Tribe. Clan. Words people use to describe those with whom they are sympatico… the group of people who share an interest, and an easy getting along. All my life I have stood on the outskirts of these groups, never quite belonging. Don’t misunderstand; I have friends in all kinds of different tribes. But I myself am not in the core of any group. This always kind of bothered me. I mean, where did I fit? I often became flippant about it, I didn’t fit, that was cool–I was far too unique to be in a clique. But it really wasn’t ok. I wanted to know where I belonged. In my darkest moments I figured I belonged nowhere. (thanks depression brain chemistry).
Jock. Nerd. Popular. Techie. Rocker. Artsy. Fashionista. Writer. Pundit. Intellectual. None of these labels fit. I can flirt with the edges, dabble and play, hold my own. But the fabric stretches, the seams awkward. These aren’t my clothes.
And then….I was explaining this to my therapist (yes, I have one, she’s awesome) and she casually says “that’s because your tribe isn’t colocated–you are all scattered, experiencing life.” What a revelation. I’ve been pondering the rightness of this for a couple of weeks now. During that time, I went on a spur-of-the-moment road trip and sent a picture of myself to my best friends. One of them said “I love this picture of you in your element.” And I realized it was my element. Not the location, but being somewhere new and different and stopping in a weird place and the day not being the same. This. This is my tribe. My clan. The Wanderers. The Explorers. In another day and time I might have been a wandering minstrel (assuming I had different vocal chords–ahem). I recognize those in my clan–we connect instantly. I just hadn’t realized how we were related. Now that I do, I am likely to recognize more. We’re out there, mingling and instilling awesomeness wherever we might be.
Some of you who know me best will probably shake your heads and say “no kidding, how did you not realize this about yourself?” But I didn’t. For far too long I let doubt and other negative demons hold sway in my head. They are now mostly banished. Or at least I can see them when they are coming so I can head them off. For me, though, figuring out I do belong when for all of my years I couldn’t find that place is almost a relief. I couldn’t find a place because there isn’t a physical place–it’s a state of being. It isn’t a job or a function, it’s a freed spirit, an insatiable appetite to see all the things and all the places. So excuse me. I need to renew my passport. I need to get out there and represent my clan.