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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Waterloo chapter.

Do you like to take risks? I’ve always considered myself rather risk averse. That’s why I’ve started to challenge myself by saying “yes” more, signing up for more adventures and just participating. So, when I was presented with the chance to share some of my poetry, I pushed myself to accept the opportunity.

The Student Success Office at the university held their event Waterloo @ the Intersections: On Belonging on March 22. People were asked to share their perspective on what belonging means in whatever format they wished (e.g. singing, dancing, poetry, narrative).

To write a poem for this event, I was challenged to really think about what belonging means to me — the concept is complex. Sometimes you don’t belong because you look different. Sometimes you can feel like you don’t belong even when you look like everyone else. It’s not something tangible, but it’s something we can manufacture, create, offer, share, and give to each other. That’s what my poem focuses on.

My poem on belonging:

I wonder what it’s like to fit in a space.

To stand there, to exist, and not feel like I’m taking up too much space.

I wonder what it’s like to breathe easy.

Without worry, without trouble, without anxiety.

Even when I look like everyone else, something reminds me I’m by myself.

And every look feels like a taunt, it’s daunting just to want.

Because sometimes when you’re so desperate for a place, you accept a space in places you shouldn’t, you let yourself become the things you promised you wouldn’t.

It feels good but it’s only temporary, until you look in the mirror and see something scary.

A person you don’t recognize, one you’re not familiar with.

All in an effort to belong, but you don’t even know what that is

Is it a smile? An emotion? A place? A policy?

Will I feel it? WIll I be different? Is it something I’ll see?

There’s one thing I’m sure of…

Belonging should never be about changing, don’t let others do rearranging.

Belonging isn’t about fitting in but about feeling safe to stand out.

Be brave, be you, be loud, take up space,

Eventually you’ll belong, you end up in the right place.

Do I Belong?

I think a lot of us struggle to find spaces where we’re comfortable — where we can fully be ourselves without threat or judgement from others. Hopefully, my poem and my thoughts resonate with you. Even if you don’t feel like you belong right now, there’s no reason to be discouraged. The more you are authentic to yourself, the easier it is for your people to find you.

Lydia Kifle

Waterloo '23

Lydia Kifle (she/her) is a Business and Communication Studies student at the University of Waterloo. She is passionate about learning ways to combat social issues. In her free time she enjoys writing stories and engaging in all kinds of creative expression.