I have never really had a squad. I don’t have a girl gang that I’ve run with through thick and thin since forever. In most seasons of my life, I’ve had a handful of very close, very dear friends who are deeply precious to me. I was never teased harshly, bullied, or picked on. People have mostly been polite and friendly to me. I’ve just never had that ride or die tribe of girls.
I know I’m not the life of the party. I can actually be pretty awkward in group settings. My sister once described an awkward group experience saying that she left after she “Beaned around the room” (as in Mr. Bean). I laugh until I cry every time I think about it because I can relate so much. Maybe you know exactly what she means. Maybe you have no idea what I’m talking about.
I’ve struggled with my social status and how I’m not “in”. I’ve worried that I’m boring or not enough. I’ve asked myself if I’m too much or too out there. Maybe I’m rude, over eager, or stand-offish. I’m not sure, but I know it’s hurt my heart as I’ve wondered. From high school to summer camp to grown up life, I’ve always played politely just outside the squad.
Now, if you share life with a core group of women who love you and challenge you, then you are not wrong or bad, and you are not a mean girl. You haven’t been unkind to me, and I do not blame you for my own insecurities. I am delighted for you, and celebrate the fellowship, connection and intimacy you share with your girls. It’s a gift to have that kind of belonging over many years and seasons with the same group of people. I only ask you this one thing with the gentlest, most loving tenderness. Is it possible that maybe the girl outside your group is not necessarily the one missing out? Is it possible that you are? She might be she different, or not quite fit in. Maybe she doesn’t believe what you believe or act the way you act, or shop where you shop. She might even bother you a little and you don’t know exactly why. But what if her voice, her vision, her heart, or her way of seeing the world could enrich and enliven how you see it?
And girls like me, who feel on the fringes? I see you and I know the questions you ask yourself. I have wandered into harsh self talk. I have modified my behavior to fit in, and gotten my feelings hurt. I’ve been dropped like a bad habit, and I’ve sat quietly in the room while other girls talked and laughed and about their party or tribe or meeting that I’m not and never will be part of. But I have some hard questions for you, too. Is it possible that you are excluding yourself without realizing it? Are you waiting to be invited instead of offering the first invitation? Are you labeling yourself an outsider because you’ve made up lies about the groups you feel left out from? You crave belonging, but are turned off by the squads you simultaneously long to be part of while also thinking you’re not like “them”? The truth is that you don’t know them and they don’t know you. The only way to fix it is to let go of whatever you’re telling yourself about you and them, and ask yourself if you want to be in relationship with the people in the group. If the answer is yes, then don’t be afraid to make the first move. Remember that you are not trying to “get in”, you are trying to know, see, and love individual human beings. And if you genuinely believe you will not thrive in relationship with the people in the group, then don’t be afraid to move on. You are not everyone’s cup of tea and they are not yours and that’s ok. Let it go, and focus on cultivating the relationships that are important to you.
In all honesty, I think on some level I selfishly started Selah from a craving for belonging. It was an attempt to get people to come to me. Like an all call - “Here’s what I stand for. Here are my squad goals. Are you in?” But Selah is not a tribe or a squad. I don’t ever want it to be. Because after a lifetime of trying to earn my spot on the team, I’ve only just let it go. I’m not trying to make the squad any more. I see now that this sisterhood of women - all women - is not a closed circle. It is a living, breathing, hurting, beautiful, imperfect, wild, and abundant table. And we all have a place.
You belong at the table and so do I. If you’re pretty, or awkward, or funny, or quiet, or loud. If you’re squad captain, or not on the squad at all. If you’re a tired mama, an entrepreneur, or an artist. If you’re a teacher, a grandma, or a volunteer. If you are a human being, then your place at the table is already saved. You can stop trying to keep your place or earn your place. You can just take your seat. I hope you sit by me.
Love + Light,