I don’t need to list the factors that are making life extra-complicated these days. We’re all feeling it, and getting together as a community has never been more important. Communities — whether work, school or friend groups — can’t gather the way they used to. This can all feel really, really hard. 

But we’re resilient. Our need for connection will never change; it’s only how we experience connections that has changed. Already, we’ve embraced getting together outdoors, gotten over the initial awkwardness of conversations over Zoom and realized the power of a simple reach-out. 

We’re nearing the holiday season, a time whose joy and comfort is defined by gathering, family tradition, meals together and group celebrations. Our cravings for togetherness are only going to grow. 

Many of our work communities are as close to us as family is. I can tell you that at Dia, we’ve felt this separation deeply. I started doing weekly Instagram Lives — called Nadia Plus — to bring people from the community on to speak but more importantly to be able to hang out with people from the community every week (check out my chat with the incredible Priyanka Saju, whose second essay is on the blog now, and fan-girl over “Twilight” with Julie Murphy and me).

So while the events offer a sense of connection for the community, it’s been a balm for me too. Getting to speak to people every week with whom I’m living powerful shared experiences has been an antidote to isolation. 

The plus side to the current environment? We’ve put individualism aside and focused on the common good (like through voting and volunteering to help others vote, too, the most community-forward action we can take).  In the upcoming weeks we’ll also be launching an initiative to help small, female-owned businesses have a successful holiday season. Stay tuned for more details on how it’ll work; we’re excited to band together. 

Even the relaunch of this blog and all the amazing stories from our impressive community we’re sharing here is about bringing voices together. That’s why for this issue, we muse on  community and the strength we get from it. Read an essay from author Leah Vernon, as she strips down to show us the human element of social media and how it’s helped her find a sisterhood of misfit women who have become a chosen family. Essayist Laura Delarato talks about her new-found obsession with pasta and tips on making it at home. Priyanka Saju takes us along for the ride on her journey to motherhood with an essay exploring her changing identity as she joins the pregnancy community and asks “what happens to your personality when others define you by milestones of womanhood?”

Stories here and beyond from our community create a form of connectedness that I know I can use right now, and I bet you can, too. 

In life and in style,

Nadia Boujarwah