It has been a strange month. I'm vacillating between everything being awesome and everything being really, really fucking scary. Which makes sense because everything is both awesome and really, really fucking scary.
There is enough distance between me and my fifteen years at United Way that it is no longer embedded in the core of my DNA. I was so scared to leave for so long because my job was the core of who I was. I knew I had made it officially over the hump when I went downtown for lunch last week and was surrounded by worker bees, all wearing security badges and lanyards declaring that they belonged to some institution and my guttural reaction was relief that no one else's name was hanging around my neck anymore. I am my own only.
However, it is a bit unsettling when you don't really belong anywhere - or you have the potential to belong everywhere. There's no anchor... no routine... no touchstone.
So it would stand to reason that I would be out there searching like hell for my tribe... if I was a typical non-human without emotion and doubt. However, being of the living and breathing and feeling persuasion, I've spent a fair amount of time retreating lately - playing hours upon hours of Yahtzee on my phone, staring at the TV and generally being unhealthy both mentally and physically.
I'm waiting for my tribe to knock on my door and pull me back out into the world. Why oh why doesn't the world work that way?
One thing that really struck me while the Mister and I traveled the west coast earlier this month was how intentional so many west coasters are about their community... My aunt and uncle who left Wisconsin after 60-some years to be close to family in Seattle. Keith who showed all around his adopted-hometown of Portland before he had to scoot for his weekly group bike ride. Bryan's cousins who live with their gaggle of kids on a farm in Salem and do everything together. The town square in Aracata, California, that was absolutely alive on a Friday night with different musical artists performing in every single store. Lyn and her beer community in Oakland who gathered at sunset on the deck of brewery overlooking the bay to celebrate the life of one of their own who had recently passed. Our Airbnb host in LA, Dean, who is renting a spare room in his Hollywood Hills castle just to have "cool people" in his house with him. The Uber rider we carpooled with to the Sunset Strip that invited us to meet him at the Whiskey a Go Go for drinks. The Yoga Lodge we stayed at in Yosemite that is a legit Intentional Community where you can pay or work for room and board.
Maybe I was looking for it, but everywhere I turned people were intentionally reaching out to and gathering with their community. And it might just be my current life circumstance, but I don't feel that community back here at home. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we have to lock ourselves indoors for months at a time or risk death by frostbite.
I sulked for a good week or so after returning from the west coast and then decided it was time to start intentionally seeking out my community - my tribe. I reached out to my Case Western tribe and set a date to go visit a group of them in Cleveland next weekend. I got my butt back in the yoga studio. I contacted a candidate for State Rep that I really enjoyed talking with last week and asked to volunteer on his campaign. I gathered a group of my best girl friends to start talking, in earnest, about the SheHive. I met with Mike and Adam at Civilla to get feedback on the SheHive concept. I met with two women, Andrea and Amanda, that are interested in helping with programming at SheHive. And I'm moving into an office in southwest Detroit in early August that a friend is gifting me to prototype the SheHive.
It's happening. I'm moving more towards the future I want as opposed to the future that happens to me.
It's not linear, of course. Change rarely is... I found out yesterday that I didn't get a job I had applied and interviewed for (extensively). It was a job that I didn't really want, though I wanted the security and the paycheck. I knew it wasn't my place and it wasn't my tribe when I interviewed, but it never feels good to hear someone else say that they feel the same way. Rejection is rejection no matter how much of a silver lining it is.
But the rejection was a silver lining. A wake up call and a reminder that falling into any ol' community that will have me for the sake of comfort isn't the path I have chosen - and it's not the path the universe if going to easily let me choose, apparently. Thankfully.
It's been a strange week. In some ways it has been amazing... I had a bunch of coffee/breakfast/lunch dates with many great people, I picked up a second coaching client and I believe I have been gifted the perfect space to launch the SheHive prototype. But I also had dental surgery on Monday which entailed reshaping a sinus cavity that caused a bit of pain and a lot of dizziness throughout the week.
Having to scale back on activities as I healed exacerbated the fact that I am also feeling a bit adrift as the reality of having no real set schedule sets in. I find that I'm spending more time alone than is desirable for a highly-extraverted person like me. When I start spending more time inside my head than out with others my energy sources deplete quickly. By the time this last weekend ended, I was drained. All I wanted to do was sit in a chair, stare at the TV and eat ice cream.
I've had entire years of my life where all I wanted to do was sit, zone out and eat. It's frightening how quickly those old, self-destructive behaviors can rear their ugly head. So I forced myself to get out of the house and go to yoga Sunday night. Normally yoga is a treat, but this Sunday? This Sunday everything felt hard.
The Sunday night yogi, Nicole, is one of my favorites at the studio. Where so many of the other yogis use words like "yummy" during their practices, Nicole will tell you flat out, "This pose might suck for a while. That's okay. Sometimes life sucks. You'll make it through." That was the message I needed to hear tonight because it was in the midst of one of those sucky, but hold-it-for-three-minutes-anyway, poses that I felt it...
"Oh hey, there you are - brave girl who can do hard things. Welcome back."
On the mat tonight I remembered that I made the choice to not have a set schedule right now, so I can create exactly the schedule I want to have. And I remembered that I made the choice to not be at my old job in the midst of a bunch of people so that I could find my people - better yet, so I can make a place for them to gather. I remembered tonight that nothing is being done to me - that this was all a choice - and, by the way, I'm doing pretty fucking spectacular stuff with this choice.
Tonight I remembered that I am brave.
I don't know why I lost sight of my truth this week, but I'm pretty sure it won't be the last time. Sometimes life just gets hard and, I guess, when shit gets hard it feels easier to be a victim than to admit to yourself that you choose this life of uncertainty and muck and uneasiness in pursuit of something greater. It's a hard pill to swallow for me especially because, at my core, I reject the idea that life has to be hard to be spectacular.
But, I guess, sometimes it does and that's okay. Because this brave girl? She can do hard things.