Friday, October 17, 2014

We All NEED to Belong

Recently, JB and I were sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to Portland. This was the big “Meet the Family” trip so I was admittedly nervous. To pass the time we started having one of our random conversations about the people around us. We like to see if we can figure out what their stories are. About midway thru this little game JB says something along the lines of “Isn’t it interesting that humans have such a driving need to pair up”.  This started me thinking about where that need comes from. It really is just our desire to belong. 

Most of us are born into families, belonging in a sense to our parents, our siblings. As we grow, we join groups at school, form attachments to our friends and extend our family circles. For most people life is a series of “belongings”. For some there is always that feeling of being on the outside, being just a little out of step with the people around them. Those people who a good portion of their lives trying to fit. I was one of those people.

I was born into a huge, amazing, interfering, lovely, loud family. My brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents are some of the best people I know. They all love each other and me unconditionally. We joke around that we are The Bravermans, you know from Parenthood. We get into each other’s business. Drive each other crazy. And fight to the bitter end to defend anyone who needs it. I love being a part of this mayhem… now. I have come to understand my place in the collection of personalities that make up The Clan. But growing up, I always felt like an odd bird. I was never quite sure where I fit or if I really did. I saw things differently than everyone else. I had different experiences. It always felt like I was wearing shoes that were a size too small. 

Now this was not my families’ fault. As I said, they loved me unconditionally and unreservedly. I just didn’t always see it in my quest to find my place. My search to belong had me focusing on all the reasons I didn’t. I was looking only at the gaps.  Moving 1200 miles away helped me to see that while I may not “fit”, I still have a place. Being just a little bit different means I add flavor to the mix not that I’m an unwanted ingredient (cooking metaphor).  Understanding that has helped me find the million little things that only I can bring to the group. In finding that, I found my place, in life, in love( JB) and in my family. 

I love you guys!

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