What ever your buttons are

I occasionally joke that i am the minister of propaganda for my commune.  I co-manage recruiting and outreach, do public speaking gigs at colleges and write and blog about us often.  And i am a story teller about a place which has a long history with some amazing tales, there is lots of material here – both heroic and disturbing.

But as a good propagandist, one of the things i need to confess is the dark or problematic sides of my fair hyper-village.  My dear friend Shal has been here much longer than i, and not long after i came, while he was still on the communities membership team he said to someone who was interested in joining the community “What ever your buttons are, Twin Oaks will push them.” i laughed.

But inside i was certain that this was not true.  How could it be so?  Now of course, i realize he was right.  I cant say i completely understand the dynamic, perhaps it is that you can not escape your problems with specific people the same way, they are on that kitchen clean shift you were assigned, or next to you in the steam table line before a meal, or move in across the hall.  We are a tight 100 people here.  It might be the deep sharing we do, which puts you in more regular contact with other, if you damage something we own collectively, it seems to me somehow you end up having to report it to the person you are struggling most with, because they are the manager for the area it comes from, or they are using it next.  If your button is jealousy, your boyfriend is nearly certain to leave you and start a new romance with your housemate and you will see them falling in love all over the place.  If it is privacy, it will turn out that you need to be a more public person than you expected.  If you are slightly homophobic, no doubt the fabulous Kenric will be teaching you how to give a tour.  If you struggle with racism, your new area manager will be a person of color.  [And if your issues are overt racism or homophobia, you will have some trouble getting accepted in the first place.]

I’ve stopped denying Shal’s contention, and have had to take another tack.  Knowing your buttons and wresting with them are precursors to becoming the person you want to be.  We are a giant, self help project.  Lots of people grow up here, some grow old – but if you are unwilling to look at the things which make you less than who you really want to be, you should stay in Babylon.