Belonging as a blessing*.

 

If you’re ever stuck for a blog topic, head over to plinky.com and have a look at their prompts.  I’ve copied a few to my computer for those times when I feel the need to communicate but can’t get started.  Today is such a time so I thought I’d start with this question:

 What does home mean to you?

For some it’s a geographic location.  For some it’s where blood relatives are, but for me it’s wherever I feel in my proper headspace.  Any place or person that gives me the time and space to feel relaxed enough express the most positive aspects of my personality is home for me.

At this particular point in my life, I feel like I’ve been away from home for a long, long time and I’m finally returning to what Clarissa Pinkola Estés would call my ‘pack’ (the premise of her book being that ‘a healthy woman is much like a healthy wolf’).   It’s been a long and bumpy ride to find my soul-mates but finally I feel like I’m getting there.

The first and most crucial step in finding out where you belong and with whom you belong, involves taking space to be on your own for a while and find out who you are.  Well, I spent that time alone, did a lot of thinking, questioning and discovering.   After this period was over I felt it was time to find out who I was in the context of my relationships with other people.

When I joined a group of artists for my degree nearly four years ago, I was happy and excited because I thought I was on my way to finding my place in the world.  However, it soon became obvious that I had nothing in common with them.  The ways in which I used art to express my truth were deeply misunderstood, and criticized for not being of a very specific nature.  As a consequence I began to mistrust my deepest instincts and fear that I was ‘doing it wrong’ – that I was wrong for the pack, when truth be told that pack was wrong for me.   At the time I couldn’t see it and instead I scuttled back into my shell sure in the knowledge that I had failed as a ‘proper artist’ and didn’t have anything of worth to give to anyone.  This episode also re-affirmed my conviction that I didn’t need or want a pack – that I truly was a solitary animal.  Now, however that I’m starting to feel a sense of belonging I realize that I’m most definitely not a solitary animal, I just function best in the company of a particular kind of person who understands my nature and gives me plenty of breathing space.

Recently, something really interesting started happening, and it’s all thanks to Twitter.  I started being ‘followed’ by people whose interest in me was completely mystifying (I’m often genuinely baffled to find that people like me).  People who awakened a part of me I’d buried away a long time ago and buried it so deep I didn’t even recognize it as an aspect of who I used to be.  However, the more willing I was to let go of these false impressions I had of myself and fully engage with these people the happier, the lighter, and the more ‘right-minded’ I’ve become.  After years of anxious searching my pack is finding me.

The hardest part of all this for me right now is learning to find my confidence with people again, to connect and trust that these new people in my life really can become friends who will to protect, nurture and teach me, instead of playing nice when there’s something in it for them then clearing off when I’ve outlived my usefulness or the novelty factor has worn off.  I also need to learn to trust my skills and my ability to be a useful and competent member of the pack.

Then there’s the softening – oh boy, that’s a tough one.  I’ve been on ‘lock down’ for so long to protect myself against ‘fair weather friends’ that to find yourself amongst genuine, decent people is at the same time a heart-warming and incredibly uncomfortable experience, but it’s a discomfort I’m more than ready to feel – that I MUST feel – if I am to move forward.

It’s all very exciting and absolutely terrifying but like I said in my last blog, this kind of fear is far healthier than the type that’s kept me separated from true self for too long.

 

Now, can we just get into 2012 so I can get cracking, please!?

 

* Blog title taken from a chapter of ‘Women Who Run with The Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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