You Be You: Belonging in New Places

DSC_4583 via kimberlyanncoyle.com

She’s a city girl who finds herself unexpectedly living in the suburbs. She got married, had a kid, quit her job, and watched the city disappear in the rear view mirror as she left it behind. Everything that felt familiar and comfortable, every rhythm on which she built her life dropped down to a single note. She is now the ultimate soccer mom cliché, the yoga pant wearing, ponytailed, mini-van driving suburban mother.

She doesn’t recognize who she is in this new place. She says she doesn’t know how to be herself here, but she does know that she wants to craft music out of this one-note, she wants to learn how to beat out a new rhythm. It feels false at first. It feels like she’s wearing too-tight pants, pants that squeeze her new mama belly until it spills out over the sides. She’s spilling out, when all she wants to do is make this life fit.

Here’s the thing no one ever tells you–especially those “city girl in the country” Hallmark movies–you may never feel entirely comfortable in this new place. You will never sing the same song again. You will never squeeze yourself back into those old jeans. You will never change yourself enough to fit in a singular place. And that’s ok. It’s ok to be you, to be your city self or your country self or your somewhere in-between self. It’s ok to be your working self or your mama self or your bi-vocational self. It’s ok to be a beautiful melting pot of all your happiest and hardest experiences. You be you.

Here’s the other thing no one ever tells you–you can change the shape of your place, even if it’s only a little bit, to meet your needs. Sure, the city won’t have lots of open spaces, but you might find one small space of green that makes your soul sing. The country won’t have the latest haute couture or fusion cuisine, and the suburbs will look like a never-ending ad for Target, but if you dig a little deeper you might find something unique and interesting that breathes life into your ordinary day. This goes for churches and schools and careers and friendships too. Rather than longing for the former life, the previous way of things, find ways to bring the joy of the former into the new. Ask yourself:

What made you come alive?

What filled you with longing?

What made you sigh with contentment and say “this is my place of belonging”?

Now, ask yourself how can you cultivate that life with all of its living and longing and belonging where you are right now.

Cultivating a sense of belonging happens over time. It is hard work. Belonging happens over trial and error and bad experiences and unfortunate relationships. It happens in the midst of a sense of loss and grief. It happens while you experiment with yoga pants and the unsexiest vehicle on the planet. Give yourself a break, but also give yourself a chance. Find your way back to you because wherever you go, be it city or suburb or country town, there you are.

……….

Do you feel out of place and out of sorts with your current life circumstances? If so, what are you doing to make yourself fit in? Is it time to release those efforts? How can you make your place better fit you?

For more posts on belonging, click on the “filed under” tag at the bottom of this post or search for “belonging” in the sidebar.

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  • Michael

    Wonderfully said! and true.

  • Marie Fincher

    Life is the thing which always tries to hold us at the same place and trust my paper or not somewhere you’ll have to stop.