belonging to myself

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.


Staci Lee

I like my cameras old, my shoes comfortable, and my whiskey neat.


  • Isn’t it strange. We see each others photos every day, read each others words, talk about the ordinary every day and start to get a picture in our heads of what a person is like and how their lives are. You have one of hugest, most beautiful smiles and I see it in almost every photo and I think this lady is possibly one of the happiest people I have ever seen. And as you mentioned, you are happy, but you hold sadness close. I would never have known. Sadness is something I hold close too for many reasons and I find comfort there a lot. I’m sorry you went through that at 15, but so very glad you made it through.

    (PS. This is a wonderful blog roll.. I just read Tracie’s too)

    • Yes, you are right- there is so much happiness in my life now, and it shows. Some of that happiness comes from holding sadness close. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

  • No wonder I love you so much. No wonder! We are the same in so many ways. I love your joy and I understand your sorrow. I love that God introduced us in a very unique way. I wish I could hug you right here and now. You survived for a reason. You have so much love in you that it barely fits into that tiny body of yours. XO

  • This is beautiful. I am so thankful for you and your example. I have learned the importance of holding sadness and many other emotions from you. I’m thankful for the example of “I am enough.” I love you.

    • Thank you, sweet girl. You are more than enough. I am so proud of the woman you have become! x

  • What an inspiring woman you are my dear friend! We’d never know that behind that beautiful and contagious smile of yours had sadness, tears and fears but most of all overcoming. Your words touched me deeply.

  • I relate to so much of what you’ve said here. It reminds me of a line from a song that has encouraged me as I lean into (instead of away from) sadness. “There is strength within our sorrow. There is beauty in our tears.” Belonging to yourself has created so much beauty in your life. Thank you for your honesty, and for including me in this blog roll.

    • I am so thankful you are doing this blogroll with me. Thank you for your kind words.

  • Staci, So grateful to know you more through this writing. Thank you for your vulnerability. I know it will bless all those who read your words. You exude so much joy. I’ve never thought about being fond of sadness, but I also know that as I look back on my own seasons of sadness, Jesus has felt closest to me in them. In that way, I am fond of them.

  • hello dearest you. i am so grateful for crossing paths here in the interwebs, and for the grace and strength and unapologetic way you share your truest and deepest heart. i am so thankful for your being hee today, and for that part of your life shared ….. and, i get the sadness thing! i think we grow older learning more and more about our emotions, and there may be one or two, that just feel like home. i have always called my sadness melancholy, but really it’s the same. i love it because it urges me to look deeply at details, both inwards and outside. sending big love your way. xo

  • So amazed by you dear friend. I love your openness, transparency and vulnerability. I love you and who you are and who you are becoming. Thank you for letting us into your life and for walking this journey with me.

  • I finally finished reading through all the posts and just want to say thank you. For being you. For being someone who makes belonging happen. Who opens her arms and kitchen and front porch wide open and feeds the weary with both internal yumminess and external joy and hope for the weary soul. I’m so glad you are in my life.

  • Thank you for sharing this, I feel like I have a better window into your soul. You live the truth from the movie Inside Out–how sadness and joy are both needed for a rich full life. Now when I’m putting those bandaids on the scrapes and cuts of our KH kiddos, I will think of you more deeply. ❤

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