I used to have a bar regular who quickly turned into a great friend. Sadly, we’ve lost touch for the most part since I moved to NYC but she instilled in me a great piece of wisdom. Teresa lived her life by the motto of her “tribe.” She always referred to her family, but mainly her friends who became her family, as such. Although I always liked the idea, it wasn’t until recently that it really resonated with me.
Here’s how it happened. I was sitting (somew)here just thinking like I so often do and began to think about how people process things differently and for me that’s always been talking freely. I feel most at peace with the world when I say exactly how I feel. Sometimes people think it’s hilarious, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes it’s too nonchalant due to the seriousness of things I discuss and it makes them question its validity or severity. Sometimes I talk too fast and people don’t care to keep up. Sometimes I just talk. But to me, the only way to feel free is when I speak my mind, my experiences–to not allow the stigma from the world and the people I surround myself with to keep me huddled in a corner dealing with the stressors of life in solitude. For me it is of the utmost importance to be able to communicate effectively, to speak and not only listen, but hear–and to return that tenfold to the people who mean the most to me. If you can’t communicate, how will you ever be able to have a relationship with someone? I’m no expert in the matter and there are certainly topics that I’d rather not discuss (and I can probably count them on less than one hand), but I still advocate talking openly–not just small talk but all the corners of the heart and soul. And when I feel like I cant talk about those things with you, that’s when things start to unravel. For me, if I’m not communicating, that’s when there’s something to worry about. And as a result when I encounter people who wont open up, I worry.
Anyways, back to Teresa and her tribe. In the past few days, it’s really become apparent to me that the people who are there 100% and don’t stigmatize or judge my mental and physical and sometimes nonsensical experiences and ramblings, those are the members of my tribe. They’re the people who support me, but aren’t afraid to give me tough love. And if you’re one of them you know and if you don’t, shame on me for not making it more clear but please know that you mean the world to me and I am always and will always be no further than a text or phone call away.
(Footnote: I feel slightly hypocritical, or rather, I feel like certain people reading this might think so (you know who you are). SO I would like to clarify that I think it is p e r f e c t l y normal to not be able to talk about some topics that are too cutting(it might be too soon or too difficult or awkward or whatever), but it’s not normal to act like every topic is an impossibility for conversation. Ya dig?)