On Belonging

Happy hump day!  Or should I say RECRUIT day?  Wait…you don’t know what a Sluiter Nation Recruit is?  Well, start here, yo.

This week I am excited to bring you KLZ from Taming Insanity.  Why the excitement?  Have you read  this woman’s writing?  She is the bee’s knees. The cat’s pajamas.  The dog’s…um…zoot suit?  Anyway, she is totally rad.

She is not just funny, but charming.  She is not just a mom to a boy, but pregnant with another one (boy, that is).  She is not just brainiac about social media stuff (um, she is half of the Eli Rose Social Media site), but she is generous with her knowledge (seriously, check out Eli Rose).

I have stalked her blog for a really long time only commenting on the biggest of news.  Mostly it’s because I have no idea what to say…she seems to say it all so well that I feel like my comment would fall lame…ever feel like that on a blog? No?  Just me?  Well.

But then I got to know her a bit and I realized something.  She is pretty dang awesome.

And totally honest.

This post she sent me is honest.  And it comes at the perfect time:  back to school time.

But it also rings true to me as an adult too.

Let’s see what you think.

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It seems as though it’s become cool to say you don’t belong. Cool to claim you’re a geek, or to declare yourself an outsider. At least online, this is a badge of honor, a way to connect with other outsiders and thus, belong.

As much as I value the connections I’ve built online, I sort of hate this trend. The reality of the situation is this: people are people everywhere – even online – and people like to be in groups.  There is safety in numbers. As proof, the first blogging advice you get almost anywhere is: find your tribe.

I’ve never done well in groups. I can find individuals with whom I share a deep, emotional, heartfelt bond. But groups? I’ve never understood how to navigate their dynamic. Invariably I make a misstep and ostracize myself from the group.

When I was in high school, I tried valiantly to fit into the group. I didn’t want to be popular – I just wanted to belong to a group. Any group would do. I desperately wanted and needed a true support system.

So, I tried to be nice, to not make sarcastic jokes that could be taken wrong, to help everyone. The effort of trying to be everything to everyone just heaped strain on me. I’d try harder just to fail better. I always failed. I couldn’t do it all, I couldn’t be it all. These failures would pile upon me until I hated myself. I hated turning someone down for a simple request because I was too busy doing other things. They hated me too. Because I helped everyone else, so why wouldn’t I help THEM?

Inevitably, the stress of trying so desperately and failing so miserably would cause me to implode. I’d snap at someone who didn’t deserve it, I’d cry for no good reason, or do something else that would make me an outcast once more. So, I’d start over. I’d try harder to be nice which created more stress. It was a vicious cycle fueled only by my own unrealistic expectations of myself.

I hated me.

I don’t want to go back to hating me but I lately find myself mirroring that high school girl. I try to visit every blog that hits my email, every blogger that comments on my blog, every interesting link I see on Twitter. I want so badly to be supportive. For isn’t supportiveness the price we pay to belong?

But I can’t be everything to everyone. I’ve tried. And I hate that person.

I have a place where I belong and people with whom I belong. I’m not a natural networker. I’m built for deep, intense relationships. I’m built for relationships where you know everything about the other person and stay with them through thick and thin. I’m built for marriage, not casual acquaintanceships or one-night stands. I can’t be married to a group of 20 people. I am built for monogamous friendships. That’s where I belong.

I don’t belong as part of a group. And that’s ok.

As long as I remember where I belong, I’ll be ok.

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You want more of the Insanity, don’t you?

Ok…for some funny…How to Lose a Gut in Ten Days

Oh, and she MAY wear a lot of dresses.  No really.  Dressing Myself

And come on…we have all done it to some unsuspecting new mom-to-be…Mommy Vomit

And I told you she was social media savvy, right?  5 Blogging Time Management Tips

So there you go.  KLZ.  Taming Insanity.

You’re welcome.

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