Chapter 1. Why the belong project?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Personally I have always been emotionally drawn to conflict resolutions. I fixate on trying to understand pain and frustration and more so why people can feel alone in this world with so many of us around.

We enter this world and are given some very fundamental pillars that pre-decide who we are. These pillars are dramatically different from person to person. We are born into an ecosystem of historical cultures, traditions, values, and bloodlines. These traditions vary from country to religion to family or situations beyond our control. The location where we are born holds much significance in our own stories. It's our history, but there is more to that on the ancestral side of things if you dig deep into the DNA of what makes you, you.

I have a profound interest in belonging and understanding how people fit into the world. I have lived an extraordinary life that has left me somewhat confused and interested in rationalizing this life. For many years I have been examining my life story to gain some insight into how I understand myself and how I can be empathetic and understand people and populations around me.

I was born a boy in the United States in the City of Chicago in 1973 and adopted at birth. Besides the delivering doctor and the nurse to hold me, the first people were my adoptive mother and father. This was the beginning of my life. So the path was set, and I was feed, given affection, and love. Most babies do start out this way, whether it is with your birth family, adopted family, foster care, or the care of relatives. I was born healthy, so I didn't need to be in intensive care or stay overnight at the hospital. I didn't have the chance to have my mother's milk, I didn't get to smell her day-to-day, but I was in a loving home with parents that really wanted me. My mother grew up Protestant, and my father Jewish. My mother converted to Judaism, and I was to be raised Jewish.

So at birth, my identity was being formed. I was born in America, adopted, Jewish, and the timeline was set in motion.

When I was 44, I met my birth mother and learned what my story might have been if I was in that family. The way that my birth mother gave me love was to put me into a better situation. I will explore that later.

Other people start out their lives in many different situations. Whether it is born into poverty, war zones, disease, or extreme wealth, every person deals with what it means to belong and tries to fit in the best they can.

Today I believe having a sense of belonging is more important than ever. The world is a place of them and us, finding your place in the world with your own identity surrounded by influences and messages about how to live a better life. Trying to understand and make sense of the world with what you have been given and what you believe is right and wrong becomes more difficult as you grow older and have your own kids.

The Belong Project is an examination of self-identity in a very diverse and split world. Many topics can be examined, but this project aims to accept all and everyone as they are and who they want to become. No one is to be excluded. You belong here, and I am grateful that you are taking the time to read what I have to say.

What makes us feel like we belong? Shared experiences, shared knowledge, shared beliefs and shared a passion. We share this sense of belonging when we connect with people on levels of a shared experience. It is what brings us together.

"Our lives do not belong to us, they belong to those who we support, who believe in us, stand by us and support us." -Anonymous.

This quote has become more and more critical as I have grown older and have discovered new meanings to how people find happiness.

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