on bowling and belonging

Welcome to another  Sluiter Nation Recruit Wednesday!

Today I bring you Angela of Tiaras and Trucks.

I have met some absolutely delightful people through this world of blogging, and Angela is at the top of that list.  I believe I met Angela through The Red Dress Club (now Write on Edge), but I do most of my chatting with her on the twitter. Plus she is a fellow Michigan girl, so there’s that.

She is kind, thoughtful, and always has a positive thing to say when I am feeling down or discouraged.

And she can write like the wind blows.  I am in love with her metaphor in the post she is sharing here today.

Oh, and Angela?  I’ve got a bag of twizzlers for you right here!

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One night in college, tired of yelling over loud music or possibly just looking for a different pitcher of beer, we decided to go bowling. 

A small group of people converged: my boyfriend and some of his friends, many of whom I’d known since high school.  One of the guys brought along a girl he had just started dating.

She and I chatted a bit, my interest in bowling heavily overshadowed by the humorous nature of bowling shoes and the ripe opportunity for people watching.

Fueled by vending machine Twizzlers, I had one of the best bowling games of my life, despite bowling with a six pound ball in one hand and a piece of candy in the other. 

In a cosmic planetary alignment, one of Ryan’s friends, a guy with a hyper competitive streak, happened to be bowling beyond terribly.  At one point it seemed like I might beat him.

Thrilled by our unlikely rivalry, our friends cheered each time I bowled a great frame.  A better bowler would’ve called it keeping the ball out of the gutter, but with my limited skills four pins seemed like quite a feat.

Light-hearted and silly, the evening was a welcome change from a usual night at the bar, until I overheard the new girlfriend complain, “I don’t get it.  I’m bowling better than her.  Why are they acting like she’s doing something special?”

A little hurt, I didn’t offer to pour her anymore beer.

Years of friendship meant the cheers weren’t literally about my anemic bowling score, and it wouldn’t have been fair to expect her to understand that immediately.  But if she would have paused for a moment and tried to figure out the group dynamic before commenting on it, it would have done more to endear her to an established group with a long history.

I’m reminded of that night every so often as I stumble into different blogging communities, figuring out where I belong, finding my own tribe while respecting community members already comfortably established.

I’ve heard rumblings at times, like the too-loud whisper of the new girlfriend.  Vague comments alluding to favoritism or the mysterious nature of a popular blogger’s following are spoken without mentioning names. 

Part of the beauty of blogging is finding a community where you feel welcome and comfortable and ready to share candy or beer or a six pound bowling ball.  But finding a community doesn’t mean you automatically have access to the complete history of the members or the ins and outs of established relationships.

I’ve been lucky enough to discover a few places where I’ve felt an instant sense of camaraderie, but I’ll admit I’ve taken a moment to observe and participate a little cautiously, trying to feel out the intricacies of the group before making assumptions about how I fit into the mix of personalities. 

For me, truly belonging takes a bit of time, but I’m so thankful I’ve taken that time and found this supportive, funny, and fun community tucked snuggly into the online world.  You can share my Twizzlers anytime.

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I wasn’t kidding.  Angela is the real deal (plus she totally knocked out 50,000 words during November for NaNoWriMo.  I hope she remembers me when her first novel is published).

You should be reading more of the lovely Angela…

about taking time to rejuvenate her spirit…Leaves in Their Hair.

as a mom of a little girl, she finally makes peace with Disney princesses…Her Royal Wish

and some of her thoughts right before she dove into NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)…My Costume?  I’m an Author

Go on…spend some time with Angela today.  I totally understand.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl…wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Angela, what a wonderful post and I love the analogy – you’re so right. Existing group dynamics can be so complicated – one needs to feel one’s way around with caution and a little care.

    Loved seeing you here!

    • Thanks Alison! It can be tough not to dive in when you find a group you love, but sometimes just observing and being careful can save a blunder 🙂

  2. Oh Angela, I love this post.
    As an avid bowler (not that I’d tweet my scores or anything) I understand the camaraderie you wrote about. It’s also what I found in the blogging community.
    Both places are full of love and support.

    The bowlers comprise the largest portion of my irl friends. They encourage me to join tourneys, just for the fun of it. Well, and maybe the beer.

    The blogging world has encouraged me to be creative. To write when I think I’m not good enough. To step out of my comfort zone. And just like my bowling friends, they’re there to give me a high five, just for trying.

    • Renee, you’re going to laugh, but I thought about you when I wrote this. I know you’re such a great bowler! I am terrible, but it can be fun, and I love going with people who don’t get frustrated with me 🙂

      And yes, with writing, it’s important to have people around that support you in both the effort and the finished product!

  3. Love, love, love, love this post! Perfect analogy. And group dynamics? As I try to teach my tween a little about them it reminds me that maybe it’s hard for adults to even understand them sometimes. Love ya, girl!

    • Thanks Missy! It’s such a hard concept to grasp, and I can’t imagine trying to explain it to a teenager, especially with the heightened drama of teenage issues.

  4. I LOVED the analogy here, Angela.

    And I can absolutely relate. Since I begin each new situation pretty much just trying to keep my ball out of the gutter, I’m always pleasantly surprised when I actually knock down four pins.

    Of course, I’m not talking about bowling here either.
    But then you knew that.

    So cheers to instant connections.
    And also to standing back a bit to watch the game first.

    Either way, I’ll share my beer and Twizzlers with you.

    • Yes please 🙂 I’d share beer and snacks with you anytime my friend xo

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who can be shocked by my “bowling performance” 🙂

  5. Katie, Thank you so much for my “recruitment”. I feel so honored to be over here visiting in your space. xo

  6. Let’s definitely share some Twizzlers. Because observing is an underused tool, in any group.

  7. Hi, Angela! I want to go bowling with you. I’ll try not to eat all your Twizzlers. I really loved this post! Being new to blogging and twitter I’m finding it all rather daunting & it was great to read your thoughts.

    And, thank you for your wonderful blog, Katie!

    • You probably don’t want me on your team, though 🙂 I understand. We’ll still have a great time!

      And I’m now following you on twitter!

    • Jennifer! Thank YOU for reading my blog! And I am ALSO now following you on twitter! 🙂

  8. Angie!!!! How fantastic to see you and Katie in the same space. Wow Katie what a really wonderful intro for Angie, I completely agree she’s phenomenal..just like u!

    I loved this anology and how you tied it to our blogging communities. I feel this way a lot too…like I wonder where and WHEN I belong. You have a really special way of being able to rwrite things that are so relatable and real, so much so that I know how lucky I am to have you as a friend . I can’t wait to share those twizzlers. Xo

  9. I’ve never really thought about this much before, but you’re totally right!! And I feel lucky to have “met” you, and would share candy with you ANY time 🙂

  10. Oh, Angela…swoon.
    What an amazing analogy you’ve made here.
    How lucky I am that our paths crossed. xo