(Not) Fitting In

I wrote this for another blog I was running, back in 2009, but it’s still relevant today;

Canal towpath

Last saturday, I took my dog for a walk along the local canal towpath. This time of year is just so abundant with lush growth along the path and I was trying hard to identify as many of the plants as possible. Nettle and Cleavers are very profuse at the moment, as is Hawthorn, currently in flower.

As you walk along the towpath, to one side you have fields, woodland and serenity, but to the other, over the water, you are on the edges of a modern ‘upmarket’ housing development. Some of the houses are OK looking, but then you come to the apartments.

Looking more like soul-less offices than places to live, they sit uncomfortably opposite open fields, a testament that people can use bricks and concrete to build over nature, but the beauty and the soul are missing. In an effort to make the place ‘chic’ there is water flowing between some of the buildings – the noise it makes is quite loud, perhaps to distract people from what is really happening around them?

I read a blog post yesterday (Into The Hermitage) which struck a chord with me. Rima, the blogger, is leading an ‘alternative’ life – currently on the road and living in a converted horse box with her partner, she paints and sells her wares wherever she can. She attended the Small World Festival, which as she says, is a ‘gathering of hippies’. In a place where you would expect she would ‘fit in’ perfectly, she found she did not…

Many of the conversations we had with people made no sense at all. People mostly didn’t really want to buy pictures, cans of beer abounded, and people staggered around the site until well past dawn.
I do not judge people’s need to celebrate or escape, just the brutishness with which it is done sometimes. It made me feel like I was hiding from school bullies again. It made me feel like I do not fit in, in the very place where an onlooker might assume I would.
From Into The Hermitage by Rima Staines

It made me realise that I don’t fit in either. I am trapped in what looks like suburban normality, yet I don’t belong here. But I also don’t think I belong with the alternative set that I once thought I did. I am different, I am unique, I am searching for something, or somewhere to ‘belong’ to.


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