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Mental Health And Me : Belonging

I’ve never felt like I truly belonged anywhere until very recently.

In primary school, I was put into another class because I wasn’t like the other kids and they didn’t understand me. When I was in secondary school, I tried so hard to fit in, but apart from some close friends, who I still love dearly, I felt like there was something missing. I don’t know how to describe it, but it feels like an emptiness, of not knowing where I belonged. Feeling like I was clinging on to hope of fitting in. I’ve never been one of the cool kids, or one of the popular kids and wasn’t geeky enough to be in that group either. I was stuck in the middle and didn't really know what to do with myself.

I, then, went to a Junior Music scheme in London (Junior Trinity), as well as sixth form at another school. In the Junior Scheme, I started to feel a bit more welcome and made some wonderful friends ,who I still keep in touch with, but I still felt like something was missing, as I wasn’t one of the cool kids, and was kind of stuck in the middle, not knowing really who I was. It was the same at Sixth Form- I had friends in loads of groups and didn’t really fit into one group. I would be going from one group to another in the common room, trying to make sense of the world! Sometimes, I thought that I was getting invited to parties because I was a bit of a fun drunk, and not because they actually wanted me there. At one stage, I openly got told that girls and people would like me more if I lost a few pounds. This hurt me deeply and is something I struggle with even now.

When I got into Music College, I got in on a reserve place. I wasn’t their first choice so I never really thought that I deserved to be there so for half the time, I felt lost and fought hard to try and find a sense of belonging and sometimes I felt like I had to prove my worthiness of being there. A lot of the time, I felt so alone and sometimes, I felt like I had no-one I could actually properly talk to. A lot of the time, I felt like the teachers didn’t really know what to do with me, my friends didn’t know what to think of me and I didn’t know what to do with myself.

There have been so many people in my life that I have felt connected to, and wanted to hang with. I found that some of them had a common denominator. They are people that I wished I could be but felt that I couldn’t. They were cool, doing awesome things, in to great music, living their life to the fullest and had found proper happiness that I have yet to find. I felt in myself that I couldn’t find that in myself, and it is still something I battle with today.

When I started getting into writing and composition a bit more professionally, I found a group of people, that were doing the same work as me (but much better and more experienced than me), and they started inviting me to gatherings. I was nervous about meeting new people but it ended up being amazing. We talked about the troubles of the industry, software, music and everything. For the first time, it felt like I could discuss openly about stuff and they would completely understand. Chatting to others who had the same interests as me had lit a fire in me and I realised that the sense of belonging that I had previously fought so hard to try and have, was finally ignited to some extent, and I didn’t need to prove anything to anyone. It was one of the first times where I said to myself “everything is going to be ok”. I felt a sense of home, and a real community of writers and composers, and conductors who I could call on if I had any questions or queries. For one of the only times in my life so far, I felt I was supported. I just have to keep reminding myself that everything IS going to be ok, and yes, I am not the so-called “normal”. Just being you is being enough. I had a reason to be MYSELF!

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