I spent the greater part of my childhood confused as to how I fit in the big picture. I've always had a small circle of people to interact with but never really 'fit' with any of them. My friend circle was limited to my church youth group, pen pals from summer camp, and a handful of similar-aged kids in my homeschool group. This formed a wide range of hidden emotional problems for me. I felt too needy for the attention of the "normal" kids in the youth group who fulfilled their need for friendship-variety at school; I struggled with anticipation and disappointment when the pen pal letters grew fewer and farther between as the memories of summer faded and the homework load increased; and I always felt a little too liberal, outspoken and imperfect for the 2 or 3 kids I spent time with in the homeschool group. I spent half my time at home being in charge of my 6 younger sisters and the other half trying to remember that my parents were home and I could relax.
I loved learning but always seemed to get the "wrong" textbooks that dried up all my motivation to keep reading. I love music. However, the kind of music that got to my soul was outlawed in my house. As soon as I bought my car, I spent most of my time driving. I had free range to either sit in silence or belt along with the original Lilith Fair goddesses and no one complained.
Now, I'm older. I've attended three collegiate institutions, traveled around the world, driven across the country, and have learned to ponder the roots of my emotions instead of just reacting in uncomfortable situations. I've found true friends in every place I've lived. Folks who don't care if I have a needy day, am outspoken on an issue, have questions, don't return emails for ages because my life got crazy and so on.
Maybe this is what growing up is all about: finding how one fits, making the space become what you need it to be. I'm still convinced that I'm not done growing up nor have i found my permanent space yet (I cannot imagine living in Texas forever!), so everyday I will keep sorting out how this space and I work together for a common good purpose. I will keep nurturing the relationships that serve me. I say this with love, based on concepts shared in this post; the idea that bad company can cause corruption and should be limited; and that some people, unfortunately, are manipulative and purposefully hurtful and should therefore be loved from a respectable distance; and from a place that suggests there are no good or bad decisions, just ones that serve or hinder.