Finding our Tribe in our own time

Finding our tribe. Our people, our bubble, our circle. Accountability partners or support group. Whatever you call them, a phrase that is often thrown around is:

“It’s who you know, not what you know”

I’ve more often heard it within the context of work. Sometimes it’s about promotions, new job opportunities, boosts up the corporate ladder etc and it can often times seem unfair (depending on which side you feel like you are on). Although it may seem like a negative thing within employment, I think it is something that is extremely useful in day to day life to help you find your tribe.

The people you surround yourself with can dramatically alter the paths you take in life. It can also effect how you see the world, how you see others as well as your own self worth.

If you surround yourself with the right people you will feel loved, motivated, worthy, capable, and supported. You will feel able to be yourself without judgement. There may be some playful back and forth but no actual judgement. Boundaries are seen as healthy. Showing weakness or vulnerability is acceptable, if not encouraged. When you are having a low day you will be just as deserving as when you are feeling your best, as well as at every other stage too. Finding our tribe and having individuals you can be honest and open with is so beneficial to us in so many ways.

It’s not an easy task though.

I have to admit it has taken me a long time to find my tribe and my work is not finished. Several years of poor mental health and misguided judgement put a spanner in the works. I was manipulated, abandoned and abused by those I thought cared for me. It is not always obvious, most of the time I have only noticed the full extent of the damage done over time once I have gotten out of situations I had spent years defending to my friends and family.

Friendships, jobs, relationships, an unborn child, and plenty more have been lost along the way but I am working on myself. Facing fears. Trying new things. Building a new life for myself- one where I consider what I want and need rather than living for people it turns out don’t really love or care for me.

Over the last 10 years I have had 15 address (apologies to anyone still using a paper address book…). My faith has been put into the wrong people, those who have seemingly forgotten my existence since.

I lost myself for a while along the way.

But, I have also been through a lot of positive experiences. I’ve met some incredible people, some of whom I have sadly lost contact wit,h but I am lucky to have had them in my life at all. Finding our tribe doesn’t mean they are our tribe forever, some tribes can be fleeting but all will hold a place in your heart.

I went to university and completed a degree. Not much has been done with it since, but I am so glad I went to Aberystwyth for those 3 years. Meeting the people I did- some of whom I still consider some of my closest friends- will be something I could never regret. Attending a drama school in London taught me a lot.

Over the course of multiple jobs I have managed to acquire a variety of skills. Playing giant games of tetris with my belongings, also known as packing, has become something that I seem to have a knack for. Performing on stage with numerous extremely talented individuals over the course of several shows in different theatre groups has also been a significant part of my highlight reel.

“Your vibe attracts your tribe”

Agreed. I do find that when I am most comfortably being myself, that is when I find the people I am able to get along with the most. Fellow nerds, those passionate about what they love. Whether it be performers, film buffs, disney nerds, tech geeks or whatever your niche may be, it is your passion that sets you apart from everyone else. Finding our tribe takes authenticity, if you’re not being yourself you won’t find your tribe.

When it comes to my love life I have not had the best luck. Those who supposedly cared for me have cheated, lied and financially, mentally or verbally abused me. Labelled a psycho for wanting the truth, or not believing the lies. I have been manipulated and slowly isolated from my friends and family. Made to feel worthless and unloveable. I am finally starting to get back to myself and to understand my true value. Thank you to the amazing people who have stuck by me through it all.

Time is not always a relevant factor.

Someone you have known your whole life could be holding you back. A person who you meet once could propel you forward. I have felt more understood and cared for by someone who lives 134 miles away (and until the lock down in March had only known me 5 months and met me 5 times) than I have with anyone I have been romantically involved with in the past.

We have since been able to live together for a few months while we were both able to work from home. I stayed in London with him for 13 weeks. I’ve since had to return to Wales for work but in those 13 weeks he saw every side of me. He was there when I was stressed, anxious, depressed. Felt tired, grouchy, angry (hangry sometimes too). When I was upset, suspicious, or confused, sometimes I felt misunderstood and lonely. Most of these emotions were nothing connected to him but he supported me through them regardless.

While we were living together I was happy, content.

First hand experience of how it would be to live together. Witnessing how romantic, caring, maternal and loving I can be on a good day and when it took a hit. I took on the roles of baker, cook, cleaner, pest control when needed. Jez saw every aspect and he remained unfazed. He did not judge me. He did not berate me when I was wrong. Communication of our worries, fears, goals and ambitions, open conversations, it makes things so much easier.

I do not feel like I need to change, nor do I want Jez to change. There is no pressure to do or not do certain things. We are independent and also a team. Although I miss him hugely when we are apart (even more so now I had gotten used to living with him), I know we will speak to and see each other as often as we can -covid permitting. No pressure. No ulterior motives. We have some plans for the future but nothing fixed as such.

I am content with where my life is and the direction it is going in. That is the first time I have felt that in a long time. The right people are around me (if only virtually for now). All of us pursuing our own things, but I am proud of all they are accomplishing, and happy to be a part of their journeys.

No longer am I hiding myself.

I have learned to accept myself and my body for what it is. This week I will be starting a coach to 5k to get into slightly better shape but I am doing that for myself and no-one else. I am starting it because I want to, not because my body isn’t like those on magazine covers. Although I haven’t learned to love my body yet, I am getting there.

I have had therapy sessions, mourned the loss of things that in hindsight weren’t meant to be, discussed a lot of my issues and put them to rest.

Over the years I have been part of many friendship groups which have since run their course. From each adventure though, I have been lucky enough to keep in touch with some of them. It has not always been the person/people I would have expected either. However, they have been the people who have helped me and supported me as I have done for them.

Moving so often and having the occasional mental break down, though inconvenient, can evidently be a great way of discovering who your real friends are.

All these changes have helped to weed out those who weren’t so worth spending valuable time on. People may grow apart, but real family stick by your side through thick and thin, no matter the geographical distance. Family doesn’t have to be your blood relatives either. The joy of finding your tribe is that you get to choose who is in it with you.

If you have not found your tribe yet, or are going through tough times and finding out for yourself how many people drop off the radar, do not worry, your time will come.

The law of attraction, your vibe attracts your tribe, so many different saying and ideas based on the same basic principle. Be yourself and the rest will follow.

Good luck.

Sending lots of virtual love and hugs to you all, especially those feeling isolated, you are not alone. No one is alone (now I have Into The Woods playing in my head…)

Where did you find your tribe? What do you think attracted your tribe? Have things changed because of lock down? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time, TTFN.

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