Monday, 24 February 2014

Where Do You Belong?

I was reading something online recently that prompted me to think about this – where do I belong? Where do I feel most at home?

Geographically, there isn't really a place I feel I belong. In my home town, I never really felt that I fitted in – and to be honest, I didn't want to. The popular kids at school just weren't my cup of tea, and I wanted different things from life so I would never have been part of their social circle. Where I live now, I still feel very much like an outsider. As soon as I open my mouth, it is immediately obvious I'm not a native of the area, and as I've said before I don't have even one really good friend in the area that I can chat to, go shopping with, and all the usual girly stuff.

There are places I feel more at ease and relaxed, but I'm not sure I would say I "belong" there because I've never been for an extended period of time. The south coast of Devon is one of those places. I've been visiting the area almost annually since I was 3 years old, and whenever I arrive there is a sense of being "home away from home". In general, I would say being near the sea makes me feel calm and peaceful, and I've said for years that in an ideal world I'd live near the beach. But would I feel as though I belonged if I were there permanently? There's no way of knowing.

At work, I've had jobs in the past where I definitely felt I belonged, and was valued and respected and liked. At the moment, I don't feel that I'm disliked or not valued, but I do feel as though if I were to move on I wouldn't be missed. The team I work in is nice enough and we get on, but not to the point of socialising outside of work – it's all very businesslike and nothing more. In previous jobs I worked with people who I did become fast friends with and had a social life with, and I do miss that. I socialise more with Boy's team, who are based 100 miles away from mine!

I've never had a big circle of friends, although I have been part of other people's circles of friends – and although the friends of my friends may have been perfectly nice and welcoming towards me, I always felt that I was on the periphery of the group and I was tolerated rather than completely accepted. This may be, at least in part, down to my natural introversion, as I don't feel comfortable in the middle of a big group. I don't feel that I can be completely myself, so I present an edited version of myself. There are very few people that I feel I can completely let my guard down with, and sadly over recent years that number of people has declined even further.

I can't even say that I feel that I belong with family. I used to, for sure, but since we lost my dad I do sometimes find my mum quite hard to be around, and there are things I can't say to her and there are things we just don't talk about. My extended family are great, and on the rare occasion we do all get together we always have a good time, but we're not "close" as such – they wouldn't know what my favourite colour is or what movies I've been watching or whatever.

The one person I do feel completely at ease around is Boy. I don't have to put on any kind of front, I can just be me and do or say whatever I want to, and feel safe in the knowledge that he won't change his opinion of me or feel differently towards me. For that reason, I can honestly say wherever he is, that's where I belong. He is home to me.

So, why do I consistently feel that I don't "fit in"? Why does it matter to me? I guess its human nature to want to be accepted and loved, and maybe I do make it more difficult for myself because I tend to hold back a little, and wait to be invited into a circle rather than invite others to form one with me. My self-confidence isn't great, and I often think that people just aren't all that interested in what I have to say – so I don't say anything. I'm definitely more of an observe-from-the-sidelines kinda girl than one who dives in at the deep end and immerses herself. I'm cautious, and I'm not very trusting any more because of disappointments in my past. On the whole, I'm happy enough – I could be a lot worse off, let's face it. I have a wonderful husband, a home, a job, and although my friends aren't great in number, those I do have are fantastic and I wouldn't change them for the world. Maybe my place in life is still to be determined.

Where do you belong?
This post originally appeared on my old blog and has been imported to Living for the Victories


  1. Jenni, I totally struggle with these types of feelings, too! I've always been a part of friend groups, but I've never had a "best friend" like other people and that always made me feel left out. But I'm with you on feeling perfectly at home with my husband, and that's such a great feeling. And I think you're right, it's human nature to want to feel loved and accepted, and I think that's why we desperately try to "fit in" no matter what age.

  2. I totally know how you feel, Jenni. I'm the same sort of introvert. I have been lucky enough to have found a place where I somewhat fit in, that I have a job where I'm highly valued. But at least you have found your home with you husband. Maybe one day you'll have the chance to move to Devon, I know how beautiful it is around there. I totally agree with the saying: Home is where the Heart is :-)

  3. I completely know how you feel. In fact, that entire final paragraph could be written on my blog with my signature. I know the feeling of being on the outside of a group. I am lucky that I found my husband who is my best friend. I love that Emily Dickinson quote and will be sharing that with him tonight.

  4. I know exactly how you feel. Well, I do feel like I belong with my family.. but that's about it. I've had many groups of friends and even "best friends", but they move on and I realize they weren't really truly where I was meant to be and that breaks my heart.

  5. I can relate. I have had friends and been a member of a friend group but when it got down to the nitty gritty and school was over or we moved to a different (yet nearby) city those friendships did not continue. Or at least in the same manner. Other members of the group still hang out often - I guess try just made a stronger bond. It's a bummer.

  6. Super interesting thoughts. For me, as an expat, I feel like home is where my people are! I miss them x


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