in which i learned to belong

Lately I’ve resorted to the use of writer’s prompts because I’m at a loss for things to write about. Creative juices are running slow this year. Today the word is, ‘belong’.

It conjures up so much emotion for me; especially when preceded by the word ‘I’.

I belong.

Growing up, I did not belong. I was the ugly duckling. Not that I was ugly, I don’t think… I just stood out. A lot. I wasn’t really like anyone else. When I was home in Latin America, I didn’t look like anyone else. When I would visit America, I could physically blend in easily enough, but I couldn’t change how I was made or how I thought about life. I never belonged completely to either group. Common TCK dilemma.

Where's the white girl?

See if you can spot the white girl…

Typically in life, you belong with the people you share common interests with. Ever since I can remember, my parents have said that I was born in the wrong era. I never liked the same things people my own age enjoyed. I had developed from a young age a deep-rooted love for: jazz, reading classic literature, classical music, baking, gardening, old movies, and ballroom dance… These loves continued to manifest in my life and you can just imagine how many kindred spirits I found through the years — very few.

I was the middle kid in a larger than average family of 9. I didn’t feel like I belonged with either the olders or the littles. I mostly just did my own thing and bounced back and forth between the siblings, whichever I could profit from in the moment. I was also the only white girl my age living in a town full of boys and was considered to be ‘one of the guys’. I’m taller than average for girls and I grew taller than many of the boys I was friends with too. The only thing that was ever average about me was my shoe size (US 7.5); and even in that, I am female bigfoot in Mexico. From a young age I was taller than and had bigger feet than most full-grown men.

It really does wonders for a girl’s self esteem…

These were my closest friends from age 13 until I graduated high school, plus 2 visitors from Canada.

My best friends from age 12 until I graduated high school (and 2 visitors).

To belong.

Although my college friends would never be down to fox trot with me to ‘A Foggy Day’, they do share my love for food; specifically, Korean BBQ. We’d frequently go into the heart of Koreatown to share a late second dinner. I’d look around the table at the people who had become my friends in a short amount of time and I began to view our group as an outsider would see us, realizing we were probably the most diverse group of people you could place together. If I were to give each friend a label identifying them based on the surface: race, sex, background, and genetics, there’s no way we’d be friends; let alone sharing a meal together; let alone be in the same room. Picture Jets vs. Sharks. I’d totally be with the Sharks. We Latinos gotta stick together, man.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, it wasn’t until my senior year that I realized: ‘belonging’ has nothing to do with sharing physical characteristics, the same interests/dislikes, or having a history with a person. It doesn’t even have to do with race, background, or age. If you were to go around our table and label us based on our hearts, you would find a commonality. We are no longer defined by our pasts. Jesus Christ died for our sins. We are bought. We are chosen. We are redeemed. Because we first belong to Christ, we can then belong to and love each other; because we see one another as God sees us — a new creation. Belonging is rooted in the deepest fibers of us; the parts being made to look more like Christ. Because of that, I can look at the diversity of my friends and think…for now anyway, belong here.

I’m linking up with SheLoves Magazine‘s February writing prompt…in March.
Because I’m a rebel.
Just 
kidding…

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