At one point in my life, being accepted was everything. In the 80's, I permed my hair, wore flourescent orange sweaters and pink Reeboks, blue eyeshadow, and a crappy attitude because that's what was celebrated and included. None of those things made me especially popular, but I lived the norm and nobody in my high school called me weird. In college and after, they didn't, either. At least, to my face.
When I was younger, I wanted to fit in. I still do.
It wouldn't be authentic of me to say that I don't continue to crave acceptance and inclusion.
I'm pretty sure that we all do. Owning a sense of community and belonging is vital to personal growth, to expanding our world views, and to finding empathy and wonder for situations that we would not come across on our own.
Having a village helps us to realize that we're not alone despite age, economics, skin color, and sexual orientation. Having a village matters. It matters a lot.
When I started down the road of accepting that I'm the mom to a boy who has special needs, I felt really alone. Dark, scary, nobody-knows-what-I'm-going-through alone. It was frightening and isolating. Friends told me that my little boy would catch up. That he'd start talking any day. That maybe I'd contributed to his delays and that he wasn't speaking because he didn't need to. That I always knew what he wanted, and so he didn't have to ask for it.