Saturday 4 February 2012

Transition and I

This week's final post is from Jo Homan of Transition Finsbury Park in London. Originally published in the introductory week of the Social Reporting Project, this is a startling and intimate account of How Transition Changed My Life.

When I first heard about transition I had such a sinking feeling. It was like falling in love. Transition reflected my personal Zeitgeist. It was inevitable. Suddenly I knew what I would be doing for years to come.

There's so much I could tell you about what it's like being with transition. She's a bit of a party animal, great sense of humour, intense, creative, quite demanding, makes you question lots of your basic assumptions, always encouraging you to get more trained up, go deeper. For 'self development'. The main thing though was all the new friends. Being with her gave me the perfect excuse to talk to total strangers and now, when I walk through my neighbourhood, there's lots of people to say hello to. And she's always out and about, introducing people to each other, getting them to hook up on various projects. If I were to draw a map of all the people who now know each other because of transition, it would just be a big scribble.

The truth is, no one loves her as much as I do. Or that's what I like to think. She's always been honest about her proclivities. Told me when I first met her that she was into 'open relationships' and I was happy with that. I didn't realise the full extent of what she meant until I found myself in rooms full of people who had all known her. In fact, they were all there because of her. Strange to say, I felt kind of proud. Transition says she has enough love to go round, enough for anyone who wants to get involved. However, I think it would be fair to say, she still hangs out with me the most - I have the most time to give. Well I have had, up until now.

It's her fault. She got me into the idea of wanting to start a plant nursery. After we'd planted all those community gardens it became obvious that being able to propagate trees and other edible plants would become a necessity if we were thinking long term. So I got into edible plants, started reading up about them, getting a hankering for fancy new ones with exotic names: Plum yew ... Caucasian spinach ... Chinese dogwood. She helped me find some other people who were similarly crazed and soon Edible Landscapes London, or ELL, was born. And now, of course, I want to devote my time to ELL. I can't be in two places at once. I can't keep on meeting up with transition when ELL needs so much support. To put it bluntly, ELL needs me more.

I'm sensing some resistance. Let me rephrase that: transition is resisting. She's even been resorting to blatant trickery to keep me focused on her. Most recent was the festival. She lured me in by saying I was on the organising group in an advisory capacity. But before long I found myself booking portable toilets, chasing up stallholders and making banners. If it hadn't been for the others it would just have been hard work. Instead it was a pleasure. A pleasure that took my mind off ELL for months. That's one thing about transition: she's always fun to be with. There isn't anything I've done with her that I haven't enjoyed. Her exciting possibilities are endless.And there's the catch. Transition has the potential to take you for whatever you've got.

I decided to tell the others, said it had to stop, that I couldn't give so much transition but that I'd always be in her life. The whole gang is planning to meet on the 1st October to work out how things will look going forwards. We'll even have a professional facilitator. And how's transition taking it? She says she's not convinced I'll be able to do it, she says she knows me too well. But I'm not the superhuman she seems to think I am. I have to put up stronger boundaries, for my own survival. Transition has to realise that she'll manage perfectly well without me being there all the time. She might have to change a little. Things might look a bit different but she'll still be wonderful, irresistible transition. And I'll still love her deeply.
Jo Homan, Transition Finsbury Park

Top photo of Jo in greenhouse at ELL (Social Reporters meeting) by Mark Watson; all other pix by JH

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