Yesterday I came across a quote from Brené Brown when on a PD course that really struck me:
“The opposite of belonging is fitting in”
I thought over those words for a fair amount of time yesterday and marvelled at how simple, yet how astonishingly true they were.
There are times when we don’t want to be seen as different, we want to fit in like everyone else, so we make changes, we alter who we are in order to fit in, in order to assimilate and not stand out. Yet you see, whilst we may ‘fit in’ by doing this, we are not being true to ourselves, this is not belonging.
To belong, I meant to truly belong, is to be ourselves, our true self and to be and feel accepted as such.
No mask, no façade, no wall to protect us.
To be accepted for who we are, our true self, exactly as we are meant to be, this is belonging.
When we strive to fit in – we lose ourselves
When we strive to belong – we find ourselves
To belong can be one of the greatest gifts of all.
When we belong, we have the rare gift of being able to be our true authentic self. Belonging contributes to our overall well-being.
So may we all strive to belong, instead of striving to fit in.
I didn’t have all the name brand clothes that the “cool” girls had.
I didn’t wear makeup in an attempt to impress the b… actually I went to an all-girls high school, so I’m not sure who they were trying to impress.
Anyway, to make things ever better, I was in the school band. I play the flute… It was right around the time when the first American Pie movie came out… *cue Michelle Flaherty jokes.*
I liked to sing in the choir, I enjoyed the reading and writing assignments in English class, I suffered from a complete lack of coordination in PE (but somehow still managed to pass), yet still managed to be a bit of a class clown while maintaining pretty decent grades.
What I’m trying to say is, I never really fit in. I wasn’t nerdy enough to be with the super nerds, I wasn’t sporty enough to hang out with the Sporty Spice doppelgangers, not Emo enough for the Emos, not slutty enough (or at all actually) to hang out with the skanks… well you get the point.
Luckily I wasn’t the only one and through our lack of being able to easily “slot” into one of the categories of high school groupings, we formed our own friendship group. Our differences helped us to bond, we learnt through each others interests and pursuits and it was through our differences that we found common ground, heck we weren’t even all in the same grade, but somehow we managed to navigate the trials and tribulations that was high school, supporting each other through it all, appreciating each other for their individuality.
To the more popular girls in the school, we were all wrong, but to each other we were wrong in all the right ways.
“So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways”
“Raise Your Glass”- P!nk
Sometimes it got to us. The popular girls sending endless filthy looks our way, the rolling of eyes, the talking behind our backs, but most of the time… we just didn’t give a f**k.
Yes, we likely dealt with the usual self-esteem issues, image-issues, self-loathing type of crap that comes with the teenager territory, but most of the time we were happy as ourselves and with each other. We were genuinely happy for each other when something awesome happened, whether it was a first kiss, a terrific grade on an assignment or getting a part-time job. We built each other up, encouraging each other to pursue their dreams, to reach for the stars, no matter what others (including the “cool” girls) thought.
And that’s the way it should be, embracing the different, encouraging others.
Somewhere along the line I lost that.
I began to think I had to change myself to fit inside the box.
Actually not just think, I did begin to change, I did begin to lose myself, to lose my identity, the things that gave me my individuality.
I was almost too late. It took me a while to realise what was happening. I was becoming one of those people who do things simply because it’s what’s expected of them.
I was becoming one of the people in the “Little Boxes”
“And the people in the houses all go to the university
And they all get put in boxes, little boxes all the same
And there’s doctors and there’s lawyers
And business executives
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same”
“Little Boxes” – written by Malvina Reynolds sung by Pete Seeger
It was seriously getting me down,
I feel like I should be saying something like,
“Nobody puts Baby in the corner”
but that’s not quite what I’m going for here, instead I’m going to say don’t let anyone change you in order to fit into the “box”, even yourself.
So again, in the words of P!nk,
“So raise your glass if you are wrong,
In all the right ways,
All my underdogs,
We will never be never be, anything but loud
And nitty gritty, dirty little freaks”
So go out and be the best “you” that you can be.
Be the individual, even if it means that you’re not part of the “cool” group, at least you know you’ve been true to yourself.
Plus, being different is way more fun than fitting into the box!
So to all my fellow misfits, the ones that are wrong in all the right ways, I raise my glass!
It’s been a long time since I’ve felt, like really felt the urge to write. “Urge” might be a bit of a funny word to use, but it’s all I’ve got at the moment so be prepared to see the word several times in this post (I apologise in advance).
I’ve been stopping and smelling the roses quite a lot and have been reflecting on things, but I haven’t really felt that urge to write. It was kind of getting me down a bit, despite being in gorgeous surroundings. It’s all part of a period of adjustment perhaps. After making such a big move and a more permanent one than when we decided to pack up and move to Budapest for a year, I suppose it’s only natural to feel a little lost for a while.
In the last couple of weeks though, I feel as though I am slowly finding myself again and hopefully with it, my urge to write again. I hate writing when it feels forced or doesn’t come naturally, sometimes I have to push through it, because it’s something that needs to be written in a particular time frame for one reason or another, but I never feel satisfied after a forced writing session.
Usually when my writing comes naturally, I feel satisfied afterwards, I feel like I truly accomplished something, even if I end up deleting it later because it was rubbish or didn’t make sense. That feeling after writing encompasses many emotions, you feel accomplished, re-centred, happy, content, so many things.
Often as writers, we lose our way, we feel as though somehow we have lost that urge to write and to create. The truth is though, as I am beginning to realise, is not that it is ever lost, it is always there, inside of us. However, sometimes it can become silenced by the pressures around us, the craziness of the world we live in, it can be stifled and pushed into the background, smothered by what life throws at us. But somewhere, sometimes way in there, way up the back, there is always that little voice, telling us to create, to write and to escape to a world of pure imagination of our own creation.
It’s taken me a while to realise this though, that my urge to write isn’t actually gone altogether, but has just been silenced and pushed back by a variety of factors. Now on the quest to turn up the volume on this, I’ve completely gone back to basics. My first step was reading a lot, my own work, the writing of others, multiple novels (some trashy and some surprisingly good).
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”
Now here comes the next step – actually writing again, but remember we’re going back to basics. So instead of jumping straight back into the last manuscript I was working on and trying to force it, I’m writing simpler things, a few sentences, ideas, poetry or even this blog post for instance. In a way I suppose you could say I am exercising my writing muscles!
When I first came up with the idea for this post and a title, I had imagined a very different post to the one that has taken shape here. I imagined it being about going back to basics of living due to being outside of a metropolitan area. However as you can see, it’s not really what this post is about. I let the writing and ideas flow on their own, I simply followed and saw where I ended up. This short journey reminded me of one of my favourite quotes:
“Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”
So slowly, by exercising my writing muscles and going back to basics, that urge to write is starting to be heard again, louder and louder with each passing moment. Then things like this pop up in my Facebook memories:
This is what reminds me of my passion for writing, the emotions conveyed through words and the ability to create characters and worlds through words. Things like this reignite my need to write and create.
I don’t think I’m quite ready to dive back into my manuscript, but soon I will be, I’m sure of it!
So until then, I will continue to read everything, write as much as possible and then someday soon I’ll be ready to continue József and Anna’s story in “An Anguished Heart”.
Well summer has well and truly hit where I currently live! The weather these last few days has been ridiculously hot. Not just your ordinary summer hot, but the blazing heat and flames of Mordor. A couple of Sundays ago for example, was the hottest day on record for this area, beating the previous record set in 1939.
I think the official temperature was around 47.3 degrees Celsius, however temperatures directing is the blazing sun were measured at 52 degrees Celsius! 52… that’s just bloody ridiculous!
So, we were all sitting there with struggling air-con (if we’re lucky enough to have it in the first place) experiencing the kind of heat that would turn a day at the beach into flaming mountains of lava as those silly enough to even try cooling down at the beach, burnt their feet trying to get from their carefully placed towels to the water. The kind of blazing heat that has you sweating as soon as you step out of the shower and has you wondering whether it’s the heat or if you’re a relative of the Wicked Witch of the West and you’re actually beginning to melt from the water in the shower.
A little like this:
I have mentioned before that I am definitely not a summer person, I detest the kind of heat that no matter what you do, you can’t cool down. Even air-conditioning struggles in that sort of ridiculous heat. The last couple of days have been a definitely improvement with temperatures in the high twenties or low thirties, but that will be changing again later in the week when temperatures in the forties are again predicted.
I’m trying to enjoy the milder weather while it lasts, but I’m already dreading the returning sweltering heat, with these milder days just a short reprieve. With the drop in temperature and some stronger southerly winds coming through, the alpine regions of Australia have also been enjoying some summer snowfall!
Yes, I am definitely not a summer girl, not only does the sun not go well with my pasty white, freckled complexion, but I hate to sweat! And I seriously couldn’t get a tan even if I wanted to, even as a kid I never tanned with my controlled sun exposure, nope, my freckles just connected and by the end of summer I even had freckles on my eyelids!
Yes, I hate summer and if I had to choose between the heat and the cold, I would choose the cold hands-down any day! With the right amount of clothing, socks and blankets you can somewhat escape the cold, especially indoors, but in the heat, there’s only so many clothes you can take off before you’re arrested for indecency.
So this white, freckled lass says, “Bugger off summer! Bring on winter!”
I’m still struggling to find my way lately. Struggling to find the motivation and procrastinating as much as humanly possible.
There’s a saying that my husband has, that has been playing over in my mind lately,
“Don’t wait for claps.”
– The Husband
Sometimes we need external motivators to get things done or we wait to do things because it is “too hard” and we think we need help. The truth is though, we are sitting there waiting for claps, for our own personal cheer squad to build us up and bring us home, to go the hard yards for us or at least hold our hand along the way.
Not everyone has their own personal cheer squad though, not everyone has someone there to hold their hand and handle the tough stuff for them. If you do, then that’s awesome, good for you, but it’s not necessary to success.
Be your own bloody cheer squad, don’t wait for claps!
When you go out on your morning run (or do your two minutes on the treadmill) and are spurred on by the clapping sound resonating around you, don’t be disheartened when you realise it’s your own thighs clapping together. No, don’t get down on yourself, own it! Your own body is cheering you on!
When you’re trying to work through a spot of writer’s block and you hear a slow clap begin and starting to build momentum, making you think you’re finally getting somewhere. Don’t feel let down when you realise it’s just your pen tapping rhythmically on the desk. No, let it spur you into action, because that’s you, cheering yourself on to keep going, to keep pushing through.
You don’t need your own personal cheer squad, you don’t need somewhere there to hold your hand and take care of the “hard stuff”.
I know it’s been over a month since I last posted and things have been rather irregular lately, but there’s a reason for it.
Lots of things are changing, in a good way (which I hinted at in a previous post “Seasons of Change”). However, it’s the good changes that you have to fight for the most. You see, the things that you really want in life definitely won’t be handed to you on a silver platter.
You have to fight for it!
Sure, the news might report on an “overnight success” story or two, but these are either complete and utter blind luck or, the more likely scenario is, you never saw the years of hard work those people spent working towards their so-called “overnight success”.
There will be setbacks.
There will be times when you need to stand back and change your strategy.
There will be times when people (including yourself) tell you to just give up, that the dream is too big, that the goal is so far out of reach that it’s beyond the clouds in the sky.
That’s when we need to stand back and them them all to go and get stuffed!
Continue fighting for it with everything you have.
Sure there will be times when you even doubt yourself, so in that case, take a step back and remind yourself that “you’ve got this” and keep on fighting.
As long as you keep on working towards your goal or dream, you can never really fail. The point is that you fight for it, don’t sit back and say “It’s too hard” or wait for someone to hand it to you on that magical silver platter, there is no silver platter.
You need to do it for yourself, you need to fight for it.
So whatever it is, get out there and fight for it!
Here I sit, with my laptop repaired and restored, except for a few minor issues (DirectX or something). New super-fast and super-quiet SSD, rather than the old faulty HDD that caused all the issues to begin with.
I finally feel the hunger to write again, to express my thoughts and imaginings through words. To create, to explore and to escape the world for just a moment, all through words.
Things are changing for the better and I’m not just referring to the laptop issues.
Change is definitely in the air, both literally and figuratively.
While the nights are still cold, the days are warm, sunny and full of promise. When winter came along it brought with it the feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt, but the season for change is upon us again.
Some changes happen naturally, others are triggered by a series of events and happenings.
Change is not always good perhaps, but change is necessary and this is seen in nature.
No matter which season you enjoy (or detest) the most, each season plays a necessary role in renewal of the earth.
This is the same for us. While some changes get us feeling down, they often lead to others that leave us feeling renewed and full of life again.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu
Now here I sit, the changes of spring making an early appearance with flowers cautiously poking out of the ground, testing the air and revelling in the sunshine.
These are good changes.
Being able to comfortably write again at my laptop, renewing my hunger to express myself through words.
These are good changes.
Making decisions for our family, about our future.
These are good changes.
In life, in nature in everyday living, we go through seasons of change.
One of my many cherished memories as a child was watching the Disney version of the story “Pinnochio”, actually any Disney movie, really. “Pinnochio” was like many Disney movies, that were not only enjoyable but also taught us many life lessons. No one can forget the iconic scene where Pinnochio’s nose grew every time he told a lie to the blue fairy, so much so that his nose sprouted leaves!
But the part that stuck with me most from that movie, isn’t that Pinnochio became a real boy or anything like that, but the part when Jiminy Cricket tells Pinnochio about wishing up n a star.
“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you”
Lyrics from “When You Wish Upon a Star” copyright Bourne Co. music Publishers
As a young child I remember looking up at the night sky and wishing upon the first star I saw. Sometimes they were outrageous wishes that a child makes, like wishing for a pony or an endless supply of chocolate, but as I got older the wishes began to change and sometimes it was a wish for help and guidance or perhaps to do well in exams or something of the sort.
As a child, there was something magical about wishing upon a star, the belief that if our heart truly desired what we were wishing for, that it would come true. When I didn’t get the pony or the endless supply of chocolate, I was not disheartened, I didn’t feel let down, nor did it lessen my belief in the power of wishing upon a star. Not at all, I told myself that the reason why my often outrageous wishes didn’t come true was due to the fact that it was not truly my heart’s desire, my mind wanted those things, but my heart did not.
This became a turning point in the types of things that I wished for. I moved away from the material things and started to think what it was that my heart truly desired and you know what, more often than not, those wishes actually came true. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence and the magic of wishing upon a star isn’t real, perhaps it’s just a way of focusing on what our heart truly desires and taking the steps towards those things.
Maybe the magic is real, maybe it’s not.
I however, choose to believe in the magic, even if it’s just a way of holding onto a part of my childhood.
I believe in magic.
I believe that when we wish upon a star, anything our hearts desire will come to us.
Even now, I still wish upon a star, my wishes now mostly consist of the health and happiness of my family. Still though, every time I look up at the night sky, the first star I see calls forth these words,
I’ve been quite absent the last few weeks due to some issues with technology and also because I couldn’t find anything I desperately wanted to write about so badly that I would sacrifice my thumbs and possibly even my vision in order to write a post using the WordPress app on my phone.
This past weekend we were all coming down from the excitement (and sleep deprivation) of celebrating my cousin’s wedding, when we heard that my brother lost a mate to the grips of depression.
This is not the first person my brother has lost and I’m not going to name names, out of respect for the man’s family and friends who are grieving. However, I did want to take a moment to acknowledge that it’s ok not to be ok.
The world needs to be reminded that even the roughest most “blokey of blokes” needs to know that it’s ok to talk, it’s ok to not be ok. It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help, comfort or to admit you’re not ok. No, not a sign of weakness at all. Sometimes some of us forget this though and even the “blokey bloke” himself needs to be reminded that it’s not weak to speak.
It’s not enough for us to say these things though, it’s not enough for us to say it’s ok not to be ok, we also need to act on it. Observe those around us, ask others how they are doing and really mean it. Asking, “how are you” should not just be a throwaway line, but a true question about a person’s wellbeing.
I’m not saying that we can save the world, but maybe, just maybe we can help to pull someone that little bit back away from the edge.
To all those we’ve lost, who saw no other way out of the darkness, we will always remember you. In your memory we will work together as a family, as friends and as a community, to bring mental illness out of the shadows and let everyone know that truly, it is ok not to be ok.