Another Episode of “Where Do I Belong?”

I promised Kristie I was going to meet people when I moved to Virginia. To that effect, we agreed I should try Meetup.com. For those unfamiliar, groups or individuals register with the site and people have the opportunity to join the group and also see what events the group will be participating in, with a wide variety of subjects listed on the site.

My first group? Richmond Reason and Naturalism Association. Right up my alley, right? Unfortunately, I’m too poor to be a dues paying member, but I’ve gone to all the meetings I could, and that’s where I met my new friend Ross. Mission accomplished, right?

Well, I’d thought so. The members were nearly exclusively atheists or agnostic, which readers of this blog know I’m weirdly not. I actually at last said so at the last casual group breakfast on Sunday, and there was certainly no problems about it. I didn’t expect there would be, but it was good to point out, as I tended to cringe when a group member addressed someone as a “fellow atheist.” I just said what you guys already know: that I recognize my faith to be illogical, but that is personal, as it should be, and that it didn’t keep me from enjoying logic and reason. A good shoe-in for the group, right?

Well, I thought so. And let me clarify, no one was bullying me about this. As a whole, that group is full of wonderfully polite, intelligent, thoughtful people and I like it a lot. It’s not THEM doing something. But I got the invite for the next big discussion, on death. And in the description there was this:
“Of course, ‘he’s in heaven now,’ is of no comfort to a naturalist.”

…isn’t it? I probably don’t view heaven in the same way as a mainstream Christian might, but the thought of an afterlife is of an extreme comfort to me. And I sort of THOUGHT I was a naturalist. I kind of bristled a little and had to remind myself that no one was calling me out – this was a perfectly normal statement, and it was sort of true.

Just….not for me.

This was just before bed. The result was that – despite being tired from work and tae kwon do (and getting punched in the ribs, but that’s another story) – I lie awake with my head on my pillow, staring up at the ceiling thinking, “Great. Now where do I fit in?”

Not that I’m going to leave the group, mind you. I just sort of regretted RSVPing to the event. I thought about changing that, though I have yet to do so. Would such a discussion serve only to upset me?

My first question was this: what is wrong with me? The immediate answer is nothing, but running down the list of misfit moments, it certainly added up. I’m not a Christian, yet I pray more now than I ever did believing in Jesus. I belong to, essentially, an atheist think tank, yet I created my own “salute” to God since crossing myself in the Catholic fashion is out. I’m 24, but I listen to Nat King Cole and I’ve never been kissed. I wear slacks on the weekends, yet I’m only working part-time and living with someone else’s parents.

So what the hell is wrong with me. Where do I fit in?

Honestly, I don’t think I fit in anyplace. I just don’t. An aspiring writer who hates other writers (I mean people claiming to such, not established authors); a theater lover who hates its snobbery; an anthropologist who’s actually just taking care of kids for a living; a moderate conservative who is apparently more liberal (at least in Virginia) than she ever knew.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not SAD about not having my own niche. At least, not very sad. This has kind of been the story of my life. At this point, I’m pretty resigned to the idea that the only place I fit is…well, wherever I happen to be. I only truly fit with me, but to give myself credit, some people never even accomplish that.

To be positive and turn the question on its head, “What’s right with me?”

…I don’t necessarily know the answer to that question either.

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About emilydnelson

A recent graduate of Hofstra University with a B.A. in anthropology, Emily is like every other twenty-two year old on the planet - trying to figure out what the hell to do now. Follow as she struggles with writing, her social work job, and bopping from coast to coast.
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