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Belonging


I had a moment the other day, one that I seldom recall ever encountering in the past and that was, quite simply, a moment of belonging.

The thing about being trans, at least for me, is that I always had the personal sense that I never really belonged in any group. Even in groups where I belonged in theory, such as my hockey team, I still didn't really belong. There would always be a context, a situation, in which I would inevitably feel like I was on the outside looking in. Always.

In a lot of ways, it came down to not really sharing interests. Take the hockey team, for example. I played on the all star team in my league, at my age level, for years as a goalie and the core group of that team remained unchanged throughout that time. We did a lot of things together, outside of already playing a lot of hockey and, while I participated, I never really felt "in" the group. That was all me, though, because a lot of the time they'd want to do things, or talk about things, that I was entirely disinterested in. I faked it, I got very good at doing that, but I wasn't in it because I didn't feel I belonged in it. I felt like a poser because, well, I was faking it.

This translates to a lot of settings, like get-togethers where I tried to be engaged with the guys in a conversation that would, inevitably, turn to things that I didn't care about and so then I would drift out of it. The observant would probably have noted that I often gravitated to the groups of women instead, kind of there, but not really in the conversation. Wanting to be though, but just didn't know how.

So, I went through life feeling like a square peg in a round hole and I got used to it. However, the other day, I got an email at work that was aimed at a group of us women and it started with, "Hello ladies..." and the rest of the content didn't really matter anymore. It was in that moment where I felt that sense of euphoria, that sense of belonging, and it made me silly happy the rest of the night.

As I continue along my journey, I know there will be moments where I doubt myself. It happens to all of us and has already happened to me. However, the reason I keep a journal is to be able to look back and read how I felt, to revisit what I thought, and to remind myself. This feeling of belonging that came over me was entirely spontaneous, and so completely genuine, that I know can use it as a shield in the future. 

And as I sit here and listen
to the wind in the trees
I feel the roots growing
from deep inside me
all the way through me
and into the earth
Into this ground that I walk
barefoot
My mind may sometimes wander
to other places I call home
but right in this moment
I am where I belong

- Kim Bowman


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