African girl standing out in confetti. Image: Brian Kyed via Unsplash

Want To Belong? Then Stand Out!

As a writer, I can’t do what everyone else is doing. Not only is it plagiarism, but it’s also practically impossible since everyone writes in a smorgasbord of different styles, voices and forms. Further, if I was to write what everyone else is writing about, then I won’t succeed either. Nobody wins by following the crowd.

Which means, for me to be the best at what I do, I have to try and write about things that not many people are talking about and share them in my own personal way.

But even writers band together. And if you want to build yourself in this wide and wavering world, you need a network of people to guide you. In other words, you need to belong somewhere.

But belonging, as you will soon realise, is not about fitting in, but standing out.

Belong to you, first and foremost

In her book Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown says that “true belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.” And that makes sense when you consider creative industries. If you want to belong to a creative profession, you’ve gotta bring something fresh to the table. As a writer, I share a unique voice that matches my experiences and growing knowledge – and now that I’ve done it for so long, people are beginning to gravitate towards my work.

I belong to the writing world, not because I’ve changed myself, but because I’ve revealed myself. I’ve stood tall and proudly stated that this is me, not giving a fuck what other people think. Because I know that the first person I should ever belong to is me. Not to anyone else.

Because if you can belong to yourself – knowing your convictions while understanding and accepting your ultimate desires – you will belong in the right places.

Change only for yourself

Image: Iiona Virgin via Unsplash

The only person you should ever change for is yourself.

Don’t be a fashion designer because you’re friends are doing it. Don’t get into singing because you adore your favourite singer. Following the crowd is what sheep do, and that won’t land you very far in this unforgiving world. So do what you want to do!

Dig deep into yourself and find what makes you happy. Perhaps you could sense it from the past. Or is there something you’re doing now that should be brought front and centre?

And this isn’t just about careers and hobbies, but even the little things like going out for dinner. Do what you want to do, and don’t compromise unless you really love them and it’s not a life-changing decision.

Going solo is lonely, but you are not alone

I’ve lost and gained a lot of friends since I left high school. And that’s because I’ve changed over the years. And I can honestly tell you there are times where it does feel lonely. But you gotta remember that you are not alone. You’ve got yourself to pamper and play with. That’s why they call it self-care.

I’ve learned to talk to myself, to understand all my yearnings and the convictions that go with them. I’ve listened to my body when it cried out for respite. And I’ve heard it’s wailing boredom. It’s like living with a partner, but the actions you take to fix it are personal.

So no, going solo isn’t a lonesome activity if you really think about it. Because when you do what your heart desires, you begin to love yourself for it. And if you can love what you do, chances are there are people out there who love it too.

So share yourself to the world, stand strong and proud and eventually you’ll belong. Not just to yourself, but with other likeminded people as well.

And if that means losing some weeds in the process, so be it. It’s your life, not theirs…

Feature image: African girl standing out in confetti. Photo by Brian Kyed via Unsplash

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