Settling Skin

I grew up with the distinct feeling I didn’t belong in the tight-knit Eastern European community in the Mid-West.

I was made to feel like an outsider by my peers and by own family. It was an uneasy feeling I eventually grew accustomed to like a wool sweater.

Last week I went to a very WASP upper middle class church for a funeral. That familiar feeling of otherness crept along my forearms but instead of feeling ashamed, I felt empowered.

A few months back I wrote a blog about visiting my friend in Mexico who had befriended some extremely well off English speakers that had vacation homes in the city. Even there, among the group of cultured elitist, I had that particular feeling of otherness.

And at that funeral, it slowly dawned on me. I will always have that feeling of otherness, not because I don’t belong, but because I see and feel the world differently. Slowly, with therapy and self-reflection, I’m realizing that feeling of dissimilitude is a product of my intellectualism and emotional intelligence.

Dare I admit it.

I have the heart of an artist. An intellectual. A warrior. A writer. That feeling of not belonging is not a curse but a blessing. I’ve been gifted by the creator with the urge to see beyond the invisible lines of any given society. I want to see under the rug. To examine the knots, zig-zags, and crosses that meander under the seemingly colorful harmony of the surface.

I question. I seek. I ask. I want to know more than what is simply accepted as unspoken rules.

I am not other. I am more. And, that is my purpose in this life.

What a lovely feeling of settling into my skin rather than feeling like an outsider in it.

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