Are You Looking for the Elusive Village? WANT AD: VILLAGERS NEEDED

Sep 23 2014

If you’re lonely, this is for you.

If you’ve wandered and searched and hoped for your Tribe, this is for you.

If you’ve moved and left your Tribe behind, this is for you.

If your Tribe moved and left you behind, this is for you.

If you’ve wandered the Jungle and called and called, hoping for an answer, this is for you.

If you’ve found your Village and want to welcome the wanderers – if you’ve found your Tribe and will let more in – this is for you.

And if you keep asking where that damn, elusive Village is, anyway, this is for you. 

WANT AD:
VILLAGERS NEEDED.
Friends needed.
YOU are needed.

I’m talking I.R.L. here, folks; In Real Life. Not in some kind of ethereal way, although you’re definitely needed in the cosmos and on the world wide webs, too. Right now, though, I’m talking about making Friends in the Flesh. People you can hug without the {{{curly brackets}}}. People you can hug with your ARMS. People who are hoping for a Tribe, too. 

ID-10065346Because as much as you long for community and connection, someone is longing for your friendship, too. I know it’s true, because I hear from dozens of you every day. Hundreds per month. We NEED each other. Online – this space and others – is an excellent, important start, but for many of us, it’s not enough.

We’ve talked here over the last few days and weeks and months about connection. Human connection. What it means to be authentically ourselves. And to share pieces of our hearts. And what it’s like to need a friend. An IRL friend. In Real Life. 

And I will tell you – I think about you every day. Every single day. Your stories run through my mind and rifle through my heart, and I ask myself over and over how I can help make connections. Because words on a page are my art, but YOU – your uniqueness, your value, your preciousness, your deep, abiding worth – YOU are my heart.

So we are going to try an experiment here. And it may go sideways or upside down; it’s hard to say. But we’re going to try a Human Connection Experiment.

Some of you have expressed over the past few days your wish for a “dating” site for friends. A place you can post a profile or a personals ad and call out online for In Real Life friends. A place to connect. And I believe sites like that are in the works! Coming to an internet near you!

The problem, of course, with the find-a-friend sites will be the profile. And the time to create the profile. And the monitoring of the profile. And the popularity contest inherent in looking at profiles and picking and choosing. And the questions – the ever-present questions: How authentic can I be, anyway? How messy? And will anyone see the magic in me? 

So I thought to myself, “It’s too bad we don’t have something like that here in this space. Because these people are already a RAGING MESS. Out loud! In our hearts. In our homes. And we LOVE it this way. This wild truth-telling. And we HONOR the mess in each other. Because we know it’s our path to the magic. To the magnificent. To the magic and magnificent, which are born not out of perfection, but from truth and terror and triumph and trying.”

And then I thought, “Why not, Beth? Why not at least TRY to connect these people you adore to each other? To set up, wherever possible, pockets of authentic friendship?” And I came up with lots of answers for why not: it’s logistically challenging; maybe no one really wants that; other people can do this better than me; there are forums for this kind of thing… and I’ll probably even set one up myself soon… a COMMUNITY FORUM… it’s better to just wait for a better forum, Beth. 

But I couldn’t come up with a GOOD reason why we shouldn’t try, because I’ll take logistically challenging if it means you get to meet a friend. 

So here’s what we’re going to do. IT’S EXPERIMENT TIME. We are going to use this space right here – this imperfect space that isn’t set up right for this AT ALL – to meet In Real Life Friends. 

I am going to write our profile.

And you – if you want a friend, if you need a Tribe, or if you’re willing to let people into your Village – are going to tell us if you want in. Instructions are below.

Here’s my part. Here’s our profile. This is who we are:

  • We are people who are imperfect.
  • We are people who are a mess.
  • We are people who are wild and wonderful and weird and wonky.
  • And we are people who are learning that we are enough and valuable and worthy as we already are.
  • We are people who understand that friends are made from humans; awful, awesome, horrible, heroic, endearing, irritating humans.
  • We are people who live in a mess and with the mess and through the mess, and we know that it’s knee-deep in the mess that we find the magic.
  • We are people who are weak.
  • We are people who are strong.
  • We are people who are weak and strong, sometimes all at once, and lost and found, which is where we discover grace.
  • We are people who rise above it all and put one step in front of the other and keep going in the middle of the madness.
  • We are people who can’t take one more step and sit, immovable, smack-dab in the middle of the mud.
  • We are people who cry at night and who need a Google Earth zoom-out button so we can see the other night-criers and know we’re not alone.
  • We are people who wave at each other in the dark and who hold hands while we wait for the dawn to break.
  • And we are people who need each other. Truly and deeply. Imperfectly and full of grace. We are people who need connection. And friends. And a Tribe like us.

So now it’s your turn.

Your part. 

Your chance to be brave and bold – if only for the minute it takes to make a comment, because bravery and boldness only happen a minute at a time, anyway – and raise your hand and say, “I want in.”

If you want to be part of this Experiment — this opportunity for connection and friendship, whether you’re looking for a friend because you don’t have one right now, or you’re eager to open your already established Tribe to new friends — please reply below in the comments section with three things:

  1. Your first name. (Last name is fine but not required.)
  2. Your email address. (As is normally required to leave a comment. NOTE: This will NOT be shared publicly, but WILL be shared via a private, group email with others from your region who sign up for this experiment. This is how I’ll put you into contact with each other.)
  3. Your location, like this: City, State/Province, Country. 

My comment would look like this:

comment

And that is all.

Over the next few days, I’ll collect your names and your regions. Broad regions, probably. Like states or provinces or small countries or large cities, because I won’t know how close, exactly, your towns are to each other. And then, on Saturday, I’ll start to email you as regional groups**. To say, “HEY! You’re all from Ohio!” Or “Hey! You’re both in Sydney!” 

I know this is weird. I know it requires a measure of trust. I know it’ll work out for some and not for others. But it’s worth a try, don’t you think? And it’s a worthy experiment, just like all of human connection. A worthy experiment.

I hope you’ll join me.

Love,
Beth

**P.S. Everyone will be placed in a group. Those of you who have others from your region will be placed by region. Those of you who don’t have others from your region will still receive an option to be part of an online, email-based group. I know that won’t work for everyone, and that’s fine, but I want to be sure everyone has an opportunity for some kind of contact. OK? OK. Now get on with commenting. Be brave, just for a minute, but also know I’m waving to you in the dark and holding your hand ’til the dawn arrives.

UPDATE: Some of you want to know if you can opt to JUST be email buddies and NOT have regional contacts. YES. Yes, if this is how you want to participate and connect, YES, ABSOLUTELY. To opt into an email group, please follow steps 1 and 2 above (name and email address) and simply write “email” as your comment, instead of your location. 

UPDATE #2: It is NOT too late to join. As I mentioned on the Book of Faces (aka, Facebook), I HAVE sent out groups as of today, Saturday, September 27. HOWEVER, it is never too late for more members of the Village. You can still leave your info below and I’ll add you to a group as soon as I can.

Old and Young Women Holding Hand photo credit to worradmu via freedigitalimages.net