The volume was quite loud for a Saturday afternoon. The bar was a-buzz with women, very little testosterone! Throngs of women walking by the bar to the theater, all talking and laughing and loud. Large groups of women hugging and happy to see each other, our group was no different. Not everyone knew everyone but that didn’t seem to matter. We became a tribe at that moment, with one common denominator; we were of a similar age and with other women of a similar age all about to experience Menopause-The Musical!
As people filed into the theatre the decibel level continued to go up, the audience was at almost a fever pitch. Every now and then you saw a man and just assumed his wife dragged him here, poor guy. I mean this is a crowd of women around 50 years of age about to see a musical that will parody everything they are feeling these days, what man would want to be in the middle of that audience!
We had about 20 seats in two rows in the middle of the theater. As the lights dimmed, the crowd was still more of a roar, quieting a room of a few hundred women out for an afternoon of laughs with their posse was not easy and did not happen quickly. The first few lines of the show were hard to hear over the laughter, mumbles and conversation of the crowd. We were no exception!
The group I was with was that was a mix of friendships. Some were good friends, some were friends who hadn’t seen each other in a very long time and some see each other every few years since high school or only on Facebook, probably not since high school! Only one was really part of my true tribe. And that along with the show made me begin to think about my tribe.
As a woman, a tribe is important. I always thought of my tribe as my best best friends, three or five women who I share pretty much everything with and know that they will be there when I need them. Each had been over the years. They were definitely my long term friendships each over 20 years in length, one over 40. Yet I never really thought of them as a tribe as we don’t get together as a group that often. And I don’t think they would all think of each other as their best best friends, so I don’t see it as a tribe.
If that is the case then why did yesterday feel a bit like a tribe, when most of the women there I hadn’t hung with and shared with in a very long time? Perhaps because of the commonality of the show and its contents? Perhaps the ease by which we caught up, had conversation, laughed about lines in the show or real life “change” related issues? Whatever it was, by the end of the night when six of us still wanted another cocktail, we sat and talked with such ease, as if we had been close for years! And I felt like I was part of a tribe.
The women in the musical began the show as strangers and ended the show as compatriots, focused on helping each other through the trials and tribulations, the excitement and possibilities of the change of life. We were not strangers but connecting at a point in our lives where the commonality outweighed the differences.
Perhaps a tribe is not singular. Perhaps you have different tribes for different circumstances and moments in life. You are one lucky person if that tribe is with you for a long time, having your back through every twist and turn of life. Even if your tribe is small, if they have your back, then they are mighty!
Yesterday, that tribe was a group of women who I shared an afternoon with, laughing, eating, drinking and talking about life.
Today, that tribe will be a surrogate family who I have loved for more than 40 years.
Who knows who that tribe will be tomorrow? What I do know is that there is a group who has my back and I have theirs, and that is what a tribe means to me.