“This place is not built for me.”
The first time I said it, as I walked up the stairs, ducking so I didn’t hit my head on the awning, I laughed.
“This place really isn’t made for me.”
The next time I said it, as I bent over so my face didn’t knock into the ceiling, it was less funny.
“Really, I’m not supposed to be here.”
The last time, as I crouched to leave the restroom nook, I was just annoyed.
Luckily, it was only a birthday celebration at a dive bar and not somewhere I ever need to go again.
Though it reminded me of how I felt for basically all of my middle school and some of my high school years–like the place I was in just wasn’t meant for me. It was a really depressing thought at the time, and it’s only because I’ve come so far from the despair of a teenager who’s too tall and too shy and too worried to ever truly fit in with her peers that I’d forgotten what it felt like to think that thought.
Feeling it again last night made me think about all of the people who are probably thinking that thought about their own lives right now, and how some of them probably aren’t emotional teens. How some of them are maybe older adults who have made choices that landed them so far-flung from where they want to be they aren’t sure how to return. How some of them are possibly little kids who suffer so much at home they can’t imagine a safe space to call their own. How some of them are likely people my age who find themselves in difficult situations based not on their own character or actions but the backward traditions of others.
And I remembered, stooping in that tiny bar last night, that the comfort of feeling you belong somewhere is like no other. Which I guess is just to say that if you ever encounter someone who seems to be feeling like this particular place isn’t built for him or her, it might be a small miracle to simply show them that 1.) that’s okay, and 2.) they’ll one day discover a place that is.