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.
14 responses to “What ever your buttons are”
Trackbacks / Pingbacks
- September 11, 2013 -
- December 12, 2016 -
- July 3, 2017 -
- May 12, 2021 -
- May 24, 2021 -
I always said of EW that everyone who lives there goes as crazy as he or she can go. Same idea, in such a large group of people who you are constantly exposed to at such an intimate level, whatever buttons you have will get pushed, particularly since we all have our buttons basically sitting up ready for some poking at any moment. Of course at TO, there are some systems set up to catch people during their free-fall into crazy land, where at EW we tended more to just watch and see what happened :). If you don’t completely come apart, I really like this about community, because as you say, it’s a great instrument for self improvement– a sort of tearing down and rebuilding from the ground up. This is likely why the people I know from community are the best and most amazing people in my life, across the board, and probably also why I find myself pretty lonely outside of it.
One of the things that drove me crazy while I live at TO was that we were constantly trying to accommodate everyone’s buttons, rather than let/encourage them to deal with them. It always felt to me that we tried to be everything to everybody, which really pushed my buttons.
(To Vermin, that is)
Kenric (who introduced himself to us as Wizard) is definitely a fabulous guide!
Some things you might want to have added to the egalitarian checklist is big egos, which is something that I didn’t even realize that was a button until late in the game, and people who like to probe and push other people’s buttons, which is a very big button, and an unfortunate natural tendency of mine.