I get this feeling sometimes, of “other”, of separateness, it is an old familiar feeling from childhood. I can basically trace back on the landscape of my memory those specific points in time, as a child when I felt this so strongly. It was as if I was outside looking in at a world that did not want me.
I felt it acutely in grade school when I was bullied and even more strongly in junior high school. I felt it in church. I was the daughter of parents who were separated by a scandal, I was different from the other girls in Bible School who had parents that were together. I could feel the way they looked at me when I’d walk in, I could feel the separateness, the awkwardness.
And the truth was when I felt it, I was different. I wasn’t my goofy, fun loving self. I was withdrawn and excluded myself from their circle through my silence, as if to punish them, as if to say, I don’t want you or need you, anyway.
I locked them out of my world.
I felt it ,when I became pregnant, the only pregnant teen in my H.S who went to school till my 8th month of pregnancy. I felt it in the stares, in the feelings of being invisible, as if they didn’t want to look at me, as if I held something they did not want to see.
I felt it as I got older, when I would be treated differently at stores from the other women and told to put my bag behind the counter, while other women in the fitting rooms were able to keep their bags at their sides or when I was clearly followed in stores because I must have fit a description of what a shoplifter looked like.
The older I get the more I realize the feeling doesn’t go away but shows up in different ways, through different situations. Now that I am an artist, it shows up when I find myself comparing myself to others and longing to be a part of this invisible clique but always feeling like an outsider. As a blogger it shows up when I don’t get comments on my posts, when I put my heart out there often and it is not always received and silence meets my heart. As a facilitator of women’s groups it shows up when I create a course or any content and work hard at getting people to participate.
It comes up as the belief that I am not as good, too different, not different enough, not important, no one is listening or paying attention, no one cares…blah, blah, blah. Those are the thoughts that create the feeling of separateness, that keep me from being more open, that keep me from feeling included and a part of something, that keep me isolated. They also keep me from expanding, from becoming more than I think I can be. Why would I want to be bigger and better if I believe I cannot handle the rejection at this stage I am standing in right now? These are the thoughts of defeat that sometimes grab hold and at other times glide off of my back. It all depends on how vulnerable I am feeling at the moment. If I’m sick or feeling more pain than usual, these thoughts are sneaky and can take over for days. If I am feeling particularly good, energetic and happy, they are fleeting thoughts that I pay little mind to.
In those moments when they seem to have a stronger hold, I can either withdraw or engage even more. I can also sit in it, feel it, let myself move through it with the tools I have, with the knowledge and intuitive sense of my higher self. Sometimes I choose to engage even more as if to show and prove the voice, wrong.
Sometimes I withdraw and it takes me a while to come back and engage again. Sometimes I sit in it and it hurts, and feels uncomfortable and I hate the feeling because the truth is, it is not my natural state of being, it is not your natural state of being to be separate.
I have felt it for a very long time and I work hard at not feeling separate and so I have found ways to combat this feeling. I have made myself part of communities that mean something to me, I have been present to others, I have allowed myself to be seen and heard and been a mirror for others even when it has been painful to hold that reflection.
In fact being connected and in the flow of all things is our natural state of being under our conditioning and wounding. It is the truth of who we are and when we are not in the truth of who we are, it is uncomfortable and downright painful and so my pain is my barometer, my sign that I am not feeling connected, and in flow. I can use my pain to ask, where am I disengaged from myself, from my life, from others? I can use it and bring my loving attention to it, I can in fact love it, like it is a wounded dejected child because that really is, what that part is. It’s the little girl stuck on the back of the 6th grade line, feeling utterly alone, still alive and well in me.
Sometimes I feel “other”. It closes me, almost like I am closing in on myself.
But what if instead of closing, I opened. What if I did exactly what I do not want to do in those moments and felt through the layers. What if I opened myself to my own connection to SELF, to SOURCE, to HUMANITY…I get to tell a different story. I get to live a different story.
I am learning, I can still feel it and yet live another story.