Fairly Random thoughts on Tribes and Friends

I have been very very blessed since moving to Spokane, and especially since having children, to be surrounded by supportive women. Friendships with other women have always meant a lot to me. But after considering it, I dont think I've had a tribe like the one described in this classic mothering article) since high school. (High schoolers are tribal by nature)
(My high school bff's, Lianne and Becca aka Pepper)

And I got to wondering why. What is a tribe? How are they formed?

I thought about families, first. Sisters are natural tribe-mates. But I, like many other people these days, live hundreds of miles from my relatives.

(Jen, Becca, Me, and Adria at Rocky Horror)

Then I thought about Ivory, and Elizabeth. They are two friends of mine that both seem to have developed a tribe of close and like-minded mothers. I adore and greatly admire both of those women. The are probably even the two women in my social circle that I admire and try to emulate the most. And I consider us friends- but I am not part of their tribe. Their tribes seem to have developed naturally, with women that live near them and have many of the same parenting and life values.

I agree with the author of the article, however, that tribe mates dont have to have all the same values. For example, Kim is one of my most cherished friends for the past 2+ years. She is one of the very few people I can see myself vacationing with and loving it. In fact, we have and we did. And I have often thought that one of the most beautiful things about our friendship is that we don't agree on everything, or parent in the same ways- yet we are still able to love and support each other. It's easy, after all, to love someone you always agree with, or never makes you angry. It's when you love someone despite your differences, and despite bumps in the road, that a friendship becomes something really special. (In fact as I type this I am chatting with her via IM and I will have you know that we both begin and end every sentence with lol)

(Kim and I)

Friendships are just such a funny thing. There are people like Kim and I who hit it off the first time we met. Then there are people like Josh and his close friend, Jonathan. They knew each other for over a year, warm towards each other and working for the same company, until all of a sudden the relationship blossomed into something much more meaningful. I've had friendships that lasted years and years, only to grow slowly apart, due to no ones fault but just circumstances. I've had friendships that go one for years despite being in totally different stages of life. I've had friendships that have meant the world to me and painfully ended.

I'll admit that I am the type of person that makes friends easily. Josh often teased me, when we were dating, that I must know everyone because we hardly went anywhere without meeting some so-and-so from such-and-such. And I know that nowadays he can't ever take the boys out without someone walking up to him and saying he must be Zeke's dad, because they recognize our son.(Becca and I at ABBA)

But I don't easily make close friendships, like the ones described in the article. I suppose a lot of it is me. I have a hard time taking that barrier down to let people get close. And I will admit the thought of letting someone see my house dirty makes me break out into hives. Cluttered, sure. But really letting them see the dirt? Maybe the base of that is pride. In fact, I am sure that it is.

That's really the kicker about pride. And all other forms of dishonesty, for that matter. It's so easy to put up a front, but then that very front becomes a wall that keeps you from maintaining any meaningful relationships.

Aaaaand this blog post driveled off into no mans land.

But this is how my thoughts are right now. Mushy. I think the conclusion is that I would like a tribe of my own. And that I think sometimes my pride gets in the way of meaningful relationships, because I don't like to allow people to see my weaknesses.

Usually I would go back and organize my thoughts better. That or delete the whole mess. But I think I'll just intersperse it with classic friends pics and keep it.


Ivory said...

I adore you Courtney. I think I am the sort of person who creates a tribe, for lack of family. Growing up I did not have that day to day emotional support from my family, nor from any lasting group of friends (moving constantly), so I collect people I can trust around me. I'm so glad you are one of those people. xo

Kim said...

I feel so special making the list! :) I always feel like one of the beautiful things about high school friends is that they know you in a different way. Maybe because you grow up with them? Or because there isn't anything else that you have to worry about really except school and friends? Makes it easier to put friendship at the top of the priority list. It's funny you posted about this, me and Jessie were just talking about the differences between friends we've known since high school and friends we met after or friends from different parts and times in our life.

Kari Marchelli said...

Great post Courtney! I think its great when you can have a friendship where you can have disagreements but still support one another. Fact is there will never be a friend who will agree with 100% of what you believe/say/do (if you do find one, let me know :)). I love that picture of you guys at the Rocky Horror Picture Show by the way.

Jen said...

Oh boy! I made the list!