A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on her blog about her tribe. And honestly, I haven’t stopped thinking about the tribal concept.
When I google “definition of tribe” the first thing that pops up is:
a: a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations.
Now, I paraphrased that, simply because the last part of the sentence mentioned slaves and strangers and neither of these remotely figure into my thought process.
I come from a relatively small-ish clan. And that’s okay. I felt I grew my clan with my friends, close friends that I trust, that have my back as much as I have theirs. I was okay with that. Still am.
Only, my tribe, I realize, is much smaller than I thought it was. Again, I am okay with that. Follow me…
I have work friends, party friends, friends of friends. Long distance friends, around the corner friends. Life long friends and family friends. It’s not a matter of having plenty of friends.
It’s a matter of those that I think have my back, only to show me they don’t or further, stab me in the back.
That makes me sad. And even sadder, to know the great amounts of pleasure they have in that. Sad, mad and hurt.
Several years ago, I reached out to someone who quickly became what I believed that the time would be a life long friend. This person made me laugh out loud, shaking my head in disbelief at their shennaigans. The stuff only they could get into and stuff that I could mock them unmercifully for. They knew I loved them, trusted them and shared my secrets with them.
A couple of years ago, this friend devastated me. They walked away without a goodbye, fuck you, so long, good luck! Just, wham!…and as much as I have recovered from it, I haven’t. To this day, it hurts. It hurts because I didn’t do anything different from I do now. I am still the person I was. And they made me feel wrong. I allowed them to walk on my feelings…and days like today, when I get down and think of them…they win. But only for a moment…
I give this person a moment, just to win….then I remember…they walked away from me. Not the other way around. They didn’t have the balls to talk to me. I would have listened. I did when they came to me ONE TIME and we cleared the air, I thought…only the things about me that were bothering them…was a reflection in the mirror of what was bothering me about them.
I realize now, it was a very one-sided friendship. They called when they needed me to get them a date, to host a party for them, to write a funny blog about them, to be there when they were down….but the one time I really reached out, because I was lost, I needed to talk to someone about a deeply troubling situation, they were not there. They were lacking. And I was used.
So, walk away. Be gone. I am better off without you and have learned oh-so-many things that I didn’t know about this person, that at this point, I probably would be the one to walk away.
Doesn’t take the sting away.
Fast forward…in my last two breakups, I lost friends. I lost a lot of friends. I don’t count my friends or my popularity by how many folks are on my Facebook….no, these were party friends….folks who came to my house, had a good time, ate, drank and were merry with endless hours of water volleyball….I honestly can say, I don’t miss them. Not for one moment. And it’s okay; they think about me about as often as I think of them. I don’t wish them ill, but I am sure, based on the pack of bullshit they’ve been told, they wish very bad things on me.
Well, those would be unanswered wishes, because I am blessed, blissful and very happy and content. The peace in my life that was missing has found me and I am grateful for it every day.
It’s not my loss you walked away. That would be yours. I am stronger for it. Trust me. And very few have gotten a second chance….in fact, I can think of one…well two, I have to include his Mr.
I have made some new friends, to supplement the TWO I walked away from my last relationship with. And very early on, I learned to adore these people. They were new to me, I was new to them and they are amazing folks. I laugh harder than I thought I could, I smile more and they make me very happy. My life is full.
Here’s the rub…I have started wondering how many of these people are in my tribe?
I am the world’s worst at returning a phone call, or even picking the phone up to call. I am probably one of the shittiest friends in the world, but I know my heart is in the right place and for those I consider in my tribe, I would be there in a heartbeat, with only one phone call. It’s not one-sided at all, but it is a two-way street and I will give as good as I get.
I have long said I will protect those that I consider my family. If you crossed someone I am genetically tied to or someone who I consider my family, I will come out swinging and you will walk away with a limp. Don’t mess with my tribe.
I know who I consider to be my tribe, but the question is, am I part of their tribe? See, it doesn’t work if we aren’t on the same side, if I say I will follow you into battle, can you look at me and tell me the same?
Just because we don’t talk everyday, every week or even every month, doesn’t mean when the chips are down, I won’t be there. I need to know if I am stuck on the side of the road, I won’t have to scroll through my phone doing a roll call to get someone to help me. I need to know that my battle is your battle.
I know there is an ebb and flow to everything. Even friendships. Sometimes they need to be stronger, sometimes they can take a back burner to this thing called life…but at the end of the day…who’s in the tribe? Can I get a raise of hands?
I treat my friendships like relationships, they all take work, they all deserve love and respect. I can honestly say that I love my friends, ALL of them, to my core. I want to spend time with them, share moments with them, create memories and nurture these relationships.
I get the feeling, with some folks, I am alone in this. Did I upset someone? Say something wrong? How can I fix it? Do I say something? Do I risk it? Or do I shut it down, brush it off and just deal with it on my own?
I don’t know right now and it angers me. It hurts me and it makes me sad.
How awkward is it…to tell someone you think of them one way, only to have them not think of you in the same manner? To think that you have this deep friendship, only to realize that it’s one sided…or worse, not know at all, going blindly along that you are closer to a person than you really are and things aren’t how you saw them? I don’t like looking like a fool and I don’t want anyone I know to feel foolish.
If my best friend, my Kenner, for one moment made me feel like something was amiss…I would walk through fire to correct it. Yet I know, she would tell me, straight up, as only Kenner can, how the rubber met the road. Her bullshit level is low and I respect the hell outta that girl for it. Out of everyone in my world, short of the wife, I know EXACTLY where I stand with my Kenner and I am a better person for it.
Yep, I may be a small tribe, but that’s okay….there’s always an opening…