I have struggled my whole life to find my tribe, to establish a sense of belonging with a group. Even within the jw's I was constantly aware of being different from the mainstream thinking of most of the members. I remember so often attending large jw gatherings and returning home feeling more alone than ever.
Even within my own family, there was this sense of separation. Once my mother converted to the Jehovah's Witnesses when I was five, there was not much left for the extended family to relate to in us. The celebration of birthdays and holidays ended; all the typical reasons families get together no long applied to us. And since, these "worldy" family members were now to be viewed as a threat to our faith, there wasn't much room for cultivating close relationships.
Even now, I can go for days forgetting that I even have parents. Most of the time I feel like an orphan. And then my brother will speak of them and I remember, "Oh ya, I have a mother and father." But what does that mean? I have these parents that are locked into a mindset that doesn't allow for any other conversation than the most surface. The jw life is the pink elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about.
And so, I have sought out my tribe in the greater pool of humanity in general. I find my connections with customers at my bookstore and strangers I share moments with wherever I may go. It's been said that it takes a village to raise a child. My friend D says, "It takes a village to live a life." This mass of life that teems around me on this planet is my tribe. It is what it is.