Disclaimer: The following is not intentionally a passive-aggressive attack on any one person. It is a general complaint, an unloading of heavy feelings. “You” is not you, or you, or you. It is anyone and everyone and no one. If, while reading this, you find yourself plagued by an urge to defend yourself, ask yourself why. I am a firm believer that if you defend yourself against something that was never intended to be an attack, then there must be a reason you are feeling attacked. That said…on with the show.
I feel like shit.
That’s the best way I can think of to say it.
I am a tribal person. My family is not, necessarily, the people with whom I share DNA, rather my family is my tribe.
Merriam Webster defines tribe as “a group of people including many families, clans, or generations.”
The Free Dictionary defines tribe as “a unit of sociopolitical organization consisting of a number of families, clans, or other groups who share a common ancestry and culture and among whom leadership is typically neither formalized nor permanent.”
The Urban Dictionary defines tribe (in one of several, unrelated ways) as “A group of friends that would do anything for each other, at just about any time. Friends that have been together for a decade or a day, but are loyal, loving, honest, and fun-loving. The Tribe consists of people that you expect to grow old together with, and by sharing amazing experiences, these are people on whom you will collect all the best dirt on throughout your life.”
Regardless of which of these definitions you pick, I am a tribal person. I rely very heavily on the people within my tribe.
At the same time, my personal, primary “love language” is quality time. That means that the best way to show me that you love me and care about me is to spend time with me. Even if just chatting online. I need to spend time with people to show them I love them and to feel loved back.
I am also an extroverted empath. This means that I crave people and I absorb energy. Which is why I love concerts. It’s like a smorgasbord of (mostly) positive energy.
But that’s not – really – what this is about. So back to quality time and being a tribal person.
Lately, I have felt like, while I have a tribe, people to whom I connect on a spiritual level, people whose energies I crave (okay, maybe it is all important to the story), the tribes to which I belong are dwindling in number. I think everyone – in today’s society in Western Cultures – has their own tribe and sometimes those overlap. Like you are in my tribe and those people over there are in my tribe but you don’t connect to those people the way I do. At the same time, you have your people to whom I don’t connect. They are your tribe.
And I am feeling less and less like I am part of anyone else’s tribes.
In some ways, I get it. I am a solo. I don’t have kids. I don’t have a romantic partner. I am a solo. But within my tribe, I am one of the only solos left. Everyone else’s tribes have changed to include their partners and their offspring and I don’t fault anyone for that, for a second.
But it changes my tribe and I don’t like it.
Yes, I understand that your husband and your children come first. Feeding your family comes first. Paying your rent comes first.
But can’t I, just for one day, be your priority? Because you are my priority all the time. You are my tribe all the time.
I don’t want pity because I am a solo. I have chosen to be a solo. I want a partner, not someone to fill the empty air next to me. And until I find that person, I am a solo and I don’t want to be mollycoddled because of it. But I also don’t want to be forgotten because you are not a solo.
And I feel like because I am a solo and you are not that you have forgotten why you are part of my tribe. Or why I am part of your tribe.
I feel unimportant. I feel forgotten. If I went silent, said nothing for days, a week, a month, how long would it take you to notice? On which day would you reach out to check on me? On which day would the absence of my voice in your life be missed? Because I worry that that day would never come. That I could be silent forever and that I would wither away, forgotten and without a tribe.
I know that that is overly dramatic. I know that someone would notice I was missing. I know someone would check on me. But I feel like none of that is true. I feel forgotten. And feelings are so often more powerful than knowledge.
I crave you. You are my tribe and I chose you as my tribe and I need you in my life. I tell you things because I need you to hear them. Not because I need them to be heard, although, that too, sometimes, but because I need you to hear them. Because you will respond the way I need someone to respond. Because I told you something amazing and you were excited right along with me or because I told you I was angry and you got angry too, instead of trying to talk me down.
But when you aren’t listening, I don’t have anyone to talk to anymore. Not because I can’t talk to them but because they won’t react the way I need them to. Because they won’t be excited about the thing or angry about the thing or sad about the thing or because I’ve told you the WHOLE story and you know ALL of the details and they would need a leveling course before moving forward.
I ask you to join me, even when I know you won’t want to because I want you to always know you are my tribe, that I always want you by my side as I seek adventure, as I ride into battle. I ask you to join me on my adventures only to be told – or shown – that my adventures are not important to you.
I’m not angry. And I’m not exiling anyone from my tribe. You are my tribe because you are important to me. Because you hold a piece of my spirit.
I’m not angry. Not in the slightest.
And I, generally, feel like shit.