From the beginning of our lives, one of our most basic goals is to "belong". We seek first to find our place within our families, and later, as our horizons expand, within a social group, society at large, and the world as a whole. We all want to find our place.
Having recently been welcomed into a small social group, I am again, as an adult, experiencing that search for my place. Like a child seeking identity within the structure of birth order, I search for what makes me special within the family of these friends.
I made salsa, but there is already a "good cook" member, as evidenced by the amazing mango tacos we had for desert. AND the Leader doesn't like cilantro, which she politely didn't tell me until weeks later.
I wrote a clever poem, then found out that the Pictionary Artist Guy is also the Clever Poet Guy.
Amazing Mango Taco guy also has a corner on sarcastic wit and orneriness bordering on mean.
There's a Funny Guy already too. I'm running out of skills and qualities.
I'm neither the youngest nor the oldest, nor even the "middle child".
I am cynical and have been called arrogant, but those aren't really marketable items when it comes to social niching.
I have the biggest butt in the group, but again, not promisingly noteworthy. And thanks to the last 50 pounds, I don't dance so well anymore either.
Am I to be relegated to the status of Expendable Ensign? Quietly contributing nothing, but enjoying the company of others until the time when I am subtly dropped from the group for lack of input? Politely laughing at the jokes of others and trying not to guess every picture in Pictionary? Not losing card games every time but never winning? Attending but not contributing, appearing but not belonging.
I just know I am going to be picked first for the next Away Mission.
I do have one thing I am good at. Really good at. Karaoke. But I haven't done that since I switched social groups from Bar-Hoppers to Church-Goers. I doubt there will be a group function after 9:00 in a bar with karaoke and a good sound system anytime soon.
And if there were, I'd probably find out that Artist/Poet Guy is also opera-trained and lead singer in a rock band...