Like everyone does, I remember feeling like I didn’t fit in when I was a kid. I often felt like a square peg, as the saying goes. I wanted to be a puzzle piece and find a way to fit in.
I was too skinny. I wore glasses. I spoke with a lisp. I had a high-pitched voice. I daydreamed a great deal and believed in “baby stuff” like fairy tales for too long. I was too smart. I was too sensitive. I was too weird.
So I was called “chicken legs” and “four eyes.” I was teased for my looks and my voice and my stories. I was told no boy would ever like me because I was too intelligent for them. I was looked down upon for dressing in my own style. Because I thought differently than others, I was looked at weirdly and even openly mocked.
But I also remember doing the same to others who tried to fit in. And I know how hurt I felt, so there is regret in my mind because I too snubbed others growing up. I was intentionally mean at times.
But part of growing up is realizing this. I have come to terms with the fact that I once was someone who made others feel like they didn’t belong and strive now to help other find their way.
We are human. We all want to belong. As kids, everyone is trying to figure out who they will become and find the people who will help them grow into that person. Even as adults, we still find ourselves looking in from the outside, wishing we could fit even though we march to the beat of our own drum.
The other morning, I woke up early due to a dream I had that shook me. A memory of a heated conversation I had years ago was playing in my mind in my sleep, seemingly over and over again. Someone who was once close to me told me that no one cared about me or what I wrote. This person did it to spite me out of their own unhappiness, but the words stung like they were intended to do.
Sometimes, those words still sting. I have fought against those remarks for years, trying my best to find a way to fit in, to find people who cared about what I do. I try to find people who care about what I write and the way I write. I search for people who care about me and let me belong.
Not only that, I try to find a way to help others fit in as well. I read things others have written and offer feedback. I listen to music people share that they have done. I try to encourage others as I would love to be encouraged. And while I may not accept everyone, I have come a very long way in making sure I do not reflect the unhappiness of the person who once told me no one cares about me. But I know I still have a long way to go.
“And I want a moment to be real…. Wanna touch things I don’t feel….. Wanna hold on and feel I belong……”~ John Rzeznik “I’m Still Here”
We all want to fit in, to belong to something more than just ourselves. We want to be amongst people who will build us up instead of trying to tear us down. We want to be surrounded by a fellowship of camaraderie that will help us to spread our wings and fly.
There are times when deep seated fears and memories I am still working through find their way to the surface. They turn into dreams I can’t fight off. They send me spiraling into journal sessions that fill notebooks with emotions. They become part of the plots of my stories, especially my Portals Series. And they are part of the story I write, the chapters I would rather not deal with and have to work through nevertheless.
But likewise, I have dear friends and family members, both of blood and of choice, who remind me that I do belong. My other half in particular is my biggest supporter. I have some readers who remind me that what I type in this blog and in my stories help them to feel like they also belong.
“You can be you, you don’t have to be strong….. ‘Cause you belong, you belong…. You belong.”~ Rachel Platten “You Belong”
And while I still struggle, I keep writing, both literally and figuratively. I keep pushing myself to be the kind of person who helps find ways to help others belong. I keep trying to find the magic in the mundane and enjoying the moments that make up life.
And I share them so others can also find a way to belong.
You belong too.
If you liked this blog post and wanted to see some of the fantasy works I have written, check out my Portals Series.
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And as always, #writeyourownstory