Saturday, November 5, 2016

Girls and Tribes and Quarters

I have a confession: Girls scare me. 

When they travel in tribes, I can actually feel my breath back up in my chest and bad words want to slip out before I run frantically in the other direction. 

I'm a girl coward.

I'd like to say I don't know where this started but I totally know.
Two words: High School. 

Two things happened in quick succession this week that reminded me of my girl fear. One, I shared a post on Facebook that had beautiful women emailing and messaging me their stories that were a lot like mine. So, my perception got knocked around a little bit, which is a really good thing for me.

The second thing that happened was we had a CL100 done on our house because we're moving. A CL100 is a fancy way to say termite letter. Since I'm a real estate broker in real life, I know those guys pretty well, which means we talk about stuff besides bugs and vapor barriers and moisture levels. For some reason, Keith, my termite guy, said something about wanting to be 17 again and I laughed and laughed. Until I realized he didn't get the joke. 

I mean, would ANYONE do high school again?! Evidently, the answer is yes for some people. I even asked my Facebook buddies and some of them said YES! I am not one of those people. 

For me, high school felt a little like an LSD trip must feel. (I've never done LSD, so I'm guessing here.) 

I floated through high school marveling at all the colorful, shiny people and how they seemed to be doing life SO much better than I was doing it. Some of them were even having fun. I could totally tell!

I was (am) awkward. I was (am) loud. My brother was an addict who soaked up all the air in the room and it was an unspoken rule that we did not discuss this in my home, which added to my awkwardness, I think. I was in college prep and Honors classes but  had no ambition to be a doctor or lawyer or nurse or teacher. I wanted to write. Not a super cool thing for most 16 year old girls.

I was also more interested in becoming a Solid Gold dancer than partying and boys (that is a true story). 

I feel compelled to add that I often hid the things I was interested in because I believed no one else was interested in those things. Retrospectively, which is unfortunately the only way I see things clearly, I can say I think there were other people interested in those things, I just didn't know how to find those people. I made good grades and read books and went to exactly 3 parties my entire high school career. I also feel compelled to add that I was invited to more than 3, but that was my limit, evidently, and I would lie and say I had other plans when people asked me where I'd been Saturday night when "so and so" had their AWESOME party at the Peach Blossom Motel.

I clearly remember standing kind of over in the corner at one of the 3 parties I attended and, literally, eye balling every single person while thinking, "Are you REALLY having fun? Because you look like you're having fun over there playing quarters. Or maybe you're just drunk.Why aren't I having any fun here?" I hated the noise and the crush of people and the drinking and the sort of weird boy/girl dance that was very, very confusing for me. Side note: My husband, who wasn't yet my husband, was at that party playing quarters. He said he was, in fact, having a lot of fun, but doesn't remember most of it.

I wanted to go to the movies and talk about the new book I was reading and maybe grab a pizza without having my ass grabbed. Also, I wanted to remember doing those things.

So, anyway, high school wasn't my gig. College was more my thing, but even there I felt odd and out of place and like maybe I'd missed some secret meeting where the rules were explained in great detail on how this whole socializing thing worked because I didn't really get it and socializing still sometimes (all the time) makes me super nervous which makes me more awkward which makes me more nervous and so it goes. A GREAT cycle to be caught in, by the way. Good times.

Girls often travel in packs and I never found my pack. I was always just sort of floating along, happy to be involved in this group or that one, but never so far in that I got the inside jokes. I was cool with that because some of them were mean. Mean like a rabid dog is mean. But, I also kind of wanted to belong but I didn't know how. Then, I would feel "wrong" and anytime something feels wrong for me I become super offended because that's one of my struggles. Again, an awesome cycle to be caught up in.

But, here's the other thing: Girls are usually awesome when we're one on one, at least in my experience.

So, when I got those emails and had that high school discussion, a thought occurred to me that had truly never really occurred to me, which might be sad or might be totally common.

I was like, "OH MY GOSH!  Maybe we aren't in separate tribes. Maybe we're all one big tribe that's bought into the lie that women are gossipy and mean and cliquish. And we're helping to perpetuate the myth by being a little afraid of each other and cursing under our breath and then running away before we can know each other."  

Or maybe that's just me. I don't know. 

What I know is that for the first time in my life I paused and asked myself, "Why do women suffer alone when there are so many other women out there who share their story and their truth and their path? This isn't high school! Why aren't we lifting one another up and bearing one another's burdens with pride and strength and dignity and cheering like fanatical fans for one another when one of us finds her way and succeeds?" 

So, I'm making this blog that place. I'm going to tell the truth here, even when it's hard. Everyone is included here. There are NO exclusions. That's the only rule. Everyone gets to come to this party just like they are and they are included.

This can be a place for the girl tribe of women who want to love one another well and include everyone and encourage each other to be who we are, find our way and tell our truth. I would LOVE to have some guest bloggers write some awesome articles about their experiences and how they need a tribe or want a tribe or would like to stick a toe in just to see if they can be less scared, too.

This is going to be the place for me that I trust other women to care for me and trust me to care for them, exactly where they are. We can do that. We can totally freakin' do that. We can even do it while we're still in our pajamas! WIN!!!!

If you have a tribe, invite them here. If you don't have a tribe, I'm inviting you here. Everyone is welcome and safe and awesome. 

Even if you like to party and play quarters. I'll just be the one in the corner cheering you on and you can wave at me in the corner and ask me about my book when you're finished. 


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