“The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where
Who knows when…” *
Over the years I had grown used to the idea of being an outsider – sometimes by choice, more often isolated by society because of being otherwise. I was the one looking through a window while life went its own inevitable way. And I am not alone in this. We are many.
“All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people, where do they all belong?”**
But all humans (and some animals, like wolves) have a need to belong and be an accepted member of a group. Remember choosing sides when playing childhood games? Remember how your hope to be chosen waned as the popular kids got chosen for one of the two teams and the pool of choices became smaller and smaller? Remember when it was only you left and you were included only because there was nobody else left to choose? If you can, you are probably an outsider too.
Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary argue:
“The need to belong goes beyond the need for superficial social ties or sexual interactions; it is a need for meaningful, profound bonding. A sense of belongingness is crucial to our well-being.” ****
While recently listening to the Director Deaf Education of DeafSA talk about the very strong cohesion of the Deaf Community (capital D) , I pondered my status as a hearing impaired person. Having started losing my hearing later in life, I never learnt sign language and now am faced with this in-between status of not belonging to either the hearing or the Deaf Community with their own very cohesive culture.
Having peeked and ventured out of the closet as gay in my binary living world, afforded me outsider status as well. And with the status came the inevitable depression. So, when I started blogging about my trans* journey about 18 month ago, my aim was to write the shadows out of my head and onto a page. But in doing so, I unintentionally became part of a clan of blogging trans* people and their loved ones and was afforded insider status for the first time in my life. I found that a number of bloggers have included me in their clan through reading, following and commenting on my posts. And I have found that some of them use the terms of address, ‘brother, bro, dude, buddy’. This inclusion in the clan gives me the same kick as what I get when WordPress ask me on login, “Are you Kris?”
“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together.”****
While I will (probably) never be a part of the T (taking) community, for once in my life I have experienced insider status online. At least I belong, if only in a virtual world and I am grateful to those who have opened their ranks for me. Thank you, guys!
“It’s a long, long road
From which there is no return
While we’re on the way to there
Why not share…” *
* He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother songwriter(s): Brian Wilson, Mike E. Love, Brian Douglas Wilson, Michael Love and Bob Russell, performed by The Hollies.
** Eleanor Rigby by The Beatles (Lennon/McCartney),
*** Baumeister R. F., & Leary M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497-529.
**** The opposite of loneliness by Marina Keegan.