I spent my entire life looking for my tribe. And every single time that I thought I’d found it, I was disappointed. I even tried at different times to change who I was so that it was more likely that I’d fit into an existing tribe. But every time that I did that, I would find that I wasn’t at all comfortable in the new skin I’d slipped into nor did I particularly like the people in the tribe that made me feel as though I had to change to be worthy of them. Finally, I gave up. I was too opinionated. Too fat. Too political. Too honest. Too emotional. Too intellectual. Too real. Too quirky. Too this. Too that. Basically, I was just too much. I couldn’t squeeze into the mold that they’d prepared for prospective tribe members. So, for a while, I gave up on finding this seemingly mythical tribe and became my own tribe. A few years later, I tried again. It went a little better. I didn’t have to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t or rein in my “too muchness” when we were together. I felt accepted and it was comfortable…until a power struggle began between two alphas that both wanted to be the chief of the tribe. People took sides, of course, but I didn’t. You wouldn’t think that would be a bad thing…but apparently, it was. For some people, being neutral isn’t an option and it’s viewed by those involved in the power struggle as you supporting the other person since you’re not supporting them. I walked away because life is too short to constantly have to explain yourself to others. I tried to find a writing tribe and, once again, thought I’d succeeded. But, for some reason, one person took an instant dislike to me and went out of her way to make my life in that group a living hell. Because of her, I stopped wanting to share my writing because I knew that no matter how many people loved it, she would take my piece apart and eviscerate it…and me. I was told by multiple people that she did it to every new member and that I should just ignore her. How can you ignore someone whose mission in life is to make you believe that you are a terrible writer even when others tell you that you aren’t? And why would anyone in their right mind just sit there and take it meeting after meeting? Again, life is just too short for that. After that, I completely gave up. I no longer held out any hope whatsoever that I’d find a tribe. Then one day a few months ago, I received an email from SARK saying that Succulent Wild World was open to new members. I jumped on it. I joined about 2 minutes later. I was welcomed enthusiastically into the group by so many people. Then, thru that group, I met the lovely lady that ran The Sunday Night Writing Group and she allowed me to join. More wonderful people. Shortly after that, SARK’s Rhapsody of Writing #2 was announced and SARK told me that she wanted me in it while we were on an SWW mentoring call. The second I received the email invitation, I signed up and submitted my writing sample. I was overjoyed when I was notified that I had made it in. Most, if not all of the members of ROW are members of SWW and some of the ladies in The Sunday night Writing Group are in SWW as well. Everyone in these groups is completely awesome. We support each other in our creative aspirations. When someone is down, they are lifted up. When someone has something large or small to celebrate, they are celebrated. We share our artwork and writing without being afraid that someone is going to rip it and us apart. All that you receive is encouragement. No one feels any pressure to present only their perfect self when we’re on ZOOM because everyone accepts you for who you are and you aren’t judged for showing up with no makeup or with messy hair. You might have had a horrendous day at work and think about not showing up for the call but you know that the very best thing you can do for yourself is show up. You will leave that call in a much better place…especially if you stay for the Dessert Groups which are small, randomly matched groups where you can connect with people that understand your messy middle. That usually ends at 10:00pm my time and I’m usually so happy and hyper afterward that I can’t sleep. It truly energizes you. I am making friends with some of the most amazing people in those three groups whose paths I would never have crossed otherwise. I feel safe, accepted, encouraged, believed in, and so much more. Now that is what I call a tribe.
“There are, literally, thousands of people all around the world who need nothing more than to meet someone just like you. To spend your time pretending to be someone else is just as senseless and fear-driven as spending your time speaking to people that don’t understand you. Find your tribe. Let yourself be seen. You are already someone’s hero.” ~ Vironika Tugaleva