They are the women who accept me and all of my quirks. The ones who laugh at my jokes, lend shoulders to my tears and love all of me, just as I am. They are the ones who know when I need to talk and when I just need to sit together in silence. They are the ones who push me to be the best version of myself and the ones cheering me on as I make these changes. They are my tribe, and together we run the world. ❤Finding my tribe was an exceptionally painful process. You don’t really realize you need a so-called tribe until your teen years. Everything before that is just changing your “best friend” based on the weather or for no real reason at all. But you hit 11, 12, maybe earlier these days and that is long gone. Your body starts changing. Your hormones start changing. Your life as you know it is basically over. <insert teen angst here> Being a teenager is so hard. Like really f*cking hard. (I honestly wouldn’t go back to that point in my life for anything.) The problem about needing a tribe in your teen years is that it’s not the tribe you need. It’s not the one that will carry you into adulthood and motherhood. Nor is it the one you deserve.
In high school, I just wanted to be loved and accepted, to be someone’s best friend. I was always the third wheel, always the misfit, always someone’s second choice. I was undesirable to boys, easily dismissed by the other girls and consequently alone a lot of the time. Funnily enough, this will come as a surprise to those who knew me at that time. Because I wasn’t really alone. I surrounded myself with “friends” because I thought I had to. I was the “happy extrovert” and I played that role well. Like an actress in a play, I turned it on and off to appease everyone around me. I made choices I regret to fit in and dismissed genuinely good people that I cared for if they didn’t fit the mould I was trying to assimilate to. There was one boy who didn’t dismiss me. One who was so kind to me and so thoughtful, one I had genuine feelings for. One I loved. But he wasn’t accepted by my girlfriends and so I didn’t give him the time of day. By the time I had the courage to make a move and ask him to prom he had long moved on, I was deservingly in the dust. I think back about that time of my life with such sadness. I spent years living solely to please others, lacking confidence to stand tall and be myself.
I don’t regret those years though. I may regret a part, but I don’t regret the whole. Those years played such a pivotal role in the woman I would soon become. I just needed to enter the real world and find other women who would propel me towards goodness, towards my true self. High School, though it seems like it lasts forever when you’re living it, is such a tiny blip in your life. And it is not a true depiction of the real world, like at all. I know very few people who are still friends from high school and I find it hard to believe there isn’t an obvious reason for that. I’m sure I wasn’t the only actress amongst my girlfriends, in fact I know I wasn’t. Thanks to social media sites I can “creep” those from my past and it brings me comfort to see others who have stepped into their own light. Who have embraced their “weird” or “different” qualities and become respected and confident women with true friends and families of their own.
Because we’re all a little weird or different. The women who fill my tribe are probably ones I wouldn’t have befriended in high school. They are ones who fell so effortlessly into my life once I was ready to accept them into it. A handful were already existing in my life, I just had yet to realize their true impact. We live in a world where society encourages women to drag one another down. To be thinner, richer, more popular. But the magic when girls and women come together and lift one another up is truly amazing. The strength of a group of women who stand tall together, not against one another, is what we should all strive to achieve. It’s the example we should be setting for the generation below us.
My tribe is filled with all kinds of women. Young and old. Mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, colleagues. Ones I’ve know for the entirety of my life, ones I’ve known for years and ones I’ve just met. They are women who have supported me through the darkest times in my life and the ones who have stood next to me through the happiest times. To say I’m thankful for them is an understatement and I’m hopeful each and everyone of them knows just how much I love them and the role they’ve played in my life and my journey. These tribal relationships take work. With the busy lives we all lead it can mean we talk frequently or so infrequently we begin to forget how much we truly need one another. Like all relationships they need nurture and love. They need constant attention. But if there was ever a “job” I was more proud of it, it’s the tribe I’ve built for myself, the women who surround me each and every day.
They are my tribe, and together we run the world.
Title Lyrics – “Girls” by Beyoncé