Insofar as I know anything of myself, I know I want to belong.
The usual procedure to join Quakers is this. The applicant writes to the area meeting, which appoints two visitors to report on the application. Then the AM considers the application, and decides on it. Some meetings are experimenting with other ways, which the rule book says are equally valid, but when we considered a meeting for clearness instead, my AM decided to do the thing we have always done. For the first time, I was one of the visitors.
I thought of my own membership application. I was granted membership in February 2002, just before I decided I had to transition, as soon as possible. I was feeling frightened and alone at the time, and it seemed to me so strongly yesterday that being granted membership, being accepted within this group, gave me the confidence I needed to decide finally to go for transition, at a time I felt so frightened and alone.
I want to belong. I want a social group where I fit. Quakers is perfect for that, having the practice of worship without the belief in dogma: respect for others and belief in equality. I can be me.
This desire has been unconscious in me, moving my conscious acts. Now, it feels a very high priority, I want to know what it means; before I would have taken it for granted.
I don’t feel I do. Belong, I mean. The questions, what do people want of me, what do they expect, how can I give it, is X upset or angry with me- are so important. That may be my greatest source of fear, and the perceived non-acceptance my greatest source of anger.
So here’s this conscious bit of me, patiently working things out. I want to feel I am doing something useful. I want not to feel fear or anger. I want to belong. Underneath it seems there are conflicting desires and emotions.
I want to work this all out.
Whether that “I” is the conscious bit, or the whole of me, or some peculiarly dominant part of the unconscious, I want to work this all out. So, paradoxically, I am not at the Quaker this morning (18th) while I work it out. Or I am testing the boundaries: will I be accepted even if I do not go to the meetings? Will someone contact me for a chat? That would be nice. Yes, I want to test the boundaries, the tension between Being Me- feminine, intuitive- and fitting into some social group. I had thought I could not possibly Belong and Be Me, so I tried to make a rational/intellectual man of myself. Then that became impossible, my desire to express myself was too great: I will not suppress myself in order to conform, I liberate my intuitive self-
and I want to belong.
This is the human dilemma, being yourself and fitting in, which we explore as toddlers and teens and which has restricted me to Contemplation rather than action since April last year.