I have often felt like an outsider because of the way I was raised. Me and my brother and sister talk about this a lot. We were raised, we call ourselves sort of a subculture because our parents were both very progressive, very left, sort of outside the norm. Often times that made me feel like I really didn't fit in with the regular group, even going back to elementary school I remember getting into arguments, immature kind of arguments about things like God, if there is a God or just political kind of issues. All the way up to present, even.
The way it has empowered me is that I can walk into a very diverse group of people and in a strange way connect with a lot of people on a lot of different issues but I often don't feel like I belong to one specific group. I think what I suffered from a lot was just not feeling like I fit in with one particular group. We didn't have a religious group in our neighborhood. We weren't exactly the same as our neighbors but in the end the feeling of being able to belong to a broader group of people I think has been very empowering. It took me many years get to that point.
I have a collection of a bear and a rabbit stuffed animals. I don't hold them or walk around with them but I do have them in a particular place in my house. Honestly even as an adult... this is a little embarrassing... they've been sort of comforting just because they are friends with each other. They have a whole story that I didn't create but they are friends with each other and so I guess even though I never quite thought about it in this way, they sort of remind me that you can be friends, that you always have a friend, or belonging in a sense.
I'm an elementary school teacher and sometimes having like a really hard day at work I would just think about those two stuffed animals.
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