Deep down we are all searching for a place to belong. If we were fortunate as children, we had a family who reaffirmed to us in words and through actions that we belonged. Our culture is designed around this principle, but in many instances it does not work the way it is supposed to.
I have spent my whole life trying to fit in and be accepted by others, nosing my way in and behaving as though I truly belonged. Unfortunately, I was always aware that I was on the outside, but I did my best to ignore that uncomfortable sensation. I didn't have the courage to face any of this until I was in my late thirties, and I realized I had no idea who I really was, only that I was pretending for every group I found myself in.
Moving from that artificial place to being in charge of my own identity all the time has been a long and winding path. Intensely painful, but rewarding and inspiring, and through everything I have never stopped longing for a place to belong.
We went to the mountains over the Canada Day long weekend, and spent a relaxing few days together as a family of four. On the morning we were packing up to go, I found an empty grocery bag and piled all four of our wet swimming suits into it. I threw this on the bed, and my eyes drifted over to it while I was blow drying my hair.
The bag was clear, and all of the wet suits were crammed in together. There was my black floral patterned one, Jason's grey trunks, William's bright blue shorts and top, and Ava's colourful striped tankini.
My throat closed up with emotion and I recognized deep in my spirit that at long last, I fit in and belonged somewhere. I can be one hundred percent who I am with my husband and my kids, and I am loved not for what I do but for who I am. They need me; I am an integral part of our family group, and I need them too. We rely on each other, enjoy being together, and know that we have one another's backs.
A feeling of contentment bloomed at the centre of my soul with this revelation. I stared at that bag of wet bathing suits and experienced a surge of rightness, contentment, and belonging. No more performing, or fear of making a mistake and being left out in the cold.
This fresh certainty is the most beautiful awareness. I have a place with these people, and I do not have to work to hold onto my spot. We all need a place to belong, and when you find it, with no strings attached, you will feel so much joy that you will wonder how in the world you could have lived without it for so long.