We all crave acceptance at some level. Sometimes it’s in a community or among peers. We may feel alienated from our friends or even from our families. I’ve heard the phrases: “I don’t have any real friends,” and “I have no family.” I think the lie in all of these scenarios is I don’t belong. I don’t belong to a family, to a community, to a group. Whether or not you actually have a family and a group to belong to, you may not feel like you do, and that’s what is important. We can look and behave like the people around us, but it’s essential to actually feel like we are connected to them through love and acceptance, whether or not we actually look and act like them. And it’s not necessarily about how they treat us. They can be kind and they can do everything to help us feel acceptance, and still we don’t completely feel it. That feeling needs to come from within.
I went to a conference yesterday, among like-minded people. On the surface, these people were part of my faith, my community, they were people who believed as I do, and yet as I sat among them in various classes, listening to them and agreeing with them, I began to get a headache. Deep down I was listening to voices that were telling me that I didn’t really belong there, that these were not my people, and I began to feel a sense of isolation. I looked around. I wore pretty much the same kinds of clothes as they did, my hair looked similar, my language was the same, and yet I felt apart from them. I even chose to sit apart, not really joining in, not really fully participating. I tried to figure out what was going on.
It wasn’t until the last class of the day, led by a woman known as the Drum Circle Goddess, that I began to formulate the lie that I had been believing. This woman, to lots of conservative people in my community, would seem “weird.” Not because of the way she dressed or because of the way she spoke or carried herself. Nothing about her appearance would make you look twice. But her class was about “healing vibrations.” Now, I am not new to energy, but this was something I had never experienced before, and it made me stop and wonder if I could accept a woman like this into my circle. The class began. There were drums, there was music, people were excited and involved, and I watched with fascination as this woman led the crowd in rearranging the chairs in the room so that there was a large empty area. I watched as they all formed a circle and beat the drums like a Native American prayer. And I found myself wanting to be involved. I felt the energy of what was happening and I liked it. I found my soul drawn to this circle and these people, and I joined them. And my headache disappeared and I finally understood. I am weird. I accept and embrace weirdness in others, but I don’t think until that moment that I had ever accepted it in myself.
So now I say, I am weird. Because weird is wonderful and healing. I enjoy the idea of doing what is different and offbeat. I belong with those who accept that about themselves. I rejoice in belonging with them. They are my family.
Because the truth is, you can’t really feel a sense of belonging and acceptance and connection until you can fully be yourself and accept who that really is. Who are you, really—down deep inside your soul? And do you love that person? Do you allow that person to flourish and thrive? Because that is the joy of being alive! Thank you, Drum Circle Goddess, for teaching me that.