Have you found your tribe? Do you have a group of friends with whom you share the ups and downs of your life, as soon as they occur; women with whom you can laugh or cry, dance the night away or talk for hours without ever getting bored?
A few years ago I attended a breast cancer charity ball, with a group of women. At a certain point in the evening, and (I should probably add), after several bottles of fizz had been drunk at our table, there was a charity auction, with the usual “prizes” such as signed footballs and celebrity photos, spa days and dining experiences. ‘Just for fun’ we joined in the procedure, sticking our hands up in the early stages before quickly dropping out. Then a villa holiday in the Cevennes, in the south of France, came up. One person on our table stuck her hand up and, with her back to the auctioneer, mouthed: “If we ‘win’ we can go on holiday together!” Before we knew it, the hammer went down. We’d “bought” a holiday!
A few weeks later we were at Gatwick Airport with another bottle of fizz in front of us, (you might find a pattern here,) awaiting a flight to Montpelier. At this early stage, roles quickly emerged. One person had immediately taken upon herself to organize flights and car hire. On arrival in France, another, who had lived in the US and was therefore more experienced driving on the right, championed herself as driver. Another became map-reader and tour guide. A couple of hours later we arrived at our (remote) destination in a tiny village with no shop, café or bar. Not even a bakery. I’d had the foresight to pack enough ingredients to make a pasta dish for dinner so became head chef, as well as finding the villa owner’s wine stash under the stairs…and the other member of the group proved to be the perfect ‘fire-starter’. (It was mid-April and freezing at night in the hills.)
Over the following few days we found easy agreement to a daily schedule with trips around the area and beyond, supermarket visits to buy provisions, (fizz and wine being a priority,) and evenings spent telling stories around the dining table, playing loud music and dancing like no one was watching, (they weren’t really.)
We are actually, all quite different people, doing very different jobs with different characters and in different stages of our lives, but we found a common ground – an ability to feel free and laugh together; that has remained over the ensuing years. That first Spring-time trip away has been on repeat over the last 7 years, usually in slightly warmer places than the Cevennes, but always with the same sense of closeness and appreciation.
Early on in our group friendship we called ourselves “Goddesses”, partly as a joke, but also as an ‘homage’ to one of the group who had recovered from breast cancer. Now each December we have a “Goddess Night” to celebrate ourselves as women. We glam up, exchange small gifts, drink fizz and embrace the importance of having found our special tribe. One year, one of the group bought us all “Goddess” mugs, and every time I drink from mine, I feel thankful and lucky to have found my little tribe.