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A sense of belonging.




All the times, all the myriad but matching, twin-like times when you feel as if you are the odd one out and no matter what company you seek, sooner or later you will be separate from them. Those times when you have that sensation of wrenching, as if you have pulled away too soon even though you stayed in the same place; then realise the pull came from them as they moved away.

These lonely times, when it crosses your mind it might just be worth pretending forever so you can fit in and not be wrenched back out of place, they push you along and leave you eddying about on the edges of the great pond, brushing up against the side, no handholds, only the sensation that if you could look properly, like other people look, you would see the way out and the way in and know how everyone makes their journeys.

And then, the relief, when you come to the point in life when this part, this outside feeling, this looking through the glass and being on the wrong side, it slides away and reveals the truth: you are on the right side, where you are meant to be and you simply did not understand at the time. The fitting in is not meant to happen with people who make you feel as though they wrenched away and left you. The belonging is not an automatic response to thinking you ought to belong. True belonging comes from actually being in the right place with the right people, in being where you are meant to be.

It takes true courage to keep trying though, to endeavour to be the person who can still go on and meet others, speak to them, be open enough with them that they see the real you and open up in return. It can be so hard to keep at it when you have the memories of the times when they barely noticed you spoke and then turned away to the fascinating person entering on stage left.

It takes even more courage to believe belonging is possible, without feeling you also have to sign up to sugar-coated, meme-inspired, greeting-card-glittered beliefs of everyone being special to someone. After years of being invisible, sugar-coated gets you nowhere, which is why those of us who are steel-coated take a while to find where we belong.

It does come down to one unfortunately illogical truth: to come to rest at your safe harbour, to step onto dry land and not be the only one there, you do have to keep on having faith that this is possible. Whether it is possible thanks to other people or thanks to yourself, is all individual to your life.

Chance or a carefully laid plan to make it all work? The right job leading to everything falling into place or finding the strength to leave the wrong job and it being the right decision? There are as many ways to find your true place as there were to realise you were in the wrong one again.

Sometimes all you can do is let yourself be carried round on the eddies, trusting that they happen because of a greater current, swirling round our lives and the lives of others, hoping you find the right way and knowing that it is the same for everyone, no matter what the view from our eyes.

Amanda




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