I’ve been on a search, a quest, a hunt. I’ve been looking for my kindreds, my tribe. I had been on this search, on and off, throughout most of my adult life, starting in my teens. It may have even started younger than my teens, but I have a distinct memory in ninth grade (around age 13) of wanting desperately to connect with another ninth grade girl. We did connect, she and I, and spent most of our ninth grade year skipping down the halls at school, killing Smurfs, and convincing each other to run away from home, to find ourselves, to be rebels, to break the mold.
I loved this girl with a passion I can’t really describe. We remained best friends on into high school, even when we ended up in different schools and eventually in different cities. This was a time before the internet, when long distance phone calls were a real and expensive thing. I remember writing her letters though I couldn’t tell you if I ever sent them.
I had other kindreds in high school too. Girls becoming women, each of us holding each other close in our hearts. I’m still in touch with some of these amazing women and still consider them kindreds, no, really sisters, even though we may only see each other or talk to each other a couple times a year. When we do have those moments of connecting in real time it is as if we were never apart and I love the ease of our relationships.
When I became a mama I felt like my world was turned upside down. I had a couple of kindreds who had become mamas themselves around the same time. One kindred and I have had a tumultuous journey together, almost losing each other to our own stubbornness and misunderstandings. In the end our love for each other won out and we moved back into our place of love and acceptance of each other, letting go of our judging and short-sightedness. Sometimes friendships need to go through that so that both people can come out the other side transformed, not better, but different, with new perspective of both each other and themselves. Sometimes friendships don’t survive these upheavals and I have lost my share of friends over the years, friends who I have cried endless tears for, friends who I have reached out to in my own way, yet never quite reconnected with.
But becoming a mama led me to want to build my local tribe and village. I tried to force it, demand it. It worked and it didn’t. I spent several years seeking not really seeing what was right in front of me, not really seeing the beautiful friendships that were growing and blossoming right there in my day to day or the ones that had been there all along.
That is the trick isn’t it? Knowing when you have found “your people.” Some of my friends are kindreds and some are sisters and some are friends, and each person is one of My People and special and wonderful to me. Each person wants to be in my life as much as I want to be in theirs. Each one of these amazing people I trust with my heart, some in different ways than others, and yet each of them holds me up in their way and I hope they each feel me holding them up too.
Where I’ve wasted time on my search, in my seeking, is when I have pursued, sometimes desperately, people who weren’t My People, weren’t My Tribe. When I’ve tried so desperately to fit in, when I didn’t slow down to realize that we weren’t a fit, for whatever reasons. This lead to hurt feelings, both mine and others. This lead to anger and resentment. This lead to frustration and heartbreak.
Through the tears, my vision would start to clear and I would see how this person or that was not one of My People. This didn’t make them bad or less than, simply Not Mine.
As my vision cleared and I slowed down my pursuit of the Not My People, space opened for more of My People to enter my life. When I look at the people who gather around me today, some in real life and some virtually, I feel such a deep gratitude. Gratitude for each of them and for the woman I have become.
I love finding My People. In many ways I will always be looking for and open to expanding my tribe, making new friends and finding new kindreds. Yet today, right now, I see the abundance of beautiful women and men I have in my life, who I circle with, who I commune with, who I text all day with, who I only see once or twice a year or who I have never met in person.
So this is my love letter to each of you. To you who has known me since I was four years old. To you who opened your home so I could meet you and another kindred a few short months ago. To you who was brave and came to my home for an open play date years ago. To you who lived down the hall. To you who I killed Smurfs with. To you who saved me from going on the road with that rock band. To you whom I roomed with for two glorious years in college. To you who I text almost daily with. To you who lovingly helped me clean out our Formerly-Known-As-the-Art-Room after my surgery. To you who shared the journey of pregnancy and birthing classes with me. To you who I bake cookies with every December. To my true sister, my blood sister who I love so deeply and dearly. To you who opened her hotel room to me. To you who hand wrote me a love note, helping me stay on my path. To you who sent me a necklace with my spirit guide animal when I was in the throes of depression. To all of you who I haven’t mentioned specifically. I love you. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey and for being a part of mine. Thank you for guiding me to me.