Anne with an E

There is a bit of Anne (with an “E”) in all of us.  A feisty, opinionated, independent young soul who doesn’t want to conform but desperately wants to belong. – from the Anne of Green Gables DVD box set insert 

My dearest wee bee,

I could just leave that thought up there for you (and all) to ponder and wonder and think over, because it is so particularly perfect in how it sums us up, as humans.

When we arrived at our sweet little cottage, in Cavendish, PEI, mere moments away from Green Gables National Park, and I ripped off the plastic wrapping on our Anne DVD boxed set, I would never have guessed that that sentence would have even been included within all the facts and figures and plot lines that are explored in the little DVD booklet.

But there it was, staring right back at me, in all capital letters, as if to say: yes, you’re not alone in this struggle.  You’re not alone in wanting to belong.

This feeling of being on the outside, looking in, has haunted me for as long as I can remember.  In fact, it’s even more than that.  Because this feeling has led me to twist and turn and contort not only my physical body, but also my core beliefs…really, the core of who I am, deep down in my soul.

I know I’m not alone in this.  I know there are times in our lives when we have all said to ourselves: “well Self, this really really  isn’t who I am, but it couldn’t hurt and it just might help because this feeling of not belonging is just awful and maybe, just maybe, if I go along with ______ (fill in the blank with whatever the cool kids are doing) someone will let me in, someone will feel like I can belong.”

And if we’re sharing lists of what we’ve done in an effort to try to belong, believe you me, my wee bee, I’ve done plenty (not every single possible thing, but plenty).  There is no need to feel shame about those things we do in an effort to belong with the crowd, because almost everyone has done something at some point that didn’t feel really really good or even remotely on track with who they are.

But…these things we do? Each one is like a trespass against our souls.  And while I have found it easy to forgive those for whom I trespassed against myself, I am still learning how to forgive myself, because while those other folks (the cool kids, the romantic partners, the not quite friends) didn’t know that I wasn’t doing what felt right to me, the truth is that I feel as though I ought to have known better. 

And yet…I’m realizing that it’s a vicious cycle, because each time we turn away from who we are, it becomes harder and harder to remember who exactly we are in the first place.  And then, when a situation comes up, it’s hard to say if it rings true with us because who we really are feels lost in the shuffle, even hurt beyond recognition.

And yet…somewhere deep down there is a voice (Noni calls it my Magnum P.I. voice– one day you’ll know what that is) that is hiding underneath all of the wreckage, all of the trauma from trespassing against ourselves, and it says: Yes, please…dance to the bagpipe ceilidh music in your kitchen.  Yes, please…sleep with seventeen different crystals under your pillow.  Yes, please…reread all of the Anne of Green Gables books as many times as necessary to give you inspiration and imagination for the journey ahead.  

Because the deeper truth, my wee girl, is that while twisting and turning and contorting ourselves in an effort to belong to others will never ever in a million trillion years work, the one person to whom you will always no matter what belong to is yourself.  

And once you realize that, you’ll realize that no matter where you go or what you do, as long as you stick with what feels right to you, you’ll always be home, even if you’re halfway across the country visiting Anne of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island…you’re still, somehow, home.  Because you belong to you.

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