Tuesday, March 31, 2015

the price of belonging ...

To belong ... or forge one's own way? That IS the question, isn't it?

As I watch my girl navigate the choppy waters of fourth grade social cliques, I realize I haven't progressed much myself in terms of understanding when the desire to belong may come at too high a price. Always lurking underneath my surface is a fear of losing my self in the gambit to be a part of something larger than my tribe of one. 

So too for my dragon girl, the desire to be a part of a group often clashes with a strongly developed sense of who she is and what she believes in.  We are moving carefully through the minefield of what to share and what to keep to ourselves.  I am trying to teach her that people have to earn the right to be trusted with her innermost truths. Her relationship with dragons (and fairies and gnomes) is one such tender area deserving of special privilege.

For me the slippery slope in belonging is too easily I lose sight of my direction and I begin to navigate by a set of values that are not my own. Or like my experience singing in a choir, surrounded by other voices I lose my voice and fall into tune with whoever sings the strongest.

Perhaps belonging isn't really the issue?  Perhaps what challenges me (and my independent girl) is the act of holding firm (and confident) to the differences that make us unique while seeking common ground with others? Not to downplay the pressure to conform which is at the heart of my girl's struggles, but in my case no one is pushing me to abandon my path for theirs.  Rather, I too easily fall into doubting myself. It may be a matter of believing another's way would be easier, mapped out and certain whereas I am totally on my own over here in the dark unknown. 

This has been quite an a-ha for me.  It's also dawning on me that perhaps the bulk of rigid constraints I find myself thrashing against are, more often than not, self inflicted and maintained. 

Yeah.  Wow. Just beginning to glimpse the full expanse of those two perspectives and the freedom they reveal.

Meanwhile, I admit feeling woefully inadequate to translate any of this into something useful for a  fourth grader.  The best I can hope to do is to help my girl strengthen her relationship with spirit and source which - like her - is still developing, still forming.  To nurture the core of who she is, modeling a reverence and valuing of her uniqueness while also emphasizing being a part of some larger group does not require her to abandon her way of moving through life. As I write this, I realize I am still speaking to myself here.

So, maybe I should take a page from Cowgirl's playbook and plug in my iPod and sing at the top of my lungs (flat and off key of course!) because it releases what pounds at the boundaries of my heart.  Walking side by side with my girl, singing our own songs, together but true to the call of our wild, dragon selves. Let that be my practice.

Perhaps my biggest a-ha is to acknowledge I don't need to have all the answers (for her or for myself)  but that staying true to oneself is to allow oneself to discover her own way ... and to get lost once in awhile because then we discover we have the ability to make our way back again. and again. 


  1. oh. oh, just THIS!! wowzers!

    as someone who always feels perpetually fringe-dwelling [not that it's a bad thing] and frequently thrashes against self-imposed restrictions, i absolutely resonate with what you've written here:

    "Rather, I too easily fall into doubting myself. It may be a matter of believing another's way would be easier, mapped out and certain whereas I am totally on my own over here in the dark unknown."

    and it's usually just when i think maybe i've finally hit my groove, my eye is caught by Something Else and the cycle of doubt and rebellion begins. because with self-doubt comes the complementary bloody-minded streak with it's bird-flipping tendencies....;)

    i love that you tell your dragon-girl to choose her confidants carefully....it's something i've encouraged in my own girl-child and it's made her so much more confident and self-aware....especially where the Unseen Realms are concerned. :)

    oh, truly....for a Transporter...i would so love to beam myself into your kitchen for tea and triangle nutella sandwiches with the crusts cut off....*sigh*


    1. I was thinking about some amazing mother/girl talks around this subject when writing here :)

      And big a-ha and duh! because I realized (perhaps for the 100th time ... the mind isn't what it used to be, so forgetfulness is the order of things!) that maybe just maybe no one is asking me to cede my ways but rather I too easily abandon or assume the price of entrance requires me to conform? I realized no one actually has ever told me that was the case, so why do I assume? Here too is the advice I give my girl: true friends make you feel good about who you are ... if being around someone makes you feel bad about yourself, then they aren't a real friend. Hallo?!!

      Yes ... get on with inventing that transporter thingy please! We really really REALLY could iron out a lot of problems if we were together! (side note: I've noticed a new tendency of mine is to repeat things in threes .... perhaps expanding upon what we are learning in Chinese which is that they double a word for a more pleasing sound effect ... so rather than saying "She has a small nose" they say "Ta you xiao xiao bizi" She has a small small nose. Apropos of nothing here ... just how my mind wanders ...) xo

  2. Love, love, and love some more. None of us know what the hell we're doing, my dear friend. At 52, with a 31-year-old son, I still have no bloody idea. I, too, find myself looking at the outside of other peoples' lives and wondering how they manage to get it right, when I feel like I'm just wandering around out here, wondering what comes next. I try to be at peace with the not knowing, and with whatever comes next.

    I still struggle with that. Maybe we can struggle through together?

    1. And THOSE people are looking in your window and thinking "She's got it right!"

      The not-knowing ... sigh ... am trying to shift my perspective to consider it is full of opportunities and possibilities my mind can not even envision for myself ... versus unknown = scarey. So yes, we can struggle with that together :) I mean, if an angel came up to me right now and said she could show me everything that is going to happen in my life so there were be no unknowns would I really want that? Hell no! I would hate missing out on the ways my life unfolds and those moments of perceiving the magic, the miracles. Each one is such a gift and I love surprises in my gifts! xo

  3. The journey is full of new experiences and new perspectives; carry on with an open heart and the world will respond accordingly.