Welcome to Tigersue's Jungle. Here you may find a Jungle of thoughts and idea's. You may never know what you will find!
Yes, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I am a wife, a mother, a sister, and a friend.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A sense of Belonging

I have been struggling lately with my sense of belonging, and then wondering what is it I really want to belong to and why? Isn't it enough to belong to a loving family? I mean I have wonderful parents, a great husband and children that are a great joy and blessing. I have sisters that support me in so many things, and many interests, and things I enjoy doing.
I remember as a young girl after we moved to Utah, just wanting to belong, to really have a good group of friends that had an interest in me for who I was. I always felt like an outsider, that I was someone that intruded on their space and how dare I want to be part of it. I was teased mercilessly for my love of Canada, and I missed it even more because my dearest friends were there. Friends that never once made fun of me, or laughed at me because I was a different religion, or was quiet, or even heavier than they were.

I'm still scared from that experience, I don't trust people very much, and I put up protective walls. I still want to have friends, but I'm not willing to give of myself, at least open up in the way that I should. It is a lonely place to be to feel excluded and shut out, and to have it be your own doing 90% of the time.

So why do I fight this system of cliques, and clubs, why do I want to be part of it so much. Why don't I just be myself and continue to do the things I want and like, and not get too upset when I want to be in a circle of friends. Do I really want to be part of those same cliques and clubs that hurt others by their inability to see the value of those around them? I'm I really that shallow that it is that important? Man do I need to grow up and act my age. I know better than this, I'm not that teenager anymore, I'm an adult with much more to do than worry about whether or not I am included in other womens circles.
Yes I'm lonely, but that doesn't mean I have to have others validate who I am, or what I do. I just need to take care of the needs of those I love, and listen to the spirit to guide me outside of my immediate realm. That is after all the most important things I can do.

Am I struggling yes, do I feel like I did so many years ago, yes. Time to say forget it, and enjoy the good things I do have and the good things I have been blessed with.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted you to know that I too struggle with fitting in. I don't know if it is a utah thing or it is a personality. I feel it is definitely a trial I have been given and hope to someday overcome. I just don't understand why some seem to find others and some don't. I am just grateful that I found you when I was struggling in those former years.

Téa said...

It doesn't sound to me like you want to belong to a clique in the exclusive sense (did you know that it's also a mathmatical term? funny, eh?) because you know what it's like to feel left out.

There is something different about a circle of friends than being part of a family, though. Family has this underlying idea that you will be loved by loving family member, welcoming you with open arms. Friends, on the other hand, are chosen--no blood/marriage bonds already in place.

I don't think a circle of friends is a bad desire, inherently. I'm of the 'three primary kinds of friends' theory group myself: people whom you associate with at a function such as church or work, but not outside said function; friends from a locality, enjoying each other's company but not keeping in touch when one moves on or away; and life-long friends who don't allow distance to dim the relationship. The groups shrink in size as they move from less to more personal.

Deciding *intellectually* that you don't need outside validation generally comes before internalizing it and feeling it emotionally. I hope your struggles will ease with time, either by forgetting it and moving on, finding the friendship you desire, or preferably, a balance of both.

MomR said...

I'm sorry to learn of your struggles with feeling like you fit in but I am glad that you shared these tho'ts with us. I guess we all feel kind of left out at times in different circumstances. Yes even I at my age. Thank goodness for good family friends who are so good to me. I hope you will soon be able to feel validated in your associations. I love you.

Noelie said...

Oh golly. Utah thing? NO..
... I am going to throw the towel at the whole "Utah" thing issue.

Tigersue knows how hard I found it to find a place in CALGARY CANADA.. north of Utah.. part of another country altogether.

It is a LIFE thing. If you talk to people that grew up in Canada, I can guarantee someone in that group will wonder if they belong... same with the east. north south.
It is a human expriennce thing.. how to make it better?

When I have those answers I expect I will have been resurreted :)

The Ramblin Irishman said...

Cheryl and I have lived in several different places and many different wards. People are pretty much the same no matter where you go. It took me a looooong time to finally just be me and I didn't really care about fitting in. People would just have to accept me as I am not for what they thought I should be. Don't ever lose that young girl quality; it keeps you young as you grow older. It is good to laugh and giggle like a silly teenager every now and again. Now about Utah... Of all the places we have been, Utah has been one of the hardest to fit in, especially if it is an area where the people have lived there since Adam left the Garden of Eden. You can always come to Downey, ID and we will show you a good time.:) You would probably leave saying "I love it where I am. That Delaney is something else."

Tigersue said...

Thank you Cyd, you were there at the right time for me too.

Again Thankyou Téa, For me I think I just wonder if I really make that much of a difference, or what is it I really want out of life, and who is it I want to spend some of my free time with. It is particularly hard when many of me dearest friends live far away from me.

MomR- I love you too

Noelie, you are right it is not a Utah thing, and what is bothering me at the moment is a much larger scope than the imediate surrounding community I live it. We like it here very much.

Ramblin Irish Man, I think my husband wouldn't mind living back in the state of ID. We have tried it a couple of times, but I think the Lord has other plans in mind for us because it just seems right to stay where we are.

The Daring One said...

I just talked to the young women of our ward about this. I told them that they needed to decide how they would handle this and how they would react to these pressures now because they would continue throughout their lives. In my group of friends, there are cliques and I've felt pressure to join them, but have come to the overwhelming conclusion that I feel worse when I'm part of those groups. Instead, I try to include members of those groups in my ecclectic circle.

I think the most important thing for me is to worry about who around me is feeling like they don't belong. When I do that, I always feel more of a sense of belonging than I do by trying to belong.

Rachelle said...

I have a hard time fitting in too. With my age and the age of our child, we are older than most people with a child our age and the people are age have older kids. I never really feel like I have many irl friends. It's a good thing I have so many wonderful online friends. Hugs to you!

Lolly said...

oh girl - I can almost copy that post word for word - funny how feelings like this have surfaced for many of us recently. I am so more at home here online - and so grateful for the anonymity that allows us to reach out just a bit and start getting to know others. Thanks for sharing your struggle and inspiring a post of my own!

Tigersue said...

DYM, Rachelle and Lolly, Thank you so much for your kinds words, and for your efforts as well. There is so much truth to be said about looking outward to others and who might be feeling the same way!
I have tried to do more of that in the past because life is too short to say I wish someone would pay attention to me, when they may need it too.