For most of my life, I did not feel like I belonged. When I was small, I was the first of my friends to have their parents divorce. In junior high I was mercilessly picked on and harassed. It caused a great depression and because I did not have the tools to handle the pain, I attempted suicide at the age of 15. I spent 70 days living in an upscale mental institution. Where I, once again, did not belong. I was the only teen in the ward who did not do drugs and was a virgin. It was there that I learned some coping skills and, more importantly, I learned to appropriately hold and appreciate sadness.
I have had a thing for sadness ever since. For so long I believed that happiness was a major life goal. However, happiness could never be counted on, nor did it ever fulfill me. For me, sadness is a feeling I have a deep fondness for and I have learned to value the strength in it. Do not get me wrong- I enjoy finding happy moments in each day and anyone that knows me knows I love to laugh. But sadness is where I feel the most at home.
Being prone to sadness does not bring friends knocking on your door. When I was young, I would conjure up a counterfeit joy and happiness in hopes to keep people from walking away from me. Ten years ago when the deplorable year happened, I couldn’t be anything but sad. Happiness was impossible. Everything made me sad- music, sunsets, sunrises, food, people, and even laughter made me sad. I lost many friends that year. Slowly, my heart began to heal and I began to entertain joy and happiness again. But now, the expression of joy and happiness are solely for me. In the past, I would roar with laughter because I wanted others to think I was funny. Now, I save all my laughter for what I find funny. When I was hopeful in the past, it was so others would need me. Now, it is because it is impossible for me to be anything but hopeful after living a miracle. Slowly, I began to realize- I have felt left out for so long because I wasn’t brave enough to allow others to know the real me. I was so worried about making friends, any friend would do. I had to learn that I was worthy of caring, compassionate friends who knew who I really was, and only then would I feel like I belonged.
Living life as wholly myself has given me so much freedom. I no longer feel like an outsider to my own life. I belong wherever I go, simply because I know who I am and I love who I have become and am becoming. This has provided me a constant campaign in myself that has allowed me a great confidence to love others well and be loved by others well in return. I have also surrounded myself with people that know me- really know me- and they still find me to be fantastic. They love me for who I am, whether that be incredibly sad or contagiously joyful. Being seen and loved in this way has helped me know that I always belong right where I am, simply being me.
I am doing this project with a very talented group of women. Start with Susan’s blog and then roll on through to the rest.