On the Hunt to Belong: For the LA Strawberry Fest

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We are all puzzle pieces part of a giant jigsaw. When fitted together we make a beautiful picture. Every individual only fits with certain pieces, or people. Our lives are devoted to finding those we fit with, striving for that one goal to belong. No one wants to draw negative attention as the odd piece out. Everyone is on a lifelong hunt to find the other pieces that they go with.
Human nature yearns for us to be with others who make us feel comfortable, and this is proven through ethnicity surveys, as there are concentrations of the races in certain areas. It shows in high schools through cliques and in workplaces through lunch groups. In society, it is everywhere – buses, restaurants, neighborhoods, and especially television. When looking for friends, we search for those who share similar interests and characteristics. While hunting for these people who help us survive we are attempting to fit with the right pieces.
I was born to a family of two separate religions, but primarily raised as a Witness. I have lived my entire life singled out from my peers. Every morning when the intercom sounds, I am the only one who does not pledge, and at Christmas time, I am the only one who does not celebrate. On Halloween, I am the only one who does not dress up. I am a puzzle piece that does not fit with those around me.
Since late elementary I have been an avid band member, living for concerts and half-time shows. At the time of the student viewing of the band concert, I am convinced to go with the student body and view the “Christmas Gala.” It kills me. Each fiber of my being screams and dies – all I want to do is be on that stage. I know that my place is with the band, on that stage, and it is my puzzle where I belong. My hunt is over because I know the other musicians fit with me and I fit with them.
Not everything is as lovely as it seems, however. As much as I fit with the band, I still have to hunt for those who will take kindly to me because not everyone is happy with me not performing at Christmas and Mardi Gras. Even in a puzzle where you belong, there are still odd shapes and fits. I can be with others of my religion, but then the Catholic side of my up-bringing shows. I attend family get-togethers at Christmas and watch Sci-Fi movies. I will listen to the radio and ignore the words, and most importantly, I attend a public school.
My mother declares it similar to Hannah Montana since she believes I have the “Best of Both Worlds.” Quite the contrary, I am stranded and alone, stuck in place where no one will ever be. I am part of a puzzle with only one piece. I fit with others through prodding and pulling, but it never completes the picture. I can see myself every time I am singled out. The visualization is simple: I am standing stranded in a desert without even the glimpse of nearby rocks or cacti. That is how alone I am. I can hunt all I please, but deep down I know that stuck in limbo - I will never complete my hunt to simply belong.





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