Finding Your People

I read a great line the other day that got me thinking.

I’m reading a surprisingly great witty book called “Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Single.” I bought it for myself day after Christmas on an impromptu “Who needs Santa?” mini shopping spree.  Yes, I’m recently divorced, blah, blah, blah but I didn’t buy this book because I’m single and sick of it...this new single life has been quite fun and much needed actually.  Getting my Joan Clayton/Carrie Bradshaw/Khadijah James/Maxine Shaw/Regine Hunter on has been some much needed entertainment. And online dating? Chile, that alone could be a blog.  I know what I like and this writing style by Heather McElhatton is it.  I love well written stuff.  So right there on page 17 I read...

“The secret to surviving a religious high school, or any war zone for that matter, is to find your people.  Even if it’s only one people. One is enough.  If you can find one person in the crowd who’s like you, then you can survive almost anything. I met Christopher in art class when he made a Pop candy-colored painting of Shaun Cassidy, encrusted on the edges with mirror chips.  Right then I knew I had found my people.”

It got me to thinking because A) I did attend 2 religious boarding high schools and one of them did feel like a war zone that left me broken and took years to get over and I only got through it because of my people and B) Who are my people?

I thought about family and how we love each other fiercely and go to the ends of the earth for each other and how that alone doesn’t make family your people.  God Bless you if the people that get you, really, really, really get everything about you and don’t wonder how in the world you share DNA are your family. I’m not saying its impossible, just pointing out that it’s a rarity.

I first found my people as a very young wife and new mother in Kentucky.  I found the Carnegie Writing Center. I found writers who loved and breathed words like I did. They weren’t just writing for fun, they were actually published! And they were my friends.  Then they got me involved in the longest running Women’s Writers Conference in the country and I met more and more of my people. They even allowed me to lead reading discussion groups and write some important, useful stuff that got published too and will live on forever.  Suddenly reading for hours and loving characters like they were my own family didn’t feel weird anymore.  I wasn’t considered a nerd and socially awkward for quoting characters out of a book like they were my real life friends like I had been all my life in my home.  In finding my people, I had found home.

Then I found my people in my late twenties in the beautiful black blogging world.  Man, 2005 was a beautiful time for us. Suddenly we were blogging our lives away and forming some amazing life long friendships.  We were each other’s people.  We blogged about everything that moved us and found an audience.  We shared our deepest thoughts, things we couldn’t share with the people that lived in our houses, people that we shared DNA with.  We sat on the edge of our seats waiting for what would happen next in their lives.  We had front row seats to their reality shows online.  We cried together, encouraged each other, genuinely felt happy for their successes and accomplishments.  We attended their important events, even flew cross country for them meeting them for the first time in person but knowing everything about them.  I’ll never forget reading one blog and being moved so deeply by the first line.  My people were honest and raw up on those blogs.  Yup, I found my people and they are my people still.

Our family members thought we were the oddest group of people.  I remember being in New York with my family and a blogger friend meeting us for lunch.  They kept asking, “How did you 2 meet again?” And replying “online" like it was the most natural thing in the world baffled them.  It made all the sense in the world to us.  These days my family even try to send “my people” my way.  If they meet a natural hair wearing down to earth, cool as ever person that they find boring, they are quick to suggest that said person meets their sister!  They love me, I promise you, they do. LOL

Presently, my life isn’t so much about finding my people as it is recognizing my people at first meeting.  If you’re in the grocery store minding your own business and I recognize you as my people, I will be right there with a big smile hoping you recognize our tribe of drama free, positive thinking, living life to the fullest cool people and join us!

Your people are everything......find them.


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