Do you have one? Do you have many? Do you make time for yours? I can honestly say that over the past few years I ignored this vital part of my life. Maybe ignored isn’t the right word, since I knew I needed people but I didn’t want to burden them, so instead I had. I hid from them when I needed them most. I hid from them because I didn’t want people to see the real me. I hid from them to hide the pain I was in as I struggled to help my daughter. I hid from them because I didn’t want them to see that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship. I hid from them because I was ashamed. I hid from my family, although they will tell you they knew without me saying. I hid from my warrior spirit by building a wall within me. I hid until I couldn’t hide anymore. I slowly started building my tribes back up around me because I know they are the ones that allow me to be true to myself. I didn’t just find one tribe, or just go back to familiar ones, but I began to embrace more parts of me and find tribes that meet those needs. These tribes are now part of my journey and fulfill different parts of me through their friendship and unwavering support.
My most important tribe is my children. It is just the four of us now, and my kids have said they like it better this way. We do just fine on our own. We have always done well as the Fantastic Four. I have often worried that I have screwed up their lives, because they have been witness to me at some of my lowest points. They have seen me break down to many times in the past. They have seen me verbally attacked by people who said they loved me. They have seen me broken into a thousand pieces. They have heard me crying, even though I tried to hide it from them. Then I remember that they have also seen me pick myself back up and keep going. They have seen me walk away from those that want to hurt me with their words and actions. They have seen me give up everything in order to pick them back up and put their pieces back together. They have seen me become stronger after each and every set back. They have seen me ask for help. When I look at them and see what good people they are, then I know I must be doing something right. They are my core tribe and the one I will protect with my life. I know by becoming the most authentic form of me that I am giving them the greatest gift a mother can give their child.
Childhood friends reaching as far back as thirty plus years, with the exception of family, is my oldest tribe. These childhood friends are the ones who have known me through the different stages in my life and that even if we go years without seeing each other we immediately feel safe when we are together. They are the ones who remind me who I really am and what I dreamed about as a kid. They remind me of how far I have come in my life. The ones who I share some crazy stories with and love fiercely for sticking with me even when I pushed them away. They are the ones that can call my bullshit. They are the ones that know the most. They are the ones that get me on a level others will never be able to understand. There are some that I feel their void because they are no longer a part of this tribe, and hope someday to change that because I know I can grow even more with their vibe as part of this tribe.
Resistance sisters, is the tribe that began out of the shared disgust of the election in November 2016. We have all found each other because we felt such a sadness and anger about where the country that we all love so much was headed. We came together slowly and by chance, because we were all looking for a way to make our voices heard and do our part to stand up for core values that are based on love and acceptance at the most simplistic levels. They are the ones that help keep me sane in this crazy ride that we all seem to be stuck on for the time being. They are the ones who understand the frustration. This tribe of women inspire me and many have moved beyond being a resistance sister to being a friend.
I have so many more tribes I could talk about because they each meet a need within my life. My It Works tribe that supports me and keeps me motivated to turn my dreams into reality by being my own boss. My Warrior Goddess tribe that is on a journey of learning to love ourselves more and become the warriors we all are inside. My teaching tribe, my hockey mom tribe, my military life tribe, and gym tribe. Each of the many tribes in my life feed my spirit in their own ways. They are the ones who keep me motivated & focused. They support my dreams and tell me to get back up if I stumble and fall. They know that I am changing and cheer me on because they believe in me. They hold my hand when I scared. They dry my tears when I am sad. They let me vent when I am angry. They let me be me and know that in order to grow I need to be vulnerable sometimes within my safe spaces of the tribe. As woman, I believe we need many tribes to thrive because of the love that we share with each other within the tribes. If you are feeling as I did in the beginning, then it is time for you to start finding your tribes.