My calendar consists of scheduled bills and doctors appointments. There’s never a “girls night” or a reminder to meet so-and-so for coffee on Thursday morning. There are no playdates or babysitting trade-offs so I can date my spouse or go get my hair done. Birthday party invitations are those which I plan myself for my husband and daughter, with the guest list mainly being ourselves. If I’m having an emotional day, there is nobody there to meet for a drink and just vent. There is no tribe.
While I understand this can, in part, be attributed to the fact that we are in a constant state of travel due to my husband’s career, we are also generally in one location long enough to allow for these last-minute activities. Some of the campgrounds we stay at have a lot of families, while others contain mostly other men and women following their trades who rarely have their family traveling with them.
My child is the complete opposite of myself and has a knack for finding and making friends easily. To her it doesn’t matter if that child is older or younger than herself – she just loves to play. Myself, on the other hand, finds it to be extremely difficult to form these same friendships as my child. This difficulty doesn’t stem from lack of trying on my part, because I do try. I know I can be an awkward person to be around. I live with a panic disorder so I can’t help but stutter when I’m around people I’ve just met, or I feel as though I don’t have enough to contribute to a conversation. My hobbies include traveling the world, homeschooling my child, cooking, and running my business as a social media influencer. Those same characteristics haven’t been found in anybody I have met, yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t or don’t want to form relationships with different individuals. I like to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail every now and then. We aren’t religious and I don’t judge people for anything. I know I have walls, but that doesn’t mean they’re an impenetrable force. Anyone who truly knows me, knows I would do anything for those around me.
Recently I was asked if I ever participated in “Girl’s Nights.” I answered a simple “no” and was questioned why I didn’t. It was so embarrassing to admit I am never invited to any.
If you’ve read this so far and are looking for the part where I tell you, “I don’t have a tribe and that’s okay!” and list reasons why you should be content with being alone, you won’t find it. What I will tell you is how lonely it is to be alone. To not have those connections, those random meet ups. Nobody there to surprise you with chocolate or a hug when you just cannot take anymore and are stressed beyond your limits. I would absolutely love to have someone I could call and say, “Hey! My kid’s driving me batty. Come drink coffee with me so our kids can drive each other up the wall instead.”
I will say, that just because I am telling you I don’t have a tribe does not mean that I do not have any friends at all. I do. I have three wonderful ladies that I know I can call or text anytime I need to and express my frustrations or wins. However, I am generally always 5-20 hours away from them by car, so I can’t have those face-to-face connections I so desire. And sometimes, you just need adult interaction.
They say your upbringing and adolescent years shape you into the person you are today and I wholeheartedly agree with that. When I look back on my life, I can see throughout the years that even in grade school, I didn’t have a tribe (are Kid Tribes a thing?). I was always an outcast. Socially awkward but trying my best to fit in. I attempted to play all the sports I wasn’t good at and was rejected from our cheerleading squad three times. I am extremely uncoordinated, but I try my best. I remember writing a note to one of my classmates when I was in sixth grade asking if her and her friends wanted to be my friend the following year in middle school. My invitation was ultimately ignored and I’m sure that only added to the reasons why I was social castaway. I was always able to content myself with the fact that I didn’t have close friends, until I needed one the most. Let’s face it: motherhood is scary.
My tribe may be out there somewhere, I just haven’t moved to the location in which it exists. Maybe I’m doing life all wrong and need to reinvent myself. Maybe I’m not approachable or people assume I’m one person when I really am not. I know I am quiet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m an extrovert trapped inside an introverts body. With millions of people in the world, finding your tribe shouldn’t be so painful or seem so impossible.