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Saturday, June 24, 2000

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Belonging

I've been thinking about how so much of what I try to be interested in is an effort to belong. The internet is so addicting in that regard. I join a forum so I can belong to a group but I find that the discussion is so boring that I rarely stay long. Most conversations in real life are fairly boring also which is why shows like "Real World" have become much more dramatic than they were the first year or two. Real life isn't all that interesting except to the participants.

I've never felt I belong anywhere, at least I only remember being a visitor where ever I am. I've lived in Tucson for over fifteen years but have never felt like this was my home and so I've never put down many roots. I belong at work, I've always belonged where I work, but outside of work I always feel like a stranger looking in at everyone else.

I've blamed this on several factors, that I was born in Mexico and my parents lived there while I was growing up. That I was sent up to the states to school in second grade. That I went to several different schools. Since I realized that I had ADD I also wonder if it's because I felt different than so many around me. I have always envied people who belong. Who seem to instantly become a part of the community where ever they are.

I've tried the pat answers and have joined groups and churches and such but I always felt like I was playing make believe and I felt like a liar and a hypocrite for pretending that this was me. Maybe everyone feels like that but I don't believe it. I know that more and more people are feeling like I do but is it that so many Americans especially don't belong anywhere or that only now do people feel safe saying they don't belong.

It used to be dangerous to say you didn't feel like you belonged somewhere, after all, this is what you were born into and this is what you are, no matter what. The ones who left were considered to be a problem. Some got around this by being traders who traveled as part of making money, which was ok. Some became artists who were considered a little crazy so what else could you expect from them. It was the ordinary people who behaved differently or didn't become part of the society around them who were in danger. These were the witches and heretics that were killed.

England has their eccentrics which is one of the best solutions as they incorporated the strange ones into the fabric of their society. Even so, people tend to associate with their own kind and everyone else becomes "other", but while each segment cries out for to right to do their own thing, they vilify people who don't fit in the neat categories. You can't believe some liberal and some conservative values, you have to choose a category and stay in there or you belong in no category. Even libertarians can be quite tight ass about anyone calling themselves a libertarian who doesn't agree with their version of libertarianism.

Well, that ramble went far afield. I still don't have an answer for why I don't and never have felt like I belong. I would rather have my rattling around which brought me into contact with ideas I wouldn't have know before, than to belong but to never be exposed to different ideas, though I never stuck with most of the ideas long enough to really become knowledgeable of them. Still there are people with open, inquiring minds who do belong so it's more than just that.


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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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