gelled

It’s been awhile…but it’s time for another Sluiter Nation Recruit!  Forget what a Recruit is?  Go read all about it here!

This week I am bringing you another fabulous writer.  So much of this blog world for me is reading blogs that sound like someone is actually talking to me.  Blogs that sound like robots are just blah.

Missy is one of those fabulous writers.  Her blog, Literal Mom, is a mix of all things mom.  It reminds me of Real Simple, but less like reading articles and more like having coffee with a friend.

I can’t imagine her not fitting in anywhere she goes, but she is here to tell you that sometimes?  That is the case.

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

“You’ll never fit in here.  Your kids might, but you never will.”

When we moved to our home, the home we’ve lived in, gotten married during, created and raised children in and become “grown-ups” in, we were elated to find a nice section of our city, close to downtown (where we both worked), but still “suburb-y.”

We knew nothing about the A+ school system, the multiple generations who live here, coming back after college to live their lives the way they were raised, or the areas you choose to live in (as in “central,” “north,” or “south,” in order of most people’s preference).

We just loved the house we’d found at the wee little ages of 23 and 25 and we loved that we didn’t have to take a highway to get to work anymore.

Time passed.  A marriage happened.  Kids arrived.  I decided to stay at home with the kids.  We met people.  Made friends.  All was good.

And then, one night at a party or some social function, the quote up there was delivered to us, smugly, with the satisfaction of knowing THIS was the truth.  They belonged.  We didn’t.

Up until that moment, we’d never thought about “who belongs” and “who didn’t” in our suburb.  We just liked where we lived.  We liked the people we’d met and befriended.  We liked the couple who said this to us!

But of course the seed of doubt was planted.  And we started noticing things.

The family at the ice cream shop who asked us where we lived and when we told them “north,” they said, “well you’ll want to change that and get into “central” as soon as you can.”

Or a fellow attorney who told me that if we really wanted to get “into the fish bowl, instead of watching from outside,” we should have kids sooner rather than later.

My husband, being a man, has never been truly bothered by this.  I, being a woman, sometimes have.  Sometimes it hurts to feel “less than” merely by the fact that you didn’t grow up in a place.  Sometimes it’s hard to learn I may never fit in here simply by being from “out of town.”

But it’s really ok.  You know why?  Because I left my home town for the exact reason most people come BACK to this community we live in.

I wanted to become who I needed to be in life, not just go back to a town that had already decided who I was as a teenager.  So I moved away and haven’t regretted it for one minute.

And here where we are?  I think we finally “belong,” but in a different way than the couple at the top said.

Last Spring for my 40th birthday, I picked 5 couples I really liked.  Couples who didn’t bring drama wherever they went.  Couples who both of us like the husband and the wife (and that’s sometimes not easy!).  Couples who also didn’t grow up here.  A few even live in a different suburb.

And we had a blast.  We all clicked.  Bonded.  Gelled.  And since my birthday, we’ve gone out together several times and it’s the same easy, relaxed, supportive good time every time.  Everyone is genuine, enthusiastic. Supportive, fun-loving.  It works.

And after 15 years here, I feel that we finally belong.

In a different way.

A better way.

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

Literal Mom – Founded in March 2011, it encourages parents to be thinking parents and uses wit, humor and sometimes even tears to make her point (on the blog and with her kids).  

Missy is the youngest of 6 and an only child, if you can imagine that.  Former criminal defense attorney turned stay at home mom, turned volunteer who has a really hard time saying no to a good cause or a good friend who asks.  But writing and connecting with others is where her heart truly lies.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
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. I’m so glad to a) see you here, Missy and b) that you found your comfortable place to belong.

  2. Love seeing you here, Missy! And I love that you were proactive in finding your place. That says a whole lot about the wonderfulness that is *you!*

  3. Five couples who get along? I’m impressed. And jealous. Glad you’ve found your ‘gelly group’ (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Cheers to you!

  4. I love this! I’m glad you took a place you love and found people to fit that place. Those other “friends”? There’s a chance they’re so protective of their little pocket of the world because they aren’t one hundred percent confident about their decision to stay.

  5. MIssy…you are amazing me all WEEK this week. WOW. what an important and heartfelt post, what a NEW and incredible way of looking at things. To know yourself enough to know that you would FIND the place you needed to be…and you would THRIVE there..I have so much respect for that.

    You are a gift to that community and US 😉

  6. Katie – I am completely honored to be a Sluiter Nation Recruit, joining the many (LARGE!) footsteps who have gone before me here.

    Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for helping me feel like I belong in the blogging community. It’s people like you who make blogging the awesome, supportive community that it is.

    Muah. 🙂

  7. Great post Missy! I’m glad you finally found the place where you “belong”.

  8. So wonderful to see you here, Missy!
    You pulled me into this piece from the very beginning…just lovely.
    I’m so happy that you’ve found your sense of place. We’re still looking for ours.
    xoxo

  9. Great post. Love the honesty and the transformation. I can relate, too. I have no problem being “north” but my 13 yo finds it to be an issue….complex stuff.

  10. At 43 years old, I am now friends with an entirely different set of couples than I was ten years ago; couples with whom we have shared goals, values, interests; husbands and wives we BOTH get along with whose children are lovely and who get along with our children.

    It was about six years ago that we considered moving to an entirely different town because, although we had “friends” and were social, the people with whom we most interacted were heading down paths we didn’t embrace ourselves; they were making parenting and relationship choices that were – quite frankly – upsetting.

    I didn’t feel like I belonged, nor did I want to. I wanted an easy escape.
    Instead, my mother said this to me:

    “Make the changes NOW that you hope to achieve by moving. Decide what you think you would do differently somewhere else and then do it HERE.”

    It was brilliant advice. And she was absolutely right. By opening ourselves up to new people (and also by putting more emphasis on our own family instead of plans with large groups of the “popular” people) we found more happiness than I could have imagined at the time.

    Good for you for finding people with whom you gel, and for being comfortable enough with yourself to do it!

    • Julie – YES to all of that. After that comment I start the post off with, we did a major re-evaluation of ourselves too. Made similar changes like you did and I’m convinced that’s what led us to this wonderful group we’ve found now.

      Friendship can be tricky – and not just for kids! Thanks for the lovely comment (as usual).

  11. I’m so happy that you were able to be happy where you are, rather than try to fit the mold of what other people perceive as “better”. You obviously have found where you belong and that’s got to be a great feeling!!

    • It’s pretty freeing, Helene, you are right, when you don’t try to fit the mold. Now, if only we could teach our kids this EARLIER in their lives so they don’t have all of those years of doubt, right???

  12. I’m from rural Ohio. RURAL Ohio. But I lived in the same house my whole live until I was 21. I never exactly ‘fit in’, but I’m very much considered a ‘native’ by my neighbors. My mother, who STILL LIVES IN THAT HOUSE, who lived in it before I was born, will never really be an insider there. It’s a strange dynamic.

    I have to say – I’m incredibly jealous that you found five couples where you both liked the husband and the wife! My husband and I are at 3 and holding right now.

  13. so, i don’t have 5 girlfriends here that I’d want to spend a birthday with, forget about their husbands too. but i belong in my family, so it’s ok 😉

  14. I love it when my favorite bloggers get together 🙂

    I can’t imagine you not belonging anywhere, Missy. You’re too kind & seem to always be looking out for people . . . people like you need to be in more places, not told that, maybe, they shouldn’t be in the place where they are.

  15. Awww, you are so sweet! (Is it OK to call a guy *sweet*?) I am thrilled to be here at Katie’s place – the pleasure was all mine yesterday!

  16. You could be the most popular person and not feel like you ‘belonged.’ I believe that where you place your heart is where you belong. Wherever you’re surrounded by the people you care for and who cares about you in return, that’s where you’d feel you fit right in.

    “Gelled.” I like that 😉

  17. Great post, Missy. I felt the same way when I moved to California from Michigan. It’s been almost thirteen years, and sometimes I still don’t feel like I fit in. But I found genuine people that I gel with instead of changing myself to become more “acceptable” by people I don’t really like anyway. So glad you hear you’ve done the same!

Trackbacks

  1. […] I have the good fortune of appearing at the lovely Katie's home, Sluiter Nation.  Katie is one of those people who just impresses the hell out of me – with her writing […]