I've never met my tribe. They come to the circle from east and west, north and south. I've listened to their stories, and they to mine. I've pored over their heartache, followed along as they've grown as mothers, wives, and friends, but never once reached in with a hand. Another mother writer introduced us, our mentor and guide. She pulled us together, stumbling through winter into the light of spring. At first we were hesitant, wondering who would go first, who would speak their truth and set the tone for our gatherings. We worried we'd shared too much, that we'd shown up to the circle naked without so much as a blanket to cover our fears.
It's better that we've never met, at least to start. Had we been introduced in person, no doubt we all would have brought our heaviest quilts and goose down comforters to hide the truths lurking behind our smiling eyes. We might have spent weeks getting through the awkward small talk and uncomfortable pleasantries required of new friendships. Instead, hidden behind our computer screens and with miles between us, we met online with a teacher who urged us to write about two things we share so intimately: motherhood and words. You are mothers and you are writers, she told us, let's get started. And so we did, even if we did not entirely believe we could call ourselves writers. Still, from the beginning, we have shared our stories with the candor that accompanies anonymity. We wear our invisibility cloaks, remaining faceless and formless except for our souls. Those we bare with an honesty permissible because of the privacy settings to which we've all agreed.
After ten weeks, we were not ready for our class to end. We had only just begun to poke at the scabs holding in our secrets. And so we began our sequel. In another online space, we called our new group "Mothers and Words Continue" and we kept our pens moving.
Read the rest of this essay here, at Literary Mama.