The Power of CommunitiesAuthor: Masticina Akicta
Date: 7 December 2019
You are not alone
You are not alone, no matter what you have, what you have to deal with in life. No matter where you were born, how you grew up, what happened in your life. You are not alone! There are others like you, no matter you fate or what happened. There are others who have dealt or are dealing with the same.
The human species is a social species and you should understand there are others like you out there. Even if it is only recognition and being able to talk about things you can’t talk about to others…
It is natural to desire to get close to others that understand your situation. That go through the same. In our human society we tend to “tribe” up together with those that share certain things. Sociologists will tel you that we are still quite a tribal species. And that no matter with how many we live, we tend to draw to a limited group of people we call our tribe. No matter how big the city, how many thousands live in a small area. We always try to get together with equal minded.
The Power of Community
As pointed out, humans are social species. Even knowing that you are not alone can help you feel a lot better. And connecting with others like you and sharing your troubles and good times with them will make things much better.
Alone we can only do so much, deal with so much and all of us have weaknesses and strengths. It is when we work together, aid each other, offer hope an insight. That we can strive for more, many heads and hands make big events possible.
Being alone makes life a lot harder, that is obvious. Being with others can offer people who can help you up when you fail. That give you insight and teach you methods to make things work better. That help you cover up your weaker sides.
It also means that things you can’t do others might. And of course the same back to the other side. There is strength in being together and working together. Learning from the older members, gaining insight and at times just being able to talk to others like you.
But communities aren’t always the best, snakes live in bushes after all. Always remember to keep an eye on your own limitations and how far things should go. You being part of a community should not over-ride who YOU are and what YOU stand for.
In the time of the Internet finding a community, website or group with a name is easy as it comes. There are discord groups, forums, or subforums on websites that deals with other things. But there is a sea of places out there and the quality differs. Some are created by experienced people, others by young ones. Some are very targeted others are a hangout everybody seems to be able to join. Some have a reason and a goal and others are there to connect with others. Like islands in a big sea we all seek our own island, places to belong and call home.
The old methods, knowing someone who knows someone else still is strong. Finding someone who knows more about the communities and how to be safe will be very useful. People who went before you that can tell you where you probably fit the best. Still, such can only be advice.
So the question for the ones leading a community should be what their main goal is, what they stand for and how to get there.
My suggestion is to find out quickly how the place is ran:
Are there actually appointed leaders or mentors?
Are there people you can talk to and that have an obvious sign for such?
Are the rules obvious and do the owners deal with the safety of the members?
How do the members talk and act among each other?
Are there friendly greeters around?
Is the community active around a time you are to?
What connections does the community seem to have?
What does the community offer?
Does it feel safe?
How does the community deal with troublesome members?
Finding your place
Communities aren’t all about what you can get out of it, but also about what you can offer such community. Now, don’t worry just because some members been there long and know their way around and how to do things doesn’t means you need to be as good as them. Learning things takes experience and time, and many years ago they were like you just entering the communities themselves, learned through good and bad experiences and finally settled. It can take a while before you find your own strength and just what you can offer back for what they had done for you. And nobody should feel required to give back… though communities do grow on participation.
So take your time, get to know the people, find out what is going on before you jump right into helping out.
And there is one thing that is always helpful, aiding other young fresh members into finding the right places to go. Sharing experiences.
Common Red Flags
Communities don’t just bring good, but sometimes also bad things. Some can be quite cult like. So lets go through a few, and far from all, Red Flags.
The Leader only talks to his/her direct underlings. Leaders can be quite busy, so talking to every member is very hard to do. And in big communities and with very busy leaders it can be very hard to ever see them. Still, a leader that doesn’t walks on the work-floor easily loses sight of things. You need active people available to chat with.
There seems to be some kind of war going on. Unsaid or said out loud… it seems that there are two or more different parties fighting. Do you want to be on a battlefield?
The Leader has special training to offer that has to be super secret and nobody can even know you get it.
People in power offer you aid, teachings and more… if you just join their little war.
There seems to be a cult of personality where one leader or very few can’t do wrong and are idolized.
Cult of Personality
A cult of Personality is a special case of hell. It is when one leader or very few share a cult like power and influence. What they do is perfect, their plans are awesome, their vision is godly, blah blah blah blah.
And they can offer the lesser people the road up to become almost as great as them. One suggestion… don’t drink the lemonade.
The best leaders are those that show some weaknesses and let others know how they can help them. The best leaders work together and are willing to share the blame and the gain. This means understand that each of them has strong and weak sides.
A cult of personality is a terrible thing… and falling into that hole will do horrible damage to you mentally long term. Just because someone seems to be able to have it all, do it all, and is awesome don’t think that such is the truth.
Actually how more perfect the person how more worried you should be.
A cult of personality isn’t just one flag, it is a whole wood full of it! Run!
The thing with communities is that every one is different. And if I post it on this blog the invite link might be disabled at a point. So, but VCN is a good place to start. It is quite central to the vampire community and even though locations like germany, africa and asia have their own central hubs. For many western European's and yes for many americans it is one of the great hubs. Even if it is used many times to find other hubs closer to you.
After all best is something local, if it is active and offers a lot.
I am part of Darkened Mirror, which has both a forum and a discord. In the seemingly harsh world of the vampire community. Where members are fighting like cats, it helps to have a place where support and insight is offered in a more softer warm way.