I had successfully gotten through about 36 hours into my “return home” without having felt out of place. Simliar to a clueless adventurer before the monster reveals itself, I had begun to think that this might be easier than I thought. Unfortunately, no— that was not accurate. As I entered the ballroom on Saturday evening, I had slowly begun to feel the years that I had spent abroad on my back. Unlike my prior visits, coming into an event as a local made it feel different. I was new, I lived here now. The sensation was less carefree. In bits of conversations, I began to feel the weight in everything around me, the people, the music, the settings, etc.
In true Nicaraguan fashion, the cocktails flowed like water. Drink after drink, the crowd began to sway and groups began to form. As guests moved on from the greeting portion of the night, they were starting to situate themselves in their common clicks. I guess there was a moment where I felt it. In their normal settings, they naturally gravitated towards their comfort zones, where I quickly discovered that I had not yet established one. Oh shit.
For a brief moment (or maybe longer but the booze watered it down), I felt inadequate. I guess it’s normal for one to begin to release insecurities left and right after a few drinks amongst a crowd full of people. For a while, I felt the desire to fit in. I’m not sure how actively I pursued it as I was very comfortable with individual interactions, but it was the group definitions that I felt uncomfortable with. And though I didn’t want to want it, a part of me just wanted to blend.
It took some time for me to figure out the discomforting sensation that stayed with me through the next morning. I wanted to fit in. I’m going to want to fit in. This is the fear and desire that I need to monitor in the next few weeks.
I realized then that it’s in the constant desire to fit in that may make me overlook the important personal struggles that I need to be making. In the not fighting to fit in that there is more to learn. It’s in the not understanding how the people and groups work that will allow me to slowly figure it out for myself. So with that, I picked up my first lesson. To not have a click, to not have a group to reference back to. And that’s when I realized that what I want is to keep that essence of New York with me where ever I go. Coming home has always been difficult for me. There is something about home that makes my insecurities feel like I’m wearing a flaming fire ball on my head. Coming home is an immediate loss of anonymity. The feeling of being on display for a group of people you know makes your insecurities more apparent to you—especially after being in a city like New York, where nothing you do matters and no one really cares to keep track. So naturally, it’s scary, because you are no longer learning in private. You are learning on a stage, which is scary and intimidating—making the desire to fit in so much more intense. But maybe that’s precisely why I need to be here. Maybe, it’s precisely the lesson that I was meant to tackle next.
That essence of not knowing or deciding what someone is about until you had a chance to experience them for yourself. Removing all stereotypes and predispositions that one carries in order to fit in. Maybe, it’s time to be blank. Maybe this is the monster to tackle. So, I guess I’m planning to find a way to appreciate the discomfort that comes with being new and the purpose it will carry. And I don’t know… maybe not fitting isn’t so bad, you know? Maybe, it’s just where I need to be. I’ll keep you posted.
Wish me luck,