I want to belong. It has been my inherent wish my entire life. As a kid I always wanted to belong to something, maybe to escape life, maybe to feel whatever is missing inside my soul but I always wanted to belong. I never really did, or more aptly I never felt I did.
As I grew up I looked for belonging in the church, but was never quite Christian enough. I thought I was an alcoholic but really, no, not really an alcoholic. I am a feminist but really, not radical enough. I am a mom, but meh, I really don’t act like other mom’s and sure don’t talk like them. I belong with my husband and kids and this sense of belonging feeds my soul, but I guess we always search for more.
When I first joined the Ottawa comedy scene it felt like I found the place I really wanted to belong. These people were as messed up as me, though they wore it differently. Everyone has their own unique personality but there is a shared interest in something that I am passionate about. Finally, I BELONG! Hang on there people, do I really? Or do I belong and not feel it or do I not belong or does it even effing matter.
Here people, is my current internal dilemma. Every year Ottawa has a Roast and awards show. It’s really about the roast, the winners are just cool cats, popular kids and such, but the roast, well it’s something else. It’s drunken people insulting each other, sometimes in a smart way, sometimes not so smart and sometimes just a drunken hot mess on stage for five minutes. It’s the highlight of the comedy season, anyone who is anyone is there. (except those who aren’t)
I have gone before with some negative effects. Other people can sit and hear negative things about themselves and brush it off, but because of my disorder, I can’t. I internalize everything, get drunk, act like an idiot and feel horrible for three weeks. It is made even worse if I roast someone else, because I am someone who wants to belong and be liked. When I say something mean it just comes out awkward and then i feel just awful after, worrying if went too far and if they still like me, and on it goes.
So to most the answer is simple: don’t go. This may seem easy, but to me it’s another sign I don’t belong. It’s not like I’m someone anyone calls up and says “hey, let’s hang tonight” to start with, though I know I am fully welcome to hang when there, but to miss the main night that everyone talks about, it feels like I am missing out. I am not “normal” enough to be able to handle it. This makes me stand out even more and people don’t want me to come for all these reasons. When I miss out I worry even more that no one likes me and that I don’t belong.
So in the end it’s lose/lose, but I have to break it down a bit more. Those who don’t want me to come are not saying don’t come because they don’t want me there; they are worried about my ability to handle it and don’t want to be part of causing anxiety and pain. Maybe people caring enough to worry about me going is belonging? I’ll never know, and honestly still don’t know what I am going to do, though my husband and therapist have pretty much banned me from going, I still want to go.
I know i’ll do what’s right, and I know I may never feel I belong. I know I’m funny, just as I know I’m good at things in life, my self esteem isn’t THAT low, but it makes me sad that I don’t belong. In the end, if I have to drink the entire night to try to forget the pain the insults/jokes cause and drinking only causes me more trouble, it’s likely not a good idea. I may never belong anywhere but maybe that’s okay. Maybe understanding that my mental health is more important than anything is what I need to focus on. I can’t worry if people like me or not; I mean I’m almost 40 and still worry about fitting in. I have to let it go and accept I’m different and that doesn’t mean i don’t belong, it just means I can’t sit in a room where people are throwing insults at each other and especially when it’s at me. When I get in my negative place it hurts more than you can imagine and doing things that make the pain worse will never make sense.
We’ll see what happens, but I am caught between wanting to belong and wanting to be well and i may not be able to do both. I may just have to sit home, watch tv with husband and let him make mad passionate love to me while everyone else gets drunk and stoned. I’m Jenn and I don’t belong, and that’s okay.
Thanks for listening.