I belong.

Belongingness is defined as :

Belongingness is the human need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. The motive to belong is the need for “strong, stable relationships with other people.” This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give and receive affection from others.

I have decided that this year has been a year of finding my belongingness.   Where I belong.  Who I belong to.  Who I belong with.  It’s been an eye-opening experience and I wholeheartedly pray that everyone finds their belongingness.

I belong.

Now, I am right where I belong.  I have a sense of purpose that has been missing for years.  I feel lucky to go to work everyday.  I respect and admire my boss.  Tremendously.  I have a staff that has blossomed under my management which was simply an act of empowerment.  To let them do what they know…that we are in it together, to make it work… They look happier than months ago, they laugh and they know everyday how much I appreciate what they do and how well they do what they do.  My team rocks it and I wouldn’t trade a moment.  I have more to do everyday than I can do and I find that my day passes quickly and that in itself is a blessing.  I am good at what I do and that gives me a sense of pride in my job and in myself.  I belong.

I belong.

I found that I had become hard, angry person that took my position as “Family Control Freak” to the ‘inth degree.  My small family continuously looked to me to fix it, to vent, to lean on, to rescue.  And after a while, I got angry.  I got tired and I didn’t let go.  I realize now that this is the dynamic of this family.  I am the “go to” person.  I have been since I was 14.  And all it took was one statement from my sister…“You have been my mom and dad since I was 11….,” I realized at that moment, it was us.  And there was only the three of us left.  Or so I thought.  I let go of the anger, of the sense of helplessness that I felt every time my mom got sick.  I let go of the anger, the isolation I felt when my sister couldn’t help me.  I let go.  I simply realized that mom wasn’t doing it on purpose.  That she was more angry, more scared than I was.  I realized that my sister was doing the best she could with what she had.  And that she was more angry and more isolated than I was.  I let go.  I let them in, I told them how sorry I was, how I loved them.  And I found my place.  I found my sister, I found my mom…and the love that was always there…I also found that it wasn’t the three of us…there are aunts, uncles, grandchildren, “in-laws”, and soon to be in-laws, that are there to help me.  That these people are there as part of my genetic family.  That I have a place in a larger family than I saw.  And my, how I love this family.  They are mine.  I belong.

I belong.

A year ago, I changed my relationship with my kids.  I became a mommy again.  I changed the “friend” hat for the “parental” hat that I should have never taken off.  To show them that there were limits, that there were consequences to their actions.  That even in letting them learn from their mistakes, they will always have me in their corner. In the past year, I have seen their stability, their security, I have seen their smiles and heard their laughter.  I have seen a peace come over them that only comes with the knowledge that they are first.  I am more peaceful knowing they see me, really see me and the strength that comes with that.  I belong.

I belong.

I have found that I don’t need lots of friends.  I need good friends.  People in my corner that want to be around me.  Not for the parties I throw or the jokes I make.  Not to always be there to pick them up when they are down.  They want to be around me, just for me.  This year, I have learned the hard way that trust isn’t something you just “give away,” it’s something that is to be earned.  That people sometimes suck and they are selfish and have their best interest at heart.  It’s ok for them, but not for me.  That honesty is the best policy and that not everyone can handle it.  I learned that I have to be careful because my friends are an extension of me and speak volumes of who I am.  I love my friends, the new ones that have come into my life and the old ones (no, I am not calling you old, cutie!!!) that no matter what, loves me for me.  The person who is my soldier, my confidant, my soul sisters.  I have found that I fit this group of people and they fit me.  I can’t think of my life any longer without them…and without naming a single one of them…they will know who they are and they will smile.  Because I touch their lives as they touch mine.  I belong.

I belong.

I have loved.  I have lost.  I am not perfect nor am I innocent in any failed relationship in my past.  These days, these people have a fond place in my memories.  I choose to not dwell on where the fault lies, or who did what, who said what and the why of it all.  I simply honor my past, as it shaped me.  I move forward with this amazing woman.  This person that can read my thoughts and finish my sentences.  She shares my home, my children, my heart, my breath and my soul.  This person loves me for who I am.  For who I can be.  I have found support, trust, forgiveness, peace, integrity and a love that is beyond anything I have experienced.  I have found my place.  And it’s at the end of the day, in the crook of her arm.  I belong.

I belong.

It’s been a while since I have spoken loudly and proudly about my faith.  It’s not because it’s faded.  It’s simply because I quietly needed every ounce of it for myself.  I have had a terrifically rough 6 months and the end is in sight, but it’s not over.  I have put all my problems in His hands, asked that He hold me up and show me the path drawn for me.  At times, I don’t understand it, but I follow.  I lost my church home a year ago, it doesn’t feel as welcoming or warm as it once did and I ache for that sense of community, but in the times that I miss it most, I quietly talk to God, tell Him of my sense of loss and He brings me peace.  Someday, He will show me my new church family, it will feel right and it will be right where I need to be.  Until then, I will float on my faith.  Rejoice in His love for me, for my family, for those close to me.  I know that I am loved and forgiven.  That’s enough for now.  I belong.

I belong.

I have spent a lifetime putting everyone and everything before me.  Making sure that everyone else was happy, everyone else’s needs were met and that whatever they needed they had.  I took care of people who I now see, simply couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same for me.  That didn’t put me first.  That put their needs in front of mine and disguised is as their sense of concern “for me.”  I put that down a year ago.  I put me right where I need to be.  I find that I need to be quiet, I need to be sad, I need to be happy, manic, small, angry….I need to be human.  And anything more than that, well…

I belong to me.

Should be Un-Necessary Rules.

Well, we have hit a new low.  It does seem however, that it’s become necessary.  Rules seem to make things so much easier.  So I submit, the Rules for Public Potty Breaks.

  1. It’s a public restroom.  Remember that.  With that being said…you need to treat folks coming and going with a bit of respect and a lot of modesty. 
  2. If your “cube” mate happens to break wind while pottying – you don’t have to “excuse” them, “bless” them or snicker.  It’s a private stall for a reason.  If you two were sharing a stall, then you could say something…otherwise, zip it.  Folks fart…sometimes, it’s like a pressure valve…necessary to relieve…not necessary to mock.
  3. If you are on your phone when you walk INTO the bathroom….GET OFF THE PHONE upon entering.  Not everyone on the other end of the phone needs to hear anything about what you or your neighbor are doing.  Plus the acoustics are off…
  4. If you are NOT on your phone, don’t answer it when it rings.  It’s awkward trying to explain what you are doing and again…your neighbor may have performance anxiety and you are disturbing their mojo.
  5. To the person in the stall…if someone starts speaking, don’t answer unless called by name and even then, it’s a, er, crapshoot…they may have answered the phone and then you look like a tool, talking to someone who isn’t talking back. 
  6. When you walk in alone, and you seen someone you may know…make eye contact, say hello and drop it.  If they are going into a stall as you are going out…say hello and drop it.  Do not engage in a conversation with this person.  There are phones, e-mail and other public places you may pick up where you left off.  If they have issues they are dealing with (i.e. the trots) or simply need to be quick, you are slowing them down…and they are not gonna be happy upon exiting.
  7. If you have small children – for the love of all things holy…teach them the following:
    (a) how to NOT lock themselves in the stall.  If they are not old enough to understand the essentials of public bathrooms…go with them!
    (b) if they do get themselves locked in, teach them not to panic.  And scream.  Please God, no screaming.
    (c) if they do lock themselves in, teach them to crawl out under THE DOOR.  not the stall next to them.
    (d) teach them to be quiet…as opposed to “Mommy, their potty stinks!” or “Mommy, they sure are taking a long time!” or “Mommy, are they going number two?”  yeah…none of this is fun for any of us.  And I can wait you out…(true story, this happened to a friend and she walked back in the office in tears.  I however, couldn’t stop laughing…yep…I am THAT friend.)
  8. Before you leave your stall…put your clothes back on.  Don’t walk out, buttoning, adjusting, tugging or pulling…you need a mirror?  just guess. 
  9. Don’t walk in to a full public restroom and begin knocking on the stall doors thinking you know who is in it.  You may not and when I walk out and give you stink eye…don’t hug me and apologize…or better yet…go ‘head…I haven’t washed my hands yet and now…they are on your back…you’re welcome.  dick….
  10. You would think that this one would not need to be written…when you are done…WASH YOUR HANDS.  Don’t just run your hands under the water.  Apply some soap and rub your palms together vigorously.  You aren’t made of sugar, you won’t melt.  It’s gross.  Just help us all out.

I am thinking that maybe, just maybe…if we all follow these rules…the world will be a better place…or at least you can have some peace and quiet. 

Lest you have a scene like this hoisted upon you…(not the Irish assassin…but the Tom Arnold-y type person!)