The Tyranny of Belonging

 African hearts

African hearts

I'm preparing my first novel, African Hearts, for uploading to Amazon. As I prepared the text, I was drawn to the conversation where Kam and Gina are on Monkey Rock taking some time out to look at the elephants washing in the creek down in the valley. To this time Gina has been challenged by village life in more ways than one. She questions Kam about belonging and what it means to belong. She also challenged me when I re-read this scene. I've just returned to the Gold Coast, so I began to think about the word 'belong', and a question came into my head: Does anyone belong anywhere?

I don't know about you, but I use this word lightly in conversation, especially where the meaning of life comes up. I looked up the dictionary and realised I've used this word incorrectly for most of my life.To belong is to be possessed, as in an item to be owned by someone. No wonder I became confused whenever I thought about where I belonged.

So what words should I be using instead of 'belong'. After much thought and free writing on this subject, I've come to the conclusion that belong is not a good word when we're meaning we want to 'fit in'. We don't want to be anyone's possession, we want to be a contributing part of a group, helping others and ourselves fit in, and sharing ideas with each other.

Kam thought he wanted to work as a surgeon in that big hospital in Kampala and Gina has been confused for some time about where she fits in; back in Australia or in Gumboli? So I've come to the conclusion they're talking about their life's purpose.

Nobody can own another person, however, they can live together contributing to and sharing a lifestyle and encouraging each other on their life journey. Is this the issue that Kam and Gina were dancing around while they were up at Monkey Rock? I've changed this scene and all the other belonging issues in the e-version of African Hearts. Watch this space for the new cover and when it will be available on Amazon for download to your Kindle.

So, I'm left to ponder further: belong is a strange word, I wonder where it belongs? I'm eager to hear your thoughts.