It’s no secret to anyone who reads my blog that it’s often a tangled mess of whatever is going on in my head. Today is no different.
Life has phases…there’s the early phase when you’re still living at home, in the cocoon with your parents. Then the college/early 20’s “dumb” phase when you (maybe just me, but I doubt it) think you’re all that and a bag of chips. Living large, late nights, and FAR more…let’s just call it excitement… than anyone should ever have. For me, I dove right into marriage and motherhood right after that phase. I’d say those two things stopped the dumb phase. Thank you Jesus!
With the family comes responsibility, which means work. And I did, a lot. Climbed the later, jumped off, took a different path. Somewhere in the midst of all that though, I forgot to develop female friendships.
I had friends, but I skipped the step of staying in to dig deep. Honestly, I was the easy breezy friend. I still have a couple friends from high school and college that I could call and we’d pick right back up, and I cherish those. But the day to day, in the trenches, see me messy kind of friends, yeah…not so much.
And now…I feel the gap, and I don’t like it. I’ve spent time thinking about it and I could say that I was busy, or that I was doing ok on my own. I had enough interaction to feel connected. But the truth is that real friendship, especially with women, requires vulnerability. THAT is something I wasn’t a fan of.
Vulnerability is what allows people to see the real you. Is it scary? Yes. But here’s the flip side. If you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable, you can live in a space of thinking you’re alone. You’re the only one, for example, experiencing heart ache, or who have a struggling marriage, or who have feelings you don’t understand about your stage in life. And you also are alone as you experience joy.
This is where finding your tribe comes in. Yes, you have a spouse, your children, family. They are always there for you, support and love you. But your tribe hears the ugly, the crazy, listens to you lament about the state of your aging body, let’s you talk through the crazy thoughts in your head about life, laughs with you…let’s you practice vulnerability so that you’re better at it when it matters most.
In the last few years, I’ve felt the lack of those friendships and I’ve been intentional about changing it. I’ve worked to foster a couple friendships and those people are my tribe. So if I have those people, why am I still thinking about it? Because this life phase seems to need more support from my tribe. Maybe that’s just because I didn’t realize how important it could be in those earlier years, but I can sense the need to support and have support from other women at this time in life.
That’s the takeaway from all this…this obviously tangled mess of thoughts that have been rolling around in my head? We’re not made to do this life on our own. We need our family, and we need our people, our tribe. The support and encouragement we give each other makes us stronger. Talking through the crazy helps us stay sane. Vulnerability is worth it. Find your tribe, lean into it, and be thankful for it today.