On the Fringe
Growing up I was repeatedly told two juxtaposed narratives: First, in order to make a difference, you have to belong. Second, people will be compelled by your differentness and be inspired to change.
I think these are opposite sides of the same coin, rather than perceiving both belonging and uniqueness , these narratives speak partial truths to achieve the desired result in behavior. Don't be like those people, or be like those people. I'm working on another narrative that goes something like this: Be yourself. Embrace both what is similar and different. Enjoy both unity and diversity and know that you cannot be contained within one group and know also the power of working with others to serve both individuals and the whole!
For me personally, I have grown up with a certain sense of being on the fringes. The exciting thing about this is my life is a Venn diagram, each edge of my circle overlaps with another highlighting both a deeper oneness and greater diversity. I don't have to fit in with one tribe, everything about my person belongs right where I am.
When you are tempted to despair about your own liminality, remember, there is power and perspective on the fringes and margins.