Hi. I'm Alex.

Hi.
I'm Alex.

TL;DR I care deeply about friendships + community because I rely on them as my support system. I created my community because it was my only option, but now realize that we all can impact this area of our lives more than we are led to believe.

There are many reasons
I care about this.

Where should i start?

Like many, my childhood wasn't the easiest.

I was a kid who felt alone and lacked support.
I didn't want to feel alone anymore.

So, I created a family out of friends.

How did I do it?
At the time, I didn't really know. I just did it out of necessity, out of survival.

We made friends a priority (and by we, I mean myself + M. We met when we were 20).

Friendship in your 20s is encouraged.
"Go meet new people!"
"You're supposed to spend lots of time with your friends at your age."

• We had monthly "family dinners."
• Made new friends.
• Added to friend groups.
• We adapted and changed as friends made big life moves.
• Lost friends.
• Made work friends.
• Celebrated everything - big milestones all the way to good work reviews.
• Turned work friends into close friends.
• Traveled with friends - sometimes with one friend, sometimes with another couple, sometimes in a group of 20+ friends.
• We befriended friends of friends.
• We prioritized our friendships with our time, our money, and our energy.

When my late 20s- early 30s hit, the small, seemingly harmless side comments started to appear in casual conversations.
Regularly.
Mainly from older generations.

"Friends aren't as important when you are older."
"It's time to focus on your partner and your family."
"No one can juggle a career, family, and friendships at the same time."

I will admit -- I panicked.
If friendships became less of a priority, I'd lose my entire support system.
I held on even tighter (sometimes to the detriment of the relationship).

The older we got, the more I started hearing disbelief from people our own age --

"Wait. I thought you were joking when you said you went to Mardi Gras with 20 friends."
"A big group of friends sounds intimidating. I could never befriend everyone."
"No one has this many friends at our age."

But here I was -- with various groups of friends, lengths of friendships, types of friends, and sharing in so many life experiences with friends.

Therapist: "You have been trying to make your family a 10/10. Have you considered that your family's 10 might be a 4?"

I wish I had a photo of the look on my face.

She continued, "Where can you find support outside your family?"

I knew immediately.
I already had it.
I had my friends.

But in a world where I am being told repeatedly:
"Friendships won't last."
"Having this many/this close of isn't normal."
"This shouldn't be a priority."

How do I keep these relationships alive?
How do I maintain the support system I need.
S***, the support system I deserve because everyone deserves to feel supported.

There's a lot of talk out there about boundaries, about cutting people out about pruning and trimming.
All very necessary.
But where are the conversations about building, about creating, about adding to your life to build the support system you deserve.

  • So, now here I am wondering: 
    How did I do it?
    How do these relationships work?
    What did I do that makes these relationships fit amidst all my other life goals?
    What makes certain relationships fade?
    What makes groups of friends work?

I don't have all the answers, but I am here for the conversations.

2020 led to lots of wandering thoughts. You too?

One morning it was just me, a big mug of tea, and chirping outside.

"If I suddenly lost all my friends. If I had no one..... I could rebuild. I have the skills, habits, and understanding of these relationships. I could start again."

And let me tell you -- my friends are my family, so I am talking about rebuilding a deep support system.

It's not that I want to rebuild or that I think I will ever need to.

It's that I have the confidence in myself to make an impact on the community I surround myself with.

Everyone deserves to feel like they can impact the community they surround themselves with.

FAQs

Well, I have planned weddings + events for over a decade.

Let me set the scene —

There is often a moment when someone, maybe the officiant, asks the couple to turn and face their guests.

They slow down for dramatic effect and say, “Take a moment. Look at all these people. Drink this moment in, because this is likely the only time you’ll have all of your people in one room.” 

The couple’s wedding day would continue — a whirlwind of photos, cocktail hour, getting everyone seated for dinner.

The reception would be well underway, and it was time for my favorite part of the day — the toasts.

I’d be leaning up against the wall off to the side of the reception room, watching the quiet space in awe.

There were 20, 50, 100, 250, 400 people — all of whom were connected to the couple.

And I’d marvel, “Who are all these people? How do they connect?”

The night would continue with mingling and drinks until the last song finished and the couple made a grand exit.

We’d all go to bed happy and tired.

Then the couple wakes up the next day and… just goes back to everyday life.

Last night they felt all the love of all their people, and today it is just back to normal life. 

This leads me to wonder, does it have to be a one-time feeling?

How do we replicate that feeling of support in smaller doses in our everyday lives?

NOPE! My art skills are that of a 1st grader. All you’d get from me are stick figures.

One day I called up my friend Sheena and wondering, “Do you know of anyone who illustrates in a style similar to yours?” She let me in on a little secret — SHE WAS OFFERING ILLUSTRATIONS!

My immediate reaction, “Want to work together?!”

Sheena is available for personal portrait commissions, branding projects, social media management, reels production, and product photography. 

Sheena is truly a jack of all trades. 

You can find her in all these places:

@SheenaKalsoCreates!
SheenaKalsoCreates.com

P.S. She also owns a thrift shop @unclutteredcurio and you might have seen her styling the set of New Day Northwest