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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