A tribe. The dictionary refers to it as such: any aggregate of people united by ties of descent from a common ancestor, community of customs and traditions, adherence to the same leaders, etc. It also refers to the word as local division of an aboriginal people. In no way is this post intended as a means of cultural appropriation; my intention is to discuss the importance of finding our own aggregate of people that we connect with. I have found many tribes in my life, some a better fit than others. Today, however, I'm at the point where I need them more than ever.
As the youngest of eight kids, you could say my family was my first tribe. But, it was by default and not by choice. I love my family, don't get me wrong. But our house was often chaos and insanity and not necessarily what I would have chosen. So, I sought out other tribes. For a while I hung out with a gaggle of Catholic girls, simply because my best friend was one and her friends became my friends. Then, I found the dancers. We were bonded by a love of ballet and performance, french fries and intense self-judgement. Heading into college, I met the most amazing nerdy, smart, passionate journalism majors and together we were a collective of misfit toys. I joined a band at this time called....The Tribe. Really. I did not choose it.
There have been so many others - musicians, music lovers, pot heads, recovering addicts, counselors, mommies, more dancers, service industry warriors, gym rats, jazz widows...the list goes on and on. Today, I find myself gravitating toward strong women and sensitive men, not necessarily in that order. I have a great many acquaintances and several wonderful friends. But, I find myself needing to join and/or organize another collective and I'm not quite sure what we'll be or what we'll call ourselves. In these times of great divisiveness, it feels like the right time to gather and support one another, commiserate and laugh. Oh, how I need to laugh!
New Orleans is really good at creating and maintaining tribes. Here, they're often called Krewes. Recently, I was at a somewhat somber gathering to honor a fallen member of a tribe, as they described it, and the love that was floating out there in the Universe and at this gathering spot was awesome. This tribe gathered and they loved, supported and laughed. It was so good to witness.
Go find your people and hug them. Talk to them, tell them you appreciate them and offer them a shoulder. You don't have to solve everyone's problems. That's what meditation, self-reflection and therapy are for! I want to gather with people who want to support one another's businesses, who love to dance, who like to lunch (yes, it can be a verb) and who most definitely need a laugh. You in?