THE YEAR OF THE TRIBE: RESOLUTION 2017

Posted on 01 January 2017

I still remember when I turned 18. I immediately had the right to consent to sex and buy cigarettes, something I couldn’t do just five minutes prior. “You’re an adult!” society cried, as it rained junk mail offers for credit cards upon my head. As I sat there lamely blowing out the candles on my birthday cake, I contemplated the new legal powers of decision making I had been granted against what I perceived to be no noticeable change in my wisdom. Dates are effectively arbitrary points in time, but we chase them all the same. 

Time is constantly putting pressure on us, whether it’s time to wake up, grow up or simply move on. As humans, we mark our lives with the passage of time. We’re constantly charging forwards towards a new year, which now brings us to 2017.

“New year, new you!” It’s the familiar mantra of time pressuring us to better ourselves. It’s why my Facebook is full of gym selfies for two weeks before returning to Netflix and chill.

As for me, I’m still waiting. The “new me” has not been delivered to my doorstep via Amazon drone, and unlike my 18th birthday, the New Year doesn’t usher in a host of new legal privileges. Instead, it leaves me stuck between arrested development and my ever-deepening crow’s feet. Change doesn’t occur on the turn of a dime, and it’s certainly not arbitrary. Change requires action, but more importantly, it involves a sense of self.

This year, instead of creating New Years’ resolutions, I encourage you to put an emphasis on being your authentic self. Not only will this lead to sustainable change, but it also allows you to honor the moment. It means not caring if what you’re doing right now is setting you up for success six months from now. If what you need right now is a shot of a vodka, and to dance on the table, that’s okay. Just don’t fall off the table, because that’s guaranteed to hurt tomorrow and possibly even six months from now.

Part of what enables us to be our true authentic selves is the community of people we surround ourselves with. Our tribe, if you will. It’s the distinctive group of people who support us in our goals and aspirations, but more importantly, it’s the group of people who are here for us now, as we are. In some cases, finding your tribe is the answer to discovering and living your authentic self, but in other cases, living your authentic self can lead you to find your tribe.

Finding my tribe has helped me to pull off stunts like this.  Image courtesy of the author.

Resolutions don’t necessarily equal better. While sometimes they might help us to become better versions of ourselves, sometimes they push us towards an unsustainable version of ourselves. We chase the slimmer body society points us to, and climb the ladder our career points to. We seek to emulate the personality that our friends find attractive, and for what? That momentary satisfaction we feel will quickly be replaced by our ever-evolving desire for self-betterment. There’s no rest stop on the train of life.

You can’t hide from who you are. Even if you shed the weight, even if you start to pull in six figures, you can’t bury the person who lacks confidence and self-worth. To truly overcome these things, you have to tackle these issues independently. Make self-worth your priority now and your tribe will follow.

I finally found my tribe when I let go of others’ expectations and pursued the activities that I enjoyed, much to my parents’ and general society’s chagrin. I went outside the sphere of my cushy desk job to pursue a less-practical, but more enjoyable career path. I started pole dancing to combine my childhood love of gymnastics with an adult desire to tap into my sexual side. I started painting – not because I want to be a starving artist – but because I feel joy in the act of putting shapes and color on paper.

When you find your tribe, they’ll help you call into question the status quo. They’ll help you to explore the path that best suits you, and they’ll never ask you to be someone you’re not.

My tribe is a band of misfits, we’re vegans and carnivores, plus-sized and pint-sized, activists and comfortable couch potatoes; we know how to climb a metal pole, and rock a hangover.  But most importantly, we’re in it to win it.

This year I won’t get caught on my heels waiting for “new me” to arrive, and I won’t pour my self-worth into the list of resolutions lacking conviction that will probably end up destroyed in the washing machine along with my self-esteem. This is the year I live up to my name by imbuing it with the meaning I discover. This is the year of the tribe.  

Who's in your tribe?  

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Ashley Steel fell into the world of pole dancing in the same way she once broke her foot - by complete accident and with much bruising.  Currently a novice, she hopes to be a performer someday.  She's amazed by the cast of characters she meets within the aerial art world and loves exploring the topic of female empowerment.  When not pole dancing, she can be found painting or playing with her pig, Henry.

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