Day 55: The Fear of Not Belonging

I think, at a core level, all of us have a fear of not belonging.

It makes complete biological sense. In ancient civilizations being an outcast meant certain death. Even in modern times we see this play out with the LBGTQ community and various other “factions.” As a society we are becoming more accepting overall with pockets of increased polarization. The more people express their differences, the more often they tend to find people with the same qualities or interests and a tribe can be formed.

And then there are the people like me who aren’t exceedingly “different” by traditional standards but have never fit in. As a young child I remember thinking that I didn’t have a family and certainly didn’t belong in the one that I was dropped into. I remember longing for someone to come tell me that I was adopted because I felt so different. I was not one of those people who made themselves fit in socially, I am far too introverted for that and so easily exhausted around “faking” things and groups of people. What I did to fit in was learn to read people, anticipate needs and give them everything that I could so that, maybe, they would reciprocate love. I wanted so badly to feel like I belonged… somewhere. Belonging to me equaled love.

I learned really quickly how to show up, for men mostly. I knew their fears, their insecurities and how to make them feel loved. That’s the thing about me, I love masculine energy. I think it is so often squashed in our society. I think a lot of times men are confused on how to act and what to say and think and feel. We all want to feel powerful and I meet few men who truly feel that in themselves. I see that energy and that power and that capacity and I love to help bring that out. And I am pretty good at it. It has gotten to a point in my life though where it is almost second nature. This isn’t a bad thing, except that I often point my energy into situations where men are feeling particularly vulnerable or unappreciated and this takes a fair amount of energy for me to do. Sometimes I pull from my reserves to help boost them, often times I don’t even realize I am doing it. As I write this it makes me wonder if my boosting them up leaves me hoping they will be the knight in shining armor that I am looking for who will save me from this world and show me a place where I feel loved.

What I have failed to do in this life though, is show up for myself. I am always saving someone. People are drawn to me, they like to be vulnerable, tell me their story, lean in for support, and while I think, ultimately, that is my gift in this world, I have depleted myself so much in unhealthy ways that I cannot even find the capacity to show up like I need to. I have completely neglected showing up for me. I have traded myself for the hope that I would fit in somewhere, with someone.

I did this with Mr. X. I’m having a really tough go of the emotional processing today.

I have heard this from many men “I didn’t ask you to do all of that for me.” It is usually followed by “I don’t need your support, I don’t need anyone.” To hear those words coming from the mouth of Mr. X was heart wrenching. He is different and elevated in so many ways, but those lines, those I have heard before. It isn’t untrue. These men don’t ask for me to do things for them, but they do love how it feels and keep coming back for more. And it is also true that once they are boosted they don’t need my support, but hearing how that is said to me, I immediately translate that to “I don’t want you anymore, you’re not worthy of being in my life.” Then I take that in, I place it in my heart, I go back through all of the conversations and scenarios and I sweep up all of the blame for myself. I play the martyr card and the victim card in the hopes that they will grab the knight card and play it one last time. I am still waiting for someone to save me. When what I really need is to save myself. I need to stop waiting to fit in and just own my weirdo place in this world. I need to accept that I have something to offer that other people don’t. I have to realize that I am special and I don’t need HUGE dramatic acts of sacrifice from other people on my behalf to see what is special about me. These interactions, while well-intentioned most of the time, are toxic and do not allow a person’s real power to be expressed. I do it to the men in my life, they do it to me. It is a spin cycle. I find men that need healing and need to feel like a hero then I allow myself to be the victim. It’s toxic and dysfunctional. Things with Mr. X were not far off that script. The difference lies in the fact that he took less than he could have,he is making room for me in his life and he always supports me in my growth even if it means he gets hurt in the process. For me the difference is that I am trying not to walk away from a love that isn’t showing up like I want it to. I am really good at walking. We are both encouraging the other to be better. We both love each other deeply. And we will figure out a way to exist together. This is not always pretty and it certainly isn’t easy. Sometimes it means really strict, difficult to swallow boundaries and a trust that I am not sure I am even capable of having.

It feels incredibly scary to think that I have lost him. With him, I belong. I feel like I am home. I feel… entitled to him because of how we show up for each other. But the truth is, I am not entitled to anything, any more than he is entitled to any part of me. We are our own people. We belong to ourselves individually. We show up for us. We answer to ourselves. We do things by our own code of ethics. Mr. X is fabulous at showing up for him. He does so brutally at times. Me, I am still learning. I have to remind myself that I haven’t lost him. I just have to adjust my expectations of our relationship. I do this repeatedly on a loop, second after second. I am still waiting for it to sink in enough that it feels true. The empowering and also shit thing is that it is really up to me. I know he will be there. I know he wants me in his life. It is all up to me to get over my shit that decides whether I lose him or whether I gain a friend. It is a battle royale between head and heart right now.

I spend a lot of nights looking up at the stars. Sometimes I drop into a meditative state and travel around the galaxy. When I come back to earth I always think to myself, I can’t wait to be home.

The thing is though, everything on this earth is made of the same energy. “Going home” simply means being devoured back into the eternal soup that creates all life on this earth. It means that we lose the separation from that soup that allows us to experience this human life. If we are brave enough to look around we can see that we are connected to everything and everyone. We are all from the same blueprint. Logically I know this, even viscerally I know this, but it doesn’t take away from the deep well of isolation that I feel. To be connected to someone, to feel their heart beating next to yours, to feel their gentle breath on the back of your neck, this… this is bliss to me. This is home. This is belonging.

The tricky thing is that one has to belong to themselves first before they can fully relax and enjoy the fruits of belonging with another. ❤ ❤

Image by Patricia Alexandre from Pixabay

Day 32: The Definition Of Family

My crisis from the last three days seems to have subsided. There is sunshine here and temperatures that are conducive to snow and ice melting. The one thing that really hit home the last couple days of struggling through on my own is the importance of having a tribe.

I used to think that family meant a mom and a dad and some kids. It was a very rigid outline of what a family “should” be. I have a mom and a dad and some brothers and sisters, but they don’t feel like family very often. Growing up how I did meant that I had to use a lot of walls to protect myself and that meant not letting people into my heart. I never really felt safe in my childhood. It has resulted in a really fractured relationship with my parents. My ideals and values are very different than how my mom and dad see the world and I am not longer willing to accept that into my life. It doesn’t feel very good. My brother has chosen to stay in that environment and instead of helping change perceptions he is getting pulled in deeper and deeper. With the divide increasing with my parents, my brother and I have also suffered, and grow further and further apart.

I have always been looking for a family and a home. I have always felt homeless. It has nothing to do with a house and all of the trimmings, and everything to do with the people in life. To me, family simply means a group of people that take care of each other, where there is love that can flow freely, where people can be themselves. A family provides a space where the players encourage growth and the creation of the best version of the individuals in that unit. Families are close in heart, even if not always close in proximity.

Creating a family unit when you are older is really, really hard. As I navigate through life, I have had to adjust my expectations for what a family should be. I do have a family. It is made up of some phenomenal friends that are spread all across the world. I have people that I know I can call on if I really need help with something. I have friends that I can go to if I need a shoulder to cry on or if I need some tough love. It isn’t what I pictured a family to be and a lot of times it means I am by myself, but I am grateful for the people that I have in my life. They bring love and kindness and amplify the best parts of me. They encourage growth and take care of me in the moments where I really need it.

It is within the hearts of these people that I find myself at home. ❤ ❤

Image by Sue Brady from Pixabay