The art of belonging is a vulnerable journey. You place yourself with another person or a group of people who you engage with. If you wish for connection and trust, to engage on a deeper level, you must place yourself to some degree in hands of the ones you are sharing with and trust that your efforts will not be in vain. Of course this doesn't always work out. Going through life believing this though will only cause heart-ache though, so I choose to engage.
I could blame my awkward, teenage self for my desire to belong; to fit in, to be an integral part of the team, but what did she know, - my younger self was an adult in training, getting it kind of right - some of the time. Navigating a too often cruel beginning, I looked to the outside world for safety. Not always a great plan, but a plan never the less. At the Technical High School I went to I was too smart or threatening for the cool kids but not smart enough - or so I thought - to be a part of the geeky science group, My remaining choice was to hang out with the in-betweeners - the satellite kids that established their pecking order with fights and manoeuvring and eventually the more sophisticated emotional manipulation. Clearly I was too dumb as I couldn't seem to keep up with a trait that did not come naturally to me. I decided it was safer to be alone - and so I was.
I look at that young girl with compassion now, something that was reserved only later in life. I look to how I will see myself as I am now, when I am older. Will I have the same sympathetic and loving words for the younger me that is now? I suppose I will. I hope I do. I know I must. I must remember to cherish these constant acts of forgiveness and encouragement.
This child, the one that was hungry on every level walks with me every day, showing me the value of my work. Helping me to remember why I am living my life teaching, encouraging and feeding the people that I connect with. Reminding me that only through having the space to be alone was I able to discern my own boundaries and move on to the life I have now, teaching workshops and classes that I have spent my life perfecting and living. I am re-defined every day, pushing through fear, sleeping away grief or dancing with the triumphs and I am so grateful for my young self's company and gentle consideration.
Do you have a cheer-leader? A reminder of how you should move forward? If you do, you are blessed - be grateful. Cherish all the moments that have led you to this life. If you do not - I wish for you, going forward, a life of happiness and friendship - and the courage to see the right people in front of you always.