I couldn’t wait to graduate high school. I hated it…no scratch that, I don’t think there is a strong enough word for that feeling. I breathed in, I breathed out, I walked the halls, and I plotted my escape.
I was going to go to college, Davidson to be exact, and I was going to find the magical place where I would meet like-minded people that I could talk to and think and celebrate all the things that I cared about. Without putting a name to that longing at the time, I wanted my tribe. And, when I walked through the quad, went to my classes, walked down Main Street, ate too many french fries late at night, my tribe wasn’t there. I saw the same cliques and groups that were always in my peripheral, the only difference was these cliques had a bigger bankroll than those of my high school in NC.
I accepted my fate and realized that I would keep on marching, taking my classes and embracing that I was going to be the girl who raised her hand too much in class. I was going to be the girl who had that boyfriend and not really a lot of friends. I was going to be that girl that took time off for family and personal drama and come back more focused on finishing on time. I was the girl who would graduate but wouldn’t be caught dead walking across that stage for commencement. Soon, I realized I was plotting my escape yet again.
I expected to find a kindred spirit. An oddball that wanted to shop at J. Crew but crank the Foo Fighters as loud as my speakers could manage. My tribe, maybe carefully hidden, never appeared to me. Today, I am the girl that watches E3 and then watches the Tonys, and yes, my tribe watches with me.
They say you won’t find true love when you are looking for it and I would also argue that you won’t find your tribe when you are ardently looking/craving/searching for it. It isn’t there because you are focusing too much, it isn’t natural/organic or any other lovely word you want to substitute for it.
I found my tribe behind a keypad, a phone keypad to be precise. As soon as I discovered social media and the method in the madness, I was hooked. I existed in this life as an alien separate from what seemed like the cookie cutter students, girls, southerners, etc that existed around me. I was the English Major who taught Math, the creative that wanted to exhaust all research and data to find whatever truth existed. Social Media Marketing helped me find my tribe. If you are a smartass on Twitter, I will find you, appreciate you and in true INFJ fashion, will embrace you as a Twitter friend without ever laying eyes on you in person. I drink the knowledge of any marketers around me, those who have become the metaphorical version of coffee for me (I’m looking at you Gary Vaynerchuk) and keep on hustling, working, striving, learning, and growing.
Now I face a strange and scary reality. My tribe (although not all of them) will be in Boston in September for Inbound 2017 and I am beyond hyped. I have found a community of leaders and dreamers: sarcastic, pithy, and crazy obsessed with all things marketing like myself. There is a thirst for updates, trends, data, and strategy, something I have always looked for in others. I finally found them.
I never found my tribe when and where I expected it, but it made me the marketer I am today and I doubt I am alone in that. Either way, the Foo Fighters will keep me company while I post.