There are times when I’m on my way to an event or a small gathering of friends and I think to myself “Dennis? What are you doing?” and a huge part of me is telling me to go back home but I end up there anyway and have a good time (most times.) However, I wouldn’t classify myself as a “complete” introvert. I took the 16personality test thing and it said I’m INFP-T, I know these things aren’t 100% accurate because I can be extremely calm and laid back in situations that should be stressful but I found the test interesting and I think you should check it out when you can. This post isn’t about the personality test though, it’s about belonging (in case the title didn’t give it away)
I have a terrible social battery, one of the few times where I feel like i belong constantly is when I’m playing football. I mean, whenever I do. Even then, it’s only on the pitch. Not before or after, I don’t really understand why but it is something you get used to so it isn’t a bad thing to me. I used to think that it was because I didn’t like doing one thing for a long period of time but I will spend hours drawing something without changing position so right now I’m just not sure, I guess it is the way I am. “Belonging” started bothering me when, after asking where I’m from, a friend said to me “Yooo! You’ve come from far! Weren’t you scared?” I was confused because I didn’t think about it how far away from home I was, I have a phone so I can text the family and friends so I was alright. Skype exists. I’m not sure if this post will contain advice because I haven’t thought that far ahead yet but It will give my perspective. What goes on in my head (at times) when I’m faced with social situations and what it’s like being away from home.
I HATE BEING LATE. Hate it. If someone else is late I won’t mind, but if i’m late… no thank you. If I am ever 30mins+ late to an event, I probably won’t show up or I’ve been stopped by situations that I just couldn’t control. Sometimes I’ll get there really early and just be around the area until it’s time to go in but the problem with getting there early is I’ll just be there awkwardly looking at my phone, it becomes really awkward if I have no data so I just look through my gallery and find the strangest pictures which are probably from whatsapp messages I never noticed. Eventually other people show up and now I get to be awkward around strangers, yay. I am still extremely open to conversations and I could write a post about how beautiful honest conversations are, I probably will one day in the future. This openness to conversations doesn’t mean I am going to go chasing people though, I’ll just sit there until the event actually starts. This isn’t always me though, there are some events where I am everywhere! Talking to anyone I make eye contact with.
Let’s get back on track.
I get extremely flustered when speaking about emotions, whenever this gets extreme I feel the desire to go for a run, do any physical activity, or scream. I do all these things. The screaming = performing poetry. It frees me up in a way and the fact that I get flustered anyways bothers me. I started my last post by talking about unlearning and how I’ve been trying to unlearn so much to brighten my future as far as relationships/friendships with people are concerned. You know when the medicine is absolutely disgusting but you need to take it to get better yeah? It’s like that but worse because I am so used to being sick (metaphorically, I’m perfectly healthy mom)
After he pointed out how I had come from so far, I started realizing how everyone around is so different and all the inside jokes are gone. Can’t do the silly accent I would do around the people back home. I remember a friend of mine was performing a poem and he said “This is not my home, these are not my friends…” that line hit me and I was like “wow. So we aren’t friends?” I joke, it hit because it is very real and I was actually like “PREAAACH”. Belonging in general is one of the trickiest things I’ve ever been faced with, I needed to redefine what home is to me and I still haven’t. I needed to remind myself that those amazing bonds of friendship were not built in a day, most of them took 5 years+ so it is normal to feel like the people you’ve known for the last 1 or 2 years aren’t extremely close to you YET. Granted, there will be some who you just vibe with almost immediately and those are great, take care of those but it is also easy to forget and let them go. Then you are back to square one.
On top of all of this, there will be the whole international/foreign students chilling with international/foreign students and the national/local students chilling with the national/local students. I didn’t notice this until a friend pointed it out and asked me about it, at the time I had no answer but she said she felt like we(the international kids) looked down on them. I felt like it was the other way around since I’m being honest and now I believe that neither is true. I think generalizing is never the way to go because of how unique each person is but we still ALWAYS do it, must unlearn that habit.
I asked a fellow international student and he said he felt like it was down to culture because even though he and I aren’t from the same country, we also aren’t from here and we were both raised in African countries so we can relate to each other in a different way and when we landed here we knew absolutely no one in the uni and nothing about the culture. Ignorance is like misery, it loves company. Especially company that is in the same boat. So we just flock together and life goes on like this. I feel like a lot of times when I question myself about belonging, it’s down to insecurities. Wondering if you will be accepted because everyone is either from here or from the same foreign country, so when they speak their slang or their language you will just sit there with a smile and nod acting like you know what just happened even when they COULD be talking about you, don’t stress yourself by thinking about it that way. I don’t do this, it is tiring. When I don’t understand, I ask and sometimes I’m met with “you don’t even know that” it vexes me and I regret asking then I ask again next time because I don’t like not understanding. I think there are so many ways to look at this and in my opinion, the most productive way to look at it is this is your chance to learn about another culture even though it is actually really hard to think productively when you already have a negative mindset... It was worth some effort. But like almost everything about your life, it is up to you.
One of the most important things I’ve learnt in the last few years is that my insecurities are mine. I shouldn’t project them onto other people. Yes, people can help you get over them but not if you’re acting out because of them. I laugh a lot. A LOT. So at times when I feel such things I catch myself and laugh, then remind myself that i’m hot stuff. I’m not yet a happy-go-lucky, free-to-be-me-fairy but that isn’t my goal, it could be yours. If it is… own it man. I understand that people will accept you easier when you are who they want you to be but it is better to be around people who want you to be who you truly are. It is so easy to forget that you have a lot to offer but God doesn’t make mistakes, we do. We stray and begin struggling then forget to be “ourselves” which is actually a very fluid thing depending on what you believe. That’s a crazy thought that I don’t want to get into tonight. You don’t have to fit in everywhere, our lives are honestly like those thousand piece puzzles where every piece looks alike so you try to force it but it JUST DOESN’T WORK. This post should have ended around 7 lines ago but my mind keeps going. I’m going to stop now. Time to write a poem because I feel like writing a poem. :D EMOJI!