Having a tribe is pretty freaking important. I have great tribe. I have some pretty amazing people in my life. I’ve spoken about my struggle with depression and it only seems right that I talk about the people who help me keep it at bay without even realising it. The people who get my oddities and weird sense of humour, and the people who inspire me and encourage me and make me feel so freaking on point.
I had so much trouble making friends when I was younger, I was quiet, easy to dislike and my automatic defence was always sarcasm. I have a lot of great friends now, and a lot of friends I lost when I was going through my crazy depressed years, and a lot of friends that weren’t worth keeping at all. But the ones that stuck around are lifers.
I was incredibly nervous at the thought of starting a blog. Worried that people would laugh, think I was a terrible writer, be generally snide about it. But I wanted to do it because I love writing. It’s something that I couldn’t do for years when I was struggling with depression, something I wanted to do badly, but my focus, my creativity, my drive, it was all just gone.
The first person I mentioned it to was Beth Harvey of Smart Girls with ADHD, and she was so enthusiastic about it. SO encouraging. That’s the screenshot of our facebook chat below, because we were communicating primarily through that while I worked on my dissertation and she did freelance linguistic work. We meet for tea and catchup every Tuesday we can, but Facebook chat is where we discuss most of our ideas and successes. Beth was the first person to read my blog, and spell check it and point out the many typos and offer all the encouragement. And when Beth started Smart Girls with ADHD she sent me her first post to read and I happily reciprocated (there were no typos or errors, it was literally flawless). I feel really lucky to have a friend like her and we joke a lot about how we’re basically the same person (seriously, we went to IKEA once and everything I wanted, she already had). We have the same taste (more or less, we disagree on Amanda Palmer-I love her, Beth remains unconvinced by The Art of Asking). We both love the Gilmore Girls to the point that I’m pretty sure we would up and move Stars Hollow if we could.
I don’t have any other blogger friends, but every one of my friends that I told about my blog supported me. These are the girls who make me feel less alone all the damn time. The girls who are with me for life.
The one who sat with me when I was nineteen and so depressed I didn’t even like leaving my room. The one who came to the library in final year for no other reason than to talk me down because I was having a panic attack about an exam. The one who sat beside me and passed me can after can of cider (and didn’t try to make me talk about my feelings once) on the plane ride home from Spain where I couldn’t stop crying because my gran had just died. The one that I only see once every year or so, but it’s literally like no time has passed at all when we meet up. The one who accepts that I can be so flakey about keeping in touch when we live in different cities, but didn’t hold it against me when I moved back to Belfast and wasn’t as flakey any more. The one who took me out to the cinema and pep talked me and cheered me up every damn time I was ready to have a break down when I was doing my Masters. They read it, shared it (even when I was too embarrassed to do it myself), gave me valuable feedback and encouragement, repeated the feedback and encouragement when I needed to hear it. They did everything I could have hoped for and more. There are probably (definitely) plenty of people out there who saw this blog and rolled their eyes at it, but I literally could not give a crap because I have these people in my life.
And it started a trend. Beth told me she decided to start her blog because I started mine (and guys, it’s a really good blog, a much needed blog. Lifestyle blogs are a dime a dozen, but an articulate and unique view on ADHD in women? That’s rare). Another friend told me she thought she had a book in her (she didn’t directly attribute it to my blog, but I like to think it opened a discourse about writing between us that wasn’t there before) and now she’s invited me to take part in a writing group she has with another friend of ours.
It’s reminded me of a conversation I had years ago, where someone told me he liked having creative friends, that it inspired his own creativity. He was right. You should seek out other people with your passion, with passion for anything really, because they’ll push you. And they’ll remind you of why it’s your passion when you forget. And sometimes they’ll scare you into doing something through their crazy productivity, and sometimes you’ll do that for them.
I like to think that I’ve found my tribe. Not all of them are writers, some are crazy smart and driven career men and women, they are deeply involved in law and politics, charities, the arts, brilliant teachers and amazing creators. Some are less career driven, but have wonderful family lives, are dedicated mothers, wives, girlfriends. Others have changed their lives, went back to school, followed their passions. They are all intelligent, driven, supportive, brilliant craic. They are every one of them inspiring and positive influences in my life. They’re exactly the type of people I want to have around me, the type of friends I imagined having when I was young and lonely and didn’t have many friends at all, and exactly the type of people everyone should have around them, at all times.
I wrote this post a few days ago, and I was having a terrible day before I started to write. The type of weepy day where I felt lonely, and was caught up on all the people that didn’t like me much, or thought badly of me. Writing this reminded me not to care, that those people don’t matter. I’ve remembered that they aren’t important in the long run. They only have the power to make me feel bad if I let them. And I’m done letting other people make me feel bad.
And it doesn’t hurt one bit that when this goes live I’ll be sunning myself on a beach in Benicassim (with factor fifty sun cream, a hat and a an umbrella for shade of course).