Losing and Finding Your Tribe

A lot has been written lately about “finding your tribe.” Every time I hear this phrase I am filled with excitement, hope, and also fear and disappointment. What if you have had phases in your life where you were so convinced that you had found your tribe—that you had found acceptance of who you really […]

When Belonging Isn’t What We Think It Is

Place and belonging are tricky, complicated things. Sometimes we find ourselves belonging to a place that is not originally our own, our home, the source of our beginning. Sometimes we find that to survive certain seasons of our lives, we must learn to take root where we have been planted, to find meaning and life […]

A Sense of Place: The Way of the Irises

The irises are blooming, purple and regal like they deserve to sit near any throne in a palace. Yet I found them not in a castle but popping up through the Minnesota soil. It’s good earth, I’ve always been told, rich and lush. Black, the color of the night sky, full of nitrogen. Most of […]

Self Portrait As Exile

    Self-Portrait as Exile   This time my body will be the map. Each limb burning with the cities that left me breathless and   took the lights in my eyes and made them exit signs from or to the darkness depending on which way you are going,   and I will follow. Though blind, […]

When We Don’t Want Others To Belong

  I’m looking for spaces that are a homecoming. I’m realizing it’s not easy to find places of true belonging and it’s even harder to be a person who offers it. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t want to belong, but I know many who want to disconnect, to distance, to separate and […]

Dear Portia: How Do You Find Belonging When Your Ancestry Is Erased?

Dear Portia, Where do you place your footing when the footprints of your ancestors have been erased? Gentrification has/is pushing out the remnant of my marginalized community that was once here-do I fight to stay or do I wave my flag in surrender? GW Hello GW,  You ask such a poignant and important question around […]

When Belonging Doesn’t Mean Sameness

I don’t like coffee. There, I said it. I read blogs and listen to podcasts. I’ve seen the memes. Women who are younger than me – a lot younger than me- who write books, wear great earrings, who all seem to know each other. And they all seem to love coffee. Somehow I’ve told myself […]

Choosing to Belong

We hadn’t been going to any church regularly for a couple of years, yet we felt the yearning to belong to a local part of the body, to be connected. We had a few friends at a church who had invited us along, so we made a decision: we would go for an entire school […]

My Improbable Love of “Happy Birthday”

I should get bonus points when I surprise my friend Shoshana: she’s remarkably unflappable. If I’d told her I was getting a giant bat tattoo on my behind, she’d probably nod and say, “Oh, interesting.” But the other day on the phone, when I told her I love it when people sing “Happy Birthday” to […]