Friday, March 9, 2018

Outside the Tribe

Last night as I lay awake in bed, something of a blog-type post began to write itself in my head. There was a sense of freedom and knowing that it's time to start writing again. Not just the snippets in my journal, but the kind that forces me to put deeper questions and revelations into words that I can look back on and may just encourage someone else along the way.

My whole life I have mostly felt a little on the outside. Slightly introverted perfectionists who feel less than self-confident usually don't draw a crowd. On the periphery of this group here and on the edge of that group there, left me standing in the middle feeling very alone.

For the first several years of school, it wasn't this way. My earliest memories are of building forts, riding bikes, and picnic lunches with my neighborhood buddies. I belonged. I didn't question it because I just knew - they were my friends and I was theirs. We celebrated each other.

When we moved and 5th grade started, kids started to shift into groups of popular and smart kids and the like. I didn't know where I fit in anymore and friendships became more complicated and hard to maintain. For the next 30 years, it seems I've been searching for a tribe of sorts, or trying to piece-meal one together without lasting success. There are times I just look up and ask, "Why?"

Over the last fours years my life has taken a not-for-the-faint-of-heart side road, up mountains, down into valleys and plopped me down into the land of parenting a preteen (dun dun dun...) While friendships for my son may look wildly different from mine, they are equally important. Unlike I was, he is 99% extroverted and in many areas slightly over confident. He could easily draw a crowd, but no one seems to be coming to the show.  I want him to be invited to the party, asked over to a house, or invite someone over without having to beg. I love that I'm his best friend right now, but I also know he needs more. He needs to feel like he belongs to a team. How do I help him when I haven't figured it out for myself yet? It breaks my heart.

How do I and how does he find a way to illuminate that grey area in the middle to see the others who might also be standing there trying to figure out a way into the group? Perhaps, when we see we aren't alone, we find our tribe.


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