I dunno about you, but I long for a tribe.
I long to connect with a bunch of people who *get* me. My kinds of peeps… those who resonate with the things that I feel strongly about. “Mad” people… abnormal people… people who don’t *fit* into the Norm… into the Status Quo.
- People want more out of life than just… “survival, getting by, making do”…
- People who hate being “governed” and “ruled” and told-what-to-do (as much as I do)…
- People who are Questioners (instead of Knowers)… people who question everything… and especially the Powers-that-Be, The Status Quo and “Authority”…
- People who question (and who are generally skeptical of) The Institutions that mould and contain us (school… church… banks… state)…
- People who don’t believe everything they read or watch on TV or on the internet…
- People who don’t believe everything they’re told by The Teacher, The Pastor, The Media, The President… (notice, I wrote ‘everything’ not ‘anything’).
- Parents who respectfully and peacefully parent their children…
- People who enjoy watching TED Talks…
- People who love travel… and want to see as much of the world as they possibly can before they die!
- Artists, activists, creative-creatures, out-of-the-box-thinkers, dreamers, DO’ers…
- People who see potential where others see nothing. People who can build beautiful things out of junk and nothingness. Up-cylers, inventors… people with ideas and solutions…
- People who don’t want what everyone else seems to want… (i.e.: “American Dream”… big house filled with lots of *stuff*… fancy cars… branded clothes… status… all the stuff the glossy magazines say is somehow important).
- Those who don’t give a damn about being “in fashion” or “on trend”.
- People who don’t take themselves too seriously… and who love to laugh…
- Those who vomit a little bit in their mouths when faced with racism, sexism, homophobia, fat-phobia, hatred of people who believe differently…. (and all the other awful forms of discrimination that mankind has invented to separate himself from The Other)…
- Those who don’t view “feminism” as “man-hate”… but rather the continued (and utterly necessary!) efforts to see women and girls treated EQUALLY in our home countries – and around the world (here’s a great article ‘Where are MY rape threats?’ - written by a man – that perfectly sums it up).
- Those who are revolted by the idea that – in many circles (and certainly, according to the popular media)… a woman’s worth is determined by what she looks like – instead of who she *is*.
- People who recoil at the very idea of brand-worship… i.e.: “I am more worthy and more important than you because I drive this brand of car… or carry this expensive designer handbag. It makes me important and special”.
- People who have thoroughly questioned all of their religious beliefs… and who are following a certain faith (or not) because they have THOUGHT about it… and scrutinised it… and wrestled with it… and it resonates deeply within them (and NOT simply because it-was-the-beliefs-they-were-raised with…. or because-the-pastor-says-so…. or because-the-Bible-says-so… or because-the-pastor-says-the-Bible-says-so).
- People who also love this quote by Anne Lamott: “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do”.
- People who are bigger than name-calling, ridiculing and insulting. I thoroughly enjoy the company of people who engage in meaty, respectful debates… but as soon as people start ridiculing, shaming, insulting… that’s where I excuse myself and leave the room.
- People who think outside of the box when it comes to “jobs”… people who are initiators, inventors, pioneers… who want to forge a new path – and not just march to the rhythm of the Corporate Drum.
- People who think big thoughts and dream big dreams… and who make the world a better place (in big or small ways – it doesn’t matter).
- People who ooze love – and an unreserved acceptance of “The Other”. People who love and celebrate diversity!
- People who view the all the people of the world as equal citizens. People who see past race, age, nationality, religion, class, culture, income-bracket… people who view themselves as equal with all humanity (whether the Queen of England… or the tramp on the side of the road… addicted, dirty, disease-ridden). “All wars are civil wars because all men are brothers. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than to the particular country in which he was born” – Francis Fenelon.
- And speaking of countries… people who view themselves as citizens of the planet… rather than obsessing about flags, anthems, countries and invisible lines drawn across the earth. “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind” – Albert Einstein.
- People who live differently. Not just for the sake of being different… but rather because the “normal” way just doesn’t make any sense to them.
Of course… the list could go on and on.
I’m certainly not implying that everyone needs to *be* ALL of the above before I deem them worthy enough (I don’t even tick all of my own boxes)… I’m just trying to paint a general picture of the people I yearn to connect with. I’m also not trying to insinuate that the above ways-to-view-life… or ways-to-DO-life… are the *Right* ways… (and that everyone else is wrong).
I celebrate and respect diversity… and am very happy for the folk in the world who have found their little tribe (no matter how different those tribes may be to mine).
There are tribes of conservative Christians… there are tribes of Harley-Davidson-loving-bikers… there are tribes of Geek Atheists… there are tribes of crystal-swinging vegans… there are tribes of wealthy, spa-visiting housewives…. there are tribes of sport-players and sport-watchers… there are tribes of corporate-creatures…. and mall-loving shopoholics. There are tribes of football fans…. and tribes of Mommy-bloggers… and tribes of gym-bunnies…
… which is all great and fine…
But this post is about *my* tribe… and I must admit, I have been finding it achingly difficult to connect with Similar-Minded-Folk.
I have a small tribe… make that a TINY tribe of peeps who *get* me (whom I know in person). They could probably be counted on only one hand. They are the people with whom I can be completely… and unreservedly… *ME* without tip-toe’ing, disclaimer-adding, biting my tongue, choosing my words carefully or trying not to offend….
Nick, of course, is my main Tribe’ster. He is the one person in this world who *gets* me… completely. I still (even after knowing him for 17 years – and being married to him for almost 10 of those years) I still find him so fascinating and interesting to talk to. Most nights, after the kids are in bed, the two of us chat for hours on end…. and especially if we’ve just finished watching one of Russell Brand’s Trews episodes… or a meaty TED talk.
But… aside from Nick… and my tiny handful of friends… I (mostly) feel that I have to tread very carefully in the world out there… and choose my words very carefully… and add disclaimers to my conversations…. and this – by the way – is also true of this blog!
There are many people who read this blog who…. (although good people)… are not, necessarily TRIBE people.
Family members read this blog. Old friends… old acquaintances… people from my Facebook feed… friends-from-school-days… friends-from-church-days… friends-from-band-days…. etc.
Nothing wrong with that, of course. But not everyone who reads Living Differently are *Tribe* folk. And this can sometimes create a problem… which looks like THIS:
“Oh shit… I wrote about how I hate kids’ parties… and _____, _______ and _________ occasionally read this blog – and they’ve all invited me to their children’s parties in the past. Will they get offended? Will they think I’m referring directly to them? Will they never invite me to another party again? Are they angry with me??”
“Oh crap! I wrote a ranty post about my home town! But ______. _______. _______. and ___________ still live there! And now they’re all uber-pissed with me! Now what? Should I forever bite my tongue about how I feel about my home town? Am I never allowed to be honest about these types of things? Is this one of those hush-hush topics that I should not discuss in an open forum, like a blog?”
“Oh here we go again. I wrote a post about the stuff I really dislike about the schooling system. Except… _________, ___________, __________ and ____________ all send their kids to the very kinds of schools that I take issue with. If they read this post, will they be offended? Will they take it personally? Will they see it as a direct affront on their decisions? Will we be able to agree to disagree? Will they think I’m judging *them* – as in… personally….?”
“Oh Jeez. I wrote a religious post. Except…. _________. ___________. _____________ and ___________ are all Christians – and they definitely won’t see eye to eye with me on these issues. Is this going to cause all kinds of awkwardness? Should I have bitten my tongue instead? Should I not talk about these things… just in case it causes… *issues* in my real-world relationships? Should I just delete this entire blog!!???”
You hear what I’m saying?
I have really been pondering on these issues for many months. It’s part of the reason why (at least according to me)… this blog is very… meh. And ho-hum’ish. It’s meh because I’m always trying soooo hard NOT to offend certain people in my real-life world… (I’m not talking about random troll-strangers… I’m talking about real-life people – whom I know and respect… and I don’t want to create tension and awkwardness between us because of what I write in this blog!!!).
So… I can’t… *REALLY* be honest on this blog, you know?
There’s a great quote by Oscar Wilde:
“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth”.
I absolutely agree.
But… other than start a whole new blog under a pseudonym (mask)… I’m not sure what to do about it.
I’m so tired of spending my life biting my tongue. Aren’t you??