It’s a jungle out there.

tribesmall

A tribe is different from family. If you’re a little odd around the edges, your family learns how to deal with it because the chemicals and codes your biology share tells them that your survival is important. Your tribe is made up of people who share your specific flavour of freaky. These people see what you try to hide and they don’t flinch. They chose to keep you around. They could leave… but they don’t. That means something. It’s so comforting and life affirming to feel someone celebrate your joys with you and understand why you get emotional about what matters to you. I highly recommend it. Frees up a lot of time spent explaining yourself.

I learned the following when I started finding my tribe: Firstly, they tend to move in groups, whether it’s an action cricket team or a book club, they’ve probably started assembling already. All you have to do is what you already like doing, they like that too, so they’ll be there. You’ll know when you meet kin because they speak your language. (My tribe, for example, speaks a mix of profanity, cynicism and sarcasm.) So most importantly, just be yourself hey. If you pretend to be someone else you will attract someone else’s tribe, and trust me, trying to fit in with the wrong tribe is the loneliest feeling I’ve known. It can drive you crazy, take you to some real dark places and convince you of strange things like “YOU’RE the weird one”. But once you have just one more member of your tribe the relief of being able to just do you is very liberating. It really does “take a village” and with the right support and some true understanding you can start living among your natives instead of struggling to survive among strangers. Suddenly, even negotiating with an entirely alien tribe (like in my case, people who “don’t read”…I can’t even…) becomes a cinch, because you’re not insecure about being so very obviously different. Not fitting in doesn’t mean you’re gonna feel alone forever, but not being yourself will most definitely make you feel lonely.

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