I started writing a response to this.

It was very lengthy by the end — I was just about to hit “done” and Medium crashed.

I lost my words.

They were a reflection of thought on this line. Early inclusion.

A sense of belonging and feeling “enough” from an early age.

The crux of my thoughts was, I agree with you.

My mother’s side were early Italian immigrants to Australia. Mum and her siblings got picked on for being “wogs”. The nuns at her school would cane them for having market garden soil under their fingers from early morning work.

They were made to feel like outcasts.

My grandfather died when my mother was four. Nanna left to feed seven kids on her own. At the time, the buyers would not buy from a woman without a husband. Outcast again. Lucky Nan knew how to cook bloody well with what they had.

My fathers family have a British background. They got by, but Dad as the eldest did need to leave school at 12 to find his own way.

I was lucky. I never went without. Shelter, clothes, well feed and even presents for birthdays and Christmas. Their drive to survive on their own backs drilled into me.

My skin goes from light to dark brown — depending on how much time I spend in the sun.

While I have been picked on for my colouring over the years, I was always on a crusade to prove myself from the point of view of my gender. I guess my Nan’s story stuck with me most.

I went to uni, trust fund kids were my fellow students. They had never worked a day in their life. I worked part-time since I could. Pay for my books and board to my parents. I never felt like I truly fit in because their world so far from what I lived.

I didn’t realise I didn’t even want to fit in for a long time.

Even still, I feel like the career I did have in line with my studies was successful. I didn’t make the dent in the “female” stereotype as I thought I would but I held up my own. I was in my job for my merits. Not to fill a diversity gap.

Until I didn’t. Until I knew I didn’t want to play the game anymore. Until I knew I didn’t fit in.

What is the point of all my rambles here?

I really don’t know.

Just joining some dots based on your story.

Perhaps if I had felt like I belonged, like I was enough from a young age, then I would have not been heading on a path that wasn’t consciously of my choosing?

Perhaps it doesn’t have anything to do with race or culture or gender at all.

The systems need reworking -that is for sure. But perhaps the real gem is to feel so grounded in belonging, in knowing we are here to be us.

The drama of figuring out where or if we belong completely wiped out. The energy saved used to guide us to finding our own purpose sooner rather than later or never at all.

Thanks for writing.

Thanks for gifting me space to reflect and join some dots.

Most importantly, thanks for being you.