I Don’t Belong

Something happened in my life recently that made me think. Due to the nature of what it is, I probably shouldn’t be writing about it, much less to post online… but writing has always been one of the most therapeutic things for me, right next to music. Have you ever felt like you had to run away? Like you had had no place and just didn’t belong? That is pretty much me right now. Actually, it describes me for most of my life. (I should probably warn you, this is going to be one really emotional post…)

When I was little, I felt that way because my home life wasn’t good for me. Mom was always partying with her friends and I had to grow up young because of that. Of course, mom doesn’t remember it how it really was and she’s in denial of it being as bad as it really was. To be honest, I don’t even remember every detail because most of it is blacked out.

I got to run from that bad place when I eventually moved in with my grandma at age 14. For the next 3-5 years, I was okay. I felt like I belonged… but then I grew up. I wasn’t really encouraged to grow up though. I remember researching places I’d like to go and telling my grandma things like, “I want to travel,” or “I want to go to the UK!” or “I would love to see New York City in person.” She would always, always, always knock it down. Say it was too expensive and I’d never be able to do it or that I was crazy and I was gonna get myself killed. Instead of encouraging me, she always kept me at arm’s length… treating me as a child and never letting me grow. As a result, I started to feel that feeling of needing to run away and do my own thing. I know she meant well, but all it did was make me feel trapped.

After she died, I moved into an apartment with my cousin Josh and a friend of his. During the first 4-6 months of our time there, Josh picked on me a lot. I didn’t think he meant any harm out of it. It made me feel disrespected and like I didn’t belong. I constantly felt like I needed to run away… and I did. I would spend hours swimming in the community swimming pool or walking aimlessly around the city. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to take a walk that would last 4-6 hours, especially if it was his day off. Luckily, he finally opened his eyes and realized the effect he was having on me, and he stopped acting like a complete jackass. For the remainder of my stay in the apartment, it was good.

When the lease ran out at the end of our year there, I had to move back in with mom due to lack of funds. Living there made me so depressed that I’d cry myself to sleep at night. Not only do I only have bad memories of living in that house, but it’s a health hazard and all the drama my little sister would cause just wasn’t worth it. The thought “I’m too sober for this shit,” was one that crossed my mind on an hourly basis. I don’t want to be there and I don’t belong there, no matter how much my mom wants me there. There were moments when I wondered if being homeless was really that bad.

I’ve lived with one of my other cousin’s now for a year. I babysit for her whenever she needs me. Her husband doesn’t seem to realize that is generally a paid service. There are parents that pay a hefty amount for live-in child caretakers. I don’t ask for anything in return. I devote a lot of my time to helping take care of the boys, there have even been times when I would cancel plans I’d already made in order to watch them for a few hours in the evening. I may not pay anything in rent to stay here, but I do give a lot of my time… and time is so much more valuable than money. I wouldn’t say I stay here for free because I do pay my dues, it’s just in a different way. I help out with food as well, and I don’t really use that many resources. Of course, he doesn’t see it like that. He thinks I’m unappreciative, like I don’t do enough. He doesn’t realize just how much time I do give up to help him and my cousin with the kids. He doesn’t realize how truly depressed being at my mom’s makes me feel and how I do appreciate being here because I literally just can’t handle my other option. Here, I just feel underappreciated and like I’m a burden. It felt like home for a while, but somewhere along the way it changed and I constantly just have the feeling that I don’t belong.

And now… now, I am being forced to return to my mom’s by the new year. I don’t know why or what I did wrong to deserve this bad punishment. All I really do know is I’m scared. Living at mom’s takes me back to dark places that I can’t even remember, but I don’t have any other options. Especially if I do want to get out and travel directly after I’m through with college. I keep telling myself it’s only two years and that I’ll be doing school full time the whole time, along with part time work. If I’m lucky, I’ll hardly ever even be at home. Sadly, none of those thoughts really make me feel better about it.

This is a feeling I can never escape. No matter how much I try. Unless I am out of town, experiencing new experiences. Am I choosing to travel in order to run away from my problems with my hometown and my family? I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe not. All I know is I’m tired of feeling this feeling. I’m tired of being unhappy. I don’t think I’m running away though. Given the options I have, I feel like it’s my only choice. I know it’s the only way I’ll ever escape the feeling of not belonging where I am.


2 thoughts on “I Don’t Belong

  1. I’m so sorry you are stuck with such crappy options right now. Your consistent desire to build a life you want to live shows how strong you are. You are an impressive young woman. That you are going to school and working at the same time is amazing.

    Your dream to travel is terrific. I hope you never give that up. I think that seeing what the world looks like outside of a tiny piece of California is excellent. I’ve certainly found that traveling to India is like being dropped on the dark side of the moon. Truly a different world. Hopefully through your travels you’ll find the place that feels like the best home for you. (I grew up in Michigan and travels took me to the East Coast. I quickly realized that my soul was born to live on the East Coast, and that’s how I ended up in Boston.)

    BTW I once offered to send you a copy of the book “A Blond in Africa”. I’m still happy to do that if you’d like. I think you’d love the book.


  2. I’m so sorry you’ve been going through all that you’ve been through. The fact that you still aspire to get out and see the world is not only very optimistic, but also powerful. While I haven’t gone through the same experiences as you, I feel trapped sometimes too. That’s why I’m aiming to change things in the coming year.


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