Lessons From the Road: Creating Your Tribe

My friend Sheila calls us modern day Carnies . . .

We are like a traveling group of gypsies - going market to market, for 16 weeks in the summer. We are a passionate group of artists. More times than not, we are in creation mode, constantly thinking outside of the box. We tend to problem solve differently than others. We are inspired by one another and feed off each others energy. Our minds are open to new things and unknown experiences. We approach the unknown with excitement and lust, rather than fear and hesitation. Those of us that are part of the farmers market crew, put our passions and art on the line to be sold. Some of the crew, like me, travel over 400 miles every weekend to different events. But somehow, the hours on the road don’t phase or bother us. Sharing our art with people inspires us and we learn so many things from those we come in contact with.

Over the years I have discovered the importance of my tribe. My tribe is my community - my mentors and confidants, my friends and inspirations, my peeps to walk through life with. I think community can come in all sorts of different forms . . . through sports, the arts, work, personal interest, or even your quirky little fetishes that define you. For me, my community defines and grounds me. It gives me hope when my spirits are down, and I find inspiration and comfort from those around me, who believe in me and stand by me.

The concept of my tribe is only something that I have been able to acknowledge in the last five years or so of my life. I may have had it earlier in my life, but it is only recently that I have been able to identify it and I really appreciate all the inner layers and its marrow. My tribe gives my life depth and meaning. They give me support and teach me new lessons in life. My tribe is my village, the reason for my constant progression. It is the foundation that I can call on when the earth beneath my feet gets a bit unstable and intimidating.

I never in a million years would have thought of myself as a gypsy or traveling carnie. I was raised in a conservative family in Connecticut. A young lady with a proper education - I had a well mapped future for success. But over time, I have found that I just didn’t fit in that box. I craved a more open, dynamic world. A world of spontaneity, artistry and my own way of problem solving. Now, in my mid 40’s, I can say that I finally have the confidence to not be affected by the influence and pressures of others. I’m ready to just be authentic and represent me.

So not matter where you may fall on your life spectrum, I encourage you to seek and find your tribe. They may be quirky, weird or a little off-center, but if your tribe makes you smile and encourages you to be your true authentic self, those are the jewels in your world. Your tribe is your life treasure to be appreciated and valued, because community is the cornerstone of our existence.