It’s nineteen-sixty something and being the only child of older parents I am a bit of a social misfit.
“Hey, Mom!” I yell from the backyard “Can I go over to Tommy house to play?!?”
Mom is sitting on the back porch reading a book as I play on the old rusted playset. You know the one with the wooden planks for seats. The kind of playset that will try to lift out of the ground if you get the swing going too high. Mine has a slide that has a gash in it that would slice ham.
Dad had a bad temper so several weeks before to get me to “quit my damn yelling” he had used a hoe to put a scar in the metallic skin of the slide, making it unusable.
“No son,” she said, half paying attention to my request with most of her attention on her book. She loved to sit on our screened-in back porch to read. Reflecting on it now, I believe she did that to get away from Dad. It was too hot for him and she didn’t mind the scouring Florida afternoons as long as she was in the shade and a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon.
“You have plenty to play with back here. You don’t need to go over to anyone’s house.” she continued in her distracted tone.
My Mom would often quote one of the Generals she worked with when she was in the Army. “Remember what General Reese said. People are no damn good.” She never told me why he said that but, it had left an impression on my Mom.
So was much of my adolescents. A loner, never fitting in and alright with it. I had my books and TV to entertain me and later in years I had my music and guitar.
Self-sufficiency was a badge of honor that I carried for many years.
When forced into a group dynamic, I can put on a show and joke around while on the inside I’m questioning. “Am I making a fool of myself? Do I sound like an idiot?”
It was when I turned forty and joined a running group that I realized that having a team to share in the challenges of running long distance is a thing of beauty.
Recently, it has been my fellow Storyathletes that share in the commitment to tell our stories about our 1% Journey of improvement in Body, Mind, Relationships, and Business that again revealed that lie I have been telling myself.
The lie that being alone again is natural.
The truth is that there is a tribe out there where we all belong. Find your tribe or join mine this new shiny playset we call Storyathletes has room for everyone.
Live, Love, Matter