Last week I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR. Despite what you may think from the title, this was a gathering of creative folks and people living their lives along a slightly different track. For four days, I was amongst “my people.”
When people asked, “What do you do?” I could tell them that I’m a freelance writer, that I run a website for women without children, and that when I grow up I want to be a fiction author, and no one went cross-eyed and looked at me as if I was some kind of loser. They got me.
In a crowd of 3,000 people, I think perhaps two asked me if I had children and both understood and respected the fact that I didn’t. I even had an in-depth conversation with a woman who had a biological daughter and was now trying to navigate the world of adoption and learning first-hand that it’s not the quick-fix so many believe it to be. These people got me, too.
So many of the speakers addressed the topic of community. Jonathan Fields included “find your tribe” in his Good Life Project creed; Steve Schalchlin talked about living in what he calls the “bonus round” and brought the entire audience to tears with his story of his friends’ love literally kept him alive. When he sang, “We should all be connected to each other,” I got it. In fact one of the main themes of the summit was “community” and the importance of being among people who understand you was never clearer to me.
After the summit end, I went home via the Portland airport. It was full of families returning home from a long holiday weekend, and never have I felt more like an alien crash-landing on a strange and hostile planet. I wasn’t among my people any more.
But the next day I sat down to write this blog post and I realized that I do get to be among my people, around people who understand me. And those people are you. Here on this blog is one of the few places I can talk about it’s like to live without children, to get blank stares of misunderstanding from people who don’t get it, and to feel as if I don’t belong. Here I am among my tribe and today, I appreciate my tribe more than ever.