2018-01-05 MFA Residency Day 8 – Finding Your Tribe

I wish I knew the name of the woman who said, on one of those first days at lunch or dinner that “everybody cries”. I think she went on to say that she cries daily during this little adventure we are all on together. I knew that I would, but I didn’t know then that it really would be every day.

Today when I went back to my room after workshop I just wept openly. That workshop took a lot to endure, and it wasn’t even my work coming under fire. I think if it would have been, I would have not been able to hold it together. I’m glad I didn’t have K as one of the facilitators of MY workshop. I really am. I got all that I needed from her from hearing her critique of someone else’s work.

When I started crying it was because I am, even after almost 8 full days of this, feeling as though I’m not worthy of being here. As I cried, my thoughts transitioned to questioning why I am here and then finally landed on questions focussed more on why I decided to have children. That’s quite a leap, it appears, but not really.

The thing it all has in common is what my purpose might be. Of course you have to zoom way out to see that thread being punched through each cloud of thought in the sky with a needle and thimble to get there. Did I really have children to give me a reason for being? Perhaps.

The topic of One of the lectures I went to today was about costume design and fashion and why that is important in art and what the impacts are on the art and people and culture. What does that have to do with poetry? Well, not a lot, unless you are trying to convey something with an image and the outfit of the person matters. A lot I’ve learned this week has been only peripherally applicable to what I should be learning.

And between starting that last paragraph and now, I forgot what my point was going to be. It wasn’t supposed to be an abbreviated commentary on everything I’m learning.

Oh… now I remember… She talked about tribes and what kinds of things we think about certain cultures and their native attire, and it reminded me that I’m supposed to be in search of my tribe. The word came up again in workshop when K said there are three types of poems, and somewhere along the way, you kind of have to decide what “tribe” you or your work belongs with. I wrote down the three types, but now that’s lost in a sea of notes I have taken throughout the week.

At dinner the other night, I sat next to a woman who had previously graduated from the program and she explained to me that she comes back to residency as much as she can because these are “her people”. She had found her tribe and wanted nothing more than to be around everyone and gather energy and inspiration from them. I find that idea fantastic, but as the days wear on, my hopes that these people are my people are waning.

There are the party people, and it is clear who they are. They are the drinkers and smokers and they are the ones who are always laughing or loud. They stay up late and sleep in. I like to hang out with those people because they are fun and I can rest easy knowing I will never have to worry about being the center of attention, but I get up early and go to bed early. And I might have a drink or two, but no doubt I just can’t hang.

There’s the faculty, who are all truly inspiring, but they are on another level and I’m not qualified to hang out with any of them outside their normal “duties as assigned”.

There are the more reserved people, which is the group I probably fit in with the most, but even within that, we still don’t have that much in common. I could break down each person and personality, but aint nobody got time for that. In short, I just have not been feeling the tribe vibe.

Maybe that takes time and maybe it’s something you know instantly, like the cliche “love at first sight”. I don’t know. All I know is, I’m feeling as though I came here searching and didn’t find what I was hoping for. That has contributed to my unstable emotional state. Puff that one up to the sky and string it next to all the rest.

Tonight is graduation for those who have done their 4 semesters. One of the requirements of graduation is for the student to attend a 5th residency where they give a lecture and a reading. Then, on the last night, there is a ceremony and dinner followed by a party. I’m going for the pomp and staying for the food, and then I’m outta here. I just want to go home and be with my kitten and sleep in my own bed.

For now I’m good with being a tribe of 1 (+2 clones and 1 kitten). Maybe I knew I wouldn’t find a tribe years ago so I started my own. 😉

Cheers to the Grads,
~Miss SugarCookie

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