Finding a place to belong

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Shaun Tan

There are a lot of things I want to say, but I never do. Sometimes I don’t even know why.

I once read something about belonging that said, ‘I belong to myself before I belong to anyone else‘. That’s what I want. I want to feel that sense of belonging. Within myself. I want to know that it’s okay to put myself before anyone else sometimes and that I don’t have to feel bad about it.

I want to feel equal. I want to feel that I have a place in this world. Like I am part of a pack. And maybe I already am, but I don’t recognize it. I don’t feel it.

Fitting in, being accepted and wanting to belong. I think when it comes down to it, that’s all that anyone really wants from life. It’s what I want.

I want to belong with people, not to people. For so many years I haven’t been able to recognize that I don’t belong to them. They don’t own me. Maybe once upon a time they did, but not anymore.

I want to be able to understand that not everyone is dangerous. Not everyone is going to hurt me. Not everything in this world has a price. I want to know that it’s okay to love another person and that they can love me back without expectations. For no other reason than because.

I was recently told that it doesn’t hurt anyone when you talk about things, it’s just words and feelings. Words and feelings don’t cross boundaries but actions do, they said. Apparently, you can talk about hate, self-destruction and needs and as long as you don’t act on them you are doing absolutely nothing wrong.

It doesn’t feel that easy though and I thought after hearing them say that I was supposed to make some big revelation. Tell them some big important piece of information. I had a thousand thoughts and feelings running through my mind. But the words would not come.

Nothing is going to change about how I feel until the words come….

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