Did I belong here

All writing about dreams is grotesque in a way, and should be avoided. But indulge me a moment.

Last night I had a dream that was, I guess, a stylized version of leaving my job at Esterline Mason (now just Mason Controls, since Esterline no longer exists) a few years back. Maybe it wasn't even about leaving the job, but having to go back to clean out a desk there some time after leaving—and not just cleaning out the desk but closing out the apartment, it was somehow a composite of all that. Dream logic—who knows?

I ran into Jorge, who I used to work for there, in the dream. It wasn't him, but it was him, and he was a kind of composite of various people I knew there. I don't recall any details except for a question I asked him:

"Did I belong here?"

That question followed me out of the dream, and has been reverberating in a side room in my mind like a well-balanced going all day. The question had a particular flavor that I'm having a hard time articulating, though I know it's the... goal? measure? purpose? of a job or community.

Did I belong here.

There's emphasis on the belong. It was a feeling of wanting to know if I made it. Did I finally get accepted to the tribe. Did I make it to the inner circle. Did I become one of you. Did I get the job done. Did I do well enough. Something beyond liking—respect.

This is why you shouldn't talk about dreams out loud. I've read the words above and none of them convey the feeling. "Did I belong here?" is a question, but it was also an answer—a question searches, but in the search it can also find without finding, locating the answer without reaching it. Yes, the answer is over there, and you can see the general shape and size from the shape or the dimensions of the box, but you don't need to see it. You know it's there.

Somehow I belonged, in some way. And moved on. It leaves a warm spot where the belonging was, but the spot is empty. What takes its place? No—unlikely. It has to be a new spot, a new belonging, if the luck strikes again. Until then.

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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