In a class I took two years ago, the instructor asked us to consider what it took for us to feel like we belonged in a group. I had a very difficult time with this question. I didn't want to have a hard time with this question. I really enjoyed the class. I loved the teacher. The other people in the class were very kind and supportive. But I didn't feel that I belonged. Why? I didn't know.
It got me thinking about how comfortable I am in the role of not belonging. I was a raving liberal raised in a conservative suburb. An atheist in a sea of believers. As a brand new mom in a place where the other stay-at-home moms were living in four-bedroom split-level homes I was saving up for a starter home and living in my mom's basement. But none of these things really precludes belonging.
Belonging is something that doesn't come from the differences or the similarities. It comes from me. I felt it when I was at Wind Ensemble rehearsal. In a group of fifty-some people who have practiced music for a lifetime coming together by choice to learn challenging material voluntarily. Counting as a meditative practice. Breathing in coordination with one another. A great exhale.
I will work on the whole sense of belonging. It seems kind of important to stave off the "crazy woman of the neighborhood" scenario described in the previous post.
Grateful Crap: I really like the places and times where I feel I belong. Which is different than feeling welcome, or needed, or loved. Which I feel many other places as well.
Quaker, teacher, parent,