Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fringe

I am having one of those weeks where my existence on the fringe of larger groups is both fascinating and frustrating.  I ended up, through guilt, on the PTA nominating committee, and now we are struggling to fill next year's Board positions. It is has highlighted inclusion and exclusion politics, unveiled relationships, and been thought provoking.

I, by both nature and nurture, walk at the fringe of most groups.  I nominally belong to those groups, observe them freely, and know who the major personalities are, but I rarely feel an affinity to those groups.  I am known enough to hear gossip, but I usually have to piece the story together from multiple accounts. Being on the fringe means that I also know quite a bit about the people who are excluded from groups, or who feel unwelcome. At times, my position is uncomfortable  because I am very aware of friction within the group and between groups.  Right now, I am pretty worried about the why's and wherefore's of the inclusion/exclusion dynamic.

Being between, existing in the liminal, is useful for understanding at times, but sometimes, it is lonely because it enables you to see problems that other people haven't noticed yet.  I feel inefficient and ineffective in my new position, but I also want to give more people an opportunity to get involved in the PTA.  At the same time, I am being drawn into long standing arguments, prejudices and finding out how hard it is to break into this club that I stumbled into by virtue of being easy to guilt.

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