This is a big word for me. I did not place much value on it until I began following a therapist on social media. She did a series of posts and stories about this that have helped me understand the importance of belonging. We are social creatures and crave community, belonging, and of course security and love. Without it, I feel we do not have a chance to fully develop into our healthiest and best version of ourselves. 

When I was a child, I felt out of place and like I did not belong. I used to think it was because I grew up in the 1970s and seemed to be one of the very few in my circle of friends and in my classroom that did not have the typical nuclear family. I had my grandparents and mother, but I did not have a father that was present or supportive in any way. I had a family who did care for and provide for me, but even that did not establish a meaningful connection in every aspect of my young life. I grew up with the nagging feeling of not belonging. In high school, it only got worse. I was often not included in activities that had been part of my culture and family heritage–such as debutante clubs, socials, or other activities that involved two parents and the financial stability to participate. I constantly struggled with trying to fit in. I was always the “extra” or the third wheel. I was excruciatingly mindful of this. 

Once I graduated from high school and began working, I slowly began to find my tribe. These were the friends who just saw me; not my family background nor my lack of connections to influential people. They saw me for who I was. Gradually, I began to feel that sense of belonging and community with the tribe of friends who grew to become family. I was blessed with building those lifelong friendships in my 20s and 30s that have sustained me to this day.

Life happened and I relocated a few times. I always struggled to attain that elusive feeling of belonging and what I often refer to as HOME. I would often say, “This place doesn’t feel like home yet.” After a few years, I’d grow my network of friends and special places and that feeling of belonging would come back to me and I would cherish it. I didn’t quite understand this intangible thing I felt but it filled my heart and soul with love and a feeling of belonging and home.

This brings me here. I have been living in this part of North Texas for several years now. I have never felt at home or the sense of community and belonging I have craved to further my growth and healing process. I have become more socially isolated and oftentimes, it is by choice. 

Here is what I have learned…

It was always up to me to be open to new friendships/relationships and seek out those connections and networks. I understand that it becomes more difficult if you are struggling with problems in your personal life or at work. As we age and grow through life’s stages and struggles; our views, feelings, and even habits may change. Every new challenge will either force us inward like a cocoon or push us out of the protection and essentially, the comfort zone or “resting period” as I like to call it. 

I am not the bar scene-free-spirited 25-year-old I was years ago, but I’m not quite yet ready to join a senior community center either. I am somewhere in between rediscovering myself in this new phase of life– post-divorce, post Covid, and with new responsibilities and interests; and wanting to feel connected to old friendships while also being open to creating new ones in the present. I am quite comfortable going to do things alone and although that is a wonderful feeling of independence and confidence; doing things with a friend or two brings interesting conversations and a new perspective. This damn anxiety has forced me to seek out nature more than “crowds.” I’m not complaining, but I am recognizing that nature is so healing for me and I’m going to take advantage of it as much as I can. 

I recently made a trip back to the small city that I was born and raised in–South Texas. These trips back down south were rarely filled with excitement or longing. Instead, they were filled with dread, worry, anxiety, and frankly, general unease about the whole thing. I was a little anxious this time around too and honestly, I was tempted to cancel the entire trip; but I had family obligations and recognized that the “belongingness” I was missing was right there for the taking. I knew it was time to reconnect with those important relationships that are so important to me and I pushed myself out of that “comfort zone of isolation.” I have zero regrets.

I kept waiting for the anxiety to hurl me back to my “comfort zone of isolation” which happened to be my hotel room, but I persisted and resisted. I was worried about that general feeling of unease, anxiety, dread, and fear starting to creep up and consume me. I was waiting to feel like…’this place isn’t home,’ kind of feeling. Guess what?! It did not happen. I learned that feeling of home, community, and belonging; is all within me and the relationships I cultivate and nurture. I have been searching for something outside of myself to give me the comfort and acceptance I needed and that was so severely lacking in my life. I finally got it. Home is not a place. It’s the environment we create with the ones we love around us. It’s feeling safe and loved. It’s laughing and sharing both happy and sad moments with your friends and loved ones. It. Is. So. Many. Things. Thank goodness I learned this so I can finally stop searching for what was never going to be found in a place. 

Stagnation and Self-Awareness

Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on

Stagnation: lack of activity, growth, or development

That is the definition of how I have felt for nearly two years now. I have been in a holding pattern with no direction, enthusiasm, or motivation. I’m seeing a pattern here–maybe even a lifelong pattern. I’ll have periods of rapid growth and moving on or moving forward; and then, there is stagnation. The periods of stagnation are after some sort of major event or trauma. The best analogy is that I go into a cocoon of darkness and just stay there for however long I need until I either get tired of being in the dark and isolation for so long OR I get fed up with the pitiful circumstances I am in and somehow push what little ounce of serotonin I have to get me up and over the next hump!

I don’t want this blog to be about me whining, bitching, or having a pity party. I want it to be about unbecoming all of the things I became when I was living in survival mode and did not understand the “why” behind my behaviors and actions. I want to heal, move on, let go; and give myself all the things I was seeking “outside of myself.” Throughout this entire process, I have learned so much about myself–that I had trauma, some PTSD, and unhealthy boundaries. I have been broken open. That is the only way to describe what has happened. I’ve been broken open and now I am sitting with a huge heap of stuff I have to unlearn.

First, I am learning that I am worthy. I am worthy of being treated with respect and consideration even though I did not have the easiest of circumstances growing up. I am worthy of taking up space here because I was chosen to be here in this place and time. Although I have made some poor choices in my past; I am in a place where I understand the ‘why’ behind them and I am working on healing so that the next decisions that I make will be decisions based on the wisdom and lessons I have learned. 


What have I discovered about myself?

I have had a problem with boundaries. I am a sensitive and empathic person that feels too much sometimes. I tend to overextend myself when it comes to obligations and such and then I resent myself and the situations I find myself in and that surely is not good. My nature and calling have led me to work in public service professions; hence, I’ve been on the front lines. The pandemic has changed the scope of my job and society has changed dramatically. I feel that I am losing the fire I had a few years ago for sure. I still am passionate about the mission of my career, but I’m questioning the changes and direction we are headed. Do these changes reflect my values and ideals about what I want for myself and how I want to share my gifts? I honestly can’t answer that right now because if I do, it would be a resounding no.

I feel change is necessary. I feel as if I need to take time to ask myself how best can I serve and also allow more personal growth. I am mentally and spiritually exhausted and I know it is many things and not any “one thing.” I need to lean into the emotional and mental support of close friendships and I have not taken time to nurture and protect those relationships due to time, distance, and overwhelm. I am also in therapy to break down some of the trauma, issues, and patterns of my past. It turns out healing from my divorce was easy, but peeling the layers back to reveal all the things from my past that led me into this space is some serious work.  I am talking to God more these days. I’m sharing what is in my heart and mind and know I am in a holding pattern. This is where He brought me and I will not leave without knowing where He needs me to be next. I have some things I am pondering and trying to work through but I am not just a survivor, I am a warrior. I am confident about finding my way even if it is taking me down a narrow path.


If I could sum up the disastrous year of 2020 and the last 15 months “post-divorce,” I’d use the word HEALING. What I have learned about healing is worth sharing because the true goal of learning is to share knowledge. 

First, healing is not linear. It ebbs and flows with time, circumstance, and honestly; the level of effort you’re applying towards healing. It is work! When the pandemic first hit last March and we shut down, I was positive about creating a rigorous schedule for myself to stay hyper-focused on healing. It all went down the tubes as the shelter in place didn’t bode too well for me. I started strong with daily walks outdoors, to-do lists, and a promise to stay productive. Depression snuck in through the dark corners of my mind and deciding to let go of the friendship I had maintained with my ex-husband was a difficult choice, but one I had to make to progress in healing. 

After committing to a “conscious uncoupling,” we were adamant about remaining friends and supportive of one another’s new lives apart. I quickly found out that was not going to work for me. I found myself regressing and wanting to reach out for the familiar comfort and closeness we shared. It left me on an emotional roller coaster of highs and lows. Frankly, it was time to get off the ride. Some people can stay connected and move forward with healing. Some cannot. I fell into that category of those who cannot. Of course, I miss the friendship and wish him well, however, I value the time I have had to let go of that anguish and pain I had been holding onto for so long. 

Second, during the healing process, old wounds crept up. It was like peeling off the layers of an onion. I realized just how much pain and resentment I had been holding onto from my childhood and family of origin. I was flailing in all directions. Combine this with the shutdown/pandemic, job responsibilities shifting dramatically due to the pandemic, and getting infected with COVID-19 pneumonia; I was losing myself. Something had to happen….and I called it a “God Shout!.”

A God Whisper is that small sign that sparks something inside of you. A God Smile is a kind word from someone that helps to instill a sense of confidence and shares a message of positivity. A God Shout is that huge thing you cannot deny any longer! It can be a message you get repeatedly from different sources throughout any length of time. It can come at any moment and from daily interactions with life and people. Mine happened to come from a longing I had been feeling for quite some time. I knew I needed to delve into some self-help books about healing, gaining more confidence, and moving on. I wanted to find my way back to the person I was before my heart was broken. I decided to start with a bible study. For 90 days, I committed to daily reading, deep reflections, and some journaling. The best part was that one of my dearest friends did it alongside me. My eyes were opened. My heart was full. The joy I experienced in reconnecting with a part of myself I had shut down years ago was profound. For the first time in a long while, I felt my heart healing. I felt myself desiring to let go of any resentment and anger from my past and the person(s) who were part of that hurt. I felt love. It was a watershed event in which I could not get enough of reading the right materials in tandem that put me on the path I am on today. Bibliotherapy!

I discovered that there inside of me all along was the love I had been searching for. It was just there…waiting to be watered so the seeds could grow. I love the woman I am coming home to. I love the people in my life who are helping to grow those seeds of love and healing. I am blessed!