I Don’t Belong in the World Today

Our world can be a harsh place to live. I’m not just talking about the social challenges, the awkwardness and pain of feeling like an outsider, or the fear over the divisive political climate. I’m talking about the literal, physical act of living in this world. The things that seem to say I don’t belong here.

For one thing, I’m allergic to the world. I have been from the time I was a tiny baby. Milk, eggs, wheat, nuts, cats, dogs, pollen, mold, trees, and bees, the list goes on and on, and on and on.

Allergies make me feel I don't belong in the world

My food allergies are bad enough that I don’t go to restaurants or eat many prepared foods. (Plain sashimi/nigiri has an acceptable risk/reward ratio!) I used to brave restaurants, but I’ve had too many bad outcomes.

That makes travel difficult, too. I have to bring my own food everywhere I go, find a place to store/eat it, and stay in hotels that have kitchenettes.

I manage, but our world wasn’t designed for that. Our social world was designed around eating out, enjoying dinner parties, and vacationing where someone else can cook for you.

Beyond allergies, swift shifts in the barometric pressure kill me. They trigger fatigue, joint pain, irritability, and migraines.

By migraine, I do not mean a bad headache. I mean, my entire nervous system goes to hell. (a.k.a. basilar migraine). I have light/sound sensitivity, dizziness, double vision, lack of coordination, muscle pain, face/jaw pain, nausea, and an inability to think. And a killer headache.

Weather-related migraines make me feel I don't belong

If the migraine is bad enough, it triggers fibromyalgia (musculoskeletal pain, brain fog, and mood swings). The inflammation often concentrates around my ribs and chest, making it hard to breathe and often requiring a just-in-case EKG or other tests. And it all lasts for several days. It’s super not fun.

When I’m not in a fibromyalgia flare, I’m still managing a hypermobility condition that causes chronic pain and frequent injuries. Much of my life is spent finding just the right amount of activity/exercise. Too much, or not enough, and I’m in pain. Just the right amount keeps my body happy.

My body is friggin’ Goldilocks.

Balancing chronic pain makes me feel I don't belong

I also struggle with social anxiety, trauma, attention issues, imposter syndrome, and the anger/helplessness of living in a cruel, unjust world.

All of that is my normal. And it can be physically exhausting. Even if others can’t see it.

Invisible pain makes me feel I don't belong

That exhaustion is also hard emotionally. I don’t want to throw myself a pity party. I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me. Overall, I’m doing well. I’ve raised two kids, I’ve written multiple books, I teach yoga.

I look around and see so many people who are dealing with worse health challenges. Or with social stigmas. Or with a million painful things. They aren’t complaining. They aren’t whining about feeling like the world is out to kill them. I want to be strong, too.

But sometimes I’m not strong. Sometimes, I fall apart.

Sometimes it feels like the whole world is telling me that I don’t belong here.

It all makes me feel I don't belong

I often don’t recognize how depressed I’ve become until I look around at all the things I’m not getting done. Honestly, 2019 is a blur. I’m struggling to recover from the incredible setback of last year’s broken foot, and every time I’ve started to get back on my feet (ha!), something has come along to knock me down.

But here’s the important part: I’m still here.

I may not feel like I belong in this world. I may feel like everything is stacked against me, like every day is an uphill battle, but I’m still here.

It feels like I don't belong, but I'm still here

What if that’s enough?

What if I belong here, simply because I am here?

What if you belong here, simply because you are here, too?

What if that’s true for every single one of us?

I think it is, and that’s a comforting thought. ❤️

2 thoughts on “I Don’t Belong in the World Today”

  1. Hi Susan,

    I enjoyed this so much. I’m not allergic to everything like you, I’m actually not allergic to anything at all however I have been suffering from chronic migraines since I was 15 and I know exactly what you mean when you say the odds are stacked against you and you still have to keep moving. You are an amazing writer and I enjoy your work.

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