Tag Archives: belonging

Belonging, Being a Loner, and Finding your Tribe

I’m a loner. I’m not alone, I’m not lonely – just a loner.
But when I find my people, I am one with them and of them.

Belonging, Being a Loner, and Finding your Tribe - The Last Krystallos

I’ve always wanted to belong. I ache to belong, to find my place. Outside of my family, this has been so difficult. In Real Life, except for inside my own four walls, I’ve never felt I belonged anywhere. For a long time, for many years this saddened me. I spent my early adult years longing for an attachment outside of my family and this yearning crushed me.

An introvert by nature with severe social anxiety meant close friends would always be hard to find and maintain. I held back, fearful of pushing myself where I wasn’t wanted, or of people leaving. I developed the skills of being a loner. I knew I could always trust myself, so my own company became comfortable, along with the close companionship of my husband and children. The only place I belonged was with them.

I am homesick for a place I am not sure even exists. One where my heart is full. My body loved. And my soul understood - Melissa Cox - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I used to be lonely in real life, but I lost myself in writing, in creating worlds and characters, and with each word, line by line, chapter by chapter, I became a fulfilled loner. I value my time alone, as much as I adore my time out with my family. I relish time to sit and be me, as much as I love sitting in a coffee shop with one of my children. I jealously guard my own time.

But this doesn’t mean I’m antisocial, or adverse to friendships. In real life I have, maybe three people, outside my own family, who I feel I could go for a hot chocolate with and chat when I need to. And this is okay, because the pressure to physically socialise doesn’t weigh me down. I can still develop real life friendships.

Heathens - Twenty Øne PilØts - the last krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I often hear that technology has ruined communication, or made us lazy, or stopped us from developing relationships. You’ll never find me blaming tech when it has exponentially enhanced my life in so many ways! As a loner with social anxiety I avoid social events and activities as much as I can. Tech doesn’t change that. That’s who I am. If I was a gregarious extrovert, I might be out partying, but I’m not, so, much of my social life is technological. I socialise online.

People talk with frowns of teens being glued to their phones and not getting out and enjoying themselves. Have you ever stopped to discover that the extroverts are still actually out having fun in person with their friends – they never stopped doing that – and the introverts with their noses stuck to their phones are also conversing, messaging, laughing, and sharing and having fun with their friends? Some love to go out and watch a movie with mates then go for a drink afterwards. Others are watching movies in sync on Netflix with their friends in other countries or towns then chatting about it after in the comfort of their own homes. We are perhaps, via tech, the most sociable and informed society ever!

I am aware that I am less than some people prefer me to be, but most people are unaware that I am so much more than what they see - Douglas Pagels - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

I discovered my people on social media. My friends, my tribe, are right there at my fingertips whenever I need them. They span my own country, they live in Wales, England, Scotland, and Ireland, and they live further afield – in the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, Europe, and in many other places. They are moments away from me when I need a virtual hug (I get plenty of real ones at home), advice, laughter, news, deep conversation, superficial conversation, and best of all – love.

They love me for who I am, I don’t need to fit into their schedule, we don’t need to answer private messages immediately, tech offers us relationships with people we’d never have discovered at home without it.

Social media is not perfect, but it helped me belong. It helped this loner discover a plethora of like-minded people, of people with differences, people who disagree with me but love me anyway, people who have time for me. I know some of these people in real life, some I will never meet, but they all have a place in my heart. And I am never lonely.

true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world - Brene Brown - The Last Krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Do you belong?
Are you happy with your place in life and who you are?


Blues Buster: Not From Here

My Blues Buster for The Tsuruoka Files…written for the prompt song: ‘I’m Not From Here’ by James McMurtry.

Not From Here

Rain stings my face, tiny pinpricks in the swirling wind. My elbows press tight against my side, my lower arms at right angles, tense, hands outstretched. The wind whips through my hair, and I dare not lift my hand any further to brush it away, so it remains stuck to my cold, wet cheek.
I open my eyes and squint at the panorama.
The city spreads before me, grey and distant. The tall buildings, the banks and offices, rise, as rigid as my body, towering over the streets and its inhabitants. Smoke coils from the government buildings, huge billowing clouds of soot and ash, and my lip curls.
I yearn for the rolling hills of green and a clear cerulean sky as I stare at the city below. I don’t belong here.
My toes claw inside my trainers and my arms shoot out from my side as a vicious gust of wind whistles past. I lick my lips and close my eyes. My heart races, my eyelid twitches, and my chest constricts. My mouth is dry and I can barely breathe. My frame sways and my leg muscles stiffen, my feet desperate to grip and I almost lose my balance.
I open my eyes. The undulating meadows of my childhood are as lost as this city and I would no longer belong there either.
My fingers stretch out as sirens permeate my fractured psyche. I stare at the cars moving aside in slow columns as fire-engines snake through the narrow streets, and people, strangers, swarm like ants, and I let my tears fall as biting as the rain on my face.
The wind picks up again and I lurch, my heart in my mouth. Sweat oozes beneath my thin shirt and I shiver.
Beneath me, chains clang against metal, the sound vibrating up the steel, tickling my feet through the rubber soles of my shoes. I want to fling back my head and scream, let my howl echo across the flat overcast skies. I don’t move.
The scream bubbles in my throat and dies upon the desert dryness of my tongue. I blink, no longer seeing the burning city below, but just a blur of tears and rain.
The girder rocks beneath my feet and my arms steady me as the wind shrieks its rage winding round my legs. The hook shakes under my feet and the jib arm sways. I teeter.
My mind reels and my heart sinks slowly to the pit of my belly. I let a smile curve on my lips and now, light-headed, I lift my arms, embracing the city as flames lick the horizon behind the business quarter.
I welcome this final moment, a moment of belonging, and then the gale that feeds the flames below whips my legs from beneath me and I fall. Maybe, this time, I’ll end up where I belong…

(479 Words)

5. Blues Buster Not From Here

Photo manipulation
by Lisa Shambrook
(Please do not use without permission)