When I first met Amber at a work event, I’m ashamed to admit I felt slightly intimidated by her. This beautiful, well-turned out girl who was definitely far too cool for me with my day old, melted-off face of make-up, scruffy hair and not so great dress sense.
I imagined we were worlds apart… Turns out I couldn’t have been further from the truth.
Because despite not having known Amber all that long, it’s become very clear that this girl belongs very firmly in my ‘tribe’. Because she just gets it. She gets me. Our thoughts on life, who we are now and who we want to be, align in so many ways. We’re both grappling with out sense of self, striving to become our better selves; to become more than we are now.
And that feeling, that feeling of finding someone living life to the same beat as you – with the same questions and doubts and longings – is incredible. I grew up lost, lonely and confused, and I definitely didn’t help myself much when I essentially withdrew from everyone and everything between the ages of 15 and 18. I also grew up wondering how anyone could like me, and that I needed to bury a lot of who I was in order to be accepted. But if I’ve learnt anything in my 20s, I’ve learnt the opposite is true – that it’s through being 100% yourself that you will be accepted. Perhaps not by everyone, sure, but by the right people, the people who understand you, the people who’ll help you grow.
Getting to know Amber has made me less afraid, less lonely, and an altogether stronger, more passionate person. Because we come from the same place, fighting for the same things. Because we can expose all our doubts and uncertainties to one another and be understood. Because we’re rooting for each other all the way, helping each other fit the puzzle pieces together.
Last week I added another friend to my little network of positive influencers. I don’t know him well, but I think he belongs here. He’s a photographer and film-maker, and through chatting to him about how I’d like to improve my photography, he has motivated me to keep practising. I even told him I used to write poetry (not something I admit freely) and he encouraged me to get back into it.
He’s a dream chaser, like Amber.
And I suppose that’s where the similarities stop. I don’t quite have a dream I’m chasing, and it’s a realisation I’ve started to feel crushing at my insides if I dwell on it, as if my chest is tight around the part of me that wants to be more, the part that’s beating hard inside me, ready to fly out and chase after something, something I haven’t quite figured out yet.
In the meantime, I’ll reach out to those in my ‘tribe’. My new friends, and those who’ve know me since we were kids – the ones who truly understand where I’ve been and what I’ve come through. Because I know they’re the people who’ll help me become a better version of myself, who’ll inspire and encourage me, who’ll help guide me towards that dream, and cheer me on all the way, just as I’m cheering for them.