Do you ever feel like you don't belong?
I don't necessarily think that not belonging or feeling that way is a bad thing.
For much of grade school I did not feel like I belonged with my classmates. I always got the "speech" from teachers, "Mountain Momma, you're much more mature than a lot of your classmates. You have to be the leader, the example." I heard it from my parents, too. At points it was an honor. At other points it didn't matter. I wanted to belong. I was like every other kid out there, I just wanted to be liked and invited places.
The first year of high school was about finding the people that I did belong with. That wasn't too too hard what with a class of only 35 girls. By senior year I was comfortable with my friends. I was well liked by almost everyone. I was a leader in my classmates' eyes and my teachers' eyes. I was experiencing a sense of belonging but it would not last because high school would not last. That was ok. I still have the friends that I want to belong to.
College. Forget it. My freshman year suite I totally did not belong in. Not even close. It was filled with sorority girls. All different sororities sorority girls. I was so far from being a sorority girl that I could have started my own anti-sorority. I belonged on the Crew team. For a period of time. I belonged in the small close knit friends that I had made. I belonged, briefly, with those associated with the Hockey team. Eventually, I found I belonged with a few girls who were my friends- my true and loyal friends. They are the ones I am still connected with. The ones with whom I still belong.
After college came marriage and work and mommyhood and everything that goes along with all of that. Finding where I belong is harder. I don't belong in the SAHM playgroups that have been established in my town and the surrounding towns. I don't belong in the corporate sector. I don't always know where I belong. I have my friends from long ago and from not so long ago. I belong with them. They are not near me, sadly. We are not in close proximity. We talk. We email. We text. We do all we can to be together but in these days of $4 gas and busy schedules, getting together doesn't always work. I am looking for the place where I belong outside of my friends.
I began looking for alternate means of belonging. I turned to my church- nothing really. I found a sense of belonging at my job. I love my co-workers. They are funny. They are comforting. They are friendly. They are wonderful people. I turned to the internet. Initially, I wanted to find other moms near me, in a similar position. I was looking for a sense of belonging to a community within my community. I found a different type of community.
I discontinued my PPD therapy because my insurance would not cover it. I was not done recovering. There are days I feel like I'm still recovering and that's ok. I write as part of my own brand of therapy. I let out my feelings because I need to put them somewhere and I don't write in a journal. My closest friends hear these feelings usually before I share them on here. Writing them on here opened me up to a new type of belonging. I wrote what I was feeling, sometimes thinking I was the only one feeling those things, and other people would come out and say "I've felt that same way." Or "I went through the same thing." I found people who shared things in common with me and it was nice to have that sense of belonging.
I am not here to get readers. I am not here to make money off of blogging. I am not here to become famous from my writings and my feelings. I am here to put it out there and just write. If you want to read it, great. If you want to comment, also great. I know that people are reading because I see the numbers change each day. It doesn't matter why you read. If you want entertainment- ok, I don't think I'm all that entertaining but, ok. If you have a connection with my words and experiences, I think that's wonderful. I'm glad that I've put them out there even if there is only one person who finds that connection they were looking for. If you're reading just because you're nosy, that's ok too! I have stuff I read just to be nosy. I enjoy knowing about people and blogs are the perfect way to find out about others. If you're a stalker...well, weird but....um, ok.
I go through up and down times. I go through times where I want to share everything and where I don't want to share anything. That's true of real life.
Sometimes, I just don't want to talk about it. I don't care who you are.
I still have a sense of belonging because there are people out there who I feel I have connected with on some level. I've connected with one or two in real life. We are friends. As corny as you may want to make that, we are. If we lived closer, if we had met on the playground, if we had worked together, we would have become friends. This was just the vehicle for making friends. But I also feel like I'm not nearly as ingrained in all of this as other people may be. I'm not nearly as connected as I've found other bloggers to be, and that's ok with me. I do not belong in certain parts of the blogosphere and at first that bothered me. I felt left out. I felt hurt. I felt like I was back in grade school and I wasn't popular. Now, I'm ok with it.
I put my words out there for you to read. It doesn't matter to me why you read, I'm glad you do. It doesn't matter to me if you comment, although I enjoy when you do. I belong here regardless of how many readers or comments I have. My words belong, when I want to share them. I still long for that sense of belonging to a community within my own community but I have found that my words help me to create a sense of belonging to something outside of myself and outside of my community.
I am ok with not belonging to the popular crowd because I belong to me and my words belong to me.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Do you ever feel like you don't belong?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:46 AM