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You own everything!

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Aug. 5th, 2015 | 10:36 am

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” - Anne Lamott

Wow, I haven't been here since 2010. I originally came back here because someone on Facebook added me to a group called The Twin Oaks Journals Project, which is just for ex-members to post their journal entries from back when they were members at Twin Oaks. Even though I stopped using my paper journal completely at TO, I knew that I still updated this here livejournal pretty regularly while I was there and figured I could find content here for sharing. I was right! I initially shared the entries from right around the time that I left. Two entries from the days before I left and 1 entry from the day that I left. They were both pretty negative and I was regretful of that and even said so and deleted one entry, but why the fuck did I actually do that? Because I'm embarrassed that I don't reflect on the experience with dewey eyes and a smile, like most ex-members. I left Twin Oaks in a very bad way, with hardly any friends or support. Since leaving I've had to deal with the community in other ways, plus I had so many issues with feminism, privilege, bullying, and racism while living at Twin Oaks that it really shouldn't be a surprise that I don't quite love the place or want to talk about it in very flowery ways. But still, I apologized for posting negative things because I don't want to be that one girl that always interjects with something negative. I still want the hippies to like me. I'm a little disappointed in myself because honestly - I'm not sorry! My story is mine and I'm allowed to tell it without being beholden to anyone's need to avoid embarrassment or bad press. Sigh. I'll do right by myself one of these days.

Oh yeah, I posted some "funny" stuff today. I have to say that I really like my writing from back then and I'm impressed with how perceptive I was. I am a smart, tough girl and reading blogs from back then, especially during shitty hard times, was very encouraging for me.

Anyways, I'll continue to check out entries from that time to find funny and interesting/relevant stuff to post on the Journals Project page. I also think I'll continue to post in this here livejournal. I like it. I'm going back to school as well- getting my second Masters Degree. This time it's an MA in Art Therapy. I want to work with adult prison and jail populations and I'm so excited! I start August 17th! I'm also going to try to take a water aerobics class at the Student Fitness Center, which should be terribly cute and good for my health and crappy joints.

I was also going to write that I want this to be my last blog post ever about Twin Oaks. Ha, yeah right - I'll always have something to say about that place, especially as the media continues to focus on income-sharing campus style socialist communes as some kind of viable alternative lifestyle "in these times". I think that stories about places like Twin Oaks only make good entertainment for those of us who don't live that way and I wish that co-housing got more sexy press coverage. You get to own your own property and car, you get to have a job and interact with larger society daily if you want. You can still be a hippy and have solar power, geothermal heating/cooling, and compost, among other things. I know that some don't idealize that type of lifestyle but if we are talking about models of community that the rest of the country could transition more easily into, then I think that co-housing is it. And so few people know about it!

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from: lightvortex
date: Aug. 10th, 2015 03:03 am (UTC)

I was part of a group that started a housing coop a few years ago. Later on, I was talking with a friend who was also involved in starting the coop, and she was saying that she would like there to be communal options for people in all stages of life. Ie, maybe you live in a student coop in college, then move into a coop that isn't so student-oriented once you're out of school, then later you want a cohousing community where you'll have some equity. One challenge with all of these structures is that building them takes a lot of initial work and isn't always successful. We were lucky in that NASCO Properties (sort of a coop of coops that owns properties around the country) was looking to buy a property to replace one in Santa Cruz that they needed to sell--it essentially meant that financing the property was handled for us. It otherwise would have been another thing for us to figure out, and we may well not have been able to buy the property that we ended up buying. Usually, when people move out, there are people waiting in line to move in. It is probably the closest thing that Austin has to a cohousing project, since it is an apartment complex with 20 two-bedroom apartments, although equity is owned by the group. There was an attempt at a cohousing project a few years ago, with people putting years of work into it, and it ultimately failed because it apparently could not be made to work financially. So demand for this type of housing exceeds the supply of it--Twin Oaks was full last I knew, too.

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Mine Alone

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from: porelsocialismo
date: Aug. 10th, 2015 12:15 pm (UTC)

Yeah, TO is totally full now and for the foreseeable future. I guess there's been a waiting list for years now. I think it has to do with how tough it is to "make it" in the world today and how income-sharing community is relatively easy to join, since you usually don't have to pay anything to do so.

You are right that housing co-ops are very hard to start, I know that BBH (Blueberry Hill, the co-housing community I lived in) took many years to start and that the financing was only available because the people who owned the property that the community wanted to build on also wanted to live in the community. BBH is lucky, but I also wonder how other co-ops got started. There's two cohousing communities in Atlanta and also 1 land trust here in Athens that I still don't know much about.

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