Until recently, I sort of forgot about really comfortable friends. They can be old or new friends, that part doesn't really matter. But the important point is, you feel comfortable being yourself around them, really yourself. That's right, you are comfortable being completely authentic with them.
I am a really outgoing person when I am comfortable and at peace. I have no problem chatting and joking with complete strangers. Some of my most memorable encounters have been with people I never see again. There was a terrific encounter with a guy in a historic recreation that allowed me to discover I am a wicked hatchet throw with a balanced and well maintained weapon. It is who I am. It makes my life fun and supremely enjoyable. I would not change this characteristic for a million dollars, seriously.
For a time, I found myself hanging around people I didn't feel comfortable being myself. My true nature seemed to really embarass them. After awhile, I felt if I didn't just keep my head down and keep quite I would just upset their world to no end. The whole thing made me self conscious and start to second guess myself. Not a happy or freeing place to be at all!
Then I had an epiphany, why on earth I am spending my precious time around people who don't like me just the way I am? They only liked me, or at least it seemed to be, if I was willing to change who I was or tone it down. Well, toned down does not describe this woman one little bit. Passionate, exhuberant, intense, even explosive, but nothing resembling toned down. I decided I was flat out unwilling to change even if that meant I had no friends. Seriously, did I have friends to begin with if they all wanted me to change? I set out, as my precious friend Anita describes it, to find members of my tribe. Oh yes Anita, you are definately a member of my tribe. Those are people who accept and love me for exactly who I am. They may even choose to rejoice in my little quirks and eccentricities. I rejoice and honor them in return. I am so blessed to say that God quickly led me to many members of my tribe. We have been having such a marvelous time.
Today, I had an especially wonderful day in Old St Charles with my friend Holly. If you don't know what Old St Charles is, it is the old part of St Charles, Missouri. They are very into their history of being the starting point of the Lewis and Clark expedition and they know how to do a festival. Today was part of their Christmas celebration. Dickens characters, Santa Claus from around the world, and one hyper Sugar Plum Fairy (nope, wasn't me) graced the streets. There are tons of kitchy shops full of everything from real (expensive!) antiques, English and Scottish treats, the best baked potato soup, and handmade soap of french lavender. In the middle of this was a surprise parade. As I stood there threatening to tussle with a Dickens character that had earned to sobriquet "Mountain Goat" from an earlier enounter, I heard Holly laugh with joy. My soul and heart warmed with the knowledge that I had, once again, found a fabulously interesting and wonderful woman that was definately a member of my tribe. Glorious!
I encourage you all to find members of your tribe. Find people who love you and your unique character. Find the person that will proudly stand by you when you decide to go out, for whatever reason, in a lobster suit. Your life will be exponentially better. Do not waste your time with people who want you to change to suit their particular idea of what a friends should be. They aren't bad. They aren't "wrong". They just are not members of your tribe.
Heres to you Jef, the first person I knew to be in my tribe before I even knew what it meant.