Confessions of a Recovering Group-aphobic

I have to admit, I’ve had a fear of groups for as long as I can remember.

My phobia probably dates back to elementary school when I was scorned for wearing “the wrong kind of headband.”

High school was a time of stick straight hair. And no matter how many times I ironed mine, it still went BOING. An apt metaphor for an artsy-craftsy non-conformist.

There were The Mean Girls, The Nice Girls, The Cheerleaders and The Sluts. Since I never really found my group, I chose a couple of best friends instead.

Later, in life, I found myself an Execu-Woman working in what was essentially a Boy’s Club. I was the only female SVP, Creative Director in a big ad agency on car accounts. (I didn’t even like cars but that’s another story.)

I spent my days in client meetings, management meetings, traffic meetings, creative meetings and meetings about the meetings.

After overdosing on groups, I’d race home to my husband and little boy. There was barely time in my life for me, let alone many women friends.

But all that changed a few years back when I lost my job and started to find myself.

My heart stirred with a longing to find a community that resonated with the woman I was becoming. (Not just the moms I met in the Little League stands or at the school fund-raisers.)

Then, one day I got an email about a women’s networking lunch. In the past, my group-aphobic tendencies would have kept me from going. But fortunately, a wiser part of me stepped in. A voice deep inside urged me to give it a try. Life seems to work better when I listen to her, so I went.

The speaker, Gina Ratliffe of the Queen Esther Experience was brilliantly inspiring. The room was full of high energy, powerful women.

The part I wasn’t crazy about was when we were instructed to mingle and gather as many business cards as we could.

I’m more of a quality-than-quantity-kind-of-person. So instead of following the crowd, I took a deep breath and followed my heart.

I asked my higher self, my inner guidance or whoever was listening, to “connect me with those visionaries who could help support my dreams.”

It was effortless. Right there, at my very own table I met a dynamic woman named Ali Roth. Not only is she a savvy marketing consultant (who I joyfully ended up working with) but also outspoken, quick and very real.

Ali told me about a women’s group she belonged to called First Tuesday which (as the name implies) met the first Tuesday of every month. Later, she forwarded me an email about the next meeting and promised to meet me there.

Well, the rest is herstory.

I walked into that meeting and everyone after it, feeling like I’d finally come Home. Each month, I am struck by how many magical women of soul and substance there are gathered in one place.

I must admit that sometimes, I still get twinges of that old group-aphobic feeling when I first walk in the room.

But without fail, every time I take a deep breath and have the courage to totally be Myself, I find myself connecting with the joy of someone else totally being Herself.

Thank Goddess, instead of the competition I used to feel from girls in high school or women at my old job, this is a whole different paradigm.

First Tuesday is full of colorful individuals sharing our true authentic selves. Empowering and helping each other to live life as a creative adventure. To make a difference in the world. And to follow our heart’s desires.

I am so grateful to Marcy Cole for holding this magnificent vision. To Ali for introducing me to First Tuesday. And to each and every member who has helped me overcome an acute case of group-aphobia.

Thanks to all of you, I am now living a different story. I have finally found my tribe. And I thank you for being a part of it.

Wendi Knox

First Tuesday About First Tuesday

First Tuesday is a Professional and Social Network for Extraordinary Women. Gatherings are held in private homes or public venues on the first Tuesday of each month. Each evening includes unstructured social time, dinner, networking and a program on subjects that span the mind, body and spirit. Newcomers are welcome to join us!

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