- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Matt Morris
First, thank you for being brave enough to voice these feelings here. You’d be surprised how many people in the world feel the way you feel but never say so. They might look on the outside like they’ve got it all put together and figured out, but that isn’t always the case. The truth is that we all feel the way you’re feeling at some point in our life. So, thank you for having the courage to show this side of us.
Your discomfort may feel all-encompassing, and you may start to believe that there is absolutely nowhere where you belong. But I’m here to tell you that circumstances change. You will not feel like this forever. The life you’re living at this moment can be re-imagined and re-worked into something that looks completely different. It may not happen overnight, but it can happen.
I know. I’ve re-made my life a few times over.
There are a lot of reasons why we feel discomfort, or why it seems like we don’t belong anywhere. Sometimes the people in our lives are sending us that message. Sometimes they’re telling us, “You’re no good,” or “You’re weird,” or “I just don’t understand you.” These messages can hurt, and they can make us feel like we don’t have a place in the world. If you’re getting those messages from people around you, you have to recognize that their judgements are always — always — a reflection of their own fears and insecurities. They seek to make others feel small because they feel small.
But it may be more general than that. We might feel like we don’t belong because we’re living in a house, a neighborhood, a city or a state that are a little (or a lot) out of step with who we are. As gay people, there are some parts of this world that work really hard to make us feel like we don’t belong. (The truth is that we have every right to belong in those places, regardless of what they think.) Thankfully, there are a lot of places in this world that are working just as hard to make us feel welcome.
During the times in my life when I felt the least comfortable — both in my surroundings and in my own skin — I took to writing as a way of helping me get through it. I bought a cheap journal (the cheap ones always worked better for me, because I didn’t care as much they got all busted up), and I wrote. If I felt lousy, I wrote about what that felt like. If I felt better than lousy, I wrote about that. Sometimes I’d discover while writing that I was actually feeling pretty decent, sometimes even good. The writing became a way for me to get a hold of the one thing that nobody else could touch: my own consciousness.
To me, consciousness is my mind, my heart, and the sum total of what is feels like to be in this body. It’s all of it wrapped up together. It’s me. It’s the me that makes me, me.
And the cool thing is, there’s a you that makes you, you.
That you has a place in the world. I can’t tell you where that place is. Nobody can. But you can start imaging what that place looks like. You can write about it, sing about it, craft poems or stories about it. You can use the power of your imagination to start envisioning what kind of life you’d like to be living.
Then, using that same courage you demonstrated above, you can ask yourself the question: What should I do to get myself there?
I’m willing to bet that this new you — the writer-you — will be able to answer that question.
So keep using your voice. Keep being a courageous person, bold enough to ask questions about the things you don’t understand, and trust that through the development of your own voice you will carve out a place for yourself in the world.
And when you do, write me about it.