Finding Belonging As Your Whole Self

Out of Place – Lindsey’s Story

I have memories of being a bold, courageous child. I was confident and could strike up a conversation or play with anyone.

And then, that version of me was gone. As if my memories of her belonged to someone else. She was replaced with anxiety. Restless nights. And an ever-rotating group of friends.

The childhood friends changed for a couple of reasons. Sometimes they would move away – this happened a lot. And other times, life just took us in other directions.

On the outside, it looked like I was great at making friends. But I was actually abandoning more and more of myself. I twisted myself to fit into whatever the friend-of-the-year was doing in order to ensure I simply had a friend. I made myself so agreeable and fluid that I could get along with anyone.

You know that scene in Wayne’s World (oh, by the way, I’m that old…) when they go to the new studio of Wayne’s basement but it’s not Wayne’s basement? At the best of times, that’s how life felt to me. It all looked familiar yet somehow it was out of place. I was out of place.

Reclaiming my whole self

In my twenties, I found out that I was suffering from PTSD. It stems back to the age of six, which is the last time I remember fully being my bold self. And then new traumas were piled on top.

At my worst, I didn’t sleep during the night for nearly two full years. Instead I would fall asleep just as the sun was rising and sleep as late as possible which could be until 8am or 10am. My anxiety was severe on a daily basis. I was beyond lost.

After years of therapy, attempts with meds, natural remedies, personal development, and lifestyle changes – I have reached the other side of the tunnel.

Now, let’s be clear, being out of that particular tunnel doesn’t mean I’m cured and my PTSD is gone. It’s still there. It ebbs and flows. I’ve found my way to coexist with it and I flow the majority of the time. 

Coexisting with my trauma and the rest of the world simultaneously? Well, that’s a different struggle. It’s honestly very easy to slip into old patterns of making myself agreeable to fit into other peoples’ worlds. I’m years into trial and error on what works for me. For a mere two weeks, I had zero chronic physical pain and felt the most “me”. And then COVID happened and flipped everything upside down.

But for a FULL two weeks, I felt like myself. Before then, that feeling would only last for an instance. It was devastating to lose. And yet, I have hope that I can get there again.

So, how did I do it in the first place? First, I made peace with being uncomfortable. I remind myself often that growth occurs outside of our comfort zones.

When I feel uncomfortable, doing some sort of routine helps me feel less anxious. It can be something small that perhaps assists with the greater direction I want to go. I hadn’t realized how much I relied on routine until COVID took it away. 2020 was a huge lesson in being uncomfortable and adjusting routines, as well as how I respond to more tragedy.

Again, at best I feel like I’m in the studio-version of Wayne’s basement. And that’s when I’m reminded that my goal is not to go back to who I was before the assault or before fight or flight took over my way of being as a child. Those versions of me are gone and that’s actually a good thing. My goal is to find the intersection of the lessons and wisdom I’ve gained on this journey with the pieces of myself that I want to keep, the pieces I want to rediscover, and (here’s the hard one to swallow) the pieces of myself I don’t like.

I’ve discovered the more I accept the pieces of myself that want to be buried, the more whole I feel. These pieces include all the traumas, the fears, the emotions of anger and grief, and the past versions of myself who loved the people who would later inflict terrible pain.

I also strive for clarity on what I want my life, work, friendships, and relationships to look and feel like. While compromise is very important, I realized I would compromise some of my core values in order to keep a group of friends or a relationship. And then I would lose them anyways. I’m at the point in life where I would rather be alone than with people who don’t value me.

This is why being comfortable with the uncomfortable is so important. It’s hard to sit and hold the pieces of myself that I don’t like. It’s hard to choose to be alone instead of staying in a not-the-one-for-me relationship. It’s hard to trust new people whether it’s a friendship or relationship. It’s even hard to trust myself with new people.

But it is worth it. And when I least expect it, people come into my life and I feel at home with myself and them. When I feel safe with someone, I can be bold and outgoing like I once was. When I least expect it, opportunities I’ve only dreamed and prayed about work out.

I planted seeds in my space where I felt out of place. As I explore all the nooks and crannies, I feel ease start to come over me. And as more of my seeds sprout and blossom, I feel more at home where I was once out of place.

If you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong, this series is for you! Every Monday, we’ll hear from someone who has also struggled to belong. Be sure to subscribe below to get The Scoop so you never miss a post! As a thank you, you’ll receive access to belonging-themed scripture cards and adult coloring pages in the free for you library!

Thanks! I can't wait to connect with you!

Meet Lindsey Post

Lindsey Post is an artist and writer in Oklahoma City. Writing has been part of healing process for many years. She shares her experiences in hopes that it will help someone who is struggling on their own journey.
For more on her journey, you can connect with her on Instagram!

*Feature Photo by Bart LaRue on Unsplash

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

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