?Then what are you doing at camp divorce living with all those losers?? ?Be nice, those are my people.??Patty and Frances, Under the Tuscan Sun
I was standing in what felt like the dead center of a black hole. People were shoulder to shoulder with a few inches, if that, separating them. From some angles it must have looked chaotic, from mine it felt chaotic, but looked, thankfully, semi-controlled.
The sound was another story. Picture a honeycomb with hundreds of bees swarming wing to wing, each individual buzz layering on top of the next, simultaneously growing louder and sinking deeper, finally crescendoing into a shrilling single note all its own.
While I stood in that particular spot at that particular time, the person standing next to me, my daughter, scanned our surroundings, inhaled deeply, and breathed out with a smile, ?my people.?
Two interpretations of the same event. And I was the foreigner in a somewhat familiar, yet changing landscape: the boy-band pre-concert holding area. I was wishing I had taken that second Tylenol and she, well…she was home.
Peeps, tribe, comrades, clan, posse, people. However described, it?s all the same. It reminds me of a blog post I once read that explained the law of thirds. In life, one-third of the people you meet will dislike you, one-third will be indifferent, one-third will love you. The goal is to find that last third. Those are your people.
American journalist and writer Jane Howard said, ?Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.?
My niece, whose husband was recently deployed overseas, posted on Facebook that buying a huge bucket of cookie dough before his deployment was a bad idea. In between a stream of comments of support and empathy, one friend posted something only someone who gets her would think of: ?What kind of cookie dough??
Whether there are years of history or just a couple minutes to solidify a connection, it?s unmistakable when it?s there. And if you have to ask yourself if you?ve ever felt it, then it?s safe to assume the answer is no. So far at least.
Reality, with the help of obligations, situations or lack of opportunity, can tend to get in the way of trying new things, exploring what really gets us excited or having chances to find people to validate our crazy passions.
Writer/blogger Marelisa Fabrega said, ?If you feel tribe-less, rest assured in the knowledge that your tribe is out there. In addition, if you?re already surrounded by a supportive tribe, remember that there are probably many members that you have not met yet.?
Basic math assures us there?s someone somewhere in a similar situation, waiting for validation from someone else who eats fish sticks while watching ?Three?s Company? reruns and playing Sudoku. (Strictly a random example, no judgment if I hit a nerve. ?Three?s Company? was a great show.) There must be at least two people?somewhere?who feel you. Never mind the two or two hundred who don?t.
I believe in sacrificing convenience for passion every so often. I think it has to happen if there is any value in contentment and/or sanity.
I am getting better at ?just doing it.? I have no problem burning a day and some gas money for an author event a few hours away. I will give a weekend to a film festival. I will risk unfamiliar streets of a city I can?t navigate for a free wine and chocolate tasting.
Thankfully, I know a few other people who can?t wait to do the same. And even more encouraging, once I?m there, there may be a swarm of other people I didn?t know existed who feel the same way.
Something like my own personal beehive.