Self-pigeonholing

Sorry it’s been so long since my last post. It’s not that nothing interesting has happened, but that most of it isn’t really bloggable. Sorry. So, once again, you get my thoughts on life, and how I fit into it. If this sounds dull, please turn off now…

I’ve found myself reflecting earlier on how I’ve changed since moving up here. In some ways, it feels a bit like I’ve grown up – kind of entered the next stage of my life. I’ll try and explain. I wento to school with the same people from when I was 7 right through to 18. And in that 11 years, I obviously grew up as a person, and changed. But in some ways, because I was with that same group of people Monday to Friday, and particularly with a specific group of friends, it sort of restricted me in some ways. I had a role in that group, and I’m not sure if I maintained that role because my friends expected me to, or because I wanted to, or what. I didn’t really think about it at all – it just happened.

And then, I went to university, and it was terrifying after so many years of security with the same people. And yet, as I’m sure many people have found, it was also incredibly liberating, because I had the freedom to be me, to find friends I could bond with as my 18-year old self, rather than those who’d known me for so long. My confidence soared, and I was probably happier than I’d ever been before.

In some bizarre symetry of life, I spent almost the next 11 years in Swansea, adding to the group of friends I was with, but still keeping a strong core of those people I’d met in my first weeks and months at university. We got to know each other so well, shared some amazing high moments, and some real low ones, and just became such a strong group. When I started to think about leaving that group of friends, it was almost impossible to contemplate not seeing them on a day-to-day basis.

Strangely, though, now its almost seven months since I moved, I’m starting to feel that same sense of liberation again (NB this is NOT to say I don’t still really miss people in Swansea). Some of the friends I have up here are people I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to become close to, and they’re challenging me to push my horizons. Which is good, I think. Also, partly because of my work, I’m becoming far more politically aware and active than ever before – and am managing to do stuff I never expected to feel confident in.

Maybe I’m just too good at (or bad at) finding a role for myself in a group, and then feeling that I have to continue to fill that role in the future. I’m sure other people are far more willing to let me change and grow than I am to allow myself to. But the question for me right now is, how do I get myself out of this cycle? I’m not yet enmeshed enough with a group of friends up here to have pigeonholed myself yet, and I really want to avoid that.

2 thoughts on “Self-pigeonholing

  1. Great to hear from you again.

    It is a tough cycle, isn’t it? I can understand as I feel the same at times. Prayers, and it may be trite, but being yourself, regardless of the circumstances or group you find yourself with, is the only way. I discovered my friends were more than willing to be there for me when I wasn’t "myself" [whatever that means]…and the friendships grew. God bless.

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