shit- now they’re actually here. And I’m trying to pretend I’m not a nervous wreck. And then the coolest thing happened. People started thanking me for coming- saying that it was such a big deal for them to come to something like this. “WAIT- YOU’RE NERVOUS TOO?!” And then in that moment I was overcome with the “okayness” of it all. Why are we so scared to be with other people- to just show up? Here I am surrounded by some of the most beautiful minds and getting blessed on by their inspiration and unique stories. People are just people. And when we decide to “show up”, our days are so much richer for it.
So thank you to every single one of you who went out of your way to come out and spend the night photographing, wearing your hats, having some cocktails, and being brave enough to show up. Yay to a new Houston creative community.