I sat down in the church class and the chalkboard had the question “Where do you feel you belong?” This began a discussion which included how God loves everyone and how we can help each other feel welcome in our communities. The thing is, I don’t fully belong anywhere. When I’m in my science fiction writerly communities, the part of me that thrives on religious communion rests. When I’m at home being mom, the part of me that is a young girl who likes to go dancing isn’t being given expression. When I’m at church there are portions of my thoughts which would only bewilder some of the people I’m sharing that community with. I (like most people) am exceedingly complex and can’t be fully expressed in one context or relationship. At times in my life this has caused me to feel that I don’t belong anywhere. Then I realized that the not-belonging-anywhere feeling happened when I focused on the parts of me that didn’t fit in. When I instead focus on the things that connect me to my current context or to the person I’m next to, I find belonging everywhere.

I’m much happier now that I realize belonging is mine to create rather than something bestowed by others.