Wednesday, October 9, 2013

{My Happiness Project} Where Do I Feel Like I Belong?

So, I look around and I see people belonging to teams, countries, cultures and cliques. My whole life I've watched these tight groups of people, wondering what it would be like to be one of them. I grew up in a family that was half English—half American, I moved to 7 different schools in 5 years (if I'm doing the maths correctly), I packed my bags and enrolled in a Scottish university for 5 years, I married a Scotsman who's own culture is diluted with English & German influences, I've just moved to Hawaii and all of my sports & hobbies have always been individuals practices. So needless to say, I have no idea what it feels like to belong to one community of people from one town who all went to school together and cheer for the same sports team.

As a kid, I didn't know whether or not I should say the pledge of allegiance because something I wasn't sure if it was a good idea for me to pledge allegiance to America when I was also English. I think I would have pledged allegiance to both if I had the choice. I've watched strong cultures around me — the most Scottish farmers in Perthshire who take pride in their kilts and ceilidhs — the Seattleites who bang their heads to the grungiest of grunge music and celebrate mastery of the rain —the Hawaiian men of the mountains riding their polo horses home with the trade-winds at their backs — the country kids from Duvall who ride their off-road bikes on the weekends after church — the rodeo cowgirls who grew up barrel racing & winning ribbons at 4H. These groups are all rooted to their land & a strong stable community. Sometimes, I feel like the migrating bird who passed over the trees with envy. 

I've accepted the fact that I'm never going to be fully rooted (like from the beginning of my life) in any national culture because it's already too late for that. I'm clearly not a Scottish lass or a Hawaiian wahine. I never will be, no matter how hard I try to fit in. So, I'm casting aside the envy and focusing on the positive (BIG SMILES). Everybody has to belong somewhere, right?  It's a basic human need to feel  a sense of belonging. So, I've spent this past week focusing on where I do feel a sense of belonging. Where I belong may not be a dot on a map but a lot of good things in life are invisible — like parallel universes that we can enter into if we're lucky enough to find the portal — I think love must be one of these other worlds.

Maybe instead of wanting to belong to something so concrete like a city, I can start to figure out the abstract places where I belong like.... I belong to the community of artists — all the artists who have ever lived are somehow united in a beautiful layer of the universe because they see the world in a similar way, a way that is different to how everyone else sees it. Thinking outside of the 'belonging box' like this inspired me to create some lists & get my thoughts on paper (see below)....

I DON'T feel like I belong...
at sports games (especially American football & Rubgy)
in a bar
with the "popular" kids
in the city
on a school bus
at concerts
fully in American or British cultures (I've got a finger in each pie)

I DO feel like I belong...
to my family & best friends
in my parent's home & my grandma's house
behind my camera
on my blog
to the world in the early morning
in the presence of my dearest friends (usually drinking tea)
in cemeteries
when I look up at the sky (especially at night or when the clouds are puffy)
in the garden when I'm digging in the dirt
in libraries & large European churches
in a classroom teaching
in St. Andrews, Scotland
in the British social culture
in shorts, a tank top & flip-flops

I would LIKE TO feel (a greater) a sense of belonging....
in my body
on a karaoke stage
in the ocean

Can anyone out there relate to all this mumbo-jumbo that I've just shared? haha
I'm still trying to wrap my own head around it.
Where do you feel like you belong?

Resolution 8: Everybody belongs somewhere.