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I stood there with a plate of Filipino food in hand as my grandma spoke to me in Ilocano, a language of the Philippines. We were at my aunt’s birthday party and all around me I heard the buzz of Ilocano words. I had no idea what any of the words meant. My grandma knew I didn’t understand, but kept speaking to me anyway. She always would. She finished talking and I just smiled at her, secretly longing I could understand what she’d said.
Years later she passed away. The same family who surrounded me during the one-sided conversations with my grandma, was surrounding me at her funeral. Family and friends gave testimonials of her life, but once again I found myself in an all-too familiar situation. Listening to Ilocano words, I ached to understand, but couldn’t.
Grandma - Stranger - Roses - Casket
To me, my own grandma was comparable to a stranger and I didn’t realize this until we started placing roses on her casket. I couldn’t help but feel like I didn’t belong there.
I am only half Filipino. My other side is white. While I love being a mix of two races, I noticed it has kept me from feeling like I fully belong to either side; to either family. What makes it more complicated, is that I look Mexican.
Feeling - Belonging - Sentiment - World - Someone
The feeling of belonging is a sweet sentiment and can change your whole world. When you feel like you belong to someone or something, it gives you a sense of purpose and comfort. Belonging provides a sturdy platform to plant your feet and know you are where you’re meant to be.
When you belong, you feel safe. You feel needed. You feel supported. There’s a safe haven for your identity. You are affirmed in who you are and empowered to face your fears.
Without belonging to something, you are...
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