Last time I made a vision board, I was fresh out of a rocky breakup and in serious need of some control and direction. I spent hours scouring Pinterest for any pictures that made me feel something, pictures of joy and travel and adventure, and yes, despite the ironic situation, pictures of impossibly happy couples. But I went with it, trusting my heart as I sat in my basement cutting and pasting what felt like salt in my fresh wounds. Three months later, that vision board still hangs right above my bed, and – lo and behold – I am in the happiest and most fulfilling relationship of my life.
But I still feel like I’m missing something.
Even before I left home I knew that I was going to have a different approach to making friends. In my tiny hometown, pickings were slim and people were often friends just by proximity. I’ve kept in touch with a few of my old friends since I left, and have been surprised by with whom, but also unsurprised by how many remained stuck in the petty ways of a school of 1,000. I am so grateful to be in a bigger city with so much more vibrance and light, but I have also had a striking lack of luck finding quality friends even at my new school of 40,000.
The girls here are known for their beauty, but many are also sneaky and manipulative. More than a few times I’ve overheard conversations between girlfriends about all the boys they’re seeing at once, little do those boys know. They talk about sneaking out of dorms in the morning before their guy wakes up, or publicly discuss how they weren’t good enough in bed or the fact that they only hooked up because they were drunk.
Of course I’ve also met a handful of people who are so pure I wanted nothing more than to be their friend, but somehow I am always being flaked on, left feeling worse than before.
As I sat in my bed looking up at that first vision board, I realized that even in a happy relationship, you need a tribe. We’re all familiar with the idea, and it seems all well and good, but it’s hard to sort out who you really belong with.
I have a belief that your tribe should elevate you to your best self, and you elevate them in return. You are a network, a strengthening force, a support system. You’re also best friends – the kind who take bubble baths and eat ice cream and drink wine. You wake up hungover from a wild night out to hunt for the best flowers at the farmer’s market together. You can laugh, filled with joy by these women you call your best friends. But how in the hell are you supposed to find them. I am not a socialite, and I am by no means a perfect human being, but I crave that community and that love.
For now, I’m going to do what I know and keep making goals, and new vision boards for what I want my life to be. I’ll let you know how it goes, but until then, good luck ladies – we’re in it together.