There’s a discussion taking place within a FB group I belong to, regarding the sensation of feeling like an intruder within a gathering. One of the members had gone to an other-side-of-the-state poetry club’s monthly meeting, and had felt like an outsider. Even though they’d been greeted and treated warmly, because of the town’s close-knit nature, this person had felt no small bit of having not belonged there. Another of the FB group members commented that even when asked to host such an event, it could feel like they’re intruding—that having a sense of not belonging can plague any of us, and at any time.
Hemingway has said writers are to write clear and hard about what hurts, because that’s where the power is. In other words, we are to risk going out on a limb in telling the bared truth because that’s when the “what matters” gets written. Time and again, I’ve seen when someone has opened their heart a little bit in expressing themselves, their vulnerability has been gratefully received.
I think intimacy happens when we cross lines, when we risk the stepping out of our shells. The huge majority of us aren’t as all-together as we appear. We’re often not alone in feeling out of place and maybe even intrusive. So somebody confessing their awkwardness might find they’re actually of the majority in the room, rather than the odd one out. This kind of connectioning is why risk taking and being clear about what hurts is so important: Our isolations are what bind us to one another.