where he talks about belonging

Here we go…Wednesday again!  And Sluiter Nation Recruit Day!  Don’t know what a Recruit is?  Check in here first.

Today is a special Recruit Day for two reasons.

1. It’s the last Recruit Day of 2011.

2. I have a DUDE in the Nation today!

Yup, John…who many of you on twitter know as Daddy Runs A Lot is here.  Having a guy in the Nation always is great because, let’s face it, the actual Sluiter Nation is me and a bunch of boys.

John writes the blog, The Adventures of Daddy Runs A Lot.  I always find it refreshing to read a “daddy blog” from time to time because they have such a different style and perspective than us ladies.  Plus John is funny AND a great writer. Plus he has a thing for footnotes which reminds me of Jen Lancaster.  Total win.

He has always been super supportive on twitter in the way I understand support best: humor.

And he is here today defining “belonging”.

*************

What does it mean “to belong?”

The Free Online Dictionary1defines “belong” as “to be proper, appropriate, or suitable.” I really like that, as a definition.

The thing is, you look at those words . . . and, well, I have difficulty applying them to me.

See, I’m someone who commonly feels that he goes over as well as an orgy joke at a Vestal Virgin convention. Proper, appropriate, suitable? Ha! heck, I revel in my inappropriateness every Sunday!

Well, maybe it means that I don’t belong in the middle of a group of nubile, sex-crazed girls . . . but I certainly belong somewhere2, right?

Honestly, it’s taken me a long time to feel like I might belong, anywhere. Growing up, I was “the big kid.” At first, I was just taller than everyone . . . seriously, substitute teachers would kick me out of class because I was, obviously, an older kid who was just pretending to be younger.

Then, as others approached my height, my face broke out.

When acne became manageable3, I grew fat.

Even in college – I struggled to find where I belonged. I was the tall, fat, goofy kid with a loud voice who drank too much and played some instruments and took a lot of physics courses.

After college, well, that nearly destroyed me.

Now, I don’t worry, as much, about belonging . . . but, at the same time, I feel more & more like I do belong.

Proper, appropriate, or suitable . . . there are no set definitions between what is proper and what is improper. There isn’t a grand arbiter between appropriate & inappropriate. Suitable? Well, when I was a kid, I thought it meant a table that you put a suit on when you were done wearing it . . . but, even now, suitable seems like it’s the minimum to get a job done. If you tell my that my “performance was suitable,” well, I’m not sure I’m going to be happy with that assessment4.

So, while we can argue about how proper, appropriate, or suitable I am — I can say that I do belong. And why do I belong? Because I feel like I should.

In this little online life that we’ve all made for ourselves, I’ve screwed up a bunch of times. But, when push comes to shove, even Uncle Walter, with his “two sizes too tight” polyester shirt and the inappropriate comments that gush like a geyser after a single drink, belongs. There’s room for everyone.

It turns out that the secret to belonging . . . is accepting yourself, and believing knowing that you belong.


1 I’d use Webster’s here, but, well, Google put “The Free Dictionary” at the top of the search results, so that’s what you’re getting.
2 Not that I wouldn’t want to be thrown into the middle of a group of nubile, sex-crazed girls . . . but, um, yeah . . . this is a path best left to other blogs.
3 Note that I didn’t say disappeared . . . acne was, and is, bullshit — I steal deal with the random stress or “I ate an entire pepperoni pizza” breakout today.
4 At the same time, if you told me that my performance was “appropriate,” I’d likely think that you had me confused with someone else.
*************
I told you had had a penchant for footnotes.
And guess what, John?  You totally belong here too. Because you are completely suitable and appropriate for the Nation.
Need some more o’ the John?  Yeah you do.  Check it, don’t wreck it, yo.
And one of the BEST posts I have ever read that starts off to do with breast cancer awareness, the one where Percy visits to talk about boobs
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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Yay for dudes in Sluiter Nation.

    John, I like that your journey has brought you to a place where your sense of self has made you comfortable enough to feel as though you can belong without fitting into a mold of appropriateness 🙂

  2. Katie – I’m absolutely honored to close out the year here — thank you for the opportunity & venue, I really enjoyed writing this one 🙂

  3. John’s secret to belonging is so true. I just wish someone would have clued me in when I was growing up.

    • Yeah — I’d like a good portion of my teens & 20’s back…I spent so much time worrying about how others perceived me that I didn’t actually know myself.

  4. John –

    I LOVE that you brought the footnotes to the Nation.
    And I’d share my entire pepperoni pizza with you any day.

    Cheers to belonging.
    And to you!

  5. Self-acceptance is huge for feeling like you belong.

    I still struggle with it. All the time. Glad you discussed it.

    • Oh, I still struggle with it, too . . . but, at least, every now & then, I can remind myself that it’s much more important that I like myself than to try to make someone else like me.

  6. If there’s a tribe John’s not appropriate for? I don’t want to be in it.

    That is all.

    • That reminds me of the Will Rogers quote: “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go
      where they went.”

      I find, increasingly, that I want to be among those that I can always be myself around, whatever it’s called.

  7. Yay! So great to see John here. Fantastic blog. He’s a great Twitter buddy, too. 🙂

  8. This—->”Now, I don’t worry, as much, about belonging . . . but, at the same time, I feel more & more like I do belong” is awesome. I’d let you mold away on my couch any time.

  9. That last line there, is the rub. Fab post, you two!

    • I’m a little distraught here . . . because while you said “the rub,” none of my last lines had anything to do with boobs or genitalia, which are the best things to rub . . .

      Oh, wait, wrong blog.

      And thank you. 🙂

  10. “It turns out that the secret to belonging . . . is accepting yourself, and knowing that you belong.” That’s totally and completely enlightening. And I don’t mean that sarcastically. Great post as usual, John!

    • Thanks, Eve! Yeah, I can turn out non-sarcastic . . . every now & then . . . blue moons & the second Tuesday or the week . . . days like those. 🙂