I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… an elephant’s faithf…. wait, that’s not the quote I want. This is:
This is a message specifically to my home community. If you aren’t aware, there’s a great website/app called “Nextdoor” (google it- it’s great!) that basically serves as a private message board/social network for specific areas or neighborhoods. Anyone can join and start a board for them and their neighbors.
I’ve mentioned my awkwardness, social anxiety and strong tendency toward earning the title of “Worlds #1 Hermit.”My mission is to use the internet and other methods to reach out and try bring information to help people understand
better their friends, neighbors, and family members who are struggling with mental or emotional challenges.
So, that being said, this message is specifically for the neighborhood in which our family lives. We’ve a lot of wonderful people here… and some others. It became my fear recently that I’m part of the second group. So, I’m starting back at home base – where I should have been sharing these things in the first place, right?
If you are clicking in from the Pine Ridge portion of the Nextdoor app please continue reading below the video. If you’re not from Pine Ridge, feel free to read the entire blog post if you want to but it’s up to you, of course. Anyone with a heart for healing and understanding should hear the words of this song. “Faith, hope and love.” What’s the greatest of these? “Love your neighbor.” Love them as much as who?
I love you all! ❤ Peace, not pieces.
“People glorify all sorts of bravery except the bravery they might show on behalf of their nearest neighbors.”― George Eliot
Dear, dear residents of Pine Ridge:
This blog is a reflection on a neighbor’s post on the Nextdoor website. I quite agreed with what was shared and found it to be phrased in a way to extend opinion without malice. Kind Sir who shared words from his heart, you should know I respect that profoundly.
I’m aware there are a lot of rules broken in this neighborhood and it’s unfortunate anyone would have to feel out of sorts within their own home. A safe home and peaceful neighborhood is all any of us want. Home is a haven in which to rest and repair from the work week and other stress.
First and foremost: Our family is not living here with or because of any extended family. We were verified before we could move in. I’m pretty sure that’s the rule for everyone. At least it was then… that was a decade ago.
I’ve lived in the area for 32 years. Both my husband and I graduated from PGHS: him in ’92 and myself in ’94. Our children are excellent students and make/keep friends easily.
None of us speed on these streets and, yes, it’s dangerous and frustrating to see others that do.
However, there is something we are guilty of: loud fights.
It’s embarrassing and hurtful… even humiliating. People don’t understand that this is because of an illness I’m burdened with. Although it is under control, setbacks will occur sometimes and for that I’m truly sorry. It’s an unavoidable reality of a condition that is only a danger to myself:
I’m severely depressed. It’s a clinical diagnosis made over 15 years ago.
I’ve felt very uncomfortable with my short comings and I frequently feel ostracized and set apart because of the assumptions that are made when someone like me lives in a close quarters neighborhood.
I’ve been leered at and ruthlessly mocked (by “friends”) at nearby stores. I’ve even heard rumors that there might be videos of me or my family online. You don’t “shame” someone out of there depressive state. It’s no different than pushing someone with a physical illness down and hurting them… none of us would even think of doing that, right?
A safe and healthy neighborhood requires rules, neighborhood watch, and friendly encounters. It is also important for people to reach out one on one when there’s a problem (or rumor) and allow the truth and clarity to be heard and understood. You never truly know what someone’s going through. You can observe, of course, but too often observance leads to assumption. Ass=you+me, right? How many times have we all heard that said right after someone utters, “Don’t assume.”
Understanding is key and, for that reason, I recently started a blog in hopes it will offer a viewpoint that helps people understand more about neighbors and family members that struggle with the challenges of mental or emotional illness. How to help them and recognize that they need a haven, too. Goodness knows, our nation needs more love and kindness… and diligence, coupled with wisdom, to know who needs to be fought for and given opportunity for redemption. Always remembering:
I’ve decided to post this on my public blog and I’ll leave a link on the Nextdoor app. It’s my fervent prayer that we can, as a community, look past differences and search for the light in each of our souls. We can radiate forgiveness and mercy. We can pray or meditate asking for clarity and understanding. We can all exercise the extension of grace and reflect the community standards we wish to see others practicing.
If you see an overgrown lawn, bags/sheets over windows, messy/broken blinds, messy houses or yards it might be beneficial to skip assumption and find out why their lot is that way. They could be elderly, have a disability, taking medicine that doesn’t allow them to be in sunlight (i.e. my husband has two meds for his Psoriatic Arthritis that cause painful reactions to sunlight.) or there might be social anxiety at play.
I’m sure that I’m preaching to the choir here because anyone who takes the time to organize, visit or participate in a website like “Nextdoor” is most likely already a person who is concerned for others and has care for their neighbors.
Some might think it takes courage to share this openly on a public forum. I disagree. It shouldn’t take bravery to share honestly about a challenge the world *needs* to understand.
It actually takes bravery to read a blog post like this one and find a way to act on it’s suggestions and seek education and understanding to reach out and make a way for everyone to be vetted by personal interaction instead of rumor or assumptions.
I think our neighborhood houses the bravest of the brave and makes me proud, even as a recluse, to call this place home… for now.
Blessings and love:
Christy Stawarz – Falconer 😉