It's in our nature as humans to live in cohabitation, we just aren't designed to walk our paths alone. Everyone wants to feel loved and accepted for being who they are, and we all have the desire to feel welcomed and part of something bigger than ourselves. Basically, we all want to belong to a tribe, some circle of community that embraces us in a most complete and satisfying way.
For many people, their tribe is their family, their closest relatives that know them better than anyone else and accept them warts and all. Not all of us have this privilege, some of us have definitely never felt like we belonged with our own kin and kind, and this leads to a feeling of being set adrift - a lone wanderer without a tribe, and for anyone out there who has experienced this feeling before, you will understand just how difficult it can be at times.
My sister recently returned safely from Afghanistan (thank goodness) and we got into a lengthy discussion about the struggles that we both had trying to find a new tribe when we felt so disconnected from our own kin. We both agreed that we would not have grown nearly as much if we had not found other tribes to run with, but we also agreed that finding a tribe that genuinely fits is tremendously difficult.
Finding a tribe that will accept you warts and all is even harder again, so the odds were really stacked against us. My sister found her tribe in the army, they embraced her and helped her to grow and against all adversity she has become a well rounded person, she found her tribe and she then found herself.
I think that I gave up on ever finding a tribe for a long time, sure I dipped my foot into the friendship pool many times, but many of those people came and went over the years, they were band-aids, they were never my tribe.
I think that I made my own tribe in the end. I met my mate, we made some people to love and care for and they became our tribe and along the way we picked up various good people and like minded family members to join our circle, coming and going from the tribe as they wish, but always in our thoughts.
Having a tribe is work, you have to keep your tribe tight and close in order for it to flourish. You have to reach out to those in your tribe and tell them how much they mean to you, you have to be there for them and you have to be willing to go on a limb for them - anytime and often on a whim. The effort is always outweighed by that overwhelmingly grand feeling of belonging, of having a tribe that you really belong to. I tell you, having come from a tribe-less place, I wouldn't be without mine now for all of the tea in China. You have never really lived until you have royally fucked up and had your tribe tell you that they not only forgive you, but love you just the same. There is really no better feeling in the world.
Release Date: 2002
Running Time: 101 mins
At the tender age of 13, actress Keisha Castle-Hughes became one of the youngest actresses to be nominated for an Academy Award due to the strength of her incredible performance in Whale Rider. Awarded the AGF People's Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and the World Cinema Award at the Sundance Film Festival, this New Zealand-German movie collaboration, based on the novel of the same name by Witi Ihimaera, shot to the top of everyone's must see list in 2002.
When the next male in line for chiefdom in a local Maori tribe passes away in child birth, it is his twin sister Pai who survives and believes that she is the next chosen descendant. However, her traditional and steadfast grandfather Koro refuses to let Pai train for the honour, based on the fact that she is a female, and the chiefdom has always been reserved for males. Pai must go against her grandfathers wishes to fulfill her destiny and birthright, to become the Whale Rider.
Whale Rider was quite a controversial film because of its focus on female equality and cultural tradition. The tension is palpable in this movie, some of the scenes are utterly heart breaking. This is sensitive and beautiful film making with a truly interesting story line, just make sure you have your tissue box at the ready.
FINAL SAY: In the old days, the land felt a great emptiness. It was waiting, waiting to be filled up. Waiting for someone to love it. Waiting for a leader. And he came on the back of a whale.
4 Chili Peppers