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 “Be who you are and
say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t
mind.”  -Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite pastimes over the last year has been
reading other people’s blogs, which has its upside and its downsides.  The up side is that I get to “meet” many
interesting people all over the country, some of whom resonate with me very
much.  I laugh, am challenged in my
thinking, discover new and creative ways of doing things, connect with other
women and writers, and am met with a lot of positive attitudes.

The downside is that I do the inevitable comparison,
particularly with blogs that have a large readership.  What are some common elements?  What niche does each blog fill?  How do they reach so many people?  What’s the appeal?  And, most importantly, how does my blog
compare?

You see where this is going, right?  Pretty soon, blog led unto blog, and I was
very quickly sucked into the world of linking from one person to the next until
I was confused and lost and completely overwhelmed by all my blog “should
be.”  I became frantic about my content.  Who was this mythical “tribe” so many writers
kept referring to?  Did these tribes vary
that much?  Was anyone who said they were
in a “tribe” pretty much a stereotype themselves?  Was I writing for the right audience?  How could I write about running and being a
mom and living a creative life and spirituality and my church and teaching and
cooking and stupid “life” stuff without alienating at least half of this
“tribe” at every turn?  My head began to
spin.  Maybe I should just quit.

I mean, men read this blog. 
Some of my friends read this blog. 
My mother-in-law reads this blog. 
Runners read this blog.  Artists
read this blog.  A whole bunch of people
I don’t know read this blog.  How could I
possibly write for all of them and have them care enough to return?  And how could I get even more seemingly
unrelated people to read it?  Who,
exactly, is my tribe?

I asked Rob.  “Who do
you think my tribe is?”

He thought for a moment and said, “I think your tribe is
probably extinct.  They killed each other
off.”

OK—not what I was looking for though I did have to laugh.

See, the problem is not really any of my readers; it’s
me. 

Here’s What I Am

Writer, artist, runner, coach, mother, Christian, volunteer,
wife, daughter, teacher… and– get ready for it—a Republican.

Here’s What I Love

Running, writing, drawing, coloring, reading, books of all
kinds, old movies, John Wayne, gardening, animals, sitting on the porch and
doing nothing, hiking, the mountains of North Carolina, history, red lipstick,
hippie clothes, Irish punk, Scotland, old people, making mud pies and sand
sculptures, birds, hot baths, candles, chocolate, kickin’ ass, and cold beer.

Here’s How I Am

Funny, good-hearted, spiritual, creative, disorganized,
late, passionate, tough, a procrastinator, cheerful, and foul-tempered.  Basically, I believe in loving others as
ourselves and peace when possible, but I also believe that there are times when
it is absolutely necessary to kick somebody’s ass and that they do, in fact,
deserve to have the crap kicked out of them.

See where this might be a problem?  My sensitive, artist friends were with me
until that last part, my Democrat friends were with me until I said I was a
Republican, and my more conservative friends were probably offended by my use
of the word ass.  I am, as my sophomore
English teacher once wrote in my journal, a “series of pleasant
contradictions.”

How could someone like me possibly find a tribe?  Is there a tribe of red lipstick wearin’,
knife totin’, physically fit, artistic moms out there who hate telephones and
texting and love old movies and running through the mud as much as I do?  If so, pass this blog along to them because
try as I might, I just can’t be anything other than who I am—nasty temper,
chronic lateness, and smelly running shoes included.

As I grow into this new vocation of writer/artist, I am
constantly reminded of a lesson I have learned over and over again.  Trying to be anything other than exactly what
you are never ends well.  In the past,
I’ve tried to teach like others, write like others, run like others, and live
like others because I thought others had the inside track to success, but every
single time, and I mean EVERY time, it ended in failure.  Whenever I have been successful in my life,
it has been because I have followed my own way.

People will either love my writing and my books and my blog
or they won’t.  Those who do are my
tribe.  And even if my tribe is small, I
will know that it is mine and came to me because I was true to myself alone.

 

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