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There are communities everywhere. Family. School. Clubs. Church. Sports. Each of these communities have their own expectations, standards and norms for behavior, yet they are all made of countless different types of people.
Even with an understanding on how to integrate into a community, why are we so emotionally torn? Many of us experience loneliness, depression, and anxiety even though we have a system we can easily play by the rules within. I do not even know the beginning of the answer to why this is happening. But it is clear that there is something that drives us to find people that can accept us for our differences and get us through dating, romantic dramas, social media, changing friendships, and more.
I call this yearning "Cinderella Syndrome" looking for someone that can validate your uniqueness in the surrounding small—yet also immense—community. Waiting for a prince to show up nearby when most desperately needed.
I used to have Cinderella Syndrome. I always felt lost in my community as a girl of my "own category." There really was not anyone similar to me. Yes, there were girls with similar interests, physical appearances, and backgrounds. However, there was this intangible trait that was the final obstacle in forming relationships of true understanding with people around me. At the exhortations of my close friend, I started to look into the stories of girls from the same village in India as me. I never identified myself with these people; they were the unfortunate folk who were rude to me for being “American,” and I was simply not one of them. But looking beyond the superficial qualities, these girls were so fundamentally similar to me. Once I started seeing their problems as opportunities to help, my whole perspective changed. When I felt lost and forgotten in a sea of misunderstanding, I would remember my "secret community" and work steadfastly to make sure they did not feel the same way. Fighting for them was like hugging myself on a rainy day.
The world is so much bigger than the sliver of hope you retain by viewing your life as a soon-to-be fairytale. Find your people, the ones that keep you going. Take the "I like to travel" line and make it real. Go out and away with a purpose—since you are not really leaving if you travel with the same lens that you look at your home with. Go back to your roots, where your ancestors are from or where you identify with. Though people are defined by more than demographics, there are inexplicable strings of unity between people of a shared but separated culture. Standards restrict your whereabouts and relationships. Defy them and start exploring.