Belonging.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll sometimes feel out of place in this world.

Sometimes this feeling will manifest itself as loneliness in a crowd or a strong desire to fit in. Other times it’ll feel more like a struggle to find purpose, passion, and meaning in life.

Growing up as an only child and an adoptee, I am certainly no stranger to feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.

Everything from the way I looked to the lack of knowledge I had about my roots made me feel like an impostor, like a foreign traveler with no place of departure and no final destination.

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These feelings compounded as I moved through childhood and into the beginnings of my adult life. From the throes of puberty to the wildly disorienting ride through the first years of university, I carried with me the heavy weight of unbelonging.

I have found that being a young person who is both aboriginal and caucasian only adds to the confusion of it all. By sheer existence, I hang in the balance between my  First Nations heritage and our dominant Canadian culture.

I am a living dichotomy: I am both the colonized and the colonizer. So then, where do I fit in?

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I’ve found that the answer is simple. And complicated.

The truth is, living with an authentic sense of ‘belonging’ runs so much deeper than fitting into the categories that we, as a society, create.

It’s about self-acceptance. Everything else follows when you operate from within that place.

So now, at age 23, I am learning to find peace with myself. To embrace my flaws. To explore my unique story. To welcome my aboriginal heritage. To appreciate my Canadian culture. To love and treasure both my adoptive family and my biological family.

To acknowledge that despite the hurricane of complexities that exists within me, I still deserve to take up space in this world.

And you know what? It doesn’t mean that all insecurities fall away.

(At times I still feel awkward in social situations. On bad days I sometimes think I do look pretty weird, too. It’s a part of being human).

Looking at the big picture, however, I know that my soul has experienced so much growth and healing because I have come to understand that there is a unique space that only I can fill in this world. And even though it’s hard at times, I choose to walk in that truth.

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.” – Neil Gaiman

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