Who am I and where do I belong?


I am at the NAMI Wisconsin annual conference in Madison and I decided to check out the business center because I am through with meetings and mental health for the day. I have heard some good information about the Veterans Administration, Supported Employment and Bipolar Disorder. I also literally ran away from a woman who was attempting to tell me about borderline personality disorder. Having been in a relationship with a woman who had that diagnosis, I was pretty much overdosed.

I met people at the conference from Milwaukee who I should have met back home. But as always my mind drifted back to a coulpe of questions it has been asking me for many years. The two questions in the title of this entry. It has been something I have learned in the negative, through uncomfrtable feelings of not belonging and wondering whether anyone else shared them and where they originated.

Quite often I defined myself through my occupation, so I was a librarian, a child care administrator, or a grant writer. Sometimes during periods of unemployment I lacked an identity. I was isolated and did not have a direction. Now there is the even greater temptation to say that I am a certified peer specialist. But is that all that I am? How am I performing in my other roles? Is this all that I am? I sometimes think when people are judging me that these people have no right to do so because they have no idea who I really am.

There was a period years ago when I said that my name meant He Who Perseveres. More recently I say that I am a local oddball without defining those terms.  I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

What is more true than ever is that I am learning to become the persn I was meant to be. I have been opening doors that lead to the secrets of those feelings and saying, yes I do belong. Each step of the way I get a little closer and I people saying thank goodness, Kenyatta is here. So I am learning to belong. What took me so long? How long did it take you?

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