If you are a thirty something year old woman, I’m sure you have seen the post that circulates around Facebook about being a woman without a tribe of your own. The author talks about feeling left out and alone and not having a group of her own. Every time it comes across my feed, I read it and nod through teary eyes and I share it with some sort of profound text such as: YES or MY LIFE or SAME. And then handful of my friends also comment in solidarity and I think “How freaking sad that we all feel this same way!” Then, I generally get distracted by a whining toddler or the sudden hunger for chips and salsa, and I basically forget about the post until the next time it scrolls across my page. You know, rather than making plans with people that feel the exact same way I do.
2020 has been an interesting year for me. First off, I saw this post in late 2019 and it spoke to me, HARD.
Immediately, I informed my husband that I’m sick of being a girl without a tribe and I’m no longer going to try to fit in at tables where I simply do not belong. I’m going to build my own table. I’m going to assemble my own tribe. I’m going to have my own group of people and we are going to do things on the weekend and it’s going to be amazing. And then Corona happened and the year 2020 set my new table on fire before I could even make use of it. But, social distancing made me realize something else….
While I have an amazing collection of friends, that I talk to constantly and I love hanging out with, they are my friends for a reason. Most are also pretty introverted. They don’t want to spend their weekends making small talk with a big group of people (my own version of hell). They don’t want to spend all of their time off of work and other responsibilities with people that don’t know. They are my friends because they are like me. We are a different breed. We don’t want to spend an entire weekend with a bunch of random people and pretending to be someone that we are not in order to fit in. Do I love my people? Yes, so much. Do I want to do double dates and play dates and all the things? Hell yes. There is nothing wrong with having different friends that we do a variety of different things with. But, I can not take these people and try to force us all to fit into some mold we don’t belong it.
Another thing that quarantine taught me is the face that I have a perfectly good table at home! I have a tribe and I have been raising them for the last 17 years. It just took my oldest moving out on her own for me to realize it. I’m happiest when I am surrounded by them.
Memorial Day was yesterday and generally this is one of the holidays that make me sad, as most summer holidays do, because I don’t usually have things to do or people to go hang out with. Then, I pull up Facebook and see others with their friends and their tribe and I wonder why I’m not good enough to have the same thing. But, this year we broke the cycle.
We invited our daughter and her boyfriend over dinner. We cooked out and ate together. She had to work most of the day so it wasn’t an all day event, but it got me thinking. I have everyone and everything I need here with me. My husband and my kids are my favorite people. They know me and my smart mouth. My oldest girls are teenagers now and honestly I love hanging out with them. I don’t worry about offending someone or constantly trying to make people comfortable because this is their home.
So, if you are one of my friends that are looking around and feeling like you don’t have a tribe I encourage you to look around your own home. Maybe you are raising your tribe. Maybe your tribe helped raise you? There’s nothing wrong with going all out for a backyard get together with your family of three or four or five. Decorate. Cook too much food. Hang out with people who won’t bat an eyelash when you eat four hot dogs for dinner. Stop searching for a new table because you may have the best possible table in your own dining room.