Realizations are funny things. They strike us unexpectedly. “Out of the blue,” as it were. The white noise of random thoughts suddenly gives way to a clarity and an insight prior to unseen, unknown, unconsidered.

Realizations are most profound when they provide us with an explanation of a recent shift in mood, lifestyle, or behavior that had baffled us or left us believing that the cause was something unrelated.

These realizations are completely unexpected and obviously rational and correct. As soon as they come to mind, we accept them as Simple Truths, too obvious to be discarded or discounted.

Living in a new area, experiencing new social circles and mores, new road layouts, trying to find and make your way, you find yourself experiencing unbearable loneliness and frustration. You’re not sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, you’re not a burden on anyone, you just don’t feel like you fit in

…anywhere.

The people are nice. They are friendly, welcoming, and interesting – they’re just not your “kind of people”, your idea of fun; they’re not your tribe.

Without realizing it consciously, you become subject to the lizard brain that is forever and always behind everything you do. Unconsciously, you begin to withdraw and emerge less like yourself and more like what you think you “should be” in this foreign culture. This is basic survival. Lone wolves, dawdlers, and   the broken are eliminated, and often quite brutally, permanently.

No one wants to be ostracized. In the wild, it is death. In modern society, it is its own form of death. The primitive death sentence of shunning is as lethal today as it was ten thousand years ago. Without social interactions, human beings lose the will to live.

This is not something you can turn on and off like a light switch. Knowing it is there, however, can help you reach the sudden and illuminating realization that you have simply lost too much of yourself to be able to find members of your “tribe” in this new region. Such is the behavior of realizations.

Brushing your hair, zipping a jacket, suddenly you are struck with a thought that blazes across your inner eye, your thoughts to yourself, offering a clear and obvious solution.

Looking at myself in the mirror, as I have done for ages of my life, I saw only a bare glimmer of that me that I am. I saw it last night for the first time in too long, as I dressed playfully for a meeting of elders, idealists, and Dollar Store fans. I broke out. For the first brief moment, I cast aside the lizard brain fears of rejection, ostracism, and the ache of loneliness, a last gasp of the subconscious psyche screaming, “You can do this! As you are, as you do, you can be that here, safely.”

That barest spark, that tiny flame of the inner fire that makes me who I am and the realization that I had stifled, ignored, and betrayed that part of my self and that I no longer had to gave me gifts greater than gold.

Freedom.

Empowerment.

Music. Dance. A Joyful Noise. Brilliant color. They are me and mine.

I am.

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