“When you feel in your gut what you are and then dynamically pursue it – don’t back down and don’t give up – then you’re going to mystify a lot of folks.” – Bob Dylan
A lot of people that know me well enough, know my inner turmoil when it comes to belonging somewhere.
I have spent a large proportion of my life trying to fit in, if not all of my life.
It began with family, I never made sense there. The usual jokes about me being ‘adopted’ and ‘different’ would become the norm to the point where they eventually bounced off me and became part of my quirk. I joked about being different, I enjoyed it to some extent but still longed for being the round peg instead of the square one for once.
My name was different, even I couldn’t say it, and nearly 28 years later I’ve become accustomed to hearing “WHAT?” directly after I introduce myself. Again, I laugh it off, I explain, we continue.
School, that never made sense to me, the routine, the expectance to make friends with people you so happen to be born in the same year as and ended up being sat at the same table.
Don’t get me wrong, I did make friends, but the concept still never really made sense to me. I guess that’s why I ended up going to seven schools.
A disrupting childhood/life of house moves – I’ve probably lived in 25+ different places until 26 when I finally settled – meant that I became accustomed to change. I liked change, in fact I loved it. I still do. I itch to be able to change a room around, adjust my surroundings, update, refurbish. I’m never truly settled, my brain is always looking for the next step.
I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing? I guess the charm of it is that I’m not afraid of change.
I envy / get confused by people whose parents still live in their family home, and every year they have the same routine of spending Christmas back in their childhood bedroom surrounded by the same people year in year out. The same songs, the same jokes, the same overcooked carrots.
I constantly long for a belonging.
But as I said, maybe I wouldn’t be comfortable with that anymore because I don’t fit with routine well, and I don’t like consistency, I like change. I like the unknowing, even if it does cause me some unbearable anxiety.
We all want what we can’t have.
People say to me that family isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, they long for freedom and a lack of rules/routine. But would they be able to handle it?
It’s hard, it’s easy to say it’s not what it’s cracked up to be when you have it there and have options.
When you a thrust into a world where you categorically don’t truly know where you fit, you have no options. You have to make do, and that brings me to questioning what truly is belonging?
What does it mean to you? Where are you supposed to belong? Does anyone really belong?
We’re taught to believe unless we fit within the system where we have a perfect set of parents, the childhood home still there to escape to, a good education, a good job, a good partner, perfect lifelong friends, a marriage, a home for ourselves, the perfect kids etc etc… then we’re failing.
But are we really failing?
Social media is full of exhausting trickery where we compete to be the most accepted within the societal norms.
The perfect body, the perfect family, the perfect everything.
But where do we truly belong?
I heard something recently was that a true belonging is when we belong to ourselves.
An existential concept of belonging, rather than finding our ‘tribe’ as such.
Which is hard in such a materialistic world, we have it ingrained that we’re supposed to fit in.
And once again I take this back to school and family, we’re supposed to wear a specific uniform, or fit into a particular religion or way of life.
What if we just don’t fit? What if we just don’t belong?
Maybe that’s a belonging in itself.
Maybe the trick to belonging is to realise you are your own entity.
There’s a reason why I’m self employed. I struggle with the concept of working to someone else’s tune, building someone else’s dream and being disciplined when I don’t fit to their mould.
Because I have spent my entire life not quite fitting the mould.
One of the most exhausting things about being someone who doesn’t fit the mould is that you are still very much expected to try and fit the mould.
What if I want to fit my own mould?
What if I want to dance to my own tune?
“No one is remembered for the things they planned and didn’t do.”
As a child I got told I’m “too emotional”.
As a teenager I got told I was “too out there”.
As an adult I get told I’m “too sensitive”.
How do you know I don’t want to be emotional, out there and sensitive?
What defines those as negative traits?
Maybe you are too corporate, too money drive, too engrossed in the concept of fitting the mould that you believe anyone who doesn’t fit the mould is broken.
For me there is no such thing as being “too sensitive”. People try to argue with me that there are situations where you can be too sensitive.
That’s your opinion, this is subjective. To feel so strongly is labelled both a blessing and a curse. If I didn’t feel so strongly I wouldn’t have made the emotional connections with all the people who have become part of my journey.
My quest to find where I belong has been thwarted for my whole life about where I SHOULD fit.
Where do I want to fit?
I want to be allowed to be me. But then this leads straight back to the concept of being “allowed” to be. Who am I looking to validate me? I’d be kidding you all and myself if I claimed I didn’t care what people think about me. Hell I care far too much what people think about me, and I guess that’s why I need validation.
But because I don’t fit the mould I don’t get the validation the general consensus of society deems correct.
I swear too much.
I speak my mind, but never with intent to hurt.
I have tattoos.
I’m sensitive and very very emotional.
I dress the way I feel.
I take selfies.
I document a lot of my shit on social media.
Yes I take gym progress selfies and yes it makes me feel good.
Yes I shout louder and scream harder than the average when I’m arguing.
I walk away from bad people in my life.
I want to tread my own path.
I don’t see why we should work ourselves to the bone for little to no reward, so I work for myself.
The irony being that I work myself to the bone for little to no reward, but it’s for me.
Just for me.
I am slowly coming to the realisation that I won’t ever truly find where I belong, mainly because I don’t actually know where I fit.
And I don’t think I ever will know where I fit.
For all the traits listed above, I am consistently shamed for. The battle is in holding on to who you are, to belong for yourself, instead of stripping yourself of all that is criticised in order to be slotted in to the rat race.
Before I get endless advice on this situation, this blog isn’t me looking for advice, because eventually I will work it out.
The one thing I do know is that in order to find a new path, you have to adjust your journey.
You can’t keep making the same choices over and over again and wondering why you aren’t travelling to somewhere new.
Maybe the belonging is in the journey..?